Skip to main content

Commons Chamber

Volume 92: debated on Monday 1 April 1901

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

House Of Commons

Monday, 1st April, 1901.

Mr Speaker's Indisposition

The House being met, the Clerk Assistant at the Table informed the House of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker, owing to indisposition—

Whereupon the Chairman of Ways and Means came to the Table, and after Prayers, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Took The Oath

Two other Members took and subscribed the Oath.

Private Bill Business

Private Bills Lords

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the Bills comprised in the List reported by the Chairman of Ways and Means as intended to originate in the House of Lords, the Standing Orders have been complied with in the following case, viz.:—

Finchley and Hendon Tramways.

Provisional Order Bills (Standing Orders Applicable Thereto Complied With)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bill, referred on the First Reading thereof, the Standing Orders which are applicable thereto have been complied with, viz.:—

Drainage and Improvement of Lands (Ireland) Provisional Order Bill.

Ordered, That the Bill be read a second time to-morrow.

Private Bills Lords (Standing Orders Not Previously Inquired Into Complied With)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bills, originating in the Lords, and referred on the First Reading thereof, the Standing Orders not previously inquired into, and which are applicable thereto, have been complied with, viz.:—

Henry Diaper and Company (Delivery Warrants) Bill [Lords].

Ordered, That the Bill be read a second time.

Wolverhampton And Cannock Chase Railway Bill

As amended, considered; to be read the third time.

Great Central Railway Bill

Read a second time, and committed.

Metropolitan Railway Bill (By Order)

Read a second time, and committed.

London Underground Railways

Lords Message [26th March], as to the appointment of a Joint Committee on London Underground Railways, considered.

Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Resolution.—( The Chairman of Ways and Means.)

Morton Carr Drainage Bill

Order [27th March] that the Second Reading of the Morton Carr Drainage Bill be deferred till Friday, 19th April, read, and discharged; Bill withdrawn.—( Mr. Caldwell.)

Metropolitan Police Provisional Order Bill

Thames And Severn Provisional Order Bill

Read the third time, and passed.

Local Government (Ireland) Provisional Order (No 1)

Bill to confirm a Provisional Order of the Local Government Board for Ireland relating to the county and urban district of Carlow, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Attorney General for Ireland and Mr. Wyndham.

Local Government (Ireland) Provisional Order (No 1) Bill

"To confirm a Provisional Order of the Local Government Board for Ireland relating to the county and urban district of Carlow," presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 136.]

Railway, Etc, Bills

Copy ordered, "of Report by the Board of Trade upon all the Railway, Canal, Tramway, Harbour and Tidal Waters, Electricity, Gas, and Water Bills, and Provisional Orders of Session 1901."—( Mr. Gerald Balfour.)

Colwyn Bay And Colwyn Urban District Gas Bill

Petersfield And Selsey Gas Bill

Reported, with Amendments; Reports to lie upon the Table, and to be printed.

Private Bills (Group C)

Mr. Harwood reported from the Committee on Group C of Private Bills, That, for the convenience of parties, the Committee had adjourned till Tuesday, 23rd April, at Three of the clock.

Report to lie upon the Table.

Petitions

Agricultural Rates Act, 1896

Petition from Runcorn, in favour of re-enactment; to lie upon the Table.

Church Discipline

Petitions for alteration of Law, from Deptford and Worthing; to lie upon the Table.

Coal Mines (Employment) Bill

Petitions in favour, from Oxenford; Elphingstone; Ormiston; Stanley Main; Bowers (No. 1); Kippax; Wheldale; Lofthouse; Snydale (No. 2); Junction; Silkstone Altofts; Emley; Stourton Grange; Haigh Moor; Gawber; Mitchell's Main; Monckton Main; Houghton Main; Wombwell Main; Manvers (No. 2); Oaklands; Allhallows; Low Stubbin (No. 1); and Tibsholf Collieries; to lie upon the Table.

Elementary Education (Higher Grade And Evening Continuation Schools)

Petition from Pembrey, for alteration of Law; to lie upon the Table.

Indapur Taluka Of The Poona District—Revision Survey Settlement

Petition from inhabitants of Indapur Taluka, for inquiry into their condition, and into the Revision Survey Settlement of their district; to lie upon the Table.

Local Authorities Officers' Superannuation Bill

Petitions in favour, from Bangor; Durham; Hampton Wick; and Barton upon Irwell; to lie upon the Table.

Mines (Eight Hours) Bill

Petitions in favour, from Oxenford; Elphingstone; Ormiston; Snydale; Bowers (No. 1); Kippax; Wheldale; Lofthouse; Rothwell; Ardwarke Main; Junction; Snydale (No. 2); Silkstone, Altofts; Emley; Stourton Grange; Haigh Moor; Houghton Main; Wombwell Main; Monckton Main; Mitchell's Main; Low Stubbin (No. 1); Tibshelf; Manners (No. 2); and Oakland's Collieries; to lie upon the Table.

Sale Of Intoxicating Liquors To Children Bill

Petitions in favour, from Carnoustie; Leicester; Maryport; Wrenthorpe; Islington; Barnes; Selkirk; Appledore; Lancashire and Cheshire; Longsight; and Llanfyllin; to lie upon the Table.

Sale Of Intoxicating Liquors To Children (Scotland) Bill

Petitions in favour, from Garvald; Helmsdale; Lethnot; Monifieth (two); Broughty Ferry; Strathmartine; Maxwell; Mearns; Stornoway; Stirling; Edderton; Galashiels (six); Westerkirk; Maybole; Latheron; Meldrum; Fraserburgh; Selkirk; Grahamston; Selkirk (two); and Paisley; to lie upon the Table.

Returns, Reports, Etc

Marriages, Births, And Deaths (England)

Copy presented, of General Abstract of Marriages, Births, and Deaths regis- tered in England in the year 1900 [by Command]; to lie, upon the Table.

Diseases Of Animals Acts, 1894 And 1896

Copy presented, of an Order dated 25th March, 1901, prohibiting the landing of animals from the Republic of Chile [by Act]; to lie upon the Table.

British Museum

Return presented, relative thereto [ordered 8th March]; Mr. John Morley]; to lie upon the Table, and to be printed. [No. 113.]

Superannuations

Copy presented, of Treasury Minute, dated 22nd March, 1901, declaring that for the due and efficient discharge of the duties of the office of Junior Inspector, attached to the Elementary Branch of the Board of Education, professional or other peculiar qualifications not ordinarily to be acquired in the public service are required [by Act]; to lie upon the Table.

East India (Loans Raised In England)

Copy presented, of Return of all Loans raised in England, chargeable on the Revenues of India, outstanding at the commencement of the half-year ending on the 31st March, 1901 [by Act]; to lie upon the Table, and to be printed. [No. 114.]

1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10.11.12.13.14.
Name of Local Authority.Act of Parliament or Provisional Order.Area of supply.LoansTotal capital expended at end of year.Receipts during year.Expenditure on maintenane during year.Gross profit or loss before providing for interest and sinking fund, &c.Sinking fund.Reserve fund.Net profit or loss after providing for interest, sinking fund, &c.Percentage of net profit or loss on total capital expenditure.Price per Board of Trade unit.Amount of energy generated and sold.
Amount authorised.Amount borrowed.Amount repaid.Public lighting.Sale of energy, and other receipts.Profit.Loss.Provided during year.Total at end of year.Provided during year.Total at end of year.Profit.Loss.Profit.Loss.AuthorisedCharged.Generated (units).Sold (units).
—(Mr. Bartley).

South Africa

Copy presented, of letter from Commandant Louis Botha to Lord Kitchener, dated 13th February, 1901 [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.

Copy presented, of further correspondence relating to affairs in South Africa [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.

National Gallery (Purchase Of Adjacent Land) Bill

Ordered, That the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills do examine the National Gallery (Purchase of Adjacent Land) Bill, with respect to compliance with the Standing Orders relative to Private Bills.—( Mr. Akers Douglas.)

Light Railways Act, 1896

Return ordered, "showing the number of applications for Orders, and the number of Orders which have been passed by the Light Railway Commissioners, and confirmed by the Board of Trade, in each year since the passing of the Light Railways Act, 1896; and also the number and amount of the loans which the Treasury has agreed to advance in each year under Section 4, and of the special advances under Section

5."—( Mr. Bill.)

