House Of Commons
Thursday, 2nd August, 1883.
MINUTES.]—SUPPLY— considered in Committee—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES—CLASS II.—SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF CIVIL DEPARTMENTS, Votes 26, 27, 29, 30 to 33; CLASS III.
—LAW AND JUSTICE, Votes 1 to 8.
PUBLIC BILLS — Ordered — First Reading Diseases Prevention (Metropolis) .
Third Reading—Electric Lighting Provisional Orders (No. 6) ; Electric Lighting Provisional Orders (No. 8) , and passed.
Orders Of The Day
Electric Lighting Provisional Orders (No 6) Bill
( Mr. John Holms, Mr. Chamberlain.)
Bill 224 Third Reading
Order for Third Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—( Mr. John Holms.)
wished to ask for the ruling of the Speaker upon a point of Order. He wanted to know whether, as it was intended to oppose the third reading of the Bill, it would be regular to discuss it now, or whether it would not be necessary for the Bill to stand over until another day?
In the case of a Private Bill, if the hon. Member opposed the third reading, it would have to stand over. But this is a Public and not a Private Bill, and. the discussion can be taken now.
said, he was altogether without documents that were necessary for him to lay his case before the House; and, therefore, he should have preferred the postponement of the discussion. But if it was ruled that the debate was to go on, he would be prepared to explain his views in regard to the Bill, although he believed that the opposition would apply more to the second Bill upon the Paper than the present one.
said, he had a Notice on the Paper in reference to the second Bill. He thought it was absolutely necessary that both Bills should be taken together.
The hon. Member's Notice which appears upon the Paper applies to the next Order of the Day.
said, he was under the impression that by the Standing Order any Notice of opposition given to a Bill of this nature rendered it essential that the discussion should be postponed until another day.
The hon. Member is mistaken. The Standing Order does not apply in this case, because the Bill is a Public Bill.
wished to point out that it was promoted by a private Company.
It is a Provisional Order Bill, and all Provisional Order Bills are Public Bills.
said, he understood the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade to intimate that in face of the opposition raised to the second Bill it would go over until tomorrow.
said, that was a mistake.
, on a point of Order, wished to know how it was, if this were a Private Bill, that it came on at the time of Private Business?
Provisional Order Bills are always taken after Private Bills.
said, he would make an appeal to his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade to allow the Bill to stand over.
asked if it was competent for any Member to move that the Bill be re-committed?
said, he thought that would be the best way to relieve the House from its present difficulty. He would therefore move that the Bill be re-committed in reference to the Strand District Order. Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "now read the third time," and add the word "re-committed,"—(Mr. Hicks,)—instead thereof. Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he strongly objected to the manner in which this question of electric lighting was being dealt with. He had already said what he desired to say in reference to these Bills. Message to attend the Lords Commissioners;— The House went;—and being returned;—
reported the Royal Assent to several Bills.
Electric Lighting Provisional Orders (No 5) Bill
Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, that in supporting the third reading of the Bill he would point out that this Provisional Order, along with others, had been referred not only to an ordinary Select Committee, but to a Hybrid Committee, in order that anybody might appear before the Committee who had anything to say upon the subject. He believed that the matter had been investigated with great care, and that no substantial opposition was raised to the Bill. Under those circumstances, he hoped the House would assent to the third reading.
said, he hoped that his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Hicks), who had moved the re-committal of the Bill, would now allow the Bill to pass the third reading, in order that the House might come to Bill (No. 8), against which the principal objection was raised; and in regard to that Bill he would ask his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade to put off its consideration until to-morrow, in the event of the opposition to (No. 5) Bill being withdrawn. As one reason, he would point out that it was most desirable that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade should be present when the question was discussed.
said, that after the remarks of the hon. Member (Sir Joseph M'Kenna), if it was the wish of the House he would withdraw the Amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read the third time, and passed.
Electric Lighting Provisional Orders (No 8) Bill
( Mr. John Holms, Mr. Chamberlain.)
Bill 230 Third Reading
Order for Third Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—( Mr. John Holms.)
said, he had been in hopes that his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade would have permitted this Bill to have been postponed until to-morrow, according to the usual custom of the House, because, practically, the Bill was a Private Bill. The Speaker, however, had ruled that the Bill was a Public Bill, although it was put down for consideration at the time of Private Business. Those who were entitled to oppose the Bill would have preferred that the discussion should have been postponed, in order that the House might have been placed in possession of more information in regard to it. He thought that a great deal of haste had been exhibited in connection with the progress of this Bill. It was only on Tuesday that hon. Members were made aware that it had been reported by the Committee, and then they were only made aware of it by means of the public papers. Yesterday they were asked to take the Report into consideration, notwithstanding the fact that there was nothing whatever for the House to consider. There was no Report; not a scrap of evidence which had been taken before the Committee was in the hands of Members. They were just as wise after the Committee had reported as they were before; and they had no means to enable them to arrive at a correct conclusion in reference to the decision of the Committee. More than that, there was no Member of the Committee present to support their conclusions, and yet that stage of the Bill was forced through, and the next stage put down for to-day. Considering that the Bill abolished the right of private contract, considering that it prevented a very important suction of the community from taking advantage of the Electric Lighting Act, and obtaining from the Board of Trade a licence in order to light their district, and considering that the Bill confiscated an agreement entered into between the Strand District and the Jablochkoff Company, he thought the least they could have done would have been to give one day between the various stages of the Bill, in order that those persons who were so largely interested in it might have an opportunity for consultation. The question between the Board of Trade and the Strand District stood thus. The Strand District consented to give a licence to the Jablochkoff Company for the electric lighting of the district for seven years. It had been thought expedient to authorize the Jablochkoff Company to make a contract only for seven years on terms which were thought to be reasonable, because it was assumed that by the time those seven years had expired fresh inventions might have been brought to light, or new means discovered, which would altogether have changed the conditions of electric lighting. The Strand District said very wisely—"We do not want to make a contract for a longer term than seven years; and therefore we applied to the Board of Trade, under the powers given by the Electric Lighting Act, for the necessary authority to grant a licence." But the Board of Trade said—"We repudiate your contract altogether, and we do not intend to give you a licence, because we have already promoted a Bill giving a monopoly to the Edison and Swan Companies to light the whole of the district for 21 years. We, therefore, reject your claim altogether, and will not assent to your desire to be prudent and economical. We refuse your right altogether to enter into any commercial contract with reference to lighting your district." This was a very arbitrary proceeding on the part of the Board of Trade; and, to justify it, it ought to be fortified by strong reasons. He was not aware why it was that the officers of the Board of Trade preferred the Swan and Edison Lighting Companies; but it certainly did appear that there was something in the shape of a preference shown. No doubt the Board of Trade had its preferences as well as other people; but it was a very different thing when they proposed to force their preferences upon the ratepayers of the Strand for 21 years, and compel them to accept a contract with the Edison and Swan Companies, which they had no desire whatever to make. This was very arbitrary conduct on the part of the Board