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Volume 90: debated on Thursday 7 March 1901

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South African War—Negotia- Tions With General Botha

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it is the case that communications have been passing between Lord Kitchener and General Botha, and whether he can inform the House of the nature of those communications.

There have been communications, but the Government are not in a position at the present time to make any statement on the subject.

Reverse At Helvetia

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether an officer with eighteen men held a post during the attack on Helvetia against a greatly superior force of Boers after the main garrison had surrendered; and whether he can give the name of this officer, or state that lie has been commended.

1896 and 1899; the amount of Poor Rates collected in the years ended the 25th day of March. 1890 and 1900; and the estimated proportion of such Hates collected in respect of Agricultural Land and other property:—

No official communication to this effect has been forwarded by Lord Kitchener. I have invited Lord Kitchener to forward any such case for such prompt reward as he may think fitting.

Militia Officers—Seniority

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case of subaltern officers in embodied Militia battalions in South Africa, who are candidates for commissions in the line, and are placed at comparative disadvantage to those Militia officers who by staying in England are able to pass the, examinations for direct commissions, and thus gain a year or a year and a half seniority in the Army; and whether he will take steps to treat such officers who are on service in the field more generously by allowing them, on receiving their commissions in the line, to reckon the time served at the front for seniority and relative rank in the Army.

We have done all that was possible to prevent Militia candidates for commissions from being placed at a disadvantage by reason of their service in South Africa. On the occasion of each of the competitions held since Militia battalions went to South Africa, a liberal proportion of commissions has been allotted to units in South Africa, to compensate for inability to compete. These commissions bear the same date as those given to successful competitors at the examination. Lord Kitchener will grant fifty commissions in the pre-sent month. The hon. Members proposal to antedate commissions so as to cover the period of service in South Africa with Militia battalions would involve the supersession of many officers, and is, I fear, impracticable.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will direct that no officer shall be penalised through the decision of a court of inquiry or court martial without being given the opportunity of making his own defence.

Certainly, Sir. The military authorities inform me that they are not aware of any ease in which an officer has been penalised through a decision of a court martial or court of inquiry without his view of the case being before them, and I will take care that no such case occurs.

Imperial Yeomanry Officers— Pay And Allowances

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the effect of placing officers commissioned with the Imperial Yeomanry, now being recruited under the special Army Order of 18th January last, on the ordinary cavalry rates of pay, is that the lieutenants and second lieutenants receive less actual pay than the regimental sergeant-majors, staff sergeants, and sergeant-majors of such Yeomanry, and that the second lieutenants receive less actual pay than sergeants; whether, in view of such discrepancy, he will, under the circumstances, reconsider the rates of pay of the officers of such Imperial Yeomanry; and whether he will, at the same time, consider the advisability of raising the present grant to Imperial Yeomanry officers for personal equip- ment and saddlery to a larger amount, in view of the facts that the present grant does not nearly cover the lowest-estimate of cost of such equipment, and that officers of the Rhodesian Field Force forming part of the Imperial Yeomanry Force last year received for the same purpose nearly three times the amount of the present grant.

So far as actual pay is concerned, the facts are as stated in the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question. But it must be borne in mind that the officer receives a gratuity at the rate of £100 a year, and colonial allowance at 3s. a day while in South Africa, which the non-commissioned officer does not. I am not prepared to reconsider now the amount of the grant for personal equipment, which was fixed after very careful consideration, and has been in force throughout the raising of the Imperial Yeomanry.

Irish Yeomanry Pay

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will state upon what terms as to pay the Irish Yeomanry went to South Africa; whether the rate of pay was to be 5s. a day after twelve months service; and, if so, upon what date this rate begins.

The Irish Yeomanry received on enlistment the same rates of pay as the regular cavalry, as laid down by the Royal Warrant of the 24th December, 1899. The rate of pay for a private was raised by Royal Warrant of 13th February, 1901, to 5s. from the day following that on which they completed one year's service, or from the 1st February, 1901, whichever occurred first.

May I ask if the Irish Yeomanry proved themselves worth 4s. a day more than the poor Irish Fusiliers?

Yeomanry Recruits—Accommoda- Tion At Aldershot

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of a batch of Yeomanry recruits who, on leaving London at 11.30 a.m. on 5th February and arrivingly unexpectedly at Aldershot, were told they were, not expected and must come again at six o'clock; whether he is aware that forty-six of them were placed in a room which could only accommodate twenty; that no rations were served out for twenty-four hours, that for fourteen days and nights the majority of them had to live in the clothes they came in. and that the kits were not served out to all until 10th February, the men having to eat their rations with their fingers; that this arrangement lasted for one month; that there was no discipline in the room, and only one parade at nine o'clock; that not one of these men was ever put upon a horse; and that these men were described in official language as having undergone one month's official training in riding and shooting; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be held into the circumstances, and take steps to prevent their recurrence.

The difficulties in accommodating and providing for so many Yeomanry at Aldershot have already been fully explained to the House. The general officer commanding has personally dealt with these questions, and informs me that very few complaints were received. I believe that every effort has been made to cope with the difficulties, and that they were successfully and promptly dealt with, allowing for the circumstances that some 10,000 men have had to be passed through Aldershot and equipped during the last six weeks.

Well, Sir, I cannot say. I have referred many cases to Sir Redvers Buller. A large number were found to be incorrect; and I think it is much better to leave the matter in the hands of the general officer commanding.

Will the attention of the Commander-in-Chief be called to this matter?

Yes, Sir. I have forwarded the letters, but it has been found that many emanate from one Yeoman.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say why this class of recruits are called Yeomen, which is precisely what they are not?

Yeomen are mounted troops, and that is exactly the class of troops that these recruits are intended to be.

Rifle Ranges

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if any new rifle ranges have been completed since last September; and, if so, how many: and if any old rifle ranges have been closed; and, if so, bow many since that date.

The ranges at Parkhurst, in the Isle of Wight, and at Kilbride, in Ireland, have been completed since the date named. The only War Department range closed in the same period is the Les Landes range in Jersey, which was only used for field firing, and of which the lease has expired.

Salford Barracks

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can state who are the purchasers of the Salford Barracks, sold under the provisions of the Barracks Act of 1890; what is the amount realised by the sale; and to what purposes will the site and the purchase money respectively be applied.

The Salford Barracks were sold to the Corporation of Salford for £38,500. The site is, I understand, to be used by the corporation for the erection of artisans' dwellings. The purchase money has been applied to the purposes of the Barracks Act and the issues from the Consolidated Fund reduced accordingly.

