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Volume 312: debated on Thursday 24 March 1887

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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?