of Trade, and they ought to be in a position fully to justify it. It was said that the Jablochkoff Company were not in a position to carry out their contract; but when hon. Members were asked to confirm a monopoly upon other Companies, and to hand over the ratepayers of the Strand for 21 years, and to violate and tear up an agreement which the Strand District had already entered into with the Jablochkoff Company, he thought it was quite time for the House to inquire into the nature and character of the proceedings which had impelled the Board of Trade to this course. He had nothing in the world to say against the Edison Company, which, he believed; provided an excellent light; but he would remind the House that the Jablochkoff Company, which had made an agreement with the Strand District—which agreement the Board of Trade said they were not willing the Company should carry out—also provided a good light. What he asked was, what were the objections of the Board of Trade to the Strand authorities making an agreement of a commercial character for the lighting of the district? Major Marindin had tried to induce the Strand autho- rities to adopt the Edison Company; but they said that they preferred the Jablochkoff Company, and that they were perfectly satisfied that they were the proper authorities constituted under the Act of Parliament to deal with the question, and to treat with the Board of Trade, and they could see no reason whatever why the agreement they had entered into should be ignored by the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade thereupon said—"We have no means of knowing that the Jablochkoff Company can carry out their agreement, if it is confirmed by the Board of Trade." But with regard to the other two Companies, which it was now proposed to force upon the Strand District, were they in a position to perform their contract? Not a word upon that subject had been uttered; but, on the contrary, when the parties were before the Committee, it was agreed that the question of moans and ability to carry out agreements should be admitted on all hands. Therefore, the question of ability was not one of the questions for the consideration of the House, nor was it a question which the Committee had under consideration when they reported. Nevertheless, the Board of Trade said—"We have no means of ascertaining that the Jablochkoff Company could carry out its contracts." Now, as a matter of fact, the lighting of the Thames Embankment was undertaken by the Jablochkoff Company, and had been performed by them for sonic years. Was not that a sufficient means of enabling the Board of Trade to ascertain whether the Jablochkoff Company could carry out electric lighting or not? Surely the lighting of the Embankment was strong evidence of the ability of that Company to provide electric lighting. At all events, no other Company had given the same evidence of ability, and no other of those Companies had had any lights of the sort for the last five years. The Jablochkoff Company alone was the Company which had given hostages to the public in respect of the value of this light; and in addition to the Thames Embankment they had lighted Paris—the operas and theatres there—Spiers and Pond's establishments in London, the Gaiety Theatre, Whiteley's, Shoolbred's, and other large establishments. He believed it was the permanent officials of the Board of Trade who were opposed to the Jablochkoff Company. He was told that two of the permanent officials of the Board of Trade attended the Select Committee, and endeavoured to force their views upon the Committee. He did not know what object they had in endeavouring to force the Swan-Edison lights upon the ratepayers of the Metropolis who did not desire to have those lights. Surely, the ratepayers and the local authorities had a right to enter into private contracts, and that right ought not to be taken away by the Board of Trade. Under what circumstances could the Board of Trade say that the Strand District had no right to enter into a contract with the Jablochkoff Company to light their district? It was not desirable that he should enter at any length into this question; but he submitted that there wore questions of a very serious character involved in the action of the Board of Trade, and unless the House took the whole matter into their consideration they would sanction a proceeding which would place the Board of Trade in direct opposition to the local authorities, and, in regard to centralization, in a position that would be dangerous to the liberties of the people. He was at a loss to understand upon what ground the Board of Trade had come to the conclusion that those two parties were not to be able to enter into an agreement. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Board of Trade said yesterday—and it was a very remarkable admission—that it was in consequence of private letters—not clandestine letters, but private letters from private consumers—which had induced the Board to come to the conclusion they had.
remarked, that he had never said anything of the kind.
said, the right hon. Gentleman was reported to have said so, and he had a shorthand report of the right hon. Gentleman's speech.
said, he would toll his hon. Friend, if he would allow him, what it was that he did say. What he had said was that the Committee had before them the evidence of private con-sinners, and especially of the lessees of some of the theatres, who protested against the district being handed over to the Jablochkoff Company.
remarked, that the right hon. Gentleman had also said that those private letters had been sent to the Board of Trade, and had influenced the Board of Trade in promoting the Bills now before the House. The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that these were private authorities constituted to deal with these matters, and that the Board of Trade ought not to be influenced by private letters. If the right hon. Gentleman had made inquiries he would have ascertained that the overwhelming decision of the district was in favour of the Jablochkoff Company. At present the district and the local authorities were placed in the most disadvantageous position. They were of opinion that they had made a most advantageous contract; but the Board of Trade insisted upon fastening upon them a contract which would be most disadvantageous and most expensive. The local authorities had no desire to accept the Edison-Swan lighting; but the Board of Trade said—"You shall accept it." He wanted to know under what right the Board of Trade assumed this dictation to the Strand District? If they said—"We prefer a Swan light to any other light," did they forget that the Jablochkoff Company could supply Swan lights as well as any other Company? Then, by what right did they say that the Jablochkoff Company could have its agreement torn up, and that the Strand District should not have the right of supplying its own lighting?
said, he wished to make a few remarks in answer to the speech of the hon. Member.
Do I understand the hon. Member for Dudley to move the Amendment of which he has given Notice?
Yes. Amendment proposed,
—instead thereof. Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the Bill be re-committed in reference to the Strand District Provisional Order,"—(Mr. Sheridan,)
said, he deeply regretted the absence of his right hon. Friend the Member for North Hampshire (Mr. Sclater-Booth), who was Chairman of the Select Committee, and who could have spoken with much greater authority upon this subject than anyone else. He must, however, say that much of that which had just been urged by the hon. Member (Mr. Sheridan) against the Bill, and in favour of the Jablochkoff Company, was submitted to the Committee, at great length, and yet the Committee had no hesitation in coming to the decision at which it arrived. He thought his hon. Friend had made a great mistake in asserting that the Board of Trade was in any way influenced by any partiality for any particular Company. They had endeavoured to give all Companies, who had shown themselves worthy of it, a certain portion of the Metropolis for testing their powers, and they did not seek to fasten any monopoly whatever upon any particular Company. Every Company which received a Provisional Order for 21 years, understood that if it failed to supply effective lighting, or at a price as cheap and with quality as good as that supplied by another Company, then a second Company might receive a Provisional Order within the same area. The Board of Trade had, therefore, guarded itself against the establishment of any monopoly whatever. As regarded the Jablochkoff Company, he had no desire to say a word against it; but he might mention that they did not come to the Board of Trade until May last; whereas the Swan Company made their application in September 1882. Moreover, it would be in the recollection of the House that the object of having a Hybrid Committee was that all classes might be heard, whether they had a locus standi or not; and the Strand authority did give their reasons why the Bill ought not to pass, and the Board of Trade accepted their point of view as one worthy of consideration. He had only to say that, instead of encouraging a monopoly in any way, or having hurried the measure through, the Bill did not go upstairs before the Committee until the 19th of July.