West Indian Troops At St Helena

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether on the 2nd of January last a number of West Indian troops now stationed in St. Helena raided the town with clubs and razors tied to sticks; whether a number of the people were injured, several women beaten, and some children cut with the razors, and twelve of His Majesty's sailors injured; whether the West Indian soldiers broke out of barracks, and set their officers at defiance; whether when they were ordered to leave the town they refused, and threatened to blow up the town; and, if so, will he state what punishments have been inflicted; and whether the West Indian troops have been removed from St. Helena.

There was a quarrel between the sailors and the West Indian detachment, some men of which created disturbances; several had razors tied to sticks, and one is said to have had a club. Some few of the inhabitants were injured, but no women are reported to have been beaten or children cut; five sailors were injured. Several West Indian soldiers broke out of barracks, though they are not reported to have set their officers at defiance. They hesitated to march next morning, but eventually did so. Nothing is known of any threat to blow up the town. In consequence of the disturbance the detachment was moved at once to Sierra Leone, where fifteen men were tried by court-martial, six men were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment varying from six weeks to six months, seven were acquitted, and two are still in hospital awaiting trial.

With this experience will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that these regiments of coloured troops will not be moved into the more civilised portions of the Empire?

Ludgershall Barracks

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether the attention of the War Office has been directed to the insanitary condition of the village of Ludgershall, close to which large barracks are to be erected, and in which the War Office owns much property; if so, what steps it is proposed to take to remedy the present state of affairs.

The War Department property does not include the village of Ludgershall, and the new barracks will be two miles from the village and separated from it by a range of hills. The question of the improvement of Ludgershall has, however, not been lost sight of, and is under consideration.

Is it not the fact that the War Office is the lord of the manor of this village?

Milttia Pay

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether Militia non-commissioned officers and men will in future receive Army rates of pay and messing allowances when called out for preliminary drill or annual training.

Return—Navy (Fleets)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can say when the Return, Navy (Fleets), is likely to be circulated.

It is now in the proof stage, and its issue will be pressed on as quickly as possible.

Hms "Britannia"

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether any provision will be made for the time lost by the naval cadets on the "Britannia" by reason of their being sent home owing to the recent epidemic on board that ship: whether the fees paid for the term will be returned or accounted for; and whether he will take prompt measures to see that a suitable ship is provided for the naval cadets.

The time lost by the cadets on board H.M.S. "Britannia" will be made up later on, and there will, therefore, be no occasion for returning fees. The cadets have been sent home for three weeks, and efforts are being made to render the "Britannia" fit and healthy for continued use as a cadets' training ship until the new college now being erected on shore is available. In such case it will be unnecessary to provide other accommodation for them, but if the efforts to render the "Britannia" free from infection should fail in their effect special arrangements will, of course, be made.

Royal Visit To The Colonies— The "Ophir" — Engine - Room Staff And Crew

I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if ho will state the reasons for the arrangement by which the Royal Navy furnished the deck complement of the steamship "Ophir," while the owners provide the engine-room complement instead of the Royal Navy. I beg at the same time to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether lie will explain the arrangement made with the owners of the steamship "Ophir" as regards wages, victuals, clothing, and discipline of that part of the complement provided by the owners dining Admiralty charter.

It was considered that as the engineers of the Orient Company, accustomed to working the engines of the "Ophir," remained in charge of her machinery during her forthcoming voyage, the company should provide the whole of the engine-room staff. A subsequent decision has been come to to limit the staff provided by the company to the engineers and a few special ratings, the remainder being supplied by men of the Royal Navy. The portion of the crew of the "Ophir" not belonging to the Royal Navy have been entered under special conditions approved by Order in Council, which places them under the Naval Discipline Act, and they are paid the rates of pay agreed upon with the owners of the "Ophir," who victual the entire complement of the ship, including these men. Uniform is supplied at the cost of the Crown.

I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether, before Vote I of the Navy Estimates is proceeded with, he will cause to be issued to the House a Return showing the nature and number of officers, petty officers, and men, and their rates of pay respectively, of the engine-room staff' of the steamship "Ophir," provided by the owners during the Admiralty charter.

I shall be happy to cause such a Return to be issued if the hon. and gallant Member will move for it, or I will send him the statement direct, whichever he prefers.

Admiralty Coal Contracts

I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether the Admiralty entered into contracts last November for the supply of coals over 1901 at prices ranging from 19s. to 21s. per ton; and, if so, how many tons were contracted for.

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The quantity contracted for was about 400.000 tons.

How is it that the hon. Gentleman the other night told me the Admiralty never made contracts

We were discussing the excess quantities required, and not the minimum.

Expenditure On New Construction

I wish to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty a question of which I have given him private notice—whether the figures quoted in The Times to-day as to the amount of the expenditure on new construction, short of the Votes, are figures for the current year, or for some previous year.

The figures are not in respect to the current financial year. They are figures relating to the year ended March, 1900, and have already been dealt with in the statement of the, First Lord.

† See page 483.

Naval Ordnance Store Department

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether a Departmental Committee has been appointed at the Admiralty to investigate into and reorganise the affairs of the Naval Ordnance Store Department; and, if so, whether the Committee will be asked to report the advisability of officering the department by Naval officers, and whether the Committee's attention will be drawn to the many promises given to Secretary of State for India, but with the House of Commons by the Parliamentary Admiralty officials that the Admiralty would appoint Naval warrant officers to berths in this department as vacancies occurred.

Yes, a Committee has been appointed, and the matters referred to are being considered by them.

Indian Railway Stock

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he can state the cause for the continued refusal by the India Office and the Bank of England to explain to the 15,000 shareholders of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company the details and methods recently employed: in calculating the average rate of interest received and paid on Indian Government Stock in London during the two-year period under consideration; whether he is aware that the amount of stock referred to in this contract and by the Bank of England is about £120,000,000, but that by an oversight the Bank of England has omitted from the calculation about £100.000,000 stock, and only dealt with that proportion which was invested in during the two-year period; whether he is aware that this intrusion of the key-word "invested," instead of "received" is contrary to all precedent; and what steps will be taken to satisfy the shareholders of the Great Indian, the Bombay, and the Madras Railway Companies that the India Office itself feels a direct responsibility for the due completion of their contracts.

(1) The letter from the Bank of England dated the 9th November, 1900, which gives all the information, in my possession as to the methods employed in calculating the rate of interest, Was immediately communica ed to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company, and if the hon. Member likes to move for the correspondence in continuation of that already given to the House, I have no objection. (2, 3, and 4) The hon. Member is no doubt aware that, under the contract, the decision as to the rate of interest lay, not with the decision as to the Governor of the Bank of England; and that his decision, when challenged, was upheld by two courts of law. This appears to me to create a very strong presumption that it was a sound and proper decision; but, in any case, the Secretary of State is bound, like the company, to accept it and to act upon it. He has no option in the matter.

