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Commons Chamber

Volume 312: debated on Thursday 24 March 1887

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 24th March, 1887.

MINUTES.]—SELECT COMMITTEE—Divorce Bills, nominated.

PRIVATE BILL. ( by Order)— Considered as amended—Kensington Vestry.

PUBLIC BILLS— OrderedFirst Heading—Union Assessment Committee Act (1862) Amendment * [204].

First Reading—Truro Bishopric and Chapter Acts Amendment * [205].

Second Reading—Consolidated Fund (No. 1)* ; Accumulations [31].

Committee—Supreme Court of Judicature (Ireland) [1]—R.P.

Private Business

Kensington Vestry Bill Lords (By Order)


Order for Consideration, as amended, read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill, as amended, be now considered."—( Mr. Dodds.)

This Bill, as hon. Members will see, has passed through the House of Lords, and, having been read a second time in this House, has also passed through a Committee upstairs. It is, therefore, a somewhat strong measure to ask the House to reject the Bill under such circumstances, on what is practically the third reading; but I think I shall be able to show the House that in this case they ought to do BO. I have no doubt that the Committee upstairs carefully examined the provisions of the measure, and that, under the Chairmanship of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division of Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), they have made their Report most conscientiously. But they only heard one side of the case. The other side was not heard at all, and, in point of fact, at the present moment, and since this Bill was brought into the House of Lords, the Kensington Vestry themselves have declared that they are opposed to it. We are, therefore, asked to pass a Kensington Vestry Bill against which the Kensington Vestry have pronounced. The Bill was brought in last Session, and came under the Resolution which provided that Bills which had passed through certain stages last Session should be carried forward to the present Session. I propose to state very briefly what is the opposition of the Kensington Vestry in regard to this Bill. The Bill originated with a Joint Committee of Works and Wharves of the Kensington Vestry, who were appointed to consider the best moans of disposing of the refuse of the parish. The Report of the Joint Committee was agreed to in November, 1885, and on the same day a Motion was passed by the Vestry directing the present Bill to be prepared. The Bill was accordingly deposited, but at the election of Vestrymen in May, 1886, there were 26 vacant seats in this particular ward. I may explain that there are three wards in the district which are treated by this Bill; but there is only one particular ward in which it is proposed that this dust destructor should be erected. Out of 26 Vestrymen returned in the month of May, 19 were persons who were opposed to the Bill. In Juno last a Motion was made in the Vestry itself to rescind the Resolution which ordered that the Bill should be prepared. That Motion was supported by 42 votes against 30, or by a large majority against those who were in favour of the Bill in the Vestry itself. Nevertheless, the Resolution was not carried, because one of the bye-laws of the Vestry requires that there shall be a two-thirds majority in order to rescind any Motion previously passed. The consequence was that the Bill came before the Committee of the House of Commons. Having already passed the House of Lords it was also carried through the Committee of the House of Commons, and it was called the Kensington Vestry Bill, although, in point of fact, the Kensington Vestry were opposed to it. I have just this moment presented a Petition against the Bill from the Kensington Vestry signed by 55 members. They state in that Petition that they and a large body of the parishioners object to the erection of a destructor as tending not only to destroy the value of property in the neighbourhood, but also to injure the health of the inhabitants. They further point out that it will seriously affect the trades and industries of the neighbourhood, and they submit that the ratepayers should be directly consulted before Parliament is asked to inflict such a serious and improper expenditure upon the district. This Petition is signed by 55 members of the Kensington Vestry who are supposed to be promoting the Bill, and they wind up their objections by the prayer—

"That the Bill may not receive the sanction of your honourable House, and may not be passed into law."
The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devonshire (Mr. Pitt-Lewis) has placed an Amendment on the Paper which declares that no destructor shall be erected until the opinion of the owners and ratepayers of the parish of Kensington shall have been taken by moans of a poll. Now, if the Bill is to pass at all I am certainly of opinion that it is desirable it should pass with the Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman; but I do think that, looking at the fact that the Kensington Vestry themselves are opposed to the Bill, and that the people of Kensington, and especially of this particular ward—Netting Hill—have declared themselves strongly opposed to the Bill, it would be a far more sensible course, instead of tinkering the measure and amending it, to throw it out altogether. I do not propose to go into the merits of the question. I am perfectly willing to admit that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Chaplin) and the Committee carefully examined the matter, and received technical evidence as to the best means of destroying refuse of this kind. It is proposed to cart the dust and refuse from all parts of the parish of Kensington to a particular site in North Kensington, where the poorer portion of the population live. The area from which the dust is collected is a very large one, and it is contended by persons who have looked into the matter, and who live on the spot, that the health of the inhabitants will be destroyed if the Bill is allowed to pass, owing to the smoke and the fumes from the noxious gases which will be emitted. It is maintained that it would be far better to cart all this refuse away, as is done at present. I do not, however, so much dwell upon that point; and I own that there is always some difficulty in inducing the House of Commons, upon the third reading, to throw out a Bill which has already passed through a Committee. In asking the House to take that course, I will only dwell upon the special fact that a considerable time has elapsed since the Bill was brought in by the Kensington Vestry. It was ordered to be prepared at a very small meeting of that Vestry, and since that time not only have the people of the parish opposed the measure, but the Kensington Vestry themselves, in the Petition I have presented to-day, oppose it. I have already pointed out that the Vestry would themselves have rescinded the Resolution directing the preparation of the Bill if it had not been for the fact that to do so required a two-thirds vote. Nevertheless, at this moment, the House will find that 55 members of the Kensington Vestry are asking that the Bill shall not be proceeded with. Under these circumstances, I hope the House will consent to throw out the Bill; and I beg to move that the Bill be considered upon this day six months.

I beg to second the Amendment; and, in the first place, I would ask what are the proposals contained in this Bill? I think it is desirable that the House should understand that the parish of Kensington is a very large district of some throe and a-half miles in length from North to South. Its widest part is in the South, where it is nearly two miles in width; and its narrowest part is in the North, where it is only half-a-mile wide. At the extreme northern, or the North Kensington part of the district, it is proposed that the whole of the refuse of the parish of Kensington should be collected and destroyed in a destructor by means of a huge furnace. Now, Sir, the refuse of the parish is of a very varied description. It consists not only of road sweepings, but of such matters as dead eats, dead dogs, decayed fruit and vegetable matter, sardine tins, dead rats, brick bats, oyster shells, jam pots, dress improvers, crinolines, pails, broken bottles, and many other miscellaneous articles. On the other side of the River, where something of the same kind has already been attempted under the direction of the parish officers, the experience has been by no means satisfactory, although, in that case, there is the River Lea and other moans for carrying away any of the refuse which is not absolutely got rid of in the destructor. Now, in Kensington, where it is proposed to put up this destructor, there is no such thing, and the Kensington Vestry have selected this point, although there were many other places which were much more suitable. There are wharves in the South of Kensington, near Warwick Road, which are easily accessible by railway, and there is also a canal wharf in another part of the northern district. Nevertheless, it is proposed to take this refuse away from all the well-to-do portions of the parish, and send to the poorest district this miserable tribute of the rich to the poor. Now, Sir, I would ask the House to consider what would be said if it were proposed to erect in the southern portion of Kensington any such structure. Suppose, for instance, it was proposed to take a portion of the Horticultural Gardens or a portion of Kensington Gardens, and devote them to the purposes of getting rid of the refuse of the parish of Kensington. We know very well what an outcry would be raised, and how the idea would at once be scouted, and yet at those places the erection of a destructor would do comparatively little harm. But what does it matter to some 100,000 or 200,000 well-to-do people if the poorer portion of the inhabitants are to be incommoded by smoke and noxious gases so long as they can and au easy means of getting rid of their refuse? What is now proposed is, that this hideous collection of all sorts of refuse is to be carried over an area of six square miles, trundled through the streets, and conveyed upon a point which is the narrowest in the district. But that is not all. The point selected is just on the borders of the parish of Hammersmith; and I, as an inhabitant of Hammersmith, object to the Kensington Vestry bringing their refuse to the borders of that parish. This parish contains a population of 100,000 persons, and the refuse of all the streets in the parish is to be carted away to this district of the North, principally occupied by the poor. A largo number of the population are engaged in the smaller industries—chiefly in the industry of washing. For about a mile to the North, a mile to the South, and a mile to the West the laundry establishments are very numerous, and a large population have to depend entirely, for their means of livelihood, upon this particular industry. There can be no doubt that the whole of the immediate locality will suffer very much in times of foggy and heavy atmosphere from the soot which will be distributed around, and it is only when there is a strong wind that there can be any reasonable hope that the fumes and smoke arising from the furnace will be got rid of. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that to establish anything of this kind in this particular locality will destroy this washing industry. [Mr. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford): Why?] The right hon. Gentleman is not acquainted, probably, with anything so low as a laundry business, or he would be aware that if the washing is dirtied by soot or dust of any kind it has to be re-washed, and that would be a very great loss to the poor people engaged in this industry. Clause 10 of the Bill provides that the Vestry shall not, under the powers of the Act, take more than a limited number of houses belonging to the labouring class; but what is the use of preserving their houses if you deprive the people themselves of the means by which they live? Then, again, we are told that the Vestry is to be required to lay out a certain portion of the land they take under the Bill for the purpose of forming a recreation ground. I expect that was au afterthought on the part of the promoters put in somewhat late; and I confess that on reading it it suggested to me very much the smile of a death's head on a coffin. What is the use of talking of a recreation ground when such ground must depend entirely upon the extent of the land required for the purposes of the Bill itself, and when the purposes of the Bill are satisfied? There would certainly be very little land left which could be devoted to the purposes of a recreation ground. Most of the poor people of the district live in squalid houses, and within 500 yards of this site there are hoard and other schools attended by 6,000 children. The nuisance arising from the offensive smells given off by this collection of refuse must be very great indeed. It is idle to say that there would be no offensive smell, and that the health and comfort of these children would not be very much interfered with. There are hundreds and thousands of carts constantly travelling through this locality, through narrow streets that are not particularly well drained, and the annoyance and nuisance arising from this objectionable addition to the traffic would be very serious indeed. It is pretended that all the refuse from Kensington can be got rid of in this way; but the pretence is an utterly false one, as experience has shown. I have hero a tabulated list in regard to the destructors already in operation in different parts of the country. I will not trouble the House by going into the details supplied in this long and formidable document. I will only say that the result is this—that in very few places at all, and only such as are favourably situated, is it attempted to get rid of all the refuse. In Lambeth, at Betts's Yard, the official in charge states that the parish is obliged to incur very heavy expense—I believe at the rate of £4 per barge load—in order to get rid of the refuse they dare not keep on the premises and are unable to burn. So far as the destructor is concerned it has failed absolutely, owing to the slow burning of the furnace. Therefore, I think I am justified in saying that the Kensington Vestry would not be able to get rid of all the refuse of the parish when it comes in. It must also be borne in mind that the refuse does not come in regularly, and not in exact quantities, day by day; but in certain circumstances of the weather there is a larger deposit and delivery than at other times. Consequently there would be an accumulation of this abominable material for many days in the neighbourhood. The officers in charge of Betts's Yard have been good enough to allow a friend of mine to inspect the process, and while he was there there came in a largo load of rotten oranges. He expected to see them put into the furnace at once, but the man in charge told him that it was impossible to get rid of that kind of refuse by burning. As a matter of fact, it is perfectly impossible to burn refuse of that kind; and yet from Kensington High Street and the streets in the neighbourhood there will be a large amount of refuse fruit thrown from time to time on the hands of the Vestry which will have to be got rid of somehow. It is pretended that the ratepayers of Kensington will be able to save a large amount of money if this Bill is adopted. I think, however, that the figures are altogether illusory, because they do not take into account the expense of getting rid of the refuse which cannot be disposed of by the destructor alone. No doubt the saving to the ratepayers is a very reasonable and proper object to have in view; but, unfortunately for this plan of erecting a destructor, I may say that the difficulty has already been solved in another part of London with perfect success, without employing any destructor at all. The Newington Board have arranged for getting rid of their refuse by railway, and the system has been so thoroughly successful that, although the population has increased enormously, the expense to which the Board is now put is actually less than it was before the system was adopted. I am told that the Newington Board are in reality making a saving of money as compared with their expenditure years ago, when the population was much less, and as compared with what the expenditure would be if the old system had been continued. The saving is something very remarkable indeed. Under these circumstances, because I believe that the erection of a destructor at North Kensington would not be true economy; because I believe that the work of getting rid of the refuse of the parish can be better carried out by other means; and because the plan adopted is cruelly unjust to the poor and labouring population, and is only supported by those who have regard to the convenience of the richer portion of the parish, I hope the House will assent to the proposal of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), and decline to proceed further with the Bill. I beg to second the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," in order to add the words

"this day six months."—( Mr. Labouchere.)

Question proposed, "That the word. 'now' stand part of the Question."

It is under some physical difficulties that I rise for the purpose of supporting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton for the rejection of the Bill; but I do so with all the earnestness in my power, fully recognizing the sense of the responsibility which attaches to myself as Member for North Kensington. I believe that the Bill, if it is allowed to pass, will act most prejudicially against the interests of a large portion of the parish and the most defenceless class in my constituency. I am aware that in coming to ask the House to reject this Bill at this late stage we are taking a most unusual course; but I would venture to submit that, so far as my opposition is concerned as a Representative of the district affected, I was seriously ill at the time of the second reading, and for some time before, and that I was actually ignorant of its being brought forward. Further than that, since the time the Bill was road a second time the whole conditions of the case have been altered in regard to the constitution of the Kensington Vestry. It has already been pointed out that the nominal promoters of the Bill are now really in a considerable minority, and that the majority of the Vestry are bitterly opposed to the measure. That state of things has been brought about by the result of the last Vestry elections in North Kensington. Those elections took place in May last, and the House will remember that the Bill was read a second time in March. That fact has entirely, I venture to submit to the House, altered the complexion of the case. Who now are the promoters of the Bill? They are only a small faction in the Kensington Vestry. It has been pointed out to the House that this very question has been brought before the Kensington Vestry since the last elections. I myself was present in the Vestry at the time the division took place, and I can confirm the statement of the hon. Member for Northampton that in that division 43 members voted against the Bill and only 30 were in favour of it. The hostility of those 13 members was complete. They objected to the Bill altogether; and, consequently, the House is now asked to pass a Bill against which its nominal promoters, or those who were its most active supporters, are now petitioning. It may be asked, of course, why the Bill has not been withdrawn; but it has already been explained to the House that the bye-laws which govern the Kensington Vestry, and, I believe, other Vestries also, are such that it is necessary, when any resolution of the Vestry has once been adopted, that a two-thirds majority should vote for its recision. Up to the present moment I am free to admit that such a very large majority as that of two-thirds has not shown itself in the Kensington Vestry, although, nevertheless, there is a largo majority in the Vestry against the Bill. As a resident for some years in Kensington, and as one who is thoroughly acquainted with the opinion of the great bulk of the inhabitants, at least of North Kensington, and to a large extent of South Kensington, I am prepared to say that the whole feeling of North Kensington, the inhabitants of which district are the most nearly concerned, is dead against the Bill, and bitterly antagonistic to it. I believe that already the conscience of South Kensington has been touched in regard to the gross injustice which will be inflicted upon North Kensington if this Bill be passed. I gather that their conscience has been touched because the number of Vestrymen who have signed the Petition presented to-day by the hon. Member for Northampton actually exceeds the whole number of Vestrymen returned to the Vestry by North Kensington. Fifty-five members have signed the Petition, and in order to obtain so large a number it must have been necessary not only to include every member who represents North Kensington, but also a considerable number of those who represent the richer and more powerful Division of South Kensington. I hope the House will remember that North Kensington is essentially a workingman's constituency; but for parochial purposes it is tied up with the vastly richer and more powerful Division of South Kensington. That attachment has long been a source of serious grievance to my constituency in North Kensington. It may be within the knowledge of some hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench that repeated Peti- tions have been presented by the ratepayers of North Kensington praying that there may be a separation between the two Divisions of the parish for parochial purposes, principally on the ground that the material interests of the two Divisions very frequently clash. This Bill, I think, shows that the interests of the two Divisions do entirely clash on certain occasions. Now, what is proposed by this Bill is simply that the refuse of the entire parish—all the horrible filth produced throughout Kensington—should be carted away without any question as to the convenience of cartage, but should be carted away, not to an open district, but to the very centre of the most densely-populated and most crowded and poorest district that is to be found in the West of London. That circumstance, I think, shows that the interests of North Kensington are seriously affected by this measure; and I do, myself, earnestly hope that the House will take into consideration the points which have been laid before it this afternoon, and will reject the Bill. I do not propose to enter into any details with regard to the measure, because they have already been dealt with by the hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. A. O'Connor), who seconded the Amendment. I should, however, like to mention one or two points in connection with a statement in support of the Bill which has been circulated, as I understand, to a largo number of the Members of this House. It is there stated that the combustion in the proposed destructor, which is to be placed in the midst of this poor and densely-crowded population, will be so complete that the whole of the noxious gases will be destroyed in the furnace itself. Now, I do not pretend to be a great scientific authority; but I would ask any hon. Member whether it is possible that all the gases can be utterly destroyed? No doubt, they may be modified, and be made to take other forms, and possibly rendered innocuous; but I maintain that they cannot be altogether destroyed. It is further stated in this document that the Medical Officers of Health strongly recommend the destruction of refuse of this kind by fire. Yes; but their recommendation is that the destruction should be carried on by fire, not in densely-populated localities, but as far as possible in open spaces, where the fumes given off in the operation will hurt nobody. Lastly, this statement, put forward, I presume, by those who are promoting the Bill, asserts that the evidence given before the Select Committee shows that the site now selected is the only one that was available for the purpose. Now, I would venture to ask whether it is meant by that assertion that the site selected in this poor and densely-crowded part of the parish is the only site that can be had for money? No, Sir; I am afraid that the only reason why this site is called the only available site is this—that the people who live in close proximity to it are so poor as to be defenceless in the matter. Therefore, I call upon the House with the utmost confidence to show that it is prepared to act as the defender of the poor in this question, and that it will at once throw out the Bill.

As I have placed an Amendment on the Paper in reference to this Bill, I think it is desirable that I should be allowed to say a few words. I have also the honour to be a resident in Kensington, and I may say that this Bill would have passed through this House on a former occasion if I had not interposed in order to prevent it. Having taken, therefore, some action in conjunction with several of my neighbours in Kensington in regard to the Bill, the promoters approached me in order to ascertain what my objections were; and they have undertaken, in the event of the Bill passing, without reservation, to accept the clause which stands in my name upon the Paper. I may point out that the clause I propose to move provides that the Bill, if it is passed into law, shall not be acted upon so far as the erection of a destructor is concerned, if a demand in writing, signed by not loss than 30 members of the Vestry or not less than 300 of the owners and ratepayers of the parish of Kensington, be made that the question shall be decided by a poll of the owners and ratepayers of the parish, until such a poll shall have been determined in the same way as is determined by the Public Health Act of 1875. By that means the clause makes provision that, before the erection of a destructor is commenced, the opinion of the whole parish shall be taken on the subject. That is certainly a compromise, but it is a compromise which has been accepted by the promoters of the Bill. Therefore, opposed as I am to the erection of this destructor, I shall feel it a matter of honour to vote in favour of the Bill. I may be allowed to point out that, in arriving at this compromise, I bore one or two things in my mind. In the first place, there is nothing to prevent any person from purchasing this land, erecting a destructor upon it, and then making a contract with the parish for the use of it. In the next place, the site consists of some four acres, and if bought by the parish at least a portion of it will be appropriated for the purpose of a recreation ground. It seems to me that it would be better for the parish to have the land in its own hands than that it should fall into the hands of some speculator, who may use it in an objectionable way. There will be this further advantage—that if this Bill passes with the modification I have suggested, in the event of the provision relating to the erection of a destructor being refused by the owners and ratepayers on a poll, it will be in the power of the Vestry to secure the whole of the land for public purposes. I have thought it right to explain the part which I have taken in the matter. Although I regard the erection of a destructor as objectionable. I shall consider it my duty, under the circumstances, to vote for the consideration of the Bill, trusting to the good sense of the inhabitants of Kensington and the members of the Vestry to prevent the Bill from being converted into a nuisance.

I was one of the Members of the Committee who inquired into the merits of this Bill, and I think I am able, not only from the evidence given to the Committee but from my own personal knowledge, to give a satisfactory answer to the fears which have been expressed by the hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. A. O'Connor) in reference to the evils which are likely to arise from the erection of the proposed destructor. First of all, in reply to the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), let me point out that the Bill was brought in originally by the Kensington Vestry, and that if the additional provision proposed by the hon. Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devonshire (Mr. Pitt Lewis), and ac- cepted by the promoters, is assented to, the Vestry will be precluded from erecting a destructor unless they obtain the consent not only of the Vestry, but of the owners and ratepayers. The hon. Member for East Donegal has told the House that the whole of the refuse of tin's large parish will be brought to the destructor, and that the inhabitants will be annoyed by the perpetual passing of carts conveying objectionable refuse through the district. The hon. Member has been misinformed. Only one-half of the refuse of the parish will be convoyed to this particular spot; the other half will continue to be convoyed to a more convenient site down the River, near the old Cremorne Gardens. It is idle to suppose that the works will be a nuisance when the products of combustion are to be carried away by a chimney 180 feet high. It is, therefore, impossible for the soot to settle down in the middle of the laundry yards adjoining; and, instead of affecting the comfort of this poor neighbourhood, I am inclined to think that it is rather a matter which may concern the wealthier portion of the inhabitants of the parish, who live a little further off, who will be within the radius of the influence of the destructor, and who will get the effluvia, if there is any effluvia, and most of the blacks that may be floating about. If the objectionable particles which are supposed to be given off when the destructor is in full force descend anywhere, it will be in the richer portion of the parish that they will find a settlement. Again, it has been said that after the erection of the destructor there will be no land left for the purpose of providing a recreation ground. The Committee foresaw that objection, and they took special care to provide that three-quarters of an acre of this ground shall be laid out for the purpose of a recreation ground. It is said that it is impossible to provide a recreation ground in similar circumstances; but the experiment has been tried in Birmingham with successful results. Reference has been made to the existence of schools in the locality, and it is said that the health of the school children will suffer. Nothing of the kind has occurred in Birmingham, and there are a largo number of schools in the vicinity. No effluvia or noxious gases are given off either to the injury of schools or private residences. The hon. Member for East Donegal stated that it will be impossible to get rid of the whole of the refuse by moans of a destructor. Again, I say that the hon. Member is misinformed. From my own personal knowledge, and from the evidence given before the Committee, I can assure him that there will be no difficulty whatever in dealing with the refuse. It might be so in the case of a small destructor, where you have vegetable matter to deal with; but with a destructor on the scale proposed in this Bill there would be no difficulty at all. With regard to the question of accumulation, the hon. Member for East Donegal must be unacquainted with the fact that the Committee dealt with that matter by inserting a clause that no accumulation shall be allowed, but that everything brought to the destructor shall be destroyed at once in the furnaces. The hon. Member denied, further, that there would be any saving to the parish. I believe that there will be a considerable saving; but I would ask the House not to look upon a question of this sort as a question of economy, or of the saving of money. As the member of an important Corporation which has dealt with the subject on a large scale, I feel that there are many things more important to be considered than the mere question of the money involved, and it is upon that ground that I ask the House to pass the Bill, and do nil in its power to assist the Vestry of Kensington in getting rid of this refuse in a proper manner—namely, by combustion. the difficulty of getting rid of it is a growing evil in our great towns, especially in connection with small house property. In Birmingham we have no fewer than throe separate destructors, and from neither of them is any nuisance whatever experienced. One of them is in the immediate neighbourhood of the general hospital of the town, and there would have been a loud complaint if it had been found in any way to interfere with health. It is quite possible that a destructor may be converted into a nuisance; but the Committee upstairs carefully considered that point, and inserted a clause in the Bill to prevent the possibility of a nuisance being created by requiring the plans to be approved by the Local Government Board. It is further provided that any destructor to be erected upon the lauds taken under the Bill shall be constructed in accordance with drawings signed by the Chairman of the Committee and deposited in the offices of the Vestry, or on such other system or with such modifications or illustrations as shall be approved by an engineer or other fit person appointed by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I believe it is impossible for any noxious gases to escape from the destructor, and any fumes which might otherwise escape from the burning of vegetable refuse will be deodorized and consumed in another way. In Birmingham, although much worse substances are passed through the destructor, there is found to be a total absence of offensive smell. I ask the House to pass the Bill, because it was carefully and honestly considered by the Committee, and because I am able to speak from my own knowledge of the beneficial effects of the working of similar destructors in my own district.

