The "Particulars Clause"
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether, in the Bill which he has introduced to amend the Factories and Workshops Act, provision will be made for the application of what is known as the "Particulars Clause" to other industries, such as factories and workshops where clothing is manufactured, and in the fustian-cutting industry, and others of a similar character; if it does not, will he be prepared on the Committee stage of this Bill to accept Amendments having this object in view.
So far as I am aware, the clause in its present form covers all the cases in which the practical grievance aimed at by its provisions has been felt and complained of. If there are other cases where the conditions of work are similar, there is no objection in principle to the extension of the clause, but I cannot at this stage pledge myself either to propose or to accept the enlargement of its scope.
District Council Meetings
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether it is competent or legal for a Rural District Council, or a Parochial Committee of that Council, to meet and transact the business of the township within the walls of a public house. Whether in districts where there are not other facilities of meeting than in a schoolroom in that locality, such schoolroom can be refused when proper application is made by the local authority for its use; whether he is aware that at the present time the Parochial Committee of the Rural District Council of Shevington, near Wigan, are transacting the business of the township inside licensed premises; and, whether he will make full inquiries into this matter with a view of remedying the existing state of things?
I have made enquiry as to the case of the Shevington Parochial Committee, and I am informed that their meetings are held in a large room forming part of licensed premises. The Local Government Act, 1894, prohibits a Rural District Council or a Parish Council from holding a meeting on licensed premises, except in cases where no other suitable room is available, either free of charge or at a reasonable cost; but I am advised that it is doubtful whether the prohibition extends to a Parochial Committee appointed by a District Council where the Parish Council are not themselves the Committee. I am also advised that the right conferred by the Act on the parochial electors to use the public elementary school for certain meetings does not extend to the meetings of such a Committee. The Rural District Council are, however, empowered to determine the place of meeting of the Committee, and it appears to me desirable that they should exercise this power in the present case.
The Welsh Commissioners
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he will lay upon the table an estimate of the probable receipts and expenditure of the Welsh Commissioners for each of the first five years from the date of the passing of the Established Church (Wales) Bill, including in that expenditure the established charges for the Commissioners and their staff, the cost of maintaining the Cathedrals, and the necessary provision for the interest and instalments of the principal of any loans made by the National Debt Commissioners to the Welsh Commissioners? And, whether it is intended that any part of such expenditure shall be charged on property attached to parochial benefices, or solely on the property defined in Clause 3 of the Bill.
It is not possible to furnish such an estimate as the right hon. Baronet asks for. Apart from other respects in which such an estimate must at this moment be too speculative and contingent to be trustworthy, it could only be made by anticipating, which I have no means of doing, the operation of Clause 4 of the Bill, which provides that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty shall, immediately after the Bill passes, ascertain what is Welsh Ecclesiastical property, and apportion it as provided by the clause of Clause 5, which provides that the Welsh Commissioners shall determine what are private benefactions; and of other clauses of the Bill. As regards the second paragraph, I may point out that Clause 3 covers, for purpose of transfer to the Welsh Commissioners, property attached to parochial benefices, as well as other property. The intention, however, and, I believe, the effect of Clause 9 (b) is that the expenditure referred to in the first paragraph of the question should be borne by the property which is not attached to a parochial benefice, and which will remain in the hands of the Welsh Commissioners.
inquired whether any estimate had been made of the cost of maintaining the Cathedrals.
[No reply was given.]
County Tipperary Magistracy
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that two appeals from Justices in Petty Sessions, in cases in which Michael Buckley had been convicted for assaults upon a civilian and a police sergeant, acting in the discharge of his duty, respectively, came before the County Court Judge and Justices of the County Tipperary in Quarter Sessions in the month of February last; whether Mr. Patrick Crowe, one of the last-named Justices, who had been but recently appointed, is correctly reported to have stated, upon the case being called on and before any evidence had been given, that he had had an interview with the defendant, and intended doing all in his power to get him off; whether the County Court Judge is also correctly reported to have stated it was highly improper for any magistrate to discuss with a person who was about to be tried before him for a criminal offence the merits of his defence, and that such conduct was calculated to bring into contempt the administration of justice; is he aware that the decisions of the convicting Justices were affirmed, notwithstanding the protest of Mr. Crowe; and will the Lord Chancellor of Ireland call upon him for an explanation of his conduct?
The facts, I believe, are stated with substantial accuracy. I have referred the matter to the Lord Chancellor to deal with.
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether his attention has been called to the proceedings held at a meeting of the Irish National Federation on Sunday the 3rd March last, at Ballylooby, County Tipperary, presided over by the parish priest, at which Messrs. Nicholas Shee and Patrick O'Donnell, two recently appointed Justices of the Peace, attended, when strong resolutions were passed condemning the taking by persons of unoccupied evicted farms in the locality, and demanding the release of Irishmen convicted in England of the commission of serious crimes, and that in support of such resolutions Mr. Shee made a strong speech, in the course of which he stated that it was very doubtful whether the persons so convicted were really guilty at all; (2) whether he is aware that these are the same two gentlemen who attended at a great National demonstration held at Mullinahone, in the same county, on the 28th October last, at which similar resolutions were proposed by Mr. Shee and seconded by Mr. M. Drohan, also a recently appointed magistrate; and (3) has the conduct of these Justices of the Peace been brought under the notice of the Irish Lord Chancellor; and, if so, will any action be taken in reference thereto?
I have seen a newspaper report of the proceedings at the meeting referred to in the first paragraph, and have read the speech delivered by Mr. Shee. The other magistrate named as having been present at this meeting did not speak, and took no part in the meeting further than attending. I have also seen a newspaper report of the proceedings at the earlier meeting alluded to in the second paragraph. The resolution passed at this meeting on the subject of the taking of unoccupied farms was very general in terms, and contained no direct reference to any particular case in the district, and, so far as I am aware, no result has followed the adoption of this resolution. The action of the gentlemen referred to has not been brought under the notice of the Lord Chancellor, nor do I, upon the information before me, see any reason for taking this course now.
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, in cases of meetings being held to denounce the takers of unoccupied farms, he was in the habit of putting the speeches before the Law Officers of the Crown with the view of ascertaining whether there should be a prosecution or not.
believed that in nine cases out of ten the speeches went before the Law Officers; he directed that they should go before them. Of course in some cases he formed his own judgment.
A Welsh Churchyard Dispute
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the dispute between the rector of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, Denbighshire, and his parishioners as to the payment of fees for the erection of tombstones in the parish churchyard; whether he is aware that an action for trespass was instituted by the rector in November, 1893, against two of his parishioners in reference to the erection of a monument; that the action was settled, and that the terms of the settlement permitted the erection of the monument in question without the payment of the fee, subject to the recognition of the legal rights of the rector in respect to the churchyard; whether he is aware that the rector, notwithstanding this settlement, continues to refuse to allow tombstones to be erected in the churchyard, and that he does so solely on the ground of the non-payment of the fee; whether he will state whether there is any evidence of such fees having ever been paid to previous incumbents; and whether, in view of these circumstances, any course is open to the parishioners by which the immemorial custom of the parish in respect to the churchyard can be preserved?