Electric Supply Undertakings (Local Authorities)

Return ordered, "relating to authorised Electricity Supply Undertakings in the United Kingdom belonging to Local Authorities for the year 1899, in the following form:—

Electric Supply Undertakings (Companies)

Return ordered, "relating to authorised Electricity Supply Undertakings in

1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10.11.12.13.14.15.16.
Name of Company.Act of Parliament of Provisional Order.Area of Supply.Total capital authorised at end of year.Total capital called up at end of year.Total borrowing powers.Total loan capital borrowed at end of year.Total capital expended at end of year.Receipts during year.Expenditure on maintenance during year.Reserve fund.Depreciation fund.Net profit or loss for year.Price per Board of Trade unit.Amount of energy and sold.Dividend on ordinary shares during year.
Public lighting.Sale of energy, and other receipts.Provided during year, and interest.Total at end of year.Provided during year, and interest.Total at end of year.Profit.Loss.Authorised.Charged.Un generated.Units sold.
—(Mr. Bartley.)

Navy And Marines

Return ordered, "of numbers of Commissioned Officers, Subordinate and Warrant Officers, Petty Officers, Men, and Boys of the Executive Branch, Engineer Branch, and other Branches of the Royal Navy, borne on the first day of April,

Executive Branch.Engineer Branch.Other Branches.Royal Marines.Grant Total
Commissioned Officers.Subordinate and Warrant Officers, including Master's Assistants and Cadets.Petty Officers.Men.Total.Commissioned Officers.Subordinate Officers, i.e., Engineer Students.Warrant Officers.Chief and other Engine Room artificers.Stokers.Total.Commissioned Officers.Subordinate and Warrant Officers, i.e., clerks, assistant clerks, and carpenters.Petty Officers.Men.Kroomen.Total.Commissioned Officers.Warrant Officers.Non-Commissioned Officers.Men.Total.
Petty Officers.Men.
—(Sir John Colomb.)

the United Kingdom belonging to Companies for the year 1899, in the following form:—

1900, excluding Pensioners and Reserves; and a similar Return of the numbers of the Commissioned, Warrant, and Non-commissioned Officers and Men of the Royal Marine Forces, in the same form as that of Parliamentary Paper, No. 288, of Session 1898:—

Government Departments Securities

Return ordered, "of the amounts of British Government Securities held by the several Government Departments

£2¾ per Cent. Consols.£2¾ per Cents. (1905).£2½ per Cents.Local Loans £3 per Cent. Stock.Guaranteed Land Stock.War Stock and Bonds.Other Securities.
Annuities for terms of years.Local Loans Bonds.Exchequer Bonds and Treasury Bills.
—(Mr. Austen Chamberlain.)

Return presented accordingly; to lie upon the Table, and to be printed. [No; 115.]

Questions

South Africa—Jameson Raid—Chartered Company's Position

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can now inform the House what action he intends taking against the Chartered Company in respect of the claim of the late Transvaal Government for the Jameson Raid.

His Majesty's Government have taken legal opinion and have been advised that the right to exact reparation for any damage caused to the South African Republic by the raid has not passed to His Majesty's Government as the result of the conquest and annexation of the State; and that there is no legal liability on the part of the Chartered Company to pay to His Majesty's Government, as representing the Government of the late South African Republic, any compensation in respect of the raid. In view of this opinion His Majesty's (Government are not aware of any steps

and other Public Offices on the 31st day of March, 1901, specifying whether held in England or Ireland (in continuation of Parliamentary Paper, No. 189, of Session 1900):—

that can be taken by them in respect of the claim of the late Transvaal Government.

Is not one leading member of the Chartered Company the son-in-law of His Majesty?

Did not the Chartered Company say that they were prepared to pay for the Jameson Raid?

I should be sorry to answer the question in quite such general terms; but the Chartered Company did undertake that if the claim of the South African Republic were submitted to arbitration they would be content to accept the award, subject, of course, to a fair reference.

Finally, Sir, cannot the right hon. Gentleman give us a little more information to satisfy our minds that there is no claim?

No, Sir; I have given the legal opinion which the Government have received, and I cannot go beyond that.

[No answer was returned.]

Swaziland—Military Movements

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether a Boer commando is now threatening Swaziland, and whether His Majesty's Government will afford military support to the Swazis in resisting invasion.

In answer to the first question I have to say that I am not aware that this is the case, but replying to the second, I may say that the question of any movement of troops must rest with Lord Kitchener.

Swaziland—Proposed British Protectorate

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government have decided to accept the petition of the Swazi Queen Regent and Council for the protection of the British Government.

Sir Alfred Milner has been asked to inform the Swazi Queen that the Swazis should keep quiet as long as the war lasts and behave peacefully, and that at the end of the war it will be remembered that they desire to live under British protection.

Is that answer to be taken as a promise to take the Swazis under protection?

Netherlands Railway Company

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can now state to the House the attitude of the British Government towards the Netherlands Railway Company in respect of their railways in the Transvaal Colony.

I have nothing at present to add to my reply to the hon. Member of the 25th of February,† and no statement can be made till the Concessions Commission have reported.

† See Debates, Vol. lxxxix., page 1018.

Imperial Yeomanry—Recruits For South African Constabulary

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the fact that a number of men belonging to the Imperial Yeomanry were asked in June or beginning of July last, and on many occasions since, to volunteer for service in the South. African Constabulary, and that these men were accepted for service, but not allowed to join owing to the exigencies of the war; whether, seeing that the troopers of the South African Constabulary are divided into first, second, and third class troopers, can he say into which class the members of the Imperial Yeomanry will be enrolled when allowed by the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa to join, and whether such members of the Imperial Yeomanry as have been promoted to non-commissioned rank will be allowed to retain their rank on joining the South African Constabulary; and whether the service of these men as Imperial Yeomanry will count from the date of their volunteering for the South African Constabulary towards their pension at the end of their service.

I have no information on the subject referred to in the first part of the hon. Member's question, but I will inquire. The classification of men who join the South African Constabulary is a matter for the Inspector General, with whose discretion it is not desirable to interfere. As the Constabulary is enlisted for short periods only, it is not proposed to grant superannuation allowances to men who have served in the force.

Peace Negotiations With General Botha

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether the text of the letter from Commandant Botha to Lord Kitchener, which has been telegraphed for, has now reached this country, and if it can be laid upon the Table of the House; and whether Lord Kitchener has been asked if he can give fuller information than is at present in the possession of this House of the reasons to which General Botha alluded as not surprising to Lord Kitchener of the Boer non-acceptance of terms; and, if so, what is the information received, or, if this request has not been made to Lord Kitchener, if His Majesty's Government will make it.

I can lay the original letter, which has now been received. I am awaiting a despatch from Lord Kitchener as to the second part of the question. He will no doubt give us what information is in his power.

Were any instructions sent by the Government to Lord Kitchener as guidance on the salient points of the negotiations before the interview between Lord Kitchener and General Botha took place?

Lord Kitcheners Appeal For Comforts For The Troops

I beg to ask my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War a question of which I have given him private notice, in reference to Lord Kitchener's appeal for comforts for the troops in South Africa, and I am sorry that I omitted by mishap to put it on the Paper. It is whether the Government cannot make distinction between articles of clothing which are needed for the health and comfort of the troops and the other articles designated in Lord Kitchener's appeal, and which are more in the nature of luxuries, and whether the Government can undertake to provide the required articles of clothing themselves as early as possible.

I am obliged to my hon. friend for giving me the opportunity of clearing up some misconceptions which have arisen as to the recent demand for comforts and other articles for the troops in South Africa. On 3rd March, in consequence of many inquiries from friends and relatives of soldiers, I telegraphed to Lord Kitchener asking whether winter comforts would be acceptable, and he replied on the 17th that they would now be gladly received. It seems to have been inferred from the public notice that His Majesty's Government did not recognise the duty of providing the troops with warm clothing. This is an entire error. The Government undertake to provide and to maintain for the troops the following articles of warm clothing without expense to the man when they need replacement:—Two serge suits, two flannel shirts, two pairs woollen drawers, two flannel body belts, one woollen cardigan or jersey, one greatcoat or cloak, two pairs socks, one knitted woollen cap, two pairs of puttees; also, at discretion of the General Officer Commanding, one coat termed "warm British." The following articles were in store in South Africa or on the sea (apart from supplies to troops going out) on February 10th:—Greatcoats, 35,500; serge trousers, 111,000; jerseys and cardigans, 243,000; flannel shirts, 86,000; woollen and cotton drawers, 111,000; flannel belts, 191,000; woollen caps, 121,000; pairs of socks, 591,000; puttees, pairs, 378,000. Shipped since:—30,000 greatcoats; 30,000 jerseys and cardigans; 80,000 flannel shirts; 64,000 woollen and cotton drawers; 65,000 pairs of socks. The House will, I think, agree that, while the Government are fully prepared to maintain their own issues of warm clothing, there can be no objection to private individuals who desire to put extras or luxuries at the disposal of different regiments being encouraged to do so. Whatever may be the regulations, such generous gifts are always appreciated. I have no doubt, owing to the vast field of the operations, cases of hardship occur owing to the difficulty of transit, but we will do all we can to avoid it.

