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Questions

Volume 91: debated on Tuesday 19 March 1901

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South African War—Peace Negotiations With Boer Generals

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can now make a statement as to the present position of the pourparlers which it is alleged have been or are being conducted with General Botha, General De Wet, and possibly other generals, with reference to a cessation of active hostilities, as regards all or certain portions of the forces still opposing the British arms in South Africa. The following questions also appeared on the Paper:—

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can now give the result of the negotiations, reported to have been established with General Botha and other generals in South Africa, with reference to the cessation of active hostilities between all or certain portions of the forces still opposing the British arms in that country.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to give the House information as to the recent peace negotiations with the Boer generals.

General Botha has informed Lord Kitchener by letter that he is not disposed to recommend the terms of peace, which Lord Kitchener was instructed to offer him, to the earnest consideration of his Government. He adds that his Government and his chief officers entirely agree with his views. I propose to lay the Papers connected with the negotiations on the Table to-night.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what were the terms offered?

The hon. Member will find them in the Papers which I propose to lay.

Hospitals Commission—Payments To Commissioners

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he can state the amount of salary paid respectively to members of the Hospital Commission in addition to the amount allowed for personal expenses.

A sum of £1,250 was paid to each member of the Commission except the chairman.

New Army Pension Scheme

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can state when the pensions which the Government have promised and sketched the details of will be declared and paid to the widows and orphans of men who have perished in South Africa in the British ranks; and will the scheme apply to the widows and children of all men who have lost their lives in action, by accident, or in consequence of wounds or disease caused by service in the campaign.

The date will shortly be fixed by warrant. As regards the second paragraph, the scheme will apply to the widows and children of men on the married establishment—which includes mobilised Reservists, embodied Militiamen, Volunteers and Yeomen—who since October, 1899, have been killed in action, or died of wounds or injuries received, or of disease medically certified as contracted or commencing while on active service.

Warm Clothing For Returning Troops

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether be is aware that the private funds from which invalided soldiers returning home from South Africa have been supplied throughout the campaign with greatcoats and warm clothing are now exhausted, and that in consequence such soldiers are constantly returning without them; and whether he will undertake that such necessary clothing for the voyage will be supplied from Government sources.

The Clothing Regulations (paragraphs 425–430) fully pro vide for the issue of the necessary warm clothing for invalided soldiers. Under the orders of the general officer commanding at the port of embarkation general officers commanding Cape and Natal were instructed in June last to ensure compliance with these regulations. No reports have been received of men returning without proper warm clothing.

Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire how many invalided soldiers arrived by the "Simla" last week, and by the "Bavarian" a short time before, without any greatcoats?

Purchases Of Army Houses In Canada

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can explain why the agents of the Government, purchasing horses for the use of the Army in South Africa, have only purchased 3,738 in Canada as against 7,901 purchased in Australia, and"26,310 from the United States; and whether the Canadian Government have drawn the attention of His Majesty's Government to this matter.

*THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE
(Lord STANLEY, Lancashire, Westhoughton)

The purchase of horses in Canada was limited by the shortness of the season and the approach of the Canadian winter, and the prices of the horses and cobs were much higher than those paid for similar animals obtained in the United States and in Australia. Some correspondence has passed respecting this matter with the Agent General for Canada.

Is there any chance of remount depots being established in Canada?

Yes, it is hoped to establish a remount depot in Canada. The whole subject is now under consideration.

[No answer was given.]

In what way does the Canadian winter prevent the purchase of the horses?

We cannot purchase horses in winter and send them on a tropical passage to South Africa.

Yeomanry Training

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether be can state what period of training will be required for Yeomanry regiments this year: whether the date of coming out will be left to the discretion of colonels of respective regiments; whether training under canvas will be compulsory; and whether recruiting is to be practically unlimited up to a strength of 500 men per regiment.

As I have already explained to the House, an Army Order will shortly be published giving the necessary information.

Queen Victorias Funeral— Scottish Volunteers

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will state how many Volunteers came to London from Scotland on the invitation of the War Office for the purpose of attending the ceremonies on the occasion of the Queen's funeral on '2nd February last; and will he say how much was paid for their travelling expenses, food, and accommodation.

