House Of Commons
Thursday, 10th May, 1883.
MINUTES.]—SELECT COMMITTEE—Harbours of Refuge, nominated.
SUPPLY— considered in Committee—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES—CLASS I.—PUBLIC WORKS AND BUILDINGS.
PUBLIC BILLS— Ordered— First Reading—Poor Law Conferences* ; Agricultural Holdings (England) ; Medals* ; Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) ; Burgh Police and Health (Scotland)* ; Land Improvement and Arterial Drainage (Ireland)* .
Committee— Report—Customs and Inland Revenue .
Third Reading—Drainage (Ireland) Provisional Orders* , and passed.
Arrears Of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882—Case Of James M'gowan, Junr, Conacloon, Co Leitrim
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether James M'Gowan, junior, of Conacloon, county Leitrim, settled his rent up till the 1st of November, 1881, under the Arrears Act; and, whether the special bailiff of his landlord has threatened to seize the goods of M'Gowan for said arrears; and, if so, whether he is entitled to any redress?
I have not thought it part of my duty to inquire whether or not Mr. James M'Gowan has paid his rent. In the latter paragraph of the Question the hon. Member asks me whether a private individual threatens to commit a breach of the law by seizing goods for a debt already paid. All I can say is, that if such a thing happens the person aggrieved has his legal remedy.
The Contagious Diseases Acts— Non-Enforcement Of Compulsory Examination—With-Drawal Of The Police From Chatham—Action Of The Government
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is correct that a protest has been sent to him from the Medway Board of Guardians against the withdrawal of the Metropolitan Police from Chatham; and, if so, whether he has any objection to lay a Copy of this document upon the Table of the House, and further to state what action he proposes to take in the matter?
I have received the protest; but there is no object in laying the document on the Table of the House. I have already explained to the House the course that the Government have felt themselves bound to take in consequence of the vote to which the House has come. I suppose the House was fully aware that the local authorities in places where the Acts were in operation were in favour of them. I do not see that a protest of this kind alters the situation at all. The action the Government has taken is consequent upon the vote of the House. The police generally will be withdrawn; but a limited number of Inspectors will remain, so far as may be necessary for carrying out the Acts as to those who voluntarily submit themselves. This is almost a ministerial duty on the part of the Inspectors of Police.
asked if voluntary submission was to be revived with all its imperfections?
said, it was not revived; it was in the Act of Parliament. It had already been stated that the action of the Government would be confined to that part of the Act which was condemned by the Resolution of the House—namely, compulsory examination.
gave Notice that he should challenge the employment of these police on the Estimates.
asked the Secretary of State for War, If he will be good enough to state whether it is intended at once to abolish the office of musketry instructors (Officers and Sergeants) in Militia Battalions as well as in those of the Line?
It is not intended to abolish the musketry instructors (either officers or sergeants) in the Militia Battalions; as Militia officers, from not being constantly on duty like officers of the Line, cannot be expected to be generally qualified to impart musketry instruction. Moreover, very few hold Hythe certificates.
Western Islands Of The Pacific— Australian Colonies—Annexation Of New Guinea By Queensland
asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph which has appeared in many London and provincial newspapers:—
and, whether these statements are true?"The Exchange Telegraph Company learns that as long ago as June last Lord Kimberley had received an intimation as to the annexation of New Guinea. At that time the Governorship of Queensland had been promised definitely to Sir John Pope Hennessy, but as soon as the intention to annex became known to the Colonial Office, the appointment was not made, as it was well known that Sir John Pope Hennessy was opposed to any such annexation, and would offer the scheme of the planters to introduce the blacks of Now Guinea into Queensland to work the plantations on the northern shore the most determined opposition;"
In the unavoidable absence of my hon. Friend, I have to say that the statements in question are altogether incorrect. No intimation was received by Her Majesty's Government until February last that the question of the annexation of New Guinea was likely to be revived by any Australian Government.
Metropolis Management And Building Acts Amendment Act— The "Hotel Metropole"
asked the Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, Whether the design for the vast building in the Northumberland Avenue, designated as the "Hôtel Métropole," has received the sanction of the Institute of British Architects, as required by the Act of Parliament?
The design for the Hôtel Métropole was submitted to the Institute of British Architects, as required by the Act of Parliament; but, after due consideration, the Board did not think it necessary to put the tenant to the expense of carrying out the alterations suggested by the Institute, having regard to the fact that the plans for the building had already been amended in accordance with the recommendations of the Board's architect, who was himself then a member of the Council of the Institute.
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If the State-aided emigration to the United States which is conducted by Mr. Tuke's Committee consists entirely of persons who are likely to be able to support themselves; whether it is true that the United States authorities absolutely decline to take any others; and, by what arrangements Her Majesty's Government hope to relieve the burden of pauperism caused by a system of emigration which compels an ever-increasing proportion of persons who are infirm and ailing to remain behind?
The State-aided emigration conducted by Mr. Tuke's Committee consists entirely of persons who are likely to be able to support themselves and the members of their families who accompany them. I have before stated in the House that the pro-portion between workers and non-workers is carefully observed. The United States Government have made rules to prevent the introduction into the United States of persons likely to become a charge to the public. With regard to the third paragraph of the hon. Member's Question, the Government consider that the emigration of many of the occupiers of small farms, and the consequent enlargement of the holdings in the congested districts, must improve the position of the occupiers of land left behind. ["Oh!"] I think it is a well-founded opinion. I may observe, also, that one feature of the assisted emigration under the Arrears Act is that we assist no one to go who is a means of support to those whom he would leave behind. In the few exceptions of assisted emigration of single individuals this point is carefully observed. Those who remain are not in a worse, but in a better position than they were before.
Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been called to the protest of the Governor of Massachusetts as to persons landing in that State who have no adequate means of support? I would ask, also, whether the exportation of these poor people takes place for the benefit of the ratepayers here at the expense of the American ratepayers?
I would also ask the right hon. Gentleman in what way he considers that the assisted emigration of people who are able to support themselves adds to the prosperity of the district they leave?
[No reply was given.]
The Irish Land Commission (Sub-Commissioners)—Co Longford
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can say why the Sub-Commissioners under the Land Law Act are not to hold a Court at Granard, county Longford, this time, as usual, but are to hear all the cases belonging to Granard Union in the town of Longford, thereby in some cases compelling suitors to come in from places more than 20 miles distant?
I can only repeat what I stated in reply to the hon. Member's former Question on the same subject a few days ago. The Land Commissioners fixed upon the town of Longford as the best place for opening the Court, and the Sub-Commissioners had power to adjourn for the hearing of cases to any other town in the county that may be more convenient to the parties interested, which it is understood they consult.
Hall-Marking (Gold And Silver Plate)—Report Of Select Committee (1878–9)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, with a view to giving effect to the recommendation of the Select Committee on Hall-Marking (1878–9)—
Her Majesty's Government will take such steps as may be necessary to ascertain the probable amount of a fair and reasonable drawback upon stocks of new and unused plate in the hands of licensed manufacturers and dealers?"That the duties upon gold and silver plate should be abolished, as soon as the state of the revenue may admit,"
In reply to the hon. Member, I have to state that although the Select Committee of 1878 and 1879 on Hall-Marking incidentally reported against the continuance of the duties on gold and silver plate, that question was not mentioned in the reference to them, and their Report contained no allusion to the drawbacks on stocks of unused plate, the only real difficulty in connection with the question of duty. I have already stated that I have no intention to propose to repeal the duty; and I may say that until some understanding is arrived at as to what would be a reasonable drawback it would be useless to endeavour to ascertain its amount. The claim of the majority of the trade is for the return of all the duty paid on unused plate, without limit of time, if the duty should be repealed.
Italy—Renewal Of Commercial Treaty
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he is in a position to give any assurance to the House that the Commercial Treaty between this Country and Italy will be renewed prior to the expiration of the existing Treaty on the 30th June next; and, if he cannot give that assurance, whether Her Majesty's Government will take measures to obtain the most favoured nation treatment for this country, so as to protect the British textile trades from the serious injury they would suffer from the new General Tariff of Italy?
Negotiations are now in progress for the renewal of the Commercial Treaty between this country and Italy; and I hope that I shall be in a position immediately after the Whitsuntide Recess to give a full reply to my hon. Friend.
Law And Justice—Dormant Funds In Chancery
asked the Secretary the Treasury, If his attention has been called to the fact that the List of Dormant Funds in Chancery, issued in 1881, has long been out of print, so that suitors are unable to obtain copies; and, if he will take steps in future that copies shall always be available?
I learn that it is the fact that the Supplement of The London Gazette which contained the last list is out of print, owing to the demand for it having been greater than was expected. Care will be taken in future to print a sufficient number of copies. But I believe copies of the list are filed in the Report Office and exhibited in the several offices of the Court, so that suitors can have access to it. I may remind the hon. Member that a new and improved list will be published in six months.
Fishery Piers And Harbours (Ireland)—Rossclare Pier And Harbour
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, with respect to the additional loan applied for to complete Rossclare Harbour, Whether he is aware that the said loan was recommended to the Treasury in November 1881 by the then Chief Secretary, on the grounds that the only way to make productive the large sums already spent on the Pier and on the Railway was for their Lordships to sanction such further loan as would enable the work to be completed; and, whether he will recommend a further inquiry?
Yes, Sir; the late Chief Secretary did make the statement quoted; but he did not give the grounds upon which he formed his opinion. Since that date the case has been further inquired into by the Public Works Loans Commissioners, who are responsible for the loan, with the result I stated on Monday. I fear the case is a very hopeless one, and that a further loan would only be throwing good money after bad.
Will the hon. Gentleman make further inquiry?
I have made inquiry.
Poor Law (Ireland)—Appointment Of Medical Officer To The Cashel Dispensary District
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is a fact that no appointment of a medical officer has yet been made to the Cashel Dispensary district, though the vacancy has existed since December; whether, in obedience to the instructions of the Local Government Board ordering them to proceed without delay to the election of a medical officer, the Dispensary Committee met on the 1st of May, but again postponed the election till the 14th of July; and, what steps the Local Government Board now intend to take?
, in reply, said, it was a fact that no appointment had yet been made. The Local Government Board wrote to the Dispensary Committee, on the 19th of last month, expressing a hope that the necessary steps would be taken at once to make the appointment. The Committee, on the 1st of May, considered the subject, and postponed the election until the 14th of July. The Local Government Board had no power to override this decision of the Committee.
Am I to understand that the Irish Local Government Board have no power to appoint a medical officer for the district, by sealed order or otherwise, when the Guardians persist in keeping open the vacancy?
said, he presumed such a case as this had probably never occurred before; and he could assure the hon. Member that when the appointment was made the Local Government Board would carefully consider the qualifications of the candidate, with a view of ascertaining whether there was any connection between his appointment and the keeping open of the vacancy for so long a period.
asked how long, in the opinion of the Local Government Board, was this large district to be left without a medical officer in order to allow an unqualified practitioner to become qualified for the vacancy?
I thought the hon. Member would have understood that what I said a moment ago had reference to that phase of the question.
Navy (The Blue Ribbon)
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If his attention has been called to the case of Frederick Graham, a warrant officer's servant on board H.M.S. "Royal Adelaide," lying at Devonport, who had on 30th April fourteen days' leave stopped by Commander Dugdale, for wearing on shore what was called an unauthorized decoration, generally known as the blue ribbon; and, whether such interference with men in the Navy wearing temperance badges while off duty meets with the sanction of the Admiralty?
