House Of Commons
Friday 3rd May, 1895.
The House met at five minutes after Two of the clock.
The London Water Bills
MR. J. W. BENN (Tower Hamlets, St. George's) moved that the second reading of the Chelsea Water (Transfer) Bill be adjourned till Monday, in the hope that in the meantime an arrangement might be made for a further adjournment on the lines suggested the other day by the hon. Member for Shoreditch.
hoped that on Monday the London County Council would have made up their minds as to whether they should proceed with this and the other Water Bills which were on the paper or not. These repeated adjournments of the second reading of these Bills were exceedingly inconvenient, and left the companies in a state of harassment. This Bill was put down for second reading nearly three months ago. It was quite time the County Council told the House distinctly and plainly whether they meant to proceed with the Bills during this Session or not.
said the County Council had nothing to add to the declarations made in the House by the hon. Member for Shoreditch.
said it was most inconvenient hon. Members should be brought down day after day for these Bills, which were put down by order, and then find there was no intention to proceed with them. Surely, if it was intended to proceed with the Bills they should be put down for a definite date.
remarked that if the hon. Member for Marylebone would consent to an adjournment for a month [Mr. BARTLEY: "Six months"] all the inconvenience mentioned by the hon. Member for Islington would be avoided.
said he would be quite willing to consent to an adjournment for six months. Second Reading deferred till Monday. The second reading of the East London Water (Transfer) Bill and four other metropolitan water companies' Bills was also postponed till the same day.
North British Railway Bill
DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.) moved:—
"That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the North British Railway Bill that they may provide, if they think fit, notwithstanding Standing Order 163 of this House, that the respective undertakings of the Kirkcaldy District Railway Company and of the East Fife Railway Company may be vested in the North British Railway Company."
said, that as the notice of motion only appeared on the paper of the House this morning, and as by it a considerable concession was sought for the Company from the House, he had to ask that it stand over. Another reason why the motion should be postponed was that the whole position of the company with regard to the trading community in Scotland required consideration by the House. The manner in which the railway company were treating the traders of his own constituency was not only tyrannical but in the highest sense thoroughly insolent. The company had also broken faith with the House, so far as a pledge given some years ago was concerned; and as there were a large number of precedents for refusing to deal with a Bill of a company which had broken its pledge, he asked that the motion might be allowed to stand over till Tuesday in order that the position of affairs might be considered.
Motion deferred till Tuesday.
Military Lands Provisional Orders Bill
Read 3° and passed.
The Island Of Lewis
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the fact that the construction of the Carloway Road, in the Island of Lewis, has been stopped for some time owing to lack of funds: whether, with the view of alleviating the distress which exists in this district at the present time, steps will be taken to facilitate the completion of this work; and, whether the Government will consider the desirability of constructing a light railway or tram line, as projected by the late Government?
An Act of Parliament passed in 1891 allotted £15,000 to defray the cost of constructing the road between Carloway and Stornoway, and other roads in the Island of Lewis. Under the Act the money was to be paid to the County Council, which was charged with the execution of the roads. In 1893 the County Council entrusted the work to a contractor. This contractor became bankrupt last Autumn, and immediately afterwards the engineer of the District Committee of the County Council resigned his post. Since then disputes have arisen between the County Council and the contractor's trustees, and these are now under arbitration. Till the arbiter has given his award the work cannot go on. The Government does not consider it desirable to lay down a light railway on this road, nor, as far as I am aware, did the late Government ever announce any such intention.
"The Costa Rica Packet" Case
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is now in a position to make a statement as to the progress made in the direction of bringing the claims of the captain, owners, and crew of the Costa Rica Packet before a tribunal of arbitration?
It has been agreed between the Governments of Great Britain and of the Netherlands that the claims of the captain, owners, and crew of the Costa, Rica Packet shall be referred to arbitration. The Convention settling the terms of the reference is now in course of negotiation between the two Governments, and it is hoped that it, will be signed shortly.
The Entrance To Belfast Lough
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, considering the frequent complaints of mariners as to the insufficiency of the fog signal on Mew Island at the entrance to Belfast Lough, he will represent to the Irish Lights Board the necessity of placing there such a signal as will warn the mariners of the danger to which they are now exposed?
The Board of Trade have no power of initiation in the matter of lights or fog signals, but I will send the question of the hon. Member for the immediate consideration of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, whose delay in carrying out certain experiments in connection with this matter I much regret.
Highlands And Islands Commission
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, if he will state why the maps, which were to be furnished with the Report of the Highlands and Islands Commission, 1891, have not been issued; and when they will be sent out?
The necessity for further communication with the Secretary with regard to certain points of detail arising in connection with the issue of the maps in illustration of the Report of the Highlands and Islands Commission, 1891, has prevented their publication so soon as had been hoped. The maps will in all probability be sent to the Vote Office of the House of Commons this afternoon.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, (1) whether Her Majesty's Government have established British rule over the districts between Swaziland and Tongaland, and have established a British protectorate over Tongaland up to Portuguese territory; and (2) whether the Boer Government have protested against these acts?
For a long time past the little territories of the chiefs Mdhlaleni, Sambaan, and Umhegesa and others lying to the North-west of Zululand have been distinctly within the sphere of British influence. It has lately appeared that a state of affairs was growing up there which was calculated to produce serious difficulties in the future, and which rendered it necessary to establish a more effective form of administration; and Her Majesty's Government have therefore desired to place these little territories under the Governor of Zululand. As regards the position of the South African Republic in the matter, I would point out that under Article II. of the London Convention of 1884, the South African Republic is expressly prohibited from encroaching on these territories; and, under Article IV., from making treaties with the chiefs except with the consent of Her Majesty's Government. This assent has never been given, and, indeed, has been more than once expressly withheld. Under the Convention of 1890 the South African Republic were granted liberty, under certain specified conditions, and within strictly limited areas, to negotiate with the respective chiefs in order to acquire land sufficient to enable them to make a railway running from the Transvaal, through Swaziland to the sea. These rights were, however, not exercised, and they lapsed last year with the lapsing of the Convention of 1890. I would wish to state, in conclusion, that the action now being taken by Her Majesty's Government is not in any sense of the term dictated by unfriendly or unneighbourly feelings towards the South African Republic.
The hon. Gentleman has not replied to the last paragraph of my question, and I should also like to ask him whether it it is intended that Zululand should be incorporated in Natal?
The South African Republic have made a remonstrance in this matter, which has been received. As regards the incorporation of Zululand in Naval, that is a large question, and if the hon. Gentleman wants to know the present position of affairs he must give notice.
Do we understand that Her Majesty's Government intend to adhere fully to the proclamation issued by the Governor of Zululand?
[No answer was given.]
Register Of Burgh Voters (Scotland) Bill
On Motion of Mr. J. G. A. Baird, Bill to amend the Law relating to the Register of Voter in Burghs and populous places in Scotland.
Bill presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Wednesday next, and to be printed.—[Bill 224.]
Orders Of The Day
Naval Works Bill
The following Instructions to the Committee on the Naval Works Bill stood on the Paper:—
That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert in the Bill provisions to extend the powers for the acquisition of land so as to include the acquisition of land for the purpose of housing workpeople employed upon any of the works contemplated by the Bill.
That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert a clause specifying the time within which each of the works mentioned in the Schedule shall be completed.
That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert a clause by which it shall be obligatory upon the Treasury to annually apply to Parliament until all the moneys necessary to complete all the works contained in the Schedule have been sanctioned.
These three Instructions are out of order. This Bill is founded on a Resolution of the Committee of Ways and Means, placing £1,000,000 for certain specific purposes to the use of the Royal Navy. The first Instruction proposes to empower the Committee on the Bill to insert in the Bill provisions to extend the powers for the acquisition of land so as to include the acquisition of land for the purpose of housing workpeople employed upon any of the works contemplated by the Bill. That is not a work for the purposes of the Royal Navy, and therefore it is entirely outside the objects for which the million of money has been sanctioned. I will take the third Instruction next. It proposes to give power to the Committee, to insert a clause, by which it shall be obligatory on the Treasury to annually apply to Parliament until all the moneys necessary to complete all the works contained in the scheme of the Government have been sanctioned. That proposes to bind future Parliaments to the expenditure of money not recommended by the Crown. This Bill, as I have said, is a Bill authorising the expenditure of £1,000,000 for certain specific works; and nothing can be done under the Bill beyond dealing with the expenditure of that million of money, and no more. The second Instruction is also clearly out of order for the same reason. This Instruction proposes that the Bill shall specify the time within which each of the works shall be completed. As no power is taken in the Bill to take money sufficient for the completion of the works, no power can be given to compel their completion. All the power that can be given under this Bill, and under the Resolution upon which it is founded, is to deal with an expenditure, for the proposed purposes, of £1,000,000.
The House then went into Committee on the Bill.
Mr. MELLOR in the Chair.
(In the Committee.)
Clause 1 (Power for Admiralty to construct scheduled works).
SIR GEORGE BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale) moved the following Amendment:—
"page 1, line 18, after 'such lands,' insert 'as they may deem necessary for the whole of such work if and when completed.'"
He said the adoption of the Amendment would perfect the Bill on the lines and principles laid down in the Bill itself, and would make it more effectually carry out the purpose for which it was designed. It would promote efficiency and obviate any unnecessary expenditure.
did not see that the words which the hon. Member proposed would make any difference. The first clause gave power to the Admiralty to forthwith construct the works specified in the Schedule of the Act at the places therein mentioned, and for that purpose "to acquire such lands as they may deem expedient.'' These words were wider than those of the hon. Gentleman, and he did not see that any purpose would be gained by accepting the Amendment.
said, that the clause did not cover the whole of the lands which might be necessary before the whole of the works were completed, but only covered the land for the works specified in the Schedule. If in order to complete the works they had in future years to purchase more lands, it did not seem to him that that would conduce to economy, and the best course would be to have the power now to purchase the necessary lands.
thought there was another point in favour of the Amendment of his hon. Friend which merited the consideration of the representatives of the Admiralty. The ruling of the Speaker by which all his (Lord George Hamilton's) proposed Amendments were shown to be out of order made it clear that this Bill only gave authority to spend £1,000,000, and that it in no way bound subsequent Parliaments to go on with and complete the works. They had had the declaration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was the intention of the Government that these works should be commenced and executed as rapidly as possible, but there was not, from beginning to end of the Bill, any single indication of what the ultimate intention of the Government was. He thought they ought to put in this Bill a clear indication of the intention of the promoters, and to which Parliament had assented. At present there was no indication that the works should be rapidly completed. The Schedule related to work to the extent of but £1,000,000, and they could only take land which was required for the completion of such works. He did not think it would conflict with any principle of the Bill laid down by the Government if they were to make it clear that the land to be bought was to be such as was necessary for the whole of the works that were to be executed.
replied, that the power given to the Admiralty was wide enough to cover the large demands necessary. For the purpose of this clause they were to acquire such lands as they might deem expedient. He did not suppose that would limit the amount, whilst the proposed Amendment itself would limit rather than extend the scope of the Bill.
remarked that undoubtedly the nature of the Resolution on which the Bill was founded did limit the acquisition of land to the £1,000,000 alone provided by the Bill. When the Civil Lord of the Admiralty argued that this power was so wide as to include the acquisition of any amount of land he forgot that the whole Bill only extended to £1,000,000, and they could not, therefore, in any case acquire land beyond that required for the works comprised in the £1,000,000. Before any further sums could be expended the Schedule would have to be altered. The hon. Gentleman was certainly not right in saying that there was absolutely unlimited discretion given to the Admiralty to acquire land by this clause, because, as he had pointed out, the whole expenditure under the Act was limited to £1,000,000. At the same time he did not quite see what great advantage would result from inserting the words of the Amendment, although his hon. Friend knew what their effect would be. It would, no doubt, have the result of indicating and prescribing the final purpose of that Act, but they could not by anything they put into any clause of the Bill give power to the Admiralty to buy anything beyond that for which they had sanction by the measure.
instanced the case of Keyham, and asked if it was proposed that the £80,000 taken should suffice for the whole of the land necessary, besides the works.
observed that in the clause as drawn it was stated that—
as they might deem expedient. He understood that power was not given to construct the works specified in the Schedule. It appeared to him that the Bill was inconsistent with itself. They might, the clause said, proceed to construct these works. But the whole of the works would cost far more than £1,000,000. The drafting of the Bill seemed to be faulty in this respect, because while the Government could begin upon the works specified in the Schedule of the Act, and could proceed to construct them, yet if they were to construct the whole of them they would be running against the other proposals in the Bill. They might not exceed the limit in the Schedule, but they took powers not to proceed with the construction of the works, but to proceed with the works specified in the Schedule. So that this clause would practically give power to construct the whole of the works. It would appear from this, which was the governing clause of the whole Bill, that the Government contemplated forthwith immediately to construct the works specified in the Schedule, whereas they really only took power at the best to construct one-eighth of the works in the Bill. He would suggest whether the words "forthwith proceed to construct" should not be modified to a certain extent. The Amendment of his hon. Friend would tend in some degree to meet the difficulty. He hoped the Government would not consider this to be a frivolous objection, because he regarded it as a weakness of the Bill that, while, it authorised the construction of the whole of the works, they were distinctly told it was only for part of them."the Admiralty may forthwith proceed to construct the works as specified in the Schedule of this Act at the places therein mentioned, and for that purpose may acquire such lands and execute such works."
differed with the meaning the right hon. Gentleman apparently attached to the expression "proceed to construct the works." The right hon. Gentleman seemed to take that in the sense that to construct meant to complete. Construct only meant to build. What the Admiralty were only authorised to make were the works comprised in the Schedule, and upon which they expended the amounts set forth in the Schedule. It seemed to him that the general power as to the acquisition of land which the clause gave, limited by the expression "as they may deem expedient," seemed amply wide enough for all the purposes of the Bill.
said, the meaning the hon. Gentleman gave to the clause seemed to be that the Admiralty might forthwith construct the works as specified in the Schedule. But as the passage was drawn the power related to the whole of the works, and did not, he thought, refer to the specific amounts that were included. He did not know whether the Government would consent to amend the clause so as to read to this effect—
Was the Bill to practically have the authority of Parliament to the construction of works for £9,000,000, or was it only to be a Bill to enable them to begin these works up to £1,000,000, leaving it entirely open what should be done?"Forthwith proceed to construct the works specified in the Schedule of this Act to the amount specified in that Schedule."
questioned whether the Bill was so framed as to give the Government all the powers they wanted.
thought what the hon. Gentleman had just said pointed the danger which the Government would be in if the suggestion of the right hon. Member for St. George's were adopted. If the words were limited in the way proposed it would limit their powers to the amount of land required for the year; whereas, as the clause runs, the Admiralty were allowed to purchase land for the purpose of the whole works to be constructed.
said, that if the Government really intended to take power to acquire all the land necessary for the works he had nothing more to say, because that was all he intended to do by his Amendment.
wished to know to what exactly the Government held themselves bound. If they were unable to buy land what would be the result?
replied that in all the works set forth in the Schedule the land was already in possession of the Government, and if it were necessary in any case to acquire land otherwise—that was to say, under compulsory powers—it was quite certain such land would not be required this year. Therefore no practical difficulty need arise.