My attention has not been called to this matter since I answered a question upon it in 1893. I understand that there was an action which was settled upon the terms mentioned in the question. The rector informs me that he has adhered to those terms, but that they did not apply to all tombstones for an indefinite time, but only to the tombstones in respect of which the action was brought. I am not aware whether there is any evidence of such fees having been paid to previous incumbents. The rector states that prior to the Burial Act, 1880, it was customary to make an offertory at the altar prior to the interment, but since under that Act the burials have been held with Nonconformist rites in the churchyard and without any service in the Church, the custom of making the offertory has been discontinued and no fee received in lieu thereof. I have no jurisdiction to decide the disputed questions both of law and fact which are at issue between the rector and the parishioners.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether it is proposed to withdraw the whole of the troops from British Honduras at the end of April; (2) what provision has been made for the protection of life and property on the withdrawal of the troops; (3) whether it is proposed to re-establish the constabulary on the same footing as the force which mutinied a few months ago, and was disbanded after all their demands had been granted; and (4) whether the Government will take steps to establish telegraphic communication with Jamaica or some other depôt for Her Majesty's forces.
Last January the Colonial Government was informed that the Imperial troops could not be retained for any length of time, and that the reorganisation of their local force must be at once proceeded with. It is now arranged that half the troops will be withdrawn on the 30th instant, and the remainder on July 31. This will give ample time within which the Colonial Government can re-organise their local force, and place it on a satisfactory basis. As regards the last question, it would no doubt be advantageous if British Honduras were in telegraphic communication with Jamaica or elsewhere; but we do not see our way at present to carry through any such scheme, involving, as it would, a very heavy expenditure.
asked the hon. Gentleman to be good enough to answer the third paragraph of the question.
said, that only half of the constabulary mutinied; the other half were perfectly loyal, and behaved very well during the time of difficulty. He was not at the present moment in a position to say on what lines re-organisation would proceed.
Highlands And Islands Commission
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland if he is aware that the Highlands and Islands Commission, in their Report, state that in dealing with grazing farms, where only part of a farm has been scheduled, care has been taken as far as possible to leave what, in the event of the scheduled lands being appropriated, would constitute a workable and profitable farm; will he state whether the Commission, according to the terms of reference to it, had power to exclude any lands suitable for the purposes specified in the Royal Warrant; and what course does he propose to adopt in the circumstances.
It is the fact that the Commissioners, in their Report, state, that they dealt with grazing farms in the manner mentioned in the questions. The terms of reference invest them with powers and duties, which were combined with the right of using a discriminate judgment, and in the exercise of these powers in scheduling land, the Commissioners were, and are, of opinion that they acted within the limits assigned to them.
asked if the right hon. Gentleman approved of the plan of scheduling only the worst part of a grazing farm for occupation by the crofters and leaving the best parts for other uses?
said, it seemed to him very reasonable that, in deciding whether land was suitable, some regard should be paid to the uses to which it was at present being put; but it was a matter which, in his opinion, was for the judgment and discretion of the Board of Commissioners.
Harbours Of Refuge
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade what harbours of refuge have been constructed in the United Kingdom since the year 1800; and what has been the cost in each case.
The harbours of refuge constructed out of public funds which are capable of being entered at all states of the tides are as follows:—Alderney, Portland, Plymouth, Holyhead, and Kingstown. Holyhead is the only one of these now under the Board of Trade. It was commenced by the Admiralty in 1847, transferred to the Board of Trade in 1862, and completed in 1873, and the cost of constructing the north breakwater and the works connected therewith, including land, was £1,285,000. The other harbours are under either the Admiralty or the Public Board of Works in Ireland, and I am unable to state the cost of their construction. I have no knowledge of the numbers or cost of harbours constructed by private enterprise.
asked whether there was any difficulty in the way of the right hon. Gentleman getting the returns of all these harbours?
said, he thought it would be a very expensive process, and he could not undertake it without consulting the other Departments.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, (1) whether he is aware that the United States Government has now appointed a Commission to examine into the question of the construction of a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, through the State of Nicaragua, and to cause the surveys and locations of the proposed route of the canal to be revised; (2) whether Her Majesty's Government will appoint a Commission to co-operate with the United States Commission, so that the investigations might be conducted conjointly; and (3) whether Her Majesty's Government will take all steps in their power to safeguard the interests of this country, in the matter of the construction of the canal in question?
The answer to the first paragraph is in the affirmative. The Board of Inquiry will consist of three engineers, who are to make their report on or before the 4th of November next. Her Majesty's Government could not consider the question of sending anyone to take part in any inquiry by an American Commission unless their co-operation were desired by the United States Government. They are, however, fully sensible of the great importance of this question to the shipping interest generally, and, in the event of the construction of the canal being proceeded with, will take steps to secure for British vessels and commerce as favourable treatment as is given to those of any other nation.
asked, whether the hon. Baronet was aware that the President of the United States was so impressed by the importance of this undertaking that he was despatching the Commission in a special warship?
I must ask notice of that question.
Londonderry Court House
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the rooms allotted to the Clerk of the Crown and Peace for the County Londonderry in the Court House are wholly inadequate for the purpose of holding the Crown Records and other documents, and are insanitary; whether the Clerk of the Crown has reported that the Public Records, of which there are several hundred files in this office are in danger of being lost, and that he is unable properly to perform his duties in consequence of the want of accommodation; whether it has been brought to his notice that the right honourable Mr. Justice Holmes held, at last Derry Assizes, that the Grand Jury were not bound to provide these offices; and whether, inasmuch as the Treasury receive all the stamp duties and fees in respect of the besiness passing through this office, he is prepared to advise that Department to provide the necessary accommodation, or assist in providing the same in conjunction with the Grand Jury?
The duty of providing adequate County Court accommodation rests with the Grand Jury, and not with the Treasury. I understand that the matter referred to in the question is now under the consideration of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The expenses of County Court Officers borne on the Votes greatly exceed the receipts from the stamps and fees.
I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman if Mr. Justice Holmes, on the occasion referred to, commented rather severely on the application referred to him by the Grand Jury for increased accommodation for the Clerk of the Crown and Peace, whose salary was ample enough to provide it, whilst he (the Judge) had not a proper desk to write upon, and also stated that the accommodation most required there was for suitors, witnesses, and others, and that the sum of £200 proposed to be expended on the Court House for general accommodation was wholly insufficient.
In reply to the hon. Member I have to say that the Treasury consider that this expense should be voted by the Grand Jury. The observations of Mr. Justice Holmes are now being considered by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Do I understand that although the Treasury receive the fees, they are not prepared to contribute anything whatever?
The expense of the Treasury is a great deal more than what they receive.