As the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) has stated, it was my misfortune to preside over the Committee which sat upon this Bill, and it becomes my duty, therefore, as briefly as I can, to state the view at which the Committee arrived. The hon. Member has informed the House that, although the Bill was originally promoted by the Kensington Vestry, the majority of the members of that Vestry now dissent from it. Of course, I have no know-ledge of that fact; but if the hon. Member be correct the matter rests entirely in the hands of the Vestry, because the Bill is purely permissive, and there are only three years allowed in which it can be put in force. If the Vestry are opposed to it, it is not necessary that they should take any further action in the matter, and the Bill will naturally drop. The hon. Gentleman says that the ratepayers have nobody to defend their interests. Now, what has happened? An Amendment has been moved by the hon. Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devonshire (Mr. Pitt-Lewis). [Mr. LABOUCHERE: It has not been moved yet.] Well, an Amendment has been placed on the Paper, which the promoters have declared their readiness to accept, to the effect that if the Vestry propose to act on the power which the Bill confers upon them, a plébiscite of the owners and ratepayers shall be taken. I confess that I do not see how the wishes of the ratepayers could be better consulted. Perhaps I may be allowed to say what, in the view of the Committee, was the case which had to be dealt with. In some way or other this refuse must be disposed of; and it was admitted on all sides—even by those who gave evidence in opposition to the Bill—that the difficulty of doing that was increasing very much. At one time it was easy to dispose of, and the refuse itself was valuable; but the opposite is the case now. The hon. Member talked about the interests of the poor and the interests of the rich; but can he be seriously aware that under the proposals contained in the Bill it is estimated that, at least, £2,000 a year will be saved to the ratepayers of North Kensington—the people whom, he says, are going to be so much injured by this Bill? What are the objections of which we have heard so much in the course of this debate, and in the course of the evidence which was given upstairs? The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill carefully abstained from entering into details. I think he was wise in doing so. First of all, he said that the destructor it is proposed to erect must give out noxious gases. All I can say is that the scientific evidence, given by expert after expert, and never in any degree shaken, proved beyond the possibility of doubt that there would be no escape of noxious fumes or gases at all. The hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. A. O'Connor) told the House that it would destroy the laundry industry of the district. I asked him why? Question after question was put in the Committee on that point, but we failed to discover that there was any ground for the apprehension. He said the clothes must be injured by dust and the escape of smoke and noxious gases; but no such escape can occur, and the destructor, it must also be remembered, is to be placed in the centre of four acres of ground. The refuse, when taken there, will be immediately put under cover, and shot into a furnace; and how dust and gas are to escape it is difficult to understand. I have endeavoured to give the subject all the consideration in my power, and I have arrived at the conclusion that the opposition to the Bill, and the objections which have been urged against it, are baseless, and are founded either on prejudice or very imperfect information. Neither the hon. Member for Northampton nor any other hon. Member who has spoken against the Bill has gone into an)' details, or attempted to explain in what way the injuries they speak of are to follow; and I venture to submit to the House, in justification of the course taken by the Committee, that it is only by a careful study of the details of the question that a right appreciation of the matter can be arrived at. I do not think it is necessary to detain the House longer, although I might say a great deal more upon the subject if it were necessary. No evidence, of any other site being available for the purpose was offered to the Committee; and it was proved that the proposed site would cost a great deal less than any other. It was further proved, beyond the possibility of doubt, by the evidence of experts, that no injury would result from the escape of gas, soot, or smoke. It was also shown that in the case of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and 20 other large towns which I could name, where these destructors are in work, they are found to answer admirably, and that no possible injury can be done. Under these circumstances, I hope the House will support the decision of the Committee

(Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

I do not intend to enter into the question whether or not this Bill should be read a third time, as it is not a matter that comes under the Local Government Board at all, except that the Local Government Board have given their sanction to the erection of destructors in other parts of the country; and I am informed that, so far, they have been working admirably well, without creating any nuisance at all. It must also be borne in mind that Clause 22 of the Bill provides that—

"Nothing in this Act shall exonerate the Vestry from any indictment, action, or other proceeding for nuisance in the event of any nuisance being caused by them."
What I desire to say has reference to the clause which the hon. Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devonshire (Mr. Pitt-Lewis) has placed on the Paper, to provide that after the Bill has been passed a poll of the owners and ratepayers shall be taken before it can be put in force. I would ask hon. Members seriously to consider what they are about to do before they vote with that intention in their minds. It is the introduction of an entirely now principle that powers should be conferred upon a Local Authority, and at the same time that it should be intended that the Local Authority should not put such powers in force until a vote of the inhabitants had been taken. I think that to pass such a clause would be to establish an exceedingly bad precedent. As far as I know, there is no more reason why a power of this kind should require the assent of the inhabitants than any other power conferred upon the Local Authority. I desire, therefore, to point out to the House that in my opinion it would be bad policy for the House to assent to a clause which says that in the event of certain powers being conferred upon the Local Authorities under certain circumstances they shall not be exercised.

I would ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes while I explain the reasons which induce me to oppose the Bill. My constituents will be greatly affected by it, for the locality in which it is proposed to erect this destructor is an exceedingly poor one. It is close to the parish of Hammersmith, near Latymer Road. During the Session before last I attended a largo public meeting, at which it was decided to oppose this destructor, and an important Petition, very numerously signed, was got up and presented to this House by me. So poor, however, are the inhabitants of the district that they have not the same opportunity of bringing forward scientific evidence as the Kensington Vestry, and I regret to say that, in consequence of my having been obliged to obtain leave from this House, I was prevented from attending before the Committee and giving evidence on behalf of my constituents. I had hoped, however, that the Committee would have taken into consideration the feeling among the poorer inhabitants of Hammersmith and North Kensington, and the fact that they were being imposed upon by the richer people of South Kensington. A Report has been presented by the promoters of the Bill in which they state that the refuse will be de- stroyed at a distance of half-a-mile from the parish of Hammersmith. On receiving that Report, I went down to the Sanitary Inspector and he told me distinctly that he preferred the present system, as far as Hammersmith is concerned, to the system that is now proposed to be substituted for it. He told me that it is all nonsense to say that you can get rid of these gases; and, therefore, on behalf of Hammersmith, and also on behalf of that part of North Kensington which is affected by the Bill, I earnestly implore the House to throw out the measure. I regret that we have not been able to put forward the scientific evidence which would have satisfied the right hon. Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin); but I may say that an hon. Member of this House (Mr. Isaacs) to whom the House is much indebted for what has been done in regard to its sanitary improvement, and who is a resident of North Kensington, has kindly told me that, in his opinion, the effect of having this destructor will be most injurious to the neighbourhood. I will leave my hon. Friend to speak for himself, for he is fully qualified to inform the House on the subject. I believe, however, that I may safely leave the matter in the hands of the House in the conviction that they will not permit the poor of North Kensington and Hammersmith to appeal to them in vain. we have been asked what is to be done with the refuse. I see no reason why it should not be put in barges and sent down the River.

I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board if he can inform the House whether, in the event of the clause proposed by the hon. Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devonshire (Mr. Pitt-Lewis) being adopted, the Local Government Board will allow it to form part and parcel of the Bill, because I gathered from his remarks that it would be imprudent on the part of the Government to allow an innovation of that kind? I do not think it necessary to avail myself of the invitation which has been thrown out by the hon. and gallant Member for Hammersmith (Major General Goldsworthy) to state my views on this Bill, because they have already been ably expressed by the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. Although I may have considerable knowledge as an expert in this matter, it is unnecessary to detain the House with a statement of those views. I will only say that I fully support the view which has been taken by the hon. and gallant Member for Hammersmith, because I believe that the parish of Kensington, in which I reside, has acted in a most selfish manner in regard to the selection of a site for the destructor. I should not have objected had it been proposed to put up this objectionable machinery in the centre of the parish itself, but to select the confines of the parish, and the poorest part of it, where numerous industries are being carried on, which are sure to suffer from this structure, appears to me to be the most selfish principle any rich parish could adopt. I trust the House will take this view of the case, and will say that the rich parish of Kensington shall confine its operations to its own parish, and shall not seek to impose a nuisance on the adjoining-parish of Hammersmith. I shall heartily give my vote for the rejection of the Bill.

): Perhaps I may be allowed to say a word in consequence of the remarks which have been made in regard to the question of the treatment of the poor by the rich. Now there is no such question involved in this Bill. the fact is that the whole of the refuse of South Kensington at present finds its way into the Thames by Chelsea, and will continue to do so. North Kensington, however, does invade a neighbouring borough, and as a matter of fact sends the whole of its refuse to Wood Green, where at present it is burned in the open. The hon. and gallant Member for Hammersmith (Major General Goldsworthy) seems to infer that the operation of the destructor must necessarily be a nuisance in the neighbourhood in which it is erected. I can only say that I have been down to Whitechapel to see the destructor there. I had some difficulty in finding it, and it certainly did not seem to be a very great nuisance, seeing that so very few people know where it was. When I succeeded in finding it, I made it my business to visit the small shops in the district. I also saw a score of children playing about the streets close by, and in answer to my questions I could not find that any one complained of a nuisance or hardship arising from the existence of this destructor. I hope at South Kensington when the time comes we may have a destructor of our own. At the same time, I ma}' say with regard to North Kensington that the site which has been selected is at present a brick-field—a place certainly not full of the most savoury odours, and I consider that if the Vestry are permitted to put up its destructor it will not be a nuisance, but, on the contrary, will prove a great benefit to the ratepayers and the poor of the district.

I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes, because the subject has been practically threshed out. the hon. Member for Newington (Mr. Isaacs), when appealed to to give his opinion as to the scientific aspect of the question, very wisely declined to do so. The hon. Member gave his evidence before the Committee, and it would have been a very bad precedent to appeal from those who hoard him and the other side upstairs to the House below. This is a Bill which was originally promoted by the Vestry of Kensington, and it has passed through Committees of both Houses. It has come down now for the consideration of the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, and the proposal made by the hon. Member for Northampton is that it should be rejected on what is practically the third reading. Now, I confess that I have heard nothing to lead me to reject the opinion of a Select Committee of this House. No doubt there is a fact which to some extent is material, and that is that the majority of the Vestry which originally promoted the Bill are at present opposed to it; but it must be borne in mind that the Bill only gives power to the Vestry to do certain things permissively, and if hereafter a majority of the Vestry should object to carry into effect the provisions of the Bill it would be impossible to put it into operation at all. There will be a further guarantee in the clause which is suggested by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devonshire (Mr. Pitt-Lewis), which has been accepted by the promoters of the Bill—namely, that, even if there should be in future a majority of the Vestry in favour of putting the scheme into operation, the owners and ratepayers may be appealed to by a demand, in writing, signed by 30 members of the Vestry or by 300 owners and ratepayers of Kensington, and it will then be necessary to take a poll of the inhabitants. Now, that appears to me to be a complete and efficacious power to place in the hands of the inhabitants in order to prevent any abuse. As the Bill has passed through the ordeal not only of a Committee of this House, but of the House of Lords, I have no hesitation in voting for it.

The right hon. Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) has relied very strongly upon the evidence of export witnesses. I wish to say that, in my opinion, expert witnesses are the most unreliable that can be obtained. I believe that if it were necessary I could obtain the evidence of experts upon every side of an abstruse question. Of course the counsel for the promoters know exactly what kind of expert evidence it is desirable to call on their own side of the question, and they take care that no other experts are submitted for examination. I may say that I know nothing of this Bill; but from the knowledge I have of the neighbourhood in which it is proposed to erect this destructor, I think the Kensington Vestry have selected the very worst site that could possibly be obtained. The brick-field they have proposed to take is situated in a complete swamp, and the lowest site which could have been found in the whole district has been pitched upon. I am afraid the result will be that, if this destructor is erected, the entire district will be affected by the fumes of the noxious gases thrown out. I am told that the original promotion of the Bill was carried in the Vestry by a snap-division at a small meeting, but that at the present moment there is a very large majority of the Vestry entirely opposed to the project.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 190; Noes 170: Majority 20.—(Div. List, No. 81.) Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill considered.

MR. PITT-LEWIS (Devon, Barnstaple) moved to insert the following clause:—

Clause 4B.

"No buildings or machinery for the destruction by combustion of the refuse or other materials from streets or houses, which are mentioned in section four hereof, shall be erected on the land taken under this Act, unless and until a resolution that buildings and machinery for the destruction by combustion of such refuse and materials be erected on the said land shall have been passed by the Vestry, at a special meeting convened for that purpose, in the manner provided by the Metropolis Management Acts, which meeting shall not be held before the first day of June, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven, and shall not in any year be held at any time between the fifteenth day of July and the twenty-fourth day of October. Provided that, if within fourteen days after the passing of such resolution, a demand in writing, signed either by not less than thirty members of the Vestry or by not less than three hundred of the owners and ratepayers of the parish of Kensington, that the question shall be decided by a poll of the owners and ratepayers of the parish of Kensington, shall be served on the Clerk to the Vestry, then the question whether or not such resolution shall have effect shall be decided by a poll of owners and ratepayers of the said parish of Kensington, such poll shall be taken by voting papers, with the same incidents and conditions (so far as applicable) as to the qualifications of voters and scale of voting, as to notice to be given by the summoning officer, delivery, filling up, and collection of voting papers, as to the counting of votes, and as to penalties for neglect or refusal to comply with the provisions herein incorporated, as are contained in and in all other respects so far as practicable in the same way as is provided by the Third Schedule to 'The Public Health Act, 1875,' with respect to the taking of a poll of owners and ratepayers. The summoning officer for the purposes of taking such poll shall be the Clerk to the Vestry. The expenses of any poll taken under this section shall be deemed to be, within the meaning of section twenty-four hereof, expenses in relation to this Act."

New Clause (Consent of Vestry to erection of destructors,)—( Mr. Pitt-Lewis,)— brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."

MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.) moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—( Mr. Chance,)—put, and negatived.

Original Question again proposed.

(Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

I really must protest, not with standing what the hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Committees has stated in reference to this clause, that it is an absolutely now thing to confer by special enactment power upon a Local Authority, and at the same time to say that that power is not to be exercised until there has been an opportunity afforded to the inhabitants for deciding whether it is to be exercised or not. There are many cases in which the Local Authorities cannot avail themselves of the benefit of certain Statutes—as, for example, the Free Libraries Act—without first consulting the ratepayers; but, so far as I know, there is not a single instance in which a Local Authority dealing with powers which have been conferred on them by Statute have had imposed on them the duty of going to the ratepayers and asking them for a vote as to whether or not those powers shall be exorcised. In my opinion, that change is most undesirable, and therefore I oppose the Motion.

the circumstances of the case are somewhat peculiar, and I must say I cannot but feel that the right hon. Gentleman opposite has touched a matter of great importance. It is one of those matters which, perhaps, the House is necessarily exposed to have raised in connection with Private Bills, but which really involves public principles. Now to me the proposal of the hon. Member has all the appearance of a startling novelty, that the House, in granting powers to a Local Authority, should like wise insert a condition that the Local Authority should go before its constituents before it can be allowed to exercise those powers. [Mr. COURTNEY: That is not accurate.] If that is so, I am glad to hear it. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Chairman of Committees will have the goodness to explain afterwards the exact position; but I must say, if the case were as I have represented it, I think it would be a very dangerous precedent, and would go far to make the House of Commons responsible for all the abuse of power, or misuse of power, by Local Authorities. However, I am glad to find from my hon. Friend that the case is not as I had put it. At the same time, I think there should be a clear understanding on the subject.

the state of the case is this. The duty imposed upon the Vestry of consulting their constituents is not imperative, but only in the event of a certain proportion of the Vestry objecting to the exercise of the powers. In that ease it is proposed that a vote of ratepayers shall be taken. I think that is a material alteration, and I cannot discover the grave objections which the right hon. Gentleman opposite has raised against that limitation, more especially as there is an analogous provision in the Borough Funds Act, which requires, under certain circumstances, the sanction of the constituency to be given by a poll. If there were a matter of doubt it might deserve arguing; but I do not feel that there can be the slightest doubt in the matter, and, therefore, I fail to see why the right hon. Gentleman opposite should oppose the clause.

As I drafted the Amendment, perhaps I may be allowed to explain the peculiar circumstances of the case. Of course, I was aware that no Vestry has a right to ask from Parliament anything beyond the statutory powers it is entitled to have. I have already stated that the residents of the parish were utterly unaware of what the Vestry of Kensington were doing. Happening myself to ob-serve on the Papers of the House this innocent-looking Bill, called the "Kensington Vestry Bill," I obtained a copy of it at the Private Bill Office, and found, to my amazement, what it was. I had never heard of it before, and I immediately took action, and the result was that as soon as the constituents found out what the Vestry were doing the public opinion of the parish was organized, and a strong Committee formed to oppose the Bill. By their exertions they succeeded in turning out every member of the Vestry who came forward to support the Bill; 19 members who went out had been supporting the Bill, but the 20th was retained be-cause he had behaved properly and had opposed it. That shows that the constituency do not want the Bill. It is not quite accurate to say that no precedent can be found for a clause of this kind. There was a precedent in the case of the St. Helen's Improvement Bill, in which exactly the same thing I now propose was done. In that case power was given which was only to be exercised in a certain contingency. If the expenditure was likely to be exceeded, the Local Authorities wore to go back to the constituency and obtain their consent. The effect of the compromise which is suggested by the present clause is that the Vestry will be enabled to buy the land, and if it cannot be utilized for the erection of a destructor, they will have power to lay it out as a recreation ground, or to devote it to other parochial purposes. Now, the erection of a destructor is a new thing, and I think it is not too much to ask that the Vestry, before proceeding with such an erection, should ascertain whether they have the consent of the inhabitants, and whether the majority of the owners and ratepayers are desirous of exercising the power with this Bill sanctions. I think that the analogy of the St. Helen's case is perfect, and that when it is proposed to go beyond ordinary matters it should be necessary to consult the constituents. I believe that this House has again and again adopted the principle. For instance, there is a clause in the Public Health Act under which fairs and markets can only be established by means of a proceeding something like this; and there is a common instance in the case of the application of the Free Libraries Act. That Act cannot be adopted without previously obtaining the consent of the parish. So also in regard to the Borough Funds Act, which Act indicates the mode in which the opinion of the constituency shall be obtained—namely, by voting papers. I have adopted the machinery of the Borough Funds Act in this clause. I appeal to the House to accept the clause, because it has been accepted by the promoters of the Bill, and is, in fact, the result of the withdrawal of a considerable amount of opposition. Therefore, under the very peculiar circumstances of the case, I hope the House and the right hon. Gentleman opposite will allow the clause to pass. Until the President of the Local Government Board rose a few minutes ago and expressed the disapproval of the Government, I had received no intimation that it was intended to throw any opposition in the way of the clause.

I think it is a very inconvenient proceeding, to introduce into a Private Bill any new principle affecting our local legislation. I was glad to hear the remark which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) in deprecation of this clause. I can perfectly well understand why the clause has received the support of the hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Committees (Mr. Courtney). It is because it is the introduction of the thin end of the wedge of that scheme of proportional representation in which the right hon. Member takes so great an interest. I think that if we are going to deal with questions of this kind which are questions of great principle, it should be done by means of a Public Act and not by a clause dragged into a Private Bill. I hope the House will reject this clause.

I wish to support the Amendment, and in doing so I should like to point out that a considerable number of Members have probably been induced to vote in the majority in the recent Division on the supposition that this Amendment would probably be accepted by the House. Such an inducement was certainly held out to hon. Members. The right hon. Member for the Liskeard Division of Cornwall (Mr. Courtney), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin)—to whose powerful and clear speeches I have no doubt the success of the Bill has been due—distinctly alleged that this clause had been put down, and stated that when it came on it would remove a large number of the objections which had been raised to the Bill. I think that the fact of this clause being on the Paper, together with the speech of the right hon. Gentlemen, induced many hon. Members to vote as they did just now, and to constitute the majority of 20 by which the Amendment was rejected. This clause is one which does not in every respect meet all the objections which are felt in North Kensington to the Bill itself. That has been pointed out, and is, I think, admitted even by the hon. Member who proposes the clause. I think the House ought certainly to give the Vestry of Kensington and the ratepayers of Kensington a chance of reconsidering their position. "Whether they will exercise the option given to them will depend very largely on the amount of conscience that may be developed on the part of the ratepayers of South Kensington in regard to their treatment of their poorer neighbours in North Kensington. For my own part, I trust that their consciences will be touched, and, therefore, I urge the House to accept the clause.

If this clause introduced any new principle I should regard it as very serious, and a matter that would require further and careful consideration; but I do not understand that that is the case, although lam unable to state the fact of my own knowledge. I am informed, however, that the same principle has already been embodied in other Acts. It is quite true that I did hold out this clause as an inducement to the House to vote for the Bill, and I did so on the ground that the promoters had agreed to accept it. Under such circumstances, I shall feel bound to accept it myself. It may have the effect of inducing the Vestry to make up their minds more clearly than they have hitherto done.

The clause does not remove my objection to the Bill, seeing that it proposes that the question shall be decided solely by the vote of the ratepayers of the parish of Kensington. Now, I am interested for the parish of Hammersmith—which, has no voice in the matter—and therefore I feel obliged to vote against the clause.

I am the representative of humanity. we lost the last Division because the hon. Member for the Barnstaple Division of Devon(Mr. Pitt-Lewis) said that, although he disapproved of the Bill, he should vote in favour of it, so that he might put in this clause. Now, I am entirely opposed to the Bill itself, and also to the clause of the hon. Gentleman; and I am opposed to the clause because a right hon. Gentleman of the highest experience—tho right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone)—says that it raises an objectionable principle. It seems to me, therefore, that we ought, as practical persons, to vote against the clause of the hon. Gentleman, and the clause having been defeated, then take a Division on the Main Question. The hon. Gentleman will then vote for us, because he said he would if he did not get this clause, and then we shall do all we can to throw out the Bill.

I regard the elections for Vestrymen which occurred in May last as decisive of the question locally, so far as North Kensington is concerned; but the clause of the hon. Member for Devonshire enables the whole of the people of the parish of Kensington, including North, South, East, and West, to vote. That is not, I think, a fair issue to raise, seeing that the people who are locally concerned are those who are outside South Kensington. I am an inhabitant of a neighbouring parish, and I shall certainly object, whatever other people may do. I am satisfied that if it had not been for the interposition of the hon. Member for Devonshire, who, of course, is in love with his own clause, the House would never have been induced to give the vote they did a short time ago. His proposition is a perfectly inadmissible proposition, and it will be necessary to take another Division even if the hon. Member persists in dividing upon the clause.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill," put, and negatived.

An Amendment made.

Bill to be read the third time.


Accommodation For Prisoners Awaiting Trial—Scotland And Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, in view of the recent revelations respecting the very unsatisfactory condition of the accommodation for prisoners awaiting trial in many of the Court Houses of England and Wales, the Government will institute a similar official investigation in reference to the Court Houses in Scotland and Ireland?