Coopers Hill College

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he will explain why Sir Charles Bernard's recommendation not to reappoint a separate salaried President, to Cooper's Hill College was not adopted; and whether he can inform the House, if this recommendation had been adopted, what annual saving would have resulted therefrom since 1895.

The recommendation made by Sir Charles Bernard was not ignored. On the next vacancy, in 1896, Colonel Pennyquick was appointed to the Presidency on the understanding that he should in addition discharge the duties of professor of engineering. But after two years experience he strongly urged that he ought to be relieved of his professional duties, and to this the Secretary of State in Council, on the advice of the Board of Visitors, finally agreed. The saving which resulted from the combination of the two offices was about £600 a year. The salary of the President is £1,000 a year.

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether the Board of Visitors recommended the dismissal of Mr. Hurst, accounts instructor; and, if not, who did so; and whether his successor has yet been appointed.

The Board of Visitors recommended that the proposal of the President for a change in the system of tuition in accounts should be adopted; and this involved the retirement of Mr. Hurst and the appointment of a lecturer who should be conversant with the system of the Indian Public Works Department. Put as there is no course of lectures on accounts in the summer term no fresh appointment has vet been made.

Well, I cannot find it in the Report. Then, Sir, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if he can state how many new teachers have been appointed to Cooper's Hill College, and how many more it is proposed to appoint under the Report of the Board of Visitors, dated 24th July, 1900; what will be the total sum of the salaries of all these new appointments; what was the total sum of the salaries of the teachers who have been dismissed; and what reduction in the yearly cost of the teaching staff will result therefrom.

The number of new teachers to be appointed is four, and their salaries will amount to £1,367 per annum. The salaries of the retiring professors and lecturers amounted to £3,087, showing a saving of £1,720. Against this must be set the proposed increases in the salaries of the remaining teachers, amounting to £300. The net saving in salaries is therefore £1,420 per annum.

Indian Famine Commission

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the evidence of 7th February before the Famine Commission of Mr. Lely, Commissioner in Gujarat, to the effect that, owing to the exhaustion of the soil, the fall in price of sugar and cotton, the disuse of the old custom of grain storage for home consumption, and the loss of 70 per cent, of their cattle, there has been a complete breakdown among the cultivators of Gujarat; and whether, seeing that Mr. Lely repeatedly urged a suspension of 15 per cent, of the revenues last year in Gujarat, he can state the grounds on which the Bombay Government refused to remit more than 20 per cent.; is he aware that owing to the force of circumstances only 28 per cent, could be collected; and can he explain why the proposed suspensions of revenue were nit earlier made known to the people. I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the evidence before the Famine Commission of Mr. Dalai, Famine Commissioner in Baroda, showing the benefit to the suffering cultivators of the wells constructed by the Baroda State in the Kadi district; and whether, with reference to Mr. Dalal's statement that the people of Kadi are less poor than those of Ahmedabad, he will consider the desirability of extending the benefits of this system to the neighbouring British district of Ahmedabad.

As the circumstances to which the lion. Member's questions refer are now being inquired into by a Commission in India, I must await the arrival of their Report before I can express any opinion on the subject.

New Indian Province

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he can state the area approximately, of that portion of the proposed new province situate beyond the present frontiers of His Majesty's Indian possessions, and stated to be as comprised in the political agencies of Dir, Swat, Chitral, the Khyber, the Kuram, Tochi, and Wano; and the estimated annual cost of the military occupation and political administration of these trans-frontier regions under the proposed scheme; and will the cost of maintenance be made an Imperial charge, this being a matter of Imperial defence.

The aggregate area of the present agencies will not be affected by the substitution for their control of the authority of the Government of India in the place of the authority of the Government of the Punjab. I have no estimate of their present extent. Until the details of the transfer are settled I cannot estimate the annual cost. The charges will continue to be borne, as they are at present, by the Government of India.

Punjab Administration

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India will the subtraction from the Punjab of its four western districts and placing them under the Political Department at Simla or Calcutta withdraw them and their populations from the jurisdiction of the Chief Court at Lahore and from the ordinary revenue and public works administration of the Punjab Government; and can he say if any dissents or opinions have been recorded pursuant to the Act of 1858, Sections 25, 24, in course of the correspondence and proceedings of the Secretary of State in Council during the working up of the scheme for organisation for the proposed new province; and whether such dissents or opinions will be placed before Parliament at an early date in accordance with Sections 54, 55, of the Act of 1858.

No final decision has been arrived at on the matters mentioned in the first part of the question. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative, and the Papers relating to the subject should be in the hands of the House in the course of a few hours.

China—Russia And Manchuria

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has yet received any confirmation in writing of the promise given orally to the British Ambassador in St. Petersburg that the occupation of Manchuria by the Russians is to lie neither virtual nor actual; and, if not, whether he expects to receive such confirmation; and it so, at what time.

The despatch from His Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburg reporting his conversation with the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs on the subject of the Russian occupation of Manchuria to which the hon. Member refers will be presented to Parliament at once. The text of this despatch was seen and approved by Count Lamsdorff at the end of last month.

My answer-to that is that the contents of the despatch were approved by Count Lamsdorff.

Crimean Loan Of 1855

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the negotiations with the Turkish Government concerning the Crimean Loan of 1855, to which he alluded in the debate on the Civil Service Estimates on 15th June of last year† have been concluded; and whether any arrangement has been arrived at for the conversion of the loan.

I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Warrington on the 14th of December last, which was to the effect that the negotiations were still suspended.

Trade Of Maceio And Pernambuco

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the Consular Report for 1899 on the state of trade in Maceio and Pernambuco has now been received by the Foreign Office, and when will it he published, if that has not been done yet.

The Consul has explained that his Report has been delayed in consequence of the difficulty experienced in obtaining the requisite statistical details; but that he hopes shortly to be able to furnish it.

Lead Oxide In Earthenware Glaze

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Foreign Office will take steps to stop the introduction into this country of any china or earthenware from other countries the glaze on which contains lead oxide in excess of the amount allowed to manufacturers in this country.

† See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxiv., page 246.

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can state what steps he proposes to take to prevent the sale of earthenware and china to the public described as leadless glazed, but the glaze upon which it is well known in many cases contains an appreciable quantity of lead oxide.

I understand my hon. friend to suggest fraudulent misdescription, and not danger to health. The ordinary law provides a remedy in such cases, and I do not feel called upon to take any steps in the matter.

Medical Witnesses' Expenses

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether lie will explain on what grounds medical witnesses in England and Wales are allowed only one guinea, per diem, while in Scotland they are paid two guineas, with further sum added for each case, and in Ireland the fee of one guinea only requires an attendance in court of three hours in the town of residence, and is changed to two guineas with travelling allowance in case of other towns; and whether he will authorise an inquiry into the matters, with a view to remedy the inequality of remuneration referred to.

