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Questions

Volume 282: debated on Thursday 2 August 1883

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India (Code Of Criminal Procedure)-Corporal Punishments

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the punishment by whipping inflicted in lieu of other punishment on 26,761 persons in India, in 1880, was by sentence of a judge; and, if not, by what authority?

, in reply, said, that the punishments by whipping referred to in the Question were inflicted under the sentences of the various Civil Courts, empowered by the Criminal Procedure Code to order this form of punishment.

inquired whether the floggings were not sometimes inflicted by officers in charge of the gaols?

Criminal Lunatics — Report Of The Commission—Legislation

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he will be good enough to state to the House what steps, if any, have been taken by the Treasury or other Department of Her Majesty's Government to give effect to the various Recommendations contained in the Report of the Departmental Commission of the Home Office on Criminal Lunatics, which was presented to Parliament on the 9th of November 1882?

, in reply, said, that the hon. Member was probably aware that a recent decision of the House of Lords practically settled the liability of the Treasury to pay in the cases in which the Commissioners recommended that it should do so. In this way a great part of the object aimed at had been already attained substantially, and what further had to be done would be accomplished without delay.

Criminal Law (Scotland)—Sunday Trading — The Strome Ferry Case

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he has received a Memorial, largely and influentially signed, earnestly praying him to recommend Her Majesty to mitigate the sentence passed on the men convicted in the Strome Ferry case; and, whether, considering the hitherto unquestioned character of these men, and the fact that no destruction of property or serious personal injury was committed by them, and all the circumstances of the case, he is prepared to comply with the petition of the Memorialists? He should like to add to the Question by asking whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman had received a further Memorial from the jury who tried the case, signed by 12 out of the 15 jurymen?

Yes; I have received the Memorial referred to by the hon. Member. In this case sentence was pronounced by the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Moncreiff, a Judge of great humanity and experience, who took a day to consider what judgment should be passed The sentence was passed a very short time ago; and if I were to presume to interfere now I should take upon myself the administration of the law, I should shake altogether the authority of justice, and I should do extreme mischief in regard to encouraging the non-observance of the law.

India (Bombay)—Aden—The Military Establishment

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the whole cost of the Military Establishment at Aden is charged to the Indian Treasury; what is the total cost of the Establishment, including the pay of the troops; what amount (approximately) has been expended since 1858 on the fortifications of Aden and their equipment?

I may say that Aden is administered as part of the Presidency of Bombay. The whole cost of the Military Establishment there is charged to Indian Revenues. The Finance and Revenue Accounts do not enable me to answer the Question of my hon. Friend as to the cost of the establishment and of the fortifications. But it appears, from a Return furnished by the Government of India in 1875, that for the average of three years ending 1873–4 the annual net cost of Aden to India (including public works and marine) was over 21 lakhs of rupees. The cost of the Military Establishment was 16 lakhs; of civil administration, 1½lakh; of public works (including military works), 2½ lakhs; of marine, 1¼lakh. The India Office has no detailed information of the total expenditure on these fortifications.

Poor Law (England And Wales)—The Guardians Of The Parish Of St Pancras—Vaccination Of Female Paupers Immediately After Child-Birth

asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board, Whether the Vestry or Guardians of Saint Pancras have applied to the Local Government Board for advice as to the propriety of vaccinating women within a few hours after childbirth; and, what, if any, answer has been given?

The Guardians of St. Pancras have approved a Re- port of a Committee in which they stated with reference to the case of the late Herbert Walsh, which has been the subject of several Questions in this House, that they do not see in the reported proceedings of the Coroner's inquest any evidence connecting the vaccination of the mother (Rosina Walsh) with the subsequent drying up of her milk. The Committee, however, regarded this question, as well as that raised by Mr. Dunlop, the medical officer, whether the possibility of small-pox ravaging a lying-in ward would, under the circumstances existing at the time, justify vaccination at so early a period as one day after confinement, as questions solvable by medical men only, and suggested that the matter be referred to the Board. The Board have replied that they have nothing to add to the expression of their views contained in their Circular Letter to Metropolitan Boards of Guardians of the 27th of January, 1881, and in the letter addressed to Mr. Dunlop in June last, a copy of which has been sent to the Guardians. In the last-mentioned letter the Board stated that they were advised that, while providing for the inmates of the workhouse in its several departments such re-vaccination as is proper in order to guard each department from danger of small-pox, it is undesirable to allow the accidents of the lying-in room to become confused in the minds of patients with the results of vaccination, and that the medical officer would do well to hold this consideration in view, as affecting the question of re-vaccinating women within a short period after labour.

Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts—Foot-And-Mouth Disease, Ireland

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he will be good enough to cause weekly statements to be published in the "Gazette," showing the extent to which foot and mouth disease is prevalent in Ireland?

Returns of the character mentioned are already published regularly in The Dublin Gazette and also every week in the Dublin morning newspapers. If the hon. Member thinks that this does not secure sufficient publicity, I shall be happy to make further arrangements?

Royal Irish Constabulary-Medical Officers

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is the fact that the police at Emly have had appointed as doctor a medical gentleman in Tipperary seven miles distant, so that if a constable falls sick 24 hours may elapse before the doctor's visit; and that the men are dissatisfied with this arrangement; why the local doctor on the spot, in whom the men have confidence, has not been selected; whether he will inquire if the fact of the latter being a Catholic has prevented his appointment; by whom the Tipperary gentleman was recommended; and, if it is the fact that, if a constable were known to have communicated with a Member of Parliament on the subject, he would be dismissed?

The medical attendant of the Constabulary at Emly is Dr. Nadin, who resides at Tipperary. There is railway communication between the two places, and several trains run daily each way, so that it could not take 24 hours to secure the services of the doctor. The Sub-Inspector reports that Dr. Nadin attends most regularly when required, and that he is not aware of any dissatisfaction with the present arrangement. As Dr. Nadin has hold the appointment for the last 26 years, it would be difficult for me to ascertain who recommended him, or why any other gentleman was not selected; but I do not think it probable that the local doctor at Emly, to whom the hon. Member refers, and who, as I am informed, is now a young man, could have been a candidate for the post 26 years ago. It is not the case that if a constable were known to have communicated with a Member of Parliament on the subject he would be dismissed.