I have consulted the Lord Advocate and the Irish Government on this subject, and I am informed by them that, while they are not aware of any deficiencies in the accommodation for prisoners awaiting trial in Scotland and Ireland, yet, in order that any public anxiety on the subject may be allayed, inquiry will, nevertheless, be made, and I will communicate the results to the hon. Baronet as soon as they are received.

Education Department—Corporal Punishment In Elementary Schools—Newport Pagnell

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether his attention has been called to the recent inquest, at Newport Pagnell, on a boy named Harry Pack, and to the following facts:—That it was found that Harry Pack had died from inflammation of the membrane of the brain; that evidence was given that the assistant master of the National School had struck Harry Pack on the back of the head with a ruler; that, although the assistant master stated that ''he was certain he did not strike one of the lads with a ruler," he admitted that "he had touched them with his hands;" that the jury appended to their verdict the rider—

"That, though there is not sufficient evidence to prove to the jury that a blow had been struck, they wish to record their opinion that-corporal punishment in schools should not in any ease be inflicted by any other than the headmaster;"
and, whether he will, in view of such cases, further strengthen the Revised Instructions to Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools on the subject of corporal punishment, and take any further steps necessary to prevent corporal punishment being initiated by assistant masters, and especially to prevent punishment in the form of blows on the heads of children?

My attention has been called to the case referred to, and I desire to point out to the hon. Member that the present Instructions to Her Majesty's Inspectors contain an expression of opinion preisely similar to that placed on record by the jury. Where such a rule is not observed, it would be the duty of the Inspector to take it into consideration in assessing the "merit" grant; and in gross cases it would be competent for the Department to suspend the certificate, or refuse all recognition of the teacher,

Inland Revenue—Income Tax In Chambers Of Commerce

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If it is a fact that Chambers of Commerce are being assessed for duty upon their income, which is provided by voluntary contributions, in the interests of the trade and commerce of the country; and if, having regard to section 11, sub-section 6, of "The Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1885," this is a legal or proper assessment?

Under the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of 1885 a duty is levied—with certain exceptions—in respect of all real and personal property belonging to any body, corporate or incorporate; but it is not leviable if such property be acquired out of funds voluntarily contributed. It is held that annual subscriptions to Chambers of Commerce do not constitute property, real or personal, within the meaning of the Act; and, therefore, no duty is levied on Chambers of Commerce in respect of their income derived from such subscriptions. On the other hand, the subscriptions are not regarded as voluntary in the sense in which the word is used in the Act; and, consequently, in the few cases where the subscriptions have been invested in real or personal property, the income derived from such investment has been brought into assessment. A case involving the legal interpretation of the term "voluntary" is now pending in the Court of Queen's Bench, and a decision is shortly expected.

Civil Establishmests—The Commissioners, Scotland

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether the Commissioners on Civil Establishments are to hold sittings in Scotland; and, if so, how soon they may be expected in Edinburgh?

I am unable to give a definite answer to the hon. Member's Question. As he is aware, a visit to Scotland does not rest with the Treasury, but with the Royal Commission itself; but I am informed that the Civil Establishments Commissioners may, probably, before concluding their inquiry, find it necessary to visit Scotland, but the date of such visit, if it is eventually made, cannot be fixed at present.

Scotland—Saline Office, Edinburgh

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, If there be no separate Account showing a surplus of revenue in the Sasine Office, Edinburgh, as recently stated by him, upon what data did the Treasury authorize the reduction, in 1885, of the fees of searching in the General Register of Sasines whether such reduction of fees has not caused a deficit against the Office; and, out of what funds is that deficit met?

The data upon which the Treasury reduced, in 1885, the fees for searching in the General Register of Sasines had no direct reference to the amounts previously collected. The chief reasons for the reduction in 1885 were that the high rates previously charged operated to some extent as an impediment against using searches, and that a considerable reduction in the rates would bring searches for incumbrances into more general use, and operate as a security and convenience to the public. The amount of fees received for searches has been less since the reduction than previously; but the orders for searches are now increasing in number, and it is anticipated that the annual amounts received at the reduced rate will ultimately exceed the amounts previously drawn at the higher rates. The fees received are paid over to the Exchequer, and no fund is charged with the deficiency. The whole charges applicable to the Registrar House are defrayed from Votes of Parliament.

Scotland—General Register House, Edinburgh

asked the Lord Advocate, "Whether the reduction fees for Searchers in the General Register House, Edinburgh, gazetted 6th October, 1885, was laid before the Lord President, Lord Clerk Register, Lord Advocate, and Lord Justice Clerk, in terms of Section 25 of the Act 31 & 32 Vict. c. 64.

(Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities)

This document was laid before these officials. As regards the Lord President, the Lord Justice Clerk, and the Lord Advocate, their attention was not called to any special matter contained in the document, which was simply transmitted to them for signature in ordinary course.

Scotland—Sasine Office, Edinburgh

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he is aware that, there is no separate account kept of the Revenue and Expenditure of the Sasine Office, Edinburgh; if he will state from what source did the Crown Agent for Scotland prepare the Return of Revenue and Expenditure of the Sasine Office, presented to Parliament in August, 1877, and are the same means still in existence; if they are, will he cause the Return of 1877 to be brought down to 1886–7; and, what means he possesses of ascertaining that the fees drawn are not greater than may reasonably be held sufficient for defraying the expenses of the Department, as provided for by Section 25 of "The Laud Register (Scotland) Act, 1868?"

(who replied) said: Separate sub-heads of Votes and accounts for each of the several offices of the Register House have been discontinued since 1882·3, in accordance with the Report of a Departmental Committee on the Register House. The Return presented in 1877 of the Crown Agent was prepared by the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer from information received partly from other Departments and partly through the books of his own Department, which then contained separate accounts for the Sasine Office. I am informed that, though the separate accounts are no longer kept, yet from memoranda as to the amount of stamps cancelled in each Department, a similar Return brought down to 1886–7 can be prepared with approximate accuracy; and if the hon. Member will move for it after the 31st instant, there will be no objection on the part of the Government to giving it. The Treasury believe that the fees are not more than sufficient to cover the whole cost of the Department.

Railways (England And Walks)— Toton Sidings On The Midland Railway

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether the attention of the Board of Trade has been given to the mode of working at Toton sidings on the Midland Railway; and, whether it is true that at the north end there are nine roads without fixed signals, and that the only signals given are given by hand or by lamp; and, if so, whether any communication has been, or will be, made by the Board of Trade to the Company on the subject?

The connections between the sidings and the main line at Toton on the Midland Railway were inspected and authorized to be opened in 1882. There are nine sidings at the north end; but the inspection made by the Board of Trade only related to the connections between them and the passenger lines. It is not necessary, under the Regulation of Railways Acts, nor is it usual, that an inspection should be made of the arrangements in the yards for working or signalling such sidings. It is, however, usual and preferable to work such sidings in the yards from a separate box, and not by hand signalling.

Fishery Piers And Harbours (Ireland)—Works At Greystones

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, If he is aware that little or nothing is being done towards the completion of the harbour works at Greystones; whether it is a fact that the term of the contract expired on 1st November last, and that it was then stated the work would be finished by May next; whether he is aware that the fishermen have no shelter for their boats; and, whether he will take any steps with a view to the completion of the harbour in a reasonable time?

I am informed that—(1) The present contractor is actively engaged in preparations for this season's work. (2) The original contract expired on the first of November; the present one will expire on the 1st of May next, but no statement was made that the works would be finished on that day. (3) The works do not interfere with the shelter previously existing, and the hon. Member is aware that, so far as the funds available allow, the additional shelter asked for by the fishermen will be provided. (4) I am informed that every effort is being, and will be, made to hasten the completion not only of the works originally de-signed, but of the additional shelter to which I have just referred.

Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1885–6— Return

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, as President of the Irish Local Government Board, If he will give a Return showing the working of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts 1885–6, from the commencement up to the present time, giving the number of cottages erected, and the expenses connected therewith?

Returns giving the information as to the working of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts up to the end of last March are already before the House in the Annual Report of the Local Government Board, and they will be continued to the end of the present month in the Board's next Annual Report, which is in course of preparation. Under these circumstances, the hon. Member will probably agree with me that nothing would be gained by laying a special Return on the Table.

Royal Irish Constabulary—Milltown

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If a largo force of Constabulary, accompanied by the County and District Inspector, was drafted into Milltown on the 6th and 7th instant; if such a large force was necessary; and, if its presence there will entail any expenditure on the barony or on the County of Galway?

Reference to the locality mentioned has been made with the view of obtaining the information asked for; but there has not been time for the receipt of a reply.

Royal Irish Constabulary—Mr J M'nulty, Of Loughglynn

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, in as much as the prosecution of Mr. J. M'Nulty, of Loughglynn, has been abandoned by the Government, the money taken forcibly and without warrant from his person by Sergeant Wharton, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, has been restored to M'Nulty; and, if not, how soon this will be done?

I understand that, the Crown having decided not to proceed with the prosecution, and the Assizes for the County of Ros-common being over, the money will be returned to the person from whose custody it was taken.

Royal Irish Constabulary—Head Constable O'halloran, Ofennis

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the case of Head Constable O'Halloran, of Ennis, Whether the present Inspector General of Irish Constabulary, when a Divisional Magistrate, forbade the Head Constable to visit the district of Teakle (where he had been stationed), on the ground that his visits there were succeeded by crime and outrage; whether the late County Inspector of Clare made a like order for an identical reason; whether, during the time when Head Constable O'Halloran was quartered in the district of Teakle, disorder and crime prevailed there; and, whether the district had been peaceable and free from crime before his arrival, and again became so after his departure; whether the Irish Government have had brought to their notice the dying deposition of a man named Slattery, accusing Head Constable O'Halloran of having induced him. to procure a witness to give false evidence against the brothers Delahunty, now suffering penal servitude for life; whether inquiry has been made of Patrick Loughrey, as to his declaration that Head Constable O'Halloran gave him £10 to induce him to procure the commission of crime; whether inquiry has been made, or will be made, into the charge that Head Constable O'Halloran forged a letter, in the name of the Member for East Clare, enclosing the £10 note; and, whether the £ 10 note given by Head Constable O'Hlalloran to Patrick Loughrey had been supplied to the Head Constable, or was repaid to him, out of any public fund; and, if so, out of what fund, and to what official the money may be returned?

I am informed that there is no ground for the allegations in the first three paragraphs of the Question. The declaration made by Slattery was under the consideration both of Earl Spencer and the Earl of Carnarvon when holding the Office of Viceroy of Ireland. They both fully investigated the statements made therein, and neither of them saw any reason to take any action in consequence of them. No such inquiry has been made, or will be made, as is suggested in the fifth and sixth paragraphs of the Question. The circumstances under which the Head Constable used an assumed name do not in an}" way support the construction attempted to be put upon them. I cannot make any statement as to what source the money came from. It is open to Loughrey to return it to the Head Constable if, as is probable, he thinks he has no right to keep it.

AS the money was abstracted from the public purse, and as I have the £10 note hero, will the right hon. Gentleman name the official to whom it should be returned?

Egypt (Finance, &C)—Refunding The Five, Per Cent Couopon Tax

asked the Under Secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is true that the Egyptian Government has instructed the Cause of the debt to commence refunding the Five par Cent Coupon Tax; and, if so, how soon he can undertake to lay before the House Papers containing the facts on which this decision was arrived at?

(Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Man- ]]]]HS_COL-1325]]]] Chester, N.E.)

Her Majesty's Government have been informed by telegraph that instructions have been given by the Egyptian Government to the Caisse to refund the Five per Cent Coupon Tax. A despatch on this subject will be included in the Papers now about to be presented to Parliament, and further statements of the accounts will be added when received. I may, in the meantime, state that it has been known for some time that the funds in the hands of the Caisse to be applied to this purpose, according to Article 21 of the Decree of July, 27, 1880, were more than sufficient.

Meteorological Official Report—Weather Forecasts

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Whether, considering the advantage such information would prove to farmers and others, he will cause the latest available weather forecast to be daily exhibited at all post offices throughout the country?

I have been requested by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to reply to the Question of the hon. Member. I believe that the desired object can be secured, inasmuch as the Meteorological Office is willing to supply the forecasts at a nominal charge to anyone who is willing to pay the expense of telegraphing, which need rarely be more than 6d. for each message. If the persons interested in forecasts in each town or district jointly subscribed, the expense to each would be inconsiderable; and there will be no objection to the exhibition of forecasts at the local post offices, provided space is available, if the persons to whom the telegrams were addressed desire them to be so exhibited, instead of being delivered.

Funds In Chancery

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, with reference to the recently published list of Chancery and other funds which have not been dealt with for 15 years, Whether he can state the total amount of the balances standing to the credit of the accounts; whether the whole of this money has been unclaimed during the period mentioned; and, whether, having regard to the prevailing misconception as to the amount of these funds, he will consider the propriety of publishing additional information, showing the balance on each account, the order of Court affecting the account, and such other particulars as it may be practicable to publish?

The total amount of the balances referred to by the hon. Gentleman is about £1,000,000; and the number of the separate accounts to which these balances relate is about 3,000, showing an average balance of between £300 and £400. The whole amount represented has been unclaimed not less than 15 years. There have, however, been constant applications during the period for information in regard to many of those accounts; but no claims have been substantiated resulting in any order of the Court for the disposal of any part of the funds. In the recent publication of the list additional information of a general nature has been given for the purpose of removing a large amount of misconception which appears to prevail with regard to the magnitude of these unclaimed funds. Thus, as stated in The Gazette, out of the whole of the accounts cited in the list only 1-19th of the balances exceed £1,000, and only one-third exceed £100. The Treasury is of opinion that the extended information given to the public with the list just published is sufficient for the object in view, and that it is not desirable to give further details.

Evictions (Ireland)—Lifford Assizes—Hannah O'donnell

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the information before, and the evidence at, the trial of Hannah O'Donnell, at Lifford Assizes, for alleged forcible entry, and the information in several similar cases, disclose the fact that the police entered the houses of the defendants, interrogated the inmates, asked them to quit, and that, for over a month, they had been watching the houses from, which these defendants had been evicted; whether the houses were for most of that time lying open; whether any bailiff or other person, on behalf of the landlord, was in possession, or watching the houses; whether anything was done from the day of the eviction by the landlord to secure the possession; whether the houses were built by the tenants; whether their time for redemption, after eviction, had expired; whether the police receive any remuneration for their services from the landlord in such cases; whether Sergeant Mahony was directed by the Lord Chief Baron to say if he had a Circular of Instructions for doing as above, and whether he claimed privilege for not producing it through claiming that he acted under a Circular issued several years before; and, whether he will call for further explanations as to this ease?

Answers to these several details as to alleged matters of fact cannot be given without reference to the locality, for which the hon. Member has allowed no opportunity.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Question appeared substantially in another form nearly a week ago?

The Question appeared in so substantially another form that no part of it resembled the Question now on the Paper. I did answer, as a matter of fact, the former Question.

Law And Justice (England And Wales)—Protraction Of Assizes—Quarter Sessions

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the great waste of judicial time, the undue protraction of the Assizes in populous places, and the heavy expenses thrown upon the country by a practice introduced of recent years, whereby the Judges of Assize try prisoners committed by the magistrates to take their trial at Quarter or Adjourned Sessions of the Peace; whether he is aware that the ancient form of the Commission of Assize for the County of Lancaster was altered a few years ago, to enable this change to be effected, and that Grand Juries in Lancashire have made presentments against the new system; and, whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared, by legislation or otherwise, to procure that prisoners committed to take their trial at Quarter or Adjourned Sessions of the Peace should (unless otherwise specially ordered) be tried there, and. not elsewhere?

The whole of this subject, including not only the times and places of holding the Criminal Assizes, but also the times for holding Sessions, has been for some time under the consideration of a Committee of the Judges, at the request of the Lord Chancellor and the Council of the Supreme Court. Their Report is very soon expected, and will receive immediate attention.

Royal Irish Constabulary—Discrepancy In Amounts Of Expenditure

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he can explain the discrepancy between the sum of £1,411,539, given in Return 28, printed 11th February, 1887, as the total expenditure on the Royal Irish Constabulary for the year ended 31st March, 1886, and the sum of £1,387,100, given in the Appropriation Accounts, Civil Service Estimates, Class 3, Vote 29, p. 312, as the total expenditure on the Royal Irish Constabulary for the same period; and, if the sum in the Return is incorrect, whether he will cause a fresh one to be made?

): There is no real discrepancy between these Returns. The difference falls almost entirely under the head of the cost of barracks, and is caused by the fact that in the Appropriation Accounts credit is given for the sums repaid by members of the Force for lodging accommodation; while in the special Return prepared last August the gross rent of barracks is included, as the Inspector General believed that to be in conformity with the intention of the Return. There are also some smaller items, chiefly under the head of pensions paid in the Colonies, as to which the necessary documents had not been received from abroad when the Return was prepared. I shall be happy to give the hon. Member the detailed figures, if he wishes to see them.

Post Office—The Postal Union— The Australian Colonies

asked the Postmaster General, in reference to his recommendation to the Australian Colonies to join the Postal Union, Is he aware that the postage to India, which is only half way to Australia, is 5d., though it is in the Postal Union; what guarantee have we that, if the Australian Colonies joined the Postal Union, the charges would be reduced, and better rates obtained than now exists to India; and, is it a fact that nine-tenths of the British Countries and Colonies which have joined the Union are charged for postage 5d. or 4d. from Great Britain, and 2½d, from France, Germany, or Italy?

The postage of a letter to India is 5d., and if the Australian Colonies joined the Postal Union they would probably adopt the same charge for their letters to Europe. To most of the British Colonies which are members of the Postal Union the charge for a letter from England is 4d. or 5d; because beyond the fundamental union rate of 2½d., the British Post Office charges an extra rate for sea or foreign transit. Italy charges, as we do, a surtax of l½d., in addition to the fundamental union rate, for all letters sent to places beyond sea. But Franco and Germany, in the exercise of their right to levy or not to levy the sea surtax, limit their charge to the rate of 2½d. to all countries of the Union. The French and German Governments pay much higher subsidies relatively for their Packet Services than the British Government do. The considerable loss in point of postal revenue consequent thereon must be thrown on the taxpayers of each country, an arrangement which I apprehend would not be a generally welcome innovation in our fiscal system.

Egypt (The Military Expedition)—R A Cathie, Gunner Of The "Sphynx"

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, If Mr. Richard Cathie, Gunner in the Royal Navy, Has been in any way rewarded for his conduct in the field at the Battles of El Teb and Tamai in the Soudan; and, if not, if i! be intended to confer any special reward on him for his services, as shown in the following extract from The Royal Navy List, p. 309:—

"R. A. Cathie, Gunner of Sphynx, served during the operations in the Eastern Soudan, 1SS4. Landed with Naval Brigade and present at Battles of El Tel) and Tamai, mentioned in despatches: during the engagement of El Teb he had more than one hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy; for the gallantry he displayed both in bringing his gun into action, and for his bravery in his personal encounters with the enemy, he was strongly recommended by General Buller, and was also thanked on the Field by Commander Rolfe the next morning: on his returning afloat he was specially thanked by Admiral Hewett for his bravery at El Teh. At the Battle of Tamai he was recommended by General Graham for his bravery. (Egyptian Medal, Khedive Bronze Star, El Teb and Tamai Clasps.)"

The Admiralty are not responsible for the services recorded in The Royal Nary List, the information there given being supplied by the officers themselves. Mr. Cathie's recommendations from official sources are good; and, as in the case of all officers who are specially mentioned, are duly recorded in his favour. As to any "special reward," I can only refer to the reply given by the hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Caine) on the same subject, when Civil Lord of the Admiralty, on March 9, 1885.

Ireland—The Queen's College, Galway

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is a fact that the President, Members of Council, and Office-bearers of Queen's College, Galway, are, without a single exception, Protestant; whether appointments in the Royal University, with which the College is connected, are regulated by the principle of securing a Catholic element to the extent of at least one-half in all offices and Examinerships; and, if the Government is prepared to make such appointments and changes in the College Statutes as will insure the presence of Catholics on the Governing Body and Staff of a College intended for the higher education of a Province containing 783,000 Catholics and 35,000 Protestants of all denominations?

I have no official information on the subject of the first paragraph of the Question. The hon. Member is, I think, under a misapprehension as to the connection which he suggests between the Royal University and the Queen's Colleges, although, no doubt, the officers of the former are, to some extent, selected from among the College Professors. The Government are not prepared to make such a change in the College statutes as is proposed; such a change would be contrary to the spirit of the Act under which the Colleges were founded.

Commissioners Of Irish Lights— Lighthouse Keepers And Children

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, What arrangement has been made, since last year, to provide for the better education of the children of lighthouse keepers in Ireland, and to enable the lighthouse keepers to attend Divine Service on Sundays; and, what rock stations have been, or are to be, made relieving stations?

Since the hon. Member raised this question last year the Board of Trade have collected from the General Lighthouse Authorities of England, Scotland, and Ireland certain detailed information upon the subject referred to in the Question. If the hon. Member desires to move for a Return of the questions put by the Hoard of Trade to those Lighthouse Authorities, and a synopsis of their replies, there will be no objection to give it. But as the matter is of no general public interest, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be content with obtaining the information he requires from me at the Board of Trade Office.

The Wreck Commission—Return Of Inquiries, 1885

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether he can lay before the House a Return giving the number of inquiries held, during the financial year 1885–6, under the Wreck Commission, specifying where each inquiry was held, and whether before the Wreck Commissioner or a magistrate?

The information as to inquiries under the Wreck Commission will be included in the Wreck Abstract for 1885–6, which will be presented as soon as it is completed.

Merchant Shipping—Pilot Certificates To Foreign Subjects

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, How many certificates as Pilots in British waters granted to foreign subjects are now in force.

There are now in force five pilotage certificates granted to masters or mates of foreign vessels, all in the Hull district. In 30 other cases the annual renewal of similar certificates has been suspended, pending the decision of Parliament on the Bill introduced by the hon. Member's Colleague (Mr. King); 28 of these are within the jurisdiction of the London Trinity House, and two within that of the Hull Trinity House.

Local Government Elections (Ireland)—Mountm Ellick Union

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the following 10 ratepayers in the townland of Derrygrule, in Mountmellick Union, have for years voted in all the elections in the electoral division of Mountmellick until 1885, namely, John. Quiglcy, Mary Meehan, James Brien, James Quigley, Edward Jones, William Tanner, John Conroy, Richard Dickenson, Bridget Bergin. and John Walsh; whether the newly appointed clerk, acting as Returning Officer, has disallowed the votes of the ratepayers mentioned, although they have paid the rates assessed on their holdings; and, whether the Local Government Board will take steps to protect the rights of the persons in question at the present election?

The Local Government Board have communicated with the Returning Officer, and have ascertained that he has issued voting papers for the present election to all the persons mentioned, except two, who are not rated.

The Mauritius—Constitution Of The Late Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, If he has received a Memorial, signed by certain Catholics of the Mauritius on behalf of the Catholic population of the island, protesting against the constitution and mode of procedure of the late Commission, sent to report on the affairs of the Mauritius, and sit in judgment on the Governor of the Colony; whether the Catholic population numbers 108,000, against 8,000 Protestants; whether Sir John Pope Hennessy was the first Catholic Governor sent there by Her Majesty's Government since the conquest of the Seychelles; whether the Head of the Commission, the Secretary, the Law Adviser, and the two other Members of the Commission were all Protestants; whether the Members of the Commission were unable, or unwilling, to make use of the French language, and refused to take the evidence of several of the Mauritians because they could only speak French; whether French is the language of the Catholics of the Colony; and, if the use of it was guaranteed to them as their chief National custom by the terms of the Treaty of Capitulation of 1810; whether Sir John Pope Hennessy was condemned unheard; whether, a few days before, General Hawley (the officer at present administering the Government) was called upon to take up the reins of office, he presided at a meeting of the members of the Bible Association, at which proselytism by the Protestant clergy amongst the Catholic children of the community was referred to in terms of congratulation; whether he has any information to show that the proceedings of the Commission, the suspension of Sir John Pope Hennessy, and the appointment of General Hawley, have caused much anger and resentment on the part of the Colonists towards England; and, what action Her Majesty's Government intend taking in the matter?