The numbers of Volunteers from Scotland amounted to twenty-four officers and 800 men. It is not possible to state the figures required by the second paragraph without a detailed examination of the various accounts.

Volunteer Sergeant-Majors' Pay

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War will he explain why the sergeant-majors of consolidated battalions of Volunteers with more than six companies at headquarters receive only the same rate of pay and allowances as sergeant-majors in charge of outlying companies of administrative battalions; and whether he will consider the propriety of either granting to the former an increased rate of pay, or of granting them the same rank and pay as warrant officers sergeant-majors in the Militia.

Volunteer corps of six companies and upwards are entitled to a regimental acting sergeant-major, who is selected from the permanent staff by the commanding officer of the corps and receives the pay of his rank and 6d. a day extra. This non-commissioned officer, whether in a consolidated or scattered battalion, is responsible for the duties of regimental sergeant-major, and his work is not confined to the particular company or companies at headquarters where he may be stationed. There is, accordingly, no reason for the differentiation of pay suggested.

Mark Iv Bullets Rejected

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will state how many Mark IV. bullets have been broken up since the commencement of the South African campaign; and in what respect they were useless.

The number of Mark IV. bullets broken up since the commencement of the war is about four and a half millions. Cartridges made with these bullets were. Tinder certain conditions, found to strip in the barrel. It was therefore undesirable to make these bullets up into cartridges.

Medical Arrangements At Shoeburyness

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that no provision exists in cases of illness among officers at Shoeburyness, there being no hospital, no arrangement for nurses, and not even a single member of the Army Medical Corps: whether he is aware that this week a young officer who had served in South Africa was taken ill with double pleurisy which resulted in double pneumonia, that he was left in his own quarters, where he died, and had it not been for his parents would have had no nurse or medical appliances; that recently in consequence of an officer developing scarlet fever, the whole batch of officers in that officer's quarter had to be put under tents; and whether immediate steps will be taken to provide a suitable hospital, nurses, and appliances at Shoeburyness for officers when taken ill there.

It has not been found possible to provide accommodation for hospital wards for officers at home stations except at Netley and Woolwich, and in special cases at Aldershot. Officers, except when suffering from wounds or illness from active service, are only admitted to these hospitals on the recommendation of a medical board. At Shoeburyness there are two medical officers. For the ease of pneumonia one. day and one night nurse were engaged from the beginning by the medical officer and remained to the last. As regards the case of scarlet fever some young officers residing in the same corridor were very properly removed. It does not appear a hardship that they were placed under canvas.

Can the right hon. Gentleman undertake that some accommodation should be provided for these severe cases, so that an officer need not die without any attention, as this young officer did?

The officer in question was attended by a proper medical officer, and by a day nurse and a night nurse, and I do not admit that in the officers' quarters proper attention is not given to officers who are ill.

Soldiers' Pensions—Case Of Patrick Guinan

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that an application for an increase of pension was received by the Secretary, Royal Hospital, Chelsea, on 26th ultimo, from Patrick Guinan, pensioner of the 55th Regiment of Foot, who had eleven years service from 1858 to 1869, of which nine years were in Africa and India; and, seeing that this man was discharged on account of debility from climatic causes, received a good conduct badge, is now in receipt of only 4d. per diem pension, and is more than sixty years of age and unable to work, whether his case will be considered with a view to an increase of his pension.

The application was received at Chelsea and the applicant was informed that he was receiving the full amount of pension to which he was entitled under the regulations. The man was discharged as unfit for further service owing to melancholia and this disease was not due to service, but was developed by intemperance. The ease is not one for further consideration.

Navy—Belleville Boilers

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can state the number and description of ships, now in course of construction for His Majesty's Navy, for which Belleville boilers will be retained on the ground that the work is so far advanced that any alteration of type of boiler would delay the completion of the ships; can he explain why this type of boiler is to be retained when the Boiler Committee cannot recommend it as the best adapted to the requirements of His Majesty's Navy, and definitely advise that in future ships these boilers be not fitted in any case; and will he give the total number of ships fitted with Belleville boilers, with number of engineers, artificers, and stokers on board of these ships.