said, he had referred to the haste which had been evinced in regard to the measure since the Report.
denied that there had been any undue haste, and trusted the House would assent to the proposal that the Bill be now read the third time.
regretted that he was obliged to trouble the House with some remarks in reply to the speeeh of the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. As to the remark of the hon. Gentleman that the application of the Jablochkoff Company in respect of the lighting of the Strand District had not been placed in due time before the Board of Trade, he begged to give that assertion a complete and flat denial; in point of fact, as flat a denial as could possibly be given in accordance with the Rules of the House. The Strand District and the Jablochkoff Company had acted strictly in accordance with the terms of the Act of Parliament of 1882. By the 1st section of that Act, there was a right of contract given between certain Companies and local authorities; and he would read a short portion of that section, in order to show that he was quite within the truth when he made this statement. The 1st section of the Act dealt with the mode of granting power to light a particular district; and these were the words of the Act—
The provisions were to limit what the Board of Trade was to do, and the first part was to obtain the consent of every local authority having jurisdiction without the area, or any part of the area, within which the supply was licensed to be furnished, which consent the local authority was authorized to give with certain conditions, subject to the approval of the Board of Trade, which the local authority might prescribe. It was quite true that the Jablochkoff Company went first to the Board of Trade, or the Board of Trade went first to the Jablochkoff Company—he would not pledge himself as to which took precedence; but an application was made for power under the Act, because the local authorities did not intend to go for a Provisional Order. No doubt a Provisional Order had considerable advantage over a temporary licence. A Provisional Order was granted for 21 years; whereas licences granted by local authorities, and approved of by the Board of Trade, were only granted for seven years. Now, the Jablochkoff Company and the Strand District, on their part, were perfectly confident that seven years would be a sufficient time; and accordingly the Strand District applied for a licence for the Jablochkoff Company for seven years, and gave an undertaking that if the Jablochkoff Company failed to carry out their contract, that they would then go themselves before the Board of Trade and make an application in their own name. Nothing could be more strictly regular than the proceeding of the local authority. But what had the Board of Trade done? The Board -of Trade, whilst this competition was going on between two or three Companies, promoted a Provisional Order to take away the power from the local authorities for 21 years, and to place on the shoulders of the local authority what might turn out to be an incubus for so long a space of time. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken said that the Bill had not been hurried forward at all. Now, the Bill was, in the first instance, referred to a Hybrid Committee. He had no particular faith in a Hybrid Committee over any other Committee. It was appointed pro hâc vice, and, generally speaking, conducted its business in a respectable but somewhat perfunctory manner. What was it that this Committee had to do? It had to consider two Bills, equal in volume to the Journals of the House, within the space of four or five Sittings. The House yesterday passed the Report of the Committee; but there was no Report at all before the House. He ventured to say that nothing was more irregular or defective, he would not say on the part of the Committee, because they had, no doubt, pursued the usual course, but on the part of the arrangements of the House. It was not the usual course for a Bill to be reported without any Report, and for the House to decide that the Report was considered when there was no Report at all before the House, not even a skeleton, or a fiction, or a fragment. He now came to this voluminous Bill (No. 8), which contained, in fact, several Acts of Parliament, and he asked that it should be referred hack again to the Committee, in consequence of what he believed to be a great misapprehension on the part of the Board of Trade. He did not speak without authority on this matter. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade was present, and he would, perhaps, give his attention for one or two moments. He was reported in The Times of that morning to have stated—"The Board of Trade may from time to time license any Local Authorities defined by the Act, or any other Company or persons, to supply electricity under this Act for any public or private purpose within any area, subject to the following provisions."
He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was given to jesting; but if he was not, he was certainly given to sarcasm, and such sarcasm which would scarcely be justified in any other matter of business. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say—"With respect to the Strand District, proposals have been made by the Jablochkoff Company; but the Committee did not think they were seriously intended."
Well, that was an entire mis-statement of the case. When the Report was before the House, together with the Evidence, and in the hands of hon. Members, they would see that the Committee fully acknowledged the value of the Jablochkoff Company and the Jablochkoff light. He pledged himself that that would be found in the shorthand report whenever it was in the hands of hon. Members. But, of course, the right hon. Gentleman must have believed this statement, or he would never have made use of it. He asked, then, to have the Bill re-committed, in order that the matter might be cleared up, because it was a very serious matter indeed, inasmuch as it involved the necessity of the Strand Board of Works going to "another place," from which very frequently Bills of this kind did not return. He really thought it would be consistent with the dignity of the Board of Trade, and only fair to Parliament, that the right hon. Gentleman should agree to this reference hack to the Committee, simply with regard to this particular Provisional Order; and he ventured to say that if the question did go before the Committee again, when they had the opportunity of reconsidering the matter by the light of the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, they would admit that they had been overborne by the dead weight and vis inertia of the Board of Trade in pro- moting this enormous Bill and smothering the local authority."Accordingly, after hearing representations from private consumers, the Committee passed an Order in favour of the Swan Company, subject to certain limitations. He hoped the House would not put any further obstacles in the way of the Order."