It is the fact that Frederick William Graham, warrant officer's servant, belonging to the Royal Adelaide, was arrested by the patrol on the 29th ultimo, while on shore on leave, for being improperly dressed, as he was wearing a blue ribbon on his uniform jacket, which ribbon is only authorized to be worn by persons who have been awarded the Victoria Cross, Egyptian Bronze Star, or Royal Humane Society's Medal, none of which decorations have been received by him. For this offence his leave was stopped for 14 days by the commanding officer. Directly upon the circumstances being brought to the notice of the Commander-in-Chief he remitted the punishment as unnecessarily severe, in which opinion the Admiralty concur. The House will, however, see how much inconvenience would arise if it were allowed that badges, however innocent and even laudable their significance, should be worn by men when in uniform. Besides the danger of their being mistaken for authorized decorations such as those I have named, badges might come to be worn indicative of different opinions on social, political, and religious questions; and it is, therefore, undesirable that any additions should be permitted to the regulated uniform of Her Majesty's Service.
Ballot Act Continuance And Amendment Bill
asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether, in Committee on the Ballot Act Continuance and Amendment Bill, he will give favourable consideration to the proposal to extend the provisions of the Bill to the election of Local Boards, Town Improvement Commissioners, and Boards of Guardians?
As the addition of any further provisions to the Ballot Act Continuance and Amendment Bill might delay its progress through Parliament, I regret that I cannot consent to my hon. Friend's proposal to extend its provisions to the election of Local Boards, Town Improvement Commissioners, and Boards of Guardians, which have never before been included in legislation having reference to Parliamentary and municipal elections. Her Majesty's Government is, however, favourable to the application of the ballot to such elections, and hope to deal with the matter at a future date.
said, that, in consequence of the reply which he had received, he would not press the matter further in regard to this Bill; but on an early day he would submit a Resolution to the House on the subject.
Palace Of Westminster—Westminster Hall (Western Side)
asked the First Commissioner of Works, If it is true that he has employed an architect to devise a plan for the restoration of the western side of Westminster Hall; and, if he will come to the House for a Vote before any considerable work is undertaken?
I have appointed the eminent architect, Mr. Pearson, to advise and superintend the restoration of the west front of Westminster Hall. It is certainly not contemplated to erect any buildings there. The hon. Member will find an item of £2,000 for this purpose in the first Vote which will be taken in Supply tonight.
Hall Marking (Gold And Silver Plate) (India)
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether any communication has been made to Her Majesty's Government, on the part of the Government of India, with reference to the taxation of gold and silver plate, and the practice of compulsory hall marking of gold and silver wares; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will lay upon the Table of the House any Correspondence relating thereto?
, in reply, said, that the Treasury had been corresponding with the Indian Government on this subject. If the hon. Member chose to move for the Correspondence he would lay it on the Table of the House.
Law And Police (Ireland)— Martin Nash
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether Martin Nash, aged 19, a native of Queen's County, Ireland, was, on the 23rd ult., brought up before the Penzance Borough Bench, charged on remand with wandering abroad, and having no visible means of subsistence, and whether he made the following statement to the magistrates:—
whether this account was confirmed by the police, so far as regarded the putting ashore of the prisoner from the steamer, and whether the magistrates sent him to Bodmin Gaol for a fortnight as a vagrant; and, whether he will cause any compensation to be given to Martin Nash?"I have been from home 17 months. I have worked in coal pits near Newcastle. Last Tuesday I went into Newcastle to buy a pair of boots intending to return, having 15s. in my possession at the time, but I met two sailors who took charge of me and said they would take me to America, I having said I would like to go there. I gave them six shillings, and we spent the rest of the money I had in drink. They put me down where the coals were, and I was there from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning. I had some bread in my pocket while in the coal place. On Thursday morning I came before the captain, who kept me on deck till Friday, when he put me on shore at a place called Mousehole. I then had three pence in my pocket. I had no luggage. I came on to Penzance, and went into a public house and had a glass of beer. I did not go to see any person;"
, in reply, said, that he had been informed of this case. Nash, who had been a stowaway on board a vessel going to America—in itself an offence—was found as a vagrant at Penzance, and for that offence was imprisoned. The hon. Member had asked him if compensation would be given to Martin Nash. He was afraid a practice of giving compensation to persons under these circumstances would tend to make the grants very large.
asked whether a person who practised an honest industry, who went to a locality where that industry was carried on, and who did not loiter or ask any alms, which was the case with Nash, could be sent to prison as a vagrant?
replied, that an erroneous view of the facts appeared to have been communicated to the hon. Member.
Poor Law (Ireland)—The Belfast Workhouse—Irregularities In Book-Keeping
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he is aware that the Belfast Guardians agreed on the 24th of April 1883 to accept as "satisfactory" a written explanation from the workhouse master respecting the tampering with the books in his charge; if the Local Government Board have censured the guardians, by implication, by declining to confirm their resolution respecting the falsification of the books; if it be true that the Local Government Board have stated in a communication to the guardians that food has been charged in the master's books, as having been supplied to paupers, who were not inmates of the workhouse on the particular dates shown in said books; if it be correct that, by this system of book-keeping, large surpluses of certain articles of food were created which were not credited on the provision book; and, whether, after considering the letter of the Local Government Board, he will continue in office the officials so acting?
It is the case that on the 24th of April the Belfast Guardians received an explanation from the workhouse master respecting the manner in which the diet books had been kept, and that they unanimously resolved that they considered it satisfactory. The Local Government Board, on learning this, informed the Guardians that they did not consider it altogether satisfactory, as it was the duty of the master to report to the Guardians any departure from the approved scale of dietary, and they requested that the matter should be further inquired into, which was done by the Visiting Committee, who made a Report on the subject, and gave directions as to the manner in which the books should be kept in future. The imperfect manner in which the books were formerly kept has met with the necessary attention. The Local Government Board inform me that there is no ground for supposing that fraud was intended or committed, and there is no reason why the officers concerned should not be retained in office.
Law And Police (Ireland)—Conduct Of The Police
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a paragraph in the "Westmeath Examiner" of Saturday, which states that on Tuesday last a detective and head constable visited a man who resided at Collinstown, in the county of Westmeath, and questioned him as to his knowledge of the murder of Mrs. Smythe; that they stated to him that they did not suspect him of the murder, but that he must know all about it; and that before leaving, one of them addressed him with clenched fist, called him a ruffian and puppy, and said the day would come when he would be glad to give information, but would not get the opportunity; and, whether the statements in this paragraph are true?
I have seen the paragraph referred to; and, having made inquiry on the subject, I am able to state that it contains a very garbled and incorrect account of what occurred. The allegations of misconduct on the part of the police are without foundation.
Royal Irish Constabulary—Employment In Cultivating Farms Of Evicted Tenants
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If sub-constables Kilvehan and Murphy have been employed in ploughing a farm on the estate of Mr. Desmond Fitzgerald, at Ballyculhane, county Limerick, from which a tenant had been evicted; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's advisers in Ireland are prepared to employ the Constabulary in cultivating the evicted farms, so as to render eviction profitable to the landlords?
, in reply, said, he had called for a Report; but it had not come to hand, owing to telegraphic communication having broken down, he believed, in consequence of a snowstorm.
Poor Law (Ireland)—Dunfanaghy Workhouse
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the report in the "Derry Journal" of May 2nd, of an investigation held by Dr. Woodhouse with respect to gross abuses in the administration of the Dunfanaghy Workhouse; whether he is aware that it was sworn that an imbecile pauper inmate named Annie Haigney, daughter of a broken-down tenant, was delivered of an illegitimate child in the workhouse; whether he is also aware that the girl's sister, who had also been an inmate of the workhouse, swore that the Master, Mr. Greer, had misconducted himself towards her during her residence in the workhouse, and that her imbecile sister had complained to her of similar misconduct on his part; whether the Rev. Father Kelly swore that Jane Easton, a nurse in the infirmary, had reported to him certain irregularities in the house, and whether this statement, though disavowed by Jane Easton, was confirmed by the evidence of another nurse, Frances O'Donnell, who swore that Jane Easton had reported to her that the Master was looking after all the women in the house; whether the Master denied that he was the father of Anne Haigney's child; what steps the Local Government Board have taken to purify the administration of the Dunfanaghy Workhouse; and, whether the workhouse in which an idiot girl was subject to outrages of the character disclosed in the evidence is the only refuge, except emigration, offered by the Government or by the Board of Guardians to the thousands of distressed persons in the Dunfanaghy Union?
With regard to this very serious question the Local Government Board inform me that they have under consideration at present the Report of their Inspector, and that when they come to a conclusion they will inform me as to the result. At present the Local Government Board cannot say whether all the evidence produced is reliable; but the matter will receive attention.
Poor Law (Ireland)—Outdoor Relief—Dunfanaghy Board Of Guardians
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in reference to his statement that complaint was not made of any neglect by the Dunfanaghy Board of Guardians, in the administration of outdoor relief, Whether the Rev. James M'Fadden, P. P., Gweedore, has repeatedly complained since January last that the guardians were systematically refusing out-door relief in all cases, and that the communications No. 359 and No. 37,617 from the Local Government Board, are acknowledgments of representations to this effect; whether, as stated to the Rev. Father M'Fadden by the relieving officer, that that official has received strict directions from the Board of Guardians to "offer nothing but the workhouse;" whether out-door relief was in fact refused in all cases, including a number of cases represented by Father M'Fadden as those of persons qualified by law to receive it; whether the Dunfanaghy Board of Guardians is under the control of landlords who are liable for the entire poor rates of large numbers of holdings under £4 valuation; and, what expenditure was actually made by the Guardians or the Government to assist private charity in aiding people during the last three months?
I am informed that in December last the Rev. Mr. M'Fadden wrote to the Local Government Board saying that distress was impending, and, in many cases, existing, in certain town lands, and urging some scheme of remunerative employment. This is the letter referred to as numbered 39,617. In January Mr. M'Fadden wrote again to the Board, forwarding a copy of a letter which he had written to the Guardians mentioning several cases of distress. The Board sent an Inspector to the Union, and there did not appear to be any default on the part of the Guardians or their officers in regard to the administration of relief. This is the communication numbered 359. The Guardians deny having ever given the relieving officer instructions to refuse all outdoor relief; but they did direct him to be very cautious about it in places where they believed the reports of distress were exaggerated. It is evident that the Guardians of Dunfanaghy Union have given indoor, in preference to outdoor relief, to destitute poor persons requiring it. In doing so, they exercised a discretion expressly vested in them by the Poor Relief Acts. There is no doubt that a large proportion of the holdings in Dunfanaghy Union are valued at and under £4. I am unable to say to what extent the Board of Guardians is under "landlord influence." I am not aware that any expenditure was incurred in this Union during the past three months to aid private charity in assisting poor people beyond that involved in the administration of the Poor Law.
Ireland—Hunting In Carlow Co
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been called to a report of a case tried before a Dublin Special Jury on February 13th last, in which Mr. Patrick Fenlon, a tenant farmer of county Carlow, brought an action against one John M'Clintock Bunbury for assault and battery; if it is a fact that Mr. Bunbury and others attempted to ride over the lands of Patrick Fenlon, although a notice was served on the Master of the Carlow Hounds prohibiting hunting over said lands; if Fenlon warned off the trespassers, but Mr. Bunbury refused to turn aside, and struck Mr. Fenlon on the head with a whip; if Mr. Beauchamp Bagenal, who was examined as a witness for the defence, gave in evidence that he was a justice of the peace for Carlow county, and that he would have acted as Mr. Bunbury did under similar circumstances; if it is a fact that the jury found for the plaintiff, with damages; if, since then, one W. B. Pearse, J.P., who was also a party to the assault on Mr. Fenlon, has tendered in damages a sum equal in amount to that recovered in the action; and, if the facts are as stated, and if the three persons mentioned are justices of the peace for Carlow county, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland intends removing them from the list of magistrates?