The question of what ships now in course of construction and designed to receive Belleville boilers can be furnished with other types of boilers without delay is under the careful consideration of the Admiralty, but the necessary inquiries have not yet been completed. It is not proposed to retain the Belleville boiler in ships in which other boilers of a better type can be inserted without involving serious delay. The total number of ships fitted with Belleville boilers is as follows: Twenty-six vessels in commission or ready? for commissioning, and forty in the hands of the makers. The seagoing complements of the former class are:—120 chief or other engineer officers, 263 artificers, 2,995 stoker ratings. The seagoing complements of the other ships under construction are:—246 chief or other engineer officers, 533 artificers, 6,400 stoker ratings.

Royal Marines—Pension Regulations

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in view of the fact that non-commissioned officers and men of the Army are allowed to continue serving after completing twenty-one years service, and thereby increasing their pensions, the Admiralty are prepared to extend the same privilege to the Royal Marines, by adopting the principle laid down in the Royal Warrant (Army) Article 1164, so as to place them on an equal footing with the Army in respect to pension.

The question referred to by the hon. Member is at present under the consideration of the Admiralty, and the existing Regulations are being reviewed, but no decision has yet been arrived at.

China—Anolo-Russian Dispute At Tientsin

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House any information in regard to the reported seizure by Russia of land at Tientsin which is mortgaged to British bondholders.

I have little to add to my answer of the 15th March on this subject,* pending a settlement of the immediate difference by the military authorities on the spot. Sentries on both sides remain in their previous positions, with strict orders not to assume the aggressive. No disturbance is anticipated.

May I ask whether negotiations are proceeding, between the British and the Russian Governments with regard to this matter?.

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House the correct version of the incident arising from the dispute as to the railway siding at Tientsin, and especially whether the British officer in command has received, instructions from His Ma-

* See page 72.
jesty's Government, or from His Majesty's Minister at Peking, not to resist the seizure by Russian troops of the land necessary for the railway siding.

Anglo-German Agreement And Manchuria

On behalf of the hon. Member for North Roscommon, I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Anglo-German Agreement about China applies to Manchuria.

The first clause of the Anglo-German Agreement expresses the agreement of the two Powers to observe freedom of trade on the ports in the rivers and littoral of China wherever they can exercise influence. The second clause states that they will not make use of the present complication to obtain for themselves any territorial advantages in Chinese dominions, and will direct their policy towards maintaining undiminished the territorial condition of the Chinese Empire. This provision is without qualification.

Japan And China — Fo-Kien

On behalf of the hon. Member for North Roscommon, I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information to the effect that Japan has notified the Chinese Government that if the Manchurian Convention is signed Japan will insist on establishing a protectorate over the province of Fo-Kien.

Canton And Han-Kau Railway Concession

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the concession for the construction of a railway from Canton to Hankau, which had been obtained by an American syndicate, has been transferred by them to the Belgian syndicate which already held the concession for a railway from Peking to Hankau.

We are informed that the concession has not been transferred, and is still owned by the American company, but that the stock holders of the company have disposed of part of their holdings to the Belgian syndicate.

Alleged Turkish Excesses In Macedonia

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what information His Majesty's Government have as to the correctness or otherwise of the reports that Turkish soldiery have been committing excesses at the town of Uscub, in Macedonia, and the neighbourhood thereof; and what is the nearest place to this district at which a British Consul is stationed.

According to information received from His Majesty's Vice-Consul at Uscub, an encounter is reported to have taken place in January last at Ishtib, which is situated about forty-five miles to the south-east of Uscub, between Turkish troops and certain Bulgarians, who had barricaded themselves in a house to evade a search for arms, which was being conducted by the Turkish authorities. One gendarme and two Bulgarians are said to have lost their lives. Fifteen Bulgarians were subsequently arrested at the same place, and have been since sent to Uscub. We have no evidence which justifies us in describing these proceedings as excesses committed by the Turkish soldiery. A British Vice-Consul is permanently stationed at Uscub.