In what form?
I cannot tell you that off-hand.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a proposal has been received from the Government of the United States for the summoning of a Conference of the Powers concerned to deal with the seal fishery in the North Pacific Ocean; whether consent to join such a Conference involves or permits interference with the decisions of the Paris Arbitration of 1893; and whether Her Majesty's Government will refuse consent to join such a Conference unless the Conference be authorised and instructed, on the lines suggested by the Arbitrators at Paris in 1893, to deal with the whole of the question of the seal fisheries, specially including preservative regulations and limits within the territorial jurisdiction of the Powers?
No such proposal has been received. A Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and passed, which, among other points, provided for the conclusion of negotiations with Great Britain, Russia and Japan for the appointment of a joint commission to investigate the conditions, habits and feeding-grounds of the fur seal herds, and to consider and report what further regulations were needed. The Bill was rejected in the Senate.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any petition or other communication has come from the Canadian Dominion suggesting that, in consequence of the inability of Congress last Session to appropriate the sum agreed upon by the Government to pay the damages to sealers under the Paris Arbitration Award, and in view of the serious financial difficulties thereby brought upon many of them engaged in the sealing industry, Her Majesty's Government can see their way to advance some portion of the sum awarded by way of loan, pending a final settlement with the United States Government?
I am not in a position to give any answer to the question at present.
Distress In Ireland
On behalf of the hon. Member for North Donegal (Mr. J. Mains), I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Inspectors of the Local Government Board have yet reported on the state of the fishermen of Glenvar, County Donegal, as to whether they report that any necessity exists for supplementing the machinery of the ordinary poor law in the district?
As I have already stated in reply to a question by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Donegal, it is proposed to open a relief work at Glenvar. The work will consist of the construction of a boat slip, and will be started either to-day or tomorrow.
On behalf of Mr. Mains, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Local Government Board Inspector, who attended the meeting of the guardians on the 11th February last, has yet reported the result of his further investigations in the districts of Malin, Glengask, and Clonmany, County Donegal?
The result of the Inspector's inquiries into the condition of the people in this part of Donegal was brought under my notice towards the end of March. The inspector states that the people in the districts mentioned depend to a large extent upon the fishing, which will very shortly commence. The Guardians applied for and were afforded extended powers in relation to the administration of outdoor relief in the Union, and the Local Government Board are of opinion that the resources of the poor law will be able to deal with any individual cases of distress that may occur.
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to a resolution unanimously passed at a meeting on the 4th April of the Carrick and Kilcar Committee for Relief of Distress, proposed by the Rev. P. M'Devitt, parish priest of Carrick, and seconded by Dr. Harkin, stating that at least 100 families in the Carrick and Kilcar districts were still in great need of employment, and urgently pressing upon the attention of the authorities the absolute necessity of at once providing work for these poor people; and whether the Government will take immediate measures for the relief of this distress?
The resolution was received by the Local Government Board this morning, and no unnecessary delay will take place in inquiring into the matter. I may add that some 61 families from the Kilcar Division have so far been afforded employment on the Relief Works in operation there.
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether his attention has been called to complaints of the manner in which relief works are administered in the parish of Party, Ballinrobe Union; (2) whether he is aware there is but one relieving officer for the five East Divisions (all in a state of distress) of Ballinrobe Union, and that he is a tenant of Mr. Lynch, the landlord of the poorest portion of this distressed district, who is the Local Government Board inspector of this district; and that the administration of the relief works by Mr. Lynch and the relieving officer is impugned by the priests of the district and by the Ballinrobe Board of Guardians; (3) will he explain why the priests are not only not consulted in the administration of the relief works, but their recommendations are neglected; (4) whether he has been furnished with a list of 86 families (550 individuals), tenants on the estate, all of whom, in the opinion of the parish priest, are in need of such help as they might obtain from the relief works which are being carried on in the district, but are excluded by Mr. Lynch and the relieving officer; and (5) what steps he proposes to take for the due consideration of so grave a state of affairs?
(1) Complaints have been made from time to time as to the alleged insufficiency of the Works in Ballinrobe Union, and as to the refusal of the Government to put on the works persons named by the local clergy. (2) Mr. Lynch is not the Inspector in charge of this district. There is one Relieving Officer in charge of the Western District, where works are in progress, and the Local Government Board are not aware whether he is a tenant of Mr. Lynch, the Inspector. The Union is in charge of Dr. Flinn. (3) The Inspector has interviewed the priests in this District, though he may not have found it practicable to carry all their suggestions into effect. (4) Large numbers of names of persons for employment on the works have been forwarded by the local clergy, but it is not considered necessary, at present, to increase the number of persons employed on these works. (5) If it should be found necessary to extend the relief works in this union the matter will be at once reported to Government. I may say, in answer to my hon. Friend, who has asked me a good many questions very naturally on the condition of the people in this district, that I have directed special reports to be ready for me when I go over to Ireland next week.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give some special consideration to the list of names I have given him on this subject?
I would rather not give any undertaking of that kind until I have actually seen the inspectors who were on the spot, and who, therefore, know how matters stood.
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has received lists of families in great distress, namely, 86 families in Aughamore parish and 68 families in Loughanboy; and whether, in considering the cases of these people, the priests and the poor law Guardians of these districts will be consulted?
I have received the lists referred to, and have sent them to the Local Government Board for immediate inquiry. The Inspector is already, I understand, in communication with the clergy of this district on the subject of the relief operations.
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the resolutions of the Milford Board of Guardians with reference to the distress existing in their district and the need of relief works there; whether the names of 300 persons in Cranford and Loughkeel electoral divisions have been sent to the Local Government Board Inspector, all of whom are in extreme destitution; whether the above named electoral divisions are scheduled as congested; and what the Local Government Board intend to do in the matter?
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether in the electoral divisions of Cranford and Loughkeel, in the Milford Union, which are scheduled as congested districts, any relief works will be opened to enable the people to live through the privations they are now enduring, brought on by the failure of the potato crop and other such causes, and which threaten, if no remedial measures be adopted by the Government, to become yet more serious in a very short space of time?
The Local Government Board are informed by their Inspector that there is not, at present, any abnormal distress in the electoral divisions mentioned in the question. The Inspector is now making further inquiries into the condition of the people, and will report at once if any special measures require to be adopted to relieve any distress that may exist. He has also been supplied with the list of persons referred to in the question of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Donegal.
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether the Local Government Board have received representations from the Guardians of Stranorlar Union, that to relieve the distress existing within it by additional poor rate would be impracticable, by reason of the poverty of the ratepayers, and that without help it is impossible for many families to subsist till harvest time, and that there are within the Union several partly formed roads which are useless in their present condition; and what answer the Local Government Board have given, or intend to give to these representations?