observed that if the Government contemplated giving orders to buy land which would not be required within the year, it was quite clear the Government were pledging Parliament in the future—a policy which he understood it was the boast of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he would not adopt.
pointed out that in the Fortifications Act Sir S. Northcote was forbidden to make a contract which extended beyond the year. In this case the Government thought such a provision was unnecessarily stringent. A contract with reference to land would be just the same as any other contract. It was not a material point at all. When the Bill was originally submitted to him there was no power in it to take land. He thought the case might arise, and upon the precedents he came to the conclusion that power to acquire land should be taken. But as regarded the works that would come within the year no question with reference to land arose.
said, that the clause as drawn only gave power to purchase land for the purposes of the works in the Schedule. Now there was a great deal of the £9,000,000 of expenditure which was not in the Schedule at all. He did not know, for example, whether for the extension of barracks at Portsmouth it would be necessary to buy land. If so, it could not be done under this clause, Portsmouth not being in the Schedule. Therefore, as the clause stood, the Admiralty could not buy a foot of land at Portsmouth. [MR. E. ROBERTSON: "Hear, hear!"] Neither could they at Hong Kong, nor yet Dover. As long as that was understood he was quite satisfied.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
On Clause 3 (Issue of Money out of Consolidated Fund for Expenses of Scheduled Works),
said, he had an Amendment to propose on this clause. The clause enacted that the Treasury should issue such sums as may be required by the Admiralty for executing the works as specified in the Schedule to the Act. He objected to the word "executing," that it conveyed the impression of the work being complete. When you say you execute a commission it implies that the transaction is more or less complete. Now, none of these works would be completed within the year, some of them would hardly be begun, and in this Bill there was no express intention of the Government to apply to Parliament in subsequent years for funds to meet the expenditure of subsequent years. He assumed that after April 1, 1896, it would not be competent to spend any more money under this Bill. If so, let it be clearly expressed in Clause 3. He accordingly moved to leave out "executing,'' and insert "commencing or advancing during the financial year ending April 1896." If these words were accepted, then the Government would be compelled to bring in a Bill next year in order to carry on the works.
said, that the noble lord seemed to think that the word "executing" meant finishing. The Government did not attach any such meaning to the word. All that the Government proposed was that the necessary money should be taken for doing the work authorised during the year. If the noble lord preferred to have the Saxon word "doing" instead of "executing," he should raise no objection. He would agree to the word "doing" or the word "constructing."
asked what objection there was to the words "commencing or advancing?"
said, that it might be that the work would be completed, and then the words "commencing or advancing" would not be applicable.
thought that the word "executing," or the word "constructing," alone did not give a sufficiently distinct indication of that which was intended. He suggested that the words should be "commencing, advancing, or completing." That would cover every possible emergency.
said, that he was always anxious not to waste time over technical discussions. He thought the words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman were unnecessary, but he would not oppose their insertion if that would satisfy the right hon. Gentleman.
asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
LORD GEORGE HAMILTON moved (Clause 3, page 2, line 9) to leave out "executing, in order to insert the words "commencing, advancing, or completing."
Amendment agreed to.
LORD GEORGE HAMILTON moved, after the last Amendment, to add—
"During the financial year ending April One thousand eight hundred and ninety-six."
He said that it would be well to assimilate the clause to the schedule. This Amendment would make it clear that no expenditure could be incurred after March 31, in the absence of fresh legislation.
pointed out that the object of this Amendment was exactly the same as that of the Amendment at the bottom of the page (Further Application to Parliament.) The noble Lord could hardly expect him to adopt the Amendment in such a form. The statement in the Schedule was only a statement of proposed naval works.
thought the right hon. Gentleman had dismissed this Amendment rather too hastily. This Amendment would not bind the next Parliament, which would only be influenced by the fact that the money would run out at the end of the financial year. Did the Government intend to spend this million within a year? [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: "Certainly."] That was the point to which his noble Friend called attention by this Amendment. It indicated that the million should be spent within the present financial year. As the Bill was drafted, this money could be borrowed this year, but there was nothing to indicate that it was to be spent in the present year. One result might be that the Government would spend this year £500,000, and,£250,000 next year, and £250,000 in the following year. They were anxious that the Government should agree to words showing that they intended to borrow and spend £1,000,000 in the course of the present financial year. He also wanted an explanation of the reasons which had induced the Government to fix the sum at£1,000,000. Was that the maximum which they thought could be usefully spent in the year, or was there any other special reason which had induced them to fix upon this particular sum?
said, that the right hon. Gentleman thought there ought to be in the Bill something indicating the intention of the Government that this sum of £1,000,000 should be spent within the year. Well, the words in the Schedule were—
As to intention, nothing could be more explicit than that the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman wanted the Government to agree to would prevent them from expending any small sum which might happen not to have been spent within the year. The Amendment would only embarrass, instead of assisting, the Government. The words proposed did not import an obligation to spend; they rather imported an obligation not to spend. As to the question why £1,000,000 was asked for, the right hon. Gentleman had correctly divined the view of the Government. They thought that a million was the amount that could be spent profitably in the year."Amount proposed to be expended between March 31 1895, and April 1 1896."
observed that the Committee could only authorise this expenditure on the ground that it was urgently needed. He thought the Committee would like to see even more than £1,000,000 devoted to these urgent works, and yet the Government were making provision for not spending this sum in the twelve months. They opposed the insertion of words which would compel them so to spend it.
said, the hon. Member was in error. What the Government opposed was an Amendment which would not compel them to spend the money in the time.
thought that if the word "proposed" were omitted from the words quoted from the Schedule by the hon. Member for Dundee, the difficulty would be met. The words in the Schedule would then be—
That would be a clear indication of the intention of the Government."Amount to be expanded between March 31 1895, and April 1, 1896."
pointed out that the Bill, as it stood, authorised an expenditure which might run on after April 1 next year. That would be rather a curious financial precedent to set.
asked what would happen if, at the end of February, the Government should have expended this million of money. He supposed that the works in course of construction would be stopped until a new Bill was passed, although the country would wish these works to be carried on continuously.
pointed out the, contrast between the word "proposed" in the schedule and the mandatory word "shall" in the clause. The clause said—
What would be done if the money was not spent? [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: "Then it will be returned."] Under the clause, as it stood, the Admiralty might ask for the whole million, and the Treasury would be bound to provide the money, but the Admiralty need not spend one farthing of it. That was the effect of the clause. The Treasury was bound under it to issue to the Admiralty whatever the Admiralty said they wanted, but there was nothing to show that the Admiralty were to spend all they received. It seemed to him that some amendment was absolutely required, that it should be provided that the Treasury should be bound to issue so much as the Admiralty required during the year, and no more. If the clause stood in its present form, it would amount to a binding enactment that the Treasury should issue £1,000,000 to the Admiralty whether the Admiralty spent it or not."The Treasury shall issue out of the Consolidated Fund such sums, not exceeding in the whole £1,000,000, as may be required by the Admiralty," &c.
thought that the Committee was spending a good deal too much time over a matter which was really not material. The hon. Member who had just sat down knew very little of the relations of the Treasury and Admiralty if he thought that the Treasury were in the habit of issuing money to the Admiralty which the Admiralty did not intend to spend. But if the Admiralty did not want to spend £1,000,000, there was nothing in the noble Lord's amendment that would compel them to spend it. He hoped they would now be allowed to get on.
pointed out that the custom as between the Treasury and the Admiralty was for the Treasury to issue money in lump sums every two or three months. Therefore, the Admiralty must be always two or three months in advance of expenditure. Thus they might have a surplus at the end of the year, and care should be taken to secure that that surplus should be spent in the following year.
asked leave to withdraw the Amendment
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
On the question that Clause 3 stand part of the Bill,
said, he wished to make an appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the course of the discussion on the Second Reading of this Bill the right hon. Gentleman said that the consideration as to whether or not the money for works should be raised by loan, was the permanent character of the work to be carried out. That he thought was a sound principle, and it would have been very much better for the finances of this country if it had always been acted upon. This Bill was an indication of that principle, but what they had to do was to endeavour to ensure in some way the continuity of these works. The moment the Government introduced a Bill of this kind, which contemplated great expenditure but limited the amount to be raised, the private Members were placed in a great difficulty in framing amendments. Every attempt they had made to ensure continuity had been ruled out of order, because they imposed on the Consolidated Fund a greater expenditure than that contemplated by the Bill. Would it not be possible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to put some words in—he did not say now, but between this and Report—indicating the intention of the Government and of Parliament. Hereafter, whenever any fresh Bills were issued, there would always be two parties in the House, one against expenditure and the other in favour of it; and it was giving a great advantage to those who were opposed to expenditure not to mention in this Bill that it only dealt with the commencement of works which it was intended should be prosecuted rapidly. Moreover, by taking these works out of the ordinary Estimates, the Government prevented the annual discussion upon the Estimates of any one of these works, and it absolutely rested with the Treasury in future to say whether the House was to have any further Bills brought in in connection with these works. There was no power vested in Parliament of urging on thr works except by moving a Vote of Censure. Therefore, he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be able to suggest some means and bring forward some words which would really express to future Parliaments what was the intention of the Government in this Bill.
said, that there could not be the least doubt as to what the intentions of the Government were. What the noble Lord seemed to desire was that the House should bind future Governments and future Parliaments, and that was exactly contrary to the principle of the Bill. The doctrine laid down by Sir S. Northcote in l862 on the Fortifications Bill, was that the annual control of the House of Commons in these matters ought to be kept intact. That was the distinct principle for which Sir S. Northcote contended. He said—
That was the principle on which this Bill was framed. Then it was quite clear that the Government had given an earnest of their intentions by the introduction of the Bill, and they would give a further earnest of them by the commencement of the works. What he objected to, and and what he thought was an entirely false principle, was that one Government should pass an enactment to bind people five or six years hence as to what they were to do. If such a provision was put into an Act of Parliament it would suspend the annual control of the House of Commons over the Estimates; but the principle of this Bill was to maintain the annual control of Parliament over the expenditure of the country, whether by way of votes or loans. As to the intentions of the Government, it was impossible that they could be more clearly declared. They were made clear both in the Bill and in their actions with regard to the contracts."There were two objects in view. One was to limit the expenditure to the present year, by insisting on a correct and real appropriation of the money; and, secondly, to limit the power of the Government to bind the House by contract, so as to put it out of the power of the House in the next year to act freely in the matter."
said, there was some little inconsistency in the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; he did not wish to bind future Parliaments or future Governments, and yet, at the same time, he contemplated the possibility of entering into binding contracts for these works. By doing that the right hon. Gentleman would, on a large scale, anticipate the verdict of future Parliaments, and compel them to spend money quite as much as if he bound them by Act of Parliament.
said, he had admitted that he made that exception to the principle.
said, the matter was important financially. If the full scheme were in the Bill, then not only the Government, but their supporters and the Opposition would be bound to this expenditure; but, if the right hon. Gentleman carried out his own view, he would be binding future Parliaments by the Act of the Government alone, of which Parliament might have no cognizance at all. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to make contracts with regard to these works without imposing any limitation upon himself. It was conceivable that under this elasticity, which he retained to himself, he might bind future Parliaments for the whole contemplated expenditure of nine millions. He was confident the Government would not proceed to that length; but would they insert in this Bill a limit beyond which they would not go? All desired that rapid progress should be made with these works, and while contracts entered into by the Government might further that object, and might prevent future Parliaments rejecting any portion of the works, nevertheless he thought it would be more constitutional to put it into the Bill, and thus, if the suspension of the works should be proposed, to give the House of Lords some voice in determining whether the country was to be defended or not. Although it might be unconstitutional so far to bind future Parliaments, he thought it equally unconstitutional to enter into contracts without any authority from Parliament at all. If the Opposition were in Office, he ventured to say that right hon. Gentlemen now on the Ministerial Benches would say: "What are you going to take this out of our hands for? You are are asking only for a million, and yet you are committing us to three or four millions." Sir Stafford Northcote was right in holding that if Parliament was not to be bound by a Bill, it ought to be bound by contracts made without its cognizance. He regretted that Parliament was not invited, as it was by the Barracks Act, to give its sanction to the whole scheme—a procedure to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not then object. The right hon. Gentleman said that he followed the precedent of the Fortifications Act; but, as had been mentioned, the works were never completed, for after a certain period the necessary Bills were no longer introduced. He did not know whether this was likely to be the result of the present attitude of the Government. Of course the Government acted wisely in not spending more money upon the fortifications; but the obvious result of the course adopted was that the money was not found, and guns for existing fortifications were not provided until 20 years after the scheme had been put into operation. It was not necessary to assume that future Parliaments would necessarily be vicious; and this House wished the work contemplated by the Bill to be done. He would suggest that the matter might be compromised by inserting in the preamble words to the effect that it was expedient to make provision for the construction of works specified in the Schedule, by putting all the works into the Schedule, and then by making provision for the execution of so much within a year, according to the plan of the Government. That would merely record the opinion of the House that it was expedient that all the works should be carried out, and it would leave it to future Parliaments to settle whether they should be completed. Thus it would be laid down that this Parliament contemplated the whole expenditure.
said, he was extremely desirous, if it could be done consistently with the principle on which the Bill was founded, to make any alteration which would give satisfaction to Gentlemen opposite, and he would take the suggestion into consideration. But he must point out that there were dozens of contracts extending over several years, and applicable to all sorts of matters about which votes in Supply were taken every year. There was, for example, the new Admiralty buildings, which the noble Lord and he took so much part in arranging, and which the noble Lord himself might occupy some day; and with regard to these buildings there were contracts extending over several years, and which absolutely depended upon an annual vote. The Bill was needed in this case only because there was a loan; in all other respects there was correspondence with the cases in which an annual vote was taken in Parliament. In the case of a post-office building or the new Admiralty buildings, it was stated what the whole cost was expected to be, and how much was to be expended each year. This was the manner in which they were acting constantly in reference to matters in which there were contracts. This was consistent with keeping in the hands of the House of Commons the annual control of the amount it was thought right to spend upon a work. Here there was a statement of the whole work to be done, and of the money to be devoted to each object within a particular year; and there was really no difference between these and any other works except that these were done by loan, and, therefore, required a Bill.
said, that if the Government would put into this Bill what was put into the Estimates, then the analogy would be complete.