I have received such Memorial, signed by 10 inhabitants of Mauritius, who appear to be Roman Catholics, but do not profess to have signed it on behalf of the Roman Catholics of Mauritius. The numbers stated are substantially correct, accord- ing to the Census of 1881; but it may be added that two-thirds of the population are neither Roman Catholics nor Protestants. I cannot say positively; but probably Sir John Pope Hennessy was the first Roman Catholic Governor of Mauritius. Sir Hercules Robinson, who was the sole Commissioner, the Secretary to the Commission, and the Legal Adviser to the Commissioner, were Protestants. The persons referred to as the two other members of the staff are probably Sir Hercules Robinson's private secretary, and the shorthand writer employed to take down notes of the evidence. The former is a Protestant; as to the latter, I cannot answer. The proceedings of the Commission were conducted in the English language, which is the language used in the Law Courts of Mauritius. The witnesses who gave parole evidence were examined in English; but witnesses who preferred to make written depositions in French were allowed to do so. French is the language spoken by the bulk of the Christian inhabitants of the island. The Treaty of Capitulation provided that the inhabitants should preserve their customs, including, no doubt, the custom of using the French language, which they have ever since retained. Sir John Pope Hennessy has not been condemned unheard, He was temporarily suspended by Sir Hercules Robinson, because Sir Hercules Robinson considered that, oven if the result of the inquiry should be to clear him from blame, he could not remain in the administration of the Government without danger to public interests; but no final decision will be taken without giving him the fullest opportunity of explanation, for which purpose he has been summoned to England. General Hawley did preside at the annual meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society, shortly before he was appointed Administrator. I have no authentic report of the proceedings of that meeting. It has been the custom, for many years past, for the Governor, or the officer commanding the troops, to preside at the annual meetings of the Society; and it has always been understood that it was not intended thereby to express, on the part of the officer so presiding, any political or religious bias. Some of the newspapers published in the Colony have expressed resentment, on account of the suspension of Sir John Pope Hennessy, Lastly, the matter is under consideration.

asked, would Her Majesty's Government take into consideration the desirability of requesting officers not to preside at these meetings.

asked, was the right hon. Gentleman aware that several witnesses were unable to give parole evidence, because the Commissioners would not, or could not, use the French language; and that the intending witnesses had to put their evidence in writing?

Licensing Act—Dogs

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been called to a case reported in Lloyd's Weekly London News of 13th March, of a fine having been inflicted by a magistrate at Westminster Police Court, because a dog was kept without a licence to lead a blind girl about; and, whether there is an exemption in the Licensing Act in respect of dogs kept to lead blind persons?

I am informed by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue that if the case of H. Sullivan is the one referred to he was fined 2s. by the magistrate at Westminster Police Court on March 12 for keeping a dog without a licence. It was alleged by Sullivan that the dog was given to him to train to lead his blind sister; but it transpired that she was quite capable of going about the streets without being led. No licence need be taken out for any dog kept and used solely by a blind person for guidance.

Admiralty—The Indian Troopship "Jumna"

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether all work on the Indian troopship Jumna, in preparation for next trooping season, is to be stopped; whether the other Indian troopships Euphrates, Serapis, Malabar, and Crocodile are to be still employed on the trooping service, or are to be sold as reported in The Times of the 22nd instant; and, whether it is the intention of the Government to make any change in the port at which troops for and from India now embark and disembark?

It has been decided not to incur the very large expense that would be necessary to put the Jumna into a fit state to take her turn in the relief duties of the next trooping season. The other four Indian troopships—Euphrates, Serapis, Malabar, and Crocodile—are sufficient to carry out the relief service of the next season, and they will be used for this duty. The Admiralty are not aware that there is any intention to change the present ports for embarking and disembarking the troops.

Seed Supply (Ireland) Act— Repayment Of Advances

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, What percentage of the money advanced for seed in Ireland has been repaid; if the balance is duo by unions situated in the poorer districts, and with a largo population; if he would institute an inquiry to ascertain if such balances were chiefly un collectable from causes arising from hurry in issuing the seed; and, if an inquiry would also be made as to the possibility of remitting a portion of the said balances?

I have already answered so much of this Question as relates to the amount of the outstanding debt—namely, that it is about 7 per cent of the entire loan. I doubt if, at this distance of time, any advantage would be gained by the suggested inquiry as to alleged mistakes in the issuing of the seed seven years ago. With regard to the outstanding balance, I understand that a considerable portion, though collected, has not been paid over to the Board of Works; and until this is done, the Irish Government cannot further approach the Treasury on the subject of remission.

asked, if it were a fact the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lord Randolph Churchill) had promised such an inquiry; and, whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would inquire why the inquiry had not been held?

said, the hon. and gallant Member was aware he could not make any inquiry on the subject now, as the noble Lord the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer was not there.

Imperial And Colonial Defences—Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the War 0ffice has been in communication with the Admiralty, in reference to the fulfilment of the arrangement come to by the Government of this Country with the Colonial Government, in relation to the defences of Hong Kong?

(who replied) said: As all the remaining guns for the armament of Hong Kong are expected to be supplied during the ensuing financial year, it has not been considered necessary to make any communication to the Admiralty on the subject.

Law And Justice (Ireland)—The Riots At Youghal—Coroner's Warrant

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, in the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, the Coroner's warrant lately issued by Mr. Coroner Rice to commit Constable Bulmer, of Royal Irish Constabulary, is legal or illegal?

I am informed that the attention of the Coroner having been drawn to the irregularities in the warrant, an amended warrant, winch was duly executed, was substituted by him. There seems, therefore, to be no necessity for taking the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown on a matter which is now of no practical importance.

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to intimate that the constable in this matter was committed to gaol?

[No reply.]

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the alleged irregularity consisted of printed words forming part of the usual formality of the warrant being allowed to remain on the face of the document; and that when the Coroner's attention was called to the matter he simply drew his pen across the printed words, and not across anything that had been written?

The fact that the Coroner issued a now warrant appears to indicate that, in his opinion, the old warrant was irregular.

Several Irish MEMBERS: He did not issue a new warrant.

I wish to ask the Attorney General for Ireland, whether we are to under-stand that if a policeman is of opinion that a warrant is irregular he has a right to refuse to execute it for a week, and to take that time to inquire whether the warrant is irregular or not? For future guidance it is desirable that we should know.

By a regulation that was given to the police long before the present Government came into Office, the District Inspectors were directed not to execute a warrant they had reason to believe was irregular. When such a warrant is issued they are expected to call the attention of the persons issuing it to the irregularity. In pursuance of that order the District Inspector, seeing certain matters in this warrant which were not in accordance with the fact, sought for the Coroner, in order to call his attention to it. But the Coroner was unable to be found until the next sitting of the Court, when the District Inspector called the attention of the Coroner to the irregularity, which was then corrected, and a now warrant issued. The first person to be consulted in such a case was the person issuing the warrant; and this was necessary not only for the protection of the Constabulary, but also for the protection of the Magistrate or Coroner who issued it.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us what the alleged irregularities were?

I can do so. It was stated upon the face of the warrant that the grounds on which it was issued were, first of all, that it was sworn in open Court that a summons had been served on the constable; and, secondly, that he had declined to attend. As a matter of fact it was not sworn in open Court that the summons had been served; and, in the second place, the constable had attended. The contempt was a refusal to answer a particular question. These were the matters to which the District Inspector desired to call the attention of the Coroner. This course was perfectly reasonable, and the Coroner agreed to issue a new warrant.

May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether these two informalities were not on the printed form of the warrant; and, whether the error was that the real cause of the order of committal was not filled in the ordinary warrant?

May I also ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether the Coroner did not leave the town on the following day, so that the District Inspector could have approached him and have corrected the warrant did he choose to do so?

I cannot say what was printed on the warrant; but everyone knows that a warrant must be irregular if it does not state the reason for which it was issued. In reference to the other Question, I am informed that the District Inspector on the very earliest opportunity went to look for the Coroner, but did not find him.

Law And Justice—Riots At Youghal—District Inspector Somerville And Constable Ward

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, as the inquest at Youghal terminated in a verdict of wilful murder against District Inspector Somerville and Constable Ward, he will take measures to have these prisoners brought to trial at the next Cork Assizes?

I am advised by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland that the case of the prisoners referred to will be dealt with in the ordinary and usual course.

asked if the Inspector and the constable wore out on bail; and, if so, on what security?


I wish to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland a Question of which I have given him private Notice If he has received any communication from the Inspector General of Constabulary in Ireland as to admitting to bail District Inspector Somerville and Constable Ward, now in gaol on a charge of murder; and, with a view to such an application being made to Mr. Justice O'Brien at the Cork Assizes, whether the authorities are pro-pared to agree to such an application; and, whether it is unusual for a Judge of Assize to entertain an application of the kind?

I did not receive any communication from the Inspector General of Constabulary; but before coming down to the House I received a telegram from the Under Secretary, which had been sent to him from Cork by the County Inspector of Constabulary, stating that District Inspector Somerville and Constable Ward had been advised that they might make such an application to the Judge of Assize. If I should got Notice, I shall certainly oppose such an application until I have an opportunity of reading the informations in the case and the affidavits on which the application is to be made.

Arising out of that answer, I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary whether he will give an undertaking that these two prisoners will be suspended, from active duty until their case has been finally disposed of by a jury?

I do not know what the ordinary rule in such a case is;] but I have no doubt it will be followed.

I wish to ask the Attorney General, whether it is usual for a Judge of Assize to admit to bail prisoners committed for wilful murder?

It would be exceedingly improper for me to give an opinion on the matter. It is entirely outside my duty.

War Office—Mobilization Of First And Second Army Corps

asked the Secretary of State for War Whether the reduction in the Horse Artillery being proposed, in view of effecting economies to enable the Government to have everything ready for the First Army Corps to be increased to the War Establishment to take the field at once on the orders being given, and for the mobilization of the Second Army Corps, arrangements have been made in the Estimates for equipment, stores, transport, waggons; and also for store accommodation at the several stations where troops are to be mobilized for the embarkation of even one Army Corps?

The conversion of the batteries of Horse Artillery is being made, not for the object stated by my hon. and gallant Friend, with the view of effecting economies; but, as I have on previous occasions explained, because they were in excess of our requirements, while it was necessary to increase our Field and Garrison Artillery. It is, however, the fact that steps have been, and are being, taken to enable the First Army Corps to take the field, when necessary, without any delay; and I shall be glad of the assistance of my hon. and gallant Friend in pushing forward these very necessary measures as much as possible.

Imperial And Colonial Defences—Singapore

asked the Secretary of State for War Whether the War Office has been in communication with the Admiralty', in order to arrange for the provision of adequate and localized naval defences at Singapore, until the armaments, agreed upon in 1881 with the Colony to be completed in 1887, are provided; and, whether, if this be impossible, the Government are prepared to hand back to the Colony some part of the capital, together with a fair rate of interest on the £81,000 spent by the Colony, for the years intervening between 1884 and 1889, or such further periods during which, the obligations of the Imperial Government shall remain unfulfilled?

(who replied) said: As it is not admitted that there is any very serious deficiency in the defences of Singapore, the contingency stated in the Question of my hon. Friend does not arise. But, in any case, it would not be desirable for me to explain the nature of the precautions which the Admiralty may think it right to take. With the permission of the House, I will take this opportunity of correcting an error in my reply of the 18th instant on the same subject. I stated then that the two guns which would not be ready for Singapore in 1887-8 were in course of manufacture at Elswick. It appears now that I was inadvertently misinformed, and that though guns for Hong Kong and Aden are being made at Elswick, the two for Singapore are in hand at the Royal Gun Factory.

The River Thames (The Oxford And Cambridge Boat Race)—The Police

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the publication of a placard with reference to certain steamboats on the river on the occasion of the University Boat Race, which states that, in certain contingencies, the police will "chuck overboard" from the steamers any person who, in their opinion, is not behaving himself; whether he is aware that this placard is published by Unwin and Company; and whether the police have orders to carry the same into effect?

I have no information as to the publication of the placard referred to; but I am informed by the Chief Commissioner of Police that certain Steamboat Companies have applied to him for police to go on board their boats, and he has in all cases declined.

May I ask, whether it is not a fact that the First Lord of the Treasury is a member of the firm of Unwin and Company, which published the placard; and, if so, what steps the Government will take to prevent Ministers publishing such documents?

[No reply.]


asked the Surveyor General of the Ordnance, Whether the Government will consent to the issue of an annual Return showing what contracts were during the past year thrown open to public competition, and what contracts wore offered to only a limited number of firms—namely, those on the selected lists of the Director of Contracts, whether, in such Return, he will also publish the names of the firms in each of such lists, and state which of such firms received contracts, which tendered and did not receive contracts, and which sent in no tender during the year included in the Return; and, whether he will take care that no firm shall continue) upon any such list who have for some time ceased to tender, and who may use the fact of being on such list as contractors to the British Army mainly as an advertisement for procuring other contracts elsewhere?

The detailed Return asked for would involve great labour, and, so far as can be seen, would answer no correspondingly useful purpose. The average number of tenders issued yearly from the "War Office during the last five years has been 15,667, to which 9,313 returns with quotations of prices have been received, or 59 per cent. As regards the range of competition, Commissariat and Engineer contracts, and the more important contracts for stores and clothing, are, as a rule, given by public or advertised competition. As regards contracts which are offered to a restricted list of firms, care is taken that those firms who cease to tender are, after a year, removed from the list. The list is constantly under revision, and each failure to tender in reply to an invitation is noted against the manufacturer.

War Office (Ordnance Depahtment)—Contract For Cartridges—Messrs Latimer Clark, Muirhead, And Co

asked the Surveyor General of the Ordnance, Whether the contract entered into by Messrs. Latimer Clark, Muirhead, and Co., for the manufacture of 500,000 cartridges, the date of delivery for the last of the four instalments being 18th March, has been duly carried out; whether the first instalment, due 25th February, has yet been delivered; and, if so, what portions of it were manufactured at the Millwall works of the contractors, or were supplied from some other source; and, if so, by whom; whether a portion of the delay in this instance is excused, on the ground of the omission by the Ordnance Department of an important portion of the specification, that relating to guage; and, whether, and to what extent, the Penalty Clause, or other such safeguard, in this and similar contracts, is rendered nugatory by the fact that the Ordnance Department accepts a tender without supplying an adequate specification of the article required?

The contract has not been carried out. The sample de-livery has been rejected, principally because of the failure of the caps, which it is understood were of English make, and wore purchased by Messrs. Latimer Clark, Muirhead, and Co. The cartridge cases and bullets are good, though the cases are rather light, and both were made at Millwall. The cartridges were filled by Messrs. Dyer and Robson, of Greenwich, gunpowder being supplied by this Department. The target was satisfactory. A complete specification and drawing accompanied the acceptance of this firm's tender. The non-issue of guages to govern manufacture) caused a delay of 16 days. Allowing for this delay, two instalments are overdue; and as it is evident that some further time must elapse before perfect cartridges can be produced, the contract has been reduced by 300,000 rounds, and the execution of the balance will enable Messrs. Latimer Clark, Muirhead, and Co. to show that the defects in the sample delivery can be overcome by them.

Education (Scotland)—Bi-Lingual Instruction—The Welsh Language

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether the population of districts of Scotland and Ireland, where the Government makes provision for bi-lingual instruction, and for the utilization of the home language of the children, is comparatively small; whether his attention has been drawn to the Report of the De- partmental Committee on Welsh Education, in which is stated that,

"out of a population of 1,426,514 in Wales and Monmouthshire, no less than 1,006,100 habitually speak Welsh;"
and, whether he can state to the House the reasons why he should refuse to the million Welsh-speaking population of Wales the educational rights and advantages which are accorded to the small Gaelic-speaking population of Scotland?

in reply, said, that, assuming the facts stated in the Question to be accurate, the inference suggested in the latter part of it involved matter of argument which, he thought, it would be more convenient to deal with on the Estimates.

University Education (Wales)— Welsh Training Colleges

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph of the Scotch Education Report for 1886:—

"The system of combining attendance at University classes with the efficient course of practical professional training provided by the Colleges under our inspection was first introduced by the Code of 1873, and is now producing very satisfactory results. In 1884, 119 students took advantage of this arrangement, many of whom passed with great credit the examination for certificates held last Christmas. All the Training Colleges for masters are now availing themselves of this provision of the Code;"
and, whether he will make similar provision for the students of the Bangor Training College to avail themselves of the classes and courses of lectures at the University College of North Wales at Bangor?

The expediency of connecting the existing Training Colleges with the University Colleges now found throughout the country by means of out-students on the Scotch system is a subject of great importance, upon which the Royal Commission is now collecting evidence, and I can assure the hon. Member it shall receive the careful attention of the Department.

Education Department (Scotland)—Senior Inspectors Of Schools

asked the Lord Advocate, The amount payable during the past year to each of the three senior Inspectors of Schools in Scotland as salary, as allowance for personal expenses when travelling, and as re-imbursement of actual cost of travelling and incidental expenses?

(Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

The salary of the Chief Inspectors are, as stated in the Estimates, £950, with £9 9s. in the case of Dr. Kerr for the inspection of evening schools. The amounts paid for the year ended December 31, 1886, as personal allowance and re-imbursement of travelling expenses respectively were:—To Dr. Wilson, £51 9s. and £54 9s. 1d.; to Dr. Kerr, £58 16s. and £91 8s. 7d.; to Mr. Ogilvie, £68 5s. and £55 0s. 10d. These items are regulated entirely by the amount of absence from home, and by the nature and amount of travelling required by the Department.

Law And Justice (Ireland)— Omagh Winter Assizes

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Is it the fact that he went down special to the Omagh Winter Assizes to prose-cute the two Walkers for the murder of the soldier and policeman at Belfast; is it intended to send any special counsel to prosecute them in Belfast at the forthcoming trials; was the report correct that Judge Lawson, on the trial of one of the prisoners, refused to accept a verdict of manslaughter which the jury brought in; and, as he specially prosecuted in this case himself at Omagh, has he given any special instructions with regard to the course of the prosecution in Belfast? I desire also to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, was it by his directions that an additional bill was sent up in the case to the Grand Jury of Antrim at the present Assizes, although a bill had been found by the Tyrone Grand Jury; and, if it is the practice, when a bill is found at the Winter Assizes, and the jury disagree, to send up another bill to the Grand Jury when the prisoner comes to be tried at the County Assizes?

It is a fact that I conducted the prosecution of the two Walkers at the Omagh Winter Assizes. Pressure of other business prevents my Colleague and myself attending at Belfast and Derry; but I have directed that one of the leading counsel of the circuit, who is intimately acquainted with that case, and with whom I have had two or three consultations, should assist the regular Crown Counsel. As to the third paragraph in the Question, the information at my disposal prevents me from accepting as accurate the report mentioned; and, while the case is still undecided, it would be obviously undesirable that I should make any statement. With regard to the hon. and learned Gentleman's latter Question, the matter was brought under my notice not at all in reference to this particular case, but to a large number of cases similarly circumstanced, in which the juries disagreed at the Winter Assizes; and I thought it right to advise that fresh bills should be sent up to the Grand Juries at the County Assizes, and that course has been taken in this case.

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is of opinion that this is necessary, why was it not done at the Cork Assizes on this present occasion?

I can only say that in several cases my attention was directed to it, and I ordered the course mentioned to be taken. I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that it had no reference to this case.

Naval Estimates—Re-Organization, &C Of The Accountant General's Department

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether the Order of the House, made early last Session, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt), for a Return showing the Re-organization, &c. of the Accountant General's Department of the Admiralty Office, is being carried into effect; and, if so, when the Return will be ready for distribution among Members, before Vote 3 of the Naval Estimates is taken?

in reply, said, that the Return was presented on the 17th of February, and ordered to be printed on the 4th of March. Changes were in progress in the Department. He was informed by the printers that the Return would be out in a few days.

Post Office—Transit Rates From England To India

asked the Postmaster General, When was the present arrangement made whereby a payment of l½d. per letter is made to France and Italy for transit rates for every letter from England to India and the East; under what conditions does the contract exist, and when can it be terminated; what steps are being taken to obtain more satisfactory conditions and terms; and, does Germany pay any sum to Franco or Italy for transit rates?

The arrangement referred to was made in 1879 by correspondence between the British Post Office and the Post Offices of France and Italy, and can be terminated at any time. Three years ago steps were taken to obtain more favourable terms; but the result was not satisfactory, and it is intended to make further efforts in this direction as soon as the new service for the Australian Mails is settled. Until it is certain that those mails will use the same accelerated train service as the Indian Mails, negotiations with the French and Italian Post Offices cannot be opened advantageously. On the last point raised by the hon. Member I have no official information. But I understand that the German Mails for India and the East do not pass through the French territory at all, but join the Indian Mail Train at Bologna. In that case, they would incur only the Italian transit charge, amounting to a fraction ovor½d. a letter.

Capital Punishment—Report Of The Royal Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he can state when the Report of the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment is likely to be published?

There is no Royal Commission now sitting on Capital Punishment; but a Departmental Committee was appointed last year to consider the best mode of carrying out the sentence of death. The Chairman of this Committee, Lord Aberdare, has unhappily been incapacitated by an accident from attending to business. He is now abroad, and for the present the proceedings of the Committee are in abeyance.

Post Office (Ireland)—Post Office At Grangegeith

asked the Postmaster General, When he intends to establish the post office at Grangegeith; and, whether for nine months the people have paid for post office and letter carrier?

In reply to the Question of the hon. Member, I beg to say that I shall be pleased to establish a post office at Grangegeith, if the letters turn out to be sufficiently numerous. I expect to receive definite information on this point within a day or two. As previously stated by me, it is, I believe, the case that a private messenger is employed to bring the letters for Gangegeith from the Slane Post Office.

IS the right hon. Gentleman aware that the guarantee had been offered to cover any additional expenditure the post office may entail?

I am not aware. I telegraphed to-day to the surveyor for full information on the subject.

Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts—Transit Of Infected Cattle Rfom Ireland To Liverpool

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention had been called to the fact that on the 14th of last month a large number of cattle were shipped from Northwall to Liverpool, although three of their number were discovered on inspection to be suffering from pleuro-pneumonia, and were ordered to be slaughtered; and, if the Irish Government proposes to institute any immediate inquiry into cattle disease with a view to give further powers to guardians and Privy Council authorities; and also to provide more qualified Veterinary Inspectors at the different ports to prevent the de- barkation of cattle to Great Britain which have been in contact with infected animals although showing no signs of disease themselves?

In answer to my hon. Friend, I have to say that my attention has been called to the circumstances referred to. The subject of giving some further powers with a view to prevent the exportation of diseased animals has been considered. The Inspectors engaged at the ports of inspection are all qualified veterinary surgeons; and I am not inclined at pre-sent to promise that there shall be any increase in their number.

Would the right hon. Gentleman say if the further powers to prevent the exportation of these diseased animals could be introduced into the Coercion Bill?

[No reply.]

Crime And Outrage (Ireland)— Returns—Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Is it intended, as was done by Mr. Forster on introducing the Coercion Bill of 1881, to immediately circulate a Blue Book, giving particulars of the alleged outrages on which the Government rely as the justication of their proposed measure?

