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Commons Chamber

Volume 283: debated on Saturday 25 August 1883

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House Of Commons

Saturday, 25th August, 1883.

The House met at half after One of the clock.


Labourers' (Ireland) Act

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he has any objection to direct the Local Government Board to issue a circular to the various local bodies in Ireland, pointing out their powers under the Labourers' (Ireland) Act, explaining its provisions, and offering suggestions as to how those provisions can be carried into effect?

The Local Government Board will forward a copy of the Act to each sanitary authority, and call their attention to its provisions, and they will be at all times ready to give advice and assistance to any sanitary authority requiring it; but the duties and powers of such authorities under the Act are very clearly and fully defined, and it does not appear to be either necessary or desirable to make any general suggestions. If the hon Member will speak to me afterwards, perhaps he may tell me some reasons on which we might ground the issue of a Circular.

Russia—The Expulsion Of Jews From St Petersburgh

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he has received information from Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at St. Petersburg, with respect to the expulsion from Russia of a British subject, furnished with an English Foreign Office passport only fourteen days' old, the representative of Messrs. Raphael Tuck, of London, on account of his religion; and, if Her Majesty's Government have taken any steps to induce the Russian Government to extend to Jews the rights stipulated by treaty to all Her Majesty's subjects of whatever denomination?

Yes, Sir; the information which the Secretary of State has received from Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires is to the effect that on the 13th instant, Mr. Marcuse called at the British Consulate with his passport endorsed by the police, "British subject, a Jew, forbidden to reside in St. Petersburg." The acting Consul explained the regulations, and offered to go with him to the Prefect of Police to obtain permission for him to remain about three weeks for business purposes. Mr. Marcuse, however, said that he only cared to remain three days, and declined to ask any favour of the Russian authorities. Mr. Marcuse made no further application to the Consulate and none at all to the Embassy. He remained four days at St. Petersburg, and left for Warsaw on the 16th instant. Since the receipt of this information Messrs. Tuck have asked the Secretary of State to obtain for their representative a permit to return to St. Petersburg, and thence to travel to Moscow and Odessa for the purposes of their trade, and Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at St. Petersburg has been instructed to inquire whether the Russian Government will give such a permit. Her Majesty's Government have not recently had occasion to make any representation to the Russian Government with regard to British subjects of the Hebrew faith not being permitted to reside at St. Petersburg and certain other places in Russia. An Imperial Commission for the revision of the laws affecting the Jews was appointed in February last. As the Government expect to receive a copy of that Report, they do not in the meantime propose to take any definite action in the matter.

Law And Police (Ireland)—Extra Police Tax, Cork

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieu- tenant of Ireland, Whether, notwithstanding that the Assize, Quarter Sessions, and Police Court records attest the absence of any serious crimes having been committed in Cork City for some years past, the citizens of Cork have annually to pay a heavy impost for the maintenance of an extra police force, which, according to the City Treasurer's account, amounted last year to £1,022 9s. 11d.; whether this force was drafted into Cork at the time of the Fenian rising, and retained there since; whether the Rates and Taxes necessary for maintaining the City are already over 9s. in the pound; whether hundreds of citizens are annually processed, their goods sold, and their names struck off the burgess roll, because they cannot pay these heavy rates; whether two members of this extra police force are at present under arrest, charged with having committed the only fatal outrage recorded in the City since another policeman shot a man on the Western Road some years ago; whether the Cork Corporation has frequently complained of the Rates being burdened with the cost of this unnecessary extra police force; and, whether, under these circumstances, he will undertake to have this extra Police Force withdrawn, and the citizens relieved of this taxation?