We will consider it.
said, that if this Bill created debt it would be valuable to have some limit put to the debt it might create. It was a waste of words to argue upon such a Bill if it did not in any way bind future Parliaments. The next House of Commons would certainly have no control in the matter. It would have to continue the works already commenced. It would probably also have no control over the expenditure of moneys to be paid from the Treasury in the course of the year, because the Bill gave the Treasury power to issue money for the purpose of the Bill. It was very important that the total amount should be stated in the body of the Bill.
pointed out that when work was undertaken and the contractors had only so much money assigned to them in one year, and they earned more than was assigned, it led to great waste of money. This had been condemned by both sides of the House, and he trusted it would be obviated in reference to the present Bill.
hoped that nothing that had been said would limit the Admiralty as to the extent of the contracts into which they entered. These were great works, for, out of £9,000,000, £6,000,000 would be performed by contract. A large amount of dredging and other work was to be done by contract, but some of the dredging would be done by the officers of the Admiralty. One of the proposed works amounted to £1,920,000, and £2,000,000 was to be spent for the works at Dover. If the work was to be done on the most economical lines, the contractor should know that be would have the full carrying out of the work. The control of Parliament over these large works was merely nominal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had the idea of keeping this nominal control alive. He himself did not object if the work was done by contract and the House was sure of its completion.
presumed that the, money was asked for by the Admiralty after careful and adequate consideration. But the £1,000,000 now to be asked for was for a purpose different from that originally embodied in the schedule. It was proposed to leave out Chatham to the extent of £22,000. Why, then, was Chatham mentioned originally? Was it put in with consideration or advisedly at a. higher sum than necessary? The Admiralty also proposed to add Dover and Hong Kong with,£10,000 for each in addition to the original plan which was for the completion of £1,000,000.
said, on the question of the £1,000,000 he would appeal to the hon. Member in charge of the Bill whether there should not be a Resolution to enable him to carry out his intention. If they could not propose to increase the £1,000,000, a discussion as to whether it was adequate or not, would be ad rem. But he hoped the Civil Lord would consider whether the £1,000,000 could not be extended so as to cover the additional objects referred to. In the next place he would be glad to hear the kind of advice on which the Admiralty had proceeded. They were embarking on the expenditure of £1,000,000, and he wanted to know whether the best expert opinion had been taken as to the vast works that were proposed.
said, he would explain why the alterations in the Schedule had been made. In deference to opinions strongly expressed in all quarters of the House, the Admiralty came to the conclusion that it would be well to include Dover and Hong Kong into the Bill, at the same time they were bound by the £1,000,000 provided for in the original Resolution. In consultation with the Gentleman at the head of the Works Department as to what item or items deductions could be made from to permit the introduction of two new items—Dover and Hong Kong he was advised that by a reduction as to Chatham Barracks, the sum would most convenently be obtained. He doubted whether anything would be gained by a new limit of £1,220,000, but he would consult his colleagues and report the result when they came to the next stage of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman rightly assumed that the Admiralty would not make these proposals to Parliament without having taken the best professional advice. That had been taken from the Naval point of view—as to the necessity of particular works and particular sites, and on these Naval opinion must be conclusive. The professional head of the Works Department had been the main adviser of the Admiralty as far as the works had gone. In many of the largest works they had not got as far as the plans at Dover for instance. There the only thing they had to consider was how the contractor for the works should be strengthened by the best professional advice to be, obtained. The policy to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded had actuated the proceedings of the Admiralty throughout. [An hon. MEMBER: "What about Gibraltar?"] The work at Gibraltar was founded to a large extent on the Report of a Committee. The Director of Works he was sure was the last person in the world who would desire to be deprived of assistance, and, so far as the Admiralty were concerned they were willing that he should have ample assistance.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
SIR GEORGE BADEN-POWELL moved to insert after "money" in line 15, the words—
"Together with a statement of a fixed date by which the work, or portion of work, therein provided for, shall be completed."
The Amendment, he said, would be of great convenience, both to the Treasury and the Admiralty, while it would enable the House to form some definite idea of the works for which it was voting the money each year. Unless the Amendment was adopted there was nothing in the Bill to prevent money
voted in any one year, being taken from the Consolidated Fund, not in that year but in succeeding years.
said, that the proposal to fix a time limit was one to which he thought the Committee ought not to accede. In the Naval Defence Act, the time limit was one of the greatest embarrassments with which the Admiral had to deal—so great indeed that his first advice to the Board was that the shortest way of dealing with their difficulties was simply to repeal the Act. That course was not taken out of respect to hon. Gentlemen opposite, but the Admiralty had to bring in an amending Bill extending the time limit. The Admiralty desired to relieve themselves from the possibility of any embarrassment in future from the setting up of time limits, and on that ground he proposed not to accede to the Amendment.
said, the introduction of the time-limit in the Naval Defence Act was an extraordinary success, because it resulted in a larger amount of work being achieved in a given time than had ever been done before. That being so, and it being the object of the Government to expedite these works, he did not see why they should not again have recourse to that procedure. The money necessary for these works might have to be raised by loan. How could the Treasury tell the amount of loans that would be required unless there was a time-limit within which the work was to be executed? He should say this Amendment would be a great safeguard to the Admiralty. It only compelled them to put in their Estimate the date at which they believed the work would be concluded.
said, he had no objection, if it would meet the view of the noble Lord, to accept words providing that a statement should be made of the date at which the Admiralty "believed" the works would be completed.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR GEORGE BADEN-POWELL moved to insert the following words—
"Together with a statement of the date by which the work or portion of work therein provided for, is expected to be completed."
Amendment agreed to.
MR. W. E. M. TOMLINSON moved to omit Sub-section 2. The scheme of the Bill, he said, would not necessarily lead to continuous work. Some works might be done faster than was contemplated by the Act. Suppose a particular work was completed two or three months before the regular time, it was quite obvious that operations there must stop unless they could find an excess from some other head. Was it wise to limit the excess of expenditure? Would it not be better to allow the works to go on leaving the question of limiting the excess of expenditure to the Government of the day?
said, the object of the sub-section was to give the Admiralty a freer hand than they would have if absolutely tied down to the amounts specified in the schedule for each work. The only limit was the total limit. They were advised that it was ample for the total purposes of the Bill during the year. But there were, very great uncertainties about works, especially about marine works, and it was possible that on some heads their estimates might be too small, while as regards others it might be too large. The sub-section enabled the Treasury from time to time to allow the Admiralty to use the money voted for one sub-head, for the purposes of another, on proper cause shown.
said, if that was the object of the clause, it was very unfortunately expressed. Surely the proper way would be to say that any excess of expenditure on one head might be expended on other heads.
said, they could not exceed any sub-head in the ordinary Votes of the House without Treasury sanction. They had simply followed the regular practice of Parliament.
said, he put upon the Paper a similar Amendment, but simply with the view of eliciting from the Government a statement that it was not intended to forego expenditure under one head in order to provide funds to be expended under another head.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
had not been convinced by the observations of the Secretary to the Admiralty that his Amendment ought not to be moved. He therefore proposed to move the Amendment standing in his name, in order that the House might have an opportunity of saving whether it thought the provisions of the Bill were proper and business-like. He most heartily approved of the Bill, and of all the works proposed in the Schedule, and he approved of the first three lines of sub-section 2 of clause 4; but the remainder of that sub-section enabled sums voted for one purpose to be applied for another. The practical effect of the Clause was to take the control of these works out of the hands of Parliament. The chief objection he had was one of account. If there was no such clause as this, the sums not spent would, in the ordinary course, have to be paid back to the Treasury. With such a clause there was a disposition to spend the whole of the money voted by Parliament. The whole tendency of the present system was wasteful. In the next place, a strong objection to the system was that it led to carelessness in the preparation of the Estimates. Then, it introduced into the whole arrangement a degree of uncertainty and of casuality which was undesirable. But the chief objection of all, probably, was that it was utterly unbusiness like to ask Parliament to vote certain sums for specific purposes and then alter the destination of them. It was for Parliament to say how the money should be spent, and to take care it was appropriated to proper purposes. There was in the Schedule an item for miscellaneous charges, which he took to be contingencies; therefore the margin it was suggested should be allowed already existed in the Schedule. In any case, he thought a Government Department ought not to be dependent upon, casual sums for the purpose of making up defences. He, therefore, moved an Amendment which would prevent the authorities having the option of diverting funds voted by Parliament.
Amendment proposed, clause 4, page 2, line 18, leave out from "Schedule to end of sub-section ( Sir A. Rollit)
said, that one result of the adoption of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment would be that in respect of some works the Department would be put to the greatest possible inconvenience, because those, works would have to be stopped. But the hon. Gentleman's proposition was really out of place. If the hon. Member wished to introduce an important change of this kind, and thus tie down Departments to exact items, he should raise the question in a general form. This Bill was in strict accordance with the rules which prevailed all through the expenditure under the Estimates; and having had, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, a good deal of experience of accounts, he really did not see how they could possibly work the system in the restricted manner suggested.
was satisfied that, some elasticity was absolutely necessary. It would be simply impossible to carry on the work if no single item was allowed to be exceeded. It was a mistake to tie the Department down too rigidly to every particular item.
reminded the Secretary to the Admiralty that the general question had been dealt with over and over again. There were no greater offenders than the Admiralty in the matter of asking Parliament for money for one purpose and then spending it upon another. He hoped his hon. Friend would persevere with the Amendment, and that the Committee would tell the Admiralty that in future, when they got money for one purpose, they must not spend if upon a totally different one.
said, his experience of contracting led him to believe, that the Admiralty could not be tied down in the way suggested. He, therefore, hoped his hon. Friend would withdraw the Amendment.
said, he had had some experience of the work of the Admiralty, and he was of opinion it would be quite impracticable, to carry out the administration of the Department unless there was the elasticity which had been referred to. It was as well to point out that both the Army and Navy were subject to a particular Audit Act, under which the Auditor and Controller General was bound to bring to the notice of Parliament any questions of this sort, so that if the Treasury did give authority to the Admiralty to spend money voted for one purpose, upon another purpose, it was the duty of the Auditor and Controller General to report the fact to Parliament. He suggested that in Clause 6 in this Bill the new Audit Act should be enumerated as well as the Act of 1866.
said he thought it his duty to make, the protest. Having made it, he begged leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Clauses 5, 6, and 7 agreed to.
The first new clause—"Further application to Parliament"—standing in the name of the noble Lord the Member for Ealing, is out of order.
LORD GEORGE HAMILTON moved the second new clause standing in his name. The Secretary to the Admiralty would see that the object of it was that a statement should be annually laid before Parliament.
Page2, after Clause 6, insert the following clause:—
(Annual Account to be laid before Parliament.)
The Admiralty shall at the close of every financial year cause to be made an Account showing—
Such Account to be laid before Parliament. ( Lord George Hamilton).
said, the course the Government proposed to adopt was to introduce annually a Bill, not an auxiliary to any previous Bill, but a principal Bill which would stand alone. In each annual Bill they would give a schedule of progress showing the original estimate of the probable expenditure for the work up to the last day of the past financial year, the amount to be expended in the new financial year and the amount required to complete the work. That procedure would supply all the particulars and information required, and would be much better he thought than the procedure suggested in the proposed new clause.
That would seem to be a very satisfactory arrangement; and I would ask the hon. Gentleman to consider, before the Third Reading, whether it could not be embodied in the present Bill as far as possible; and whether he could not state in the Schedule what works are commenced, how much money has already been expended, how much would be required for the financial year, and also the amount required to complete?
That will certainly be considered.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. A. B. FORWOOD moved the following new Clause:—
"A summary of the contracts entered into by virtue of this Act for carrying out in whole or in part each work enumerated in the Schedule shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament within 90 days after the same is entered into if Parliament is then sitting; and, if not, then within 30 days after the next meeting of Parliament.''
The works the clause referred to were the detached mole at Gibraltar; break-water at Portland; Keyham Dockyard extension: Portsmouth Docks and Dover harbour. When the Naval Defence Bill was before the House a similar clause was inserted, requiring the Admiralty on entering into any contracts under the Bill to lay a summary of those contracts on the Table of the House within a certain period; and following that precedent he thought similar information should be accorded to the House in regard to works done under the present Bill.
said, that no doubt the right hon. Gentleman had the precedent of the Naval Defence Act in proposing this Clause; but his inclination would be to have, rather than the periodical returns suggested, an annual summary of the contracts under the Bill laid upon the Table of the House.
said, all he wanted was that the information should be laid before Parliament; and he was quite satisfied with the assurance of the Civil Lord that a return in the spirit of the Clause would be annually furnished.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. FORWOOD moved as new Clause:—
"Before entering into a contract for the execution of a part or the whole of any one of the works enumerated in the Second Schedule hereto there shall have been laid before both Houses of Parliament general plans and particulars of such work, and after such plans and particulars have lain for 40 days Before Parliament, then unless within such forty days a Resolution disapproving thereof has been passed by either House, contracts for such works may be concluded and the same commenced."
Parliament had placed in the hands of the Admiralty eight or nine millions, or perhaps more, of money for those works. They were relying on the discretion of the Admiralty to see that the money was spent to the best advantage on the works; but he thought that before embarking on the largest of those works at any rate, there should be an opportunity given to the House of seeing the plans and of considering them.
said, he had no hesitation in giving an assurance that every facility would be afforded to any hon. Gentleman who wished to become acquainted with the particulars of any contract, to acquire the information he desired. But to the Clause itself, the Admiralty had a strong objection. Everyone would understand that it would not be desirable in some cases that the plans and particulars of the works should receive the publicity they would acquire by being brought before the House. Confidential information to individual hon. Members would be freely given; but the public exhibition of plans and particulars of works, some of which involved delicate considerations, was not desirable; and besides, such a course would delay the completion of the schemes. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would accept this assurance and not press the point.
quite approved of the suggestion made in the clause of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Ormskirk. He, for one, should have been glad if he could have seen any of the plans referred to by the Civil Lord. He had not had an opportunity of seeing any of them, except the one in the tea-room, of the Keyham Docks. He had been invited to see no other plan, though he took the keenest interest in the subject. He should be the last, if such plans were brought before the House, to do anything that would at all make them public, but he thought that as unwise a course even as making such plans public was that which was now sometimes adopted by the chief officials of the Admiralty propounding theories and prescribing and describing the construction of battle ships before audiences at certain public institutions. This was just as prejudicial, if not more so, than the disclosing the knowledge of what docks were going to be constructed. He thought that while there was reticence with regard to the naval works on shore, the Government ought certainly to be urged to put a stop to that publicity—by means of addresses by Admiralty officials at learned institutions—as to the construction of warships which was now so common. It was not right for the Admiralty to send their officials to fight their technical battles for them before such institutions.
did not think that the disclosure of such information as was asked for by the new clause was altogether advisable, and after the assurance which had been given him he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw his Amendment.
did not think the laying of plans on the table of the House would make matters any more public than they were made when a contract was entered into for the execution of work. He believed they, in this House, were kept more in ignorance of what was being done in connection with their vessels and naval works generally than were the members of foreign Governments. However, after the assurance the Civil Lord had given, he would withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
On the question that the schedule stand part of the Bill,
said he had an Amendment on the paper proposing to add before ''Schedule" the word "First," his object being to provide that there should be two schedules, so that there would be contained in the second schedule any works which it, was not proposed presently to proceed with. Since he had put his Amendment down, the hon. Gentleman had proposed to add to the first schedule two other works, so that it practically included all the proposed works except one, which had been omitted. If all the works were included in the schedule except one, the inference would be that it was not proposed to proceed with the one, and he suggested that it would be worth while to bring in a schedule for a merely nominal sum, dealing with the one case.
promised that the matter should receive consideration, and—
intimated that in these circumstances he should not move his Amendment.
proposed the following Amendment:—"Schedule, page 3, line 21, leave out; 'Portland Break water, £90,000.'" He moved this Amendment, he said, because, in his own opinion, and, as far as he could gather, in the opinion of competent naval authorities, and according to the teaching of all the masters of naval strategy, the making of a breakwater on the open sea in which to lodge their fleet was a mistaken and a wrong plan. Portland was not the place in which they should have a fleet at all in time of war. If ever they found themselves at war with any European country, the whole of their South coast, including Portland, no doubt, should be provided with small vessels, but their fleet should be kept where they were safe from torpedo destroyers and yet available for service, at such ports, for example, as Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Chatham. If they wanted another station, then they could have it in the Scilly Islands. He thought the plan of making breakwaters in places like Portland, within close reach of the opposite foreign coast and on the open sea would be to invite attack. The enemy could fire into the brown of their ships from two or three miles out in the open sea, whilst their own fleet, being huddled up together, could not return the fire It was not in places like Portland the should put their fleets in time of war but they should either put them in safe landlocked places like Chatham or Plymouth, or else keep at sea. If they put a fleet inside this breakwater they would box up their own ships, destroy the mobility of the fleet, and the more they tried to keep the torpedo out, the more they would keep their own ships in. In addition, they would have between them and any enemy outside, a breakwater which, at low water, might prevent their ships using their guns. It was true they defended their vessels from the torpedo as it at present existed, but they left them open to attack by the enemy from mortal boats, which might approach and shell them from several points. There was, again, the aerial torpedo, against which the breakwater would be no defence whatever. He considered that all these plans of torpedo breakwater defences were entirely wrong on the open sea. Their proper defence against the torpedo was not to have their fleet where a torpedo boat, could easily approach and attack with comparative impunity; but in the case of the South Coast, the proper stations for the fleet were Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth. As for their torpedo boat destroyers, they had ample accommodation for them already. It was, he thought, a most mischievous thing to make such an enclosure as they proposed at Portland. That great master of naval strategy, Lord St. Vincent, had told them that their reliance should not be placed on defence of this description, but that—
To make a half-and-half compromise was the greatest mistake. He begged to move his Amendment."our great reliance is on the vigilance and activity of our cruisers at sea."
was sorry to be obliged entirely to differ from the views which his hon. Friend had just put before the House. He failed to see the appositeness of the quotation which the hon. Member made from Lord St. Vincent, because in those days torpedo boats were unknown and probably unforeseen.