Field Allowances

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether the amount of the field allowance granted to British troops serving in South Africa was doubled when they passed from British territory into the enemy's country; and whether, having regard to the arduous services rendered by them and the hardships they endured, the troops besieged in Ladysmith and Mate king will he granted field allowance at the higher rate for the period of the siege.

I think the hon. Member's question is intended to refer, not to the field allowance, which is not affected by place, but to the allowance granted in view of the high price of provisions in South Africa. This was given at the rate of 1s. 6d. a day up to the 31st March, 1900—except in Zululand, where the rate was 3s. From the 1st April, 1900, the 3s. rate was made universal throughout South Africa. I do not think that it would be possible to concede the higher rate at an earlier date to the troops serving in particular places.

Imperial Yeomanry Officers—Honorary Rank

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that the officers of the City Imperial Volunteers have been permitted to retain their Army rank, the same privilege will be allowed to Imperial Yeomanry Officers.

Army Reorganisation

May I ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he can now redeem his promise with reference to placing us in possession of the Resolution on Army Reorganisation before Easter?

I hope to lay it on the Table before the night is out.

Officers' Pensions

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether officers who have retired from the Army with a gratuity before having completed fifteen years of service, and have since, in accordance with the Army Regulations, been on active service with Militia Regiments in South Africa, will be allowed to count such service towards the completion of their fifteen years service; if so, whether, in the event of their repaying the gratuity received, they will be entitled to receive a pension at the usual rates in lieu of such gratuity, and whether interest upon the gratuity repaid will be payable.

The reply to the question is in the affirmative, but each case must be considered on its merits as to the exact amount to which an officer will be entitled.

Pensions—Case Of Private Woolley

I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office, having regard to the fact that the Paymaster General has stated that since the commencement of the South African Campaign the Commissioners of Chelsea Hospital have in nearly every case granted the maximum pension of half a crown per day to soldiers wounded or broken by disease, whether he will recommend further consideration of the case of Private Woolley, of Leicester, who has been certified by the Army medical authorities to be quite helpless, and hopelessly broken, but is allowed one shilling per day on which to maintain a wife and family.

No, Sir. This is not a case which deserves reconsideration. As I previously informed the hon. Member, this man's breakdown of health has been influenced by his own misconduct. He was addicted to drink and reported for other offences with the Colours, and while in the Reserve was three times convicted by the Civil power for drunkenness and assault.

Third Battalion Gordon Highlanders

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, in view of the fact that the 3rd battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, which has been embodied since 6th December, 1899, signified in August, through the General Officer Commanding, its wish to be disembodied, whether he will reconsider his decision to retain the services of this battalion for the present.

This battalion stated that they wished to be disembodied, but that if they were put into barracks they would prefer to remain embodied They were accordingly put into barracks and there is no present intention of disembodying them.

Return Of Troops From The Front—Scottish Yeomanry

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will state whether arrangements have yet been made for the return of the Scottish Yeomanry to this country; and if not, can he say when they are likely to be relieved.

Fourth Leinster Regiment

*

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can inform the House when the 4th Leinster Regiment, stationed at Dover, will be disembodied.

I am afraid I am not in a position at present to say when this battalion will be disembodied.

Period Of Training In The Ranks

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will state what is the official estimate of time necessary, reckoning from date of enlistment, to fully train a held artillery gunner and driver, a cavalry trooper, and an infantry private respectively.

All estimates as to the period of training depend upon the conditions and the station. I do not think any advantage would be gained by laying down hard-and-fast rules.

asked if there were no means of estimating the length of time required to train soldiers.

Ages Of Recruits

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, with reference to ascertaining the correct ages of recruits and the evils of the existing system, if he will state in what respect the oath of allegiance taken by the recruit on attestation is an oath as to correctness of his ago, and if he will consider the abvisability of altering the oath so as to make it refer more directly to this point, and at the same time include among punishable offences any false statements of age on his part; can he state why more care is not exercised by the Army medical officers in their duty in this respect, and whether in future neglect as to this on their part will be dealt with more severely; and who was the medical officer responsible for the enlisting as a full-grown private soldier of George H. Over, who was only fourteen years old; and whether the officer has been reprimanded.

The oath of allegiance has nothing whatever to do with the matter. On attestation the soldier signs his name to a declaration that his answers to various questions are true, amongst which is a question as to age. I am advised that a conviction for making a false statement as to age cannot be obtained. There is no reason to suppose that medical officers are careless on the point of age, and in this particular case the officer does not appear to have been to blame, as the recruit was well grown.

Can the noble Lord explain his statement in answer to another question that the age given by a recruit on oath was held to be true age for reckoning army service? The noble lord distinctly said that, and—

*

Naval Mobilisation

*

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Board of Admiralty have considered the expediency of ordering at some future time an unexpected mobilisation of certain portions of the fleet.

*

The question of mobilising a por- tion of the Fleet has been considered, but it has hitherto been the opinion of the Admiralty that to mobilise a portion of the Fleet only would be undesirable, and that, if it were accomplished, the results would be misleading.

Second Class Naval Reserve—Pension Claims

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if the Government will take into favourable consideration the claims of 2nd Class Naval Reserve men who have served for long periods to a certain amount of pension.

*

There is no intention of putting the 2nd Class Reserve men of the old system on an equality with the first-class men as regards pension; but under the rules established in 1897 any men in the former class who are under thirty-two years of ago and will qualify for promotion to the higher class by volunteering for naval training may earn a pension at the age of sixty.

Canton Operations Of 1857–8—Distribution Of Booty

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he can state the nature and description of the various properties called the Canton Booty, captured at Canton by the officers, crews, and Marines of Her late Majesty's vessels during the China War of 1857 and 1858; how much of the proceeds or value of the same, amounting to £28,848 2s. 7d., has been paid to such officers, crews, and Marines; what part of the sum of £28,848 2s. 7d. represents the value of treasure captured in Commander Yeh's palace on the 28th–29th December, 1857; the total number of persons entitled to share in the above sum; what was the share of the same receivable by the officer then in command of Her late Majesty's Fleet, and by an able-bodied seaman, and by a private of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, respectively, under the rules then in force; and will he give the numbers and dates of the official correspondence on the subject from December, 1857, to 1863, and state whether there is any reference therein to a fund called the Seymour Fund.

*

The booty was seized in the Imperial Treasury, in the Yamen where Yeh was taken, and in the Government magazines. It consisted of Sycee silver and gold, lead and brass guns, and sulphur and saltpetre. Of the net proceeds of the sale of the above the amount awarded to the Navy was £28,848 2s. 7d.; the amount paid, £27,707 9s. 4d.; balance remaining, £1,140 13s. 3d. There is nothing in the report of sale to show how much of the above sum represents the value of the booty captured in the Yamen. The total number of persons entitled to share in the award was 5,139; the shares of the ranks specified in the question being: Naval commander-in-chief, £1,142 8s.; able seaman, £2 14s. 1d.; private Royal Marines, £2 14s. 1d. With regard to the question in the last paragraph, there is no reference in the correspondence to any "Seymour Fund"; the Papers on the subject of the booty can be inspected at the Admiralty if desired.

Indian Staff Corps—Promotion

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the number of petitions from officers of the Indian Staff Corps which have been presented to this House, referring to the disadvantage to which such officers are subjected by being constantly superseded by their juniors in the British Army, and praying for an acceleration of promotion which may tend to reduce the grievance; and seeing that Lord Roberts, when Commander-in-Chief in India, recognised that there was a grievance and suggested a remedy, whether an effort will be now made to readjust the rules for staff corps promotion.

*

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the 600 petitions presented to the House of Commons from officers of the Indian Staff Corps praying for an accelerated promotion; and whether, considering that the present conditions were fixed thirty or forty years ago, that promotion is now slower in the Indian Staff Corps than in the British Army, and that officers in the Staff Corps are in cones- quence superseded upon active service upon the frontier by their juniors in the British Army, he will accede to the prayer of the petitioners.

I stated last December in this House that the matter to which this question refers was under consideration in India, and that some months must elapse before any decision could be arrived at. To this I am afraid I can add nothing at present.