A Resolution of the Guardians of this Union to the effect stated has been received. The Local Government Board understand that there are a number of poor families in the Union who have suffered from the failure of the potato crop and who may require assistance shortly. At the present time, however, there are only three persons in the entire Union in receipt of out-door relief and the rates are low; and so far as the Local Government Board can see, the resources of the Poor Law should suffice to deal with any cases of distress that have arisen.
Training Ship In Irish Waters
On behalf of the hon. Member for North Donegal (Mr. J. Mains): I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, if he has considered the expediency of having one of Her Majesty's training ships for boys in Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly during part of the year?
Lough Swilly is included among the Ports which will be visited by the Northampton during her present cruise.
I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, if he can say what ship it is proposed to station for training purposes at Queenstown, and when she may be expected there?
No conclusion has yet been arrived at, as to which training ship will be stationed at Queenstown. nor of the date at which she will be sent.
Admiralty Rights At Howth
I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, what steps will be taken by the Admiralty to preserve the right of way round the sea coast from Sutton to Howth, on which the coastguards and revenue preventive service have patrolled at all times; is he aware that a gentleman who has recently bought property at Sutton is seeking, in the Land Judges' Court, to abolish all rights of way along the coast over his land; and will the Government be represented in Court to resist any encroachments on the immemorial user of Her Majesty's officers and the public?
asked, whether, having regard to the fact that this question of right of way was now the subject of legal proceedings, it was desirable in the interests of justice, that the matter should be the subject of discussion in this House?
Of course, it would be undesirable to discuss in this House any question which is sub judice. In answer to the question on the Paper, the Dublin Board of Works have been requested to take all necessary steps to preserve the Admiralty rights in the matter. No information has been received of any attempt to interfere with the coast guard using the path.
The Ecclesiastical Commis- Sioners And Allotments
I beg to ask the Comptroller of the Household, as representing the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, whether, in accordance with the precedent set by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1894, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners will consider the desirability of inquiring, by means of a Departmental Committee, into the best means of extending the facilities for the granting of agricultural allotments upon the estates under their control, and into the applicability thereto of provisions of the Local Government Act 1894, and into other like matters appertaining to the subject.
The Estates Committee, which is charged with the management of the property under the control of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, holds its meetings weekly. For some years past it has been made known, in the parishes in which the Commissioners are possessed of agricultural property, that they are desirous of affording all reasonable facilities for the acquisition of allotments by the labouring population. A large number of allotments have been provided, and many negotiations with District and Parish Councils are pending at the present time.
asked, whether similar facilities would also be afforded to small shopkeepers who often wanted allotments?
That is certainly a question that will receive consideration.
Telegraph And Postal Facilities To Lewis
I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he will state what sums have been expended each year since 1885 on telegraph extensions and increased postal facilities respectively in the Western Mainland of Ross-shire and in the Island of Lewis?
The information desired by the hon. Member is being prepared, and shall be communicated to him.
Island Of Matacong
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Island of Matacong (West Coast of Africa) was ceded by Great Britain to France under a Convention made in 1882 and ratified in 1889; whether private proprietary rights over the island were at the time of cession, and had for a long time been, owned by an English trading firm, to whom no notice was given of the cession, and whose representative on the island in September, 1891, was taken prisoner and taken from the island by an armed force; whether the French Government expressed their willingness to make full inquiry, and whether they have now communicated their decision as to the validity of the title of the said English firm (the proofs of which were demanded and handed in in June 1893); and, if so, what is their decision; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will indemnify the said English proprietors for the serious damage to their property and business resulting from many years' forced suspension of private proprietary rights?
By the Convention of 1882 Great Britain recognised the Island of Matacong as belonging to France. That Convention was never ratified, but has been treated by both parties as binding. Private proprietary rights over the island dating prior to 1882 are claimed by an English firm. Their representative claimed rights which were considered inconsistent with the French sovereign rights, and was removed from the island by the French Authorities. The question has been repeatedly brought before the French Government, who have stated that the validity of the titles must be proved before the local tribunals, as titles of an anterior date are said to exist, or that the question should go to arbitration. The latter alternative has been refused by the British firm. The case is not one in which an indemnity should be paid by Her Majesty's Government.
Before the cession of the island was any reservation of the then existing proprietary rights made by this country?
The cession was made 20 years ago; but I will inquire into the point.
London Water Supply
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in view of the fact that many suburban consumers of water living outside the London area, and supplied by London water companies, are still without a water supply in consequence of the frost acting upon inefficiently laid mains, he would be disposed to introduce legislation affording protection to these people, or at least extending to them the right to demand an inquiry, which is at present possessed by the householders in the more central districts of the Metropolis?
It appears to me that the same remedies should be given to consumers outside the London area supplied by the London water companies as to those within. But, before taking any action in this direction, it will be necessary to see what is the result of the inquiries in respect of the complaints against the water companies from ratepayers within the area.
On behalf of the hon. Member for South Birmingham, Mr. J. POWELL WILLIAMS, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a recent case of death caused by the explosion of a gas cylinder at Fenchurch Street Station, and to the recommendation of the coroner's jury that gas cylinders should be subjected to a Government test, and should be stamped showing that they are capable of resisting the pressure of the gases which they contain; and whether he will take steps, in the interests of public safety and of a large and growing industry, to carry out the the recommendation of the jury?
I have already answered a question upon this subject, and have received a report from an expert upon the matter. I intend to invite further expert inquiry. It is reported to me as most probable that the explosion was not due to an imperfectly welded cylinder, but was caused by the ignition of an explosive mixture which no cylinder would stand, however perfectly it had been tested. I will, however, request those who are to be consulted upon this question to inquire how far the Government test would be a safeguard, and I will carefully consider the suggestion thrown out by the hon. Member.
The Indian Procedure Bill
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India with regard to the Bill called the Procedure Bill, which has recently been before the Supreme Legislative Council of India, which proposed, among other things to give the Courts power to prevent decrees for restitution of conjugal rights being enforced by the imprisonment of the wife, will he explain why the Government abandoned this clause, which was supported by many members and only opposed by three, one of whom was the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal; whether the present law that any wife in India, even though she be a child, may be imprisoned for not living with her husband has only been in force for about 18 years; and whether the Government will again introduce the proposed reform into the Supreme Legislative Council and endeavour to carry it?
This clause was unanimously struck out by a Seclect Committee of seven members, four of whom were natives of India, on the ground that the country was not yet ripe for such a change; and a motion to restore it was lost in the Legilsative Council by 15 votes to 2. Under the present law a wife cannot be imprisoned until the Court has heard and considered all objections raised by her, and I am advised that a plea of childhood, if established, would lead to the dismissal of the suit. It is the case that imprisonment in these suits was not prescribed by law until 18 years ago, but I believe that other methods, not less objectionable, of enforcing conjugal rights were in force before that time. I have no reason to think that the Government of India propose, in the circumstances which I have stated, to re-introduce the measure at present, but I have no doubt they will do so as soon as they consider that it can be passed with due regard to the state of public opinion in India.