My attention has been drawn to this case, which has also been under the consideration of the Lord Chancellor, and I have received a Report from his Lordship's Secretary, from which it appears that the facts are not correctly set forth in this Question, but are as follows:—A number of farmers of the county of Carlow had served a notice on the Master of the Hounds prohibiting hunting over their lands; but many of the persons whose names were attached to that notice informed the Master that they had signed under pressure and were in favour of the hunt being carried on as usual, and accordingly hunting was carried on until the day of the occurrence which became the subject of the action referred to. On that day a number of persons who were following the hunt crossed Fenlon's land without objection from him, and even caused a gap to be broken to allow a lady to pass. It was not until Mr. Bunbury came on the farm that Fenlon make any objection. He did not refuse to go when warned off. On the contrary, he said he would leave if Fenlon would show him the boundary of the farm, and that he would pay any damage caused by the trespass. The assault was occasioned by Fenlon catching Mr. Bunbury's horse by the bridle and forcing him back on his haunches. The Lord Chancellor has accepted Mr. Bunbury's assurance that he will in future use every means in his power to avoid going on the lands of those persons who object to his doing so, and he does not consider it necessary to take any further action in the matter. With regard to the other gentlemen named, the Lord Chancellor is not aware that anything transpired at the trial to warrant his withdrawing the Commission of the Peace from either of them. I gather that the Lord Chancellor's letter to Mr. Bunbury was more stiff than was mentioned in the letter of his Lordship's Secretary. I wish to say that people who follow the hounds ought to be careful not to go over farms on which a farmer has posted a legal notice against it. However, this matter does not rest with me, but with the Lord Chancellor.
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered that part of the Question which inquired what justification there was for the assault upon Mr. Fenlon.
replied, that this was the first time the matter had been brought under the notice of the Lord Chancellor, and his Lordship had written that he was inquiring into the case.
Can the right hon. Gentleman state what would have happened to Mr. Fenlon if he had attacked Mr. Bunbury under similar circumstances?
I would do exactly the same.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some young men who were convicted of preventing a hunt at Loughrea, county Galway, were sentenced to seven years' penal servitude?
Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether he considers that Mr. Bunbury's own assurance is sufficient, considering the high securities required from others for keeping the peace?
said, he hoped the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) would put his Question formally, and he would make inquiries.
Prevention Oe Crime (Ireland) Act, 1882—Section 14—Police Searches
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to an article in the "Kerry Sentinel" of Friday last, which complains of the midnight raids now repeatedly made by the police at a time when the county has settled down, and when outrage has almost disappeared; whether it is true, as stated in that article, that peaceable and respectable people are suffering as much now from police raids by night as they did a year ago from the terror of the moonlight gang; and, whether it is true, as stated there, that the police recently entered at night the house of Mr. Leahy, P.L.G., and, although his wife was dangerously ill, persisted in entering and searching the room where she lay ill?
The police had very good reasons to search Mr. Leahy's house. Papers of a compromising character were found there. The search was conducted with as little as possible inconvenience to the inmates of the house. Respectable people have not complained of the searches which it has been necessary to make.
asked whether Mrs. Leahy was not ill when the search was made?
said, she was; but the police had very good reasons for going to the house. The case was a very serious one.
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is true that Sub-Inspector Hamilton, stationed at Crossmolina, county Mayo, while prosecuting one of two searches for arms and treasonable documents in the house of Mr. T. A. Macaulay in November last, seized and still retains an empty powder horn and shot bag, and a photograph; if this seizure was not illegal; and, if he will make an order to have these articles returned to the owner; if it is true that two police inquire for Mr. Macaulay every day at his house, and are ordered to report where he is, and how occupied; and, if it is true that Sub-Inspector Hamilton has, on two occasions, entered his house with a party of armed police at an unseasonable hour of the night without a warrant, and without stating his business?
I have to state that, for reasons of an urgent character, it has been deemed necessary to keep a close watch on one of the inhabitants of the house referred to, and to seize certain articles therein. I have no reason to believe that the action of the Constabulary has been in any respect illegal. With reference to this, and some other Questions that have been sometimes asked, I cannot believe that hon. Members are always aware of the motives which must actuate those who originally suggested the Questions. Between hon. Members and the persons in whose interest these Questions are asked I have no doubt there are intermediaries, and hon. Members are probably quite ignorant of the bearing of some of these Questions. But knowing what I know about several of them, including this one, I am positively appalled at finding the House of Commons used for such a purpose as that to which it is now put.
Perhaps, after the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, the House will permit me to explain that my object in asking this and other Questions is to bring under the notice of hon. Members a state of facts in Ireland which is simply a scandal to civilization. With regard to this Question and the other Questions which I may have asked—
The hon. Member is not entitled to enter into an explanation.
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this search, in reference to which the hon. Member for Westmeath has asked a Question, was made under the provisions of a section of the Prevention of Crime Act which the Government stated in the House of Commons Lord Spencer did not require, and the insertion of which in the Prevention of Crime Act was forced upon them by the Conservative Opposition?
The hon. Member is out of Order in making those statements.
I wish to ask under which section of the Prevention of Crime Act this search was made? I ask the Chief Secretary in the absence of the Attorney General for Ireland.
Inconsequence of the answer which I have received, I beg to give Notice that on an early day I will call attention to the gross inaccuracy and untruthfulness of the information supplied to this House in the answers to Irish Questions.
I will give the House a specimen of what I mean. I was asked if a photograph had been seized. You might imagine from that that it was the photograph of the man's sweetheart. It was the photograph of a man in character, representing an assassin in ambush, with a revolver in his hand.
I beg to give Notice that I will ask the Home Secretary if his attention has been called to the issue in England every week of portraits of assassins with various kinds of weapons in their hands?
Royal Irish Constabulary—Sub-Inspector Smith
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If any complaints have reached the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary with regard to the conduct of Sub-Inspector Smith, of Moville, county Donegal; and, if so, whether he has any objection to lay Copies of such Reports upon the Table of the House?
Complaints have been made against the officer named, and the Inspector General ordered a Court of Inquiry to investigate them. The inquiry has not yet been completed, and I cannot undertake to lay Copies of the Reports upon the Table of the House.
Law And Justice (Ireland)—Jury Panel—Trial Of Joseph Brady
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If one of the special jurors engaged on the trial of Joseph Brady, in April last, named Thomas Bowers, and described as "gentleman," is the same Thomas Bowers employed as messenger at the office of the Board of Works Custom House, Dublin; whether it is customary to apply the term gentleman as accurately describing the occupation of those discharging humble functions at a small salary in Irish Departmental Offices; if the services of persons in the employment of the Crown are usually taken advantage of at such trials; and, if it is proposed in future to select such persons to perform the responsible duties of jurymen at Dublin Special Commissions?
Mr. Bowers was a qualified juryman, and I must decline making any other statement about him. Quite enough mischief has come from the names of individual jurymen having been brought before the public; and I am not going to be a party to giving those names the prominence that results from discussion in the House of Commons.
May I ask if this Mr. Thomas Bowers, who was described as being a qualified juryman, was qualified by reason of the fact that he was a messenger at the Custom House? I beg to give Notice that I will ask further Questions with regard to this Mr. Thomas Bowers.
Post Office (Ireland)—The Telegraph Office, Dundalk
asked the Postmaster General, If it is a fact that the female telegraph clerks attached to the Dundalk Office are required to perform the entire of the telegraph Sunday duty of that office in addition to the limit of forty-eight hours per week, as laid down by his late revision; and, if this be so, has any compensation been allowed for this extra duty, and if not, will some now be made; is it also a fact that they are required to enter on duty as early as seven a.m. all the year round, and has not the surveyor and his senior clerk frequently surveyed the office without taking any notice of this irregularity, and what notice will be taken of their remissness; and, would the fact of the surveyor and the postmaster coming from the same district have anything to do with the ignoring of those grievances from which these females suffer?
In reply to the hon. Member, I have ascertained that the two female telegraphists employed at the Dundalk office work during the six week days the usual time of 48 hours. In addition to this, each of them works two hours on each alternate Sunday. They are entitled to extra pay to the extent of two hours a fortnight, and I have given instructions that the amount due to them shall be paid. The night work is done entirely by the male staff.
The Contagious Diseases Acts— Non-Enforcement Of Compulsoey Examination—Withdrawal Of The Police—Action Of The Government
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will delay the withdrawal of the Metropolitan Police from the districts protected under the Contagious Diseases Acts until Parliament has been enabled to decide on the Bill for the protection of young girls announced to be brought forward by the Government?
, in reply, said, he was afraid that the course suggested by the hon. Gentleman would not be consistent with the view which the Government had taken. The Government wanted to carry out strictly the recommendations of the Lords' Committee. A Bill would be introduced into the House of Lords, the effect of which, it was hoped, would be to diminish the serious evils of juvenile prostitution. That was not the direct or immediate object of the Contagious Diseases Acts, though the administration of those Acts have tended indirectly to that object.
In answer to further Questions from Sir H. DRUMMOND WOLFF and Mr. PULESTON,
said, that, in order not to terminate the operation of the Acts too abruptly, the withdrawal of some of the Inspectors would be postponed.
asked whether orders to that effect had been given?
[No reply was given.]
Turkey (Asiatic Provinces)— Governorship Of The Lebanon
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government will support the re-appointment of Rustem Pasha, who has maintained order and peace in the Lebanon during his tenure of Office?
In a Protocol, signed at Constantinople on the 8th instant, the Representatives of the Powers have agreed, on behalf of their respective Governments, to accept Wassa Effendi, who, it is believed, is eminently qualified to continue the able and successful administration of his Predecessor, Rustem Pasha, from which the Lebanon has derived so much benefit.
Is the noble Lord aware that the organs of the French Government admit that the object was to got rid of Rustem Pasha?
That is a Question, of which I should have Notice.
Post Office—The Irish Mail Service
asked the Postmaster General, What arrangements he has made for carrying on the Irish Mail Service after October 1st?
No decision has yet been arrived at with regard to the arrangements to be adopted for carrying on the Irish Mail Service after the 1st of October next. I can, however, assure the noble Lord that the importance of the subject is fully recognized.
Army—The Royal Engineers
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he has yet arrived at any decision as to the advisability of accelerating the promotion of the Subalterns in the Royal Engineers; and, if so, whether he will communicate such decision?
I must refer the hon. Member to my reply of the 5th of April; and I can only repeat that I do not contemplate adopting any exceptional measures as regards the Royal Engineers unless greater necessity should arise than now appears.
Army—Cavalry Regiments In Ireland
asked the Secretary of State for War, What regulation or custom guides Military authorities in Ireland when fixing the annual moves of Cavalry Regiments; and, in keeping the roster, whether no consideration is given to the fact that some stations are more healthy and popular with officers and men than others; and, if he will explain why the 5th Lancers have been quartered at Newbridge since March 1881, the Royal Dragoons in Dublin since May 1881, and the 21st Hussars in Dublin since September 1881?
There is no unvarying rule or custom as regards the movements of Cavalry regiments. Subject to public requirements, regiments are retained at one station for two years, more frequent moves being inconvenient to both officers and men. Consideration is given to the strength of a regiment, and whether it arrives from, or is going to, a good and popular station. The only Cavalry station in Ireland lately reported unhealthy is Dublin; and of all Irish stations this is the most in favour with the troops.
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If his attention has been called to the following paragraph in the "Daily Chronicle:"—
"Gibraltar, May 7.
"The following is a list of slaves sold during a recent week in Tangiers, and some of the prices which they realised: Three female slaves were sold on as many successive days, one for 55 dollars, equal to £11 sterling; a negro boy, aged eight years, sold for 35 dollars, equal to £7 sterling; a woman, aged twenty, sold for 54 dollars, equal to £10 16 s. All these slaves were sold in the public streets by an auctioneer, who assigned them to the highest bidder;"
and, if it is true, what steps he proposes to take to put a stop to such a condition of affairs?