Poor Relief (Ireland) Act-Rating Of Cemeteries And Buildings, Co Dublin

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether it is the fact that, as, according to the sixty-third section of the Irish Poor Relief Act, churches, schools, burial grounds, cemeteries, &c., and any building used exclusively for charitable purposes, or dedicated or used for public purposes are exempt from rating, it is the case that Glasnevin Cemetery, with the dwelling-houses built thereon, are so exempt, and also the sexton's residence built in Swords Protestant Churchyard; if so, can he explain why the poor rate and county cess collectors have prosecuted the Catholic curate at Donabate, county Dublin, for rates on a house similarly circumstanced, i.e., within a cemetery; whether the magistrates were justified in making an order for their payment; and, if he can have the local authorities instructed to treat the erection at Donabate on the same footing as those at Glasnevin and Swords?

Sir, the Glasnevin Cemetery is exempt from rates by virtue of the 93rd section of the Irish Poor Relief Act, and the buildings on it, being for the purposes of the cemetery, are also exempt. Under similar circumstances, the house of the sexton in the Swords Churchyard is exempt; but both cases will be inquired into. In the case of the Rev. Mr. O'Kell, the claim for exemption does not appear to be the same, for although the house was built in the cemetery, it was used for two years for private purposes. On the 1st of May the county cess collector proceeded against the Rev. Mr. O'Kell. He was represented, and the case was adjourned to the 24th of May, on which day he did not appear, and a decree was pronounced. On the 14th of July he was again proceeded against, and he did not appear, and a decree was pronounced. The Government has no power to interfere in the matter; and the rev. gentleman, if he thinks the decision is illegal, has power to appeal under the statute.

Parks (Metropolis)—The Inclosures In Regent's Park

asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether, in connection with the Inclosures in Regent's Park, the terms upon which leases are to be granted are the same throughout; and, if not, will he state to the House the varying terms and conditions?

The Commissioners of Woods and Forests are responsible for these leases; and the hon. Member will therefore, perhaps, allow me to answer the Question. The conditions are practically the same for all, the in-closure being granted in each case for the unexpired term of the lease of the house to which it is attached. Full particulars will be given in the Papers now being prepared for Parliament.

The Magistracy (Ireland) — Alleged Perjury By A Magistrate, Cavan Co

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a case brought by Dr. Michael Davis, J.P. against Terence Reilly, for possession of a holding in Coravillis, Inniskeen, county Cavan, and which was tried before Captain Mansfield, R.M. and Messrs. Gibson and Chambers, J.P., who, on examining the documentary evidence, pronounced the complainant guilty of perjury; and, whether he will direct any proceedings to be taken against Dr. Davis?

Sir, I understand that the case to which this Question refers is still sub judice—having been adjourned by the magistrates to the 7th instant. I am unable, therefore, at present, to express any opinion on the subject.

Public Health (Ireland)—Cholera Hospitals

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If the Local Government Board are provided with a temporary portable hospital, fit to be erected in any Union in which an outbreak of cholera may render it advisable to have an additional or detached or portable hospital; and, if the Local Government Board will have legal powers to occupy any site which they may consider suitable for a special cholera hospital?

Sir, it rests with the several sanitary authorities, and not with the Local Government Board, to provide temporary hospitals for cholera patients; and the Local Government Board have not portable hospitals at their disposal, nor have they power to take land compulsorily for the purpose of obtaining sites. The sanitary authorities have the subject at present before them, it having been brought under their notice by a recent Order of the Local Government Board.

The Magistracy (Ireland)—Fishery Trespass Case At Glin, Co Limerick

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is true that the passage to the beach and to the salmon fishery station at Knockeraduna, Glin, in the county Limerick, which was left open by the Board of Public Works, has been closed by some party claiming ownership to the beach; if he is aware that the fishermen of that neighbourhood have to climb over the great sea wall, at the risk of their lives, in pursuit of their calling, since the closing of the regular passage; and, if so, whether he will order any steps to be taken to remedy this great inconvenience and danger to the fishermen of that district?

The matter in dispute here is, I am informed, an alleged right of way to the beach by private steps over a wall and across pasture land. The fishermen claim this right of way, which is disputed by the tenant in occupation of the land. A case of trespass recently brought before the magistrates at Glin against some of the fishermen was decided in favour of the tenant. It is open to the parties concerned to proceed in a legal manner, if so advised, to assert the alleged right of way; but I cannot express any opinion as to the merits of the case. The regular passage has nothing to do with this matter. This appears to be the assertion of a right to a private passage from the high road to the beach; but the passage opened by the Board of Works remains open, and it is not interfered with. I will show the hon. Member a map of the place if he wishes to see it.

The Magistracy (Ireland)—Derry Petty Sessions — Alleged Suppression Of A Charge

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he has seen in the "Derry Journal" of Friday, 27th July, a Report of certain proceedings at the Petty Sessions Court on the previous day, in which Dr. R. H. Todd, solicitor, described by the "Derry Journal" as "a gentleman of high professional standing," took upon himself the responsibility of publicly stating that investigation into the outrage of March 1879 in Derry had lately been suppressed; that a magistrate had connived at the suppression; and that he was prepared to prove this charge, and had made the charge publicly with a hope of being allowed an opportunity of proving it; and, whether, in consequence of this public statement, he will now consent to order a further investigation?

desired, before the Chief Secretary answered, to ask him whether it was not the fact that no charge was made against anybody in reference to this outrage, and that, therefore, it was not possible that any investigation could be suppressed by a magistrate or any other person?

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether any inquiry under the Crimes Act has been held into the charge, brought recently by a man named Davis against another named Bailey, of being the author of the explosive machine outrage in Derry on St. Patrick's Day, 1879; whether he has been informed that Dr. Todd, a leading Liberal solicitor of Derry, openly declared in court, on Thursday last,

"The guilt of outrage had been brought home, by a detective member of the police force, to an individual resident in the city, but the charge had been hushed up by the connivance of a magistrate and the police;"
and, what steps he intends to take to procure an impartial and independent investigation of the facts?