Labourers' Cottages In Strabane Union
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland will he explain on what grounds the Local Government Board have sanctioned the erection of two labourers' cottages on the farm of John Finlay, Tulleyrap, in the union of Strabane, although there are already four cottier tenants living in houses on Mr. Finlay's farms, and eight farms all situated within half a mile of Mr. Finlay's farm, several of them as large as his, upon the whole of which there is a single labourer's dwelling, though there are empty labourers' houses upon four of these farms?
No scheme for the erection of labourers' cottages in the townland mentioned has yet been sanctioned by the Local Government Board. An Inspector of the Board has, however, been appointed to carry out the Acts in the Union (the Guardians having declined to do so), and I understand he contemplates making a Scheme for the erection of 13 cottages in five electoral divisions. Two of the proposed cottages are intended to be built in the townland mentioned; but before the erection of any of them can be sanctioned by the Local Government Board there must be a Local Inquiry held in the matter by another Inspector, at which all the owners and occupiers of lands proposed to be acquired will have an opportunity of offering objections to the Scheme. Of course, for any lands that may be ultimately taken, the persons interested will receive compensation, the amount of which, in case of disagreement, will be determined by an Arbitrator.
Postal Facilities At Fintray, Aberdeenshire
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether his attention has been called to the fact that there is only a delivery of letters three times a week in the northern part of the parish of Fintray, situated only ten miles from Aberdeen, and close to two railways; whether frequent representations have been made to him of the grave inconvenience thereby caused; and whether, by a re-arrangement of the postal deliveries or otherwise, he will endeavour to secure to this district a daily delivery of letters?
This is a subject to which my hon. Friend himself directed my attention in October last. I stated then that I could not sanction a more frequent delivery in the district referred to, because the revenue from the letters barely covered half the expenditure incurred. I fear the circumstances are no more favourable now, but if my hon. Friend can suggest any arrangement of the deliveries which will meet the case without materially increasing the expense, I will give the suggestion my careful consideration.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce at an early date a Bill containing such provisions as are necessary to terminate quarantine?
(who answered the question) said: A Bill is being prepared on this subject, and I hope it will be introduced shortly after Easter.
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he proposes to introduce a Bill in the course of the present Session to, provide for a quinquennial census relating to the numbers of the population for the United Kingdom in the year 1896?
The Government does not at present propose to introduce a Bill on this subject.
The New Code And School Venti Lation
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been directed to the inconvenience and danger to health likely to arise from the provision in Schedule VII. of the New Code for ventilation by enlarged inlets and outlets in addition to the windows; whether he is prepared to amend the article in Schedule VII., Article 11, of the Code, in order to prevent such injurious consequences; and whether, having regard to the danger arising from windows which swing, he is prepared to omit the provision in Schedule VII., Article 9 (b), which compels the construction of windows with a portion made to swing?
The size of the ventilators proposed is not unduly large. The teachers will of course exercise a discretion in opening and shutting windows. It is hoped the provision will be beneficial and not injurious to the children. Swing windows are generally in use in schools, and no such windows as would involve danger are contemplated under the new rule.
The Land Slip At Sandgate
I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, if he will state why the coastguards' houses at Sandgate, which were rendered uninhabitable owing to the landslip which took place there two years ago, have neither been pulled down nor shored up; and whether steps will taken to deal with these structures without further delay?
The delay in dealing with the houses in question arose on account of a consideration as to whether the Coastguard Station should be removed to another place. This has now been settled, and provision has been made in the Estimates for the present year for the erection of new houses.
The American And Scotch Mails
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether, having arranged a special accelerated train to carry the American mails per Etruria to London, he will in future arrange a similar train to convey the mails to Scotland, so that letters may be delivered in time to be answered by the outgoing steamer?
I am afraid the amount of correspondence for Scotland would scarcely warrant the establishment of a special service similar to that for London; but, apart from this, even by the employment of a special train, it would seldom be practicable to give to Scotland an interval for reply by the outgoing steamer. I may point out, however, that it is the rule to send the Scotch mails from Queenstown by the quickest practicable route, and that in some cases these mails do already benefit from the special service.
Arising out of this answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that a very large amount of business is done by merchants in Glasgow both with America and Canada, and that it is essentially necessary they should be in possession of the earliest information possible as soon as the letters were delivered?
believed there was a large amount of business done, but he did not think the matter was one for special arrangement.
The Irish Mails
I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he is now in a position to make a definite statement on the subject of the tenders for the mail contract between Dublin and Holyhead, and between Holyhead and London? May I supplement that question by asking whether the right hon. Gentleman and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have to-day received a communication from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce in which they protest against the adoption of any boats smaller than those proposed by tender No. 2, and asking the Postmaster General and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to receive a deputation?
I have got a telegram to that effect. I propose also to answer the question in the name of the hon. Member for the St. Patrick Division of Dublin. [Mr. W. FIELD asked the Postmaster General whether he was in a position to make a statement regarding the mail contract via Queenstown, Kingstown, and Holyhead; and, whether acceleration and increased accommodation would be provided on land and sea?] I have seen the Directors of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company to-day, and they have promised to provide me with some further data showing how the amount of the tender is made up, on which they are anxious that I should obtain some technical advice. Pending the consideration of these figures, I regret to say that I am unable to make any definite announcement. I may repeat that, under any new contract, it is my desire to obtain an acceleration of half-an-hour, together with the requisite accommodation for the mails, and accommodation for passengers at least equal to that afforded in the Ireland. I am happy to be able to state that the special service for accelerating the Saturday American mail was successfully inaugurated on Saturday last. The new mail train arrived at Queenstown punctually at the appointed time, 6.45a.m., and the Cunard Mail Packet was able to get away from Queenstown by ten minutes to eight, instead of about midday as heretofore.
I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is my intention to accept a tender for boats of a smaller size than those mentioned in No. 2?
I am afraid I cannot make a statement until after the decision of the Government.
Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman when he expects to be able to make a declaration with regard to this matter. We have had it now under consideration I do not know how many times, and we have never had any kind of a definite reply from the right hon. Gentleman. All the commercial community of Dublin and the whole of Ireland are united on this question?
Is not the sole matter in dispute some objections on the part of the Treasury? Are they not the only stumbling-block in the way, and cannot the right hon. Gentleman get over that stumbling-block in a matter of national importance? Will he assure the House that he will give a definite answer by the termination of the Recess?
I cannot say more than that I am most anxious to lose no time whatever in coming to a decision. There is a substantial difference between the amount offered by the company and the amount the Government is justified in giving.
Is not the Treasury the objector. Has not the City of Dublin Steam packet Company offered to submit the whole matter to arbitration, and has not the right hon. Gentleman power to submit to arbitration in this matter?
It is a most unusual course for the Government to submit any such matter to arbitration.
Will the right hon. Gentleman be able to give any answer to this before the Dissolution?