It is not my intention to lay any special Returns of outrages on the Table.

Admiralty—Vacancies— Circulars

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to the following statement made by Mr. Field at a meeting of the Civil Service Supply Association held at Cannon Street Hotel on 24th February:—

"There is one thing I ought to call the attention of the meeting to, because it is a very grave subject. I believe that in reference to the candidature for the Admiralty vacancy, Circulars have been sent out in envelopes marked 'On Her Majesty's Service,' and at the expense of the country;"
and, if so, what steps he proposes to take in regard to the matter?

If the statement alluded to is correct, the proceeding was most improper and entirely unauthorized. A full and immediate inquiry will be made on the subject.

Roman Catholic Relief Act, 1829— Roman Catholic Mission At Poplar

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention has been called to a statement in The Weekly Register of 19th March, concerning a Roman Catholic Mission at Poplar—

"The Mission was opened on the last Sunday of February with a procession through the principal streets of the parish. The Guards of the League of the Cross and the members of the different confraternities left the church preceded by a large Mission Cross and accompanied by the parochial clergy. Father Lawless, M. R., clothed in cassock, cloak, and biretta, intoned the Rosary, in which all joined. In due course the East India Bock was reached. Here Father Lawless recited the Litany of our Blessed Mother, delivered an address, and exacted the following promise, which was made with one voice by the kneeling crowd:—'I promise, by the grace of God. to attend regularly this Holy Mission even to the end, and to go to my Confession and Communion.' Father Lawless then gave the blessing with the Mission Cross, and the procession moved on by way of Robin Hood Lane, increasing in numbers, until it reached High Street, Poplar;"
whether these proceedings constitute a distinct violation of the Roman Catholic Relief Act, 10 Geo. 4, c. 7, s. 26; and, what course the Government propose to takes in this case and similar ones?

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, I wish to ask him whether the Statute referred to provides that any person who becomes a Jesuit, or a member of any Religious Order, in these countries shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour and subject to the penalty of being ordered to be banished from the Kingdom for his natural life; and, whether the penalty provided under the 26th section of the Act can be given to the person who informed on those guilty of thus exercising religious liberty?

In answer to the Question last addressed to me, I am sorry to say I have no personal knowledge of the provision of the Statute in question, and therefore I am unable to give the information which the hon. Gentleman asks for. In answer to the Question of my hon. Friend (Mr. John- ston), I have to state that my attention has been called to the statement by the Question of the hon. Member. I have not soon the paper in question; but, assuming the statement is correct, I am advised that there is a strong reason to doubt whether there has been any violation of the penal provisions of the Act. I am not aware that proceedings have ever been taken under that particular section.

Secretary For Scotland Bill— Legislation

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Are the Government able to state if the Bill relating to the Office of Secretary for Scotland is drafted, and whether it will be introduced before Easter; and, whether the Government will remove the block they have put on Scotch Bills, especially that on the Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act Amendment (No. 2) Bill?

The Secretary for Scotland Bill has been drafted, and will be introduced as soon after the Easter Recess as possible. I am unable to give any hope that the block which has been placed by the Government on the Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act (1886) Amendment (No. 2) Bill, and other Scotch Bills, will be removed.

asked whether, considering the condition of the Highlands, and the decision of the Court of Session regarding the Crofters' Act, the Government themselves would bring in a measure amending the Bill of the late Lord Advocate?

Order Of The Day

Business Of The House-Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill— Motion For Urgency



Order read, for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the Amendment proposed to the Question [22nd March],

"That the introduction and several stages of the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill have precedence of all Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion, including the Rules of Procedure, whenever the Bill shall be set down for consideration by the Government as the first business of the day."—(Mr. William Henry Smith.)

And which Amendment was,

To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House declines to set aside the business of the Nation in favour of a measure for increasing the stringency of the Criminal Law in Ireland, whilst no effectual security has been taken against the abuse of the Law by the exaction of excessive rents."—(Mr. John Morley.)

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.

Mr. Speaker, I wish, in the first instance, to thank my hon. and learned Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lockwood) for his kindness in waiving his claim to address the House on the present occasion, and for enabling me, subject to your approval, to state what I have to say to the House on a Motion which seems to me to be of great importance. I am the more desirous to do so, because I wish to say a few words on a portion of the subject which has yet attracted but little attention. No doubt, this Motion opens important parts of the great question relating to Ireland; and the field, so far as concerns that question, has been widened by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour), who acquainted us with the leading particulars of a Bill which Her Majesty's Government are about to introduce with respect to land in Ireland. My first desire is to call attention to what I think I must describe as the unprecedented position of the House itself, both as it stands at the moment, and still more as it will be affected by the adoption of this Motion. The House has been sitting for two months, and for two months the independent initiative of the House of Commons has been altogether suppressed. Not a single day has been allowed to hon. Members for the purpose of bringing forward subjects in which they take an interest—not a single day even for the consideration of questions, like that touching the crofters, which concert social order in the country. We are now invited again to surrender entirely the time of the House, and that Vote, suppose, is to be carried by a majority. And Gentlemen opposite exult in the prospect of that further suppression of the independent action of the House. But such things may happen in the revolution of years as to cause hon. Members to take a somewhat different view of a question of this kind. We are now, Sir, asked to make another absolute surrender of the whole time of the House until a Bill, not yet introduced, but reported to be of an extreme and severe character, has received the attention of the House. Well, Sir, we recollect that questions of this kind have on former occasions been deemed to require protracted discussion. The Bill relating to the Habeas Corpus Act—or the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act—although it was proposed in a tenfold more formidable state of things than the present, and although it consisted of, I think, only a single clause, occupied 20 nights of the time of the House. I may be told that a revolution is now to be brought about in the modes of our Procedure by the frequent application of the Closure Rule. Sir, I can conceive no greater calamity to this House than the frequent application of the Closure Rule; and the very first—perhaps the most formidable—of all the effects I should anticipate from that frequent application of the Rule would be that it would sap the foundations of that Chair which you, Sir, so worthily occupy, and the authority 'so absolutely necessary to be maintained unaffected, intact, and unimpaired. Nor is that all; because it is within the pleasure of the Government—if they think fit under the powers they have obtained—to take any day of their choice for the purpose of resuming the question of Procedure, and the very first subject they would bring under the attention of the House would be to alter fundamentally the sole remaining weapon which is now given to independent Members, not of a full initiative for Parliamentary purposes, but at any rate of raising a discussion upon a Motion for Adjournment. Such is the position in which we are placed when a demand is made which aims at obtaining for Her Majesty's Government the disposal of the entire time of the House upon a Bill which must occupy weeks, which may occupy months, if we judge from former experience from reports in circulation, and from the nature of the case. I may say, for my own part, having seen more of Parliamentary practice than anyone who hears me, that I have never known such a similar position of affairs. I think it grave; I think it menacing; I think it unprecedented. I think it an extreme use of the powers of the majority, and one which, if it is persisted in, and driven to the uttermost, will leave behind it a sense of wrong—I may say, of intolerable wrong—not favourable to the future conduct of the Business of this House. I may say that it appears to me that the right hon. Gentleman would not at all impede the progress of the measure, and would adopt a wise and salutary change, if he were to introduce some relaxation into the Motion he has made. He might do that with great facility. He might exempt some day of the week—Friday, for exanrple—from the operation of the Rule. At any rate, I think it right to utter a warning that the yoke which it is endeavoured to lay on our nocks is a yoke winch, perhaps, may not be patiently borne for an unlimited period of time. I need not, however, go into details on that subject, and I will touch the question of this Motion as it affects the great case of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) will, perhaps, allow me to pay him this compliment—that he has, I will not say acquired, because I think Nature has given it to him, the happy faculty of making extremes and astonishing propositions in the blandest and most gentle way. Had the right hon. Gentleman been discussing the clause on which we were occupied for some minutes this evening of a Private Bill he could not have done it in a manner more entirely apart from a sense of deep gravity, or from an expression of those feelings, which are usually connected with the discussion of great political subjects in this House. I am very sorry to be compelled to assail in toto—I am afraid not with equal blandness but at the same time, I hope, with temper and fairness—the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, and the ground upon which he supported it. He supported it entirely by a reference to the case of 1881, doing me the honour to quote from speeches of my own, and resting the whole justification of the Government upon what had then occurred. Now, Sir, if that case of 1881 will not stand the right hon. Gentleman in stead, I may apprehend he must look for some now justification. And how, Sir, does it stand? We have now a proposition made to the House to abandon its whole time for the purpose of a measure as to which no Parliamentary Papers have been laid. No Parliamentary Papers—as we know from an answer to the hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy) just made—are intended to be laid; no statement by the Government has been laid before the House which can convey to us the slightest indication of the nature and contents of the proposed measure. Now, Sir, I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman is he borne out in this capital respect by the proposal and proceedings of 1881? On the contrary, he must know that the case of the Government—the presumptive case of the Government—was laid with the utmost fulness before the House by the official statement of Mr. Forster before any demand whatever was made upon the House for the surrender of its time and privileges. [Cheers.] I heard cheering on the other side of the House when i stated that this was a very different state of things from what prevailed in 1881. I know not whether the hon. Gentlemen who cheered had made themselves acquainted in any way with the history of the case, but I think I am correct in saying that it is a very different state of things indeed. The first difference I shall note is this. The right hon. Gentleman—I cannot blame him for it—had not read the speech from which he quoted. He founded his ease upon my speech—he had not road that speech. Silence in this case means consent—silence means consent. I am as far as possible from blaming the right hon. Gentleman for avoiding the reading of any speech of mine, or of almost any Parliamentary speech, if he can possibly avoid it. But it imposes upon me the necessity of making another quotation from that speech. The House of Commons will recollect that there has usually been before the present practice arose of debating the Address at full length a period at the commencement of the Session—a week, a fortnight, or three weeks—-during which there has been very little Business to transact. The right hon. Gentleman—or those who informed the right hon. Gentleman—those who supplied him with the quotation from my speech—might have provided him with another quotation which he has imposed upon me the painful necessity of inflicting upon the House, in which I stated that I was emboldened to make that Motion by its being the first day of the Session when we were not already engaged in the general Business of the Empire, but that if it had been a later period I doubted whether I should have been justified in making it. The quotation is to be found in Hansard. My words were—

"I will, however, make this admission—that great as is the evil of the prolongation, even for a day, of this state of things in Ireland, had this proposal been made to the House at a period of the year when we were already engaged in the miscellaneous Business of the Empire, it might have been doubted whether we should have been justified in asking hon. Members to make the sacrifice which I do not doubt their acceding to such a Motion will involve."—(3 Hansard, [257] 1318.)
As to that Motion of 1881, which the right hon. Gentleman quotes as a precedent, I admit I could not have had a case for making it at all had it not been the opening of the Session. But the right hon. Gentleman makes his Motion at a moment when he has already kept us silent for two months. Well, Sir, what is the state of things which is to justify this singular and extreme method of Procedure? Is it the state of Ireland? Is it the amount of crime in Ireland? On all great occasions which I have known it has been customary before and beyond all things for the Minister to make out his case by showing the terrible prevalence of crime in Ireland—of that description of crime which threatens especially social order. Is that the case now? No, Sir; the House has already been acquainted with the fact that during the year 1880—the year immediately preceding the proposals of Mr. Forster—agrarian offences in Ireland had far exceeded the highest amount they had ever touched since the Returns of the Constabulary were instituted in 1844. They had risen by not less than 40 per cent, I think, above that highest amount; and not only so, but during the interval there had been a decrease of population from 8,000,000 to 5,000,000, so that in point of fact the amount of agrarian crime was double at the time when Mr. Forster made his statement—double not only as compared with the preceding year, but as compared with the highest year, or any year, since 1844, the first institution of the Returns. What is the answer to that? The answer is another quotation from a speech of mine, and I return my thanks to the right hon. Gentleman the Irish Secretary for making it. He could not have made a quotation more apposite for my purpose, for I pointed out, it seems, that we must consider not merely the amount, but the character, purpose, source, and object of crime. What is the character, purpose, source, and object of crime now—take it at its very worst? It is to obtain certain reductions of rent. [Cries of "No, no!"] It is what your own witnesses say. It is to obtain certain reductions of rent—it is not a movement against rent in general. I think, in saying that, I carry the assent even of that side of the House. Is it a movement against rent in general? Let me hear the man who argues that—let me see what is his knowledge, what is his experience, what is his authority. I contend this—that every fair man would admit and allege that it is an attempt to obtain reductions of rent which are beyond what equity requires. That is the allegation which will be made on that side of the House. I should like to hear the man on the Front Bench opposite who would rise and say this is a movement in Ireland against rent as a whole. You may find a speech of some individual possibly, but I speak of the evidence which is upon the Table; and upon that enormous mass of testimony you have raised, I say the fundamental distinction between this period—besides the amount of crime—and 1881 is this: that whereas now the demand of the people has been almost universally restricted to a demand for just abatements—as can be proved from the evidence you yourselves have laid before us—in 1881 there was a movement in progress which was growing to be, and a few months after the statement of Mr. Forster was avowed and declared to be, a movement against the payment of rent altogether. Therefore, the quality, as well as the quantity, of crime shows that there was no analogy upon which the right hon. Gentleman could quote the proceedings of 1881 as a justification for the present proceedings. Even these are not all the differences. There are others of the greatest gravity which are involved in this case. Unhappily, Sir, the evidence and the information derivable from the history of coercive or repressive measures in this House is but too abundant. There is one feature—there are two features which have accompanied them all along, and which have, at least, mitigated the case. The first of them was this—that from whatever cause—and into that question I will not now enter—coercive measures have never on any of those occasions been resisted by a majority of the Representatives of Ireland. Never on a single occasion—not when Mr. O'Connell opposed the fiercest of all these coercive measures—was he supported by a majority of the Irish Members; but now you know very well that the protest against this coercion is made by a majority, and by an overwhelming majority, of the Irish Members. You have to put it to yourselves—you have to face this question—whether it is your intention to invite Parliament, deliberately and systematically, under a representative system and in a free country, to govern Ireland in defiance of the sentiments of the vast majority of those whom she sends to represent her? At the time when we were painfully engaged—whether wisely or not—in the passing of that measure of 1881, I was accustomed to observe to my Colleagues—
"For us, at least, as a Liberal Government, it would be totally impossible, even in the teeth of the small numerical resistance we receive, to persist in and to carry through tills measure were we not supported by the practical unanimity of the other portions of the British Empire—by the whole of Great Britain."
Sir, is that the case now? You know perfectly well the condition of the Liberal Party. You know how reduced in numbers are those with whom I have the honour to think, to feel, and to act; but, Sir, reduced as we are, yet still the minority which will oppose your measure is a minority which, perhaps, may amount to three-sevenths of the House of Commons, and you deliberately think that you can, as a system, make this a rule of your policy, to throw aside for a time the remedial measures upon the evidence contained in this Book—Lord Cowper's Report—as to the state of Ireland, and upon the evidence contained in those returns of crime which you are far from willing on your own responsibility to produce, and you think you can do all this in the teeth of five-sixths of the Representatives of Ireland, and in the teeth of three-sevenths of the Members of the House of Commons. Well, Sir, I think I may say that I have shown, not that your Bill is wrong; but at least that in every point your proceedings stand in glaring contradiction to the precedents which you have quoted as your sole justification, and that those who are to speak for the Government must set about to search for some other pleas to justify the astonishing proposal that is now before us—that the House should silence itself anew for weeks and probably for months. I must now say something on the other part of the subject—namely, that which concerns the actual condition of Ireland. When Parliament met in the autumn of last year we were anxious to press that the measures of the Government for handling Ireland should be produced as speedily as possible. We did not go the length of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes), who, when we asked for a few weeks to prepare our measures, deliberately made a Motion to stop the Supplies, which Motion was supported by his Party. That was the idea which the head of the Legal Profession in Ireland had as to the propriety of Parliamentary proceedings. We did not go that length at all; but we requested that as soon as the Government could make up their minds, and, as we hoped, before the winter and before the season of coming evictions was faced, they should tell us what they meant to do. They sheltered themselves behind two propositions. One was that they had sent Sir Redvers Buller to restore order in the most disturbed parts of Ireland; and the other was that they had appointed a Commission to go to the root of the evils connected with the Irish land system. Sir, those pleas were very effective. It was felt, I think, very generally in the House, when once we understood that the mission of Sir Redvers Buller was a purely civil mission, that the choice made of the man to deal with the peculiar circumstances was a choice to which no exception could possibly be taken. But that gentleman had attracted to himself the utmost degree of confidence on the part of the Government, and that confidence, apparently, was afterwards renewed and heightened; for, when they had most unwisely, as I think, dismissed from the Permanent Under Secretaryship at Dublin Castle that most distinguished public servant, Sir Robert Hamilton, for no other offence than the offence committed by Lord Carnarvon—whom when he retired from Office the Government he belonged to declared themselves most anxious to retain in Office—at any rate, they did what they could to repair that error by the choice of Sir Robert Hamilton's successor, and showed their supreme confidence in Sir Redvers Buller by making him the head of the whole permanent Civil Service in Ireland. Sir Redvers Buller, as far as the executive and administrative action was concerned, was the shield of the Government. As far as legislation was concerned, the Commission was the shield of the Government. But how, Sir, do we stand now? The evidence of Sir Redvers Buller is utterly thrown over by the Government. He is their witness—he is their chosen witness—and he enjoys their confidence as much as the Attorney General for Ireland—as much, at any rate, as it is possible to exhibit in any civil servant under any circumstances whatever; but now, Sir, we are told that there is a great combination—we are told by the cheers of inarticulate Members that there is a great combination—against the payment of rent in Ireland, and we are invited, it appears, for the 87th time to pass a measure to put down agitation. There is agitation in Ireland. There is, you say, intimidation in Ireland. Within certain limits I shall admit that; but you propose to us to pass a measure to put down agitation. [An hon. MEMBER: Not at all.] I must say that your explanations have been so imperfect, and that you have so deliberately kept us in the dark, that we can only infer from your vague general announcement we have before us what you are going to do. ["Hear, hear!"] But we have before us—and you may "Hear, hear" this if you like—the main remedial propositions which you are now prepared to make. My point is this. If these remedial propositions are, from your point of view, the legitimate method of acting against Irish agitation, is it a mode of action that your own witness—Sir Redvers Buller—recommends? Does he say that agitation is to be put down; that intimidation is to be cured; that the law-abiding man is to be guaranteed, under all circumstances, the full use of his freedom of action—does he say that these aims are to be gained by repressive legislation? Short as is the evidence of Sir Redvers Buller, it is most important, and I will take, without flinching, what I believe to be the main points which it contains. Some time ago it was faintly signified—or at least it was signified not quite in the strong manner so usual on the other side of the House—that there was a general nonpayment of rent in Ireland, and a general movement against the payment of all rent in Ireland. When I stated the contrary I was saluted by a rather considerable torrent, a current of contrary assertion, in a brief and succinct form. Now, what does Sir Redvers Buller say on that subject? He is asked in Question 16,456, and at page 500 of the Report—"Therefore, in spite of the opposition of the League, they are willing to pay?" Be it remembered that is in the worst part of Ireland. My right hon. Friend has said—and his statement has not been contested—that seven-eighths of Ireland are free from disturbance or difficulty; but where difficulty exists even there this general movement against the payment of rent in Ireland does not exist. What does General Redvers Buller say in answer to the question?—
"I believe that the great majority through those counties—that the great majority of those who have not paid are anxious to pay."
Mr. Neligan, as if to emphasize the answer, asked, "Anxious to pay?" which again called the attention of the witness, who replied—"Yes, are anxious to pay." There is not a general movement against the payment of rent. Do not suppose that I am dealing with Sir Redvers Buller's evidence as if I imagined that that would dispose of the whole case. But I am showing that he is your witness, whose evidence and whose recommendations you are going entirely to disregard; and his first point is, that his replies do not indicate a general unwillingness to pay rent, but, on the contrary, a general desire to pay rent. What does Sir Redvers Buller say is the condition of peace in Ireland? You say that the condition of peace is that we shall pass some repressive Bill of which we do not yet know the nature. Is that his opinion? No. His distinct declaration is this—
"I think this, and I feel it very strongly, that in this part of the country"—the worst part of the country, remember—"you will never have peace unless you create some legal equipoise, or legal equivalent, that will supply the want of freedom of contract now existing between the landlord and tenant."
Those are his views as to the condition of peace; but that is not the proposition on which you are about to act. You are, on the contrary, about to favour us with a Bill directed to the increased stringency of the Criminal Law and with the very measures of procedure that Sir Redvers Buller condemns. Well, Sir, what is the state of the law now in Ireland? Is the law that which it ought to be—a fair arbiter between man and man—and is the law, as it is administered, as it has been generally administered in the opinion of Sir Redvers Bullor—a law in which the mass of the population reposes confidence, or ought to repose confidence? What does he say? Sir Redvers Buller says—
"You have got a very ignorant and poor people, and the law should look after them, instead of which it has only looked after the rich. That, at least, appears to me to be the case."
Is there a Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite who will deny that when you have introduced, pressed, and passed your Bill the Irish people—who now believe the law to be on the side of the rich and against the poor—will still believe it, will believe it more firmly than ever, sustained as they will be by the authority of Sir Redvers Buller? Well, then, it is admitted—of course it is admitted—that we have got classes of unsatisfactory persons to deal with in Ireland. But the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland represented the case of Ireland with reference to rents as the same as everywhere else. "There are," he said, "rents too high and rents too low." Yes; but in Ireland the Land Court, the judicial tribunal, finds 178,000 rents too high, while the proportion of rents found to be too low is so insignificant and infinitesimal that your Land Commission in its Report does not think it worth while, or perhaps thinks that it would be injurious, to quote the cases in which rents have been increased. This new law is to be a law for pressure on the tenant class. Is there any doubt about that? Is the tenant class the class that, in the opinion of your own witness, Sir Redvers Buller, require pressure to be applied to them? Some of the tenants do require pressure, no doubt, but these things are comparative; and if you ask what pressure, in the view of Sir Redvers Buller, is required upon the tenants, you must also ask what pressure does he say is required upon the landlords. It is not upon the landlords that you are going to exercise coercion; you are going to make it easier for the landlords to enforce the rent, whether it be a good rent or a bad rent. Is this the opinion of your witness? What does Sir Redvers Buller say?—
"What we want is a Court that would have a certain amount of coercive power over a bad tenant, and a very strong coercive power over bad landlords."
A very good recommendation—"a very strong coercive power over the bad landlord." His view is that in the case of the bad tenant something is required, a certain amount of coercive power; but his view of the bad landlord is that a very strong coercive power is required against him. But what are you doing? On your own showing you are proposing to introduce a Bill for exercising a certain power against bad tenants, but a strong coercive power against the bad landlords does not enter into your views. Unless your friends in the Press and elsewhere have totally' misrepresented you, the views of Sir Redvers Buller are diametrically opposed to yours. A complaint was made yesterday by a Member of the Government that hon. Members on this side of the House—who had quoted from Sir Redvers Buller's evidence—had refrained from quoting what he said about intimidation, and it was urged that his evidence does show that there is intimidation in Ireland. No doubt Sir Redvers Buller does say that there is intimidation in Ireland. I will not dwell on the different constructions of the term. Some of the witnesses call it the disfavour in which people are regarded who pursue a course different from that which is desired by the mass of the community. Some of them refer to Boycotting, and say that the Irish people in certain cases are rather apt to follow the example which in Ireland, and even elsewhere, is pretty constantly afforded by their betters—apt to try what they can make out of a system of exclusive dealing. But beyond that, no doubt, there are cases of intimidation proper. Well, Sir, you are going to deal with this intimidation; you are going to pursue the old system of dealing with symptoms and neglecting causes. There is much mischief in the condition of Ireland in several counties. What is the root of that mischief? You have appointed a Commission to go to the root of it. Why do you dwell simply on the surface? What is the opinion of Sir Redvers Buller as to the source of this intimidation? Hon. Gentlemen opposite say—"We know the source of it; it is these mischievous agitators; if we can only get rid of them by some dispensation of Parliament, or some dispensation of Providence, then Ireland would be happy, tranquil, and content." Yes; but that is not the opinion of your own witness—the man who pre-eminently enjoys your confidence. Sir Redvera Buller is asked—"What is the cause of the mischief that prevails?" And he answers without hesitation—"The rents are too high." He explains his meaning in this way—
"I think it was the pressure of a high rent which produced the agitation and consequent intimidation as to the payment of rent."
Now, Sir, I ask, how is it possible we can hope for any state of things other than that which actually subsists, and how is it possible you can dream that you will do anything except aggravate that state of things, and increase it intensely, by the proposals you are about to make? I will take them in kind such as we know they are to be, so far as we know their general purport. They find that all agree, though to some extent, in the case of individuals who may wish to pay rent which is even an unjust rent, yet for their own peace and comfort they would wish to pay it. But the opinion of the community in which they live is inflexibly set against it. And that opinion may manifest itself in just or unjust methods. But what is the root of the mischief, according to your own witness? He says that it is not agitation which produced the intimidation, nor was the immediate cause of it, but that it is the high rent which produced the agitation, and which is the source and fountain-head of the whole mischief. I come now to the consideration of the subject of the National League. That League has been treated by some hon. Members opposite as if it were virtually identical with the Land League of 1881. My opinion is quite different; but I do not intend to dwell upon that point now. For the present we will assume anything you like about the National League. Now, what was the answer of Sir Redvers Buller, your witness, to a question referring to the National League? He was asked—"Is there any general sympathy with the action of the League among the people?" And he answered—"Yes; I think there is sympathy, because they think that it has been their salvation."

Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to read Question 503?

If the House is willing I will read the Question, and indeed I would read the whole of it if my eyes were better, because it would evidently be conducive to the purpose I have in view. I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman will see that it is highly inconvenient to be interrupted unless he can show that I am reading something which destroys the effect of what I have previously said. If he can show that then I will not say that there is anything wrong in interrupting me. I see that at Question 503 the witness says that a man was murdered the other day, but I do not see what relation that has——

I do not deny that there is intimidation; I do not deny that in Ireland, as in other parts of the world, there is a certain amount of crime, although I think I shall be able to show that that amount of crime is small and insignificant in comparison with other parts of the Kingdom, and in consideration of the justification. But I am now speaking of the action of the League, and not of the action of the League as it is estimated by the witness—Sir Redvers Buller—who is your chosen officer and agent; and I am showing that he begins by saying that the people have sympathy with and supported the League because they think it has been their salvation. Well, Sir, but we are told they are a poor and ignorant people in that part of Ireland. Perhaps you will say—"Oh, he does not say that their opinion is correct;" but we have got a sentence on that subject, and as the hon. and gallant; Gentleman (Colonel Saunderson) has recommended me to read Question 503, I will now recommend him to Question: 401. The Question is—"It has been; their salvation?" When I read that Question I thought I knew by whom it was put. On looking at it, I saw it was put by the inevitable Gentleman who alone could put a Question in that form—namely, Lord Milltown. The answer is—

"The bulk of the tenants in this part of Ireland tell of rents that have been reduced and evictions that have been stayed which are directly due to the operations of the League. They believe that, whatever truth there be in it."
And after dealing with their belief he goes on to say something for himself; and what does he say for himself?—
"Nobody did anything for the tenants until the League was established, and when the landlords could not let their farms, then they were forced to consider the question of reduction of rent."
There is your own witness; there is the opinion of the gentleman whose appointment stood you in such good stead in September last; there is the opinion of a gentleman who, before you appointed him, had earned in the service of Her Majesty the very highest reputation, and I believe has since done nothing to compromise, but much to increase and establish, his fame. Sir, I have now, I believe, read every point material to the case in the evidence of Sir Redvers Buller, who admits and asserts there is intimidation, but points to the root of that intimidation, and says the root is not in agitation but in rent. This is the testimony of your own chosen witness and your bulwark, during the first months of your existence him and his authority you utterly reject and cast aside. The other plea put before us last September for delay was the appointment of the Royal Commission; and how do you deal with that Commission? You deal with it in a manner, if possible, still less ceremonious; because the Commission has been invested by you with express authority to inquire into the whole working of the Land Act, and there is one recommendation which overshadows and absorbs all the rest—that is, the necessity, owing to the change of circumstances that has oc- curred, of re-opening the judicial rent fixed by law under the 15 3 years' contract. That is their chief recommendation. That recommendation, we know from the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Government mean to cast aside. Then their position is this. They chose men to examine deliberately on the spot the evils of Ireland connected with the land and the rents, and to go to the root of the matter. These men executed their task, and made their recommendations, and their main recommendation the Government mean to cast aside, and at the same time to ask us for a Bill to give increased stringency to the Criminal Law—whether for the purpose of agitation or not, I know not—but certainly for the purpose of putting the law in a position still more offensive to the general sense of the Irish people. What I have now to say is, I think, the most curious portion of the whole case. Why is it the recommendation of the Commissioners cannot be adopted? We have been here fully enlightened by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who rose to the great reputation of his rhetoric in two parts of his case—one when he was reproaching us, and the other when he was de-scribing the acts which the Government knew how to perform. The reason, Sir, why this recommendation cannot possibly be adopted is because it would involve a breach of contract. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman is undoubtedly a perfectly intelligible one. He says you must not break a contract, and he warns and threatens you that if you break any one contract you never can be sure of holding any other.

I desire to correct that statement. I said that to break up a contract solemnly engaged in by Parliament would be wrong.

The right hon. Gentleman has made a correction which does not, in the slightest degree, affect what I am about to say. But the right hon. Gentleman will not deny that he did say that if one contract were broken you would lose the authority by which you attempt to hold another. He does not question that?

I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, nor do I recollect the precise words of my speech; but my point was—my argument was—that solemn Parliamentary engagements should not be broken up.

I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman forgets his own speech, for he went beyond that, and he introduced into this debate, I think for the first time, the question of Local Government for Ireland, and he first said—you are perfectly mad. We have no objection to his saying that—we are much obliged to him for saying that—for much worse things than that have been said about us. That is rather a moderate method of dealing with us, all things considered. He then qualified his language by saying we were singularly unwise; and when he used these words—words almost as gentle as if they had come from the Leader of the House—he objected to Home Rule for Ireland, because, he said—

"Do what you will with Home Rule for Ireland, it must rest upon a kind of contract between the countries, and when you have broken the contract under the Land Act, you will not be able to maintain the contract under the Act constituting Irish Government."
This is his doctrine—high doctrine which I am not disposed to criticize in a severe or hostile spirit. I think the maintenance of contract is one of the prime duties of Parliament, and rare and strange indeed must be the circumstances which would justify interference with it; but in what condition is the right hon. Gentleman who propounds this doctrine? Is he going to break no contract? He is going to break the contract of 130,000 leaseholders, every one of whom is bound to pay a rent which the right hon. Gentleman is going to allow him to get reduced if he can. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that he will escape by saying that that is not the subject of a Parliamentary settlement? It was the subject of a Parliamentary settlement. There are those sitting in that quarter of the House who remember it—there are not many here who followed the details of the Land Bill of 1881, but there are men here who went through it with a patience and a skill and a perseverance that stamp them—if they had nothing else to stand upon—as men of high talent and capacity to serve their country. Sir, I admit to you that there is this difference between the 15 years' con- tract and the leaseholders' contract. The 15 years' contract sprang out of the Land Act; but the leaseholders' contract was reconsidered, modified, and sanctioned afresh by that Land Act. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. What does he know of the details of the Land Act? Am I to understand by the shaking of the head that the case of the leaseholders was not discussed and debated? Yes it was, and upon every point, as I can tell the right hon. Gentleman if he likes—for pray recollect the most effective part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech on Tuesday night was that in which he declaimed with fervid indignation about our deadness to the claims of the leaseholders, and insinuated—"There you sat a set of dummies." That was the substance, undoubtedly, of his charge. I must own that in our weakness we had considerable difficulties on that subject, and I expressed those difficulties. I am now proving that the case of the leaseholders was considered, fully debated, and adjusted by serious changes of law by the Act of 1881 just as much as the case of the 15 years' contract was. A proposal was made that the leaseholders should be permitted to enter the Courts and to obtain judicial rents. I made a speech on the part of the Government in answer to that proposal, from which I shall quote a very few words. I said—
"In my opinion it would he impossible to strike more directly at the very root of contract itself, as it is understood in Ireland, than to give relief in that form."
That speech was the result of long and careful consideration between the then Attorney General (Mr. Gibson)—afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland—and myself, with the able assistance of Lord Herschell, and we determined that the Irish leases with which we were then dealing had, and must have, all the solemnity of Parliamentary contracts. This question was not only not passed over in silence; it was carefully dealt with, and we introduced most important changes in the law. We introduced a change in the law by providing that if a leaseholder could show that he had been led to accept the lease by intimidation or fraud he might get his lease quashed—compulsorily quashed in Court. That was in 1870. That was under the Act that we introduced. But we introduced a more important change than that—a much larger alteration. This change was that whereas by law in Ireland up to that date the whole interest in the lessee terminated upon the expiry of his lease, we introduced the most important provision that at the expiry of his lease he should pass into the position of a yearly tenant, with all the rights which the Act conferred upon a yearly tenant; and not only was this contract considered, but all its conditions wore readjusted; and those conditions which remained have the Parliamentary stamp upon them, just as much as the conditions of any contract. I should like to show how this change came about. At that time, when we proposed that on the expiry of the lease the man should take the position of a yearly to not, Mr. Gibson gave his opinion on the subject, He said, with regard to that amendment of the law, on the 10th July, 1881—
"Never was there a more distinct and flagrant violation of contract than is proposed by this Amendment, which would sot aside the most solemn covenants and the most deliberate engagements as between man and man."—[3 Hansard, (263) 1298.]
The right hon. Gentleman, who said this is now a Member of the Cabinet which proposes deliberately to invade the rights of every leaseholder, and not only so, but at the same time that it does this it throws over the Report of its own Commission, and its most important recommendation because, forsooth, as they say, it would be a violation of contract. Yet these Gentlemen themselves propose, at the same time, to trample 130,000 contracts under foot. I must say that, having regard to the total inadequacy of the proposals of the Government, and to the absolute fallacy of the precedents they have quoted, and after two months of Parliamentary silence—I may almost say Parliamentary extinction—I think the proposal of the Government an absolutely unprecedented proposal. I have said enough, I think, for the present. This debate is only the introduction to other debates, an epitome—I will not say a miniature, for that might cause alarm; but undoubtedly these are subjects of the gravest character which are coming before us; and, for my part, I shall now say no more except that I heartily and fervently agree with the views of my right hon. Friend the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. John Morley). "We shall record our vote in opposition to this policy and this course of procedure; and I do not see how we can forbear to continue that opposition at each step which the Government may make in the prosecution of so unhappy a policy. We can do nothing but resist it; and whether we are in a majority, or whether we are in a minority, it is very important, in my opinion, that the people of England should see that we have done our duty in a matter of so great difficulty. That duty, I trust, we shall do to the last stage of this ill-omened measure, which is now, as it were, flapping its wings over us, until the very last stage of it, when the voice of numbers shall—with full Parliamentary authority—drown what we think to be the voice of reason and of justice; when another false step, after the warnings which 86 years have given, and given in vain, shall be taken, and a further blow shall be struck, under the name of a Parliamentary Statute—a fresh blow shall have been struck—alike at the happiness, at the prosperity, and at the contentment of Ireland and at the Union of the Empire.

After a pause,

, rose. He said that owing to the extraordinary and ill-omened silence of the Government and their supporters, who desired by their numbers, if not by their arguments, to pass that Motion, and the silence of hon. Members who called themselves Liberals, the task had been thrown on the Irish Members to continue the debate. He was not surprised at the silence of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were now face to face with the Report of the Commission of their own choosing. From the evidence of hostile witnesses they had a complete justification of the Plan of Campaign. The Government had given them no information upon that subject, or upon the subject of crime in Ireland. They had been told that juries had refused to convict. Upon that point also they had declined to lay any information before the House. They had refused to convict, but where? In Belfast. Yet the Government proposed to coerce and punish, by Constitutional and lawful tribunals, the starving peasantry of Kerry and Clare, while they postponed to a later date dealing with the case of the prosperous and well-fed rioters of Belfast. The evidence of all the hostile witnesses before the Land Commission was to the effect that the people of Ireland—the poor people of the South—were willing, above all things, to live peaceably and quietly in their own country, and that the combination was due altogether to excessive rent. There were two courses open to the Government. One was to establish a despotism in Ireland, and the other was to govern in a Constitutional manner. Since Her Majesty's Government had absolutely declined to carry out a Constitutional method of government, and since they were supported in that determination by a number of hon. Members who called themselves Liberals, the alternative of despotism was the only one they could possibly adopt. It seemed to him that it had been one of the fundamental principles of Liberalism that the will of the people should govern a country, and that where the Government governed against the will of the people the Representatives of the people should take the verdict of the country upon their acts. But the Liberal Unionists had not adopted that principle. They had declared their intention of supporting the Government whether they were right or wrong, in order that they might not go to the country, and that the verdict of the country might not be pronounced upon them. Those Gentlemen were, therefore, neither Liberals nor even Constitutional Conservatives, but simply despots. He was happy to think that those Gentlemen who had gone to the country at the last Election against Homo Rule, and who had contended that Ireland could be governed Constitutionally without Home Rule, had now abandoned that position, and he believed that the next time the verdict of the country was pronounced upon them they would receive their political annihilation. He warned the Government that no paltering or partial measure of coercion could possibly succeed. The Government had better dispense with the last remnants of the British Constitution which were dangled over the heads of the Irish people, and go in for absolute despotism, and the sooner they did that the better.

said, he thought that the majority of people in the country would differ from the views of the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Chance) with regard to the Liberal Unionists, many of whom had given up honour and profit in order to give effect to their views. They had listened that evening to a very eloquent speech from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), a speech well appreciated by the Nationalist Members; but, for his (Mr. Addison's) own part, he was astonished at the position taken up by the right hon. Gentleman, or that it was possible, by any form of language that existed, so to misrepresent what had been going on in that House during the last two months. The right hon. Gentleman had gravely reproved the Government with the waste of time that had taken place, and had said that private Members had been given no chance. But why was that so? Simply because matters, which might have been disposed of in a night or two, had been debated at very great length by hon. Members opposite who might be considered as followers of the right hon. Gentleman, and whom he might have told to allow Business to get on quickly. He should have imagined, listening to the right hon. Gentleman, that there was no crime in that country; but, supposing that in seven-eighths of Ireland there was no crime, what harm would be done by passing the measure proposed by the Government affecting such a small proportion of the country? Hon. Members on the Conservative side of the House had as strong a desire as Nationalist Members could possibly have not to infringe on the liberties of the people of Ireland more than was necessary; but they maintained that crime must be punished whether in England, Scotland, or Ireland, and when order was restored in Ireland they were desirous of doing all that legislation could do to give happiness to the Irish people, always bearing in mind that they had no stronger claim on the consideration of Parliament than had the people of the rest of the United Kingdom. In this country they had had special legislation from time to time when any particular crime had become rife, such, for instance, as garotting, offences against the Bankruptcy Act, and, more recently, crimes against women and children, which had been dealt with by the Criminal Law Amendment Act; but it had never entered into the head of any sensible man in the country to denounce such measures as coercion, and why was Ireland to be the only country in the civilized world where those who committed crime were not to be coerced—if compelling people to obey the law was coercion? Against whom was coercion directed? It was against those who wished to commit crime. He thought that an attempt was being made to confuse the English mind between what was called coercion for Ireland and that coercion which existed in foreign countries, which was directed against the freedom of political opinion, the freedom of meetings, and matters of that kind affecting the liberty of the people. In England the passing of measures directed against crime had been going on as long as they could remember. Then the right hon. Gentleman told them that coercion had been tried for 86 years in Ireland and had done no good. Why, the result of coercion was that Ireland at least existed, and was, to some extent, a civilized country; what it would have been if no coercive measures had been passed he did not know, and it was impossible to say. But was the right hon. Gentleman so sure that there was no crime in Ireland? He (Mr. Addison) had read in The Times newspaper an address of Mr. Justice O'Brien, who he believed was a Catholic, to the Grand Jury of Kerry, no later than on the 10th of March, in which that Judge had regretted that he could not announce any improvement in the extraordinary and unsatisfactory state of affairs which existed, amounting to a state of open war, with all forms of authority and even with the necessary institutions of civilized life; the law was defeated, or rather had ceased to exist; person and life were assailed; an increased confidence in impunity existed; menace had given place to the deed; and terror and lawlessness existed everywhere. These were the words of a person speaking with authority, and weighing his words, and if such a state of things existed, surely some sort of remedy must be found. It was no satisfaction to those who sat on the Government side of the House, as hon. Members below the Gangway seemed to think, to be told that the jury system had practically broken down; but it was remarkable that, oven in the case of the PhŒnix Park murders, although the jury had been summoned partly from the county and partly from the city, it had been necessary to make 50 of them stand aside in order to get a jury who would have the courage to do their duty. Then, to secure life and liberty, it was surely necessary that the existing law should have some respect shown to it. The very foundation and meaning of passing a law was that, when it was passed, it should be treated with respect. If that were so, surely hon. Members opposite could not complain if it were desired that some amendment of the Criminal Law in Ireland should be passed which should secure some kind of respect for the law there. With regard to what had been said as to evictions, no man with a heart could fail to be distressed at hearing of any poor family being turned out of their homo on to the roadside, perhaps with young children and women; but what was the meaning of those evictions, and how was it possible to avoid them? He regretted that the efforts which had been made over and over again by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) in this direction had only been made the gravest subject of reproach against the Government by the National League Scenes occurred in this country in cases of eviction and of distress for rent which rivalled in wretchedness and misery anything that passed in Ireland. But they were, to a certain extent, inevitable as long as people without capital sought to draw a precarious living from the land. It had been found necessary in this country to consolidate holdings in order that the occupier should be able to pay his way. The doctrine put forward by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, if carried to its legitimate extent, would prevent any rent from being obtained in respect of small holdings, either in Ireland or in this country. He should like to see any Land Bill whatever produced by hon. Members opposite which would be consistent with the rights of property. Irish Members now said that the judicial rents could not be paid; but in that case what would have become of the security which the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian proposed in his Bill of last year to offer for the advance by this country of £150,000,000? In his opinion, hon. Members opposite would do well if they accepted the Criminal Law Amendment Bill which was about to be introduced by his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It was believed that its application would extend only to those districts in which crime and outrage prevailed, and, having regard to the restoration of peace and happiness among the Irish population, he considered that was the honest and just course for the Nationalist Representatives to pursue. They should turn their attention to assisting the Conservative Party to restore peace, order, and prosperity to their country.

I shall ask the indulgence of the House, while we are on the very threshold of this important question, in order to state briefly my reasons for supporting the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), and resisting the proposals of the Government. Unfortunately, Sir, demands for the urgency of coercion are so little of a novelty in this House, that the arguments both for and against them are almost as familiar to hon. Members as those of certain annual discussions on our Votes of Supply, or hereditary legislators, or any other continually recurring subject of debate. It is, therefore, quite unnecessary to go into them at any length. But, Sir, there is this amount of novelty in the present proposals of the Government—I mean as compared with other coercive proposals—they have the unfortunate distinction, as has been proved over and over again in this debate, of being the most unnecessary and inexcusable instance of coercion which Parliament has over been called upon to support—coercion with least crime to suppress, and with most to be said in favour of dealing with the difficulties which do exist by other and more humane methods. With reference to those other methods, we have been told, Sir, by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, that remedial measures will not of themselves restore order. No, Sir; I dare say they will not. There is not the slightest chance, I am sorry to say, of those remedial measures which the right hon. Gentleman has in his mind producing anything like such a beneficial result. But, Sir, are there no other remedial measures than those which the present Government are likely to propose? I believe that there are some— the very hope, the mere introduction of which into the last House of Commons, though defeated by a majority, exercised the most powerful tendency in favour of diminishing the amount of crime and the number of outrages throughout the whole of Ireland. We were told, Sir, in somewhat vague and inadequate language, considering the magnitude of the issue, that Ireland is in a state of disorganization, although it seems impossible to apply that remark with anything like accuracy to more than a portion of the country, containing about one-eighth of the whole population of Ireland. I would like to ask how Scotland would have stood the application of similar reasoning to her own case? Would it have entered into the wildest heads of the most uncompromising supporters of coercion on the opposite side of the House to have described Scotland as being in a state of disorganization, because the crofter counties, containing about one-ninth of the total population of Scotland, were described as being disturbed by an agrarian agitation. I would remind the House that in March last year the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland said that—

"He doubted whether in any part of Ireland you could exceed the lawlessness, although you might exceed the violence, which now prevailed on some portions of the Western Coast. Nothing but the most courageous exercise of the powers of the Executive Government could possibly restore those elements of social order without which prosperity could not be re-introduced."
And when it was a question of remedial, and not of criminal legislation, which is far worse, was not the whole drift of argument which came from the opposite side of the House towards limiting the area to which the Bill should apply. I am aware that it may be replied that we are as yet ignorant as to how far the Government proposals are limited. But that is not the question. Hon. Members seem to forget that we are now dealing with the question of the urgency of coercion over remedial measures. The whole of Ireland—every single Irishman—is necessarily affected by precedence being given to coercion, and the delay of those remedial measures for which the whole country is calling. Because one-eighth of the population of Ireland may be said to be disturbed, all Ireland must go on in rapidly-increasing misery, and the "door of hope" be shut to every Irishman. And what, Sir, is the chief plea upon which the Government are basing their extraordinary policy? We are told that it goes hack to the simple duty of every Government, which is to maintain the law and secure the liberties of the people. What law, I ask, and what liberties? It scorns to me almost an abuse of language to make it your excuse for giving urgency to coercion over remedial measures, and preferring a policy of resistance to the Constitutional and reasonable demands of the Irish people to a policy of conciliation, that you are securing their liberties and maintaining their law. It is on this ground that I think the question is one which goes to the very root of civil liberty and the proper respect for the law. For the law which you are asking us to support by coercion, is not law which has been made sacred—or even respectable—by the fact that it has been made by the people themselves whom it affects. And, Sir, when we are asked to support, by coercion, what is called the stability of Government, let us at least be certain what that phrase really means. Let us remember, at all events, that in the eyes of the vast majority of Irishmen, this phrase—the stability of Government—means, under present circumstances, the stability of a foreign Government; and that the maintenance of law and order means in their sight, however much we may deplore it, the maintenance of landlords' law and land agents' order. I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle was right when he said that the real hypothesis on which the Government proposals are based is that the Irish, as a people, are incorrigible And this, Sir, seems to me to be the guiding and impelling idea in many very sincere minds, and not only on one side of the House—an unnatural, an unhappy idea, but one which has taken violent possession of many men and many newspapers, and which it may possibly be difficult to eradicate except by a process more in the nature of a miraculous illumination than an ordinary process of reasoning. Against such an argument, it seems to me to be useless to fight. But the one thing which ought to be clear to all hon. Members is the impossibility of sustaining such a policy as the Government are now entering on, even for a moderate length of time. Hon. Members should remember that they have to reckon in future. not only with Irishmen, but with the electors of England, Scotland, and Wales. How long are they going to support you? May not they very shortly become incorrigible too? Yes, Sir, coercion may be an intelligible policy; but there is one great condition of success that it ignores. There is the heart and conscience of the people of Great Britain, which you cannot force to sleep for 20 years, or guarantee against an awakening, compared with which the Liberal reaction of 1880 would seem almost a feather in the cap of the Tory Party.