said, the hon. Member for Youghal Sir Joseph M'Kenna) asserted that the question had not been thoroughly thrashed out by the Hybrid Committee. He (Mr. Story-Maskelyne) could only say that it was a very strong Committee to which the question was referred; and if ever there I was a question which had been thoroughly thrashed out, carefully studied, and a decision come to after very full consideration, it was in the case of this Provisional Order. The Committee sat steadily nearly every day, and there was never a single Member of the Committee absent; and when he said that this Order was passed by the Committee unanimously, and was the first Order upon which they came to any decision, he thought the House would see that the question was not one upon which it was worth while to detain the House at that hour of the day. He would only say one thing with regard to the statement that had been made in reference to the Board of Trade. The line of argument taken up by hon. Members who opposed this Order was that the Board of Trade had not properly considered the representations of the Strand District as the local authority in asking for a particular light in that district. Now, he asserted that that was not the case. The Board of Trade heard both sides most carefully. They had provisionally consented to the Order at the time this request was made to them; but they went into the whole of the matter, and the Board of Trade put into the Provisional Order proposed to be granted to the Swan Company a special clause to provide that, if within six months after date of the commencement of the Order a licence was granted by the Board of Trade authorizing the Board of Works of the Strand District, or the Jablochkoff Company, to supply lighting by electricity within any part of the area in which the Swan Company were authorized to supply lighting by electricity, the Board of Trade should have power to revoke the Order as to the whole of the area included in Schedules A and B. With that clause in their Provisional Order, the Edison and Swan Companies were left to lay their case before the Committee; and the case, which, no doubt, was a complicated one, was tho- roughly thrashed out. The matter was not by any means so simple as hon. Gentlemen imagined. In the first place, the Jablochkoff asked for a large area—a much larger area than, he ventured to say, they intended to cover. They asked for an area bounded by limits which curiously intersected the rights of other districts in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden and the Savoy. The Committee had to go into the whole of the matter; and, as he had already stated, if ever there was a question not partially but thoroughly examined and considered, it was this. The very first Resolution the Committee came to was that Clause 67 should be struck out of the Order; and, subsequently, the area was divided in what was considered to be an equitable manner, and in a manner best suited for the public interests between the Edison and Swan Companies. Indeed, so thoroughly had the question been thrashed out that he could assure the House if they sat there discussing it for two hours they would find it impossible to get more seed out of it, although they might discover a little more chaff. If they were called upon to go to a Division he hoped the House would support the Committee, who had conscientiously endeavoured to do their duty. Question put, and agreed to. Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read the third time, and passed.
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?
No, Sir; I understand not.
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 passage to the salmon fishery is what I refer to.
Is that to the beach?
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,
and, what steps he intends to take to procure an impartial and independent investigation of the facts?"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;"
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 outstanding loans have, no doubt increased since the last Return; but until the next Return is made up I cannot say to what extent."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."
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?
That is one of the points that will be considered.
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?
said, it was so stated in the Blue Book. Subsequently,
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.
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.
We are not prepared to do anything of the sort.
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—
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."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,"
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
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?
It will be taken to-morrow at 2 o'clock.
, 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—
The hon. Member is raising questions of debate. In reply to Mr. BOURKE,
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?
The hon. Member cannot put a question of that kind.
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.
intimated that it would not.
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.
Order Of The Day
Supply—Civil Service Estimates
SUPPLY— considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Class Ii—Salaries And Expenses Of Civil Departments
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £15,432, 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 Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Her Majesty's Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, and of the Office of Land Revenue Records and Inrolments."
said, he wished to ask the Prime Minister a question with regard to this Vote. His object was to ascertain whether sonic means could not be devised to bring the whole Department of Woods and Forests under the cognizance of that House? Prior to the year 1862 the Department was attached to the Office of the Commissioners of Works, the First Commissioner of Works being the Commissioner of Woods and Forests. He pointed out that the present administration of the Office seemed to be in an anomalous condition, because the officers attached to it were paid out of the Public Revenue; whereas it was well known that the Department had a large revenue of its own which was entirely unaccounted for to Parliament. While this charge was going on year after year there was absolutely no control whatever over the administration of the Department, which was in no way represented in that House; and the First Commissioner of Works, having been divorced from it for the last 30 years, there was, practically, no means of getting any information as to its working. He had had considerable reason to know the difficulties resulting from the present arrangement in the case of the New Forest; and his contention was, that if Parliament was called upon to pay for the administration of a Department, which had large revenues of its own, the House of Commons ought to have some voice in that administration. He hoped the Government would give their attention to this matter during the Recess; and in that expectation he should not, on the present occasion, make any Motion for the reduction of the Vote.
said, he was not then in a position to reply on the question raised by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, but would take the opinion of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject.
said, he was anxious to address a few words to the Committee on the subject of this Vote, and to ask Her Majesty's Government to consider, during the Recess, the question of establishing a School of Forestry in this country, and the utilizing of the National Forests for the purpose of forest education. So much, indeed, had forestry been neglected that in Scotland the word suggested deer, but no trees; while the idea in England was generally associated with an excellent provident Institution. Of course, the Crown Forests formed but a small part of the subject. There were altogether, in round numbers, 2,500,000 acres of woods and plantations in the country, so that the subject was one of vast importance. Moreover, it was calculated that in Scotland and Wales there were 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 acres at present almost valueless, and which, if judiciously planted, would give large results. In the science of Forestry they were, he believed, far behind most foreign countries, especially France and Germany; and he was very anxious that their landed proprietors should benefit by the experience which other nations had acquired. But he would ask where was a country gentleman who owned woodlands to obtain information as to their management or to procure trained assistants? They had no School of Forestry in this country, and they had no class of persons specially trained and instructed in the formation and management of woods. It was, he feared, still true that, as the House of Commons Committee of 1854 reported, timber was everywhere worse managed than any other species of property; and it was desirable that this state of things should not continue. On the other hand, the highest authorities had expressed a very strong opinion that we might make our woodlands much more profitable; but there was one preliminary step necessary. The highest English authorities were strongly in favour of the establishment of a School of Forestry, and had forcibly pointed out the loss which our present system of management, or rather mismanagement, entailed on landowners. Mr. Brown, in his standard work on Forests, observed that—
We wore the only important nation in Europe without a School of Forestry, and yet, if we included our Colonies, our forests were the largest and most valuable in the world. It appeared to be a very strong argument in favour of the establishment of a School of Forestry that at present the young men who were going out to manage our Indian Forests had to be sent for instruction to the great French Forest School at Nancy. No doubt, that was a most excellent Institution, and we were indebted to the French Government for the courtesy with which they had received our English students; but the system of education given there naturally contained some branches—as, for instance, the study of the French law—which were not adapted to English students; while there were many other considerations, such as climate, which rendered a Continental school less suitable for English requirements. He might add that no young Englishmen, as a matter of fact, went there, excepting those intended for the Indian Service. For our Colonies, again, the establishment of a good School of Forestry would be of vast importance, inasmuch as a judicious management of their woods would add considerably to their revenues. French foresters had recently been sent to the Cape of Good Hope and to Cyprus, it having been found impossible to obtain any Englishmen with the necessary knowledge. Perhaps, however, he should be asked why the establishment of a School of Forestry, if it were so urgently needed, should not be the work of private enterprize? The reason was clear. A properly equipped Forest School must have attached to it a large extent of forest in various stages, and having a variety of climate and soil; and this, it was obvious, no private institution could supply; but he did not say that the proposal necessarily involved the establishment of a Government School. He understood that the Government contemplated an arrangement with the Cooper's Hill College; but he trusted they would, before instituting a Government School, inquire whether such Colleges as Cirencester could be made available for the purpose; and, possibly, some arrange- ments might be entered into by which, under careful regulations, the Professors and students attached might periodically visit our national forests. He might mention, as an illustration of the importance of this subject to our Possessions abroad, that lately the Government of the Cape of Good Hope determined to appoint a Forest Commissioner, with an income of £800 a year; they could not, however, find any Englishman qualified for the post, and were obliged to appoint a French gentleman, even though he could not speak English. The Society of Arts had memorialized Her Majesty's Government on this subject; and the presence in this country of Dr. Brandis and Colonel Pearson rendered the present time especially fitting for the consideration of his proposal. In these circumstances, he trusted Her Majesty's Government would not think him unreasonable in bringing it under their notice."If our forests had been judiciously managed, we should not find so great a part of the woodlands of Great Britain in the unprofitable state in which they are."