The Report from Her Majesty's Minis- ter at Tangiers, to which I referred in my reply to the hon. Member for Drogheda (Mr. Whitworth) on the 17th ultimo, has now been received, and states that it is the fact that slaves are occasionally sold in Tangiers, but that the annual number does not exceed 30 or 40. The status of slavery in Morocco at the present time is said to be still as it was described at page 112 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Fugitive Slaves, which was laid before Parliament in 1876. Sir John Hay adds that he has called for Reports from Her Majesty's Consular Officers at the Western Ports, and his attention will be called to the paragraph to which the hon. Member refers.
Portugal—International Sailing Code—The "City Of Mecca"
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If the Portuguese Government has finally refused to submit to arbitration the dispute regarding the "City of Mecca" collision case, in which the Portuguese Courts had given a decision in violation of the International Sailing Code, and as to which Her Majesty's Government Despatch states that there has been a "grave miscarriage of justice;" if he is aware that that grave miscarriage of justice has caused heavy pecuniary loss to British subjects; and, what steps Her Majesty's Government are now prepared to take to compel the Portuguese Government either to arbitrate or to redress?
I am glad to have been privately informed by my hon. Friend that the course hitherto adopted by Her Majesty's Government with regard to this case meets with his full approval. They are now awaiting a reply to the Note which, by Lord Granville's direction, Her Majesty's Minister at Lisbon addressed to the Portuguese Government on the 18th ultimo, and which will be found at page 14 of the Papers recently presented to Parliament.
Mrtropolitan Improvements— Hyde Park Corner—Rebuilding Of The Wellington Arch
asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether the progress of the works at Hyde Park Corner has shown that it would be a mistake to re-erect the arch at the west end of Constitution Hill?
The rebuilding of the Wellington Arch at the new entrance to the Green Park was part of the arrangements explained to the House when the improvement of Hyde Park Corner was determined on, and I see no reason for departing from that arrangement.
In reply to Mr. GERARD NOEL,
said, he would consider the advisability of cutting a little more from the Green Park in order to relieve the traffic from Grosvenor Place to Piccadilly.
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Report of Mr. Martin and Mr. Laycock on the Victualling Accounts of Her Majesty's Ships, together with a Copy of the Admiralty Order, dated October 4th, 1882, and any other Papers relative to recent frauds and irregularities connected with the victualling of Her Majesty's Ships?
Sir, in consequence of the state of things disclosed by the proceedings of certain courts martial held last summer, the Admiralty, on the 4th of October, issued an Order directing an inquiry to be made into the system under which the books of the ships in the Home ports are kept. The inquiry was conducted by Mr. Martin and Mr. Laycock, and their Report is dated 21st February. That Report is a confidential Paper, for the information of the Board, and cannot be laid upon the Table. I may add that this important subject is still engaging our attention, with a view to an improvement of the system.
Factory Acts (Inspectors)—Mr William Paterson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If it is the fact that Mr. William Paterson has been appointed an Assistant Inspector of Factories; whether Mr. Paterson has been recently general secretary of an important association of artizans in Scotland; and, if he can state the qualifications of Mr. Paterson for the office conferred upon him?
The first two Questions of the hon. Member I have to answer in the affirmative. With reference to the last part of the hon. Member's Question, I must refer him to an answer which I gave on February 21, 1881. I then explained that I desired to introduce into the body of Factory Inspectors an element which was thought likely to prove very valuable. That element consists of persons accurately acquainted with the business which, as Inspectors, they have to superintend. I have taken considerable pains to find such persons, and no appointment has been made except upon the highest recommendation.
wished to know whether Mr. Paterson was not for many years the Secretary to the Carpenters' and Joiners' Union; and whether he could in that position have obtained any experience in factory work?
I could only act upon the recommendation of persons who knew Mr. Paterson, and he was recommended by persons who had a knowledge of him extending over many years.
gave Notice that on a future day he would ask further Questions for the purpose of eliciting from the Government their views on the subject of the appointment of trades union officials to Factory Inspectorships.
Spain—Expulsion Of Certain Cuban Refugees From Gibraltar—Colonel Maceo
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he can assure the House that the Spanish Government has carried out its promise to treat Colonel Maceo as a prisoner of war, and with the consideration due to his rank; and, if not, whether he will communicate at once by telegraph with the British Minister in Madrid to urge on the Spanish Government the necessity of carrying out immediately their promise in reference to Colonel Maceo?
Her Majesty's Minister at Madrid, in a despatch, dated May 6, has informed Her Majesty's Government that, in reply to inquiries on his part, he has received definite assurances from the Spanish Government that the treatment of Maceo is in conformity with the promises made on that subject, and alluded to by the hon. Member.
Civil Service (Re-Organization)— Promotion
asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether it is true that, under the Play fair Scheme now in operation in the Civil Service, the clerks of the Lower Division are ineligible, except under very exceptional circumstances, for promotion to the Higher Division; if it is a fact that the majority of these clerks have entered the Service with the same qualifications as the clerks who now satisfactorily discharge the duties of the Higher Division; and, if so, whether he would modify the rules which appear to preclude duly qualified persons from rising in the Public Service?
It is the fact that the Order in Council forbids promotion from the Lower to the Higher Division of the Civil Service except after 10 years' service, and on the ground of special merit; but there are a number of staff or superintending appointments throughout the Service which it is intended to fill up from the ranks of the Lower Division; and, personally, I hope to see the ranks of the Upper Division in many of the offices largely recruited hereafter from among Lower Division clerks. I am not sure what the hon. Member means by the word "qualifications" in the second paragraph of the Question. If he refers to the standard of examination, I cannot admit the accuracy of his allegation. There is no intention of disturbing the present organization of the Civil Service.
Explosive Acts—Orders In Council, April 20, 1883—Explosives
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he will state what will be the charge (if any) for the granting of certificates to keep explosives under the provisions of the Orders in Council of April 20th, 1883?
There is no authority to make any charge of this kind under the Orders in Council.
Parliament—Rules And Orders— Petitions—Parliamentary Oaths Act (1866) Amendment Bill —Proxy Signatures
asked the honourable Member for Walsall, Whether, in consequence of the last Report of the Committee on Public Petitions stating that in the Petition in favour of the Affirmation Bill, presented by Mr. Labouchere on the 23rd of April last, from a place called Suay, the Committee were of opinion that many of the names are in the same handwriting, and that the Orders of the House relating to the signatures to Petitions have not been complied with, it is the intention of the honourable Member to take any and what further steps in the matter?
Perhaps the hon. Baronet will also be able to state whether it is a fact that one person may sign Petitions for others with their consent; and, whether he has any reason to suppose that these inhabitants of Suay did not give their consent to the persons who, it appears, signed more than once?
, in reply, said, that the Petition referred to in the Question was a very small one. It had only 87 names appended to it. Of that number some 17 or 18 were undoubtedly in the handwriting of the same person. No doubt, this was an infraction of the Rules of the House, which the Committee, in accordance with their usual practice, noticed in their Report, and the names were not counted among the signatures. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Northampton, in accordance with the Standing Orders, if a person signed for others the fact ought to be notified at the bottom of the sheet. He was not instructed by the Committee to whom Petitions were referred to take any action in the matter to which the attention of the House had been drawn, and therefore it was not his intention to take action.
Parliament—Public Business— Ministerial Statement
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, having regard to the pledges given by the Government, to the state of Public Business, and to the fact that three months of the Session have already elapsed, he will give an assurance to the House, and to the Country, that the present Sitting of Parliament will be continued until the measures named in the Speech from the Throne shall have been considered and disposed of by this House?
Might I be permitted also to ask the Prime Minister whether, with a view to expedite Government Business in general, and the progress of the Grand Committee on Law in particular, he will instruct the Attorney General not to delay the progress of the Committee by talking against time, for the purpose of preventing the Committee from arriving at a decision; and if he will also use his influence with the hon. Members for Stockton (Mr. Dodds) and Stockport (Mr. Hopwood) to the same effect.
I will leave it to my hon. and learned Friend to answer for himself what the noble Lord has now alleged; and, for my own part, I distinctly decline to give any instructions, oven if I were entitled or qualified to give instructions, to my hon. and learned Friend with regard to any portion of his Parliamentary conduct, because I know no man who needs them less. I am hardly in a position to answer the general question of my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich, inasmuch as I have said that for three, if not four, nights after the Recess we must proceed with Business in Supply, and until we have disposed of some of those nights it is not intended to refer to any of the important measures of the Session. When we reach that point of time I will endeavour to give such information as I can.
gave Notice that he should repeat the Question on a future day.
If I did not take any notice of the Question it might be supposed that there was some foundation for it. I must appeal to any Member of the Committee, except the noble Lord, as to whether there is any foundation for that statement? The noble Lord introduced an Amendment of the gravest importance in the Committee, and I felt that we ought not to arrive at any hasty conclusion. I therefore took upon myself the whole burden of bringing that important Amendment before the Committee; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) asked me personally to put down my views in the form of a Proviso, so that they might be considered before the next meeting. I did not ask any Member of the Committee to speak against time, and the Committee acquiesced in the course which I took.
As the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to me, perhaps I may say that I do not think that the noble Lord intended to imply that the hon. and learned Gentleman himself spoke against time. But as he has appealed to me to say whether there was any delay of that kind in the proceedings, I am bound to say that if the action of the hon. Members for Stockton and Stockport did not amount to talking against time, I have never seen anything that did.
rose to speak, but—
ruled that the observations which had been made with regard to the proceedings of a Committee of the House had been, from the very commencement, altogether irrelevant and irregular.
Law And Justice (Ireland)—Execution Of Myles Joyce, Convicted Of Murder
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to the facts connected with the execution of Myles Joyce, in Galway Gaol, on the 5th December; whether he has read the declaration made, in reference to this man, by Patrick Joyce and Patrick Casey, who were executed on the same day; whether there is any foundation for the belief that the man was unjustly executed; and, if so, whether he will cause a provision to be made for this man's wife and famliy?
In reply to this Question, my attention has been called to the incident mentioned in the first part of it. But with regard to the question whether there is any foundation for the belief that the man Myles Joyce was unjustly executed, I must say that I distinctly decline to enter, in an answer to any Question, into the discussion of any matter relating to the execution of the capital sentence. It is for the hon. Member to consider whether he will make any charge against the Govern- ment in that respect. I do not part, however, from the subject without stating what is only due, I think, to my noble Friend the Viceroy of Ireland—that, in common with all my Colleagues, I repose the most entire confidence in the judgment, the care, and the humanity with which he endeavours to exercise one of the most delicate and important duties of his high Office.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will afford me an opportunity of raising this question, and I promise him that if he does, I will convince the House—or at least a large portion of it—that not alone has Myles Joyce been unjustly executed, but that certain others have been also unjustly executed in Ireland?
South Africa—The Transvaal Convention
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, What steps are being taken to secure the future observance of the Convention in the Transvaal; and, whether he can state if any arrangements have yet been made in the interests of any Chiefs or others who may have just claims upon the Home Government?
The mode of procedure with regard to any actual or supposed infraction of the Convention with the Transvaal is by a remonstrance, conveyed through the Resident; and from time to time a correspondence of that character has taken place upon what appears to us to be a neglect of duty on the part of the Transvaal Government. The first part of the Question of the right hon. Gentleman is general, and does not suggest any further answer. With regard to the latter part of the Question, I can only repeat what I said the other day, in reply to the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), to the effect that no facts have yet been laid before us in such a form or of such a nature as to afford any plan for arrangement.
asked whether any further remonstrances or despatches had been addressed through the Resident of the Transvaal on the subject of any infraction of the Convention since the last issue of Papers; and whether they would be laid before the House?
said, that a further Correspondence was in progress; but he could not give any answer to the right hon. Gentleman's last Question until the Government had had an opportunity of communicating with Sir Hercules Robinson, whose arrival in this country was expected almost immediately.
said, he would repeat the Question after Whitsuntide.