[MR. A. MORLEY did not reply]
Evening Continuation Schools
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether any and, if so, what steps have been taken to make thoroughly sound and effective the existing movement in favour of evening continuation schools; and whether, following the precedent set with so much success by the Science and Art Department, he will consider and arrange for the appointment of a person or persons thoroughly competent and specially experienced to advise local educational authorities, especially in rural districts, as to the economical and effective organisation and working of evening continuation schools?
The Department is most anxious to make evening continuation schools as sound and effective as possible in every way. Her Majesty's Inspectors are always ready to advise local authorities as to the organisation and working of such schools. I do not think that the necessity has arisen for a special staff of officials devoting themselves entirely to this branch of the work of the Department.
Examination Of Acting Teachers
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he can state the date of the last certificate examination for acting teachers and for college trained teachers; the date of the issue of the results of the examination so far as college-trained teachers are concerned; and the date of the issue of the results so far as acting teachers are concerned; and whether he can in any way compensate the acting teachers for the prolonged anxiety and injustice consequent on this differential delay of more than five weeks?
The examination was held from December 10th to 14th, and the result, so far as the colleges were concerned, was announced on the 21st February. The acting teachers were informed of the result of their examination from March 27th to April 3rd. The work on the acting teachers' examination is much more laborious than that on the students', and the difference between the dates of announcement is generally about a month. There has been nothing exceptional on this occasion, in the difference of date, which is really unavoidable.
The Proposed Veterinary College In Ireland
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state what progress has been made in carrying out steps for the establishment of a Veterinary College in Ireland; and, if an Act of Parliament be necessary for the purpose, when does he propose to introduce it?
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will introduce a Bill this Session to provide the promised £15,000 to start the Veterinary College in Dublin?
The draft charter for the proposed Veterinary College in Dublin has been settled, and is now before the Law Officers for approval. Upon the incorporation of the governing body a Bill will be introduced forthwith to provide the proposed grant-in-aid.
Government Of Hawaii
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can inform the House what now represents the Government of Hawaii: and, whether the existing Government, in the event of there being one, is recognised by Her Majesty's Government?
The present Government of Hawaii is Republican. The Republic was recognised by Her Majesty's Government on the 15th of November last.
Royal Irish Constabulary Code
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that the police code, published in 1881, with Amendments up to date, is the manual placed in the hands of recruits to the London police force, he would have any objection to the publication of the Royal Irish Constabulary Code by a member of that body?
The publication referred to in the first part of the question is, I presume, that which deals with the general principles of police duty. It is not the code of the London police, which, as I stated yesterday, is a confidential publication. The Royal Irish Constabulary have also in their hands a manual of police duty, and, for reasons explained by me yesterday, I see no sufficient reason for consenting to the Constabulary Code being made available for public use.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the book to which I have referred was published in 1881 by the then Director of the Criminal Investigation Department in London?
I am not aware of anything of the kind.
Might I inform the right hon. Gentleman that the book is in the Library?
Landed Estates Courts Conveyances
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland what has been the result of his communication with the Lord Chancellor of Ireland respecting the execution of Landed Estates Courts conveyances?
The Lord Chancellor informs me that arrangements have been made under which the Master of the Rolls will execute any conveyances in the Land Judge's Court that may be presented to him for execution.
Surgeon Major Generals In India
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether it is the fact that the pay of Surgeon Major Generals in India is reduced, from 1st April last, from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 2,000 per month; and, if so, whether such reduction will be followed by diminished duties and responsibilities on the part of these officers; and whether it is proposed to reduce the pay of officers of corresponding rank in India at the same time and on a similar scale?
The number of the principal medical officers in India has been increased from three to five, the responsibilities of all, except the Surgeon Major General at headquarters have thus been reduced, and their pay is diminished accordingly. It is not proposed to reduce the pay of officers of corresponding rank in India.
Second Division Clerks In Dublin
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is now in a position to give the information recently asked for regarding the promotion of second division clerks in the Dublin offices?
In accordance with my promise in reply to the hon. Member's question of the 12th March, I have had a statement prepared which I shall be happy to hand to him.
The Convict M'cann
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet arrived at a decision regarding the release of M'Cann, an Irish political prisoner, who has been 12 years in prison, and is now 70 years of age?
I have decided, with the concurrence of the Secretary for Scotland, that in consideration of this convict's age and feeble state of health, he may now be released on licence.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will insert in the tender forms about to be issued for Ireland a similar clause to that inserted for the commissary bakeries at Aldershot, Shorncliffe, &c., in England, that tenders would be only accepted from millers, thereby insuring the supply of home-manufactured flour?
The same form of tender is now in use for flour, both in England and Ireland, the stipulation as to millers having been withdrawn from the English form.
Am I to understand that the Irish millers tender for the supply the same as they do in England?
Precisely the same form of tender is issued in both cases.
Am I to understand that there is a new form of tender which boycotts the native producer from tendering to supply ships in Ireland or England?
Millers take exactly the same position as others.
May I ask what that position is?
I think my hon. Friend will perfectly understand my answer when he sees it in print.
An Ocean Derelict
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether intelligence has been received from Madrid that a large sailing vessel has been seen abandoned near the Straits of Gibraltar, about seven miles off Tangier, right in the course taken generally by vessels of our fleet when going to and from the Mediterranean; and whether he will order a cruiser from England or the Mediterranean and Channel Squadron at once to search for this dangerous derelict and bring it to port or destroy it?
No Report respecting this wreck has been received from Madrid. In the Shipping Gazette of April 5th, it is stated that the Spanish steamer Joaquin Velasjo reports having passed a vessel waterlogged and abandoned, foremast only visible, in the position stated, which is not in the ordinary track. Where the vessel (if it is a vessel and not a spar, which is equally probable from the Report) is now, it is difficult to say, but if not on shore, or at the bottom, the strong currents have probably taken her into the Mediterranean. No search could be made with any prospect of success unless further Reports are received.
Refusal To Allow A Meeting In County Cork
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, if he will explain upon what authority, and for what reason, the police refused to allow a public meeting to be held at Grenagh, County Cork, upon last Sunday.
The placard convening the meeting pointedly referred to the taking of a farm from which the late tenant (who was named) had been evicted, and it was believed that the meeting, if held at the place originally selected, would have an intimidatory effect, and might lead to a breach of the peace. It was decided, therefore, not to allow it in the neighbourhood of the farm in question.
asked whether the promoters of the meeting had any notice of the intention of the Government?
Yes, Sir, the district inspector is specially directed to inform the promoters some time before the meeting of the intention, and the information was given to them that the meeting would not be allowed.
Dublin Science And Art Museum
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, whether he is aware that the duties and responsibilities of the Director of the Science and Art Museum at Dublin have vastly increased since his appointment to that office in the year 1883, and that the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Committee of Council on Education have, at various times, recorded their opinions that the salary enjoyed by the Director is inadequate; whether the last specific application for an increase of salary made by the Director, by his letter of 29th October 1894, has been considered by the Treasury; and, if so, with what result; and, would there be any objection to lay upon the Table a copy of the correspondence on the subject of this salary?