said, he thought the Committee were much beholden to the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London for calling attention to this subject. The timber question all over the world was one of growing importance, for the simple reason that the natural forests were everywhere diminishing, and that it would be necessary to supplement them by forests planted by the hand of man. Moreover, England, through her Colonies and through India, was the largest possessor of forests of any country in the world; notwithstanding which Englishmen had less opportunity of learning, and actually did learn, less forestry efficiently than any other people. He perfectly recollected, with regard to Cyprus, the impossibility of finding any competent Englishman to deal with the forests in that Island, and that, accordingly, they were obliged to go to France for the men they wanted. As a Scotchman, he was proud to say that Scotland, through the Highland Society, had done something in the direction aimed at by his hon. Friend; and he would ask the attention of the Committee to a resolution passed by that Society, to the effect that it would hail with pleasure the organization of a Society in Great Britain, which would establish a system of instruction in forestry, as they believed the question to be one of vast importance both to this country and her Colo- nies. For years past the Highland Society had encouraged the study by the institution of prizes, examinations, and certificates; they had introduced a system by which the efficiency of foresters could be tested, and who, in proportion to their efficiency, were enabled to get good appointments either at home or abroad. But it was evident that the efforts of a single Society, confined as it was, and must necessarily be, to one quarter of the Island, were totally inadequate to meet with the necessities of the case. Scotland possessed large forests which, however, had not been well managed; and not only was there with respect to them the greatest room for improvement, but their existence presented an actual school for instruction in forestry. The science of forestry could not be learned from books; it could not be taught by books, nor tested by examinations in the ordinary sense of the term; there must be large or considerable forests available in which the pupils could learn, and upon which they might exorcise their skill. He trusted the Government would take into their favourable consideration the suggestion of his hon. Friend, and would conclude his remarks by again acknowledging their indebtedness to his hon. Friend for calling attention to this important and interesting subject.
said, he rose for the purpose of moving the reduction of this Vote by the sum of £1,200, the amount of the salary of the Commissioner who signed the contract for the sale to Her Majesty of the manorial rights of Esher and Milbourne. He need hardly say he had no personal feeling towards the gentleman in question, of whom he had no personal knowledge; his contention being simply that, by the act of sale referred to, he had taken a step detrimental to the interests of the people. Hon. Members would find the contract described on page 45 in the last of the Metropolitan Land Reports laid upon the Table of the House a year ago; it was a contract for the sale of the manorial rights of Esher and Milbourne for the sum of £1,000 to Sir Henry Ponsonby, trustee for Her Majesty. He had no complaint to make of the sale of the property; on the contrary, he considered it right that the landed property of the Crown should be sold; his remarks referred only to the sale of the manorial rights of Esher and Milbourne. Now, Her Majesty was tenant for life of the Manor of Esher and Milbourne, under the Crown Lands Act of 1866; and this contract, which he believed had since been carried out by the completion of a conveyance, was a contract of the sale of the reversion, the sale being made to Her Majesty personally, or rather to Sir Henry Ponsonby. The effect of this would be that Her Majesty, having had the enjoyment of these manors during her life, and having purchased the reversion, had a claim to all the manorial rights, and was in a position to enclose the manors in question. The Committee would perceive that the commonable rights of the people were greatly in danger by this transfer, because the rights in question might be passed on to other persons who might complete the enclosure of the manors. The commons of Esher and Bagshot had an area of about 700 acres; they were the most beautiful of all the commons left near London, from which they were distant about 13 miles. They were beautified by woodland, and it was difficult to believe that so near London a spot could be found distinguished by such rural scenery. These extensive tracts of heath and woodland were easily accessible to the people of London by the South-Eastern Railway, and would be still more so when the new line was completed. The Committee would ask how it was possible that commons so near to London should be in danger of enclosure, seeing that a Bill had been brought in for the purpose of preventing the enclosure of commons within a certain distance from London; but the Bill had been blocked, and it was for that reason that he took this opportunity of appealing to the Committee on the subject of preserving the commons he had mentioned. He understood that already some of the paths had been closed, and that wayfarers had been turned back; and, although some doubt had been cast upon that allegation, he believed it had a foundation in fact. He did not suppose there was any chance of the common being enclosed by Her Majesty, whom they knew to be desirous of preserving for the people the open spaces in the country; and he was satisfied that the last thing which Her Majesty would do would be to shut out the public from these commons. Neither did he fear the exercise of the right by the Duke of Albany during his residence at Claremont; but, as the sale had been made to Her Majesty personally, the property might pass to others who would have less regard to the interests of the public. He submitted that the course which should be taken by the Commissioners was to sell Crown lands on such conditions as would prevent their being enclosed. He would refer the Committee to the Act of the 16th of Victoria, page 62, section 10, which provided that the sale of land or hereditaments should be made subject to such conditions as might be deemed expedient by the Commissioners. That provision he considered expressly designed to meet cases of the kind he was referring to; and he thought the Commissioners should have acted upon it, in which case these open spaces would have been saved. In a matter like this the Treasury would, of course, say the Commissioners of Woods and Forests were bound to get a good price for the land; but he submitted that that was a false view to take of the matter. The price of the manorial rights in this case was only £1,000, a sum which he contended bore no comparison with the value of the land to the inhabitants of London. That value could not be measured by money at all, and if £10,000 had been offered it would, in his opinion, have been better to keep the land than sell it on such conditions as he had described. He should take the earliest opportunity of moving a Resolution on the subject, with the object of obtaining from the House an expression of opinion that this sale ought not to have been made. He was aware that all the Departments, with the honourable exception of the Board of Trade, were in the habit of looking solely at the money price in such matters; but that was not the whole consideration involved, and he contended that the question should be regarded from the point of view of the happiness and welfare of the people. For these reasons, he asked the Committee to mark its sense of the mistake made by the Commissioner by rejecting the charge for the amount of his salary. Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £14,232, 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 Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Her Majesty's Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, and of the Office of Land Revenue Records and Inrolnaents."—(Mr. Bryce.)