I will answer at the same time the Question of the hon. Member for Longford and Dungarvan. I have seen reports of the statements referred to. They are, undoubtedly, too serious to be lightly passed over. Dr. Todd has not made any communication to the Government upon the subject. I will, however, direct that a communication shall be made to him; and if his reply should bring the matter to any definite issue, the Government will certainly consider most carefully whether, in the interest of justice, an inquiry should be held. But, on the other hand, most certainly, unless a very definite case be raised by Dr. Todd, the inquiry will not be granted.

The Geological Survey (Scotland)

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Director General of the Geological Survey, front which it appears that the Director for Scotland appointed at the end of last year has been retained as District Surveyor in the North of England; whether this arrangement met with his approval, and what is its duration; and, whether, seeing that the effective field force for Scotland for last year is stated by the Director General at five Surveyors, he will now reconsider his determination of postponing an increase to the Scottish staff until the survey for England is completed?

Mr. Howell, the Director for Scotland, has been retained since his promotion as District Surveyor in the North of England for the purpose of bringing that work to a close. This was absolutely necessary in consequence of the retirement of one of his Colleagues, who was in charge of that district. It is confidently expected that the field work in England will be finished by the end of this year. On its completion, Mr. Howell will take charge of the Survey in Scotland as its Director, with as many of the English staff as can be employed with advantage. Two assist- ants have been added to the staff in Scotland since the date of the Report referred to. The work of the Survey in Scotland has been, up to the present time, carried on under the immediate direction of the Director General, who has himself been constantly in Scotland during the past year superintending it in the field.

Army (Auxiliary Forces)—Reserve Men

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether members of the Volunteer Forces,. called "Reserve Men," who have retired from their Corps as Non-Commissioned Officers, are allowed to retain their rank; whether such "Reserve Men" are allowed to wear their stars for long service; and, whether, in the event of those "Reserve Men" shooting a match or competition at targets only, they would be required to pay gun tax?

Under the Regulations of the Volunteer Force "Reserve Men" of the Volunteer Force are only allowed to wear the uniform of privates with such distinguishing mark on the sleeve as the commanding officer may sanction. From a reply with regard to their exemption from the gun tax, given on the 8th of June, 1871, by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Lowe), it appears the Volunteers firing as such are not required to hold gun licences. As "Reserve Men" are still Volunteers, it follows that for shooting a match or competition at targets only they would not be required to pay the gun tax.

Elementary Education Act (1870) Amendment:Act—School Board Loans

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether the outstanding loans for money borrowed by School Boards, amounting in 1882 to £12,800,000, has increased since the last Return; and, whether the Local Government Board have any power to check the extravagance of School Boards in this respect?

No loan can be contracted by a school board without the sanction of the Education Department; and such sanction is never given unless, to quote the words of the Act of 1873—

"The Department is satisfied that the additional school accommodation to be supplied by such loan is required to provide for the educational wants of the district."
The outstanding loans have, no doubt increased since the last Return; but until the next Return is made up I cannot say to what extent.

Literature, Science, And Art—Meteorological Stations

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether valuable scientific opinion has been received by the Meteorological Council adverse to their intended arrangement for reducing the number of the Meteorological Stations from seven to three; whether, in the event of such a proposal being sanctioned by the Government, the Vote will be reduced by the cost of the maintenance of the disestablished stations; and, whether he will lay upon the Table of the House Copies of the communications which have taken place on the said matter?

I have made inquiries into this matter, and find that valuable scientific opinions have been received by the Meteorological Council, favourable and adverse to the proposed arrangements, and no final decision has yet been formed. Such decision rests with the Meteorological Council, and cannot possibly be given until they reassemble in the autumn. The Government does not interfere with the detailed administration of their grant. If these stations be reduced as proposed there will be no reduction of the Vote; but the money saved will be applied to other purposes connected with meteorology. When a decision has been arrived at, the Council will, no doubt, give it, and their reasons for it, in their annual Report to the Royal Society, which is laid before Parliament.

Criminal Law—West Riding—Trials For Rape

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been called to the fact that, at the Leeds Summer Assizes, five persons tried for rape in the West Riding had been admitted to bail; and, if he could give the number of persons tried for this offence at Leeds within the last five years, how many were on bail, how many bails were estreated, and how many convictions were obtained?

, in reply, said, the particulars supplied to him were as follows:—The number of persons tried in the last five years was 52; the number on bail was eight; the number of bails estreated none; the number convicted 33.

Poor Law (Ireland)—Poor Law Electors—Magiierafelt Union

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the Local Government Board have come to any decision with respect to the conduct of the Returning Officer of the Magherafelt Union at the last Poor Law Elections in that Union; and, whether Copies of the evidence taken on the subject will be printed for the information of the House?

In one electoral division—Inniscarn—the Local Government Board are about, as the result of the sworn inquiry, to set aside the Returning Officer's return, and to order a new election. Very grave abuses exist in the electoral divisions. In the other case no sufficient reason for such a step was shown. The conduct of the Returning Officer is still under consideration, as some further complaint has recently been made against him in connection with the manner in which he conducted a supplemental election. There is no objection to producing the evidence taken at the sworn inquiry, if the hon. Member thinks it worth while to move for it.

Parliament — Business Of The House—Land Improvement And Arterial Drainage (Ireland) Bill

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Whether, in view of the impossibility of the Land Improvement and Arterial Drainage (Ireland) Bill passing into Law this Session, he will recommend that a Royal Commission be appointed to inquire into the subject, with a view to legislation next Session?

I have been, and remain, very reluctant to admit the impossibility of passing this Bill. It and the Board of Works Bill were modest attempts to consolidate and simplify the administration of the law on subjects of the greatest practical importance; but as the Bills have been persistently blocked, both by Representatives of landlords and of tenants, I -fear one or both must be withdrawn. As regards the future, I do not think it necessary or desirable to resort to the somewhat dilatory action of a Royal Commission. The new relations between landlords and tenants may require a revision of the composition and powers of Drainage Boards; but the Executive possesses sufficient materials for the immediate consideration of the subject.

Army (Auxiliary Forces)—The Channel Islands Militia

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is the intention of the authorities to fix the same limit of age for the retirement of Commanding Officers of the Channel Islands Militia as the limit in force for Officers Commanding Militia Regiments in England; and, if not, what are the grounds of exception?