The Treasury has received more than one application for an increase in the salary of the Director of the Museum, the last was in August 1894. After full inquiry the Treasury was of opinion that the emoluments—amounting to £760 a year—afford not inadequate remuneration for the duties of the post. The manner in which the present Director has discharged his duties has been recognised by the grant of the honour of a Companionship of the Bath. I cannot consent to lay on the Table departmental correspondence relative to the salaries of Civil Service Appointments.
The Wexford And Dublin Mail
I beg to ask the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that the night mail between Wexford and Dublin leaves Dublin at 8 o'clock p.m., and often does not arrive in Wexford until 7.30 or 8 o'clock next morning, thereby delaying the rural postmen, and causing immense inconvenience to the public generally; and, whether he will look into the matter and see if a uniform service is possible?
No representations on the subject have reached me; but I will have inquiry made with the object of securing greater regularity, should the circumstances require it.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether Her Majesty's Government have made any provision to enable British subjects in Madagascar to leave the island if they so desire during the French invasion.
No special provision is required. British Consular Officers are at the two principal ports, and will protect those who may come to the coast. No intimation has been received of the wish of British residents to leave except in the case of some British Indians at Mojunga to whom the French Authorities offered facilities.
Upper Nile Waterway
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, what steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take to secure the control of the Upper Nile Waterway?
It is impossible to make a statement on this subject in answer to a question.
desired to know whether the French Government had informed Her Majesty's Government that no expedition had been sent to the Nile.
I have nothing to add to what has been already said.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered the views of the deputation which waited upon him, on 20th February last, in reference to the enlargement of Denbigh Asylum; and whether he is in a position to state his decision?
My decision is, that the additional accommodation needed is to be provided by the enlargement of the existing Asylum at Denbigh.
Election Of Overseers At Bootle
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that on 1st April a meeting of the Vestry of Bootle was held to elect overseers of the poor, at which four ratepayers were duly elected at the meeting; whether he is also aware that the magistrates refused to accept the names so put forward, and elected four others which had not been before the Vestry meetings; whether this was a contravention of the Local Government Act; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?
The only information I have on this subject is contained in the letter which my hon. Friend has been good enough to send me. It rests with the magistrates to appoint the overseers, and they are under no legal obligation to elect persons nominated by the Vestry. Under the Local Government Act, the power of appointing overseers in urban parishes may be transferred to the Urban District Council on their application.
A Professional Coroner's Jury
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Corporation of Bootle has been paying a professional coroner's jury for two years past, at a cost of over £200; and whether this is a legal payment; if not, whether he has power to interfere to protect the ratepayers against such charges?
I have no information as to this matter, nor any power to interfere with regard to it. The accounts of Municipal Corporations are not subject to control by the Local Government Board or their officers.
Inspector Ruff, Metropolitan Police
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department—(1) whether his attention has been called to the case of Inspector Ruff, of the Metropolitan Police Force, in Islington, who was reduced in rank about a year since, some six months before he was entitled to retire on a full pension (2) whether Mr. Ruff had since retired and been awarded a pension on the scale of his salary during the few months that had passed since he was reduced in rank, instead of on the average pay that he had received during the last three years of his service in the force; (3) whether the right hon. Gentleman has taken the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown on the legality of this action; and (4) whether he will give orders that the question of Mr. Ruffs pension be reconsidered in accordance with what is understood to be the usual practice?
The answer to the first three paragraphs is in the affirmative. I am in communication with the Law Officers on the subject, and hope to decide the matter at an early date.
Dublin And Garristown Railway
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has yet come to any decision regarding the request made to him by the deputation which waited upon him last winter for public assistance in the matter of the proposed Dublin and Garristown Railway?
I communicated with the Board of Works in the matter of this projected railway, and was informed that the funds for meeting the State Guarantee under the Act of 1883 were exhausted. The Grand Jury of Meath, at Spring Assizes, 1894, decided not to express approval of the proposed railway, at any rate until the Grand Jury of the County of Dublin, who were mainly concerned in the matter, had expressed their opinion as to the project; and, in the June following, the Grand Jury of the County Dublin expressed disapproval of the line and refused to guarantee.
asked, whether it was not the case that every fact the right hon. Gentleman had stated now was stated to him by the deputation mentioned in the question?
replied, that the facts were mentioned to him by the deputation. What he promised the deputation was, that he would inquire whether there were funds. Until and unless Parliament provided due funds the Government cannot further the hon. Member's object.
Has the right hon. Gentleman any intention of asking Parliament to provide the funds?
I do not believe the present would be a very auspicious moment.
Distress In St Olave's Union
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if his attention has been called to the fact that the relieving officers of St. Olave's Union lave been giving 3s. 6d. per day, half in cash half in kind, in out-relief (nominal stone breaking) to over 60,000 persons without the inquiry by the guardians whether they were deserving cases as required by law; and what steps he proposes taking to rectify this?
I have made inquiry on this subject. Owing to the distress which prevailed in the St. Olave's Union in January last, the guardians opened a labour yard. I am informed that during the first few days the yard was open, the number of applicants was so great that the officers of the guardians were unable to make proper inquiries as to the cases; but a special meeting of the guardians was then held, and arrangements were effected whereby the usual inquiries were duly made. The yard was closed on the 28th March, the total number of persons set to work there having been, not 60,000, as stated in the question, but 3,910. The total number of days' work done was about 60,000. The subject has been fully inquired into by the Committee on the Unemployed.
Collapse Of A Tunnel
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, whether, having regard to the extraordinary collapse of a portion of a tunnel at Guildford on the London and South Western Railway on Friday, the 22nd of March, any steps, and, if so, what, are taken by the Board of Trade, or otherwise, to periodically ascertain as to the safety of tunnels on railways; and whether the Board of Trade will, at an early date, hold a more formal investigation as to the causes of such collapse, and of the circumstances attending the same, as provided in the Railway Regulation Amendment Act, 34 and 35 Vic., c. 78, s. 7?
asked, whether it was not the fact that the South Western Railway were able, by their exertions, to reopen the line in eight days after the accident occurred?
It was opened very soon, though I am not prepared to state the exact time. As regards the question on the Paper, the duty is not devolved upon the Board of Trade of making periodical inspections of the permanent way of railways. That is a responsibility which rests on the railway companies themselves. As at present advised, I see no reason for thinking that the causes of the accident have been insufficiently ascertained by Major Marindin, the Inspecting Officer, whose Report I have only just received to-day, but have not yet had time to peruse.
Local Registration Of Title Act
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, have any complaints been received by that body respecting the want of office accommodation by the local registrars under the Local Registration of Title Act; and what steps, if any, the Treasury intend taking in the matter?
No such complaints have reached me. Applications from Local Registering Authorities for the expenses of carrying into effect the Local Registration of Title Act are dealt with by the Board of Works, subject to appeal to the Treasury, and no such appeals have reached the latter.