Bilbao Harbour—Loss Of The "Avlona"

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the recent loss of the steamship "Avlona," of Glasgow, owing to the insufficient lighting of the entrance to Bilbao Harbour; and will he consider the expediency of calling the attention of the Spanish authorities to the subject.

The answer to the first paragraph of the question is in the affirmative. The question of calling the attention of the Spanish authorities to the subject is under consideration.

Licensing Legislation

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will be able to I introduce his promised measure dealing with intemperance before Easter; and whether it will apply to the whole of the United Kingdom.

I am afraid that the answer to the first paragraph must be in the negative. As regards the second, I do not think that one Bill can deal with the whole of the United Kingdom. The Scotch and Irish licensing laws differ considerably from the English.

Child Drunkenness In Great Britain And Ireland

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can state the number of children between the ages of twelve and sixteen years of age who were arrested for drunkenness in England and Wales during the years 1899 and 1900.

I can only give the number of arrests which resulted in convictions—namely, in 1899, seventeen; twelve boys and five girls. The figures for 1900 are not yet complete.

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, if he can state the number of children between the ages of twelve and sixteen years of age arrested for drunkenness in Scotland during the year 1900.

I regret to say that I am informed by the Prison Commissioners for Scotland that it is not possible to give the hon. Member the information he desires without reference to the police authorities, but if he will renew his question in the course of ten days I shall undertake to let him have it.

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the number of children between the ages of twelve and sixteen years of age arrested for drunkenness in Ireland during the year 1900.

There were eight children within the limits of age mentioned convicted of drunkenness in Ireland in 1900. I am not aware how many arrests were made in that period; if my hon. friend desires information on that point it will be necessary to make local inquiries throughout Ireland, and this would occupy some little time.

Is there any evidence as to the houses at which the children got the drink?

[No answer was returned.]

Justices And The Oath Of Allegiance

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is any necessity for justices of the peace, who are also Members of Parliament and have as such already taken the Oath of Allegiance to His Majesty the King, to again take this Oath at quarter sessions before acting as justices of the peace.

I have already stated that I am advised that there is no necessity for magistrates to take any oath afresh in order to be able to continue to exercise their functions.

Convict Bennett—Letters To The Press

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a letter from the murderer Bennett, published in an evening newspaper of 18th March: whether convicted felons are allowed to communicate with the press, either directly or indirectly; and whether he will take steps to ensure that in future no prisoner, either before trial or after conviction, shall be able to communicate with the press.

Convicted prisoners are not allowed to communicate directly with the press, and such permission was in this case refused. It is impossible to prevent indirect communication.

Royal Naval Reserve—Enrolment Of Boys From Merchant Ships

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the number of boy sailors in merchant ships now enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve under Section 6 of the Mercantile Marine Fund Act, 1898; what amount in respect of light dues has been refunded to the owners of ships carrying boy sailors since the said Act came into force; and under what head of charge is this item brought in the Estimates.

*THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE
(Mr. HANBURY, Preston, for Mr. GERALD BALFOUR)

The number of boy sailors enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve from the 1st April, 1899, to the l0th instant was 730. The amount paid to owners of ships as rebate of light dues in respect of boys carried during the year from 1st April, 1899, to 31st March, 1900. was £621 8s. 10d. Payment for the current year is not due until the 31st instant. This item is provided for in the Naval Estimates Vote 7 (Royal Naval Reserve) sub-head (a).

Foot-And-Mouth Disease Regulations At Stowmarket

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, having regard to the immunity from foot-and-mouth, disease enjoyed by the petty sessional division of Stow-market, he will remove the restrictions now weighing so heavily upon the farmers residing in that division.

An Order was made on the 16th instant, altering the boundaries of the Suffolk Foot-and-Mouth Disease Scheduled District, which will no longer comprise the petty sessional division of Stow market. The Order comes into operation to-morrow.