said, he felt sure the Committee and the country would feel grateful to the hon. Member who had brought forward this Motion. He believed that the question of the alienation of Crown property was one that required to be thoroughly threshed out in that House. He did not blame the Commissioners for the line they had taken with reference to the manors of Esher and Milbourne, because it was their business, as Trustees for the Crown, to make as much as they could of the property; but he contended that it was the duty of the Government, in the first place, and ultimately of this House, as guardian of the interests of the people, to stand between them and the purchaser when the interests of the people were being invaded. He would call the attention of the Committee to the Crown Lands Bill, which had been put forward by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, and helped forward by the Government. It was the intention of the Commissioners to reduce Crown property to the condition of private property, and he would ask the attention of the Committee to the object of the Bill he had mentioned.
said, the hon. Member must not enter into a discussion of the Crown Lands Bill.
said, he had gone a little too far in saying he would discuss this Bill, when his intention was simply to discuss the action of the Commissioners with regard to it, as an illustration of the mode in which these rights were habitually dealt with. He did not blame the Commissioners for the action they had taken; but he did blame the Government for standing by, night after night, and endeavouring to run that particular Bill through the House at a time when discussion was impossible, so as to preclude the House from the only opportunity they would have of defending the rights of the poor commoners. He said it was their duty to defend those rights against the assaults of the Government; and, under the circumstances, they had no means of doing so except by raising the question in the present somewhat irregular manner. He did not wish to detain the Committee at greater length on that occasion; but would simply observe that no fact could better support the argument of his hon. Friend than that which was derived from the case of the New Forest, in which there was a large expanse of beautiful woods that it was extremely desirable should be preserved for the enjoyment of the people. He believed it was owing to the want of true knowledge of the art of forestry that they were now met by the ridiculous argument that in that large forest there could not be found annually, without injury to the ancient woods, the 200 trees necessary to maintain a right of the commoners, which was as ancient as the New Forest itself. In making these observations he had no desire to trespass against the Rules of the Committee; but simply to point out what, in his opinion, was the true position of the Commissioners, who acted in the interest, or supposed interest, of the Crown, and what ought to be the ground taken up by the Government in conserving the rights of Her Majesty's subjects.
said, he did not, for one moment, disapprove of the sale of Claremont Estate; on the contrary, he thought it beneficial to all concerned, and, having sold the property to Her Majesty, he considered that the Office of Woods and Forests had thereby served the interests of the people. At the same time, lie agreed with his hon. Friend in saying that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests should have a settled policy in dealing with manorial rights. He was an earnest advocate for the sale of Crown lands, except those which it was necessary and desirable to retain for purposes of Royal dignity and public recreation; but he and his hon. Friends were strongly of opinion that the rights in question should not be parted with without duo regard being paid to the interests of the people.
said, he was struck by the fact that they were not in a position to take any practical steps with a view to remedying what appeared to be an unfortunate transaction on the part of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests; but he was bound to say that what they had just heard from his hon. Friend entirely supported the view expressed at an earlier period of the discussion by the hon. Member for Ports- mouth (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), that it was most important to have the Office of Woods and Forests represented by a Member of the Government. [Mr. COURTNEY: The Treasury is responsible.] Here was an important matter affecting, in a variety of ways, the health, happiness, and welfare of the people, and yet there was no one in that House to whom, as Representative of the Department, an appeal on the subject could be made. His hon. Friend said the Treasury could be appealed to; but, without detracting from the respect which they all entertained for the Secretary to the Treasury and the Department represented by him, he was bound to say that some other Representative the Office of Woods and Forests was desirable in that House. They wanted someone who would be responsible for the administration of the Office—someone who would represent officially the officers whose salaries were paid under this Vote. If his hon. Friend could suggest any mode of dealing with this matter other than by refusing the salary of one of the Commissioners, he would vote for his proposal; but he would like first to see some pressure brought to bear in the proper quarter that would prevent the recurrence of what they now complained of. He was bound to say that the description given by his hon. Friend had created some alarm in his mind; and he should not be surprised to hear that some steps had been taken to enclose the commons in question, and thereby deprive the public of those rights which they hitherto enjoyed.
said, he wished to add one word to what had fallen from the hon. Member who had just addressed the Committee. The hon. Member had been interrupted in the course of his observations by the Secretary to the Treasury, who said that the Treasury was responsible for the Department of Woods and Forests; but he did not think the hon. Gentleman was as much responsible for that Department as he was for some others—for instance, the Customs and Inland Revenue Department. In fact, the Commissioner of Woods and Forests asserted a kind of equality with Ministers of the Crown; and he doubted whether any appointments and changes made in the Department were submitted to the Treasury in the same way as wore the appointments in the Customs and Inland Re- venue and other Departments. He thought they had reason to complain of the conduct of the Commissioners, although, no doubt, they did what was right in the abstract in making as much money as possible out of the public. With regard to the New Forest, he pointed out that there was a contest always going on between the Commissioners on the one hand and the commoners on the other. Some years ago he was a Member of a Committee which sat to inquire into the way in which the Commissioners administered that Forest; and at that time the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Homo Secretary, then Member for Oxford, took an active part in proceedings, the object of which was to protect the interest of the public in opposition to the decision of the Commissioners. As these forests were the great recreation grounds of the people, he thought their administration should be more under the control of that House than it was at present. He entirely sympathized with the Motion of his hon. Friend, and trusted that the Secretary to the Treasury would be able to make some satisfactory statement upon the subject to which his attention had been directed.
said, there was one point with regard to these Crown lands on which he craved a little information from the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury. The expense of keeping up Windsor Park was thrown upon the country, he believed, on the plea that the the forest was productive; he did not know what it produced, but he thought it must be very little. That, however, was not his point. The public were allowed to wander about a certain portion of the Park, but they were not allowed to go into the enormous tract of forest adjoining it because of the large amount of game that was preserved there, the keepers of which, he understood, were paid at the expense of the taxpayers of the country. Now, as his hon. Friend had pointed out in moving the Amendment before the Committee, these forests were the pleasure grounds of the people; and, that being so, he was at a loss to understand why the people were not allowed to go into them. As the matter was under the control of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, lie thought the present a proper opportunity for asking the authorities to take into consideration whether the amount of game preserved in Windsor Forest was not excessive; because, not only were the public prohibited from entering the forest on account of the game, but the game itself caused great damage to the crops of the neighbouring farmers. That question was often raised by the inhabitants of the district; and lie trusted that the Committee would be furnished by the Secretary to the Treasury with some clear information, both as to the amount of game, and the reason why the public were prevented from entering the Forest at Windsor.
said, he hoped the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would inform the Committee on what principle the Government proposed to administer the Crown lands in future. Were the Commissioners to look to the interest of the people, or were they to have the power to sell manorial rights without restriction, looking merely to profit as landlords? If the Committee did not receive an assurance that the property would be administered as national property in the interest of the people, he trusted his hon. Friend would go to a Division on his Amendment, which he should feel it his duty to support.