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would undertake not to submit the Vote for the Resident's salary before the question of presenting the Correspondence had been decided?
said, that care would be taken not to bring on the Vote until all information had been given to the House that would enable it to be properly discussed.
The Viceroy Of India—Criminal Code (Procedure) Amendment Bill
having given Notice of the following Question—To ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, in view of the widespread agitation in India caused by the proposed alteration in the Criminal Law, and of the fact that the Viceroy is constantly slighted in public, Her Majesty's Government will recall Lord Ripon from India?
said: I received just now a Notice from the hon. Member for Eye politely informing me that it was not his intention to put his Question; but, Sir, this Question has appeared on the Notice Paper, and, therefore, I cannot entirely avoid a reference to it, because it conveys a statement that the noble Marquess the Viceroy of India is constantly slighted in public. It mentions this as a fact. What may be the information of the hon. Gentleman I do not know; but no information of that kind, or tending in that direction, has reached Her Majesty's Government, and they deem it to be in the highest degree improbable. With respect to the Question whether the Government intend to advise the recall of the Marquess of Ripon from India, all I can say is that I wish that we or any future Government may, for the benefit of India, at all times when a vacancy in the Viceroyalty occurs, be able to secure for that post the services of a person so admirably qualified as the Marquess of Ripon for the discharge of every duty connected with it.
subsequently said, he would take an early opportunity of proving in that House the correctness of every statement contained in his Question.
Trade And Commerce—The Sugar Duties
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether Her Majesty's Government have been in communication with the German Government upon the subject of the large bounties now given upon the export of sugar from Germany; and, if so, what is likely to be the result; and, whether, considering that the French sugar growers are pressing their Government (in consequence of the large export from Germany under bounty) to raise the surtax upon all sugar imported into Prance to a rate that will be prohibitory to British as well as to German sugar, Her Majesty's Government will now carry out the recommendation of the Select Committee on Sugar Industries, and obtain a Conference of the Powers interested, or take other steps to bring about a settlement of the question?
Her Majesty's Government have been in communication with the British Ambassador at Berlin, and have unofficially communicated to the German authorities the representations of the West India Committee with regard to the German sugar bounties. Her Majesty's Ambassador is of opinion that a proposal for a Conference would not be entertained. I would remind the hon. Member that in 1881 inquiries were made of the Governments of France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Austria as to whether they would agree to take part in an International Conference for the removal of bounties on the export of sugar; that the German and Dutch Governments then declined to participate in such a Conference, and that the French Government would only accept the suggestion conditionally. As regards the pressure which the hon. Member states the French sugar growers are bringing to bear upon the French Government to induce them to raise the surtax upon all sugar imported, I have no information which would lead me to suppose that such an agitation is likely to be successful.
National School Teachers (Ireland)—Grants To Training Colleges
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, What changes the Government had made with regard to the training of teachers in Ireland?
replied, that if the hon. Member asked this Question in consequence of letters he had received from Scotland—and he (Mr. Trevelyan) had received similar letters from Scotland—he could not help thinking that some people in that country were under a grave misconception as to what the Government had done. The action of the Government consisted simply in extending to Ireland the system of grants to Training Colleges which at present is in force in England and in Scotland. They thought the whole of the United Kingdom should be on the same footing in this respect. There was no intention of interfering with the Marlborough Street College, which, in the opinion of the Government and people who understood education, was doing very good work indeed.
asked whether a Supplementary Estimate would be laid before the House to meet the proposed changes, as no provision was made for them in the Estimates now before the House?
said, he was unwilling to answer a financial question of this kind; but he was inclined to think that sufficient money for this year would be found out of the existing Estimates. If there was any feeling in the House as to the step that had been taken, the Government would introduce a Supplementary Estimate, if only for the purpose of enabling the House to express an opinion upon it.
Prevention Of Crime (Ireland) Act, 1882—Section 16—Secret Examinations
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, in the secret inquiries which have been held or are being held under the provisions of the sixteenth section of the Crimes Act, witnesses are examined only concerning the offence named in the summons, or whether the questions range over a much wider field, in some cases extending to occurrences which happened several years ago; whether Mr. John O'Connor has been twice summoned before Mr. Home at Cork to give evidence in the inquiry proceeding into an alleged conspiracy there to murder public officials and to damage and destroy public buildings; whether Mr. O'Connor has offered to answer any question put to him with reference to such alleged conspiracy, but was informed that he would be compelled to answer every question on any subject put to him by the magistrate, and has consequently refused to be sworn and been committed to prison; whether he can inform the House if any guarantee exists that the magistrates entrusted with these secret inquiries do not take advantage of their secrecy to exceed the powers conferred upon them by the Statute; and what way is open for a person who considers he has been unjustly committed for contempt of court, under the provisions of the sixteenth section, to challenge the action of the magistrate committing him; whether any guarantee exists against the falsification, intentional or otherwise, by the officials employed for the purpose of taking down evidence at these inquiries of the evidence so taken down; and, whether, for the protection of witnesses at these inquiries, the Irish Government will consider the desirability of permitting to a witness the presence of his legal adviser during his secret examination?
In reply to the Question of the hon. Member, I have to state that I have no reason to believe that at the inquiries held under the 16th section of the Prevention of Crime Act witnesses have been examined as to other matters than the offences named in the summons. Some of these offences—such as the murder conspiracies in Dublin and else where—were of a character necessarily involving a large field of inquiry; but in these, as in other cases, the questions put were relevant to the matters inquired into. As regards the case of Mr. O'Connor, I find that he demanded, as a preliminary to being sworn, that an undertaking should be given to him as to the line of examination to be pursued. He was not entitled to such an undertaking, and, having refused to be sworn, was committed to prison ac- cordingly. As regards the guarantee referred to by the hon. Member, I can only repeat that the character and integrity of the responsible magistrates appointed to conduct these inquiries will prove a sufficient guarantee for the upright discharge of their duties. If a witness be unjustly committed he can challenge the action of the committing magistrate in the High Court of Justice. As regards the concluding paragraph of this Question, I have to point out that the main object of the inquiries instituted under the Act has been to break up murder societies. For this purpose, it is essential to examine persons believed to belong to those societies. In the case of the Dublin "Invincibles," it was the examination of the man Farrell which originally led to the discovery and bringing to justice of the assassins of Mr. Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish. If at that inquiry a legal adviser appointed for Farrell—as would most probably have been done by his confederates—had been present, he would never have spoken out, or, if he had spoken out, he would have been murdered within 24 hours, just as Bailey was murdered in Skipper's Alley, Dublin, in an earlier part of the year. Bearing these matters in mind, I do not intend to propose any alteration in the existing law.
I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman, arising out of his reply to my Question, whether, in the first place, the guarantee that Mr. John O'Connor demanded previous to his examination was that questions should be confined to the offence named in the summons, and whether that was the guarantee refused by the examining magistrate; and, in the second place, whether the evidence upon which the "Invincibles" were discovered was not evidence voluntarily tendered by the man Farrell to a policeman in the street, who subsequently brought him before Superintendent Mallon, at Dublin Castle; whether Farrell, in examination at the secret inquiry, did not positively deny all knowledge of the conspiracy in question; and whether, subsequently, on the Phoenix Park trials, he did not declare that he committed perjury at those private examinations in order to save himself and his friends?
said, that Mr. O'Connor's stipulation was very much, if not exactly, that mentioned by the hon. Member. Considering, however, the fact of the immense number of witnesses that had to be called to throw light upon the enormous mass of undetected crime, it was quite impossible to make any difference between witnesses, who ought, as good citizens, to come forward to give evidence. If Mr. O'Connor had been allowed to make that stipulation, other witnesses must have been permitted to do the same; and magistrates could not be bound in that manner. He could not answer the Question about Farrell without Notice, and he doubted, from their nature, if he would answer them at all.
I wish to say that I put the Question about Farrell because I was challenged about him in the answer of the right hon. Gentleman; and when ha challenged me on the subject I naturally concluded that he knew all about the man of whom he was speaking.
said, that he had inquired very carefully into the bearings of Farrell's evidence with reference to the Dublin murder convictions, and he had likewise inquired very carefully into the connection between the other evidence and the secret inquiry, and he was quite satisfied that without the secret inquiry they would never have had Farrell's evidence or the convictions.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman—
called on Mr. O'Shaughnessy.
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether Mr. O'Connor—[Cries of "Order, order!"]
Inland Navigation (Ireland)— The Upper Shannon
asked the Secretary to the Treasury, What decision had been come to upon the question of the tolls on the Upper Shannon, of which he had given private Notice?
After much consideration we have come to the conclusion that it is best, on the whole, not to attempt to increase these tolls pending further legislative action with respect to the navigation. The tariff will, therefore, be restored to the point at which it stood prior to 1882.
Parliament—Business Of The House
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he would undertake that the National Debt Bill should be put down as a first Order of the Day?
said, that he could give no such undertaking. He hoped to proceed with the Bill after the Recess.
asked if the Bill would be delivered to Members before the rising for the Whitsuntide Recess, or whether it would be accompanied with a Financial Statement, which was indispensable in connection with the Bill?
replied, that the second reading of the Bill would not be taken until after the Whitsuntide Recess, and before it was read a second time the information asked by his right hon. Friend should be given.
inquired the order of Business for the night? He wished to call special attention to the circumstance that it was understood to be the intention of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to bring in that night the Bill which he presumed was the same as that mentioned in the Queen's Speech for amending the Agricultural Holdings Act. No Notice had, however, been given for allowing the Bill to be taken out of its order, and it only stood fourth among the Notices of Motion. Therefore he presumed that the intention must have been abandoned. He should be glad to know what were the intentions of the Government with regard to the Business generally, and especially with regard to the Agricultural Holdings Bill?
said, that it was proposed not to keep the House till an extreme hour in Supply that night, and then to take the questions that would be raised on the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster would ask leave to introduce the Bill relating to agricultural holdings at whatever time of the night his Motion might be reached. ["Oh, oh!"] It was very desirable that he should make a statement to the House. In the view of Her Majesty's Govern- ment it was for the interest of all concerned that the Bill should be in the hands of Members as soon as possible.
In reply to Mr. RITCHIE,
said, that most undoubtedly the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill would be taken that night. It would be brought on before 12, and as soon after 11 as possible.
observed, that the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill contained provisions to which personally he had great objection. He could not help feeling that there would be a great deal of discussion upon it; and he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman as to whether it was reasonable that such a discussion should be brought on after 11 or 12?
Agricultural Holdings (England) Bill
I rise to a point of order. I wish to know from you, Sir, whether I should be in Order in moving that the Orders of the Day be postponed until after the Notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson) in reference to the Agricultural Holdings (England) Bill?
Motions in reference to the order of Business are taken at this hour only when they are made by a Minister of the Crown.
We shall make an effort to close Supply between 11 and half-past 11.
said, he would appeal to the Prime Minister, and ask him whether it was fair to Members who had been sitting on a Grand Committee since 12 o'clock that, after taking Supply and the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill, they should be asked to wait for this Bill, which was one of the gravest importance? Was it right, also, that it should be laid on the Table without remark?
said, he wished to support the appeal.
wished to point out to the House the position in which the Government was placed. They were desirous of making every effort to forward Supply, and the Customs and Inland Revanue Bill had already been postponed for various reasons for some time, and it was necessary for the Public Service that it should now be brought forward. In deference to what had been said by the right hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith), they would endeavour to break off Supply somewhat earlier than he originally stated. With regard to the Agricultural Holdings Bill, the Government had every desire to take it earlier, and if there were co-operation on the part of the House it might be done. The statement of his right hon. Friend on the Bill would not be lengthy, and would, if possible, be made at an hour to suit the convenience of Members. Of course, there was no absolute guarantee as to the hour, because the Notices of other Members intervened. He might be asked why, under those circumstances, he did not move the postponement of the Orders of the Day, and his reason was that, although such Motions were extremely convenient to the House at a time when they were passed by the general consent of the House, and without discussion, that would interfere with the Business of the day. Of late the practice had sprung up of debating those Motions, and therefore he could not run the risk of such an interference with the regular Business of the House.
asked what would be the Business taken at the Morning Sitting on Friday?
said, that the Motion for the Adjournment of the House would take precedence, and after that they intended to proceed with Supply.