Communication Between Lighthouses And Shore

I beg-to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet in a position to carry into effect the provision of Clause 2 (5) of the Mercantile Marine Fund Act, 1898, which requires that communications between lighthouses and the shore shall, as far as possible, be available for private messages at reasonable charges; whether the Departmental Committee appointed at the beginning of last year to consider this subject has made any report or recommendation; and whether, in the interest of passengers, sailors, shipowners, merchants, and underwriters he can hold out any hope of the establishment. in the near future, of reporting stations for passing vessels at central points on the more important trade routes such as the Fastnet, Tuskar. the Smalls, and Inistrahul.

My right hon. friend regrets that he is not in a position to give a definite reply to my hon. friend's question. The subject of making electrical communication with lighthouses available for private messages has presented and still presents many serious difficulties which are engaging the attention of the Departments concerned. My hon. friend may rest assured that the matter is not being lost sight of.

Great Eastern Railway— Preferential Rates For Foreign Produce

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will cause inquiries to be made by the Railway Department of the Board of Trade of the Great Eastern Railway Company respecting the through rates for foreign produce; and whether he will cause to be examined the rate book at Harwich which shows the charges for land carriage of foreign and native produce, and communicate to the House the results of these inquiries.

No, Sir; my right hon. friend cannot make such an inquiry as that suggested. If persons are aggrieved by preferential rates for foreign goods they should adopt their legal remedy. The hon. Member is no doubt aware of Section 27 of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888.

Education—Applications For Recognition Under The Higher Elementary Minute

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he can give the number of school departments on account of which application has been made to the Board of Education for recognition under the Higher Elementary Minute, and the number of such applications granted up to date.

Leaving out the application of the London School Board, which was for seventy-nine schools in block, some twenty-four applications have been received for the recognition of specific schools. Recognition has practically been given to a dozen schools, in some cases condi- tionally.

Board Schools In Stepney

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether, seeing that the site scheduled by the School Board in Arbour Square, Stepney, is directly opposite to the St. Thomas's Voluntary School, in which a number of places are available, he can explain why it has been decided to build a board school and destroy house Property on this spot.

So far as I am aware, it has not been decided to build a board school there.

Vacant School Places In Stepney

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he can give the number of board and voluntary schools in the school areas H, L, J, and K of the Tower Hamlets, and the number of school places at present required in each of these areas.

In Block H there are three board schools and one voluntary school, and a deficiency of 997 places; in Block L, two board schools and three voluntary schools, and a deficiency of 448 places; in Block 1, two board schools and two voluntary schools, and a deficiency of 102 places; and in Block K, one board school and one voluntary school, and no deficiency of school places.

New Code—Training College Examinations

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether, inasmuch as a first class in a training college is awarded only on the aggregate of marks obtained after examination in a very wide series of subjects, and a large number of subjects in the training college; curriculum are not essential for teachers in primary elementary schools; and seeing that many students of superior quality as teachers are lost to the profession because, though well qualified in essentials for work in a primary elementary school, they have not secured sufficient marks in the non-essentials to make up a first class aggregate, necessary for good appointment, he would consider the propriety of so far modifying the new Code as to make a first class obtainable by proficiency in those subjects, and those only, which are essential to teachers in primary schools, at same time giving further certificates for proficiency in other subjects as may seem desirable.

The Board of Education are now engaged in considering measures to encourage a variety of courses of instruction in different training colleges. Such measures would necessarily involve a corresponding variety in the scheme of examinations.

Coinage Of Crown Pieces

I beg to ask Mr. Chan- cellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the propriety of refraining from coining five shilling pieces in the new silver coinage.

THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
(Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN, Worcestershire, E.)

I am requested by my right hon. friend to state that, as at present advised, he does not think it advisable to discontinue the coinage of five shilling pieces.

Road Construction In The Island Of Mull

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he can explain why the Congested Districts Board of Scotland gave grants of £.375 and £113 towards the construction of two roads in the Island of Mull, seeing that these roads only lead to two farms and are of no use to the general public.