Indian Census

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Census Returns relating to the famine districts in India have yet been completed; and, if so, whether they show a decrease as compared with the Returns for the same districts in the census of ton years ago; and if be can inform the House of the amount of the decrease in British territory and the Native States respectively, and how far that decrease is to be attributed to the prevalence of plague and famine.

The preliminary information about the census which I have received by telegraph from India is not sufficient to enable me to give any answer as to the effects of plague and famine. In the British Provinces, taken as a whole, there is an increase of nearly ten millions; in the Native States there is a decrease of about three millions since 1891.

Public Works Department—Civil Engineers' Memorials

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he will now lay upon the Table the Government of India's Despatch No. 10, P.W., dated 30th March, 1899, covering memorials from Mr. A. S. Russell and others.

My hon. friend put a similar question to me with regard to this letter from India on the 8th May of last year.* I then stated that a correspondence on the subject to which it referred was proceeding, and that I was

* See Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxii., page 1093.
unable to fix any date for the publication of Papers. I am afraid I can as yet add nothing to my former reply.

Indian Countervailing Duties On Imported Bounty-Fed Sugar

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he has any further information to give the House as to the results which have accrued from the operation of the countervailing duties imposed in India in March, 1899, on imports on bounty-fed sugar; and whether he has any statistics showing increase in cultivation or refining of sugar.

The countervailing duties have been so lately introduced, and recent seasons have been so abnormal, that it is impossible to give any trustworthy account of the effect of this measure upon sugar production in India, So far there has been no increase in cultivation or in the refining of sugar in India.

Ashanti—Desertions From The West African Regiment At Coomassie

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information to give the House with respect to the desertion of men of the West African Regiment from Coomassie; how many soldiers remain there, and whether he anticipates any disturbance.

Between 400 and 500 men of the West African Regiment, which is a regiment raised in Sierra Leone and employed temporarily during the disturbance in Ashanti, deserted from Coomassie and proceeded to Cape Coast. The Governor reports that they have done no damage, and that he is sending them to Sierra Leone. They were to have been sent back in January to Sierra Leone, but the half battalion of the Central African Regiment by which they were to have been relieved was detained at the Gambia. The operations on the Gambia have now been finished, and the Central African Regiment is proceeding to the Gold Coast. Coomassie is garrisoned by the Gold Coast Constabulary, but the exact strength of the garrison is not known. I have not heard of any disturbance among the tribes round Coomassie.

Is there any allegation of a grievance on the part of the men who mutinied?

Certainly. The grievance of the men of the West African Regiment is that they were not sent home to Sierra Leone at the time at which it was understood they were to be released, and the reason they were not released is that the outbreak of disturbances on the Gambia, in which the French and ourselves were concerned, kept back a regiment there.

Sugar Bounties—Brussels Conference

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state how soon the Conference of Brussels regarding the Sugar Bounties is likely to reassemble, and what is the present condition of the negotiations on the matter.

*

As the House was informed on the 21st of February last, in reply to a question by the hon. Member for the Stratford upon Avon Division of Warwickshire, suggestions have been received from the Belgian Government for the reassembling of the Brussels Conference. His Majesty's Government have informed the Belgian Government that they are prepared discuss the question again, and have asked for certain preliminary explanations. We are not in a position to make any further statement upon the subject at present.

Foreign Shipping Bounties

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his Department have any detailed information as to the bounties or subsidies paid by the German and French Governments to the chief shipping lines; and, if not, whether he will obtain the same and permit a Return to be printed.

*

Yes; information is being collected as regards France, Germany, and other countries. As soon as it is complete, Papers will be presented to Parliament.

Customs Tariffs—Preferential Treatment Of Empire Products

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that, of the oversea goods brought into the markets of the United Kingdom, only six per cent. are charged a toll or duty on behalf of the public revenue, and that these latter, amounting to £32,000,000 in 1890, paid a duty of 80 per cent., one-half being raised on articles of food not producible in Great Britain and Ireland, and paying 47½ per cent. ad valorem duty, and the remainder on tobacco, paying 253 per cent. ad valorem; and whether in the coming Budget he will endeavour to readjust this inequality, and to enlarge the area of indirect taxation, giving a preference to Empire products, and admitting breadstuffs and raw materials free.

I cannot go into the details stated in the first paragraph of the question, though I do not think the figures are calculated on an accurate basis. But there is no doubt that the principle of our Customs tariff is to levy considerable duties on a few articles of large consumption. As to the second paragraph, I can only ask my hon. friend to wait for the Budget. But he knows that on some essential points I am unable to agree with him.

Treasury Bills

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can state what proportions of the sum of £21,330,000 raised upon Treasury Bills at six, nine, and twelve months respectively have been borrowed at and above four per cent. interest.

The amounts borrowed at an average rate of 4 per cent. or upwards were £1,000,000 in six months bills, £2,000,000 in nine months bills, and £2,000,000 in twelve months bills.

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow country banks to tender in the future?

Revenue Receipts—Erroneous Estimate In The Times

May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been directed to a statement in The Times of to-day as to the very excessive amount of the receipts this year as compared with his Estimates, and whether the statement is correct.

My attention has been drawn to the statement, but I am sorry to say I must dissipate an agreeable illusion. The fact is, the author of it has included the sum of more than £9,600,000 paid to the Local Taxation Account in the receipts paid to the Exchequer. So far from the receipts paid to the Exchequer showing a surplus of twelve and a half millions, they show a surplus of about £2,800,000 above my Budget Estimate. I am afraid a good deal of it is due to anticipatory payments to Excise and Customs duties.

Highland Railway—Mixed Trains

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will request the Highland Railway Company to assure him that all cattle wagons attached to passenger trains running between Muir of Ord and Avoch during the month of October last were fitted with a continuous vacuum brake pipe in conformity with the requirements of the Board of Trade; and having regard to the fact that passenger trains were run on the mornings of Monday the 15th October and Tuesday the 16th October between Muir of Ord and Avoch to which a cattle wagon not fitted with a continuous brake was attached during part of the journey, will inquiry be made with a view to ascertain whether the Highland Railway Company now take steps to ensure that no cattle wagon unprovided with a continuous brake shall be attached to passenger trains.

No, Sir, I do not propose to ask the Highland Railway Company for a general assurance to the effect referred to in the first paragraph of the, question. With regard to the second paragraph, I venture to think that the hon. Member has not appreciated the effect of the Board of Trade regulations on the subject. They do not go so far as to absolutely prohibit the company from attaching such a cattle wagon to a passenger train.

But I saw these wagons myself. Will not the right hon. Gentleman make further inquiry?

I have inquired. The Board of Trade regulations do not require that vehicles in mixed trains should be provided with a continuous brake.

Missing British Sailing Vessels

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state how many British sailing vessels left foreign ports in ballast during 1900 which have not since been heard of; what was their aggregate tonnage; and what was the aggregate number of officers and men carried by them.

Seven British sailing vessels which left foreign ports in ballast during 1900 have not since been heard of. Their aggregate net tonnage was 12,434 tons, and the aggregate number of officers and men carried by them was approximately 188.

Alien Immigration

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can give the number of aliens entered at the port of London from the 1st January to the 28th February, 1901; how many of these aliens are now settled in the East Endof London; and how the figures for the period stated compare with the figures for the same period in the years 1900 and 1899.

This question should have been addressed to me. The answer to the first paragraph is 3,410. The second can be answered approximately only by deducting the numbers of alien seamen—namely, 429—and the number of aliens reported to be on their way to places outside the United Kingdom—namely, 800, leaving 2,181. But it is impossible to say how many of these settled in the East of London or whether a considerable number of those who were reported to be on the move did not eventually remain here. The corresponding figures for 1900 are 3,140 and 2,362; and for 1899, 2,596 and 1,780.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman when he proposes to fulfil the promise of his predecessor to introduce legislation on the subject?

I have already told my hon. friend that I do not propose to introduce legislation this year.

Alien Overcrowding In East London

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to an inquiry recently undertaken on behalf of the Toynbee trustees into the effect of alien immigration in the East End of London, and to the report made by their Commissioners to the effect that considerable areas in St. George's-in-the-East and other adjacent districts are being denuded of Gentile population, the properties sold, and the old tenants replaced by immigrants paying abnormally high rents, and defraying the expense by taking in an improper number of lodgers; and, in such case, what steps His Majesty's Government propose to take in the matter, bearing in mind their announced desire to deal with the better housing of the working classes.

*

I have no wish to minimise the nature of the serious problem indicated in the question; but if by an improper number of lodgers my hon. and gallant friend means such a number as creates overcrowding, the local authority has full power to deal with the question under the existing law.