remarked, that the discussion which had taken place on the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) was a perfectly fair and proper one; but before he proceeded further, he wished to acknowledge the extreme value of the suggestions put forward by his hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock). The Treasury, however, had not seen their way to do anything in the matter; indeed, there were very great difficulties in the way of doing any thing. It must be borne in mind that the forests of the country were certainly not very large, and that there was not that large opening for a School of Forestry which the hon. Baronet hoped to set on foot. The observations of his hon. Friend would not, however, be thrown away, and he might rest assured that the subject would not be lost sight of. In regard to the question opened out by his hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), he had to say that the Department of Woods and Forests was under the Treasury as much as the Departments of Customs and Inland Revenue; indeed, the Commissioners of Woods and Forests could do nothing substantially without referring to the Treasury—they could neither sell, nor buy, nor lease, nor farm, nor make improvements without coming to the Treasury for its approval. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) had asked whether in future the woods and forests were to be treated as national property? As a matter of fact, it was only at the accession of the Queen to the Throne that this property was handed over to the Executive. The property itself was an appanage of the Crown. The present arrangements by which it was handed over would only last for the lifetime of Her Majesty, and at her death would be subjected to reconsideration. Technically, the Executive was not seized with the property as national property. He did not wish, however, to lay much stress upon that fact, as he had no doubt that the property would remain for generations under the control of the Executive Government. He did not understand what his hon. Friend meant about treating private property like public property. The first principle adopted in regard to property was to treat it in such a way as to enable it to produce as much revenue to the nation as could be acquired, consistently with due regard to the interests of the people, who might be the occupiers, or who might be on the property. As to the special property which had been referred to, these were the facts. Claremont was in the possession of Her Majesty, who was life tenant there, and the reversion of the property had now been sold to Her Majesty; but it must not be forgotten that the Queen was the absolute possessor for the term of her life of all the rights of the property, just as much as she was now. [General Sir GEORGE BALFOUR: For her life.] He had stated that it was for Her Majesty's life, and during that time she could exercise any right over it whatever; but he did not think that there was any danger, even under the present circumstances, that anything would be done to interfere with the rational enjoyment of Her Majesty's subjects. He must, however, point out that hon. Members who had spoken on this subject had lost sight of the material circumstances to be considered. They seemed to regard the matter as a contest between a Department of the Government and the nation—between the Treasury and the nation. Now, the real issue to be determined lay between the nation itself and the inhabitants of special districts. The money that might be got for the sale of Claremont properly became part of the receipts of the Exchequer, and contributed towards the Expenditure of the country and of the taxpayers at large, who were interested in the realization of the property. The people interested on the other side were, in this case, he admitted, the inhabitants of London; but it might, in another case, be the inhabitants of some small town, or a very limited locality. What had been put by more than one speaker amounted to this—that the inhabitants of a particular locality were, as against the nation at large, to receive boons which they could not hope to receive from private owners; that the nation at large was really, from a money point of view, to contribute recreation grounds in different special localities. He could not see how such a proposition could be seriously entertained, or how it could be alleged that the chance distribution of the manorial rights of the Crown over England should be used to secure for the inhabitants of one locality here, and another locality there, recreation grounds at the expense of the general population. At the same time, there was no desire to preclude any reasonable arrangement being entered into which would secure to the inhabitants, at a reasonable rate, that which they desired to obtain. He could not think that it would be at all fair to the taxpayers at large to lay down the principle that the representatives of the Crown should give up to the inhabitants of a special locality that which belonged to the nation as a whole. The case, in this instance, was one between the people of the country as against the people of London; and it was precisely the same principle as was involved in a transaction which occurred some years ago, for which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) was responsible—namely, the taking away of a portion of the land of the Thames Embankment, which belonged to the Crown, and handing it over to the inhabitants of the Metropolis. He (Mr. Courtney) could not regard what was then done by the right hon. Gentleman as other than a dubious proceeding; and he did not think that hon. Members would seriously contend, for a moment, that the principle should be accepted of making use of the property which belonged to the Crown for a mere chance distribution of that property throughout the Kingdom, in order to supply recreation grounds for special localities. He did not suppose that his hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) intended to press his Motion to a Division. He understood that the Motion had been made entirely for the purpose of calling attention to the subject, and, if possible, of eliciting an expression of opinion upon it. His hon. Friend had gained that object, and probably would not feel inclined to press the Amendment to a Division.
said, the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury had given some fair reasons why this property should not be considered as belonging to London, or to any other place; but with regard to the Thames Embankment, he (Mr. Collins) was a Member of the House at the time that great question came on for discussion, and he remembered that that transaction was commented on with some severity. There was, however, this great distinction—that the Thames Embankment was made at the cost of the ratepayers of the Metropolis, and the land which was reclaimed was previously worth nothing at all. Therefore, there was no analogy between land reclaimed at the expense of the ratepayers of London by having a drainage rate levied on the whole of the Metropolis, and land which was not required to be converted into land at the cost of the ratepayers. The land reclaimed on the Thames Embankment technically, no doubt, belonged to the Crown, and the Crown had rights over it; but it was of no value whatever to the Crown until the ratepayers of London made it of value. The Crown was in no way seriously affected by the formation of the Victoria Gardens, because prior to the construction of the Embankment the land was of no value; and, therefore, there could be no analogy between that case and the claim now set up, that any land near London upon which the people of the Metropolis had spent no money at all should be appro- priated to the benefit of a particular class.