I am informed by the Congested Districts Board that the grants to the two roads referred to by the hon. Member were given on the recommendation of the District Committee as laid before the Board by the County Council. Both these bodies had an opportunity of considering the objections which were made to one of the roads, but adhered to their recommendations. The matter was then referred for the advice of the consulting engineer, who reported favourably, considering that the roads might form a useful part eventually of an extended scheme, and, further, give facilities for the erection of fishermen's holdings. In the circumstances, the Secretary for Scotland cannot accept the hon. Member's statement that the roads in question are of no use to the general public.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court— Absent Juryman

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Samuel Reid, a working mason, residing at Stevenston, Ayrshire, who was cited to attend the sheriff' court at Kilmarnock on 27th July last, and failed to attend: whether he is aware that the notice was not served owing to his having been absent from home in the course of his employment, leaving his house shut up; and as he is not a proprietor, and has no property, and his name does not appear in any roll save as a tenant, whether he is eligible as a juror; and whether, under the circumstances, the Lord Advocate can see his way to remit the fine of £6 1s. 1d. imposed, as Samuel Reid has a family of nine children, is in delicate health, and is dependent upon his wages.

I have made full inquiry into the matter brought to my notice by my hon. friend. I find it to be the fact that Samuel Reid's name is on the jury list, and that it had been placed there erroneously, as he is not qualified to act. But I also find that Reid was duly summoned and personally received the notice in ample time to have attended. It was his duty to attend; and, at least, it would have been proper for him to send explanations at the time of his failure to attend, which he did not do. He has not been treated unjustly. But in view of the man's circumstances as stated by my hon. friend, and of the fact that he was not qualified to act as a juror, I hope that an approach to Exchequer for the remission of the fine may be successful.

Scottish Congested Districts— Crofter Holdings

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if ho will state what balance was in hand on the 28th February last out of the money granted by Parliament for the purposes of the Congested Districts Board (Scotland); and will he say how much of the grant has been expended in the acquisition of land suitable for crofters and the extension of existing crofters' holdings.

I have already informed the hon. Member that particulars such as he asks for in this question will be found in the forthcoming Annual Report of the Congested Districts Board.

Holdings In The Island Of Lewis

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he will state the acreage of lands suitable for new holdings recently secured by the Congested Districts Board at Aignish, Gross, and Croir, Island of Lewis.

I am informed that no purchases have been as yet concluded in these districts.

Did the right hon. Gentleman say only yesterday that purchases had been made?

No; yesterday's question was whether efforts were being made to effect purchases. I answered that in the affirmative.

Road Construction In Scottish Congested Areas

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland if it is the practice of the Congested Districts Board of Scotland to accept, without inquiry, the decision arrived at by the district committees in regard to outlay for the construction of roads in the congested area.

Report Of The Congested Districts (Scotland) Rill

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if arrangements will be made for the Report of the Congested Districts Board (Scotland) to be in the hands of Members before the House goes into Committee of Supply on Civil Service Estimates.

The Third Report of the Congested Districts Board for Scotland will be issued as soon as possible after the 31st instant, and I will arrange that the Secretary for Scotland Vote will not be taken until it is in the hands of Members.

Will the right hon. Gentleman use his influence with the First Lord of the Treasury that this Vote shall not be closured?

[No answer was given.]

Salaries Of Irish National School Teachers

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that principal teachers in Irish national schools were, before 1st April, 1900, in consequence of insufficient attendance, receiving salaries prescribed for classes lower than those to which they respectively belonged; whether it is these salaries that have been taken into account in fixing the permanent salaries of such teachers; and, if so, whether it is the intention of the Commissioners to give every such teacher the full financial benefit of his classification, should the average attendance rise to prescribed standard, or should he be appointed to another school having an average attendance up to the required standard.

Before the 1st April, 1900, some teachers, owing to insufficient attendance at the schools, were receiving salaries lower than those attaching to the classes in which they were included, and in fixing the provisional salaries of such teachers the actual payments made to them were taken into account. The question of the future payment of such teachers is engaging the consideration of the Commissioners, who are in correspondence with the Treasury on the subject.