I think it is desirable that some of the Ulster Members should say a few words in reply to the accusations which have been levelled against them by the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Morley) and other speakers who have followed him. the right hon. Gentleman quoted from the Blue Book the evidence given before the Royal Commission by Mr. Dickson, who, as hon. Members know, was at one time a Member of this House; but I should like to know what weight the statements of that gentleman can carry on this question, seeing that, although for a long time he has been very hostile to the landlords of Ulster, he was not successful, at the last Election, in inducing a single agricultural constituency in Ulster to return him as their Representative. Other hon. Members who have spoken in support of the Amendment have quoted extracts from the evidence given before the Royal Commissioners which happened to bear specially on their side of the case; but, Sir. I venture to say that I do not think this is a very proper way of putting the case fairly before the House. I have the Report of the Commission hove, and I could, myself, quote any number of statements in support of the landlords, and in exactly the opposite direction to the statements quoted by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I think that the House, in studying the evidence, will be rather inclined to balance the evidence of the landlord party and those who represent the landlords as against the evidence of the farmers and those who are specially the supporters of that class; and that they will attach the greatest weight to persons who are obviously impartial in the matter, Probably, the evidence which will carry most weight with it is that of the Road Commissioners—Mr. Justice O'Hagan and Mr. Litton—and I will trouble the House with a short extract from it. Mr. Justice O'Hagan, speaking of the increased reductions which have been made in recent years, says—

"I think the figures of the change which we made, instead of averaging on the whole about 1 per cent above decisions of the Sub-Commissioners, came to 2 or 3 per cent below them."
So that the whole effect of the recent reductions was to reduce the rents 3 per cent more than they had been reduced under the earlier operation of the inquiry. Mr. Litton, who is the other Head Commissioner, was asked this question—
"Does this, in your opinion tend to justify an alteration in the judicial rents."
His reply was—
"I cannot conceive anything to justify legislative interference with the rents fixed under the authority of the Act, if there is to be any finality, or if there is to be any trust in the Legislature."
Again, in respect to a produce rent, the same Commissioner said—
"If a produce rent is to be adopted, I would not apply it to judicial rents already fixed until the term had run out."
In considering this question of the fairness or unfairness of the judicial rents, it seems to me that this is purely an economic question, and that it should therefore be tested more by reference to the statistics which bear on the subject than by the evidence of individuals who have not studied the subject. I notice that hon. Members who have spoken in the debate in support of the Amendment have kept very clear from statistics. I have not been surprised at it; but I have never yet seen any statistics which, in any way, will support them in their contention. They say that the statistics in regard to agricultural produce show a considerable fall in prices during the last two or three years; but what we complain of is that in regard to this question of agricultural prices, hon. Members, and, indeed, some of the Commissioners, have only dealt with five or six years previous to the time of inquiry. Surely, it would have been very much fairer if they had considered the average of prices during a very much longer period than that. If we compare the condition of the farmer 20 or 30 years ago with his condition at the present time, we shall find broadly that the prices at the present time are from some 20 to 40 per cent higher now than they were at that period; notwithstanding which fact the rents have been reduced 20 per cent by the operation of the Land Courts. In addition to this question of the prices of agricultural produce, there is a large amount of evidence, collected in tables and in the Report of the Commission, to show that the value of the tenant's interest in the farm has been kept up oven down to the present date. In fact, especially in Ulster, it is a well-known fact that, on the average, the interest of the tenant is at the present day fully equal in value to the interest of the landlord. I do not think that a fact like that tends to show that the existing rents are either exorbitant or rack rents. Take, again, the bank deposits; they have increased during the last 45 years from £8,000,000 to.£34,000,000, and hon. Members will admit that a large amount of these deposits is the property of the tenant farmers. Then, again, there is the case of the Bright purchasers—those who have purchased farms under the Act of 1870. I contend that their case is really a hard one, and I have already brought it under the notice of the Government. Indeed, I am sanguine enough to hope that the Government will take the case of these purchasers into their serious consideration, with a view of giving them some relief. The point I wish to make is, that these purchasers have been paying instalments which are equivalent to a rent very much higher—30, 40, and 50 per cent higher than the level of the judicial rents. I regard that as a very strong proof indeed that the general condition of the rents of Ulster is not too high. I do not think it is altogether surprising that, taking these matters into consideration, the landlords of Ulster have not been making a general reduction of the judicial rents. Another argument which has, no doubt, influenced them is this—that while the landlords in Ireland have given reductions, either from generosity, or, what I think has more often been the case, because they were too poor to fight the matter, and were obliged to take what they could get, that fact has been brought forward as an argument, that the rents were exorbitant. When a landlord reduces his rents in certain years, it is often brought against him in succeeding years that because he made the reductions the rants were exorbitant. There is one point more, and I think it has an important bearing; upon the question—namely, the position of the labourers in Ireland. I can speak specially from my own knowledge of the condition of the labourers in my own constituency, and the manner in which they regard the proposals for new land legislation. I may inform the House that the labourers do not look with any degree of satisfaction upon the proposal to confer new benefits upon the farmers. They are of opinion, and I think to a largo extent that opinion is justified, that the Legislature has already conferred a sufficient number of boons and benefits upon the farmers at the expense of the landlords. They think it is quite time that if further legislation is to be introduced in regard to the land of Ireland, it should be in their favour. What they want is to have a decent house and half-an-acre of land at a fair and reasonable rent. They know, too, that the landlords are their best friends; that they give them the best employment, and that they treat their labourers much better than the farmers. They look forward with dread to the time when the landlords will be swept out of the country, and when they will be left entirely to the tender mercy of the farmers. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that they are opposed to any sweeping transfer of property from the landlords to the tenants. I believe the other Ulster Members will bear me out in saying that they are not now in favour, nor are they likely to be in future, of any sweeping or drastic land legislation. What Ireland wants is peace and repose; that the grinding and cruel coercion of the National League should be put an end to: and when this result has been attained, when law and order are restored, when the country is in a condition to receive remedial legislation, I hope that this House and the Government will not relax their efforts, but will use British credit to encourage the industries of the country, and to provide that employment for the Irish people which is so much needed. If that be done, I believe that before many years are passed we may hope to see our country on a fair road to prosperity and contentment.

said., that nothing but the most overwhelming necessity could have justified the Government in the monstrous proposition they had made for what really amounted to an appropriation of the whole time of the House for the remainder of the Session. If the Government devoted themselves to coercion in that way, Parliament would cease to be Imperial, and would become a Legislature for the transaction of Irish Business by a majority composed of English and Scotch Members. Looking to the vast amount of opposition this measure was likely to encounter—an opposition very different both in extent and character from that which any other Coercion Bill had mot with—it was certain that the matter would occupy a considerable time; indeed, he could not help thinking that possibly Whitsuntide or oven the months of July and August would still find thorn squabbling over this measure. What, then, was to be-come of the Ministerial programme? This was rather a heavy burden to lay on a now Thus of Commons in, practically, its first Session, when a large number of Members had come up from the country anxious to bring forward questions of great importance to their constituents and the country generally. It was especially hard when they remembered that the Government had asked for and obtained every minute up to the present time. The House had now sat for two months, and of that period independent Members had not obtained a single day. Not a month ago, the First Lord of the Treasury asked that priority should be given to the Rules of Procedure, on the ground that they were intended to restore the dignity and efficiency of the House. He (Mr. Osborne Morgan accepted the statement in perfect good faith, and did his best to help the Government to pass the First Rule. But within a few hours of passing the Rule, they threw the dignity and efficiency of the House to the winds, and asked hon. Members to give fresh urgency to a now measure. The right hon. Gentleman had let the cat out of the bag, and had shown that the real motive of the Government in passing the Closure Rule was not to insure the efficiency and dignity of the House of Commons, but to enable them to pass a severe Coercion Bill for Ireland, for which there was nothing but the most flimsy pretext. What was to become of the other Rules of Procedure, some of which were far more important than the one which had been adopted? What had become of the Rule relating to the Sittings of the House, and to the devolution of the Business of Parliament? What was to become of the measures promised in the Queen's Speech, if this Bill was to take up the remainder of the Session? Why, they would vanish into thin air, and become "such stuff as dreams are made of." Urgency was never before demanded upon such flimsy grounds and such inadequate information as the Government had put forward in this case. There could be no comparison between the state of things in 1881–2, when urgency was granted, and that existing at the present time. Crimes and outrages were now comparatively few and light. On the previous occasion, facts and statistics were placed before the House to justify the action it took; but now hon. Members were called upon to vote with their eyes shut. He insisted, therefore, that the Government were bound to show some more solid grounds than they had done for the demand they made. They ought to have stated some facts, data, and statistics before, and not after, making their demand for urgency. The urgency now asked was sought not to restore law and order in Ireland, but to maintain high rents; not to protect life and property, but to protect the pockets of the landlords, and to enable them collect rents which, in a great majority of case?, were higher than the tenants could possibly pay. The evidence of the Land Commission showed that the whole land system of Ireland was rotten to the core. As a proof of it, he would refer hon. Members to the account given in that day's newspapers of the evictions carried out on the Lansdowne estate, which resembled the description of a storming party in the Peninsular War. A body of 100 constables, under the command of a Resident Magistrate, were told off with scaling ladders, shields of corrugated iron, and crowbars, in order to evict 20 wretched old men, women, and children. How long, he asked, was it possible for those things to go on? The sooner they were altered the better it would be for the Government, and the peace and happiness of the long misgoverned Sister Country. A Bill, they were told, was to be introduced in "another place" to deal with the Irish Land Question. He did not like the domicile of origin of that Bill. He knew what the House of Lords had done in regard to rents in the case of previous Bills, and he had not much faith in anything that came from them on that subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was an able man—he was an honest man—but, however able and honest, he could not accomplish impossibilities—he could not govern Ireland in the way he had proposed. Did he expect to succeed where Lord Spencer and Mr. Forster and Sir George Trevelyan had failed? They might gag the Press, imprison priests, stop public meetings, and evict old men, women, and children from their miserable homes; they might put on the closure in the strictest form, and drag unfortunate Members out of bed to enforce it; but the weapon they had formed would break in their hands, for they would still have to deal with 85 Irishmen who had been sent to that House to ventilate the wrongs of their country, and who would, if he mistook not, continue to do so. He believed that the democracy of England were getting sick of those Coercion Bills, and longing to find out a better way to deal with Ireland, and evidence of that was furnished by the recent bye-elections, and would, he believed, be furnished by another bye-election which was going on that day. If the Government really preferred a policy of buckshot let them openly say so. As Cavour said—'' Anybody can govern by military law." That was what it would come to; but in Heaven's name let them get rid of that half-and-half policy—that sham freedom—that attempt to combine the despotism of Russia with the democratic system of England. He was not sorry the Government had shown their hand. Every day of that debate would bring them nearer and nearer to the only way of solving the Irish problem, and, possibly, before long Lord Salisbury might wake up from that nightmare which he confessed he had been suffering from, and would find out that the only true way of governing Ireland was to let Ireland govern herself.

said, it was not his intention to detain the House at any considerable length, not because he did not attach immense importance to the subject under discussion, but because inevitably during the next week or two that same subject would be discussed again and again; and the great inconvenience of the debate in which the House was now engaged consisted in the fact that it was a partial debate on a question that would be completely debated in the course of a very few days. No doubt, however, hon. Members below the Gangway opposite would expect himself and his Colleagues connected with land in Ireland to say a few words in connection with the question of rent. The Amendment of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne(Mr. John Morley) was not an Amendment which simply dealt with rent, but it was a Vote of Want of Confidence in the Government; and he thought he knew the constituency which he had the honour to represent too well not to know that, however tempting it might be—and undoubtedly it would be very tempting—for the tenants to have their rents reduced, they would think it a gain too dearly bought by replacing the Government now occupying the Treasury Bench by a Home Rule Government led by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). The right lion. Member for Newcastle, in moving his Amendment, apparently had two tasks to fulfil. First of all, he had to try and saddle the Government with the charge of backing up Irish landlordism; and, secondly, he had to whitewash his present staunch allies the Irish National League He had taken down the words of the right hon. Gentleman, and, in speaking of the National League which it was his business to whitewash, as his remedy for Irish Bills was to commit the destinies of Ireland to that organization, the right hon. Gentleman said—

"You are acting against a combination to protect the tenants against rents which you yourselves will admit—will be compelled" to admit—to be excessive and exorbitant, and against which these combinations are the only existing safeguards."
Now, the right hon. Gentleman was usually very calm and academic in his style; but when he attacked the Irish landlords he raised his hand and pointed across at the class which he desired to crumple up and destroy; and, happening himself to be the Irish landlord nearest him at the moment, he felt almost alarmed at the anger and fury displayed by the right hon. Gentleman in pointing to the Irish landlords as a class worthy only of abhorrence and detestation. But, a little further on in his speech, the right hon. Gentleman said—
"I do not wish to leave off with any particularly bad language against the Irish landlords."
"Well, he then thought the right hon. Gentleman was going to pull in the reins and say, at least, a few kind words of the landlords; but, however, he wont on and compared them very disadvantageously with Irish Moonlighters. The right hon. Gentleman said—
"Anxious as I am to do that, still I am less anxious to secure vengeance on 100 or '200 ruffians than to secure righteous and humane-treatment for thousands of poor tenants in Ireland; and that is the difference between hon. Gentlemen opposite and those who sit upon this side of the House."
Well, what did that mean? He imagined it meant that the great majority of the Irish landlords, in their extortion practised on the tenants, compared unfavourably with the Moonlighters who carried out the behests of the National League in Ireland. Did the right hon. Gentleman moan what he said? the right hon. Gentleman had been Chief Secretary for Ireland, and had been in that country for three weeks, and had therefore had a considerable knowledge of the affairs. If during those three weeks he made a careful examination of the condition of the country, many instances must have occurred to him in which the National League, which he now tried to white-wash, had proved that it was the greatest tyrant that ever exercised its baneful influence over the Irish people. He could give numerous instances of how the National League had helped Irish tenants. In the County of Eos-common, about a year and a-half ago, a man named Brennan had the audacity to pay his rent after he had been ordered not to do so; he was furnished by his brother with the money to pay it, and he paid it; and that night, sitting at his bedside, he was shot dead through the window. This was an instance of; the beneficent action of the National League—the only organization that benefited the tenants of Ireland. While the right hon. Member for Newcastle was Chief Secretary, in the County of Roscommon the League Boycotted some grass lands belonging to two landlords—Lord Kingston and Mr. McDermott Roe—and issued orders that no one was to take the lands, simply because they belonged to gentlemen against whom the League had a grudge. They were, however, offered at so low a price that six farmers determined to take the risk, and took portions of the lands. Immediately there were placed upon the telegraph posts by the roadside warnings from the local League, of which the parish priest was president and his curates vice-presidents, that these tenants were to be treated as land-grabbers. This had such an effect that one tenant gave up the land and paid a forfeit of £75. the others continued to hold what they had taken, and the next day the cattle on the lands disappeared. It was afterwards discovered that the cattle had been driven to a coal-pit, and hurled over the edge, and their dead and mutilated remains were found at the bottom. They were brought to the surface and identified; and those dead and mutilated cattle identified the character and nature of the National League. [An hon. MEMBER: How about General Buller?] Oh, I will deal with General Buller presently. So far from its being the main object of the proposed Bill to subject the Irish tenants to a galling yoke, it was to set them free from a yoke that was crushing all progress and enterprise, driving capital away, and depriving the country of its life's blood. He could multiply instances in which the League had done injury to the Irish people. He had a letter from a small Irish Roman Catholic tenant, whose name he could not give, because if it were published his life would not be worth six days' purchase. This man, whose letter he held in his hand—and which he would have no objection in showing to the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley)—had committed a crime which was unpardonable in Ireland. He disobeyed the behests of a Court which suffered no contempt to go unpunished—he paid his rent, walking M miles into the town of Tipperary to do it in the hope that the League might hear nothing about it. But, somehow, the fact got wind, presumably from an official of the bank; and the next night his farm was visited, the cattle were massacred in the fields, the ploughs and agricultural implements were broken up. the tenant had to fly from his house, and he dared not return for some months for fear of being murdered. This man was perfectly willing to pay his rent. He said—
"I have sold my horse; I have got the money; I am ready to pay when the rest is paid; but as I was Boycotted last year, I am afraid to do it until they get leave."
And he wound up with the remark—
"I do not know what is becoming of this country that a man won't be let do as he wants to do."
This remark was entirely apposite; and the writer added—
"We have a quare Parliament that don't put down such work at once."
Well, he (Colonel Saunderson) believed it was the intention of the House and of the Government to put this down at once. The right Hon. Members for Newcastle and Mid Lothian were prejudiced critics—they were opposed to the plan which the Government intended to pursue, because they had a cure of their own for the wrongs and woes of Ireland; and no matter what proposals the pre sent Government might bring forward, they would be opposed by those right hon. Gentlemen. They all knew that doctors, when they had proscribed for a patient, and were superseded by another medical' man, always said—"Oh, you will yet be very glad to come back to my pills." the remedy of right hon. Gentlemen opposite was to force Ireland from the control of the British Parliament. It was quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had remarked that evening, that the present state of things in Ireland was different to what it was in the year 1881. That was true; because the Party of Separation was now led by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, whereas it was formerly led by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). He (Colonel Saunderson) admitted at once that there was not much crime in Ireland; but he held that the first duty of the Government was not only to punish crime, but also to prevent the commission of crime; and Irish society was now ripe for the production of crime in its worst form. The greater part of the Island was absolutely subject to the National League. There was no need now for crime. If they went into the details of the crime of 1880, 1881, and 1882, they would find that that was mainly directed to one purpose—namely, laying the foundation of the authority of the National League everywhere, and to enable it to terrorize over the Irish people. That had been effectually done; the National League had ousted the law of the land; and it was superior to the Law Court3 in all parts of Ireland. the right hon. Member for Newcastle and his Colleagues had swallowed that state of affairs and the Plan of Campaign, and hoped the nauseous mixture would be swallowed by the Government, because they would not follow their example. But the Government, and the Unionist Party who had placed them on the Treasury Bench, showed no inclination to take the nauseous dose. There were only two policies submitted to the electors last July—surrender to the National League, and the maintenance of the law of the Crown and the unit of the Empire. The great majority of the country decided that the latter policy should prevail, and the Government intended to carry it into effect the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian quoted the evidence of General Buller. He (Colonel Saunderson) interrupted the right hon. Gentleman—he was afraid somewhat rudely—but he know the right hon. Gentleman was very averse to saying anything inaccurate in his speeches, and he asked him to read on. The right hon. Gentleman was trying to show that General Buller had stated that the National League had nothing to do with crime. the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian went on to accuse Sir Redvers Buller, and he (Colonel Saunderson) thought the right hon. Gentleman would feel obliged to him for calling attention to another question which would throw some light on the subject under discussion. The right hon. Gentleman went on to read the Answer to Question 16,503, but only read a part of it, and then thought he had snuffed him out. But the whole answer showed that, in the opinion of Sir Redvers Buller, in some parts of Ireland, at any rate, the National League was directly responsible for crime, outrage, and intimidation. The Question was whether, owing to the organization of the League, the enforcement of legal obligations had not. in that district, become impossible? And Sir Redvers Buller replied—
"Quite so; you cannot collect a shop debt. There was a man murdered the other day on account of a shop debt, on the other side of Tralee; and the crops of a fanner having been seized for a shop debt, a man who came to cut them was shot the same evening."
That is General Buller's opinion of the action of the League in that part of Ireland. He (Colonel Saunderson) could not conceive any answer more direct, or to the purpose. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian appeared to think that Her Majesty's Government looked upon, and intended to deal with, the Irish people as if they were the most lawless and criminal population in Europe, He absolutely denied it, and believed that, if they had the chance, the Irish people would be as law-abiding as the people of England and Scotland. They would all admit that the most civilized and exemplary part of the British Islands was that part of them north of the Tweed. If they had in Ireland a law as stringent and severe as had always prevailed in Scotland, they would not want a Coercion Bill. What the great majority of the English people expected was that the Government would bring in a Bill strong enough to crush the National League and enable law-abiding Irishmen, whatever their class or creed, to go about their business as they pleased and to fulfil all the duties of citizens. They expected the Bill to be a permanent one. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Osborne Morgan) asked—"Do you expect to succeed when Forster and Spencer failed? "They failed because their measures were temporary. He hoped, therefore, that the Bill would be permanent, and not confined to isolated parts of the country, because he defied anybody to bring forward an instance where a Coercion Act, while in force, had interfered with any law-abiding man. There was not a county in Ireland which could hold up its hands against that measure When such a measure as he referred to had been passed and the supremacy of the law was established, the remedial measures Her Majesty's Government intended to bring in would have some chance of success. No Land Bill, the most generous that could be conceived—even one that would turn the landlords adrift and make a present of the land to the tenants—would succeed in pacifying Ireland so long as they were trodden under the foot of an organization which originated in crime and outrage; and whose ultimate object was to separate Ireland from England and to destroy the just rights of the Crown. For that reason he hoped the Government and the House would reject the Amendment, stand by the law and coerce, not the tenants, but the agitators who had ever been the curse of Ireland. Then Ireland might become what they had a right to expect she ought to be—a source of strength and wealth to the British Empire.