The Channel Islands Militia is an unpaid force, with compulsory service, and administered by the Lieutenant Governors, under laws enacted by the local Legislatures. Under these circumstances, it is not proposed to interfere with the discretion of the Island Governments as regards the age for service and command of the officers commanding the Channel Islands Militia.

National School Teachers (Ire- Land) Act, 1875 — Amendment Of Act

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he will, during the present Session, introduce a Bill dealing with the question of remuneration to the Irish National School Teachers, and to secure to them the provision intended by the Teachers' Act, 1875; if not, what steps the Government propose to take to redress the admitted grievances of the teachers, and to carry out the promises made to them by successive Governments and Parliament; and, in what manner and when it is intended to reconsider the present unsatisfactory pension scheme?

The Government, after careful consideration, have come to the conclusion that the contributions from local rates towards the salaries of teachers, which the scheme of the right hon. Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) left voluntary, should be made imperative, though I will not enter into certain details of the arrangement which will be necessary. This is the main principle of the Government proposal; but I understand that a Bill founded on this principle would meet with opposition sufficient to render it impossible to carry it this Session. I shall introduce it next Session. With regard to the pension scheme, there is, as the hon. Member is aware, a limited fund to draw upon. If experience proves that it can be done within the limits of the fund at the disposal of the Government, the terms will be re-arranged in the year 1885, when the first actuarial investigation will take place.

Is it intended to give the Boards of Guardians any power over the schools to which they are to be compelled to contribute?

replied, that he would prefer not to enter further, for obvious reasons, into the details of the Bill.

gave Notice that he should oppose any proposal to throw another burden upon the rates without giving taxpayers control over that to which they were to be called upon to contribute.

Newfoundland Fisheries—The Fortune Bay Dispute—Compensation

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he will on an early day lay upon the Table of the House the further Correspondence with the Government of Newfoundland relative to the payment of compensation for acts of violence committed in Fortune Bay?

Yes; Papers are being prepared, and will be given to Members at the earliest possible date.

Post Office (Contracts)—The Irish Mail Service

asked the Postmaster General, If he can now state the decision of the Treasury and Postal Authorities on the question of the Irish Mail Contract, tenders for which were sent in on the 11th instant?

In reply to the hon. Member, I may state that the Government have decided to make an arrangement with the London and North-Western Railway Company for an accelerated service by land, and I hope the acceleration will be brought into operation in the spring. It has also been decided to accept a tender of the City of Dublin Company for an accelerated sea service, and this will be secured as soon as the machinery has been improved, and other structural alterations have been made in their boats. The Company agree to complete these alterations within two years. Contracts are being prepared, and will be ready shortly, to give effect to these arrangements. Without describing the contracts in detail—which, I think, had better be postponed until they have been submitted to the London and North-Western Company and City of Dublin Company—I may state that an acceleration of about three-quarters of an hour each way between London and Kingstown will be secured; that through booking facilities at reasonable rates will be afforded; and that as soon as the necessary alterations can be carried out in the existing beats, improved accommodation for the sorting of the mails, as well as for passengers, will be provided. Immediately the contract with the City of Dublin Company has been agreed to, it will be laid on the Table with the accompanying Papers.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, whether he is about to take any steps in the contract with the London and North-Western Railway Company to secure that passengers by the mail trains from London to Holyhead shall not be charged a higher rate than that charged by mail trains in other services of the same Company? The right hon. Gentleman promised, on a former occasion, that this matter would have his attention.

I think, as I said, it will be better not to enter into any details; but I can assure the hon. Member that the matter has not been lost sight of, and I think he will see that the Government have done what they could in the matter.

I am sorry to trouble the right hon. Gentleman with a further Question; but I would ask him whether he will see that an acceleration out from Dublin of the mails dependent upon the cross-Channel service is also secured? I ask the Question with reference to the passenger rates now, because when the contract is made it will be too late to discuss the question.

I very much regret that there has been any delay; but the matter has been hastened as much as possible. I can assure the hon. Gentleman and those interested in Ireland that the question of accelerating the mails as far as is practicable in Ireland, now that this question has been virtually settled, will be at once carefully attended to.

Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government will use their good offices with the Dublin and Kingstown Railway to put an end to the frequent delays which are caused to the passen- gers and mails after the arrival of the mail beat at Kingstown?

I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is able to give the House any information with regard to accelerating the mails between Scotland and Ireland viâ the Larne and Stranraer route?

No, Sir; I am not able to give any information on this subject. I informed the right hon. and gallant Baronet and a deputation who waited upon me that we really could not come to any conclusion in reference to it until the question of the conveyance of the mails between London and Kingstown has been settled; and, of course, it is not settled until it has been approved by Parliament.

Newfoundland Fisheries—Correspondence With The United States

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether any agreement has yet been arrived at, as proposed by Lord Granville in March 1881, for the purpose of establishing, in concert with the Government of the United States, such regulations for the coast fisheries of Newfoundland as may in future prevent misunderstandings between the Newfoundland and the United States fishermen; and, whether the Correspondence on the subject will be laid upon the Table?

No agreement has yet been arrived at. This Question rather concerns the Foreign Office; but I have ascertained that the last despatch was one addressed in November last to our Minister at Washington, pressing for some decision in the matter, but no reply has yet been received from the United States Government. There is little or no Correspondence to give.

The Defences Of Commercial Harbours—Report Of The Committee

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the official Committee appointed to investigate the condition of the defences of commercial harbours, and presided over by Lord Morley, have yet reported; and, if so, whether the Report will be made public?

The Committee appointed to investigate the condition of the defences of the commercial harbours, presided over by Lord Morley, has presented its Report; but the Report is entirely of a confidential nature, and will not be made public.

Suez Canal (Purchase Of Shares)—The Drawn Shares

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the Suez Canal (Purchase of Shares) Account ought to be credited with the sums received on account of the drawings of the 966 shares which have been paid over to the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt; whether the statement laid upon the Table of the House of the present state of the capital account, on the 12th of July 1883, is erroneous by reason of not having these sums credited; whether the crediting of these sums as they are paid over will result in a more rapid repayment of the purchase money than appears by this statement; and, whether he will lay an amended statement of account upon the Table?