Irish National School Teachers Holidays

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in view of the fact that in the course of last year the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland received a memorial, signed by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cloyne and by the Roman Catholic clergymen who are managers of schools, and also from other bodies of clergymen who are managers all over Ireland, respecting the curtailment of the annual vacations to national teachers, whether he can state what action has been taken by the Commissioners thereon, and whether they intend to accede to the request of men. who have an interest in Irish education, and are intimately acquainted with its working.

I have referred this question to the Commissioners of, National Education, and have received from them a reply as follows: Several memorials, signed by managers of National Schools with respect to the new rule as to vacations were submitted to the Board during the past year, and in view of the fact that managers seemed to misunderstand the rule, an explanatory circular was prepared by order of the Commissioners and issued at Christmas last. No further action seemed to be required.

Irish National Education Office —Vacancies For Clerks

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state when the seven vacancies in second division clerkships in Irish National Education Office will be filled up; and whether some members of the abstracter, assistant clerks, class will be promoted to these vacancies, as they have complied with Treasury regulations by serving six years as abstracters.

A general re-organisation of different departments of the Education Office is in progress, and pending the completion, of this work it is proposed that no permanent appointments be made to fill the vacancies which now exist.

Irish Took Law Officers' Superannuations

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, considering the magnitude of the pension scheme contained in the Poor Law Superannuation (Ireland) Bill, now standing on the Order Book, he will take steps to inform himself, before the Second Reading, of the probable charge on local rates should the Bill become law, having regard to the operation of a similar pension scheme in England; and whether he will obtain an actuarial report from Mr. Finlaison. actuary of the National Debt Commissioners, or other expert as to the probable annual burden on the rates, in like manner as was done in 1890 when the Police Superannuation (Scotland) Bill was before Parliament.

I am informed that there would be considerable difficulty in ascertaining with any degree of accuracy the charge on local rates should; this Bill become law; I am making further inquiry into the matter, however. In answer to the second paragraph, I am not aware of the circumstances, under which Mr. Finlaison was employed, as alleged.

When will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position to give further information?

I am inquiring into the matter, and will make a further-statement before the Bill is taken.

County Down Constabulary

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to recent promotions to the position of acting sergeants in county Down, whether he will make personal inquiry I into the statement that the promotions have been made on their merits; and whether he will ask for a detailed explanation of the appointment of six non- Roman Catholics to one Roman Catholic in a county where the Roman Catholic constables outnumber those of all other denominations.

I have made personal inquiry and have received the assurance of the Inspector General that promotions in the constabulary in Down, as elsewhere, are strictly governed, not by considerations of religion, but of merit. I may mention that an examination of the records show that the religions of men serving in the force throughout Ireland on the 1st January last were as follows:—Head constables: Roman Catholics 170, Protestants 81; sergeants:: Roman Catholics 1.334, Protestants 535; acting sergeants: Roman Catholics 305, Protestants 118; constables: Roman Catholics 6.230, Protestants 2,147.

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the trouble he has taken. Will he kindly further ascertain why there has been only one Roman Catholic promotion as against six Protestants in this county?

I imagine it was because there were six Protestants fit and only one Roman Catholic.

Commissions Of Assize—Exclusion Of Irish Mayors

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland whether, seeing that chairmen of County and district councils in Ireland are, pursuant to statute, included in the commissions of the peace under which complaints brought by their respective councils are tried at petty sessions, he will follow this statutory precedent and reconsider his decision to exclude certain mayors of county boroughs from the commissions of assize on the ground only that the councils of those boroughs may be litigants under such commissions.

If the hon. Member will refer to my detailed answer to a question on this subject put to me by the hon. Member for East Clare on the 20th February of last year,* he will see that there is no real analogy between the cases he mentions in his question. The answer to the question now put is, therefore, in the negative.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the same principle applies to both, and that the difference is only one of degree?

Summary Jurisdiction—Case Of Mr Halpin

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland whether the Proceedings against Mr. Halpin, councillor for Clare, will be abandoned, as in the case of similar proceedings against Messrs. Lynch and M'Inerney.

Yes, Sir. I hope that the hon. Members opposite will give facilities to pass the Bill which is intended to assimilate the law of England and Ireland in this respect.

* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxix., page 587.