Prison Chaplains' Salaries

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department will he explain on what grounds a salary of £450 per annum is paid to a Church of England prison chaplain, whilst the highest a Roman Catholic priest engaged in the same service can receive is £300, although in some of the largest prisons in England the Roman Catholic Chaplains have most work to do, having in some cases to take sole charge of the education of prisoners; and, whether, in view of these facts, he will undertake to have Roman Catholic chaplains' salaries adjusted on the same basis as the salaries of the Church of England chaplains.

*

The maximum salary of a Roman Catholic priest is £300 a year, while that of a Church of England chaplain is £450 a year. This was settled many years ago on the report of the Commission of 1881, on the ground that the prison chaplain's duties are prescribed by rule and include responsibility for secular instruction in the prison. I am not aware that there has been any dissatisfaction felt or expressed at the arrangement, which has worked apparently without friction for many years, and I am not prepared to take any steps to alter it.

Inspectors Of Nuisances

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in the appointment of an inspector of nuisances for a rural district, it is within the power of the Local Government Board to refuse to sanction an appointment which in itself complies with all statutory requirements and the published regulations of the Local Government Board because the individual appointed belongs to a certain trade or profession, such as that of licensed victualler, house agent, or rent collector; and, whether, if the Board has this power, and have in force a rule or practice to reject members of the trades or professions above-named, steps will be taken to notify local autho- rities thereof, in order that they may avoid making an appointment which they may find it necessary to withdraw.

As regards cases where a portion of the salary of the inspector of nuisances is to be repaid by the county council, the answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The number of instances in which it has been proposed to make appointments of inspectors of nuisances from the classes referred to is very small, and I do not think it necessary to take the steps suggested by the hon, Member.

Dog Muzzling Order In Carmarthenshire

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he will state the number of times the muzzling order has been in force in the county of Carmarthen during the last six years; and whether he will give the dates when the respective orders were made and withdrawn, and the reason why the order on each occasion was made.

*

The answer to the first paragraph is three, but in no case did the order extend to the whole county. The first order lasted from 26th July, 1897, to 10th May, 1898. It was made owing to two outbreaks of rabies near Pontardulais on the borders of Carmarthenshire. The second from 29th August, 1899, to 10th May, 1900. It was imposed on account of four cases of rabies on the borders of Carmarthen and Glamorganshire. The third dates from 5th October, 1900, and is still in force. Twelve cases of rabies have occurred in the scheduled district, nine of them being in Carmarthenshire. Within the last few days another suspected case has been reported.

London Telegraphists—Promotion

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he can state the number of telegraphists in London now in receipt of £160 per annum, also the number promoted from the £160 scale to the £190 scale during last year; and whether he will consider the advisability of completing the abolition of classification in the London telegraph service by allowing all telegraphists of good conduct and efficiency to proceed to the maximum of £190 per annum.

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

The number of telegraphists at the Central Telegraph Office in London now in receipt of £160 per annum is 353. The number promoted during last year was thirteen. The abolition of classification in the London telegraph service was completed by the amalgamation of the first and second classes of telegraphists, under the recommendation of the Tweedmouth Committee, and the Postmaster General does not propose to disturb the arrangement. It was the opinion of the Committee that the class of overseers and senior telegraphists which has a maximum of £190 a year should be maintained as a separate class.

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether, seeing that from 1882 to 1892 the Civil Service Commissioners issued notices to intending candidates for the position of telegraphists in London to the effect that they would have a prospect of rising to £190 per annum, the maximum salary of a London telegraphist having now been fixed at £160 per annum, it taking twenty years before this sum is received, the Postmaster General will consider the desirability of taking steps to enable all those men who entered under the terms offered by the Civil Service Commissioners, namely, £190 per annum, an opportunity of receiving that salary.

The prospect of telegraphists at the Central Telegraph Office in London of rising to £190 has been in no way altered or diminished. Promotion to the class of overseers and senior telegraphists—formerly styled "senior telegraphists"—which has the scale of £160 by £8 to £190 a year—has always been subject to the occurrence of vacancies on that class, and the Postmaster General does not propose to alter the rule in this respect.

Bonded Warehouses

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether there is an intention to extend the hours during which bonded warehouses may be kept open free of charge; how long the present hours have been in force; and what reason there is for extension, and whether complaints have been received by the Board of Customs from warehouse keepers; and whether when the officers of Customs were informed, as candidates, of their hours on warehousing duty, that those hours were subject to such alteration as the Board and Treasury may from time to time direct; and, if not, whether adequate compensation will be given for any detriment that the officers may suffer under any such new arrangements.

No change has been sanctioned, but the matter is under consideration.

Board School Sites In East London—Rehousing

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education, having regard to the fact that Mr. Wylie, who attended at the Limehouse Town Hall on Friday, 15th March, on behalf of the Board of Education, as to the eligibility of Blakesley Street site for the erection thereon of a Board School in the Tower Hamlets School Board Division, Block H, was offered an alternative vacant site in the same Block, and was assured on behalf of the Stepney Borough Council that, if the London School Board would exercise its responsibilities for rehousing by taking a larger number than twenty houses in any slum property, the Borough Council would willingly co-operate with the School Board in any rehousing scheme, whether the Council will recommend the Education Department to vote the Blakesley Street scheme, which proposes to dishouse 120 people in the most congested and populous district of East London, and to accept either of the alternative suggestions offered.

The Board of Education do not consider either of the alternative sites suggested suitable for a school, and they see no reason for striking the Blakesley Street site out of the Bill to be submitted to Parliament.

Glasgow Small-Pox Epidemic—Poorhouse Removals

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, seeing that poor persons entering Glasgow poorhouses, and not having acquired a settlement in the city, continued to be removed to poorhouses in their parish or settlement, and that such a course may be calculated to spread the outbreak of small pox, whether all such removals will be forbidden by the Local Government Board until the disease has been stamped out in Glasgow.

*

The Local Government Board have no power to forbid such removals, but they are aware that the Parish Councils of Glasgow and Govan adopt every necessary precaution in the interests of public health before any removal takes place. There are fortunately now no cases of smallpox in the three poorhouses in Glasgow.

Expenditure On Vaccination In Glasgow

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he will furnish a Return showing the amount of money spent by the Corporation of Glasgow in vaccination and re-vaccination from the 1st of January, 1892, to the present time.

*

The question of furnishing the Return desired by the hon. Member is being considered by the Local Government Board for Scotland, and if the hon. Member will renew his question after the Easter recess I shall be in a position to give him a definite reply.

Avoch Harbour

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he will state with whom the Fishery Board have been in negotiation in regard to Avoch Harbour, and when; will he explain the nature of the negotiations and say at what stage they bad arrived when they were arrested; and will he explain the nature of the technical legal questions which are alleged to have been raised in regard to ownership of the harbour, and bow any such questions warranted the Board in discontinuing negotiations; and is he now in a position to state the name of the owner of the harbour.

*

I am informed by the Fishery Board that they were in negotiation with the Reverend Alfred Philip, when the hon. Member, on the 15th December last, raised the question as to whether the Board could take any action, the Provisional Order of 1894 having lapsed. It also appears that in subsequent letters to the Board the hon. Member questioned the action of Mr. Philip in the matter and the responsibility of Mr. Fletcher as to the upkeep of the harbour. It is the opinion of the Fishery Board that, if the question as to ownership had not been so persistently raised by the hon. Member, their negotiations would probably have been completed by this date. I could not properly give any determination of the question of ownership which might rest on legal considerations, and therefore I am not able to answer the last paragraph.

Is it not the duty of the Scotch Office to discover who is the owner of this harbour?

*

No, Sir, neither is it my duty to give opinions on legal questions of this nature.

King's Bench Divisional Court Arrears

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Divisional Court of King's Bench has not sat for two terms, and what steps will be taken in the interests of suitors to prevent the continuance of this delay.

The question of my hon. and gallant friend must have been put under some misapprehension. The Divisional Court of the King's Bench has sat during both these sittings, but it is the fact that owing to the illness of judges, and the hearing of election petitions, the sittings have not been quite as frequent as usual, and it has not been possible to make the ordinary progress with certain parts of the business which come before that Court. The matter is receiving the careful attention of the Lord Chief Justice and the judges.

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that no Committee sat for the hearing of cases in the Special Paper in either the Michaelmas or Hilary terms?

It may be so. I believe that that is the part of the business which has been delayed.

Sneem Pier, Kerry

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can now state what arrangements have been come to with reference to the erection of a goods store on Sneem Pier, county Kerry, and whether the Congested Districts Board and other parties interested have succeeded in obtaining the withdrawal of the opposition on the part of the landlord.