I do not think the fees of medical witnesses can be touched without dealing at the same time with those of other witnesses, and this I am not prepared to do in view of the largely increased cost of prosecutions which might be the result of such a revision of the present scale.

Valuation Appeals

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if lie can say (1) how many appeals under the Valuation (Metropolis) Act, 1861), entered for hearing at the County of London? Quarter Sessions in the list of 1901 have been tried by the Court up to and in- cluding 23rd February, 1901; (2) how many of such appeals have been allowed and how many dismissed, and whether with or without costs in either case; (3) and whether the Court has reviewed its judgment in any of the above appeals; and, if so, with what result.

The figures arc, respectively (1) 82; (2) 76 allowed, 13 with, (63 without, costs; 6 dismissed, 5 with, I without, costs; (3) 1—original judgment affirmed.

New Police Buildings (Shep- Hekoess Walk)—Rehousing Of Persons Dispossessed

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the public authorities have purchased an area now covered by cottage property in Shepherdess Walk. City Road, and that no provision has been made, or is proposed to be made, for the rehousing of the persons of the working class thus displaced; and whether he will take1 steps to compel the provision of houses for these persons.

I think my hon. friend is misinformed. Only five houses have been acquired by the Metropolitan Police in the neighbourhood of Shepherdess Walk, and under Section 5 of the Metropolitan Police Act, 1886, from which the powers of purchase are derived, as under other Acts giving similar powers in London, the obligation, to rehouse does not arise unless twenty or more houses occupied by the labouring classes are taken.

Rehousing—Great Northern And City Railway

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Great Northern and City Railway Company have demolished, as a result of secret purchase by their contractors, dwelling-houses occupied by the poorer labouring classes in Poole Street, Wick-ham Street, and Wiltshire Row, Shore-ditch, and have thereby displaced about 250 persons of the working classes, whose work compels them to live in. the neigh- bourhood, without providing or proposing to provide any accommodation for the persons thus unhoused: and whether he proposes to take steps to compel the Great Northern and City Railway Company to rehouse persons of the working class whose dwellings the company purchases for the purpose of creating a depôt of the company.

I am informed by the Great Northern and City Railway Company that the facts are not as suggested in the first part of the question, but that the lands referred to have been openly acquired by the contractors working for the company for purposes of offices, yards, and so forth in connection with their works. If so, as the lands have not been acquired by the company, I have no such power to compel the provision of rehousing accommodation, as I might have, by statute if the houses were being purchased by the company under their Acts.

Rehousing—London And North Western Railway

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that Broad Street Buildings, Whitecross Place, Wilson Street, Finsbury, recently the property of the Land Security Company and occupied by 585 of the poorer labouring class, have now been transferred to the Chief Manager of the Estate Office of the London and North Western Railway Company, and the tenants given notice to quit; whether these buildings are in process of being cleared of tenants and demolished, and the land handed over vacant to the Railway Company to be used for the extension of that Railway Company's Broad Street Goods Station; whether his attention has been called to the fact that the acquisition of working class dwellings for this railway company's purposes through a secret agent enables the railway company to escape their statutory obligations in contravention of Standing Order 183A; and if he will give particulars of other purchases made by the London and North Western Railway Company in the same or a similar manner throughout the United Kingdom; and whether he will state the measures he has taken, if any to mitigate the hardships to the working class tenants concerned, and to prevent overcrowding in congested districts of the metropolis.

I am informed by the London and North Western Railway Company that the property referred to has not yet been transferred to them, but that they have entered into a conditional agreement to purchase it. The case appears to involve questions as to the rehousing of displaced labouring, class persons, with regard to which I am bound to say that I consider the attitude adopted generally by this company to be very unsatisfactory. Without answering the latter parts of the question in detail, I may say that the "whole matter is engaging my most serious consideration.

Police Grievances

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if in the event of grievances arising in any police force, county or borough, whether caused by matters of preferment, dissatisfaction over pay and allowances, time of service., or other legitimate cause for complaint, to what responsible officer of the Crown can these difficulties be referred.

County and borough police forces are by statute under the control of local authorities. The Secretary of State for the Home Department is the Minister most closely concerned, but he has no responsibility except in cases where the efficiency of a force is impaired, or where there is unsatisfactory administration of the pension fund; nor has he any power of direct intervention in matters of dispute between individual constables and the authorities under whom they serve.

Tea Lotteries

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the fact of several convictions which have recently taken place for the illegal retail sale of tea upon a species of lottery system, notably at Coventry. Blackburn, Bury (Lanes.), Handsworth, and Hull; and, seeing that similar illegal forms of trading, have existed within the metropolitan area for some years past without prosecutions being brought by the police, whether he will direct the attention of the Metropolitan Police authorities to any case brought under his notice forthwith with a view to bringing the offenders to justice.

The convictions referred to in the first paragraph of the question have not been brought specially to my notice. Sale-of-tea lotteries were begun in the Metropolis in 1895, and proceedings were promptly instituted, with the result that the defendants entered into an undertaking to discontinue such practices. Since that date no case has been brought to the notice of the Metropolitan Police.

Vaccination At Uethnal Green

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state how many prosecutions have been instituted by the vaccination officer of the borough of Bethnal Green since the passing of the Vaccination Act, 1898; (2) how many convictions were obtained; (3) and how many of the fines imposed remain unrecovered; (4) whether he is aware that most of the persons prosecuted were unable to defend themselves effectually owing to ignorance of the procedure provided under Section 2 of the aforementioned Act; and, if so (5), is he prepared to allow a remission of the fines imposed.

It would be impossible to give the information asked for in the first three queries without a search of the police court records or without reference to the guardians, and the work of obtaining the information would involve much time and labour. I have no reason to suppose that persons prosecuted under the Vaccination Acts in Bethnal Green have found any greater difficulty in defending themselves than persons similarly prosecuted in other places: but if the hon. Member will furnish me with full details of any case in which he thinks the defendant has suffered injustice I will inquire into it.

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that vaccination prosecutions in Bethnal Green and adjacent boroughs are being rigorously pursued against persons who have a conscientious objection to vaccination, and have resulted in convictions owing to the difficulty encountered by the accused persons of proving that their objection is based on a conscientious belief; and, seeing that in this respect and owing to loss of time and wages which is occasioned by the process of asserting their objection under Section 2 of the Vaccination Act, 1898, that Act does not give full relief to objectors, whether he purposes adopting any steps by which the operation of that Act might be rendered more easy and effective in future.

I am not myself aware of difficulties of the kind referred to in the first paragraph, of the question, and I should regret if any such difficulties were experienced. The answer to the second part of the question must, however, be in the negative.