At that date Fulton had already submitted his submarine torpedo-boat to our Admiralty.
did not think, as a rule, that torpedo-boats were looked upon by British Admirals of those days as a quantity which must be regarded. Now, with regard to Portland generally, he had had the opportunity of hearing the opinions of many distinguished officers of the Navy, some of them men admitted on all sides to be of the highest authority on naval strategy and warfare, and he never heard but one opinion as to the great value of Portland as a naval station. He also differed from his hon. Friend's recommendation of Scilly as a station for the Fleet. The islands were a long way off the coast. The accommodation was not ample. In case we lost command of the sea for a few days or weeks, the station at Scilly would be entirely cut off. And another argument against Scilly was that it would be impossible there to observe the passage of vessels along the French coast. The distance was too great, whereas Portland was opposite Brest and Cherbourg. By placing our fleet in Portland with an outpost of torpedo-boats, and watching cruisers close to the island of Alderney, we had almost an ideal position for watching the movements of the French fleet in Brest or Cherbourg. For these reasons he supported very strongly the proposal of the Government to ask for the additional breakwater at Portland.
contended that the expenditure proposed on Portland breakwater was a sheer waste of money. It was totally unnecessary. Portland could only be used for coaling purposes and as a harbour of refuge. For those purposes there was now ample accommodation, and hence he hoped Parliament would refuse to vote this £90,000.
was of opinion that it would be of the most enormous use to be able to send men-of-war into Portland where they would be safely protected from the attacks of torpedoes. It would make Portland a fortified Spithead.
thought this whole expenditure was an example of how, when we undertake works of this kind, we cannot be satisfied with a moderate programme, but must needs launch out into something quite unnecessary. Alderney had been mentioned. That was a place on which millions had been sunk, and it ought to be a warning. He did not desire to offer opposition to Devonport or Dover, which were most useful harbours, but everything spent on portland would be proved in the long run to be money thrown away. He should support the hon. Member if he went to a Division.
thought, the expenditure proposed was a comparatively small item, considering that it would make of Portland a complete harbour for war purposes. It was not as if they were constructing a new harbour; they were only making full use of the money already expended upon the place. As his hon. and gallant Friend had remarked, the scheme would make of Portland a fortified Spithead.
said, his hon. Friend the Member for West Islington had pronounced in the most confident manner that the whole expenditure on Portland Harbour would be thrown away, He gave his word for that. No doubt his hon. Friend would be ready to extend a similar assurance to every item proposed in this Bill or any future Bill.
I expressly said I approved of expenditure on Dover and Devonport.
said, his hon. Friend expressed a strong opinion against the proposed expenditure in terms which justified what he had just said. The present controversy, however, was not raised by him but by the hon. Member for King's Lynn. Now, he had always acknowledged the authority of his hon. Friend on questions of this sort. He was afraid that the Admiralty must be content to be guided by the living authorities whom it could consult. He could not call Lord St. Vincent to whom the hon. Member had alluded, but he would call one of his living successors, who said that the construction of an enclosed Harbour at Portland was a necessity imposed upon the State by the conditions of modern warfare, because fleets in open anchorage were, exposed to night attacks by torpedo boats, and the positions selected for enclosure were all of primary strategical importance.
Is that public?
said it would be public to-morrow, and he would give his hon. Friend the name. Looking at the matter from a technical and strategical point of view, he thought the hon. Member must be content to be the, only man in the House who took the view he did, and he hoped he would not press his Amendment.
said that he did not want a million thrown away, and the amount was certain to be a million before the work was done. He had not said a word agoinst any of the other important works.
said he must assert his deep conviction of the mischief of this work by taking a Division.
said, that of all the money spent on anchorages the most valuable was that spent on Portland.
The Committee divided:—Ayes, 9; Noes, 283—(Division List No. 51.)
CAPTAIN DONELAN (Cork, E.) moved: Schedule, page 3, line 25, in left-hand column, leave out "Haul-bowline," and in right-hand column, leave out, "300,000," and insert "290,000." Schedule, page 3, after line 25, insert,—
|Haulbowline||Deepening approach channel & other purposes||10,000|
He said that he felt compelled to adopt this course, which had the unanimous support and approval of the Party with whom he acted, in consequence of the very inadequate and unsatisfactory statements of the Civil Lord as to the question of Haulbowline raised on the Second Reading of the Bill. He thought it would be admitted by all parties that the Irish Members were not making any extravagant demand. They only asked that the solitary Government dockyard in Ireland should be placed in a position to enable, all the repairs required by H.M.'s ships on Irish stations to be carried out there. It was but a small return to make to Ireland in view of the contributions which that country was called upon to make towards the maintenance of the Navy. Last year an undertaking was given that all these repairs should in future, as far as possible, be executed at Haul-bowline. Looking at the present incomplete condition of that dockyard no one could fail to see that it was still without many of the requisite appliances for undertaking extensive repairs. As a proof of this statement, he mentioned that when he visited Haulbowline during the Easter Recess he was informed on excellent authority that
the Queenstown guardship Warspite was sent across the Channel to undergo overhauling in an English dockyard. He wondered what the workmen of English ports would say if their guardships were sent across to Ireland every time they needed repairs. He thought that very soon an effective protest would be raised. He presumed that Ireland was expected to put up with this kind of treatment because she was accustomed to do so without a murmur. The amount estimated by the superintending engineer and the superintending chief clerk at Haulbowline for works considered by them to be absolutely indispensable to its proper equipment as a repairing yard was £10,000. He hoped that the Admiralty would give due weight to the recommendations of those competent officials, and also favourable consideration to this small claim on behalf of Haulbowline, compared with the vast expenditure in English dockyards.
said, that there was undoubtedly a strong feeling in Ireland upon this subject, and he hoped that the hon. Member the Civil Lord of the Admiralty would be able to give the House some assurance that the Admiralty would pay serious attention to the demand of Irish Members, that some portion of the enormous sum that was voted for the Navy would be spent in Ireland. The Admiralty proceeded by fits and starts, and had no regular programme for the carrying out the repairs of the Navy. It was most important to the efficiency of the Navy that there should be some station on the southern coast of Ireland at which Her Majesty's ships could be repaired, instead of their having to run across the channel, perhaps in the face of an enemy's fleet. He thought that some competent naval body should be appointed to inquire into the matter.
said, that it was beyond doubt that if the Government had the will to do so they might find a way of spending a fair proportion of the sum voted for the Navy in Ireland. For instance, a large part of the necessary supplies required for the Navy might be procured in Ireland. It might be that these matters had got into certain grooves which it was difficult to get out of, but the Government ought to be prepared to face small difficulties of that character, and to be prepared to return to the Irish people some small portion, at all events, of the enormous sums that were voted for the Navy, to which Ireland was made to contribute an unjust and disproportionate share. The Irish people did not care twopence about the British Navy, which they regarded as a means for drawing large sums of money from Ireland, for which that country got no return. In England the most Radical Member might console himself by believing that, whatever sums were expended upon the British Navy, a considerable proportion of them went into the pockets of the working men, and contributed to the welfare of the general community; but that was not the case in Ireland, the trade of which was not assisted in the slightest degree by this enormous expenditure upon the Navy. He trusted that the hon. Gentleman the civil Lord of the Admiralty would be able to give the House some assurance that Ireland would in future obtain a fair and reasonable share of the benefit afforded by the expenditure of this enormous sum of money.
said, that he hoped hon. Members representing Ireland would not think it out of place or out of temper in him to say that the question of nationality, that had been introduced into this topic, hardly impressed his mind as it seemed to impress them; because if they were Irish Members he was a Scotch Member, and if Ireland had got Haulbowline Scotland had got no such dockyard at all. He thought that the Irish Members must concede this much, that the Admiralty must deal with Haulbowbowline, as with other dockyards, upon business principles, and from the point of view of what was best for the advantage of the Navy. This was not a mere matter of sentiment, although he did not deny that sentiment might very legitimately come in, and, from a sentimental point of view, no officer connected with the Navy had taken greater interest in the matter than he had done, He had visited Haulbowline himself, and had been much impressed with the comparatively desolate scene. The vast dock, the tremendous machinery that had been erected for keeping that dock in order, and the small amount of business going on had combined to make a great impression on his mind. But the present Board of Admiralty was not responsible for the construction of the dockyard at Haulbowline. The idea when it was constructed was, not that it should be a regular dockyard, but a dockyard available for cases of emergency, such as war, and that, therefore, it would not be necessary to keep up a full staff in the dockyard. In addition to that it was thought that the dockyard should be available for small repairs for ships cruising in Irish waters. For some past years there seemed to have been a growing recognition of the possible utility of this place, and this was reflected in the amounts that had been provided in the Estimates. In l892–3 £1,987 was spent in connection with vessels at Haulbowline; in 1893–4 £3,408 was spent; and in 1894–5 there had, he believed, been a still greater increase of expenditure. During the same period the expenditure in the plant necessary to complete the dock, for the purposes which he had described, had steadily increased. In 1893–4,£3,550 was provided for under the Works Vote in the Estimates; last year £6,280 was the amount taken under the same Vote, and this year the amount which would be expended on the works and buildings in the yard would be £6,695. These figures showed that the possible utility of the yard had been recognised more and more by the Board of Admiralty. The hon. Member for West Clare had spoken of the want of interest of the Irish people in the Navy in consequence of the treatment which they had received. He would remind the hon. Member that Haulbowline was not the only naval item that ought to interest the Irish people. Even in the locality of Cork there were other naval works, and an addition had lately been made to these interesting items by the establishment of a training ship in the harbour. It was very gratifying to the head of the Admiralty Board, who had been connected so intimately with Ireland in past times, that he should have been the first to make this addition to the naval equipment of Ireland. The hon. Member for West Clare underrated Irish interest in the Navy. The Irish part of the personnel of the Navy had always been most distinguished; there were Irishmen in all ranks who added lustre to the Service. Reference had been made to the contract portion of the expenditure of the Navy, and that expenditure had been put at £28,000,000 for this year. That was £8,000,000 or more too much, the total expenditure, this year being about £19,000,000. For contract work Ireland, Scotland, and England were equally entitled to compete, and no preference was given to one part of the Kingdom as against any other part, But because a contract went, say, to Barrow, it did not follow that all the money paid in respect of that contract was spent in Barrow. Of the sum of £600,000 under a contract in Glasgow in connection with the Terrible, only half was spent in that place. The subcontracts necessary in order to execute the work were scattered over the United Kingdom. Therefore it must not be assumed that when a contract went to one place the whole of the money involved went there also. As he had said, Haulbowline Dock was to be used as an emergency dock in time of war, and for minor repairs in time of peace. If there was anything still to be done to complete the fitness of the dock for those purposes he thought it would be done. He had been asked to give an assurance that a competent naval inquiry would be made as to the present condition of the yard and the possible uses to which it could be put. Without committing himself to anything definite, he undertook to communicate with the First Lord on the subject, as it was worthy of consideration.
was glad that they had come to something like close quarters with the Civil Lord of the Admiralty. The hon. Member had said that the Naval authorities must proceed on business principles, and on business principles the Irish Members challenged the hon. Gentleman They said that Haulbowline Dockyard had cost about £800,000, that its position was excellent, and yet that no use was made of it except for the purpose of patching up a few ships. He was glad that an assurance had now been given that the Admiralty Would institute an inquiry as to the possible uses of this dockyard. He rather thought that the Civil Lord's statement that Haulbowline Dockyard was intended chiefly for use in time of war was inspired by the Admiralty in order to account for their neglect of the dockyard. But were they really expected to believe that a dockyard which was completely neglected, which was without proper plant and machinery, and which was not properly dredged, could, in the sudden event of war, be used for the purpose of repairing disabled ships? The idea was ridiculous. In the spring of last year the Chief Secretary for Ireland visited Haulbowline and it was pointed out to him by deputation that for about £20,000 the dockyard could be made available and could be worked provided ships were sent there in regular succession. The right hon. Gentleman promised to communicate that view to the Admiralty authorities, but no one had ever heard whether they had given heed to his representations. What Irish members now suggested to the Board of Admiralty was this, that if they were not prepared to make Haulbowline a yard for the construction of ships at present, they should at all events make it a repairing yard for the refitting and repairing of the ships on the Irish station. But it would be quite possible to make the dockyard available for building smaller vessels of war. He was glad they had had an assurance, though it, was by no means satisfactory, from the Civil Lord, and he hoped that in the near future the Admiralty would address themselves to the condition of this dockyard in all seriousness, and that it would not be the duty of the Irish members to bring up this question time after time in order to remind the Admiralty that they were neglecting an available dockyard.
submitted that the Committee ought to be guided in this matter only by the importance of the dockyard in question. The south coast of Ireland was, strategically speaking, admirably situated, but he did not think that any dock there would be useful until one of the harbours was so defended as to make it possible to use it for war vessels. Until that was done Irish members would try in vain to get any considerable sum of money spent on Haulbowline. He submitted, therefore, to Irish members that they should impress that point upon the Government from time to time. If they got that done they would gain a point in the defence of the Empire, and might take pride to themselves upon it.