In reply to the hon. Member, I have to say that it is not the case that the Suez Canal (Purchase of Shares) Account ought to be credited with this money. The account to which lie refers is an account referring solely to the transactions between the English and Egyptian Governments in connection with the capital, interest, and sinking fund of the purchase money of the Suez Canal shares paid to that Government. The transactions are perfectly distinct from, and would not be affected by, any payments made by the Suez Canal Company on account of shares drawn. The arrangements now followed as to drawn shares, and the forms of account, were considered and settled by the late Government, and I see no reason at present to disturb them.

Navy—Naval Engineers—Case Of Walsh

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If his attention has been called to the case of Walsh, a Naval engineer, promoted (to chief) in 1873, and placed on the retired list on the 1st June, with £150 pension, at 55 years of ago; whether Walsh's retiring pension would have been £400 if he had been allowed to serve three years and a-half more; whether, having ample junior time, some of it should not be counted to entitle him to full pension; and, if the exact position of the Naval engineers can now be defined, in regard to pensions and the mitigation of the eleven years' clause, in its application to chief engineers in the service?

I have looked into the case of Mr. Walsh, and find that he has been awarded the full rate of retirement to which he was entitled under regulations. His age would not have had admitted of his serving three years and a-half longer; and the full rate he would have earned by such service would have been £292, and not £400, as stated in my hon. Friend's Question. The result, however, seems to contain an exceptional hardship; and, although I can make no promise, I will see whether something cannot be done for Mr. Walsh.

The Welsh University—Claims Of Aberystwith College

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether petitions have been presented to his department from London, Manchester, and Liverpool, as well as from important centres in Wales, in favour of Aberystwith College; and, whether the claims of that institution will receive due consideration at the instance of the arbitrators appointed to fix the site for the University College of Wales?

Representations in favour of Aberystwith College have been made to the Education Department from the various districts referred to by the noble Lord. It will be the duty of the Lord President and myself, on behalf of the Government, to give to the claims of Aberystwith the most careful consideration. But the arbitrators can only consider the respective claims of the other towns submitted to them.

South Africa—The Transvaal The Native Tribes

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he can confirm the statement contained in a Reuter's telegram, that the Transvaal Volksraad have adopted a resolution that Mampoer's and Mapoch's tribes shall be broken up, and the Natives composing them indentured for five years to Boer farmers; whether Mapoch's stronghold was not reduced by the help of ordnance supplied by the Cape Government; whether, under these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government will insist on the observance of so much of the Transvaal and Sand River Conventions as prohibits slavery; and, whether any instructions on the subject have been sent to the British Resident in the Transvaal?

We have no information in the Colonial Office as to the alleged mode of dealing with Mapoch's Tribes; but the British Resident is being instructed to inquire as to the arrangements which have been made or contemplated, and it will depend upon the tenour of his Report whether any and, if so, what action may be taken.

said, that the hon. Gentleman had not answered the second part of the Question—whether Mapoch's stronghold had not been reduced by ordnance supplied by the Cape Government?

wished to ask a Question of the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, or, if he were not able to answer, of the Prime Minister, which arose out of the Question of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham. It was, Whether some persons who were lately Her Majesty's subjects, and were still, to some extent, under Her Majesty's rule, had or had not been reduced to slavery? He did not understand from his hon. Friend whether he could obtain information by telegraph. He wished to ask whether that information could not be obtained by telegraph? He certainly thought it ought to be.

said, that he was not able to give any answer to the Question; but would refer it to the Secretary of State.

Extradition Of Criminals Act—The United States—Extradition Of Mr Sheridan

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, What stops, if any, have been taken by Her Majesty's Government in the matter of the extradition of Mr. Sheridan; and if it is convenient to inform the House as to the progress, or the result of their negotiations thereupon, with the Government of the United States? Before the Question was answered, he wished to express a hope that the noble Lord would bear in mind a recent startling occurrence. [Cries of "Order!"]

Her Majesty's Government do not think it would be for the advantage of the Public Service that any official statement with regard to this case should be made at present.

Supply—The Irish Education Votes

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can state when the Votes for Education in Ireland will be taken; and if he will undertake that they shall be brought on at such an hour as will give an opportunity of discussing the proposed Denominational Training Colleges?

The Votes on Education in Ireland will, so far as I know, be taken in the usual order as among the Irish Votes. The hon. Member, in talking of the proposed Training Colleges, refers, no doubt, to the proposed grant to Training Colleges on the same principle as in England and Scotland. I will note the hon. Member's Question as an additional proof of the interest taken in this subject, and will ask the Secretary to the Treasury to do his best for it.

expressed a hope that the Chief Secretary would give them some assurance that the Votes for the Queen's Colleges would be taken at some reasonable hour, inasmuch as there were questions of interest to Irish Members involved in them; and it would be important that they should not be taken at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

I cannot give any pledge; but I will give as much attention to the wishes of hon. Members as the Session will allow.

Ireland—State-Aided Emigration—Emigration To Canada

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether negotiations are in progress for the emigration to Canada of a further draft of ten thousand families from Ireland; and, whether an opportunity will be given to Parliament of discussing the project before the bargain is completed?

As has, I believe, been stated in "another place," negotiations have been in progress, and have not been dropped; but I cannot bind the Government as to any number of families or amounts of money. The matter is one which would require legislation, so that Parliament will have the opportunity of discussing it in its fullest form.

Will any official Report be presented as to what is happening to the families already emigrated?

In the course of the Recess I will certainly see if any information which could be presented to Parliament can be obtained. The information which we possess up to the present time is, on the whole, extremely satisfactory.

Parliament—Palace Of Westminster—Westminster Hall

asked the First Commissioner of Works, If he can state with authority the variety of timber in the roof of Westminster Hall; whether any records exist as to the source whence it was supplied; if he proposes to have photographs taken to illustrate the architectural features of the ancient work brought to view by the removal of the Courts; and, whether he will arrange to allow Members of this House, at proper times and under proper restrictions, to view the works now in progress?

, in reply, said, he had given orders that any Member wishing to see the west front of Westminster Hall should be admitted within the inclosure. As to the roof, the hon. Gentleman must recollect that it had been erected so far back as the time of Richard II., and he could not answer the first part of the Question.