Food Adulteration Prosecu- Tions Mistakes Of Public Analysts

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in several prosecutions recently against tradesmen for the alleged sale of adulterated articles, notably at Portsmouth and Hackney, it has been shown that the public analysts on whose statements action has been taken have been guilty of grave mistakes; and whether he can take any steps to prevent respectable tradesmen being unjustly summoned upon erroneous certificates.

I have communicated with the public analysts as regards the two instances referred to by my hon. friend. I find that certificates given by them in two cases were not upheld on reference to the Government Laboratory. The circumstances do not appear to show, however, that the analysts were open to blame-In one of the cases the analyst seems to have taken special care in the matter. I have no power to take any steps for the purpose mentioned in the last paragraph of the question, and I may say that, speaking generally, it appears to me that the tradesman is sufficiently protected by the power to have an analysis verified at Somerset House.

Unclaimed Moneys At The Bank Of England

On behalf of the lion-Member for North Hackney, I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can inform the House as to the amount of unclaimed dividends and other unclaimed moneys in the custody of the Bank of England; and whether there is any precedent for the application of such moneys to the public service, the Exchequer being liable to refund such moneys to proper claimants.

Various funds of the nature of unclaimed dividends in the hands of or under the control of Government have from time to time been applied to the public service, the Exchequer remaining liable to refund the money to any persons who may subsequently prove their claim. I am not aware of any-precedent for dealing in this manner with funds outside the purview of Government. At the present time unclaimed dividends on British Funds are under statute handed over by the Hank after ten years to the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt. Unclaimed dividends on India Stocks are similarly surrendered to the Indian Government. The amounts at present in the possession of the Bank of England are: British Funds, £34,575: India Stocks, £41,496. The amount of other unclaimed dividends in the possession of the Bank is inconsiderable. With regard to unclaimed money of private customers, the Bank is, of course, in the same position as other banks.

School Board Officials As Mem- Bers Of County Councils

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been called to the recent election to the London County Council of a schoolmaster who holds an appointment under the London School Board; whether it is permissible for a public official of the London School Board to use the time he should be devoting to his official duties for any other purpose than that for which he is paid by the ratepayers; and what steps he proposes to take.

No; my attention has not been called to the matter. The only regulation of the Board of Education bearing on the matter is to be found in Article 85 (e) of the Code.

But has he not ceased ipso facto to be an official of the London School Board?

Foot-And-Mouth Disease

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the reported discovery in France of a cure for foot-and-mouth disease; and if he will cause inquiries to be made on a subject of such great importance to the agricultural community.

The attention of the veterinary officers of the Board of Agriculture has been directed to the statements to which my hon. friend refers, and they will keep themselves informed of any further developments of the matter. I may say, however, that in view of the special characteristics of foot-and-mouth disease, it is not likely that the discovery of a remedy for it will lie of much assistance to the Department in keeping this country entirely clear from it, a result which I trust may soon be once again secured, as it was from 1887 to 1891, and again from 1895 to 1899.

Swine Fever

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is prepared to advise that compensation be given owners in case of deaths resulting from swine fever when such deaths are occasioned by the carelessness or incompetence of the veterinary surgeon employed by the Board of Agriculture.

The power to pay compensation in cases of swine fever only extends to swine slaughtered by order of the Board of Agriculture in the exercise of their powers under the Diseases of Animals Acts. Any complaints with regard to the conduct of veterinary surgeons employed by the Board would always be fully investigated and such action taken as the circumstances might require.

Election Petitions

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General whether his attention has been drawn to the misuse of the Election Petition Courts by persons, lawyers, and laymen, who to their own pecuniary advantage employ themselves in making serious but fictitious charges against Members of this House with impunity; and whether the law has any penalties for such conduct.

The procedure in the Election Petition Courts is no doubt capable of being abused, but I am not aware that this has been done for the sake of any pecuniary advantage. There is great difficulty in entirely obviating the danger of abuse without throwing obstacles in the way of recourse to the Courts in proper cases. I may refer my lion, friend to the Report of the recent Committee on Election Petitions in 1898.

Has the lion, and learned Gentleman considered the judgment of the judges in. the Cocker-mouth petition?

Electric Railways—Supposed Risk To Aluert Memorial, Etc

I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether he has considered the; risk to the Albert Memorial and the Albert Hall which may be caused by the proposed electric railway at Kensington; and whether he proposes to institute inquiries and to take action should the reports be unfavourable.

Yes, Sir. The matter is under careful consideration as regards the Albert Memorial, but for the Albert Hall I am not responsible. The Government are in communication with the promoters of the Bill, and any necessary precautions for the safety of the Memorial beyond those provided in the Bill will be insisted upon. There will, of course, be other Government interests to be protected.

Interior Ceylon Teas

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if his attention has been drawn to the fact that quantities of inferior Ceylon and other teas alleged to contain microbial products dangerous to health are being sold in bond in London at prices ranging below 4d. per pound; if the Customs officers have taken and analysed any samples of such teas, and with what results; and what amount has been seized and destroyed during the last twelve months; and if, in the interests of public health, he is willing to consent to an inquiry into the best methods of checking the sale of such unwholesome teas by determining some minimum standard of purity, and by securing a proper analysis of such teas before they are blended with other teas.

Since my hon. friend put his notice on the Paper, lie has been good enough to send me papers on the subject, and I should be obliged if he would postpone his question till Monday, to give me time for their consideration.

Registered Letters—Compensa- Tion

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been called to the statement and table of figures printed on the back of the envelopes made to enclose registered packets, that, subject to the conditions published in the Post Office Guide as to registration, compensation for loss or damage is given in respect of inland registered packets of all kinds according to the following table which includes a fee of 2d. to secure compensation limited to £5; and seeing that this statement may lead the public to believe that by paying the "2d. registration fee they are ensuring repayment in full up to £5, of money which has been registered but which is lost in course of post, instead of the £2 limited by the above-mentioned conditions, whether he will give instructions that on all future issues of such envelopes a clearer statement shall be printed of the amount of specie recoverable through registration in the post.

In view of the distinct reference to the conditions published in the Post Office Guide the Postmaster General thinks that no misapprehension ought to arise as regards the amount of compensation payable; but after careful consideration of the subject he has come to the conclusion that it will be safer to discontinue the table of rates now printed on the backs of the official registered letter envelopes, and merely to notify that compensation for loss or damage is given in respect of inland registered letters and packets subject to the limitations and conditions printed, in the Post Office Guide under the head of "Registration and Compensation."

