I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether in Germany the life of a destroyer is officially reckoned at ten years; and whether he can state the number of destroyers laid down in Great Britain and Germany in the last ten years and the number projected for this year.
I am informed that the official German estimate of the life of a destroyer is twelve years. Taking this-period, 115 destroyers were laid down in Great Britain, and sixty-one in Germany. Great Britain has now 142 destroyers and Germany sixty-one.
Were not the bulk of these destroyers laid down during the earliest portion of this twelve years? The hon. Gentleman has not answered the Question on the Paper.
I have answered the Question in the light in which it appears on the Paper.
British And German Fleets
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what is the composition of the German High Sea Fleet and the British Channel Fleet in battleships, armoured cruisers, unarmoured cruisers, and destroyers, respectively.
asked whether such Questions were not objectionable, and might not possible harm be done by making these comparisons between our own naval strength and that of a friendly nation? Would not a reference to official Returns give the information asked for?
asked if the Civil Lord of the Admiralty was aware that such official comparisons were made every year and laid before the German Parliament in a document signed by the German Emperor.
I think I had better confine myself to answering the Question of which notice has been given. The present composition of the Fleets referred to is:—Channel Fleet: 14 Battleships, 4 Armoured Cruisers, 8 Unarmoured Cruisers, 1 Repair Ship, 1 Despatch vessel. German High Sea Fleet: 16 Battleships, 3 Armoured Cruisers, 8 Unarmoured Cruisers. As to destroyers, none are permanently attached to either Fleet.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the "Dreadnought" has at any time fired a complete broadside with full charges, namely, eight 12-inch guns firing simultaneously with full charges.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the twenty-seven 12-pounder guns carried by H.M.S. "Dreadnought," and the sixteen 12-pounder guns carried by ships of the "Minotaur" type, and the fifteen 12-pounder guns carried by ships of the "Lord Nelson" type, are intended for use against torpedo craft; and, if not, for what purpose are 12-pounder guns carried in such numbers.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the 12-pounder guns recently removed from twenty-one armoured ships were, previous to their removal, intended for use against torpedo craft or for what other purpose; and why these guns are no longer required on board these twenty-one armoured ships.
The guns in question were intended for use as boat and field guns. One gun remains in each ship for use as a field gun, but is not shown in the Return of Fleets, as it is not provided with a ship mounting, and cannot therefore be used as a ship gun. Arrangements have been made for substituting 3-pounders, for use as boat guns, and for replacing the second field gun by a more powerful weapon if required.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the 12-pounder guns on permanent mountings with which the river class of destroyers are now being armed are intended for use against torpedo craft, or for what other purpose.
As stated in the reply of my right hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty to a Question by the hon. Member for King's Lynn on the 18th June, it is not desirable in the public interest that information connected with re-armament should be made public.
Rye Bay Fishing
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that foreign fishing vessels are in the uninterrupted habit of fishing in Rye Bay; and whether he will take immediate steps to stop illegal fishing by foreign vessels in these waters.
The reports received from the Coastguard cruiser "Argus," which has recently visited these waters, do not confirm the hon. Member's suggestion; but if he will give a specific case I will have further inquiry made.
Inspection Of Contract Work
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether practical founders are employed as inspectors to examine the foundry work done by contractors for the Navy; whether any representations have been made to the Admiralty on the subject; and whether he will undertake that in future all castings and other foundry work intended for naval purposes shall be inspected by practical founders.
The inspectors employed by the Admiralty are not practical founders in the sense that they have ever been employed in a foundry; but they are practical officers with a great experience in examining foundry work. Representations on this subject have been made to the Admiralty by the founders working in one of the dockyards, but it is not proposed to make any change in the existing practice, which is that followed in the private trade.
How do they discover flaws?
asked for notice.
asked if the Admiralty would consider the question of appointing practical men.
In any new appointments that will be borne in mind.
Sales Of Obsolete War Vessels
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if it is the fixed determination of his Department not to sell any obsolete war vessels except with the breaking-up condition attached, even in view of the fact that this country is constantly exporting war vessels of the latest type. I beg also to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether it is intended to offer at public auction any others of the obsolete war vessels in the Holy Loch or Kyles of Bute; and, if so, will he offer to sell in the first instance at least one of the vessels without the breaking-up condition.
There is no immediate intention of selling any of the ships in the Kyles of Bute. The Admiralty do not consider it advisable to sell armoured vessels without the breaking up condition.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can furnish any information as to the progress of the Government harbour work at Rosyth; what number of men are working there; and whether, seeing that there is no Government dockyard on the East Coast of Great Britain capable of accommodating a warship of the "Dreadnought" size at all tides, he will consider the advisability of expediting the work.
On the subject of Rosyth I have nothing to add to the statements already made.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, seeing that many pensioners who are now paid quarterly are at present in workhouses, he can see his way to advising a system of weekly payments through the medium of postal orders post-dated according to the dates required for weekly issue, and so relieve the workhouses from the strain of housing pensioners.
This question was referred to a Committee under the chairmanship of the Paymaster-General, and the Report of this Committee is now under the consideration of the Army Council.
Are we likely to have the Report before the end of the session.
I hope so.
Has not the right hon. Gentleman had repeated applications from guardians of the poor on this point, to save the men from themselves?
Yes; but the question is one of great difficulty.
Cartridges For Morris Tubes
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can state if cartridges for Morris tubes are available for use at the present time; and, if not, at what date are they likely to be ready.