It is true that there has been for some years an extra force in the city of Cork, for which the city has to pay, and the diminution of serious crime is considered to be in a great degree attributable to the presence of the police. Many persons, however, interested in the peace of the city consider the force to be too small, and the Corporation recently complained to the County Inspector that there was not sufficient Constabulary supervision over several matters in the city. The County Inspector had to reply, that with the number of men at his disposal he could do no more than at present. I am informed that it is the case that the city rates are over 9s. in the pound, of which the charge for extra Constabulary forms a very small fraction. No doubt, many persons are annually processed for nonpayment of rates; but there is no reason to think that the removal of the extra Constabulary would make any practical difference in this respect. It is true that two sub-constables were recently charged with being accessory to the death of a poor man named Leatham; but after an investigation which lasted four days, the magistrates refused information on the ground—first, that the evidence did not connect the accused with the occurrence; and, secondly, that the medical testimony went to show that death was the result of natural causes. The other fatal occurrence referred to by the hon. Member is as follows:—In 1878 a police patrol saw a man knock down a watchman by striking him with a hatchet on the head. They believed him to have committed murder, and called on him, in the Queen's name to stand, and, on his refusing to do so, they fired after him and killed him. A Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of "Justifiable homicide." I do not think I can hold out any immediate prospect of a diminution of the extra force.

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, notwithstanding the fact that the citizens of Cork have to pay over £1,000 per annum for an extra Police Force, the Police authorities charge the Executive Committee of the Cork Exhibition over £20 per week for Police on duty there; whether he is aware that the Exhibition has been organized by a Committee composed of men of all religious and political opinions, and presided over by the Earl of Bandon; and, whether, since the funds of the Exhibition were not provided by voluntary subscriptions from all parties, for the promotion of Irish industries, he will instruct the Police authorities to supply the Police necessary for protecting the exhibitors' property free of charge in future, and to refund the moneys already paid by the Executive Committee of the Exhibition?

The charge made in this case is in accordance with the invariable practice in such cases, both in England as well as Ireland; and I regret that I see no ground upon which an exception can be made in favour of the Cork Exhibition. The Government keep a reserve force for emergencies like this among others.

Public Health—The Hornsey Sanitary District

asked the President of the Local Government Board, If he is aware that a part of Hornsey Sanitary District can not be drained ex- cept through the Tottenham District, and that, so far, the Tottenham Sanitary Authority has declined to permit this, and that consequently the Hornsey Board has issued notices requiring the construction of eighty-eight cesspools over a small area, and many more would be required; and, whether, in case of such disputes between two local authorities, the Local Government Board has power to interfere; or, if they have not power to do that, if they would, by consent of both, act as arbitrator between them; or, failing these alternatives, whether, in the interest of public health, they will introduce a Bill asking for extended powers?

The estate to which it is presumed that the Question refers is Wright's Park Estate. The Board have not received any official communication on the subject from the owners or occupiers of the houses on that estate, or from the Local Board; but they have been informed generally of the facts. The estate consists of 99 houses; and if these houses had been erected, and the drainage system carried out in accordance with the plans approved by the Local Board, there would have been no difficulty in providing for the sewerage of the houses. About 80 of the houses have been provided with drains; but they have been so laid that the drains are lower than the outfall sewer, and the connections with that sewer are being gradually silted up. The proper drainage of these houses cannot now be effected without re-laying the drains, and this the owners are unwilling to do. As to the remaining houses, they have been erected at such a level that drains cannot be made to discharge into the outfall sewer of the district. The Local Board, with the view of securing some remedy, have required the owners to construct cesspools, this being the only order they could make in the matter; but they have made the requirement in the hope that the owners would re-arrange the drainage, and thus render the construction of the cesspools unnecessary. The Board have reason to believe that all the houses might be drained without the cost of re-laying the house drains if a connection were made with the Tottenham sewers; but they are not aware that, as yet, formal application has been made by the Hornsey Local Board to the Tot- tenham Local Board, although there have been communications on the subject between the surveyors of the two districts. The Board have reason to believe that the Hornsey Local Board will endeavour to come to some arrangement with the Tottenham Local Board. The Local Boards of the two districts are empowered by the Public Health Act, by agreement, to cause the sewers of the one district to communicate with the sewers of the other. Any dispute as to the terms and conditions on which the communication shall be made may be settled by the Local Government Board. The Board are not aware of any sufficient ground for further legislation on the subject.