Inland Revenue—Cultivation Of Tobacco
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he would cause inquiry to be made during the Recess into the practicability of protecting the Revenue, and, at the same time, repealing the 3rd chapter of 1 & 2 Will. IV., which prohibits the growth of tobacco in Ireland?
I have already stated that the whole subject of the home growth of tobacco is one which I shall have to consider, not only in reference to Ireland, but to the whole United Kingdom. The matter will receive my best attention.
Orders Of The Day
Supply—Civil Service Estimates
SUPPLY— considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Class I—Public Works And Buildings
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £28,220, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for the Buildings of the Houses of Parliament."
said, there was one matter in connection with this Vote to which he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works. He wished to point out to that right hon. Gentleman the smallness of the accommodation provided in the House as compared with the requirements of modern times, in so far as the accommodation for the general body of Members was concerned. With regard to Ministers a great improvement had been made. His experience of Parliament extended over a great many years, and he had not been displeased to see that in recent times, and particularly since the present Government came into Office, greater facilities for carrying on their work had been provided for the several Members of the Administration. he believed there was scarcely a Member of the Government who had not a suitable apartment at his disposal. As far as private Members were concerned they were without any accommodation of the kind to which he referred, with the exception of what was called the Conference Room. That, he ventured to say, was one of the most uncomfortable apartments in the whole House. In Bummer it was insufferably hot; in the colder months of the Parliamentary year—that was to say, in the first two months of the normal Session—it was cold and dirty, and, moreover, the chimnies were Bill-constructed that it was only necessary to light a fire in the grate in order to till the room with dense smoke. Only as lately as the day preceding that on which he was speaking that had occurred. He really thought it was time that something should be done in regard to this matter, and suggested that if no other course was open in order to give further accommodation to private Members, the Committee Room now appropriated to public Petitions might be placed at their disposal. The smoking accommodation was also another point of no inconsiderable importance. The right hon. Gentleman promised last year to give greater facilities to Members who wished to smoke, and he had done so to some extent; but the facilities in this direction were not what they ought to be. When the late Mr. Adam was First Commissioner of Works, it was suggested to him—and the suggestion came from a considerable number of Members—that the interior square in St. Stephen's Cloisters should be covered over with glass, so as to afford a sheltered promenade for Members who wished to enjoy a cigar or a pipe. Mr. Adam promised that inquiries should be made, in order to ascertain the cost of making the necessary structural alterations; but, as far as he knew, nothing had been done, or, at any rate, decided upon. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman who succeeded Mr. Adam, and now filled the Office of First Commissioner of Works, had had the subject under his consideration, and had stated either publicly or privately—he did not know which—that the estimated cost of making the alterations was so excessive that he did not think the Treasury would assent to it. As far as he was personally concerned, he did not think the cost would be so large as that it could be reasonably objected to. Leaving this point, and passing to another, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he remembered that last year he (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) applauded his resolution to hang three valuable pictures belonging to the nation in the new Smoking Room? Among these was one of the best works that had been produced in this country in modern times—he alluded to the picture illustrating a passage in the life of King Alfred, which was painted by Mr. Watts, R.A. Last year he called attention to the neglected condition of these pictures; and he now regretted to find that nothing had been done towards placing the pictures in a proper condition. They only required washing and varnishing, and all that was neces- sary could be done at a comparatively small cost. If the right hon. Gentleman had no official in his own Department who was equal to the task, there could be no doubt that he would have no difficulty in securing the services of some one of the officials in the National Gallery, who would do all that was necessary. Whether the pictures were or were not fine examples of Art was a matter of taste; but in any case it could not be denied that they had been left in a sadly neglected condition.
said, in the progress of the Questions that afternoon the right hon. Gentleman had been asked what he intended to do with regard to the exterior of Westminster Hall. He had noticed that a portion of the house occupied by the Deputy Sergeant at Arms, which was part of the buildings intended to be taken away, still remained. It was very difficult to form an estimate of what would be the effect of any changes made as long as that portion to which he referred remained standing. He quite admitted that, for many reasons, the Deputy Sergeant at Arms should reside within the precincts of the Palace; but he should imagine that there would be some mode of providing him with rooms without allowing the building to which he referred to stand. That, of course, would involve some expenditure; but he did not think the House would begrudge it, in view of the fact that, as the buildings now stood, it was not possible to form a fair and accurate idea of what would be the effect of any alterations that might be made. There was another point to which he wished to refer, and concerning which some hon. Members might be surprised that he was going to suggest a little extra expenditure. The amount would not be more than about £50; but he thought it would lead to an increase, perhaps to a doubling, of the working power of the Session. When hon. Members got up in their places, and said they were only going to detain the House for a few minutes, he always trembled; because he almost invariably found they wore so carried away by their own eloquence that they did not perceive the lapse of time, and their few minutes sometimes spun themselves out to half-an-hour or an hour. That was because they did not look at the clock, which was behind them, when they were addressing the Chair; and he would, therefore, suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should cause a clock to be placed at the Speaker's end of the House, in order that hon. Members might see how the time was going, in which case he believed the speeches would be reduced in length by an average of one-half. Hon. Members would be ashamed of themselves when they saw how the time was going, and would put a curb on their eloquence. It had, therefore, occurred to him that much good would be done by a small but useful increase in the expenditure of public money.
said, his right hon. and learned Friend who opened the debate had suggested a large and somewhat vague expenditure for the additional comfort of Members. He hoped the Committee would be slow to sanction such expenditure. Now that they were all anxious, as far as possible, to promote economy; now that the Estimates were criticized with great care, and that a considerable amount of criticism had been passed upon the amount of money spent even upon the maintenance of Royal Palaces, it certainly would not become them to incur a serious expenditure for no other purpose than that of securing their own comfort. He was not sure that promoting their comfort would materially increase their efficiency. The more comfortable they made the Smoking and other Rooms for the accommodation of Members the smaller would be the attendance in the House itself of Members who listened to arguments concerning measures under discussion before voting upon them. And so they would help to perpetuate that great scandal which had been so often commented on, of Gentlemen coming in to vote upon a question respecting which they had heard nothing. He hoped the ardour for economy which all Parties professed would prevent the expenditure of money for the making of more comfortable Smoking and other Rooms, in which Members might engage in more pleasant but not equally profitable occupations than that of listening to the debates within the House.
said, he was bound to admit, with regard to the Conference Room, that his attention had been called to it more than once. Everything had been done to cure the defects which were complained of; but there seemed to be some radical defect in the chimnies and flues, which defied all attempts at cure. With regard to what could be done to increase the accommodation for Members in other parts of the building, he had, since he had had the honour of filling the position of First Commissioner of Works, been able to do something. He had provided an additional Smoking Room, and he had contemplated providing another Tea Room; but further demands of a more pressing character came upon him, and the room which he intended to utilize for thi8 purpose had to be taken for another. He had been enabled to do much of what he had accomplished by reason of the liberalty of the House of Lords; and while the necessary works were being carried forward he had considered the possibility of covering over the interior square in St. Stephen's Cloisters; but he found that to do that would cost not less than £5,000, and, at the same time, the surveyor of the House did not at all recommend the operation as a mere matter of construction. There were very weighty reasons against it in that point of view, and also on account of the difficulty of ventilating that part of the House. Unfortunately, therefore, he could not hold out any prospect of the Treasury entertaining a proposal to cover the interior yard at the cost which he had mentioned, and in face of the structural difficulties to which he had alluded. Whether it would be possible hereafter to increase the accommodation for Members he could not at present say; but no doubt the shape which such increased accommodation would take would be a limiting of the number of private residences under the roof of the Palace. In that case, he thought the limitation would apply to the residences now occupied by officials employed in the other House of Parliament, whose duties were not nearly so laborious or onerous as those of officials employed in the House of Commons. Whether they would have the sanction of the House of Lords in so obtaining extra accommodation he did not know; but, at all events, that seemed to him to be the direction in which they must look for the purpose. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) had alluded to a part of the block of buildings which re- mained standing after the removal of the old Law Courts. That was at present a source of difficulty to his Department. The house of the Deputy Serjeant at Arms extended out into that block of buildings to the extent of two or three of his rooms, without which his residence would be comparatively useless. It would be, no doubt, necessary to pull the block down; but he was unwilling to disturb the Deputy Serjeant, at all events until after the end of the present Session, and he hoped before then to be able to make some accommodation of the matter. If the Deputy Serjeant was to remain resident under the roof of the Palace, and it should be necessary to remodel his house for the purpose of obtaining further accommodation, this would be a rather costly operation. It would involve an expenditure of some £2,000 or £3,000, and it would, moreover, be an exceedingly difficult operation to remodel the interior of the house. Whether that might be the better mode of dealing with the question, or whether it might not be found advisable to give to the Deputy Serjeant an allowance wherewith to provide himself with a residence elsewhere, was a question which had not yet been determined; but before the end of the Session he would fully consider it. In the meantime, he did not think the House would wish that its official should be deprived of his residence. His hon. Friend had also made a suggestion that an additional clock should be placed in the House, in order that Members might, without turning their backs upon Mr. Speaker, note the passing of time, and the length at which they had been occupying the time of the House. His hon. Friend must be aware of the fact that not infrequently Members looked at the clock with a view not of limiting but of continuing their speeches; and he did not think that, on the whole, anything would be gained by adding a second clock to the furniture of the House. As far as the pictures in the Smoking Room were concerned, he had done last year all that he then thought necessary.
wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works a question in regard to Westminster Hall. He understood that, the whole question of the western front had been committed to an eminent architect; and what he wanted to know was, whether the northern front had also been placed under the supervision of the same gentleman? A considerable expense seemed lately to Lave been incurred in repairing the architectural or ornamental work outside, mainly, he supposed, because the stone was in a rotten state; but that had no reference to the two Towers, which had been allowed to remain standing, and which were most inconsistent, in an architectural point of view, with the rest of the building.
said, he had not entered upon the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman with the architect; but he thought it probable that lie should take that gentleman's advice upon the question and submit it again to the House. At present, he only asked for money for the restoration of the west front of the Hall. The total cost of this was estimated at about £6,000; and in the present year he asked for a third of that sum, as the works at present undertaken were of a tentative character.
said, he presumed the greatest care would be taken, in removing the foundations, to see what buildings had existed on the site in former times. This was the more important, because no one had the smallest idea as to the character of the ancient foundations.
said, as far as he knew of the buildings comprising the Palace of Westminster, the two Towers to which his right hon. Friend (Sir E. Assheton Cross) had referred were built in the year 1822 from the designs of an architect of evanescent fame. He would suggest that it would be well to suspend the work of reparation at the north end, and leave the whole business in the hands of the distinguished architect who now had charge of the restoration of the western front.
suggested the advisability of giving a speaking communication by telephone or speaking-tube from the Lobby of the House to the Attendants' Room adjoining the Ladies' Gallery.