Registry Of Deeds Office, Dublin

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Whether it be the ease that, by virtue of a Treasury Letter of 8th June last, it is proposed to diminish the total number of holidays hitherto enjoyed by the clerks in the Registry of Deeds Office, Dublin, as a set-off against the statutory holidays provided by an Act of Parliament recently passed; and, whether the Letter above referred to was promulgated only after the Act had received the Royal Assent?

The letter in question made no reduction in the total number of days' holidays enjoyed by these clerks; it only guarded against an injury to the Public Service, which might have resulted from the Bill, by securing sufficient attendance to transact necessary business on days when the Registry is closed to the public. The Registrar acknowledged this letter on June 11, and expressed his entire concurrence in it; and the Bill did not receive the Royal Assent until July 16. The number of days' holidays allowed in any Department is a purely administrative question, and must be decided by the proper authorities of the Department.

Local Government Board (Scotland) Bill—Estimates Of Cost

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House, a detailed Estimate of the whole cost of carrying out the scheme proposed in the Local Government Board (Scotland) Bill?

At the present moment it will be impossible to give a detailed Estimate on this subject. I do not contemplate that, beyond the Minister, the staff would be extensive or expensive. But one of the first duties of the officer so appointed, if Parliament approves of the appointment, will be to consider the position of the Boards in Scotland, with the view to their more economical administration, and to consider whether any of these Boards might be consolidated and administered more economically. Until that is done, it would be impossible to express a definite opinion on the subject. It is hoped that the staff required for this Office will be really found a more economical administration than these Boards.

Public Works Loan Commissioners — Interest On Loans — Harbour Loans

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is proposed in the Public Works Loan Bill of the present Session to make any change in the rate of interest at which the Public Works Loan Commissioners are at present empowered to advance money in pursuance of "The Harbours and Passing Tolls Act, 1861?"

No, Sir; the question will require much consideration, which I hope to give it during the Recess. The scale adopted by the late Government was decided upon after much deliberation, and could not be disturbed by the present Board of Treasury until they have well weighed the Report and Evidence of my hon. Friend's Committee.

In consequence of the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, I beg to give Notice that on the earliest day I can obtain next Session, I shall call attention to the fact that at the time the Treasury was willing to give its assent to a loan of £8,000,000 to a foreign Company, at 31 per cent, it was found impossible to sanction loans for harbour construction or improvements in our own country, on security carefully inquired into and investigated by the Public Works Loan Commissioners, for a period of 40 or 50 years, at a lower rate of interest than 4¼ per cent, and I shall move a Resolution.

Metropolitan Improvements—The Wellington Statue

asked the First Commissioner of Works, If it is contemplated to remove the Wellington Statue to the site provisionally selected near the Horse Guards; and, if, before incurring the expense of such removal, he will, in the interests of Art, be good enough to consider the advisability of having it recast and remodelled?

, in reply, said, he had asked the Committee to consider the matter; but they had not yet made their Report. He would request the hon. Member to put the Question again in the course of a few days.

International Arbitration

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention has been called to the report of a Treaty just concluded between Switzerland and the United States of America for settling by arbitration any differences which may hereafter arise between these two countries; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will begin negotiations with the United States and with European Governments with a view to concluding with these Countries Treaties similar to that just made by the United States and Switzerland?

We have no information of the Treaty to which my hon. Friend has referred.

The right hon. Gentleman has not replied to the second part of my Question.

Egypt—Withdrawal Of Army Of Occupation

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, in view of the fact that the period of six months mentioned by the Secretary of State for War at the commencement of the present Session as that within which our troops would probably be withdrawn from Egypt has nearly expired, and of the anarchy which still prevails in that country, as exemplified by the telegrams in the newspapers describing the utter incapacity of the Egyptian officials to deal with the cholera epidemic, and also in view of possible difficulties arising from M. de Lessees' declaration, in his Letter of the 20th July, that he would at once proceed to make a second Suez Canal, he will give an assurance to the House that, before any action is taken as to the contemplated withdrawal of our troops from Egypt, the House will have an opportunity of expressing its opinion thereon?

I need not reply to the preamble of the Question, which constitutes the greater portion of it as printed. But as to the Question itself, whether—

"Before any action is taken as to the contemplated withdrawal of our troops from Egypt, the House will have an opportunity of expressing its opinion thereon,"
I have to say that if an engagement of that kind were given this might happen—a period might arise when, in the view and conviction of the Government on its own responsibility, the presence of our troops was no longer required, and yet they would have to stay on in order that the House might express an opinion on the subject. We cannot give an engagement to that effect. It would be totally contrary to the principle of the responsibility of the Government.

Do the Government at present contemplate an early withdrawal of the troops?

That is a question which would take much discussion. There will be an opportunity for remarks on the subject in a few days.

Suez (Second) Canal—Former Protest Of M De Lesseps In 1872

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Foreign Office documents to which he referred in a speech on July 30th, in which, as he states, is recorded a protest made by M. de Lesseps in 1872 against a projected canal from Alexandria to Suez as an infringement of his monopoly?

said, he had already answered in the affirmative, in reply to a Question of the right hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke).

England And The Colonies-Incidence Of Cost Of Defensive Military Operations

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If he would explain to the House which, or of what character, are the wars of which we have undertaken, by an understanding with the Colonies, to bear the expense; and, where are to be found the engagements under which any demand for a contribution from the Colonies towards wars "in which they have a distinct interest" would be a breach of faith, as lately stated by him?

This Question appears to me to aim at a partial revival of the debate which we had last week. I do not acknowledge the accuracy of the reference contained in it. I did not use language of the unqualified character imputed to me. What I have said, and what I would again say, is this—that the Revenues of India have repeatedly been made responsible for wars which are not strictly local wars, and which are beyond its own Frontier; and that constitutes a very broad distinction between the case of India and the Colonies, where no such practice has subsisted.

Tramways (Ireland) Bill

asked the reason for the delay in the introduction of the promised Tramways (Ireland) Bill; and, if it is intended to introduce such a Bill this Session?

Sir, the Bill has been, and is being, prepared with as much expedition as an important and somewhat novel measure demands. I hope to ask leave to introduce the Bill next Monday.

Parliament—Business Of The House

Ministerial Statement

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the House is now in possession of all the Bills which the Government intend to present this Session, with the exception of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill and the Appropriation Bill?