remarked, that the Secretary to the Treasury had already missed the real point. The hon. Gentleman seemed to put down as of no value whatever those advantages which the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) maintained to be of the greatest value—namely, the advantage of the enjoyment of fresh air, and so on. The hon. Gentleman appeared to treat the matter entirely as a question of pounds, shillings, and pence, and that was the position generally maintained among all the Departments of the Government. He thought it was a position which ought to be attacked and destroyed if possible. There was no price which could be put upon recreation and the power of enjoyment, so far as the fresh air and the open country went, within three or four miles, to the people of London. He would go further, and say the property which belonged to the people ought to be yielded, as far as its rights were concerned, to that portion of the English people who happened to live in the neighbourhood, wherever that neighbourhood might be. He therefore hoped, despite the views of the Secretary to the Treasury, that this principle would be adopted, whether applied to the Thames Embankment, or the people of London, or of Birmingham, or Salisbury, or anywhere else, or to any portion of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom whatever. He hoped that whatever rights might be found to exist would be exercised practically for the advantage of the people of the United Kingdom, but specially for those of that portion of the people who alone, from the locality they occupied, could enjoy them. To sell those rights in order to make so many pounds, shillings, and pence, and place the money in the National Treasury, was certainly one of the most monstrous propositions he had ever heard, and was calculated more than anything to interfere with and to endanger the welfare of the community. He did not remember the particulars of the case in regard to the Thames Embankment; but the Thames Embankment certainly belonged to the people of London, as far as the enjoyment of it went. The fact that it belonged to the people of the United Kingdom virtually did not interfere with the rights of the people on the spot, who were alone capable of enjoying it. An hon. Member opposite had mentioned the question of foreshores. He (Mr. Jesse Collings) regretted to say that many of the foreshores were being sold by the Crown and by the Duchy of Lancaster in various parts of the country in order to make money by them. He knew a case in which those rights had been sold on one part of the coast, and the people of the neighbourhood had, in consequence, been deprived of the right of going upon the shore even to pick up shells, although they had always hitherto been allowed access to the shore with perfect freedom. In other cases persons were forbidden from bathing in the sea, and so forth; and he thought, if that was the principle upon which his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury intended to act in distributing the soil of this country, there ought to be a Division, in order to show the sense of the Committee and to show that they entertained au entirely different opinion from that of the hon. Gentleman. He (Mr. Jesse Collings) thought that his hon. Friend took a very narrow view, indeed, of the duties of the Treasury on this subject. In point of fact, it ought not to be treated as a pounds, shillings, and pence question at all, because the real rights of the people, when those rights involved benefits to them, could not be estimated by any sum of money.
wished to say one word in reply to the arguments of the Secretary to the Treasury. He entirely agreed that neither at Esher nor in any other part of the country could the Crown be required to give an advantage to one portion of the population at the expense of all other parts of the country, and he had never said that the people of Esher, or of anywhere else, should have the rights of the Crown, as lords of the manor, surrendered for their special benefit. But what he contended for—and he should certainly support his hon. Friend if he went to a Division—was that the Office of Woods and Forests, in dealing with the widely-extended rights of the Crown as lord of manors, should deal with them on one principle, and adhere to it. The rights, both of the Crown and of the commoners, should be duly distinguished; but they should be dealt with upon one and the same principle. In supporting the Motion of his hon. Friend he desired to raise no other contention in the matter.
said, he thought the Secretary to the Treasury had laid down a very proper principle—namely, that the Woods and Forests Commissioners in dealing with Crown property were bound to make the best bargain for the nation that they could. The question in this case, however, was whether they had made the best bargain or not; because, as far as he understood the matter, they had only raised a sum of £1,000 for the manorial rights. He should like to have some more information in reference to the rights of enclosure. He wanted to know whether a right of enclosure had been conferred in regard to the land which had been disposed of; because, certainly, if the sale involved the power of enclosing any part of this land, £1,000 was a very small sum to receive for it? He thought the Committee ought to know the principle which guided the Government when they fixed that small price.
said, that, after the remarkable speech which had been made by the Secretary to the Treasury, it was now his intention to vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce). He remembered the case of the Thames Embankment, and the censure passed upon the course pursued by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) very well; but he did not see that any blame attached to the right hon. Member for the course which upon that occasion he had pursued. The people of London gladly subscribed the money necessary to make the Embankment, and he did not think the Crown had any claim whatever to the land that was reclaimed, seeing that it was the money of the people of London that reclaimed it. When he recollected the way in which Crown lands were frequently made away with, he did not think the health and enjoyment of the people of England should be so constantly disregarded by the Treasury. He must say that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) had shown far more regard for the interests of the people when they were in Office than their Successors had done. He hoped the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) would go to a Division, and, if he did, he (Sir George Balfour) should certainly support him.
remarked, that the course taken by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite afforded a somewhat curious mode of dealing with the case. In point of fact, the hon. and gallant Member proposed to deprive one of the Commissioners of his salary, because the hon. and gallant Member objected to some of the observations which had been made by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. It was not a pleasant thing to be made whipping-boy to the Secretary to the Treasury; but that was the position in which this particular Commissioner was placed. In regard to the propositions laid down by the Secretary to the Treasury, he did not imagine that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) would dispute the principle of them, though he might dispute the application of them to this case. In reference to the observations which had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for East Sussex (Mr. Gregory), he believed there had been no further bargain in regard to the enclosure of land than had existed formerly. Whether the sum of £1,000 which had been paid was the exact and proper value of the rights handed over was another matter; but he presumed that it had been duly considered by the Treasury, and he thought it would be wrong for the Committee to deprive this Commissioner of his salary because he happened to have signed his name to the contract. It was quite possible that when he did so he had no special knowledge of the case, and was acting altogether upon a mere matter of routine duty.
wished to ask for an explanation in regard to another portion of the Vote.
said, he thought that it would be better for the Committee to divide on the subject now before it first.
said, the subject upon which he wished to speak was intimately connected with this proposal. The Motion before the Committee was the reduction of the Vote by a sum which represented the salary of one of the Commissioners; and he wished to point out that if the Commissioners in London had not sufficient occupation, there were ample means of supplying them with it by extending their operations to Ireland. He had been glad to hear the spirit in which the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury had referred to the suggestions made by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), and he hoped on an early opportunity to have the advantage of receiving similar kindly assurances in regard to Ireland. The subject was one of great importance, and it was well known that there was great feeling upon it in Ireland. If, as he said, the Commissioners in London had not ample occupation for their time in this country, there was undoubtedly full means of supplying them with occupation in Ireland, if they would extend their operations to that country; and, having in view the possibility of such an extension, he should certainly vote against the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), and support Her Majesty's Government.
wished to make one remark upon what had fallen from the hon. Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland), in order to justify his vote. He proposed to support the Amendment, because there was no other means of showing his dissatisfaction with the statement which had been made by the Secretary to the Treasury. If there were any other way of doing it he would certainly prefer it; and if the hon. Baronet would show him any means by which he could otherwise show his dissatisfaction at the course taken by the hon. Gentleman, he would gladly avail himself of it.
said, he should not have gone to a Division if he could have obtained anything like a satisfactory assurance from the Secretary to the Treasury; but, after the harsh and uncompromising statement of the hon. Gentleman in regard to principles to which he (Mr. Bryce) entirely objected, he felt bound to go to a Division. He admitted that it was an unfortunate way of moving a protest, and he had no wish to deprive this gentleman of his salary; but he felt there were no other means open to him. In point of fact, the arguments put forward by the hon. Gentleman would justify the sale of Hyde Park. Why should the Treasury not sell the estate? He regarded it as an extraordinary good fortune that the existence of these manorial rights had hitherto kept certain lands open for the benefit of the people; and he did not think that the nation ought to be deprived of them for the sake of a small sum of money. He would ask how it was possible to compare the sum of £1,000 with the advantage of the people of London in general? Question put. The Committee divided: — Ayes 38; Noes 74: Majority 36. — (Div. List, No. 256.) Original Question again proposed.