, while agreeing that it was necessary to clear away the whole block of buildings, of which the old Law Courts formed by far the largest part, hoped that satisfactory arrangements would be made for the accommodation of the Deputy Sergeant at Arms. He desired to direct the attention of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) to the charge for the maintenance of buildings. He found that, including the £2,500 for external repairs to stone work, they were paying no less than upwards of £10,000 a-year. It struck him that was a very large sum for the purpose. Allowing for the £2,500, which he presumed was expended in consequence of the stone work giving way, then he should have thought there was sufficient left out of which the ingenuity and ability of his right hon. Friend would have enabled him to provide the necessary convenience for the Deputy Sergeant at Arms. Under the Sub-head C he intended to move a reduction, and he should do so in conformity with a principle which had been already recognized in Committee. The Sub-head C provided for the maintenance of the approaches to the House, and of the Gardens in the immediate neighbourhood of the House. The maintenance and repair of Abingdon Street, St. Margaret Street, Old and New Palace Yards, Parliament Square Gardens, St. Margaret Square Gardens, and Victoria Tower Gardens, was put down at £870; and he wished to point out to the Committee that the greatest part of this expenditure was of a character which ought to be borne by the parochial authorities. It so happened that a portion of the space which was covered by the Vote—the Victoria Tower Gardens—was formerly covered by a low description of buildings, and was purchased by the Government some years ago, in order that there might be for the Houses of Parliament greater protection from fire. Viscount Sherbrooke, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, proposed to erect on this plot of ground a very extensive series of public buildings; and he (Mr. Rylands) raised an objection to the Vote, on the ground that the Government had only put down a sum on account—he believed £10,000, or £20,000—and did not state what was the entire sum they contemplated expending upon the buildings. The result was the Government had to give way, the idea of erecting the buildings was abandoned, and a very large and useless expenditure was prevented. When the right hon. Gentlemen opposite came into power it occurred to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) that he could secure a great boon for the inhabitants of Westminister. The right hon. Gentleman proposed that the plot of land in question should be left as an open free space for the benefit and advantage of the people of Westminster, and said he would give £1,000 towards the expense of the suggested conversion. He (Mr. Rylands) had the best authority for saying that if the Government, instead of making this plot of land into an open space and devoting it to the purposes of the people of Westminster, had thought it right to sell the land, they could have got as much as £70,000 for it. He had no wish to complain of what the late Government did; he did not desire to raise any objection to the course which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster thought it right and proper to pursue; but what he did contend was that, practically, the people of the Kingdom had made a present to the inhabitants of Westminster of property of the value of £70,000. If any locality or Corporation in the country had wished to possess itself of a similar plot of land for the purpose of a garden or park, they would have been obliged to lay a rate upon the property of the ratepayers of the borough in order to raise the necessary funds. Certainly, the argument was a very strong one, indeed, that the ratepayers of Westminister ought to pay their fair share, at all events, of the maintainance of the open spaces which were intended for their special benefit. Old Palace Yard might be said to be of special service to Members of Parliament; that it ought to be maintained at the national expense; but clearly, in the case of Abingdon Street and St. Margaret Street, Parliament ought not to be called upon to pay anything. Those streets ought to be kept up by the local authorities; and therefore he objected to their becoming a charge upon the general taxpayer. The last item was a most singular one, and he hoped his right hon. Friend would afford the Committee some information respecting it. The item was—"Horticultural works for ditto, £550," and if they looked at the Estimate they saw immediately above the word "ditto," the words "lamps and supply of gas." He did not understand what the "horticultural works for ditto" were. They could not belong to any of the streets; and, therefore, he supposed they were connected with the Victoria Tower Gardens. Now, the item of £550 for horticultural works actually included the pay and emoluments of a constable. It was a most extraordinary thing to include the pay of a constable in horticultural works. It appeared the Vote altogether was one that ought to be recast. He considered more money was spent than there ought to be; and, therefore, he should move to reduce the Sub-head by £500.
said, he would not do that. He did not wish to run the thing too close, and he considered that Palace Yard must be kept up for the convenience of Members.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £27,720, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for the Buildings of the Houses of Parliament."—(Mr. Rylands.)
said, it would be wise to consider the advisability of facing the exposed part of Westminster Hall with Portland stone, instead of with the freestone from the West of England. He hoped the work would not be delayed until, as it was suggested, some suitable architect could be found who understood the work. Any ordinary intelligent stone mason—
I must remind the hon. Member that a proposition has been made to reduce the Vote by £500 in respect to Sub-head C, which relates to the maintenance of the approaches to the House, and Gardens. The hon. Member is discussing a former question.
asked if he was to understand that the subject could not be further discussed?
The hon. Gentleman will be able to refer to it later.
wished to say a word or two in answer to the observations made by the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands). The Committee should not lose sight of one thing, and that was of the almost paramount necessity there was of retaining in their own hands the approaches to the Houses of Parliament. The amount that was put down for horticultural works he supposed related to the bedding-out which took place in Parliament Square Gardens, and in New Palace Yard, in the immediate precincts of the House. Parliament Square Gardens formed, he imagined, that portion of the ground in front of the Houses of Parliament on which the statues were erected. His hon. Friend had evidently lost sight of the advantage it was to them to retain in their hands the maintenance of the order and beauty of this particular piece of ground. That remark would apply also to the Victoria Tower Gardens. Now the space was laid out as a garden, he (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) hoped it would not meet the views of the Committee that they should be handed over to a body which changed from day to day. He trusted the hon. Gentleman would not press his Amendment.
said, he entirely agreed with what the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) had said with respect to the maintenance of the streets. The subject had not escaped the attention of the Government, and it was one of the matters they proposed to deal with whenever the Bill respecting London Municipal Government was brought in. It was, however, very undesirable that the Government should give up the custody and care of the open spaces in the precincts of the House.
could not support his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) in the Motion he had made. It was only on Tuesday last they had a very long debate, at the time of Private Business, on the desirability of preserving open spaces, and a very large minority of the House opposed a Bill which was to do away with an open space. This seemed to be a similar case. The hon. Member for Burnley advocated building on the space he referred to; he told them they might have saved £70,000 by doing so. It was very important, on many grounds, that open spaces should be maintained. He could not agree with the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour), when he said they ought to deny themselves comforts. Hon. Members of the House gave up a great deal of time in the performance of their public duties, and the public ought not to begrudge them any of the conveniences they required.
said, he had no wish to prolong the discussion; but he considered some further explanation was required. In the first place, there was the item of £870 for the maintenance and repair of the streets and gardens, and then there was the mysterious sum of £550, which was said to be for horticultural works. The latter item had not yet been explained. If it was for bedding-out, what was meant by the Vote for the maintenance of the Gardens? And, besides, a charge of £83 for a constable appeared to be mixed up with the cost of geraniums and other bedding-out plants. The Vote appeared excessive, and, at any rate, should be more clearly explained.
said, there appeared to be a little misapprehension with regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands). The hon. Gentleman the Member for the City (Mr. R. N. Fowler) said the hon. Gentleman wished to abolish the open spaces around the Houses of Parliament; but it did not appear to him (Mr. Biggar) that that was the object of the Motion. He imagined that the object of the hon. Member for Burnley was to secure that the cost of repairing the streets in question should be defrayed by the proper authorities—namely, the parochial authorities of Westminster. Such an object was perfectly legitimate and reasonable. He was clearly of opinion that the ratepayers of Westminster should pay for the repair of the streets in their parish; and he did not see that the contention of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works was of any value. He did not think there was any occasion to defer the settlement of the question until the London Municipal Reform Bill was brought in. That Bill might not be introduced for 10 years; and yet, in the meantime, the Committee would have to vote a sum annually towards defraying a charge which properly belonged to the locality. The Government ought to submit to the reduction which had been proposed, and allow the custody of the streets in question to pass into the hands of the proper authorities.
quite agreed with the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Rylands) in the remarks he had made in favour of a reduction of the Vote. At the same time, they had received some sort of assurance from the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, that the subject would form part of the new Municipal Bill for London, which, no doubt, would be brought in some time this Session. Under the circumstances, it would, perhaps, be well to rest satisfied with the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman.
asked leave to withdraw his Motion.
objected to the withdrawal of the Motion. Even admitting that a constable was a horticultural growth of a rare order, there were items in the Vote which required explanation; £870 was set down for the maintenance of the approaches and Gardens. Of course, some hundreds of that must go to the Gardens. In addition, there was £550 directly charged for horticultural works for ditto. Considering the limited extent of the garden space, and the limited amount of horticultural display that was ever perceptible, he would like to know would any private gentleman be able to expend £800 a-year upon a similar amount of garden space for a similar amount of horticultural return? It seemed to him they ought to get some explanation, or otherwise the country would be justified in considering that it was being charged at least twice as much as any private person would be charged for the same return. He certainly would not push his opposition to a division if he could get anything at all like an estimate of what were the works for which they were asked to pay so highly.
said, the £870 went towards the repair of the roads, repairing the railings, and so forth. The actual gardens were provided for out of the £550.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question again proposed.
asked who was the responsible architect in the case of alterations and improvements of the Parliament buildings?
observed, that under Sub-head E there was a charge of £2,500 for police. The charge was a large one, although he did not suppose too large. All he desired to ask was, why the charge was placed on the taxes, and not on the rates? He had the authority of the Home Secre- tary for saying that the protection of persons and buildings all over the country was absolutely, by law, laid on the rates. Why the inhabitants of London should be exempted from such a charge he could not understand. When any public servants went into the country they were protected out of the rates. Why were they not protected out of the rates when in Westminster?
said, he wished to ask a question with regard to the electric light in the Library and Dining and Smoking Rooms of the House. No doubt, the lighting of rooms in the Houses of Parliament was very valuable to the Lighting Company, because it was a splendid advertisement. He understood that it was the Edison Company who were lighting these rooms; but, without wishing to throw any discredit upon that Company, he must say that the lighting was not at present extremely well done. Those who used the Library knew that the light was excessively unsteady, and was very embarrassing; and nothing was more irritating to anyone who was reading or writing than a perpetual change in a bright light. He had been told that the contract for this lighting had been given to the Edison Company without anything like public competition. The Swan Company had lighted the new Law Courts extremely well, and nothing could be more satisfactory than that light. It was very good and very steady, and seemed to be free from all the evils of the light in the rooms of the House; and he should like to know whether the Swan Company were invited to tender for lighting these rooms, and if not, why not? Were any other Companies than this American Company invited—such as the Brush Company, which lighted the City, or any other of the many Companies in London, any one of which would have been only too glad to have the contract for lighting the rooms of the House of Commons? There was another reason why he thought great care should be taken in connection with the electric light. In no business in modern times had there been more corruption and gambling and intriguing on the Stock Exchange than in electric lighting; and if the same feeling was to be brought into the House of Commons it would be a great misfortune. He wished for an explanation as to why this contract had been given to the Edison Company without any communication with, or invitation to, other Companies to tender, if that was so; and also for a pledge that if the other parts of the House were to be lighted by electricity, the First Commissioner of Works would undertake, before any further arrangement was entered into, that there should be the usual invitations issued for tenders from the public, and that the work should be given to the Company which would do it most satisfactorily and at the least cost.
said, he understood the Committee were now upon the main Vote, and he wished to say that if any more money was spent on the ornamentation of Westminster Hall until something was decided as to what was to be done with it; it would be wasted. The Hall was now deserted and forlorn; the time would soon come when owls would hoot in the Palace, since the step of the lawyer no longer echoed there. The Hall would never be of any use again until it was made what it ought to be, the centre of the Houses of Parliament. It was wholly deserted, while the passages of the House were crowded in a most disgusting manner. It was scarcely possible for a Member to get to a Committee Room without going through an unseemly crowd for the want of accommodation. Matters would not be put in a proper condition until Westminster Hall was restored to its proper position as the centre of the House of Commons, and Committee Rooms were made by the side of it for the use of people concerned in Public and Private Bills. Money spent in ornamenting the outer side of the Hall would simply be wasted.
said, that, as a Director of an Electric Lighting Company, he was able to say that the introduction into that House of a foreign system of incandescent lighting had given a most serious blow to one of the most meritorious systems in the world—that of Joseph Swan, of Newcastle. His beautiful lamp had made itself a name in almost every capital in Europe, and the most serious check it had received was the fact that its most pressing rival had been apparently chosen for lighting the most important building in the United Kingdom. Certainly, if this foreign system, which was known to be not better than the Swan system, had been introduced into the House of Commons without such notice as would have enabled the Swan Company, or whatever Company was working their patent in London, to compete, it was a most unfair arrangement, and one which, if it was possible, should be gone back upon, so that a grievous wrong might be remedied.
said, with reference to the observations of the hon. Member for Hythe (Sir Edward Watkin), he understood that Mr. Pearce had been appointed architect for a special object. That being so, and the right hon. Gentleman having said that the first work was to be only tentative, was it intended to case-in the buttressess, in order to protect them from the weather? The observations of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had come a little too late; his arguments ought to have been put forward earlier in the year. He would suggest that smokers should be transferred to the Conference Room, and the Smoking Room given up for he general use of Members.
said, that what was greatly wanted in the Smoking Room was an electric communication with the House, to tell these who were there what was going on in the House. At present they were more distant than the Clubs; and it was absolutely necessary that they should have some means of knowing what Business was proceeding in the House.
said, with respect to the question of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), he had answered that a few nights ago.