The owners, in September last, stated it was their intention to build a store on land adjoining the quay. They have not offered any opposition in the matter to the Congested Districts Board.

Carlow—Labourers' Cottages Scheme Inquiry

On behalf of the hon. Member for Carlow, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that public notice was given of the intention to hold a Local Government-Board inquiry, under the Labourers Cottages (Ireland) Act, in Carlow workhouse on 25th March instant; and that the persons interested attended at the hour notified, but that it was not till 4.10 p.m. that they wore informed by telegraph that the inspector appointed by the Local Government Board to hold the inquiry was unable to attend; can he explain why prior notice was not given of the inspector's inability to attend, which would have saved public inconvenience; and can he say on what day the proposed inquiry will be now held.

The inspector's inability to attend was due to his sudden illness, and the notice given was the earliest that could be given under the circumstances. The inquiry will be held on or about the 17th April; due notice will be given when the date has been fixed.

Bundorragha (Mayo) Fisheries

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the fishermen of the village of Bundorragha, situate on the county Mayo side of Killery Bay, are hampered in their endeavours to earn a livelihood owing to the want of a proper landing pier on which to land their fish; and would he use his influence with the Congested Districts Board with a view to inducing that body to build a pier suitable to the requirements of the case.

The district referred to is not within the area scheduled as congested, and the Congested Districts Board is precluded, therefore, from entertaining the proposal in question.

Irish Local Government Officials And Parliamentary Elections

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is permissible, according to instructions issued by the Local Government Board, that medical officers and relieving officers should act as personating agents for candidates at Parliamentary elections.

The Board has not issued any instructions on the subject. But it has been stated, when its advice has been sought, that a paid officer should not, in its opinion, interfere in elections beyond exercising his right to vote.

Sligo Land Commission

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings at the sitting of the Land Commission in Sligo on 27th instant, when the list contained over 160 cases of appeal from the sub-commissioners and the county court judges; is he aware that Mr. Commissioner O'Brien commented adversely on the court valuers' practice of varying the acreable value by paltry sums as one which encouraged appeals from the sub-commissioners' decisions; and, seeing that over 18,000 appeals, mostly by the landlords on the question of acreable value, are now awaiting the decision of the chief Land Commission, whether the Government intend by legislation or otherwise to deal with the increasing number of appeals in the Irish Land Courts.

There were 65 cases heard by the Commissioners at their recent sitting in Sligo; the remaining cases were either settled or withdrawn. I have no information as to the second paragraph. The number of appeals outstanding is 12,500, not 18,000. In reply to the last query, I cannot add anything to the statements which have already been made by Government in regard to land legislation.

Has not the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the very remarkable declaration of Commissioner O'Brien as to the frequency of these appeals?

It would not be proper on my part to comment on decisions given in the Court of Appeal.

Instructor's House At Carrick, Co Donegal

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under what heading does the expenditure for the building of the instructor's house at Carrick, county Donegal, come, and why does this item not appear amongst the expenditure, as given in their published reports, of the Congested Districts Board in the years the work was carried out; what was the initial cost of this house, and what has it cost since its erection for repairs; will he cause inquiry to be made as to local feeling on the subject; will he state if he has received any report from the Board's engineers as to whether the building can with the present expenditure be made habitable; and what is the term of the lease obtained by the lessees for the ground upon which it is built, and what is the annual rent payable therefor.

The expenditure has been included, with various other items, under the heading "Agricultural Grants." The initial cost of the building was £600; a further sum of £150 is being expended on additions and alterations. I shall be happy to receive any representations from the locality on the subject. The answer to the third paragraph is in the affirmative. The term of the lease is 99 years, and the annual rent of the site £3 2s. 6d.

Irish National Schools—Instruction In Irish History

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether Irish history is allowed to be taught in Irish National schools, and whether, if so, the managers and teachers will be allowed to select the class books on the subject which they consider most suitable.

Irish history, in conjunction with English history, may be taught in Irish National schools. Managers and teachers are allowed to select the class books on the subject from the list of books sanctioned by the Commissioners of National Education for use in Irish National schools.

Maintenance Of Criminal Lunatics In Ireland

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether effect is given in Ireland to the provisions of 47 and 48 Vic., c. 64, s. 10, that all expenses of criminal lunatics (including housing) in the United Kingdom ought to be paid by the Imperial Treasury.

If the hon. Member will refer to Section 18 of the Act he will see that Section 10 does not apply to Ireland.

Grant In Aid Of Irish Lunatic Asylums

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state when the amount certified by the auditor as being due to the Cork District Lunatic Asylum for the quarter ended 31st March, 1899, will be paid.

The following questions also appeared on the Paper:—

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether any moneys have been paid out of the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account for the maintenance of lunatic asylums for the year 1898; and whether, seeing that the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account did not come into force until the 1st of April, 1899, moneys which became due in 1898 were properly paid; and if not, will the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account be recouped from the Imperial Treasury.

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the capitation grant paid to the lunatic asylums in Ireland in the year 1899 was on account of maintenance for the year 1898, and that the grants were paid out of the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account established by the Local Government Act, 1898, commencing on the 1st of April, 1899; whether any payments could have been made out of this fund for any service prior to the latter date; and if these grants were so irregularly paid, what steps were taken to recoup the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account.

I will reply at the same time to the three questions on this subject. Government contributions to lunatic asylums in Ireland are, and have been, paid in or about the month of June in each year. This arrangement was not altered by the Local Government Act of 1898, and every asylum has since that Act, as before it, received in June a contribution calculated upon twelve months expenditure. The Act provided that the twelve months upon which the contribution was calculated should be the preceding financial year, instead of the preceding calendar year. The effect of this change was slightly to increase the amount of the first Government contribution. The Local Taxation Account, however, as stated by my right hon. friend the late Secretary to the Treasury on 30th April, 1900, became liable for payments calculated from 1st January, 1808, whereas its income was calculated only from 1st April, 1898. It was, therefore, repaid the difference by the Supplementary Estimate of July last.

Irish Local Government Board—Medical Inspectors

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, on 1st February, 1901, a medical man was appointed as Inspector to the Local Government Board of Ireland who had never served in Ireland either as a dispensary or workhouse medical officer, although the chief duties of a medical inspector are to inspect the dispensaries within his district and to ascertain the manner in which the Medical Charities (Ireland) Acts are Administered in such dispensary districts; and can he say why one of the 890 medical men in the Irish Poor Law medical service was not appointed to the vacancy which was filled up by the appointment in February last of Dr. Brandon M'Carthy of Huddersfield.

The facts are stated with substantial accuracy in the first paragraph. The gentleman in question is an Irishman, with Irish diplomas, and is a Roman Catholic. I do not think it would be fair to exclude Irishmen from the public service in Ireland merely because they have been temporarily employed in England.

Why exclude Irishmen? Was not one of the 890 gentlemen in the Irish medical service qualified?

The appointment was given to a gentleman who, in our opinion, had a paramount claim to it.

Irish County Council Secretaries

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether a regular standard of examination has been decided on by the Local Government Board of Ireland for gentlemen appointed to the position of secretaries to county councils; and, if so, will he state what that standard is; and whether councils which prior to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Wexford case entered into agreements with officials under a misconception of their legal status will be permitted to reopen and reconsider such cases.

A person to be eligible for this position must be over twenty-one years of age, and must possess the qualifications prescribed by the General Order of 11th December, 1899. In the absence of these qualifications he is required to undergo an examination in English composition, elementary arithmetic, handwriting, the Local Government Act, and Orders and Accounts. In reply to the second paragraph, I can only suggest again that we should await the result of the Wexford Inquiry.

I have given the hon. Gentleman the syllabus of the subjects candidates are required to pass.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that these examinations are conducted by men properly qualified for the duty?

I will look into the matter to see if there is any doubt on that point.

Irish Local Government Finances

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, seeing that by a recent order from the Local Government Board for Ireland boards of guardians and district councils are forbidden to discharge their liabilities except on the monthly finance days, he will, where his rule is a hardship on artisans and small traders, allow a discretionary power to the said Boards to make payments.

The Local Government Board will authorise any board of guardians, upon application, to pay wages to tradesmen and others weekly from the petty cash account where the amount due is under, say, £3.

Irish Teachers' Salaries

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is the intention of the Irish Education Board not to take into account, in calculating the consolidated incomes of teachers in future, the money earned from instruction given in school farms, in some cases amounting to over £20 per annum for each teacher; and, if so, whether such exclusion is in accordance with the promise made that teachers having vested interests would not suffer any pecuniary loss from the introduction of the new system.