The Question of the right hon. Gentleman is a most reasonable one at this period of the Session, and I hope I will give an answer that may be satisfactory. Of course, I shall not refer further to the Tramways (Ireland) Bill; but there is one of the necessary annual Bills which the right hon. Gentleman has not included in his specification, and that is the Public Works Loans Bill, which it is necessary to pass. [Sir R. ASSHETON CROSS: Hear, hear!] The only other Bills that there is any intention on our part to introduce are, in the first place, a very short Bill, to which it is my confident belief that the assent of the House will be given—a Bill to be introduced in the other House by the Lord Chancellor, relating simply to the form of verdicts given in criminal cases of lunacy; and, further, with regard to cholera, my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board, viewing, I will not say, the proximity, but the possibility of an outbreak, finds it will be necessary to ask the House to introduce a few necessary provisions for insuring the more effective and regular action of the public authorities with respect to the disease. I think the House will recognize that these are exceptions which might justly be made. I had supposed that the Bill with regard to the peccant boroughs would be included in the Continuance Bill; but I now understand that it will be a separate Bill of suspension merely, for the purpose of stopping any legislation and holding over the cases until next year. That being so, Sir, I propose to explain the course of Public Business. Our first object is to get through the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill. The stages of the Report and the third reading remain, and we propose to take them either to-night or to-morrow. If we are not able to take the Report to-night, we propose to take it to-morrow, and the third reading on Saturday, and also the Report of the Bankruptcy Bill. ["Oh, oh!"] I have already done what I can with respect to the limitation of subjects, and I may say this—that, in the first place, although the prospects of the House, with respect to au early termination of the Session, are not altogether as good as we could wish, they are certainly not less favourable, but rather more favourable than they were at the time when I introduced the subject to the House three or four weeks ago. I do not think we need lay aside the hope, if circumstances should be tolerably propitious, that the Session can be brought to a close on some day in the week ending Saturday, the 25th. The application for Saturday Sittings becomes a matter of great urgency and convenience or of less inconvenience to the House, for the sake even of the comfort and advantage of hon. Members—serious as is the burden imposed upon the Speaker and the officials of the House at this time of the year. I have looked over the list of the last 11 years, and I see that Saturday was first taken in five of these years in the month of July, and in three more in the first or second weeks in August, so I hope that this will not be regarded as an unreasonable proposal in the circumstances. As to the third reading of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill, which we may confidently assume will not require any debate, the Government propose to take it, so as to send it to the Lords without delay. If the House agrees to sit on Saturday we should propose that the Report on the Bankruptcy Bill should be then taken; and next week we propose that Supply should be taken on Monday and on Thursday, and that on Monday the South African Vote shall be taken, and on Thursday the Egyptian Vote—that is to say, the salary of Major Baring. On Tuesday, as has already been said, it is proposed to take the National Debt Bill, and after that the Parliamentary Registration (Ireland) Bill, carrying forward those subjects, if necessary, to Wednesday.

said, he was sure he only expressed the feeling of a large number of Members on both sides of the House when he said that the 7th of August was a day altogether too late on which to enter upon the consideration of a Bill of such great importance as the National Debt Bill. There was no disposition on that side of the House to place obstacles in the way of the Government in reference to a Bill of this kind; but it would be utterly impossible for the House, as a House, to enter upon its consideration at so late a date. The effect of such an attempt would be to revive the subject next Session on the consideration of the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill; and there would, therefore, be an unsettlement of the question. He was sure the minority would accept any decision that might be arrived at after careful consideration; but-the minority would not accept a decision on this Bill at so late a period of the Session. ["Order!"] Then he would give Notice of a Question on the subject.

pointed out that, as Monday was a Bank Holiday, it would be inconvenient to business men if the Bankruptcy Bill were put down for Saturday. It was important that business men should be present when that measure was under discussion, and many of them had made arrangements to go on a holiday from Friday night until Tuesday morning. He hoped that some other Bill would be put down for Saturday.

I do not quite appreciate the strength of the argument that because Monday is a Bank Holiday the Bankruptcy Bill ought not to be taken on Saturday. Perhaps the hon. Member will communicate with the President of the Board of Trade on the subject. I was rather surprised to bear the remark of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. H. Smith), that the minority of the House would not accept the decision of the majority on the National Debt Bill. I hope that was a hasty expression, which perhaps would have been qualified if it had been within the Rules of the House that the right hon. Gentleman should have explained himself more fully. The Government are not dealing with this question in a spirit of levity. We believe that there is among the financial authorities of this country, and among the people directly interested in maintaining the public credit—I will not say unanimity, but there is an enormous preponderance of opinion in its favour, and a very lively and deep anxiety that the Bill should go forward. I believe, also, that it is agreeable to the views of a very large majority of the House. If we wore proved in the wrong in that view, undoubtedly we should not feel justified in pressing the Bill through the House. Although the Bill certainly deals with subjects of very great importance, its aims and provisions are of a character perfectly familiar and long established in the legislation of the country; and the Bill is only brought in to keep going—if I may use the expression—our regular financial system upon lines very well known and approved in general by the House.

explained that he did not moan that the minority would not accept the decision of the majority of the House this Session, but that they would feel it to be their duty to revive the consideration of the question next Session.

said, there were already 14 Bills upon the Paper which had not been read a second time, while six others stood for Report. He wished to ask the Prime Minister whether he meant that the House should deal with all the Bills which the Government had in charge, which included the Contempt of Court Bill, the Stolen Goods Bill, the Constabulary and Police (Ireland) Bill, and the Medical Act Amendment Bill? If these Bills were all to be taken, the House could not separate on the 25th of August.

I do not think that there are 14 Government Bills which have not been read a second time. With regard to one or two of the Bills mentioned by the hon. Member for Newcastle, I cannot speak of them, because I am not aware whether they are the subjects of contest or not. With respect to the Constabulary and Police Administration (Ireland) Bill, the Government have come to the conclusion that they could not hope to carry it without imposing upon the House a burden in respect of the prolongation of attendance of Members such as they cannot be fairly called upon to bear.

wish to add to what has been said on the subject by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ritchie) that Saturday has always been looked upon as a holiday by business men, and therefore I hope that the Bankruptcy Bill will not be taken on that day.