Registration Of Electors (Ireland)

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, If he is aware that Br. Darley, the County Court Judge for Wicklow, at Revision Sessions, ruled that if a man succeeds his father or mother in a rateable holding, having been twelve months or more in bona fide possession, having paid his rent and rates in his own name during that period, he is ineligible for the Voters' List unless his father or mother has bequeathed it to him by will or deed; whether it is the fact that a man taking a house or farm of the required rateable value is put on as a matter of course if he has been twelve months in bona fide possession; and, if he can say what the law is?

My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland has not seen any report of the decision in question, and desires me to say that if the ruling of the Revising Barrister be disputed it can be questioned on appeal; and that it would be improper to give an official statement of the law, which is contained in Statutes accessible to all. I have heard from Br. Barley, who states that he decides all such cases according to the principles laid down by the Court of Appeal, and that his decisions have never been appealed against.

Arrears Of Rent (Ireland) Act 1882—The Collector General Of Rates, Dublin

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the Government have yet decided, with regard to the retention in office of the Collector General for Dublin; and, whether it is usual to allow a charge of fraud to hang for five weeks over the head of an important public servant intrusted with the collection of millions of money, without the Government coming to any conclusion as to his suspension or dismissal?

, in reply, said, the question was being carefully considered by the Lord Lieutenant, who had now returned to Dublin. The last paragraph was a general Question, to which he did not think he could give any answer except that the circumstances of this case were not such as would, for instance, require the suspension of a public servant from his duties while the inquiry was going on.

asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware that his Predecessor in Office (Mr. Forster) removed Dr. Kenny from his office on a "reasonable suspicion," and yet here was the case of a man who had millions of public money passing through his hands, and who for five weeks had been allowed to remain in his office with a charge of fraud against him? There was the greatest anxiety among the citizens of Dublin about this matter.

Prevention Of Crime (Ireland) Act, 1882—Proclamation Of Co Louth

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, considering the peaceable condition of the county of Louth, as evidenced by the calendar of prisoners and the charges of the going Judges of Assize and Chairmen of Quarter Sessions, both as regards offences against person and against property, and the statements of the Chairman of Quarter Sessions, in June last, at Dundalk, who, addressing the Grand Jury, said that—

"As far as I can hear, the county has been in a very quiet state since my last visit;"
and at the Summer Assizes for the county of Louth, of Mr. Justice Andrews, who, in charging the Grand Jury, said—
"I Find that there are no Bills to go before you at the present Assizes, while only yesterday the County Court Judge concluded his sittings, and I understood he had only one case to go before him. Under these circumstances, I am very happy to tender you my sincere congratulations on the peaceful and orderly state of your county;"
and Sir John Robinson, foreman of the Grand Jury, who, on the same occasion, in presenting white gloves to the going Judge, said—
"It was a happy state of affairs that nothing had occurred to mar the peace and quietness that prevailed in the county of Louth;"
and of Mr. Justice Andrews, who, in accepting the white gloves, said—
"It was very gratifying to him to accept those white gloves, as an emblem of the peaceable state of the county, upon which he had taken the opportunity of congratulating them, and, through them, the community at large;"
and, whether, in view of these circumstances, he is prepared to remove the Proclamation of the county of Louth and the county of the town of Drogheda?

I answered this Question the other day, and have nothing further to add.

Prorogation Of The Parliament

Message to attend The LORDS COMMISSIONERS:—

The House went;—and a Royal Commission to that purpose having been read, the Royal Assent was given to several Bills.

And afterwards Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech was delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord High Chancellor (in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command).

Then a Commission for proroguing Parliament was read.

After which,

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

By virtue of Her Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in Her Majesty's Name and in obedience to Her Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Monday the twelfth day of November next, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Monday the twelfth day of November next.