said that during all the three years he had been in the House he had failed to find that the promises of the Government in regard to Haulbowline had been in any way realised. The Civil Lord had stated that this dock was originally built for the express purpose of its being utilised in time of war. The foundation-stone of the dock was laid 26 years ago by the present First Lord of the Admiralty when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and now they were to be told that it was only when war broke out that the Admiralty would furnish the dock with the necessary appliances. If, even in the course of three months, the English nation found itself in conflict with an enemy, could it be supposed that Haulbowline could be furnished with the proper appliances? It was more like a graveyard now than anything else. There was another matter that had been forced on the Government from time to time in connection with this dockyard. Irish members had strong reason to complain of the Government, not alone of this Government, but of every Government, but they would have to complain in a more effective manner still. The repairs to the ships on the Irish coast ought certainly to be executed at Haulbowline. He found that from 1888 to 1892 the cost of the repairs to ships on the Irish coast, amounted to £27,000, but all that money was spent in England. In the same period only,£1,100 was spent at Haulbowline. It had been generally estimated that £15,000 would put the dockyard in a sufficiently fit state to meet the requirements for the repairs to the vessels on the Irish coast. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had expressed himself favourably to the idea last year in a reply to an address from the Cork Chamber of Commerce, and he would like to know whether he had used his good offices with the Admiralty in connection with this matter. He contended that a strong case had been made out in favour of Haulbowline dockyard being placed on such a basis as would allow of vessels being repaired there; and he thought that project was one that should meet with the approbation of every member of the House.
said, the Government ought at least to spend a little money on the hospital at Haulbowline; it was sadly in need of help to make it efficient. As regarded the place itself they ought to remember the original plans that were submitted to the present First Lord of the Admiralty when he laid the first stone of the dockyard buildings. Two graving docks were to be constructed, in addition to that now existing, to enable the Admiralty to dock their ships in time of war. There was hardly a better defended harbour in Great Britain or one more capable of accommodating the whole English Fleet. Bearing these facts in mind he asked the Government to devote more money to developing the dockyard.
as representing an adjoining constituency, had given some attention to the question of Haulbowline, and thought that Irish Members ought to be treated fairly and squarely on this subject. It looked as if there were some other reason besides the want of money for the failure to make Haulbowline more efficient: if there were and if they were told the reason, perhaps it would satisfy them. If it were an accepted fact that there should be only so many dockyards, and if this was not to be one of them, let it be stated and then they would understand why money was not spent there. Whenever he was at Cork he looked upon Haulbowline almost as a joke. They were entitled to have the place made efficient or to be told why it was not made so.
said it had already been pointed out that the effect of the Amendment would be to limit what the Government could expend at Haulbowline. He should astonish the Committee if he were to tell them of the recommendations they received from local officials to spend money on dockyards; to meet those demands would require the addition of millions to the Navy Estimates. All the Admiralty could do was to make a selection from the suggestions that were submitted to them and to do the best they could with the money available. Reference had been made to the case of the Apollo, which could not be repaired at the dockyard; but since that time it had been very greatly improved, and the improvements would enable much more to be done than could be done two or three years ago. The object of the Admiralty had been, as far as possible, to carry out here the repair of ships that were on the Irish station; but in cases of grave difficulty it would still be necessary to send to England. After the assurances given by the Civil Lord he hoped it would be recognised that there was a kindly feeling at the Admiralty towards Ireland, and that it acted with a desire to meet the just wishes of the Irish people. The young men who entered the Navy from Ireland turned out well, and the Admiralty were establishing a training ship at Queenstown. He hoped that in the circumstances the Amendment would not be pressed to a Division.
could not admit that the efficiency and bravery of Irishmen was any reason why the dockyard should remain unused. He was at a loss to understand why successive Governments allowed this cause of irritation and discontent to remain. It was not a matter of great financial importance. A satisfactory response to the claims of Irish Members would involve a comparatively insignificant expenditure; and a strong complaint might be made on the ground of the disparity in taxation between England and Ireland. He was content to treat the matter on business principles. He accepted the dictum of the Civil Lord, and said that an intelligent treatment of the matter on business principles would satisfy their judgment. The British people would not allow capital to go to waste. In this case £800,000 had been expended; and it was admitted that this was not to be wasted in time of war or of emergency. Undoubtedly if a war arose suddenly it would be useless; and, apart from war, if an emergency arose the dockyard was not in a fit state to enable repairs to be executed. If, as he understood the Civil Lord to promise, inquiries were to be, made with a view to ascertain whether the yard could be put in a condition to enable repairs to be executed there, and if there was to be an inquiry by a competent expert to satisfy the Admiralty as to the extent to which the dockyard could, on business principles, be employed to the public advantage, he was content for the present to accept the assurances that had been given and to ask the Mover of the Amendment not to press it.
said, as he understood the Civil Lord to give these explicit undertakings, he would accept the advice given and withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment by leave withdrawn.
strongly urged increased expenditure by the Government on Pembroke Dockyard. He said he was not seeking any advantage for his constituents. The subject received the attention of the First Lord of the Admiralty and also of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty in the late Government, and it had also received the support of Liberal Officials at the Admiralty. Everyone knew that Milford Haven was the largest and finest port in the world; most people knew it was well-fortified and absolutely secure from attack from outside, and possessed an amount of water which enabled it to receive the Great Eastern, which often went to Milford. The dockyard had been used by the Admiralty for building very large ships. Therefore, from its fortified condition, depth of water, and splendid position, Pembroke Dockyard was a dockyard upon which money might safely and freely be spent by the Admiralty. It was not a fitting or finishing yard. Ships had to go to Chatham or Devonport to be finished. He asked that accommodation should be provided at Pembroke Dockyard which would enable the largest ships to be fitted and finished there. In 1885 a deputation waited on the then First Lord of the Admiralty and asked him for money to improve Pembroke Dockyard, and he told them—— It being ten minutes to 7 o'clock the the debate stood adjourned, and progress was reported.
Ways And Means 2Nd May
Resolutions reported and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Mellor, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Sir John Hibbert.
Burgh Land Tax (Scotland) Bill
Read 2°, and committed for Monday next.
Tramways (Ireland) (No22) Bill
As amended, considered; read 3° and passed.
Factories And Workshops (Expenses)
"That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, of any expense incurred in any special inquiries and re-examinations by certifying surgeons under the provisions of any Act of the present Session to amend and extend the Law relating to factories and Workshops"
Resolution agreed to.
Sitting suspended at five minutes before seven o'clock.
Sitting resumed at Nine of the clock.
The Duke Of Coburg's Annuity
On the Motion "that Mr. SPEAKER do now leave the Chair,"
*MR. A. C. MORTON (Peterborough) rose to call attention to the payment of His Royal Highness the Duke of Coburg of an Annuity, and to move:
"That the Act of 36 and 37 Vict., c. 80, granting an annuity of £10,000 to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh having provided that, in the event of his said Royal Highness succeeding to any sovereignty or principality abroad, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty, or her successors, with the, consent of Parliament, to revoke or reduce the said annuity by warrant under the Sign Manual, and His Royal Highness having succeeded to the sovereignty of a foreign country, in the opinion of this House it is desirable that the said annuity cense."
He said that he regretted that it was necessary to bring this matter forward a second time, but he was satisfied that the Radical Party would insist on its being placed before the House year after year until the annuity was terminated. He made no attack on the Sovereign or the Royal Family, or on Royal grants generally; his objection now was to a grant
to a foreign Prince; and he believed that the very worst, enemies of the Royal Family were those who persisted in making such extraordinary demands as this upon the taxpayers of this country. In 1866 an Act was passed which gave an annuity of £15,000 per annum to the Duke of Edinburgh on his coming of age, and in 1873 another Act was passed which gave His Royal Highness an additional £10,000 on his marriage. In each Act there was a clause stating that in the event of his succeeding to a sovereignty or principality abroad, the Queen, by Royal warrant under the Sign Manual, and with the consent of Parliament, had power to alter or do away with these grants. Therefore, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian stated, and as the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition admitted last year. Parliament was left perfectly free in the matter. It was asserted by some that there was an agreement to pay these amounts, but, as far as he knew, the only agreement was that embodied in a clause of the Act of 1873, which provided that in the event of the Duke's death an annuity of £6,000 would be paid to the Duchess. He respected that agreement, and did not seek to alter it. But he hoped no one would say that there was any other agreement that interfered with the freedom of Parliament in this matter. An agreement might have been made outside Parliament, but up to the present moment Parliament had not been consulted. He was surprised that the Germans, especially in the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, had allowed this annuity to continue. We would not like any foreign Power to grant an annuity to our Sovereign. We would resent it very strongly, because, we had never objected to support the Royal Family in this country in a decent, respectable manner. There was a precedent for doing away with payments made to the Royal Family. Some years ago, the late Lord Randolph Churchill did away with the payment of a special boat for the Royal Family each time any of its members crossed the Channel. He thought, it would be wise and proper if a similar course were, taken in reference to the charge now in question. It is said a Bill will be necessary, but no Bill was necessary when the annuity of £15,000
which the Duke formerly received was withdrawn. What were the reasons why the annuity should be discontinued? In the first place, they had no moral right to give away the moneys of the, people of this country for this purpose. What had the Duke of Coburg. done for this country? He had been paid very well, and many complaints were made with regard to his services. The Leader of the Opposition had told the House that the Duke ranked among the first naval officers that the country ever possessed. But he had not been able to verify that statement, and he was not aware that it was the view of the Government. The country could not afford to spend its money in this way. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had solemnly warned the House that there was a necessity for economy in dealing with the finances of the country; and so long as there were demands in this country for the relief of the distressed agriculturist and the unemployed workman, and so long as money could not be obtained for the construction of light railways and piers and harbours in this country, he held that there was ample reason for asserting that we could not afford to pay any of the nation's money to foreign princes. There were demands for all sorts of improvements in this country for the benefit of the people, but they were always met by the Treasury with the same answer—that they had no money. He had no doubt that the hon. Member for Northampton would be able to give the details of the position of the Duke of Coburg at the present moment, and so he would not enter upon them. These grants were objectionable to the people of this country; and, if a free and independent vote could be taken, every Member on both sides would vote against the continuance of this annuity. He was entitled to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to leave Members to vote as they liked on this occasion; and he warned the House that in voting for the annuity they would be voting against the wishes of the country. Last night the House was discussing economy in the abstract, and now they had it in the concrete. In resisting this vote they would be consulting the best interests, not only of the people, but of the Royal Family itself.
said, that when a similar Resolution was moved two years ago the Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench met it by implying that those who supported the Resolution were guilty of some sort of meanness or shabbiness towards the Duke of Coburg, and were asking the House to disregard what was practically an international obligation. He need not say that those who supported the present Resolution would not do so if they thought it involved any meanness; and if they thought that there was any international obligation they would be the very last—though they objected to the obligation having been contracted—to wish to evade it. All these attacks were merely fireworks to prevent the case from being discussed on its merits. What were the facts? On the Duke of Edinburgh coming of age he was granted by Act of Parliament an annuity of £15,000 a year. This had been recognised as the usual allowance to a son of the present Sovereign while, unmarried. But in this Act there was a proviso that, in the event of His Royal Highness succeeding to a Principality abroad, it should be lawful for Her Majesty, with the consent of Parliament, to reduce the annuity, The Duke of Edinburgh was then the heir-presumptive to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but his succession was only a contingency. As a matter of fact, on becoming the Duke of Coburg His Royal Highness gave up the £15,000 a year. On the announcement by Royal Message in 1872 of the marriage of the Duke, of Edinburgh a Bill was introduced giving the Duke a further grant of £10,000 a year, and in this second Act there was the same proviso as in the first. When the Bill was before the House on the Second Reading the right hon. Member for Midlothian, who was then Prime Minister, said:—
The Second Reading of the Bill was carried, and on going into Committee Mr. Anderson, the Member for Glasgow, moved an A Amendment on the proviso clause to the effect that, instead of the contingency being left to future Parliaments to deal with, the Parliament of that day should only give an annuity of £10,000 a year, to lapse if the Duke became a foreign Sovereign. On that occasion the right hon. Member for Midlothian said:—"Of course, it need not be said, with regard to the power of Her Majesty and Parliament that such power, considered in the abstract, requires no reservation; but it is customary, in many classes Of Bills, to insert a notice of this kind, which disposes of any question of good faith which might be involved in the matter, and makes the reservation of the discretion as well as of the power of Parliament perfectly effectual for its purpose, in case the, occasion should arise for the exercise of that discretion"
The proviso, together with the explanations of the right hon. Member for Midlothian, clearly disposed of any accusation against the supporters of this Resolution in regard to meanness to the Duke or violation of any international obligation, The Parliament of that day were not prepared to take action, because there was only a contingency to face, and they left to future Parliaments the freest hand. As the right hon. Member for Midlothian said, the proviso was deliberately inserted in order that the Parliament which might be in existence whenever the Duke became a foreign Sovereign should have the right to decide whether or not His Royal Highness should still enjoy his £10,000 a year. In this second Act a treaty was negotiated between this country and Russia in regard to the marriage. This was no exceptional course, when a marriage took place between a Member of the English Royal Family and a member of a foreign Royal Family a treaty was negotiated and signed, and practically represented the marriage settlements. Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, whom the Duke of Edinburgh married, was the only daughter of the Emperor of Russia, and in the Treaty it would be found that her money was really settled upon herself. This country agreed to give Her Imperial Highness £6,000 a year in the event of her surviving her husband. An Amendment was moved at the time providing that this £6,000 should only be given in the event of the Duke's being an English Prince at the time of his death; but that Amendment, he believed, was not pressed to a Division. It was obvious, however, that the only obligation we had in regard to this Treaty with Russia was to pay the £6,000 a year whenever the Duke died. This was an international obligation which no one would deny. Hut now the contingency had arrived, and the Duke of Edinburgh had inherited the Principality of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. It was not, indeed, of the size of one of the Great Powers, but it was, for Germany, a considerable Principality. It had large revenues, and the civil list was adequate for the wants and requirements of the Duke. It was laid down on a somewhat liberal scale, and was derived from Crown lands, and therefore did not affect the taxpayers of the country. Apart from the fact of His Royal Highness having married an heiress, the family of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was personally a rich family. When the £15,000 a year, and the subsequent £10,000 a year, were voted to the Duke of Edinburgh by the House, they were voted to him as an English Prince, in order that he might maintain the position of an English Prince. If he had not been an English Prince, it was obvious that they would not have been given to him. He had ceased to be a Prince, and he had ceased to be an Englishman. Certainly there could be no two nationalities in which, in regard to one nationality, the individual was a Sovereign and, with regard to the other, the individual was a subject. It had been stated in the House that His Royal Highness had not ceased to bean English Prince; but that caused a great outcry in Germany, and they would not acknowledge that any Sovereign of the German Federation, was anything but a Gorman. When, in the reign of Louis XIV., his grandson became King of Spain, he proposed to continue his appanages in France, but Louis protested against his doing so. In Italy they had a great number of Grand Dukes; an Austrian Grand Duke had, he believed, £ 2,000 a year. But not one of them when they became Sovereigns in Italy dreamt of claiming the £2,000 a year. The King of Greece was a Danish Prince; but when he became King of Greece he derived his income from the Greek civil list and from a treaty which we made—why, he could not understand. Prince Amadeo, of Italy, another King of Spain, threw himself entirely upon the Spaniards. Coming nearer home, we had had the Duke of Cumberland, who derived something from the British taxpayer. When he became King of Hanover he ceased to take money from the British people. The late King of the Belgians, when he married the late Princess Charlotte, received something from this country, but when he became King of the Belgians he gave it up entirely. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER signified dissent.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer said "No." He did not wish to press him unfairly. The King retained Claremont, and, out of his £40,000 a year, a certain amount which went as pensions to his English servants; but all the rest he paid into the English Treasury. All these were precedents, and precedents which the House should follow. Was there any special reason why they should not be followed? Whatever special reasons existed made somewhat the other way. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg was a member of the German Federation, and he had entered into a perpetual treaty which deprived him as a Sovereign of the right to make peace or war. He was bound to pay out of the funds of the Duchy a certain contribution towards the German Army. If Germany wished to wage an offensive war, if a majority of the Reichsrath decided for war, war would be declared, and we might find ourselves at war with the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha while at the same time we were providing him with a part of the sinews of war by giving him this £10,000 per annum. It might be suggested that this matter had been decided. He denied that entirely. It was true that an Amendment similar to that before the House was moved two years ago, but on that occasion that Amendment was defeated, and the House did go into Committee of Supply. Right hon. Gentlemen now sitting on the Treasury Bench, and right hon. Gentlemen who usually adorned the Front Bench opposite, had always sneered at the efforts of private Members on Friday evenings. The best way to avoid the recurrence of these Motions was to accept the Resolutions passed on Friday evenings, and to bring in Bills at once to give effect to them. If his right hon. Friend relied on the result of his Resolution two years ago, he ought to give them money for their services in the House, because the House passed a Resolution in favour of payment of Members; and he must bring in a Bill granting Home Rule for all the component parts of the Kingdom. But if the Resolution of two years ago were to be deemed a Resolution which the Government had accepted if it had been carried, he would point out that it had not been carried, and he contended that they had a right to contest it in every Parliament and in every Session. If the Government wished the matter to be taken out of the hands of private Members, let them bring in a Bill providing for the, payment of this annuity of £10,000 a year, and then, if it, were passed, it would constitute an obligation upon the country to pay it. So long, however, as they had a right to dispute it, he trusted that they would do so every year, for a more outrageous misapplication of public money never was known. He hoped that all Members of the House would vote that night on the sheer merits of the question. If they were really in favour of our paying this money to a foreign Sovereign let them, of course, vote for it; but, if not, do not let them be prejudiced by a treaty which had nothing to do with the, matter. He believed that his hon. Friend (Mr. A. C. Morton) had said that the Radical voters were opposed to this grant. In his opinion, if the Conservative electors were polled they would be, found to be opposed to it too. He doubted whether the Conservative electors were in favour of giving a sum of money yearly to a foreign Sovereign. Last evening the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House that they had nearly reached the limits of tolerable taxation, and warned them that demands were being made every day for further expenditure, and his right hon. Friend pointed out to them that a Resolution on a Friday evening for further expenditure usually commanded a majority. He was a follower of his right hon. Friend. He was faithful to him amongst, the faithless. Ho looked upon him as one of those benighted Radicals who still stood to the old shibboleth of the Radical Party—peace, economy, and reform. It was probable that they would have calls on their purse apart from the question of foreign policy. It was, therefore, their bounden duty to look after every penny and to protest against every penny that was not spent for the good of the community. The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not complain that they were asking him that evening to spend more money. On the contrary, they were proposing to give the right hon. Gentleman £10,000 per annum. It seemed to him that there was a certain appositeness in the fact that this Resolution was moved that evening, because he hoped that the words spoken by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night would sink into the public mind—and, not only so, but that they would be acted upon. Only 24 hours after those noble, wise, and patriotic words were uttered the House had an opportunity of acting on the advice given to them. He had, therefore, no doubt that they would have the support of the Government in carrying it out."what did the proviso do? In case the Duke of Edinburgh, in the course of nature should succeed to a principality aboard, which would have its own resources and general condition of existence, his position would be so materially altered from His simple position of a junior member of the British Royal Family that it would not be wise to prescribe beforehand what might or might not be done. It would be more wise to reserve power to do what circumstances might seem to call for. They have felt it their duly to Parliament and the people of this country to keep the matter open."