If it is the case that Saturday is an inconvenient day for proceeding with the Bankruptcy Bill, the Government—although I am very reluctant to do it—can make an exchange, and take the Parliamentary Registration (Ireland) Bill on that day.

asked when the Local Government Board (Scotland) Bill, which stood third upon the Orders for that night, would really be taken?

, in reference to the observations of the Primo Minister on the National Debt Bill, reminded him that an Amendment had been upon the Paper for a long time. It indicated a somewhat different view from that which the right hon. Gentleman had expressed as to the unanimity of feeling on the Bill. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to remember that, although there might be a complete unanimity of feeling amongst financiers in this country in favour of the Bill, that unanimity did not extend to Ireland, which had to pay its share—

said: The intention of the Government now is to go forward with the Estimates in order, with the exception that we propose to take the South African Vote on Monday, and Major Baring's Vote on Thursday. In reply to Mr. LEWIS,

said, that he could not say when the Report of the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill would he taken.

asked the Vice President of the Council when the second reading of the Education (Scotland) Bill would be taken?

said, he hoped on an early day—probably some day next week. The hon. Member was aware it was not a contentious Bill; and he hoped some evening before half-past 12 they would be able to dispose of it. Subsequently,

asked the Prime Minister whether there would be any objection to putting down the Criminal Appeal Bill for Saturday?

said, that, looking to the number of Amendments to the Bankruptcy Bill, it might be better to dispose first of the Report of the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill, on which many Amendments had been proposed, for which the Attorney General had promised to provide.

said, that it was absolutely necessary to give the preference to those measures which required the attention of the House of Lords. The Bankruptcy Bill was one of those measures, and it was for that reason that the Government had thought it necessary to go forward with that Bill.

said, that, practically, the Schedules to the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill were the Bill, and he did not think they could be satisfactorily dealt with at the end of the Session when everybody had left town.

said, he hoped in three or four days to be able to make a further statement.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether it was seriously intended to introduce on the Report stage more than 30 clauses, extending the Bill to Ireland, which had not been discussed in Committee? He wished to know whether an opportunity would be given for discussing this enormous mass of new matter in Committee; or did the Government intend to force it through on Report, when the clauses could not be adequately discussed?

The Government have given a distinct and public pledge upon this matter—that, on the one hand, they would not seek to press upon Ireland any measure in respect to Bankruptcy to which any serious exception was taken by any considerable number of people; but that, on the other hand, if it were clearly and conclusively shown that there was a general concurrence of opinion in Ireland as to the Bill being extended to Ireland, the Government would use their best exertions to carry out those wishes. I have received myself a Memorial signed by, I think, 62 Irish Members of all Parties in the House—a most representative Memorial—and I have also received Memorials from public meetings held in different commercial centres in Ireland, from Corporations, and from Chambers of Commerce. I have come to the conclusion that there is such a general concurrence of opinion in favour of the extension of the Bill as will justify the Government in making every exertion to carry it through.

said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered his Question. He had not proposed to discuss the merits of the Bill, though he should be prepared to do that at the proper time. The Question he had asked was, whether it was intended to endeavour to put 30 now clauses into a Bill dealing with a totally now subject, and not to have these clauses discussed in Committee, where alone they could be properly discussed?

I can only say, in reference to that, that although it is necessary in order to apply the Bill to Ireland to introduce 30 new clauses, yet, when once the principle of the application is accepted, there is really very little to discuss in those clauses, which are very nearly formal.

wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade two questions. The first was, how many of these 62 Members read the Bill?

Now, Sir, I have to ask you a question on a point of Order with reference to the Bankruptcy Bill. The Bill was referred to a Grand Committee. There were a number of clauses of which Notice had been given by the Attorney General for Ireland to apply the Bill to Ireland. These clauses, which might have been discussed in Committee, were withdrawn, and therefore it is an absolutely new Bankruptcy Bill for Ireland. Is it to be held that because clauses were put before the Grand Committee and withdrawn that we shall not have the Bill re-committed for a discussion of its clauses in Committee?

That is not a point of Order. It is an argument that may very properly be used when the matter comes on for discussion; but it is not a point of Order.

I beg to give Notice that when the matter comes on, I will move that the Bill be re-committed.

I wish to know, will the Bankruptcy Bill be taken on Saturday? It would be a matter of extreme inconvenience if it were.

I beg to give Notice that I will ask the Prime Minister, Whether he thinks it a proper course for Her Majesty's Government to pursue to send round a hand-to-hand requisition instead of having in that House a discussion on so important a question as that affecting the Irish Bankruptcy Law?

Post Office—The "Graphic" Newspaper

asked the Postmaster General, Whether he proposes to take any steps to modify the existing conditions with respect to the transmission of newspapers through the post so as to avoid interference such as that of the embargo lately laid on the "Graphic?"

The proprietors of The Graphic have appealed to the Treasury against the decision at which I arrived with regard to the subject referred to by my hon. Friend. Under these circumstances, I think it will be better for me not to make any statement on the case while it is still under the consideration of the Treasury.

East India—Return Of Claims For Recruits

asked, Why the Secretary to the Treasury had refused to grant a Return in reference to the claims for recruits in East India, which was simply a continuation of a similar Return courteously granted by the late Government?

asked whether there would be any real objection to give a continuation of the Return?

said, it was not strictly a continuance Return. This was, no doubt, a Return following up other Returns; but the only difficulty in granting it was, that the Correspondence was not completed, and the Return would be one-sided.

said, he would take an opportunity of complaining of the conduct of the Financial Secretary, which was altogether uncalled for and unnecessary.

Law And Justice (Ireland)—The Murder Trials At Dublin—Reported Assassination Of A Witness

I wish to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, as far as he is aware, there is any truth in the report of the assassination of another witness in the Dublin trials?

I saw in a newspaper that the source from which the information was supposed to be derived was an official source in Dublin. I am glad to say there is no official knowledge, or any other knowledge, as far as I can ascertain, in Dublin in reference to this matter. I will make other inquiries about it.

Egypt—Mr Clifford Lloyd

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If it were true that Mr. Clifford Lloyd had been appointed to some office in Egypt?

We have no information on the subject in the Foreign Office. If the hon. Gentleman puts down a Question for Monday, I may be able to give him some information. I do not wish him to understand, however, from my answer that I believe the statement to be untrue.