This question will come before the Commissioners to-morrow. The hon. Member has been so informed, and told that a reply will be sent to him by letter.

Lord Ventry's Estate, Kerry

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the number of future tenants in the estate of Lord Ventry, in Kerry; and how have those future tenancies been created.

The Government has no information as to the relative position of tenants on this estate.

Are not tenants in possession totally debarred from the benefits of this land legislation?

Technical And Agricultural Education In The Tobercurry Union

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to a resolution unanimously adopted by the Tobercurry (County Sligo) Board of Guardians at their meeting on 25th instant, wherein it is stated that the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Ireland refuse to give any portion of their grant to that union; whether he can explain why the Agricultural Department arrived at this decision, seeing that a portion of Tobercurry Union is scheduled under the Congested Districts Board and that the ratepayers contribute towards technical and agricultural education in the county Sligo; and whether, under these circumstances, he will see that Tobercurry Union gets its share of this grant.

The Department has received this resolution. Owing to the desirability of not requiring certain county councils to raise rates for the purposes of the Act of 1899, it was suggested that the county councils might omit from the live stock schemes for 1901 rural districts wholly or largely congested. The Tobercurry district belongs to this latter category, and the Live Stock Committee of the Sligo County Council accordingly decided to omit it from the live stock schemes for this year. The non-congested portions of rural districts thus omitted, however, will not be precluded from obtaining the benefits of the Act in respect of other schemes, as the Department will take into consideration the special circumstances under which the local contribution of such districts has been affected by the foregoing arrangement.

Irish Emigration Statistics

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the number of emigrants who left Ireland from 1886 to 1900, inclusive, dividing them into those under fifteen years of age, those between fifteen and thirty-five years, and those over thirty-five years.

The number of emigrants from Ireland in the period of fifteen years between 1886 and 1900 inclusive was 790,058. Of these, 72,217 were under fifteen years of age, 647,234 were between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, 69,824 were thirty-five and upwards, and there were 783 whose ages were not specified.

Land Purchase In Queen's County

*

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can inform the House what was the total proportionate amount of the grants under the Land Purchase Acts allocated to Queen's County; how much of that grant has been utilised; and what sum is at present available for the purposes of land purchase in the county.

The amount of stock available under the Land Purchase Acts for advances in Queen's County was estimated in 1891 at £421,625. The amount advanced up to 31st December, 1900, was £261,216, leaving £160,409 available for advances since that date. The estimate made in 1891 was only approximate.

Local Taxation (Ireland) Account

On behalf of the hon. Member for Carlow, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland will he state what have been the receipts from the local licence duties and the amount of grant-in-aid paid out of Local Taxation Ireland Account for years ended 31st March, 1900 and 1901 respectively; and if, as suggested in a recent circular letter addressed by the Local Government Hoard to county councils in Ireland, provision be made for the support of the 4,000 imbeciles at present lodged in Irish workhouses by a grant-in-aid of 2s. per week, can he state what steps he proposes to take to prevent an additional burden on the ratepayers.

This question refers, presumably, to the receipts and payments under Section 58 of the Local Government Act, 1898. In the year 1899–1900 the amount paid into the Local Taxation Account, as the equivalent of the proceeds of local taxation licences, amounted to £205,832, and the Account also received the sum of £79,000. The payments out of the Account amounted to £251,528. In the year 1900–1901 (which is not yet completed) the Account has received under the; former head the sum of £208,086, together with the sum of £79,000, and the Supplementary Vote of £37,030 taken in July last, The payments to date amount to £219,215; further payments amounting to £49,619 are about to be made. In answer to the last query the Local Government Board does not consider that any action which may be taken in pursuance of its circular in respect of the maintenance of chronic lunatics will have the effect of depleting the Local Taxation Account.

Strabane Labourers' Cottages

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the proceedings in connection with the schemes for erection of labourers' cottages for Strabane Rural Districts, No. 1 and No. 2, and to the delay respecting the latter scheme; and, having regard to the fact that the Local Government Board Inquiry relating to both schemes was held on the same day, and that there were legal proceedings relating to the taking of the lands for the cottages for scheme in District No. 1 which might tend to delay the scheme, while there were no legal proceedings in case of scheme for District No. 2, can he explain why the cottages in the former case are in course of erection, whilst the initial steps have only been taken regarding the acquiring of the land for the sites in cases of District No. 2.

Both schemes were, as stated, dealt with at the same inquiry. The Provisional Order in respect of the No. 1 Rural District was issued on the 29th May, 1900, but that, in respect of No. 2 Rural District was not made until the 18th February last, This very great delay arose from proposals made at the inquiry that the sites of certain cottages should be changed, and the Board could not include the new sites in its Order until it was furnished with the consent in writing of the persons interested.

Agricultural And Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether any, and, if so, what steps have been taken by the Irish Agricultural Board to carry out Sections 17 and 30 of the Agricultural and Technical Instruction Act; and whether the Board applied to the Treasury for funds for the purpose; and, if so, with what result.

I answered a question on Tuesday last† with reference to Section 17 of the Act. Section 30 deals with a large number of subjects, and it would not be practicable to state the action taken, or proposed to be taken, by the Department under that Section within the limits of a reply to a question. I am unable to answer the second paragraph.

Castlecomer Coal Mines

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will recommend that financial aid, either by grant or loan or guarantee of interest of capital, be given to the proposed railway from the coal mines of Castlecomer, county Kilkenny, to the town of Callan, and thence via the slate quarries to Carrick-on-Suir.

The funds placed at the disposal of the Board of Works for grants or guarantees to railway schemes are already hypothecated. Loans can be made in respect of schemes satisfying the requirements of the Act 1 and 2 William IV., cap. 33.

Dungannon Disturbances

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has received a copy of resolutions passed by the Roman Catholics of Dungannon at a public meeting, protesting against the attack on Roman Catholics by Orangemen on 11th October last, against the arrangements by the police, and demanding an inquiry; whether, seeing that it is a rule of the local authorities that when a Nationalist meeting is taking place in Dungannon or neighbourhood the Orangemen are precluded from drumming in the thoroughfares, can he explain why they were allowed to drum in the public square on 11th October,

† See preceding volume, page 1371.
when a Nationalist meeting was being held at St. Mary's Hall, and a number of persons would have to pass; can he state how many policemen were on duty on that night in Dungannon; how many were injured; what compensation they were awarded, and from what area it is to be levied; and can he state the number and names of those prosecuted for stone-throwing, and why no punishment was inflicted; and whether the demand for further inquiry will be acceded to.

A memorial was received to the effect stated in the first paragraph. The memorialists were invited to submit to the Inspector-General any complaints of neglect of duty or breach of discipline on the part of the police. So far, however, they have not done so. I am not aware of the existence of the rule referred to in the second paragraph; but I am informed that on the occasion mentioned the Nationalist party, marched through the Orange quarter of the town, accompanied by bands, torches and fireworks, and that missiles were thrown, by persons in that party, breaking a valuable plate-glass window in the house of Mr. Knox, who subsequently recovered £15 compensation. The constabulary, numbering seventy-five, took up a position between the hostile crowds. Five constables were injured, one seriously, He has been awarded £300 compensation, to be levied off the county at large. Eighteen persons—nine belonging to each party—were summoned at the suit of the Urban District Council for riotous behaviour. Two of the cases were dismissed on their merits. The solicitor for the defence raised an objection to the form of the summons, and the objection being upheld, the other sixteen cases were dismissed without prejudice. Fresh summonses were then issued, and again dismissed without prejudice. The Urban Council then decided not to proceed further with the cases.

Do such disturbances occur in the south of Ireland, where the Catholic population is over 90 per cent.?

*

Is the plan to be adopted that no matter which side is innocent an equal number shall be prosecuted on each side?

Were any members of the Catholic party identified as having thrown stones, and were not the Orangemen identified as having been guilty of that?

Monaghan Quarter Sessions—Spirit Licence To Mr Leslie

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the proceedings at the Monaghan Quarter Sessions on the 26th instant, at which Mr. W. K. Leslie, agent of the Earl of Dartrey, applied for a licence for promises in the townland of Drumgoole; can he state if these are the same premises respecting which an application for licence was refused at a petty sessions court, and such refusal confirmed subsequently by the Court of King's Bench; is he aware that the county court judge and forty magistrates constituted the court of quarter sessions; and can he state how many of these magistrates were entitled under the terms of their appointment to sit at Monaghan Sessions as being the district for which they were appointee justices of the peace.