said, he thought it very undesirable that the question should have been brought forward, because the circumstances did not justify it. If the Government were defeated on the Resolution, it would not be the fault of the Conservative Party, who would support the grant as an honourable and just one. Speaking as the representative of a populous London constituency, though he knew his remarks would not be fully reported, he intended to oppose the withdrawal of the grant. The grants made to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha were made to a Prince of the English Royal Family to carry out certain special duties, and he ventured to say those duties had been carried out thoroughly. The Duke had been connected with one of the most honourable public services of the country, and he had done his duty as a British sailor in every part of the Empire. In all parts of the world he was spoken of highly; he had done his duty as an honourable man and an able officer, and during his career he had rendered many valuable services to the country. It had been stated that the Duke was a rich man—that he had inherited a great Principality, or it might be a small one, but at all events a lucrative one, and that he received a large income from Crown lands. But, as a matter of fact, the Duke was not a rich man, though he might have been if the previous Duke of Saxe-Coburg had not spent so much money. They had to look at this matter from a broad and comprehensive view. The House might pass the Resolution, but by doing so, they would undoubtedly offend certain Royal Families in Europe. Our relations with the great Empire of Russia—partly, perhaps, through the marriage of the Prince—were more friendly now than they had been for 20 years; they did not know how far that might be due to the action of His Royal Highness, but it was a satisfactory fact. Why should they do anything to jeopardise that state of things? They had seen how our brave soldiers had been fighting and doing their duty on the mountains of Chitral, and how we might annex part of the territory, or temporarily hold it. Russia had shown us no ill-feeling. Moreover, Germany was friendly, and would work with us as long as our interests were one. If this Resolution were carried by the House of Commons our action would be considered on the Bourses at Berlin and St. Petersburg—in fact, throughout the world. His Royal Highness spent on Clarence House in 1874, for rebuilding and embellishing, between £75,000 and£80,000; one builder received £50,000. For this the Prince got no compensation, and presented to the Crown a handsome residence. Hon. Members would understand that this was a question of unexhausted improvements in the case of His Royal Highness. All this money was spent for the advantage of the State, for Clarence House would revert to it. [Cries of "No!"] Hon. Members might say, "No, no!" but he challenged them to deny the statement.
asked whether the hon. Member suggested that His Royal Highness himself spent one penny of the sum he had named?
said, His Royal Highness had spent the £75,000 on Clarence House out of his privy purse. ["No, no."] His Royal Highness received in annuities from the State from 1874 to 1893 inclusive (20 years) the sum of £485,971; and he had spent in London on Clarence House and elsewhere, £856,650. ["No, no."] He was speaking not on his own authority, but on the authority of Clarence House itself; but hon. Members must understand that he was not speaking as a courtier. His Royal Highness had also paid the parochial rates on Clarence House, amounting to £241 5s. annually, and had undertaken in future the repair of the House internally during his occupation, and the cost of that was estimated at £300 a year. If they asked His Royal Highness to give up this £10,000 a year they would be practically asking him to give up his connection with the country. ["No, no!"] Not only that, but in such a case the House would have to make provision for the 30 or 40 persons in service at Clarence House, who would be discharged. Some of them had served more than 30 years, and they would be entitled to pensions if Clarence House were given up. Even during the absence of the Prince the salaries and maintenance of those servants cost between £3,000 and £4,000 a year, and the provision that would have to be made for them, in case the house were given up, would amount to a large proportion of £10,000 a year. Looking at the matter in that light again, it would be unwise to stop the grant. The Royal House of England had done its duty by the country. Let hon. Members look back to the Schleswig-Holstein affair in 1864. The influence of the Queen prevented our interference, and thus saved the country millions of money and thousands of lives, and perhaps saved us from the degradation France had to suffer in 1870. After all, this was a small sum for a great nation to squabble about. His Royal Highness in wages alone at Clarence House, paid annually, including the sums he had previously mentioned, £5,100 a year. No doubt these people were not Northampton shoemakers; they were only Londoners [ironical cheers], and therefore they could be turned about their business at five minutes' notice. He said these few words in the Debate, believing that the service of the people was not incompatible with a sense of justice to the highest or the lowest in the land, and in the language of Her Majesty's writ, by which hon. Members sat in this House, it appeared to him absolutely essential, and he intended to try and do his duty, to look at facts fairly, and not to be merely a vote-catching machine—to look at all questions in that spirit, whether they affected the disentegration of the Empire, or anything else. He should oppose the Motion, both as an Englishman and as a Member of Parliament.
said, he should give his vote on higher grounds than any yet advanced. He should not vote with any regard to the eminent services which the Prince of Coburg had rendered, nor mainly on any question the good faith, though he would just point out that one of the arguments used by the hon. Member for Northampton was absolutely destructive of his main argument. His reason for voting against the motion was the immeasurable services of the Queen, by which she had saved millions of money to the country, and still more, saved the country from degradation by her example. From 1847 to 1874 there poured into this country an amount of wealth unparalleled in the history of the world. He had watched this thing very carefully and with great anxiety, and it appeared to him that one of the reasons why this country had not followed the fate of Rome and of Spain was the admirable example of a frugal and virtuously-managed household by Her Majesty. He admitted that every rank had suffered from the enormous influx of wealth. We became more luxurious, more self-indulgent, less industrious, and less careful in our industries. Just consider what would have happened if George IV. had been on the throne during that period, continually asking for grants for himself to pay his debts! There was nothing of that sort under the Queen. On the contrary, she had been blamed, and Prince Albert had been blamed, for being too near, when they were really doing what was right in taking care of the wealth of the country. When, after such a reign as this, notable for its great constitutional conduct, and still more for its regard to the welfare and even the material interests of the nation, certain sums were settled upon the children when they married, and the law said that if "it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to revoke the said annuity," and the Queen does not come forward to say she would do so, he would never vote for the revocation of such a grant to one of the Queen's children so long as he was filled with gratitude and affection for what she had done—for what he believed she had saved this country, not merely by her reign, but by her conduct and example as a woman, as a mother, as the manager of a family, and in every respect likely to maintain the character and morality of the nation.
said, that he had not intended to take any part in this Debate, as he had fully expressed his views on the subject on a previous occasion, but after the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, he felt that some explanation ought to be given on behalf of those who were about to vote in support of this Amendment. He certainly could not congratulate the Government upon the two supporters whom they had picked out of the 600 Members of that House to oppose the Amendment, doubtless after a careful canvass by the Whips. [Loud cries of "No!" and "Withdraw!"]
The hon. Member has no right to make such a statement. It is absolutely without foundation.
I may say that the suggestion is untrue as regards myself. In saying what I did I merely gave expression to my own feelings on the subject. ["Hear, hear!" and loud, cries of "Withdraw!"]
If the hon. Member's statement refers to me in any way, all I can say is that it is absolutely false. ["Hear, hear!" and renewed cries of "Withdraw!"]
said, that he did not require the appeal of hon. Members opposite to induce him to withdraw his statement. Perhaps in what he had said he went further than he was justified in doing, and he therefore fully and most absolutely withdrew any suggestion he had made as to the hon. Members having been selected by the Whips to oppose the Amendment. Certainly no hon. Member on that side of the House was held in greater respect than the hon. Member who had just sat down, and he should be the last to make any observation that could be in the remotest degree disrespectful to him. But, in regard to the hon. Member's speech he might say that among the general supporters of the Government he was one who was not going to seek for re-election at the end of the present Parliament. It was to that fact that he had risen to draw special attention. He thought that this subject might well be discussed without the introduction of any personalities whatever. He wished to discuss it upon its merits. It was upon the merits of the question that those who supported the Amendment had voted before and were about to vote again that night, and they were prepared to invite the fullest and most ample discussion upon it. What was the gist of the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down? He had merely read a clause of the agreement that had been entered into which empowered Her Majesty, whenever she chose to do so, to revoke the annuity, but he had omitted the words, "with the consent of Parliament."
said, that he had not thought it necessary to refer to the point, because every Act of Parliament required the consent of Parliament.
said, that that, however, was a very important point.
said, that what he meant to say was that if the annuity had been revoked on the initiation of Her Majesty it would have been a very different thing; but until Her Majesty initiated the revocation he should not feel justified in voting for the disallowance of the annuity.
said, that the fact remained the same. The subject had been fully discussed in 1873 on an Amendment which had been moved by Mr. Anderson, the then Member for Glasgow, stipulating that the annuity should cease in the event of the Duke of Coburg succeeding to any sovereignty abroad, and declaring that Parliament should have the right in such an event to determine it. His complaint was that up to the present time Parliament had not had an opportunity of considering the question whether or not this allowance ought to be continued. The reduction of the allowance was settled behind the back of Parliament. It would have been much better if the Government had come to Parliament and had asked its consent to the reduction of the allowance, when the whole subject could have been considered. The hon. Member opposite had suggested that a large portion of the allowance was being expended by the Duke of Coburg in keeping up Clarence House, but it was the fact that the expenses of keeping up that house were defrayed by the vote of the House of Commons. He knew that there were some decorations to Clarence House, the expense of which had been borne by his Royal Highness during the last year or two.
said, that from 1874 his Royal Highness had spent between £75,000 and £8,000 on Clarence House, for which he had received no compensation whatever.
asked where the hon. Member got his figures from?
said, that he had obtained them from papers which he had seen.
said, that unless the hon. Member could give him the authority from which he had obtained his figures he could not accept them, and the only authority that he could recognise was the Record of that House. It was absurd to say that his Royal Highness expended the greater part of his allowance in maintaining some 30 or 40 domestic servants at Clarence House, and that they would be thrown out of employment if the allowance were withdrawn, because in that case Clarence House would be inhabited by some other member of the Royal Family who would employ the servants. He did not deny that his Royal Highness had rendered valuable services to the State, but he contended that he had been adequately paid for those services. His contention was that the moment his Royal Highness succeeded to his present position his allowance ought to have ceased absolutely. He denied that Parliament was bound by the agreement to continue this allowance. Those who were prepared to support this Amendment had both argument and common sense on their side. As long as they allowed men who fought in the Crimea to die in the workhouse there was no case for the £10,000 a year asked for to-night. It was as a protest against an allowance they thought superfluous against an allowance they thought had not been supported by reason and argument that he and his hon. Friends would go to a Division.
said, he should not give his vote to-night on the ground the hon. Member who had just sat down put forward. He looked at the matter from a more practical point of view. He and others thought it was impossible for the Government to agree to that Motion, and having regard to what the Government had done, and were prepared to do, and if only to show their admiration for the manner in which they had been led by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, he thought Members on the Liberal Benches ought to strain a point in that matter. To be quite frank, he could not oppose the Motion on its merits. He believed his constituents were strongly in favour of the Motion, but he was also sure his constituents would not like a most damaging blow to be struck at Her Majesty's Government, the existence of whom they valued at more than £10,000 a year. As a matter of practical politics he thought every Liberal ought to refrain from doing anything which might in any way have a damaging effect upon the present Government.