The War Between China And Japan
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, whether he can have drawn up and presented to this House a Report on the naval experiences in the recent war between China and Japan which can make public all such facts and lessons as can be published without prejudice to our naval interests?
The Reports prepared in the Intelligence Department of the Admiralty on such subjects as are indicated in the question are of a confidential nature, and are designed for the information of the Board of Admiralty. There is no intention of presenting any such Reports to the House of Commons.
asked, whether the hon. Gentleman could answer the question, which particularly excluded matter which could not be published without prejudice?
There are no others, I understand.
wished to know whether any of the chief features of these actions would be issued in the form of a confidential Report to Captains of ships in commission?
I must ask notice of that question.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what was the amount of coal consumed by the Sharpshooter during her 30 hours' trial; and what was her indicated horse power at that time?
The amount of coal consumed by the Sharpshooter during her 30 hours' trial was 74 tons. The average indicated horse power during the trial was 2,326. Superior results have since been obtained with further experience.
Commissioners Of Inland Revenue
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he will instruct the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to include in their annual Report the particulars which are set forth in the notice of Motion standing on the Paper this day?
said, I have no doubt that full particulars of the operation of the new death duties will be given in the annual Report of the Inland Revenue, but I cannot undertake that the statistics will be in the precise form set forth in the Motion of the hon. Member.
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he proposes bringing in a Bill this Session for triennial Parliaments?
No, Sir. Her Majesty's Government have no such intention. I do not know that we should have time to pass the Bill.
pressed the right hon. Gentleman to say whether the Government proposed to maintain the Septennial Act throughout the whole course of this Parliament.
That is a large question, Sir. Time is not always at the disposal of the Government.
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether any steps have yet been taken to procure the return of Dr. Herz, who for over two years now has been under arrest, and is lying seriously ill at Bournemouth; and, if not, whether the Government propose to take any steps, either by negotiation with the French Government or otherwise.
I may point out that the "arrest" of Dr. Herz consists simply in the presence of a police officer in the hotel where he is lying ill, and every precaution is taken to secure that there shall be no avoidable inconvenience or annoyance to Dr. Herz and those who are attending on him. We are in communication with the French Government with the view of putting an end, if possible, to the existing situation, and I hope that an agreement upon the subject may soon be arrived at.
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it is his intention to introduce the Bill to facilitate the construction of light railways at an early date.
said, it was the intention of the Government to introduce this Bill at an early date.
The Slave Trade
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he is aware that an anti-slavery memorial has been forwarded to the Prime Minister from the Wesleyan Methodist body, assembled in their quarterly meeting, appealing to the Government to suppress the Slave Trade in its possessions under its East African Protectorate; And, whether, seeing that it is laid down by all authorities that, as is pointed out in the memorial, one of the most effective methods of destroying the Slave Trade is to make railways, the Government will, as soon as the negotiations with the British East Africa Company are completed, proceed with the construction of a railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria Nyanza.
When the transactions with the East Africa Company are completed that question will be carefully considered by the Government.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, whether the fee charged to candidates for prison clerkships has been reduced from £3 to £1 because it has been found that the former amount was fixed too high upon the scale published in the London Gazette of 9th September 1879; and, if so, how is it proposed to compensate those clerks who paid the higher fee for the loss of prospects held out to them as candidates.
Candidates before 1891 paid a fee of £3 because there were posts in the Department of the maximum value of £400 and upwards to which they could be promoted without further certificate. This rule still holds good for such clerks. There has been no loss of prospects, and there can be no question of compensation. In 1891 the fee was reduced to £1, because clerks since appointed cannot be promoted to the higher posts without the issue of a fresh certificate and the payment of a fresh fee.
School Board Rate
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether, pending a general re-adjustment of the incidence of the School Board Rate, he could advise the extension of Clause 97 of the Education Act, 1870, by which poor localities with an exceptionally low rateable value are relieved from the Consolidated Fund?
This is a matter which would involve legislation. Pending the inquiry which is being made in the Department on this subject, I am not able to say whether the extension of this clause can be recommended.
Order Of Business
I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question, of which I have given him private notice, with regard to the position of the Factories Bill, which is the sixth item of Government business on the Paper today. It is whether on the last occasion when he was publicly asked in the House whether it would be taken before Easter, in order that it might be referred to the Standing Committee, the right hon. Gentleman stated that it would be taken to-day, and whether it is now intended that the three Scotch Bills and the Light Railways Bill should stand before it?
It is quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman has stated, that I had the expectation and the intention of putting the Factories Bill down for tonight. But we will put it down as the first order on the Monday the House reassembles. No time will in that way be lost; the Bill will be as far forward as if the Second Reading had been taken to-day.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he can state now on what day the Budget will be taken?
The day I should fix, though I do not wish to be finally bound to it, would be Thursday, May 2nd.
Will the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements to secure the First Reading of the Crofters Bill to-night?
As far as I am concerned, certainly.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what will be the second and third orders on the day on which the House meets? In the event of the Crofters Bill and the other Scotch Bills not being reached to-night, will they come on as a matter of course?
Our object is to proceed as much as possible with Bills which may be considered non-controversial. I should, therefore, propose after the Factories Bill, to take such Bills, for instance, as the Fatal Accidents (Scotland) Bill, which, I believe, is non-contentious, the Truck Acts Amendment Bill, and the Coal Mines Bill.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Fatal Accidents (Scotland) Bill will be opposed, and will he take into consideration the fact that in order to be in their places on Monday Scotch Members will have to leave their homes on Saturday?
We feel that Scotch business is a good deal in arrear, and therefore we are bound to do what we can to forward it, even at the risk of some inconvenience which I am afraid may be caused to hon. Members.
Will the right hon. Gentleman stop the discussion on the Naval Works Bill at 11 o'clock to-night in order to enable the Crofters Bill to be taken?
I should very much hope that the discussion will stop before that time, and that there will be plenty of time to introduce the Crofters Bill.
If the discussion should continue, will the right hon. Gentleman suspend it?
It is very necessary to get the Second Reading of the Naval Works Bill to-night.
Can the right hon. Gentleman without inconvenience tell us what business he proposes to take on the Thursday after the meeting of Parliament?
I have been asked by the late Secretary to the Admiralty to give an opportunity on Vote 8 of the Naval Estimates for a discussion of the question of boilers, and though I cannot pledge myself at this time, my contemplation is that we might give such an opportunity on the Thursday after the meeting of the House.
asked whether the Coal Mines Bill was likely to be distributed to Members to-day or to-morrow. Last night it was not printed.
It will be in the hands of the Members to-morrow.
New Writ issued for the City of Oxford v. the late Sir G. Chesney.—( Mr. Akers-Douglas.)
The Easter Adjournment
Moved, "That this House, at its rising to-morrow, do adjourn until Monday, April 22nd."
Motion agreed to.