Manchester Telephone Operators

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he can say what is going to be done with regard to the female operators in the telephone department of the General Post Office, Manchester, who were transferred to the General Post Office from the National Telephone, Company in 1897, with regard to an advance in their wages; and whether, seeing that they are all senior operators of from eight to fifteen years experience in telephone work, but have had no advance for three years, though juniors of three years experience are said to be receiving higher wages, and that various applications have been met with the statement that the question is under consideration, he could, if these statements be correct, conic to a decision in favour of an increase of wages.

In reply to the hon. Member I have to state that the Postmaster General is in. communication with the Treasury on the subject of the position and pay of the telephone operators at Manchester and elsewhere; and he hopes to be in a position to announce a decision very shortly.

Postal Telegraph Clerks' Association

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, having regard to the fact that the secretary of the metropolitan branch of the Postal Telegraph Clerks' Association applied for leave of absence to attend the annual business meeting and conference at Manchester on the 7th March, and that the postal officials took fourteen days to consider the application, and in view of past difficulties, whether the Postmaster General will direct that no obstacles are to be placed in the way of officials of trades unions in the Post Office performing the legitimate business of their organisation.

All facilities, consistent with the proper performance of the work of the department and with the proper discipline of the service, are allowed to officers of the department who app y to attend the annual meetings of the Postal Telegraph Clerks' Association and similar bodies, on the legitimate business of those bodies. The delay in according leave, complained of in the present case, was in part due to the fact that the officer concerned did not in the first instance provide efficient substitutes on his duty.

Infectious Disease At South Uist

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Secretary for Scotland is aware that, although it is stated in the Fourth Annual Report of the Local Government Board for Scotland (1898), page xxiii., that the Commissioner for the Local Government Board made an exhaustive inquiry into an outbreak of infectious disease in South Uist, it is true that the Commissioner refused to take the evidence of the clerk to the Parish Council of South Uist, who was the first person officially most conversant with the facts at issue; and, seeing that the parish council complained to the Lord Advocate and the Secretary for Scotland as well as to the First Lord of the Treasury of the misstatement of facts and refusal by the Commissioner to take evidence, whether any steps have been taken to inquire into or to rectify the statements complained of as misrepresentations by the parish council.

I am informed by the Local Government Board that they are not aware that their Commissioner ever declined to receive the evidence of the clerk to the parish council. On the contrary, the clerk to the parish council was cited to Lochboisdale with other witnesses but was unable to be present, being stormstaid at Castlebay. Any books and documents which the clerk might have produced were produced by the inspector of poor. It is not the intention of the Local Government Board to reopen the inquiry which they consider sufficient.

Treatment Of Pauper Children In Ireland

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Local Government Board for Ireland have issued an order compelling boards of guardians in Ireland to supply out-nursed children with clothing; whether he is aware that there are boards of guardians who out-nurse children, and make arrangements with the foster parents to clothe and rear these workhouse children with their own children, with the view of removing the taint or appearance of pauperism; whether he can say if it is the intention of the Local Government Board, under the new rule, to compel out-nursed workhouse children to wear poorhouse suits when attending schools which they attend: and whether he will request this rule to be withdrawn by the Local Government Board.

The order referred to in the first paragraph requires guardians to provide suitable and sufficient clothing for orphan and deserted children placed outside the workhouse with foster parents. So far from it being the intention of the Local Government Board to compel these children to wear pauper uniform, the order expressly requires that the clothing shall not be of such shape or colour as may denote connection with the workhouse; and, moreover, with a view to avoid uniformity in the clothing, it was further pointed out that particular care should be taken that the materials, shape, and colour should not be alike in all cases. The Board are not aware of any case in which foster parents arrange with guardians to clothe the children. Any such arrangement involving payment to the foster parents by the guardians would be contrary to the regulations.

Roscommon School Teachers' Fees

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that there are several schools in Roscommon district the teachers of which have not yet been paid equivalent for results fees, although the annual examinations were held in those schools early in December; and, seeing that the said equivalent for results should have been paid with teachers' ordinary salaries on 15th January, whether he can state when this money will be paid the teachers, and what is the cause of delay.

Some delay was occasioned, I understand, by the necessity for correspondence; but the equivalent for results fees is in course of payment to schools which were examined in December in this and other districts, and in nearly all cases payment has been actually made.

Live Stock In County Monaghan

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether lie is aware that the County Council of Monaghan, under The Technical and Agricultural Act, 1899, invited each district council in the county to formulate a scheme for the locality interested, that the Monaghan Rural and Urban District only allotted £130 for the improvement of live stock while Carrickmacross Rural District Council required £600 for this purpose, and that at a meeting of the Live Stock Committee, held in the town of Monaghan the scheme from Carrickmacross District Council was not considered, and that the Monaghan District scheme was made the basis for expenditure; whether he is aware that at the meeting of the Live Stock Committee in Monaghan, Mr. Cordon, of the Technical and Agricultural Department, stated that if £600 was carried instead of £260 the Department would not sanction it, which caused the members present to adopt the smaller sum; and will he say if Mr. Gordon had power to state the views of the Agricultural Department without consultation with that body, and if he will direct that a larger sum than £260 be spent on the improvement of live stock.

It was the Live Stock Committee of the Monaghan County Council who themeslves decided the amount to lie allocated from the local rates to the county live stock schemes. This amount, which the Department approved, makes, together with the grant from the. Department, a total of £520 applied to the improvement of live stock in the county Monaghan. Mr. Gordon, the Department's representative, did not interfere or advise the committee in fixing this amount, but he gave his opinion that the Department would not sanction a proposal which was made by the non-members that a sum of £600 should be applied from the local rates for the schemes in the Carrickmacross Rural District alone.

Ulster Winter Assizes

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, although it was originally promised that the Ulster winter assizes should be held in Armagh every fourth year, they have been held there only once; and whether, seeing that Armagh is as central, and in possession of as good railway and other accommodation, as Derry, Omagh, or Belfast, he will see that this grievance is redressed by the holding of winter assizes in Armagh.

A question similar to this was addressed to my right hon. friend the Attorney General by the lion. Member for East Mayo on Tuesday last. †. I have nothing to add to the reply given to that question.

Lough Neagh

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a large part of the district surrounding Lough Neagh has been flooded to such an extent during the past winter that in many of the houses of the inhabitants water for several weeks covered the floors to a considerable depth; and whether, seeing that epidemics of fevers and other like diseases have usually followed that state of matters in the past, he will direct the Local Government Inspector to visit and report upon the sanitary state of the district with a view to the adoption of measures to prevent such diseases in the district during the summer; whether his information shows that the drainage scheme planned and carried out by the Irish Board of Works has failed to provide the relief from flooding promised for it by their engineer; whether he is aware that the chief cost of the complete scheme of drainage has been assessed on and paid for by the tenant farmers of the district; and whether he will take immediate steps to have the drainage of the district for which the people have paid conflicted at the public expense.