congratulated the Government upon the support they had received from the hon. Member for Carnarvonshire, who had said he was unable to support this Motion. When they remembered the influential character of the hon. Member's position, that admission of his was one of great significance. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy had referred to the, fact that the hon. Member for Canarvonshire did not contemplate contesting a seat at the next election. When a distinguished Member of the House, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian, left Oxford, and went down to South-west Lancashire, he said he was unmuzzled. Did the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy mean to say that all Members on that side of the House were more or less muzzled? If so, they knew what his reference to the retirement of the hon. Member for Carnarvonshire meant. He took up strong ground on this matter. He spoke on behalf of something like 10,000 working men of London, than whom there were no more loyal men in the whole country. He represented a constituency to which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth used to go for change of air, and he was sure the feelings of loyalty which existed in Rotherhithe centuries ago existed now. The £10,000 in question had been promised, and in his opinion the money was well spent. No country was so economically governed as this, and when we considered that our Sovereign had been reigning for half a century, and was admired in every country, we ought to hesitate before we refused to grant a small pittance like this.
thought the arguments of some hon. Members who had spoken against the Motion were rather weak. The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Paulton) for instance, opposed the Motion, though he admitted his constituents approved of it. He thought men. were sent to the House of Commons to carry out the wishes of their constituents. The hon. Member for Rotherhithe (Mr. Macdona) had spoken of the great economy practised in the Government of the country. That was not the question at issue. The hon. Member for Carnarvonshire (Mr. Rathbone) had introduced the name of the Sovereign. It was most unfortunate that such a name should be brought in on an occasion of this kind. In this matter the mischief was begun on the 21st of December 1893, when the announcement was made in the House of Commons that His Royal Highness the Duke of Coburg would give up three-fifths of his annuity. The House had no opportunity afforded them then of discussing the subject. The question had been left as an open sore, and there was great likelihood that this would resolve itself into an annual Motion. The House had been told of the sums of money spent by the Duke on Clarence House. He noticed it was 21 years ago since most of that money had been spent; and since then the Duke had drawn £40,000 from the taxpayers of the country. They were there as the guardians of the public purse, and the only question at issue was whether or not they were to give this £10,000 a year to a foreign prince.
said that, unlike the hon. Member for Carnarvon, he had been invited to stand again to represent his constituency, and without fear of his constituents he meant to oppose this Motion. In giving his vote on any Motion he was solely moved by what he believed to be right, and he believed that the grant of £10,000 to the Duke of Coburg was right and just. The whole of the amount was spent by the Duke during his visits to this country, and in large subscriptions to the charities of the country. He had been informed that since 1874 His Royal Highness had given £11,000 to charitable institutions. This £10,000 a year was not given to His Royal Highness because he was the Duke of Coburg, but because he was the son of the Queen; and he was quite certain that the majority of his constituents agreed with him in thinking—and he did not care for the votes of those who did not—that it would be mean fur the nation to withdraw the grant. One hon. Member tried to cast a slur on His Royal Highness as an officer of the Navy; but he had it from several distinguished naval officers that there was no officer in the ranks of officers who knew his work better than the Duke. During the Irish distress there was not a single man who had worked so hard in relieving that distress by bringing food to the people who needed it. He would, therefore, heartily give his vote to the Government in support of the grant, and he was sure his action would be endorsed by those who had sent him to the House. He regretted he had been prevented by illness from recording his vote against the Motion on the last occasion it was before the House. On that occasion 237 Members voted against the Motion and only 69 for it, and what cause could be served by bringing it forward again he failed to see.
congratulated the House that there was at least one hon. Member who intended to give his vote without any fear of his constituents. Several hon. Members who intended to vote against the Motion had acknowledged that the arguments were all on the other side, and that if they were to vote on the merits of the question they would go into the Lobby with the supporters of the Motion. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Home Secretary had told them he was going to vote against the Motion in order to show his gratitude to the Government. If he (Mr. Allen) wanted to show his gratitude to the Government he would vote for giving the Chancellor of the Exchequer an income of £10,000 a year, rather than for giving it to the sovereign of some German Principality.
I did not say I would vote to show my gratitude to the Government. I said I desired to save them from embarrassment.
did not know whether the Secretary to the Home Secretary spoke officially, but he should really like to know whether the Government intended to make this a question of confidence. Was the Chancellor of the Exchequer going to tell them that the Government would regard as a question of confidence this vote of a salary of £10,000 a year to a man who had given up his English citizenship, and his part in our great Empire for the sovereignity of a German Principality? He really could not believe that the Government would make it a vote of confidence. He should certainly give his vote for the Motion, because bearing in mind the enormous burdens the taxpayers had to bear, he considered they should not be called upon to support a foreign prince.
believed that if this Motion was pressed to a Division the result would demonstrate, as no other test could demonstrate, that, at least in the House of Commons, they knew what were the issues from which party spirit and party dissensions should be banished, and into which party considerations were not suffered to enter. The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland said he was tempted to oppose this Motion because of his allegiance to the Government now in Office. He need not say that that was not a consideration which appealed very powerfully to him. He should support the Government in their opposition to this Motion, not merely because he knew he was acting in obedience to the wishes of his constituents, but because he believed that by so doing he should be acting in harmony with and in obedience to the overwhelming opinion of the population of this great Empire. He refused altogether to consider this Motion on the sordid grounds which had been imported into it by some of the speakers on both sides of the question. This, he considered, was not a matter to be determined by the amount of money which the Duke of Coburg had spent on his house, or by the services His Royal Highness had rendered, eminent though those services had been. He believed the Motion would be decided by the gratitude and admiration, almost if not entirely without exception, which permeated every man, woman and child in this Empire to every member of the Royal Family and to the Sovereign at the head of the Royal Family. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India, in concluding his eloquent speech to the House on the Import Duties some time ago, told them there were some questions on which they had not to consider whether they represented this or that constituency, but to regard themselves as representatives collectively of the British Empire and the British Nation. That was the issue which he conceived to be raised this evening, that was the issue to which he thought every Member of the House was loyally and equally attached, and it was in so far as they discharged the duties involved in those paramount considerations that they would support the Government in opposing this Motion and cause it to be rejected once and for all, so that it might never again be brought forward in the British House of Commons.
could not congratulate some hon. Members who had spoken upon the good taste of their remarks. He did not believe it was at all necessary in the consideration of the question to discuss the services of the Duke of Coburg when he held a distinguished position in Her Majesty's Navy, nor was it good taste to refer to the remuneration he received in return for those services, and much less was it good taste to bring the revered name of the Sovereign into the discussion. The question was one which could be put into a small compass. It was admitted that his Royal Highness was entitled to £25,000 a year, there being upon that grant a condition that if he succeeded to a foreign sovereignty Her Majesty might, with the consent of Parliament, reduce, alter or revoke that allowance. The initiative in the matter was to be taken by Her Majesty, but they had received no communication from her. If it had been thought necessary, in compliance with the provisions of that Act, and in pursuance of the special conditions in the Act, to alter the arrangement there would have been a message from the Sovereign to that House, and they would have considered the subject in a regular and formal way. But he understood the Duke of Coburg had voluntarily come forward and expressed his willingness to make an arrangement by which the grant of £25,000 should be reduced to £10,000. Accordingly an arrangement was entered into which was acquiesced in by the Government by which his Royal Highness was to receive £10,000 a year to provide for certain expenses connected with Clarence House. To upset that bargain or to alter it required a strong case, which had not been made here, It would look like a breach of faith to go behind this arrangement, whilst, on the score of economy alone, there would be little or no saving, as provision would have to be made for the servants whose employment would be taken from them. To make the change proposed by the hon. Member for Peterborough would be an ungracious, and under the circumstances, an unfair act; and, having regard to the affectionate relationship which existed between every member of the Royal Family and this country, he hoped the House would pause before it passed this ill-considered Resolution.
in opposing the Motion said, he was sure that every other Member of the House must have listened with pain to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of it. The Mover of the Resolution thought fit to hold up a member of the Royal Family to the ridicule of the House, and told them he had searched in vain for any evidence that His Royal Highness had served with distinction in the Royal Navy. The Seconder of the Motion told them that His Royal Highness was now a foreign prince, and proceeded to taunt the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his desire for economy. He felt certain that, however ardent the feelings of the Chancellor of the Exchequer might be for economy, he would never give his sanction, as a Minister of the Crown, to an act which would cast dishonour upon any Member of the Government. They felt proud that a member of our own Royal Family should have been called to the throne of a German Principality. As Englishmen, they could never repay the debt of gratitude which every member of this vast Empire owed to that illustrious lady who ruled over us, and every member of her family was entitled to proper support. He hoped the House would defeat the Resolution.
Sir, I think it is much to he regretted, and the House has much reason to complain, that a question of this character, touching the Royal Family, should be so frequently brought under the notice of this House without cause. After the decisive majority by which this Resolution was defeated on a former occasion, it ought not, I think, to have been again brought forward; but as it has been brought forward, it is my duty, as representing the Government, to re state the case very briefly upon which the Government have tendered their advice to the Crown in this matter. Now, Sir, the facts of this case are very short and very plain. There was, originally, made to the Duke of Edinburgh, as one of the younger sons of the Queen, a grant of £l5,000 a year, as was made to the other members of the family in the same position as himself. That grant has come to an end by the voluntary act of His Royal Highness himself, and upon that grant there is now no question before the House. But there was a second grant—a grant of £10,000 a year—which was not made to the Duke of Edinburgh personally alone, but which was made to him, as the Act recites, to enable Her Majesty to provide for the establishment of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, and to settle an annuity upon Her Imperial Highness. That, therefore, was a grant not to the Duke of Edinburgh alone, but the Duke of Edinburgh and the Russian Princess, whom he was about to marry. It was for the maintenance of their joint establishment during their joint lives, and upon the death of the Duke of Edinburgh there was settled, in the place of that £10,000 a year, an annuity upon Her Imperial Highness, of £6,000. In my opinion, those two grants stand upon the same footing—the grant of £10,000 a year for an establishment during their joint lives, and the £6,000 a year for the annuity to Her Imperial Highness. Is the House prepared to revoke this grant? I do not believe it is competent to do so with regard to the £6,000; and, with regard to the £10,000 a year which was settled upon that marriage, in my opinion, it would be an act most unfit for the House of Commons to perform. Sir, when these grants were originally made, they were met by dis-discussions which have been referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton in this House. There was a proposal made by the Member for Glasgow at that time, that upon the Duke of Edinburgh succeeding to a foreign sovereignty, the grant should cease and determine. The House of Commons rejected that Motion; it was withdrawn, or, at all events, the Motion was not approved by the House of Commons. The clause as it now stands in the Act was then inserted, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian, who was then the First Minister of the Crown, said upon that clause:—
Sir, we have heard to-night attacks made upon the Duke of Edinburgh as a German Sovereign, attacks which I heard with a deep regret, because language of that kind is not likely to cultivate those feelings of friendship and respect, which we desire should be entertained by all foreign nations towards the House of Commons and the English nation. Therefore, to use as a disparaging expression towards a son of the Queen and an English Prince that he was a German Sovereign, as if that was some discredit, is an expression which, for my part, I deeply regret. We are asked, in addition to this disparagement of German Sovereigns, to revoke a grant which was made upon the marriage of a Russian Princess. Sir, in my opinion, that would not be a wise or a politic course for the English House of Commons to adopt. I will continue the quotation from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian:—"He would observe that, though in the course of time, the Duke of Edinburgh might become a foreign Sovereign, he would not, therefore, cease to be an English prince."
Now, that was the declaration of the responsible Minister of the Crown, that was the reading of this clause at the time that the Act received the assent of Parliament. The Prime Minister was asked whether the, grant would be reduced but would not terminate on the accession of the Duke to the foreign Principality, and he said that, while it might be reasonable to reserve the power given in the proviso, it would not be reasonable to provide for the extinction of the annuity. That language was, I will not say a binding pledge, I will not say a legal enactment, but an interpretation of the meaning of Parliament at that time—namely, that the grant might be modified, but that it should not be extinguished. The question is asked now whether or not the House of Commons should revoke that annuity. The House of Commons has not the power to revoke it, except upon the initiative of the Crown. The consent of Parliament is to be given to a revocation issuing from the Crown. That provision was inserted, I imagine, for this reason—When Parliament makes grants of that kind it makes a provision against capricious revocation by the Crown. The initiative in a matter of this kind must come from the Crown, and that initiative can only be taken on the advice of the responsible Ministers of the Crown, and that advice in this case has not been tendered to the Sovereign. I deeply regretted to hear the attack that was made upon my hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon. I venture to say that the language which he employed will find an echo in many thousand hearts in this country. He and others have been taunted on the ground that they are not going to stand again for Parliament. Nobody who knows my hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon, as I have known him for many years, will doubt that the language which he has employed upon this or upon any other occasion was language which he would have used when facing his constituents. I thought that a most unworthy taunt. I have been asked by my hon. Friend the Member for New-castle-under-Lyme whether this is a question of confidence in the Government. I will tell him, at all events, what is my personal position with regard to this question. When the matter had to be decided in December, 1893, there were two persons who from their official position were particularly and directly responsible for the advice which they gave. The one was the First Lord of the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Midlothian, and the other Minister specially responsible was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In careful consultation we had to regard what was due to the Crown, what was due to the nation, and what was due to Parliament. We gave to the question the most careful consideration we were capable of giving, and we understood and we felt how delicate and difficult a question it was. Well, we tendered to the Crown the advice which has been acted upon. We considered when the Duke of Edinburgh resigned the grant under the first Act of £15,000 a year that it would be proper that we should advise the Queen that the revocation of the other Act should not take place. By that advice we adhere. It was our duty to tender the advice upon the circumstances of the case as it stood. We may have been wrong: my right hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian may have been wrong, but I confess I am ready to stand with him upon a question of this kind, he being a man whose great and long experience made him fitter, perhaps, to judge than anyone, else. At all events, I am prepared to take my share, of personal responsibility for the advice that I offered. I believe that the advice we then gave was advice which we ought to have given in the position we occupied; we believe that in maintaining that position we are recommending the House of Commons to take a course which is worthy of this great Assembly, and we trust that the advice that we have given and by which we are prepared to stand will be supported by the vote of this House."He would still continue to have family relations and household connections to maintain: the grant might, in that, case, be modified, but it could not be extinguished."
said: The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down speaks as the colleague of the Minister who made the original arrangement with the Duke of Edinburgh, and as a Member of the Government which gave advice to the Sovereign in regard to any alterations of that arrangement which the change of circumstances might render desirable, and he has spoken to us in tones which I think must have found an echo in every part of the House. Certainly we on this side of the House cordially agree with him. We feel that he spoke with dignity and authority, and we shall follow him into the lobby in the interest, as we believe, not merely of the best policy as regards the country, but in the interest of the only policy consistent with the honour and dignity of this House. It may be in the recollection of hon. Members that only a few days ago we were engaged on a discussion as to the amount of public time that ought to be given to private Members for the discussion of questions raised by them. I ventured then to point out that I thought that no Parliamentary time had ever been worse used in my experience than the three hours on Friday evenings which we have had the privilege of employing during the present Session. I had not at that moment in my mind that this Friday would be put to a worse use still; but I must say, when I remember we are called down here to-night to redebate and rediscuss a question which ought never to have been debated or discussed, and when I remember that we are asked to reverse a decision deliberately come to by the same House of Commons, under the advice of the same Government not 12 months ago, it appears to me that we are making a sacrifice of the time that is being demanded from us such as no public or private Member has a right to ask for. The hon. Members who have claimed for us that we should reverse the decision deliberately come to on a previous occasion have based their contention, as I understand them, on the ground that this is a great waste of public money. Anybody who will really face the facts of the case as he sees them knows perfectly well that it is not this expense of £10,000 a year that exercises the minds of hon. Members. They have willingly tolerated the discussion of the whole of our Civil Service Estimates being put off to a time when they cannot be discussed at all. No protest against the £96,000,000 a year which we expend on the public service comes from those benches.