You did not answer it at all.
said, his answer was this. A proposal was made to him, some time ago, by the Edison Company to light the Library and other rooms experimentally, till the end of the Session, for a small sum. He thought it desirable that Members should have an opportunity of seeing what the effect would be, and he therefore accepted the offer. At that time the Company had a working station within easy reach of the House, and it appeared to him reasonable to employ them. Subsequently, they ceased to supply the light from their own depôt, and made use of an engine in the House. He did not invite competition—first, because the lighting was only to last for a few months; and, secondly, because it did not appear to him that, in the present state of electric lighting, it was a proper subject for competition. When, some months ago, he had to consider the question of lighting the Law Courts, he came to the conclusion that it was a matter upon which he could not invite competition. There was considerable difference between the systems; and it appeared to him better to select that which he thought most satisfactory, and invite the Company to tender. After careful consideration, and the exhibition of the various systems at Paris and at Sydenham, he decided that the Swan Light was the best adapted for the Law Courts, and he invited the Swan Company to tender for the work. He gave them the work; and if there was any Company which ought not to raise objections to his having followed the same course with regard to the House of Commons, it was the Swan Company, because he had given them the preference in the Law Courts. Between the two systems he saw very little difference. [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: Oh, oh!] Perhaps the noble Lord was connected with the Swan Electric Lighting Company? [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHIL: Not even a shareholder; I wish I was.] He saw very little difference between the two lights. He gave the work at the Law Courts to the Swan Company, and he thought it only reasonable to give the work at the House to the Edison Company. He should consult hon. Members as to whether, on the whole, they wished the lighting to be continued; and if they did, then it would be a question whether it should be extended to the Chamber or not.
said, the right hon. Gentleman, in replying to his hon. Friend, had thought fit to insinuate that he was a Director of the Swan Company. He thought that was as improper as it was inaccurate. As, however, the right hon. Gentleman had ventured on that ground, he would follow him, and tell the Committee what information he had as to the Edison Company getting the work in the House. The Swan Company had lighted the Law Courts in a manner which had satisfied everybody; and not only had they done that, but they had made superhuman efforts to get ready for the opening of the Law Courts; so that if anybody ought to be taken into consideration in regard to lighting that House, it was the Company who had thus acted so well towards the public. But what they complained of, and what other Companies complained of—and he was no more interested in one than the other—was, that without a word to any of them the right hon. Gentleman concluded an arrangement with this Yankee adventurer, who was suspected of having stolen the Swan patent, and had let him into the House of Commons. That was no small matter, for it was without question the greatest advertisement that could possibly be given to an Electric Lighting Company. It was now known all over the world, wherever there was a Parliamentary Assembly, that the Edison Company were lighting the English House of Commons. The First Commissioner of Works knew that these Electric Lighting Companies had been the subject of most disreputable cheating and gambling on the Stock Exchange; and he ought, therefore, to have exercised particular care in the matter; and, at all events, he knew that the Swan Company had done good work, and he had no right, without letting them know, to let the Edison Company in. He was not connected with the Edison Company; but the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) was a Director, and the Right Hon. Mr. Bouverie, a faithful supporter of the Whig Party, was a principal proprietor in that Company. It was also a notorious fact that Mr. Preece, the Electrician to the Post Office, was a very large shareholder in the Edison Company. He stated that on very good authority; but, if it was not true, the sooner the statement was contradicted the better. Was it not, above all things, desirable, in a matter of this kind, which had been the subject of so much gambling, that when a Government official thought it right to introduce the electric light into a public building, there should be no unfair advantage of the least kind given to one Company over another? But the case was stronger still. The right hon. Gentleman had given the House to understand that he wanted the Edison Company to be allowed to have a trial, in order to let the House and the public see what they could do; but he had not stated that the Edison Company had been lighting the Post Office for some time; and, therefore, so far as a trial was concerned, that Company had had all they could desire. The right hon. Gentleman had no right to give to an American adventurer, whose patent was obtained in a most extraordinary way, and not until after the Swan patent had been disclosed, all the advantage, and so send up the value of the Edison Company, and become unwittingly the victim of great Stock Exchange speculation. He hoped, before the right hon. Gentleman concluded any further arrangement with this adventurer's Company, he would put everything out to tender with respect to this House, or any other public building—of course reserving to himself the right to choose any tender he thought best—and so let everything in connection with this lighting be fair and above board.
said, he was sorry if he had done the noble Lord an injustice by supposing that he was connected with an Electric Lighting Company. Certainly, the noble Lord's speeches and questions appeared to him to be directed, not to the interest of the public, but to the interest of some rival Company to that which had been lighting the House. But there was not a word in the argument which the noble Lord had used against the action he had taken which did not equally apply to the lighting of the Law Courts. If he had done wrong in giving the Edison Company the right provisionally to light the House of Commons rooms at a cost of £100, how much worse must his conduct have been in permitting the Swan Company to light the Law Courts at a cost of £7,000 or £8,000, without inviting any other Company to tender? [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: They did tender.] He had told the noble Lord the other day that he invited a tender merely from the Swan Company after the most careful consideration, and after satisfying himself that theirs was the best system for the Law Courts. There were a great many different Companies with various systems, and he thought it better to choose the light which he considered the best, and invite a tender for the work. He thought that in that respect he had done some service to the Swan Company; but when it became a question with regard to this House, he had other matters to consider. The Edison Company laid before him reasons which led him to think, as he still thought, that, on the whole, their system was best adapted for that House—namely, that they had noiseless dynamo-engines, and he thought they were the only Company that had them. As to Mr. Edison being an American adventurer, he thought that was a misrepresentation. He was one of the most respected and distinguished scientific men of the day, and the Company which was working this patent was one of the most respectable character. The noble Lord had insinuated that the contract was given to the Edison Company on account of Mr. Bouverie's political support; but there was no ground for such a suggestion. He had already given one great work to the Swan Company; and, under the circumstances, he thought it well to try the Edison Company for a short time. Whether that Company's light would ultimately be adopted was not yet decided, and he would consult Members upon the subject.
said, he felt sure that the right hon. Gentleman's exposition of the economic principles which had guided him would be instructive. He had told the Committee that, as between the foreigner and the Englishman, the Liberal Government would always give the foreigner a fair chance; but as the right hon. Gentleman proceeded he thought he cut the ground from under his feet, because he said he had chosen the Swan Company to light the Palace of Justice because he considered their light the best. [Mr. SHAW LEFEVRE: At that time.] And having given that proof of his conviction as to the excellence of the Swan Company's light, it was very strange that he did not, at any rate, let the Swan Company know that he intended also to try the electric light in the House of Commons. When public works had been well done by a particular contractor or body, one would fancy that it would be only reasonable to give these who had served the State well once, at least a chance a second time. He was quite aware that the right hon. Gentleman was only actuated by a desire to give fair play all round; but, at the same time, it was to be observed that in his reply to the noble Lord, he entirely passed over all notice of the fact that besides Mr. Bouverie, a much more trusted and more influential Liberal was connected with the Edison Company, which had got this preference in so remarkable a way in the House. It was hardly meeting the case to refer to Mr Bouverie, when a much stronger argument was left untouched. He was sure that the impression that would be left in the minds of independent Members who were neither Directors nor shareholders, by the cropping up of this question from time to time, would lead to a strong conviction that the more care they could expend in watching the influence of Directors in that House, the better it would be for the country at large; and from that point of view he was extremely sorry, without casting any slur upon the hon. Members concerned, but simply in view of the public interest, that the House had recently not shown enough jealousy of the interference of Directors of powerful Companies in the legislation of Parliament—legislation which might mean good to the public, but which certainly meant a largo pecuniary profit to the Companies in which these Directors were interested. Like every other Member he, of course, accepted the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman; but he hoped that an opportunity would be given to hon. Members to try the effect of the rival system of electric lighting in the House before any long time had elapsed. He could bear his own personal testimony to the discomfort experienced in trying to read by the hard and crude light now in the Library.
stated, in reply to an earlier question, that the buildings of the Palace of Westminster were in charge of the principal clerk in the Office of Works.
said, the salary of that officer was £250 a-year, rising by £5 per annum to £300. Could it be the fact that that House, with all its important buildings, was in charge of a clerk of the Works at a salary of £5 a week. If that was not so, in whose charge were the buildings? In order to have the matter thoroughly explained, he should move the reduction of the Vote by the amount of the clerk's salary.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £27,880, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for the Buildings of the Houses of Parliament."—(Sir Edward Watkin.)
said, the building was in the charge of Mr. Taylor, the principal surveyor to the Board of Works, who was a most competent man. He had, of course, a clerk of the Works under him. The salaries being paid by the Board of Works Department, they did not appear in the present Vote.
expressed his surprise at the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that this important building was under the supervision of no architect whatever. It was, he thought, well that the public should know that the entire responsibility rested upon a surveyor and a clerk of the Works.
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not replied to the question of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) as to whether the Government had any definite design or destination in view for Westminster Hall? He asked whether the works there were intended to carry out any special purpose for the convenience of hon. Members, or for the convenience of persons having business at the Houses of Parliament? It appeared to him that at present Westminster Hall was simply a huge annex, for which there was no particular use, except so far as it might be preserved under the designation of an ancient monument.
said, it would be well to receive some assurance from the First Commissioner of Works that some arrangement would be made with regard to the stone used in public buildings in future, so that they might not again witness the extraordinary spectacle, presented by the exterior of the Houses of Parliament, of the stone crumbling away almost immediately after the work was finished. The hon. Member opposite suggested that a competent architect should be employed, and that Portland stone should be used as being more durable; but he would point out that it was not a question of architects, either competent or incompetent. An architect would not be able or willing probably to give that attention to the selection of the stone which was required. It was the opinion of some persons that the stone selected for the Houses of Parliament was more durable than Portland stone, and that the fact of its not wearing well was due to some remissness in its selection; and he had heard it stated that, owing to false economy, when the building was half completed, several competent officers had been dismissed whose business it was to select the blocks of stone at the quarries before they were carved. It was a well-known scientific fact that both very good and very bad stone would come out of the same quarry of Magnesian limestone; and if there was not some competent officer charged with the selection of the stone before carving, it was only to be expected that it would wear badly. With the lesson afforded by the Houses of Parliament before them, he thought it would be a satisfaction to the Committee to be assured that there was to be some official, either the surveyor of the Board of Trade, or his clerk of works, charged with the selection of the stone to be used in future, or someone who was capable, at all events, of distinguishing good Magnesian limestone from inferior qualities of the same material.