Land Purchase In County Wexford

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if, in view of the circumstance that land purchase is now stopped in county Wexford, to the inconvenience of a number of tenants who have arranged for the purchase of their holdings, he will expedite the inquiry which has been ordered to be held; and if he will state when he will be in a position to make a statement upon this subject, and also as to the intentions of the Government in regard to land purchase in Ireland generally.

The answer to the first paragraph is in the affirmative. The inquiry is being pressed with all possible despatch. In reply to the second paragraph, I must refer the hon. Member to the Leader of the House.

Valuations At Banteer, County Cork

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of a trader in Banteer, county Cork, the valuation of whose premises has been raised from £1 10s. to £10; whether he can say upon what principle the Commissioners of Valuation proceed in regard to valuation where the tenant makes improvements at his own expense; and was the local district council or poor law board consulted in regard to valuation of the premises; and, if not, can he say why this was not done.

The Commissioner of Valuation reports that prior to 1898 the trader referred to, presumably Mr. J. Sheehan, owned two small cottages in Banteer valued at fifteen shillings each. These were replaced by a substantial new house which was valued in that year at £10. If Mr. Sheehan considered this valuation excessive he could have appealed. The Valuation Acts do not require the commissioner to consult the local rating authorities.

Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to apply the English system of valuation to Ireland?

I have said more than once that there is no intention to interfere with the Irish system.

The Irish Estimates

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he can say when the Vote for the Local Government Board for Ireland will be taken, and if the Government will provide an early opportunity for discussing the case of the Wexford County Council v. The Local Government Board.

Of course, I shall be glad to take the Irish Estimates on any day that is most convenient to the Irish Members; but I may observe that before Easter there will be two opportunities at least on which it would be legitimate to raise the important question of "Wexford County Council v. The Local Government Board." Those occasions will be the Second and Third Readings of the Appropriation Bill.

The Coronation Oath

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the fact that there is no Church established by law in Ireland, the language of the Coronation Oath will also be referred to the Committee about to be appointed to consider that part of the King's Accession Oath offensive to Roman Catholics.

AYES.

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.Hartley, George C. T.Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)
Agnew, Sir Andrew NoelBathurst, Hon. Allen BenjaminChamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm
Aird, Sir JohnBeach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (BristolChamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r
Allhusen, Augustus Hy. EdenBentinck, Lord Henry C.Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry
Allsopp, Hon. GeorgeBignold, ArthurChapman, Edward
Archdale, Edward MervynBlundell, Colonel HenryChurchill, Winston Spencer
Arkwright, John StanhopeBoscawen, Arthur GriffithCochrane, Hn. Thomas H.A.E.
Arnold-Eorster, Hugh O.Boulnois, EdmundCohen, Benjamin Louis
Arrol, Sir WilliamBowles, Capt. H. E. (Middlesex)Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir EllisBrodrick, Rt. Hon. St. JohnColston, C. E. H. Athole
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. JohnBrookfield, Colonel MontaguCorbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)
Bailey, James (Walworth)Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)
Bain, Colonel James RobertBurdett-Coutts, W.Cranborne, Viscount
Baird, John George AlexanderCarson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)
Baldwin, AlfredCavendish, R. F (N. Lancs.)Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'rCavendish, Y.C. W.(Derbysh.)Cubitt, Hon. Henry

Coronation Oath, but, if my memory serves me lightly, there is nothing offensive to Roman Catholics in the Oath, though there does occur in the Oath a phrase that the King will uphold the Church as established by law in Ireland, The Oath, I think, ought to be referred to the Committee, as that phrase seems somewhat out of place.

Message From The Lords

PRESENCE OF THE SOVEREIGN IN PARLIAMENT—That they concur with the Commons in their Resolution, "That it is expedient that a Select Committee be appointed to join with a Committee of the Lords to consider the accommodation available in the House of Lords when the Sovereign is personally present in Parliament, and the advisability of substituting Westminster Hall on such an occasion for the House of Lords," as desired by this House.

Cremation Bill Lords

Read the first time; to be read a second time upon Friday, and to be printed. [Bill 101.]