£10,000 this year.
I said no protest against the £96,000,000 a year comes from those benches, and, therefore, when I find this extreme anxiety, not about £10,000,000, not about £1,000,000, but about £10,000——
We have already taken a division this year on the reduction of the Navy Votes.
Yes, to do the hon. Gentleman full justice—and I am anxious to do him full justice—I believe he is prepared to take a vote for the reduction of any Vote. [Mr. A. C. MORTON: "They should be all reduced."] I am not aware that there is any form of public expenditure ever suggested in this House, except the payment of Members, which would not meet with the cordial dissent of the great economist opposite. But, however that may be, I think even the hon. Gentleman will recognise that if we were brought down here in large numbers to-night to debate for the whole evening a question of £10,000, it is not the amount of relief which the refusal to grant this £10,000 will give to the taxpayer, it is some underlying principle, avowed or unavowed, which animates hon. Gentlemen in the course they have thought fit to take. I do not care to speculate too closely, or to formulate too accurately, what that principle may be, but I would ask the House to remember the general conditions under which we stand with regard to the provision for the younger members of the Royal Family. The Civil List was fixed for the Crown on the distinct understanding that the younger children should be provided for. The Civil List was fixed on the broad principle that Parliament in its generosity, or in what was its generosity, was to undertake to provide for the younger children of the Sovereign, and it was on these conditions that the £25,000 a year was originally provided for the Duke of Edinburgh, in two sums of £10,000 and £15,000, the origin of which has been clearly and accurately described by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The only question we have to consider is whether any circumstances have since arisen which would make it improper to give now any fraction of that which was originally granted by Parliament. That is the one question before us, and I am glad to see that that is accepted by the hon. Gentleman opposite, who is the protagonist in this movement. If the hon. Gentleman had referred to the original Debate on this question, he must have known what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has reminded us of to-night—namely, that when the original grant was made the House was perfectly seized of the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh might become the Duke of Coburg, and the House was distinctly warned by the Government of the day, and distinctly agreed with the Government of the day in holding, that when that event should take place, though there might be a reduction of the annuity, the annuity should not be entirely taken away.
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can tell me where he gets that from. There is the statement distinctly made at the time by the late Prime Minister that he left it absolutely to the House of Commons that should be sitting when the contingency that was anticipated should arise.
I do not deny that the right hon. Gentleman at that time left to the House of Commons what, after all, he could not take away from it—namely, the power to decide upon the conditions upon which they would grant public money. That no Prime Minister of the day, or of any day, could say he would desire to remove from the House of Commons. I read the Debate carefully last year, and I have not refreshed my mind now, but I am quite certain it would be found—indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted the passage—that the Prime Minister laid down the principle which, in his judgment, should regulate the future action of Parliament with regard to that annuity—that the Duke of Edinburgh, after he became the Duke of Coburg, would remain an English subject and an English citizen, and as an English subject and an English citizen, son of the Sovereign of England, he would be entitled to some portion, at all events, of the annuity which Parliament then granted him. I see that on the Benches below the Gangway there are many debates going on as to the accuracy of that statement: but I do not believe that any study of Hansard will militate against what I say.
This is what the late Prime Minister said:—
"If the Duke of Edinburgh, in the course of nature, should succeed to a principality abroad, which would have its own revenue and expenses, his position would be so materially altered from that of being simply a junior member of the Royal Family that it would not be wise to prescribe beforehand what might or might not be done by Parliament."
I entirely agree; no attempt could be made to prescribe the exact sum; that must properly and inevitably be left to the decision of Parliament; but it was laid down by the Prime Minister of that day that the precise sum to be left to the Duke of Coburg could not be determined in anticipation of the event, but that some sum should be left him. [An hon. MEMBER: "A personal opinion."] What else could it be? A personal opinion in the sense that it was not a Vote of the House of Commons, nor an Act of Parliament; but it was not a personal opinion in this sense—that he spoke the sense of the Government of which he was a Member, and he received the assent of the House of Commons to which he spoke; in that sense it was not a personal opinion. It would be absurd to say that this House is legally bound by anything the right hon. Gentleman said or did not say; but who will deny, if there is to be any continuity in our institutions, or in our decisions, that we are bound to consider the conditions on which the annuities were originally granted, as laid down by the man responsible for the advice on which they were granted? I do not think that any hon. Member will challenge that contention. The hon. Member for Northampton has apparently expressed the opinion that because the Duke of Edinburgh is the Sovereign of a foreign State he is no longer to be regarded as an Englishman. On what principle are we to say so? He is still a member of our own Royal Family; he still regards himself as an Englishman; he has not forgotten that he is a son of the Queen; he has not forgotten that in the best years of his life he served with distinction in the British Navy; and it appears to me that what he has not forgotten it is not our business to forget. The House of Commons has now got an opportunity of showing in what spirit it regards tins class of persons. They are not questions in which the taxpayer, as a taxpayer, is interested. They are not burdens thrown on the poor instead of the rich, or subjects in which the taxpayer has practically any interest at all. They are questions which touch vitally the relations between the House of Commons and the Sovereign of this country, and it appears to me that if we are going to approach this class of question in the spirit of hucksters we are absolutely unworthy of the trust reposed in us by our constituents. I hear hon. Members talk of opinions held by their constituents, and of the difficulty they have in voting this or that way because of their constituents. But no one shall persuade, me that, any class of the population of this country, really cognisant of the rights of this question, would hesitate as to the course we should pursue. I can well believe that some of their constituents do not understand the question, and it may well be that, under a misapprehension of what we have to decide, they may have expressed, or led their Members to believe they hold, opinions opposed to that of the Government which we are supporting. But I represent as purely a working-class constituency as any man in this House, and I say, without the slightest hesitation, that I do not believe the working men of this country are prepared to treat their Royal Family in a manner in which the town councils which they elect to represent them in their local affairs would hesitate to treat a police constable. What is it we are asked to do? We voted an annuity to the Duke of Edinburgh in certain contingencies. The contingencies originally contemplated arose, and the course which the Minister of the day thought the House should pursue was pursued—namely, that the amount of the annuity given to the Duke should be largely diminished from that originally voted. The diminution was not, indeed, the act of this House, but the voluntary act of the Duke of Coburg himself. But that makes no difference. We are carrying out our original policy, and not only that, but the policy we ourselves endorsed by our action last year. Are we to leave the Duke of Edinburgh uncertain from year to year as to what the intentions of Parliament are? Has he not a right, shared by the commonest of Her Majesty's subjects, to believe that when the House of Commons has decided that he should receive a certain annuity, he is as certain of receiving it as if he held Consols or any other security to which the national credit is pledged? It appears to me that the vote of the House should settle this once and for ever. That vote has been given. This question was amply debated last year. The whole of the circumstances were reviewed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us—what he has repeated more briefly tonight—the facts that led the Governments of 1865 and 1873, and his own Government last year, to give the advice to the Sovereign that they have given. We ratified on that occasion the decision arrived at. If we reverse it now we do something which, as I said at the beginning of my speech, touches not the interest of the British taxpayer but the honour of the House of Commons. Let me tell hon. Members below the Gangway that it is not worth while destroying or staining the honour of the House of Commons in order to save £10,000 per annum. I do not believe even the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment do in their hearts think that our credit with the constituencies and public opinion would be raised if we were to take the advice they have so unfortunately and gatuitously tendered. Of this, at all events, I am absolutely confident, that, whatever a small section of Members below the Gangway may do against their Party and against the Government, there are those, on this side of the House who, by conviction and position, are confident that we may rightly in this case leave our honour in charge of the Government. We follow them in the full belief that the advice they had tendered to their Sovereign is consistent with the general welfare of the country, and I should be very much surprised if the general sense of the House of Commons to-night, as well as the general sense of public opinion to-morrow, does not endorse the course which the Government have asked us to pursue, and which we mean, to the best of our power, to support.
said, that as one who intended to vote with the Government he would give a silent vote but for the issues that had been put before the House by the Leader of the Opposition. This was not a question of Royalty at all, but purely a question of the position of the Government. Reference had been made to the ungraciousness of bringing the matter forward. He could not help thinking there were many hon. Members who believed it would have been a gracious thing if the Duke of Coburg had consented to forego entirely the grant made, It was not with himself a question of economy. There were those who would vote against this amendment on the ground of economy. If it were purely a question of economy he would claim to be as much an economist as any one. It was purely a question of the position of the Government and the statement made by the Leader of the House, and, speaking for himself, as an Irish Member, he intended to vote with the Government.
said, as one of the small section of Radicals who had been spoken, of contemptuously by the Leader of the Opposition, and who were no doubt regarded contemptuously by many of his followers, he thought it right to stand up and say a word on this subject. He thought far more of the severe and heavy rebuke which they received from the Chancellor of the Exchequer than of the words which fell from the Leader of the Opposition. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told them that questions about the Royal Family should be introduced but seldom into this House. He (Mr. Byles) was not responsible for the introduction of this question; but here it was, and he had to decide what he must do about it. The hon. Member for Westmoreland uttered some sentiments of loyalty which well became him. He (Mr. Byles) wished to say that those who were going to vote for this Motion repudiated the idea that the supporters of this Grant had a monopoly of those sentiments of loyalty. It was no disloyalty that would lead the opponents of the Grant to vote for this Motion. There might have been unmannerly remarks made about the Royal Family and the Duke of Coburg. He dissociated himself from these; but he would certainly give his vote for the Motion, and with the full sense of the responsibility which he owed to his constituents. He wished to say that the attitude of the Radical Party towards the Royal Family and towards the Court was not perhaps quite the same attitude which had been observed by the wealthy and lordly and aristocratic Members who had dominated this House for generations past. There were vast numbers of working people in this country who believed that they were voting money far too freely for pensions to members of the Royal Family. He did not believe that they were mean or desired to be ungenerous in their treatment of the gracious Lady who reigned over them, or of any Monarch who might succeed her. He did not believe that they meant to be ungenerous or parsimonious in their treatment of those Princes who were in the direct line of succession. But the feeling that prevailed in his constituency, and in other constituencies in the West Riding, was that there were a number of collateral branches—cousins and aunts—who were subsidised by a too-ready vote of Parliament out of the pockets of the poorest of this country. He could not understand the argument of the Leader of the Opposition that this was not a matter which touched the taxpayer at all. They felt that they were paying money which they had no right to pay, to people who ought to be amply provided for by their parents, and they would not submit to have those large sums voted by their representatives. He was certain that he was representing a very widespread feeling in the country, especially since the Duke of Coburg had become a foreign prince and had alienated himself as it were from England and the English people—when he said that the people of this country would agree in saying that this grant ought to be withdrawn. Just one word more. If his hon. Colleagues on the other side of the House desired the sentiment of loyalty to the Crown to be respected, as he firmly believed they did, and as he did himself, they would do well to vote for the Motion and to recognise the feeling which he had described. They ought to seek to circumscribe these vast sums which were freely squandered by the generosity of a too-ready loyal Parliament, and to recognise the feeling that the taxes of the country ought to be conserved for other purposes than the endowment of Royal Princes.
wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, if he voted with him to night to give this grant of £10,000 a year to the Duke of Coburg, who was no longer a British subject, the right hon. Gentleman would vote with him next week when he would perhaps have to ask for £10,000 to place back evicted crofters on their holdings. If on these conditions the right hon. Gentleman was ready to enter with him into a contract, he would vote with him.
The House divided:—Noes, 72; Ayes, 193—(Division List No. 53.)
Fisheries Act Amendment Bill
*THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (MR. T. BURT, Morpeth) , moved the Second Reading of this Bill. He said, the Bill was based on the recommendations of the Select Committee and had the approval of the Sea Fisheries Committees throughout the country, who were very anxious to have it passed.
asked for information as to the Bill. He noticed that there were Amendments on the Paper.
hoped that the Bill would be allowed to go through, as it was based on the recommendations of a Committee that had sat to consider the subject. Unless some such measure were passed soon, the fisheries of this country, especially in the North Sea, would soon be done away with.
DR. D. MACGREGOR moved as an Amendment:—
"That no Bill to amend the Fisheries Act will be satisfactory which does not exempt from penalty any fisherman or fishermen who, in the pursuit of his or their culling at sea, may take salmon at the distance of a mile or more from the nearest shore at high-water mark."
He hoped that the Government would accept the Amendment, and thus do away with a great injustice to the Scotch salmon fishers.
said, that the question which was raised by his hon. Friend was, no doubt, an interesting and an important one, but it was wholly foreign to the Bill before the House, which was brought forward in order to carry out the recommendations of a Committee which sat in 1893. So far as the Bill dealt with salmon fishing, it referred only to England. The Amendment would only introduce controversial matters into a Bill which was now a purely non-controversial measure
cordially supported the remarks of the President of the Board of Trade and the passing of the Bill. The Committee which sat took a large amount of evidence, and it was proved before the Committee that, owing to the systematic catching of undersized fish unfit for market, or even useful for fertilization purposes, a great depletion of the seas was taking place, and an important source of food for the people was being diminished. He trusted that the House would realise the importance of the remedies now proposed, and would allow the Bill to pass.
supported the Amendment. It was a very serious matter for the salmon fishers of Scotland to be liable to fine or imprisonment at the hands of the water bailiff's, as they were at present. It was quite time that some alteration in the law should be made. He had himself brought the matter under the notice of the Secretary for Scotland time after time. It was all very well for the President of the Board of Trade to ask now that this Bill should be rushed through.
Trustee Act (1893) Amendment Bill
Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made, and question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
And, objection being taken to further proceeding, the Debate stood adjourned.
Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.
Steam Engines (Persons In Charge) Bill
Ordered, that the Select Committee on Steam Engines (Persons in Charge) Bill do consist of 19 members.
Ordered, that Major Darwin and Mr. Havelock Wilson be added to the Committee.—( Mr. Thomas Ellis.)
Merchandise Marks (Files) Bill
The Select Committee on Merchandise Marks (Files) Bill was nominated of,—Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Albert Bright, Mr. Burt, Mr. Cremer, Mr. Heath, Mr. Hopwood, Mr. Jacks, Sir James Joicey, Mr. Scott Montagu, Mr. Pierpoint, Mr. Brooke Robinson, Mr. Charles Shaw, and Mr. Stuart-Wortley.
Ordered, that the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.
Ordered, that three be the quorum.—( Mr. Thomas Ellis.)
Local Government Act(1894) (Stock Transfer) Bill
Order for Second Reading upon Monday next read, and discharged.
Leave given to present another Bill instead thereof.
"Bill to amend the Local Government Act, 1894, so far as regards the Transfer of any Stock, Share, or Security standing in the name of or dividends payable to it local authority, presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Thursday next, and to be printed.—[Bill 225.]
House adjourned at five minutes after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.