The Local Government Board have received resolutions from local bodies to the effect that part of this district is subject to floods, but they have no information that epidemics of fever have resulted from such flooding. The works of the drainage district, which were completed in 1859, were entirely successful for the purposes sought to be effected for a number of years. The cost of the works in 1859 was charged in the

† See page 583 of this volume.
usual way on the interests of the proprietors. I am not in a position, without further inquiry, to state to what extent increased rents have been imposed on the tenants consequent upon the improvements. I am not prepared to introduce in the present session legislation similar to that introduced and subsequently withdrawn in 1889.

Irish Mayors And Commissions Of Assize

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the mayor of the city of Waterford is entitled, under charter of Charles I., to be included in the commission of assize for the city of Waterford; and whether he can give any explanation of the fact that the present mayor of the city has been excluded from the commission issued for the spring assizes this year.

With my right lion, friend's permission. I will reply to this question. I have not as yet been able to procure the patent to which the question refers. My impression is however, that it only qualified the mayor to sit as a member of the commission, not entitled him. I would refer the hon. Member to an answer given by me on the 20th of February last year to a question put by the hon. Member for East Clare for the explanation why the mayors of the different assize towns in Ireland have been omitted from the commission of assize.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will be kind enough to inform the present House of Commons the reason why these mayors who are qualified, if not entitled, to sit on these commissions, and have been so sitting from time immemorial, have been suddenly struck off?

I have already explained that they have not been struck off. Their names simply have not been included. The positions winch they occupy make them liable to be parties in litigation likely to come before the judges, and that is the reason why they have not been associated in the commission.

Killarney Lakes

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland whether he is aware that barbed wire fences have been erected by the Earl of Kenmare along the Ross Castle entrance to the Lakes of Killarney; and that a large number of visitors have complained of the existence of these barbed wire fences; and whether, having regard to these complaints, he will take steps to have these fences removed.

The fact is as stated in the first paragraph, though, so far as the police are aware, no complaints have been made by tourists of the existence of the barbed wire fences. It is permissible to place barbed wire on the fence of a public road unless it be in such a position as to amount to an obstruction. I am not aware whether the wire has been placed along the public road in the present instance, but in any case I am informed that it is the intention of Lord Kenmare's agent to remove the wire without delay.

Armagh Magistracy

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the number and religious beliefs of the resident magistrates in county Armagh.

The county Armagh is comprised in the districts of three resident magistrates, all of whom, I believe, are Protestants.

Irish School Inspectors

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will grant the Return respecting school inspectors in Ireland, notice for which stands on to-day's Paper.

The number of Inspectors of National Education in Ireland is eighty-six. A list of their names and various ranks is published in Thorn's Directory. I am inquiring whether a Return containing this information, supplemented by the dates of the appointments of the inspectors, should be published as a separate Parliamentary Paper, or whether it cannot be embodied in the Annual Reports of the Commissioners which are laid before Parliament. As at present advised, I am not prepared to consent to the Return in the form asked by the hon. Member.

Clin Industrial School

:I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to a resolution by the Board of Management of the Glin Industrial School in reference to the want of railway or steamship accommodation, to Glin, whereby the school board is put to expense in obtaining its supplies, which would be reduced if the steamboat plying between Limerick and Tarbert called at Glin; also is he aware of the hardship that the children from the various unions in said county undergo in travelling on outside cars to the school; and whether he will take steps to have the steamboat plying between Limerick and Tarbert call at Glin, and also have a light railway laid from Foynes to Tarbert viâ Shanagolden, Ballyhahill, and Glin, which would be a benefit to the public and render access to said industrial school easier.

The Waterford Steamship Company are willing that their steamer should call at Glin provided that certain conditions, which have been communicated to the Board of Management of the Industrial school, are fulfilled. There are no funds available for the construction of the railway suggested in the question.

Birr And Portumna Railway

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord? Lieutenant of Ireland whether, having regard to the fact that the Government have already consented to give a grant of £12,000 in aid of the reconstruction; of the Birr and Portumna Line, and that the International Railway Corporation have offered to spend £12,000 more in its reconstruction, if necessary, and also to equip and work the line, he will i allow the line to be re-opened.

As already stated by me, the proposals of the International Railway Corporation have been brought by the Irish Government before the Treasury, who did not see their way to hold out any expectation that they will consent to a grant of £12,000 in aid of the reconstruction of the line.

Longford Spring Assizes

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the address to the grand jury of county Longford at the spring assizes on 4he March, complimenting them on the entire absence from all serious crime of the county of Longford, and stating that it was a matter of the greatest satisfaction to find the general condition of the county so peaceful and orderly; and will he, in view of this fact, direct the police to discontinue all interference with the organisation of the United Irish League.

I have seen a newspaper report of the judge's address to the grand jury at Longford assizes on the 4th inst. The judge's observations, so far as I can gather, appear to have been based on the number of cases in which bills were submitted to the grand jury, and did not refer, as alleged, to "the entire absence from all serious crime of the county of Long-ford" The police do not interfere with the organisation of the United Irish League.

United Irish League At Ballinalee

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland will he explain by whose order County Inspector M'Dermott, with District Inspectors Rodwell and Millar, attended by 100 policemen armed with rifles, proceeded to Ballinalee on Sunday last to prevent the East Collumbkille fife and drum band from Playing outside the League rooms in Ballinalee, in which the North Longford executive of the United Irish League vas holding its monthly meeting; is he aware that these policemen kept following the band up and down the village of Ballinalee, and refused to allow them to stand for a moment at any house; can he explain what was the meaning of such conduct considering that the hand had come a long distance merely to exercise; whether he is aware that no public meeting of any kind was intended or attempted, and no person or persons were boycotted or in any way interfered with in the neighbourhood; and whether the county inspector ordered this display contrary to the advice and wish of his subordinate officers; and will an [inquiry be made into all the circumstances of the ease.

I have called for a detailed report dealing with some of the allegations contained in this question, and would prefer to postpone my reply until I have received the report. Perhaps the hon. Member will repeat the question on Monday.

Tenancy Of Irish Grazing Tracts

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that those in occupation of the grazing tracts in the congested districts of Ireland are only eleven months tenants, and therefore have no interest in the land, he will use his influence with the Congested Districts Board when contemplating the purchase of such lands, with a view to induce it to treat directly with tin; landlord and not with those eleven months tenants.

This question will be brought before the Congested Districts Board at its next meeting on the 15th inst., and I must ask the hon. Member to defer it, therefore, until after that date.