The reply to the question in the first paragraph is in the affirmative. The former application to the justices was for a transfer of the old licence; the latter for the grant of a new licence. The application to the King's Bench Division was for a certiorari to quash the order of the magistrates on the ground that it was made without jurisdiction, and the only question decided by that court was that the justices had jurisdiction to make the order, but no opinion was expressed upon the justice or propriety of their decisions on the facts. The undertaking required from magisstrates to act within particular districts applies to petty, not quarter sessions, and has no application to these proceedings.

Is it not most unusual and irregular for magistrates to adjudicate outside their own district?

Is this the Mr. Leslie who for months has been carrying on a shebeen with the consent of Dublin Castle?

[No answer was returned.]

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the Members for Ireland some assurance that such a gross injustice shall not—

*

Will the attention of the Lord Chamberlain be drawn to the fact that forty magistrates came over from England to adjudicate in this case?

[No answer was returned.]

Irish Land Judges' Court

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that Mr. Justice Loss has commented adversely on the delay of the proceedings of the Land Judges' Court in Ireland, in reference to sales of estates in that court; that most of the estates in the Land Judges' Court have been there for over ten and some over twenty years; and that a list of rentals, that is, a list showing the tenants on the estate, takes four or five years to make out in that court; and whether, with a view to expedite sales, he will lay a Return upon the Table of the House showing the number of estates in the Land Judges Court at present, and the dates at which they were put into that court, and the number of sales that have taken place in that court for each of the last ten years, and the prices obtained for each, also the number of estates that have been taken out of the Land Judges' Court within the last two years.

Mr. Justice Ross has commented on the delay in carrying out sales in his court, and loses no opportunity of urging on solicitors who have carriage of the proceedings the necessity for expedition. The judge has never found fault with the officials of the court. It is not correct to assume that most of the cases have been in court for over ten or twenty years, nor is there any foundation for the statement that the preparation of a rental takes four or five years. The preparation of a, Return such as suggested in the second paragraph would throw upon the department of the Land Judge an amount of labour which would not be commensurate with the results to be attained, and the Government are not prepared to consent to the Return.

Did not Judge Ross find fault with the receivers as well as the solicitors?

Disqualified Irish District Councillors

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the decision given in the then Queen's Bench to the, effect that the action of the Local Government Board in disqualifying occupants of labourers cottages from being district councillors was ilegal, he will have steps taken to remove the co-opted member the from those councils on which they now act, and have qualified members restored to their rightful positions.

The Local Government Board has been advised that occupants of labourers' cottages who acquiesced in the view of the law that they were disqualified for being rural district councillors and in the action of district councils in declaring their offices vacant and co-opting other persons in their stead, and who failed to take steps to have the question settled by the High Court, have now no right to oust the councillors co-opted in their place. It is open to the rural district councils, if they wish, to choose any such disqualified councillors to fill the next vacancies on the councils.

Is it not a fact that the district council was compelled by the Local Government Board to disqualify these men and co-opt others in their place? Why should the responsibility, then, be put on its shoulders?

That is not my reading of the matter. As I understand it, a new view of the law was laid down by the recent decision in the King's Bench. It is impossible to re-open what took place before that decision was given.

But as these district councillors were illegally removed by the order of the Local Government Board, were not their successors illegally co-opted?

Is it not a fair inference to draw from what has occurred that the district councils should never acquiesce in the legal views of the Irish Local Government Board?

[No answer was returned.]

Scotch Education Department—Recognition Of Irish Certificates

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the Boards of Education in Ireland and England recognise the Scotch qualification of teachers, that the English Code now recognises the Irish certificate, but that the Scotch Code, whilst acknowledging the English certificate, refuses to atach any value to the certificate issued by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland; and whether he will take steps to have, recognition of Irish, certificates in Scotland.

*

As at present advised, the Scotch Education Department sees no sufficient ground for any alteration of the existing practice with respect to Irish certificates.

Irish Lights Board

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the dissatisfaction which prevails in mercantile and shipping circles in Ireland with regard to the Irish Lights Board, he would consider the desirability of appointing a Select Committee to inquire into the constitution of the Board, with the object of putting it upon a more representative basis.

No, Sir. Until the effect of the appointment of the Advisory Committee is more fully known, it does not appear to me to be necssary to institute a special inquiry into the question referred to.

Cork Post Office—Missing Money Order

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been called to the case of a letter enclosing a money order value 50s., sent from Bo'ness, in Scotland, addressed to Cork but not delivered to the addressee; is he aware that the addressee applied to the Cork Post Office concerning the non-delivery of the letter, giving particulars, and was subsequently informed that the money order had been paid at the Cork office, bearing the forged signature of said payee; can he explain why payment of the amount of the money order abstracted has been refused, in view of the fact that the letter was never delivered to the residence of addressee; and have other complaints of a similar character been made with regard to the non-delivery of money orders, and will inquiries be made by the postal authorities.

The case has been carefully inquired into; but as the money order was sent in an unregistered letter it has not been possible to ascertain whether or not the letter was delivered as addressed, and in such circumstances no claim to compensation for the loss can be entertained. The person to whom the money order was paid has not been identified, and when a money order, by whomsoever presented, has once been paid, the Postmaster General is not liable to any further claim. This is the only case of fraudulent negotia- tion of a money order sent by post which has occurred in the Cork district during the past twelve months.?

If it can be proved that the letter was never delivered, will the Postmaster General take further steps in the matter?

I think as it was not a registered letter the Postmaster General will not admit liability. But perhaps the hon. Member will put down another question, as I would prefer to obtain the Postmaster General's views on the point.

Irish Sub-Postmasters—Remuneration Grievances

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether complaints have been received from or on behalf of sub-masters in Ireland with reference to their remuneration; whether he is aware that the hours of duty of these officials range from thirteen to fourteen hours daily on week-days, and two to three hours on Sundays, while their total salary averages less than £70 per annum, out of which has to be provided an office, clerical assistance, light, and fuel, and that this was admitted as an injustice by the Tweedmouth Committee; can he state the average emoluments of a sub-postmaster in England; and will steps be taken to place Irish sub-postmasters in as good a position as that held by English officials.

No general complaint has been received from or on behalf of sub-postmasters in Ireland with reference to their remuneration The Postmaster General is aware that the hours during which sub-offices are open for post office business are generally thirteen a day—namely, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but, of course, the personal attendance of sub-postmasters is not required during the whole of that period. The duties are shared by the sub-postmaster and his assistants, who are often also employed in the sub-master's private business. The hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension as to the finding of the Tweedmouth Committee respecting the remuneration of sub-postmasters. The Committee reported that the advantages of holding a sub-office are considerable, and that they could not recommend any general increase of remuneration. They did, however, recommend that the Post Office should fully consider the various items on which a sub-postmaster's salary is based, so as to ensure the sufficiency of his emoluments at every point; and this has been done, with the result that increased pay was given on certain items—notably Sunday work—at an additional expense of nearly £30,000. The average emoluments of a, sub-postmaster in England cannot be stated. There are some 15,000 such officers. Irish sub-postmasters are paid on a common scale with sub-postmasters in the rest of the United Kingdom, and are in all respects in as good a position as English sub-postmasters.

Am I to understand that Irish sub-postmasters are paid extra for Sunday work?

I am told they are paid on the same scale as English sub-postmasters. If the hon. Member wishes further information I must ask for notice.

But what I want to get at is, have their salaries been increased for Sunday work?

I understand that to be so, but I cannot give the rates of increase. As a result of the Tweedmouth Committee's Report increased pay was given them on several items, and notably on Sunday work.

Londonderry Postmastership

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether be ran state the date of the retirement of the last Postmaster of Londonderry; why the vacancy thus caused has not been advertised in the Postal Weekly Circular in the usual manner; whether the vacancy has yet been filled; and, if not, what is the cause of the delay in appointing a new Postmaster.

The date of the retirement of the late Postmaster of Londonderry is 11th February, 1901. It is not the practice of the Department to advertise all vacancies for Postmasters in the Weekly Circular, and it was not considered necessary to do so in the case of Londonderry. The vacancy has been filled by the appointment of Mr. A. Fraser, Postmaster of Douglas, Isle of Man, and there was no unnecessary delay in making the appointment.

Poyntzpass Postal Arrangements

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether be is aware that, though the first mail from Newry is due in Poyntzpass, county Armagh, at 7.30 a.m., and the second at 8 a.m., the letters are not delivered till about 8.30 or sometimes 9 o'clock, so that business people have frequently to send to the post office for their letters; and whether be will see that letters are delivered more regularly and expeditiously.