said, he would ask the indulgence of the House while he stated the reasons that induced him as an Englishman who represented a Scottish constituency, in the interests of Great Britain no less than in the interests of Ireland, to support the Amendment. It appeared to him that the Government were inviting them to a display of trustfulness, not to say of credulity, which might well tax the faith of the most docile and the best-disciplined majority. the Chief Secretary for Ireland had darkly hinted that when the time came for him to introduce his Bill, he would be able to unfold a terrible tale of anarchy and disorder. But up to this moment, after three nights' hot debate, not a single responsible Minister had condescended to a single specific statement in support of the proposal of the Government. the right hon. Gentleman had contented himself first with general declamation as to the condition of Ireland, and next by appealing to the precedent of 1881. Now that appeal to precedent rested on two assumptions—first, that the state of things now was similar to the state of things existing then—a hypothesis which had been effectually-demolished by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone); and, secondly, that the experiment of 1881, repeated in 1882, was so well justified by experience, so brilliantly fruitful of good results, that at this distance of time—1887—they were bound to follow it as a precedent, blindly, implicitly, without question and almost without argument. He would direct the attention of the House to that assumption. A great deal had been said about the duty of the Executive Government to enforce the law. He entirely agreed with that proposition. In his judgment it was the duty of the Executive not to inquire whether the law was good or bad, just or unjust, but to enforce it in all places, and at all times, without distinction of persons, without discrimination of cases, with undeviating uniformity, and with irresistible strength. [Ministerial cheers.] Hon. Gentleman opposite) cheered that statement, but he would ask them, when, in our time, had that view of the duty of the Executive been recognized and acted upon in Ireland? Once certainly, and once only, and that was during Lord Spencer's administration. Lord Spencer's hand was heavy, but its pressure was even. Wherever he encountered lawlessness—among Catholics or Protestants, the Moonlighters of the South or the turbulent Orange rabble of the North—ho dealt with it in one fashion, firmly, impartially, and effectively. But there was not a right hon. Gentleman now sitting on the Front Bench opposite, with two exceptions—namely, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, whatever might be the case now, was then a Member of the Liberal Tarty, and the Homo Secretary, who had not then come to the close of that period of hibernation which separated the two stages of his remarkable political career—with those two exceptions there was not a right hon. Gentleman of Cabinet rank who was not a party, either as principal or accessory, to the most envenomed and bitter attacks upon Lord Spencer's administration. He would quote for that statement the authority of Lord Salisbury himself, who said that under Lord Spencer's administration the Nationalist League had grown into power and spread its branches throughout the whole of the country. Next he said that the practice of Boycotting, which up to that time had been comparatively rare, had established itself throughout the country, and, as Lord Salisbury pointed out, that was a practice with which no law, however stringent, could deal and which no Administration, however zealous, could put down. He, for one, did not believe in the! plenary infallibility of Liberal Govern- ments, and he did not think the proudest period in the history of the Liberal Party had been that in which it had frittered away in Office pledges which had been given when in Opposition; and, therefore. loyal though he was to his Party and his Leader, he did not think the fact that in 1881 the Liberal Government committed what he considered a colossal and disastrous mistake was any reason whatever why, in 1887, they should, in obedience to a Conservative Ministry, repeat that blunder. It was admitted that, looking at Ireland as a whole, there had been during the last six months less serious crime, whether open or secret, than in almost any corresponding period of her troubled history. What crime there had been was confined to a comparatively limited area in a few counties in the South and West. In those counties they found another phenomenon. It was in those counties that abatements of rent had been most generally refused. It was in those counties that evictions had been most exceptionally frequent in number, and most grave and cruel in their character. It was in those counties that the standard of rents, judged by the reductions made by the Land Commissioners in the course of the last few months, had been abnormally high. As to the prevalence of crime, having regard to these admitted facts, he said deliberately that this was a manufactured crisis. They knew by experience how a case for coercion was made out. the panic-mongers of the Press—gentlemen to whom every political combination was a conspiracy, and to whom every patriot was a rebel—were the first in the field. They had been most effectively assisted on the present occasion on the other side of the Channel by the purveyors of loyal fictions and patriotic hysterics wholesale, retail, and for exportation. The truth, whatever truth there was in the stories, was deliberately distorted and exaggerated. Atrocities were fabricated to meet the requirements of the market with punctuality and despatch; and when the home supply failed, the imagination of the inventive journalist winged its flight across the Atlantic, and he set to work to piece together the stale gossip of the drinking saloons of Now York and Chicago, and eked it out with cuttings from the obscure organs of the dynamic Press. And thus it was that, after six months of comparatively little crime, we found ourselves in the presence of this artificial crisis, and confronted once again with proposals for coercion. They were told—and it was true—that there were certain grave symptoms in the existing condition of Ireland. The National League was assorting its authority throughout the country. In many quarters the practice. of Boycotting was carried on to an extent that was inconsistent with the maintenance of law and good order. There was a disposition on the part of juries not to convict persons who ought to be punished. He made. these admissions; but he asked hon. Members to consider what was the meaning of the facts. His hon. Friend the Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay) declared the other night that he was going to support the measures of the Government because they were measures, not of coercion, but of emancipation—measures to enfranchise the suffering Irish tenant from the tyranny of secret societies. What secret societies? His hon. Friend did not attempt to answer that question; but it appeared that he was referring to the National League. Well, that was no more a secret society than was the Prim-rose League. It was an open association, and reports of the proceedings of all its branches appeared every week in United Ireland. There had been in Ireland and elsewhere secret societies such as the Fenian Brotherhood, the Carbonari in Italy, the Ku-Klux-Klan in the Southern States of America, and the Nihilists in Russia; but these secret societies had been called into existence by measures such as that to be submitted to the House. They had drawn the vitality which enabled them to tyrranize over and terrorize the people by such a policy as the Government were now asking the House to adopt, and in favour of which the Government were asking the House to devote the whole of its time, to the postponement of all the real Business of the nation. Once suspend the guarantees of the Constitution, and take away from the people the privilege of free criticism and of legitimate political agitation, and the consequence was to drive them to those sinister and subterranean methods, which wore destructive of peace and prosperity in every country in which they should exist. The really grave symptoms in Ireland were the existence of Boycotting and the indisposition of juries to convict pri- soners. No coercive legislation could have the least effect in diminishing or removing either of those evils. With regard to Boycotting, he was content with the testimony of Lord Salisbury'. It was one of those impalpable things which legislation could not reach, and the only remedy for it was altering the conditions out of which it sprang. The indisposition of juries to convict depended, firstly, on the rooted antipathy and hostility of the class from which the jurors were drawn to the system of law that they were called upon to administer. In the next place, it depended on the unwillingness of men to give evidence against those whom they believed to be in sympathy with the aspirations of the masses of the community. He would illustrate this by the case of the Curtin family. He did not hesitate to say that the treatment to which that family had been exposed was a disgrace to Ireland and a scandal to humanity. But while they should lose no opportunity of denouncing the cruelty of which the Curtin family had been the victims, yet, when they came to practical legislation, they must consider the real meaning of what had occurred. What was the crime in the eyes of the people which the Curtin family were expiating by this terrible social ostracism? It was not that the head of the family shot and killed the leader of the band of marauders who invaded his house by night. It was because the sons and daughters went to Cork Assizes and gave evidence against the persons concerned in that crime. He was not defending or palliating that course of conduct, but they were sitting there as legislators, and not as moral censors. They had to consider what would he the result of their legislation. From actual violence and outrage, and even from open insult, the Curtin family had long since been protected. ["No, no!"] He was speaking of facts which he had personally investigated. Did hon. Members imagine that by the legislation which Her Majesty's Government were going to propose, they would be able to transmute the social atmosphere in which those people lived and which rendered such treatment of them possible? Suppose they enlarged the powers of the magistrates; suppose they deprived the jurors of their share in the administration of the law; suppose they made punishments more severe; did they imagine that in that way they would increase the disposition of the peasantry of Ireland to come forward and give evidence? Not oven a drum-head court-martial could convict without testimony proving the guilt of the accused. The difficulty which they had to provide for was the difficulty which arose from the fact that the great mass of the population in Ireland were alienated from the law, and had no sympathy with its administration. We were not unfamiliar in this country with the very state of things which existed in Ireland. There was nothing novel in the symptoms. They had been witnessed in every country whenever the state of the law had not been in harmony with the wishes of the people. In the early part of the present century7, in the days when it was the custom for the Attorney General to file, as a matter of course, information for seditious libel against political opponents, in vain did the Judges direct that juries had no alternative but to convict. In the teeth of the evidence, and in the face of the direction of the Judge, the jury acquitted the prisoner. It was truly an extraordinary thing that at this time of day the Government, dealing with a well-known form of social and political disease, should come to the House and repeat the catch-words of the Metternichs and Castlereaghs as if they were the latest discoveries of political science. They wore told that, after passing this Coercion Bill, the Government were going to give the Irish people a dose of remedial legislation. The procedure of the Government reminded him greatly of that enterprising speculator in the days of the South Sea Bubble who invited the public to subscribe their money in support of a scheme, the particulars of which were to be disclosed subsequently. History did not record that any dividends were ever paid on the capital so subscribed. He did not wish to impugn the good faith of the Government, and he dared say that they believed in the efficacy of the Land Bill which they were to introduce. At present, however, very little was known about that Bill. They knew that it was to provide for the extension to leaseholders of the benefits of the Land Act. That was a provision borrowed from the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). It was further believed that the Bill would provide for the application of some of the equitable provisions of the Bank ruptey Act to the cases of a certain class of tenants. The road to prosperity for i these tenants was in some way or other to He through the portals of the Bankruptcy Court—in truth a very encouraging prospect. Then they know that this remedial legislation was in the first instance to make its appearance in "another place." That was a very significant fact. He was far from being disposed to intrust the Government with exceptional powers for the enforcement of the law on the chance, the very remote chance, that some day or other, this year or next, or on the advent of the Greek kalends, that august Assembly, which in the last 50 years had mangled and mutilated every proposal for the remedy of the grievances of Ireland, might be coerced or persuaded into acquiescing in an equitable solution of the Irish agrarian question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer not long ago, with what was then his habitual caution, declined to give a blank cheque to Lord Salisbury. He thought that they might profit by the right hon. Gentleman's example; and the liberties of a nation being at stake, reasonably decline to honour this very serious draft upon their political credulity. He quite understood that there were hon. Members near him who took a very different view of the matter. Those hon. Members were compelled by the circumstances of their position to an exercise of faith which a very short time ago they would have been the first to ridicule and condemn. It was, perhaps, excusable in them, that under the stress of compromising memories—memories of the day when they were wont to declare "that force was no remedy,"—memories of the days still more recent when they denounced the wickedness of Irish landlords, and the more than Polish abominations of Castle rule—it was, perhaps, excusable in them that they should clutch at any pretext, however desperate, which might seem to reconcile their present with their past, He did not know who was the casuist of the Liberal Unionist Party. In that compact and complete organization he felt sure that a place must have been found for a director of consciences. "Whoever he was, his time must just now be pretty well occupied. But as for the poor Separatists "the intellectual scum of what was once the Liberal Party," they might be thankful that they had not to exercise their humble faculties in the attempt to explain how they could vote for a Coercion Bill in the hope that some day or other, in some way or other, remedial measures might be introduced. In the course which the Party opposite were about to take, were they not either going too far or not going nearly far enough? Let them consider what would be the position of Ireland, the condition of government in that country under the system which they were about to introduce—representative institutions upon the terms that the voice of the great majority of the Representatives of the people should be systematically ignored and overridden; the right of public meeting tempered by Viceregal proclamation; trial by jury with a doctored and manipulated panel; a free Press subject to be muzzled at the caprice of an official censorship; Judges and magistrates in theory independent of the Crown, but, in fact, by the tradition and practice of their office inextricably mixed up with the daily action of the Executive. What conceivable advantage could there be either to Ireland or Great Britain from the continuance of this grotesque caricature of the British Constitution? There was much virtue in government of the people, by the people, for the people. There was much also to be said for a powerful and well-equipped autocracy. But, between the two there was no logical or statesmanlike halting-place. For the hybrid system which the Government were about to set up—a system which pretended to be that which it was not, and was not that which it pretended to be—a system which could not he either resolutely repressive or frankly popular—for this half-hearted compromise there was reserved the inexorable sentence which history had in store for every form of political imposture.

I do not know whether the speech to which we have just listened is the maiden speech of my hon. Friend (Mr. Asquith); but, whether it be or not, I think that all who have heard him will agree with me that his speech is a favourable augury of the position which he is likely to fill in our Parliamentary con tests. I will not say more about his speech at this moment, except to congratulate my hon. Friend upon the position which he occupies, and which he regards with so much satisfaction—that of a Member of a Party which is free from all compromising memories, and which, as he says, possesses the inestimable advantage—I am not quite certain whether I understood him correctly—the inestimable advantage of having no directors or having no conscience. In what I have to say upon the question before the House, I hope that I may not have to trespass at any length upon its attention, and I hope also that I may be able to avoid wounding the legitimate susceptibilities of any of those from whom I have to differ. Although I may differ from some of their conclusions, I find myself in general agreement with most of the arguments and all the statements of fact which have been made in the course of this debate. The issue which we have to decide is, practically speaking, a very limited one. We are not discussing the terms of a Bill for amending the Criminal Law. We do not know what the proposals of the Government are to be. ['' Oh, oh!" from the Irish Members.] Well, I do not know. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway may be more fortunate At present I only know that the provisions of that Bill may be so stringent that some of us may find ourselves unable to support them. On the other hand, they may be so moderate and reasonable that some of us are already pledged, by our public declarations, to give our assent to them; but that is not the question before us. The question before us is, whether, before we have heard the case of the Government—whether, before we know the nature of the proposals which they are about to make—wo are so certain that any Bill for the amendment of the Criminal Law, whether it be a great Bill or a small Bill, whether it be a stringent Bill or a moderate Hill, is unnecessary that we are resolved to refuse to the Government the facilities for its discussion for which they are asking. Now, what do they ask from the House? What they ask from the House is, that the House shall agree to give the Government control over those two nights in the week on which private Members would otherwise have a right to discuss their Motions or their Bills. Well, I do not think a proposal of that kind can fairly be described, as it is in this Amendment, as "setting aside the Business of the nation." I must say that, in my experience, I have generally found that very little indeed of the "Business of the nation" is over transacted on nights devoted to private Members. We are told by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone)—and it is perfectly true—that this demand is unprecedented, in the sense that it has never before been made with a prospect of its being in operation for so lengthened a period. That is quite true; but then, the circumstances are unprecedented. Who is it that has told us that "Ireland blocks the way?" I do not dispute that assertion. Ireland, or a combination of circumstances which it is not my business now to discuss, does undoubtedly block the way; and it is impossible that any practical progress should be made in any social or political reform until the business of Ireland has been disposed of, and therefore there is no question before the House as to urgency in relation to questions affecting Ireland. That must be granted by the nature of the situation. The only question is as to the order in which the various branches of the Irish Question shall be considered—whether we will give priority to the amendment of the Criminal Law, or to remedial legislation. Well, Sir, I venture to say that, in my judgment, no one can consistently vote for the Amendment before the House unless he is determined that, under no circumstances, will he at present be willing to support any amendment of the Criminal Law in Ireland—[Cries of"No, no!"]—until at all events the remedial legislation which he thinks to be necessary: has been dealt with by the House. I hear some Gentlemen say "No, no!" I hope those are the voices of Gentlemen who are unable to support this Amendment; but it has been adopted by the majority of the Irish Representatives—those who call themselves Nationalist Representatives, and by many Liberal Members, on this ground—the majority of the Liberal Party, and the majority of the Irish Representatives, have come to the conclusion that, in future, they will not assent to any measure in the nature of a Coercion Bill for any amendment of the' Criminal Law in Ireland, until, at all events, the remedial legislation which they desire has been successfully passed through the House. They found this determination—which I remark, in passing, is a now determination with regard to many of them—they found that determination on two propositions; in the first place, on the proposition that coercion has always failed to secure the objects for which it has been passed; in the second place, that remedial legislation is an alternative to coercion which may be relied upon to secure those objects, and to bring back peace and order to Ireland. Now, I ask the House whether experience warrants these two assumptions? I am not going back a long time; I am going to deal only with the time which is within my own experience, and with that legislation for which I was in part responsible in the period which was covered by the Government that lasted from 1880 to 1885. We devoted a largo share of our time and the time of the House of Commons to remedial legislation. I remember well the hopc3 and the expectations and the promises which heralded the land legislation of 1881. I supported that legislation with my whole heart; and again and again, while it was under consideration in the country and in this House, I put forward my own opinion and the opinion of my Colleagues, that by this legislation we should restore peace and contentment to Ireland; that while, as regarded the landlords, we should diminish—and rightly diminish—their income, we would, at the same time, secure to thorn the remnant that was left; that, as regarded the tenants, we would give them just rents and fixity of tenure, which we believed would induce them to peaceful enterprises and industry; and that, under those circumstances, the real material grievances of Ireland would cease. Well, but, Sir, how have these prognostications, how have these sanguine anticipations, been fulfilled? Can anyone deny that the land legislation of 1881 has conspicuously failed? Has it brought peace and prosperity to Ireland? Let hon. Members below the Gangway bear witness. Has it brought security to the landlords '? Why, the landlords are in worse plight than ever. I have never been accused of much sympathy with landlords; but really they are now objects for the pitiful consideration of every Member of the House of Commons. The Royal Commission condemns them; the Opposition condemns them; and even the Government does not defend them. But what is the position of the tenants'? This Amendment we are now considering is a confession that the main object of the Land Act of 1881, or of its promoters, has not been accomplished; that we have not secured a fair rent for the tenants of Ireland; and that even now, protected as they are by that Act, they are still subject to the possibility of exactions of excessive and exorbitant rents by bad landlords. [An Irish MEMBER: That is your care.] Well, but it ought to be remembered that this Act of 1881, although passed by a British Parliament, was not an English Act; it was not English in spirit. It was an Irish Act, and such an Act as might have been passed by an Irish Parliament. ["Mr. DILLON (Mayo, E.): Certainly not.] I do not accept the contradiction of the hon. Member. I say that that Act was opposed to all the prejudices of Englishmen. I say it violated all the cherished doctrines of political economy—I am not speaking for myself—I am not a political economist; but I am speaking for the vast majority of the Members of this House. I say it was recommended to the House, and passed by the House, because it was modelled upon the demands of the Irish Members, and upon Irish sentiment. In spite of this, the Act has conspicuously failed, and now, six years after its passing, we have to consider a state of things which is as bad as, or worse than, the state of things which existed at the time the Act was passed; and we have still to take measures by the confession of every Member of the House to protect the tenants against the excessive rents which may be levied by landlords unmindful of their duties. But in the time of which I am speaking we did not confine our attention to remedial legislation. I was a party during those five years to two Coercion Acts, and I should have been a party to a third if the Government of which I was a Member had not resigned. Were these Acts of Coercion which we passed successful? I think the answer depends upon what you understand by successful; by what you expect from the Acts of Coercion. If there were any people foolish enough to suppose—and my hon. Friend (Mr. Asquith) appears to believe in their continued existence—that force is a remedy for national discontent—they must have been grievously disappointed by the results of the two Acts which were passed by the Government of which I was a Member. But if force is only intended to secure the temporary suppression of disorder, and an outward respect to the law, then I say that, although in my opinion—I speak only for myself—tho first of these Acts which involved the suspension of Habeas Corpus was an entire failure; the second of these Acts, the Crimes Act, as it was administered by Lord Spencer, was a success, and justified the expectations of its promoters in this limited souse only—that it produced peace and order in the country and outward respect for the law of the land. Well, then, I say that the lesson of my experience, at all events—others may not have learnt it in the same way—has been that we ought not to be too sanguine as to our remedial legislation, although we ought not, on that account, to despair; but that we may assume that moderate amendments of the ordinary Criminal Law will enable any Government to cope successfully with active manifestations of disorder. What is the position of the supporters of this Amendment? I understand they contend, in the first place, that social disorder is not at the present time widespread in Ireland; and that they contend, in the second place, that the manifestation of disorder is not sufficient to justify any coercive legislation until, at all events, the causes of disorder have been dealt with by the Government. I believe that is a fair account of the position of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), and those who support his Amendment. In attempting to deal with this contention, I am prepared to make large admissions—admissions that I think will justify what I said in the opening of my remarks—namely, that I am able to agree with a great deal that has fallen from my Friends around me. I agree, to begin with, that the disorder in Ireland is partial, and confined to a limited area. But if you take that by itself, it is really a reason for restricting the operation of any Bill; but it is not a reason for allowing disorder to con- tinue unchecked, even in that limited area. As I have already pointed out, we are not now asked to approve of the Bill. By the Vote which we shall give upon this Amendment, we none of us pledge ourselves, in the slightest degree, to support the Bill when it is brought forward. All that we are asked to do is to admit that there is urgency—that the subject should be discussed and disposed of at the earliest possible moment, in order to make room for other Business, and, if necessary for another Government. I admit, in the second place, that the number of serious outrages is fortunately, much less than it was on many previous occasions when coercion was proposed; but, Sir, there is a reason for this, which does not tell in favour of inaction. I remember a meeting being hold in Ireland, which was addressed by an Irish Member who told his hearers that murder was unnecessary, because Boycotting was very much more effective, and when the machinery of intimidation is quite perfect, as it nearly is at the present time in Kerry, I have no doubt that outrages will be altogether unknown. But this involves a state of terrorism which is just as repugnant to true liberty, as the order which reigned at Warsaw under a tyrannical despotism. Then, Sir, I admit also the main facts which my right hon. Friend has sought to prove from the evidence in the Blue Book, and from the Report of the Royal Commission. I admit that combinations for resisting legal obligations have been facilitated by the action of some landlords, who have refused abatements and who have exacted rents which the fall in prices has made excessive. I admit that to the full, and I think that some remedy is necessary for the state of things herein disclosed. But if we are to accept, as conclusive against the landlords, the Report and the evidence of the Royal Commission which tolls against them, surely we should pay some attention to this evidence and this Report when it appears to tell against the organization of the National League. I should just like to quote from the Report of the Commissioners. On page 11, there is this paragraph, in which they say—

"In the other Provinces (that is, excluding Ulster) combinations made themselves felt before the passing of the Land Act of 1881, and have in various forms continued to the present time. Outrage was at first made use of to intimidate parties who were willing to pay rents. but. latterly, the methods of passing resolutions at National League meetings, causing their proceedings to be reported in local newspapers, naming obnoxious men, and then Boycotting those named have been adopted. Tenants who had paid even the judicial rents had been summoned to appear before self-constituted tribunals, and if they failed to do so, or, appearing, failed to satisfy those tribunals, have been fined or Boycotted. The people are more afraid of Boycotting, which depends for its success on the probability of outrage, than they are of the judgments of the Courts of Justice. This unwritten law in some districts is supreme."
Then on the next page, the Commissioners further say—
"The evidence shows that the tenant farmers who join many of these combinations, constitute themselves the solo judges of what is an equitable rent. Landlords in many districts, no matter how moderate their rents may be, are practically unable to collect them. The tenant in arrear of rent is sometimes prohibited from selling his holding, and if the landlord ejects him for non-payment, no matter how low the rent or how large the arrears, the land must lie idle on the owner's hands, as he is neither allowed, even if he has the moans, to work it himself, the land being strictly Boycotted, nor dare anyone hire what is known as an evicted farm, and very large tracts are now in consequence waste. Thus the recovery of rent is rendered difficult, and sometimes impossible."
I have preferred to quote from the conclusions of the Commissioners as showing in a short form, what passed through their minds as the effect of the evidence they had heard. I say that is the conclusion to which any impartial person would arrive on reading the whole Report, paying equal attention to all parts of it. [An hon. MEMBER: "Was Mr. Knipe impartial?] I am not in the habit of interrupting hon. Members, and I hope they will permit me to proceed without interruption. The conclusion to which I have arrived on reading the whole Report is, that a double duty is thrown upon the Executive Government of the country. On the one hand, they have to provide for the temporary suppression of disorder; but on the other, they have the still more arduous, the still more serious and important duty, that of attempting, once more, undeterred by previous failure, the solution of the great agrarian problem, which is at the root, and which is the source, of all Irish discontent. I will say, for my part, I will give no vote to any Government which does not recognize this second—this important duty, as fully, as clearly, and as completely, and does not press forward its prosecution as sincerely as it is inclined to do the other and prior claim to its exertions. Now, Sir, I cannot help glancing at one inference which I am inclined to draw from the Amendment proposed by my right hon. Friend. I gather from that, that it is the opinion of the Liberal Party, or the majority of the Liberal Party, that the most urgent and pressing duty of any Government is to find a solution of the Land Question. Well, I agree with that. I said so some time ago at Birmingham, and, thereupon, I was peremptorily told by the organs of the same majority, that, they would not oven enter into a discussion on the subject with anyone who was not at the same time prepared to assent to their ideas of general policy on the subject of Home Rule. I am glad that such a controversy is past, and that now, at all events, we are agreed that the most urgent duty of the Liberal Party and of this House is to deal with the Land Question in Ireland. But, Sir, what does the Government tell us on this matter? My hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Sir. Asquith) has a constitutional distrust of Conservative Governments, which, I admit, I think a very proper feeling on his part, and one which I am myself inclined to share. But I should like the House to bear in mind exactly what the Government does tell us, and thon to put their own construction upon it. I would say this—even for a Conservative Government—that I think they have been unjustly accused of vagueness with regard to their agrarian programme. How could it be expected that a Government should give a first or second reading exposition of two important Bills on the Land Question on a Motion of Urgency with regard to a subject of a different nature? But they have drawn aside the curtain to some extent, and they have given us indications of their intentions which I myself regard as promises, and in that matter I am more ingenuous and loss sceptical than my hon. Friend. I find that the Government say, or I tinder-stand them to say—and they will contradict me if I am wrong—that they propose immediately to bring in a Bill to deal with a matter of the utmost importance and urgency. I understand that they intend to deal with the case of leaseholders, a class which includes no loss th