Irish Language In Irish Schools

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in order to enable Irish National teachers to meet the desire that at present exists for the teaching of the Irish language in Irish National schools, the Commissioners of National Education will establish classes for the teaching of Irish to teachers during the summer holidays, as they have already done in the case of manual instruction, and also to estab- lish Saturday or evening classes for the same purpose.

There are no funds at the disposal of the Commissioners for the purpose stated.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not a fact that the managers of schools in Ireland are at present unable to find teachers who can teach the Irish language, in consequence of the lack of funds?

I cannot by way of question and answer across the floor of the House debate a question which can be raised on the Estimates.

Could not the right lion. Gentleman suggest that a special Estimate should be put on for this purpose?

It is too late to suggest any addition to the Estimates for the present year.

Dublin Postal Staff

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether, as the scale of the male supervising force was increased at last revision, a proportionate increase will be granted to the female supervising officers of the Dublin staff; whether the Postmaster General will remedy the grievances of the Dublin female telegraphists, as numbers of them have been for years at their maxima, and are constantly performing supervising duties: whether the Postmaster General will, by increasing the number of female supervising appointments in the Dublin General Post Office, abolish the practice of female telegraphists supervising; whether the proposed increase in the Dublin female staff is to be made by giving appointments to telegraphists drafted from other offices; and whether it was in consequence of this drafting that no competitive examination was held in Dublin last December for female learners: and will the Postmaster General now have the proposed increase in the Dublin female staff supplied altogether from candidates chosen after open competitive examination, thus giving opportunities to candidates who have been preparing for these examinations.

The Postmaster General is not aware that the scales of salary for the male telegraph supervising staff at Dublin were increased at the last revision. The scales for the female supervising officers are those proper to their class at offices such as Dublin, and no reason is seen for increasing them. As regards any addition to the number of supervising appointments, this question will be dealt with on its merits in the revision now under consideration; but, as stated in the answer given on the 28th ultimo, the number of such appointments cannot be increased merely in order to afford promotion to telegraphists at the maximum of their scale. It was found necessary during the course of the year 1900, and pending the revision at Dublin, to provide by experienced assistance for the increase of work in the telegraph office; and a small number of telegraphists were, in these circumstances, transferred to Dublin from other offices, thus rendering a competitive examination in December, for female learners in Dublin, needless. It is proposed to make the transfer permanent in the case of any officer who satisfies the requirements of the post to be filled. It is necessary in order to provide for emergencies that such transfers should be occasionally made, and while the expedient is not resorted to unless in exceptional instances it is not possible to forego ifs use.

Irish Government Printing

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the printing required for the office of Clerk of the Crown and Peace in Ireland, not merely in connection with franchise and jurors' lists and Crown business, but also for the purposes of its equity business, is obtained at the expense of the local rates; and whether, seeing that the various fees paid by the public in connection with the latter business are lodged to the credit of the Treasury, the Lords Commis- sioners of His Majesty's Treasury will direct that the printing be supplied from the same source.

The hon. Member has been misinformed. No printing is required in connection with equity business, and all books so required are supplied by the Stationery Office, on application. Local rates bear no expenses in connection with such business.

The Royal Declaration Against Roman Catholicism

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he has taken through the usual channels any steps to ascertain if a Bill to modify the Royal Declaration would pass without serious opposition from any organised section of the House, and would thus facilitate instead of impeding public business; and whether his attention has been drawn to the numerous resolutions now being passed by public bodies against the idolatrous terms of the Royal Declaration.

This question is on precisely similar lines to many which have already appeared on the Paper, and which I have already answered. I have nothing to add to h e many statements I have already math to the House.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is going to bring in a Bill, and whether he has ascertained through the usual channels what time it would occupy to pass.

I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman has any right to ask me questions as to how or whence I derive my impressions as to the time to be taken up by any Bill.

I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman, but I should like him to give me some information on tin subject.

Will tin-right hon. Gentleman say whether he has received resolutions of protest against the idolatrous terms of the Declaration from the Limerick Corporation?

The New Coinage

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he will consider the propriety of postponing the issue of any new coinage having on it the head of the King until decimal coinage is introduced.

The new coinage must be settled in the course of the current year. I do not think that the country is prepared for any fundamental change such as the question suggests.

Electoral Anomalies—Irish Representation

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the fact that the Romford Division of Essex numbers no less than 33,000 electors, and is increasing I that number by about 5,000 per annum, and has only one representative, he will consider the advisability of permanently suspending two of the writs of Irish Members and issuing them to that portion, of the county of Essex comprised in the Romford Division.

Did the hon. Member before putting the question consult the Irish Members whom he has asked to back his Bills?

I am quite aware that my hon. friend's constituency is perhaps I he greatest of the many great anomalies which at present signalise our Parliamentary system. But I think that his method of dealing with those anomalies is somewhat crude. I do not think I can promise him legislation on those lines.

Roval Visit To The Colonies— Suggested Visit To India

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it would be possible to include in the course of the forthcoming tour of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York to the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of Canada a visit to the Empire of India, where the presence of the Heir to the Throne with his consort would be regarded as a most gracious compliment by the princes and peoples, and be productive of beneficent results similar to those which followed the memorable visit thirty years ago of His Majesty the King as Prince of Wales.

In answer to my hon. friend I have to say that the pressure upon the time of their Royal Highnesses is so great that it would be impossible, I am afraid, to carry out the scheme which he suggests.

Business Of The House

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman as to the business of the House, and especially with regard to two points—on what days he proposes to take the appointment of the Committee on the Civil List, and the statement of the Secretary of State for War on the Army Estimates. I would also ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it would not be desirable, seeing that that statement, if all things we hear are, true, will be of unusual complexity and importance, that the discussion should be postponed until Members have the opportunity of considering it in print.

As regards the Civil List, my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will bring forward his motion as the first Order on Monday next. The arrangement for to-morrow stands—namely, my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War will make his statement, with Mr. Speaker in the chair. I think the right hon. Gentleman's request that there should be an adjournment after the statement is made is reasonable, and I shall be glad to comply with it. The business to be taken after the statement will probably be the Army Estimates; and they will be taken also after the motion with regard to the Civil List is disposed of.

Suspension Op Members (5Th March)—Police In The House

I desire to ask by whose orders a body of police entered this House last Wednesday morning; under whose command the police were when inside the House; and whether since Oliver Cromwell entered the House with soldiers in 1653 there is any precedent for the entry of soldiers or police into the Commons Chamber for the purpose of forcibly removing lion, members of this House.

I addressed the question to you, Sir; but perhaps I ought to have addressed it to the Leader of the House.

I have no objection to answer it, though, strictly, it is not a question that ought to be addressed to me. The police entered this House by my orders. They were under the immediate control of Inspector Scautlebury. As to the historical question, I am afraid I have not made the necessary research.