I understand that the deliveries to which I referred in my Answer to the hon. and gallant Member on the 10th ult., are now being made by the contractors,†
Bonuses For The Special Contingent
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether any, and, if so, what bonus will be given to recruits and men serving in the Volunteers, respectively, as an inducement to join the nucleus third battalions or special contingent.
It is proposed to offer a bonus of £2 to men now serving in the Militia as an inducement to join the special contingent. No bonus will be offered to any other men joining the contingent, but all men serving in it in future will receive an annual bounty.
Indian Rupee Coinage
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if he can state approximately the gain-to the Revenue in the last financial year due to the coinage of rupees and other silver pieces as token money.
The profit on the coinage of rupees is not treated as Revenue: it has hitherto been transferred to the Gold Standard Reserve; and in future one half will continue to be so transferred, the other half being used for capital expenditure on railways. The amount of the profit in 1906–7 was approximately £4,000,000. The profit on other coinage, which is treated as Revenue, amounted in 1906–7 to £254,000.
† See (4) Debates, clxxv, 1066-7.
Are there any signs of an extension of the currency of the rupee beyond their own border?
The Unrest In India
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India what steps have been taken in the Punjab to allay the unrest by concessions; whether the land tax has been abated in any part of the province; and, if so, by how much; and whether any reduction has been effected in the amount of water rates in the Lyallpur district, where there was lately so much agitation.
To speak of "concessions" in this connection is misleading and inappropriate, because it is the duty of the Government to see that its subjects have no legitimate grievance. So far as I am aware, the land tax was mentioned as a grievance only in the case of the Rawalpindi disturbance. The new assessments have been accepted without complaint by the agricultural population. The Local Government will deal considerately with any genuine instance of over-assessment which may come to light. In the Chenab irrigation colony, where the spring crop has been seriously damaged by rust, it is proposed to remit half the land revenue and half the water rate. In this colony, which forms the Lyallpur district, there has been no enhancement of the water rates, and agitation there did not concern these rates. The Bari-Doab Canal, on which the rates were to have been raised next September, does not enter the Lyallpur district. The levy of the proposed new rates on the Bari-Doab Canal was in April postponed until September, 1908, and pending further inquiry.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the publication in Eastern Bengal of an inflammatory pamphlet, known as the red pamphlet, inciting the Mahomedans to violent measures against the Hindoos; whether one Ebrahim Munshi, the author of this pamphlet, has been prosecuted under Section 108 of the Criminal Procedure Code; whether the proceedings against him have been kept confidential by the magistrate; and whether he can state what the result of these proceedings has been.
My attention has been drawn to the publication of the pamphlet in question. I am informed that proceedings under the section mentioned were instituted against the author, but that, on his undertaking to publish no more copies, and to withdraw the pamphlet as far as possible from circulation, he was released on his own recognisances. The case was accordingly not brought to trial, and the proceedings, as far as they went, were confidential.
:asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was not aware that the circulation of this pamphlet was one of the principal causes of the unfortunate riots and disturbances which had been so marked a feature of Eastern Bengal.
No, Sir, I am not aware of it, and I greatly doubt it.
Is there any unrest among the Mahomedans?
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the proceedings of the Deputy Commissioner of Hazavibagh, in Bengal, proposing to give leases to several Europeans to build bungalows on the sacred hill of Parasnath, and to the feeling this proposal has excited among the Jain community in India, by whom the entire hill, which is their principal place of pilgrimage, is regarded as sacred; and whether he will inquire into the case, with a view of allaying disquiet among this influential community and protecting their rights and privileges which have hitherto been always recognised on the Parasnath Hill.
I have no official information on the subject, but from references in the newspapers I gather that, as a result of a conference between the Deputy Commissioner of Hazavibagh and representatives of the Jain community, it was arranged that the latter should submit a statement of their views within two months, for the consideration of the authorities concerned. I am advised that all parts of the hill are not regarded as sacred. A large area was actually occupied as a military sanitorium from 1862–8, and the building then erected is still standing. I see at present no reason why a settlement satisfactory to all parties should not be arrived at.
Owing to the extreme dissatisfaction caused to an influential and loyal section of the community will the right hon. Gentleman institute further inquiries?
said he could not promise to make further inquiries than those he had already made.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the fact that prisoners of State, confined under the Indian Ordinance of 1818, have no means of making any defence, except under the provision of the Ordinance which expressly allows them at all times freely to bring to the notice of the Governor-General in Council any circumstances they may wish in connection with their deportation and confinement, he will take steps to have Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh informed of their rights, and ascertain whether either of them desires to make any defence or complaint in respect of matters alleged against them.
Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh have already been informed of their right to communicate with the Governor-General in Council. The former has done so; the latter has not.
asked if the defence of Lajpat Rai would be communicated to the House.
replied in the negative.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he will place in the Library copies of the Wafadar of 28th January, and of the Punjabee of 27th March, in which newspapers Lajpat Rai is reported to have preached sedition in Lyallpur and Lahore; and whether he will state to the House on what other grounds the law of 1818 was resorted to in the matter of the arrest and deportation of Lajpat Rai.
My reply to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. As for the second part, I can only refer my hon. friend to the Answers which I gave to the hon. Members for East Nottingham and East Clare on the 2nd instant,†
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the latter part of the Question simply asks for the grounds upon which the law was resorted to?
I am afraid I do not understand the Question. The hon. Member asks whether I will state to the House "on what grounds the law of 1818 was resorted to" in the matter of the arrest and deportation. I have already told the House that there were matters connected with this arrest and deportation which I did not think it would be in the public interest that I should state.
asked Mr. Speaker, in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, whether the Government of India were responsible to the House for its action in the administration of the law; and, if so, whether a Member of the House had not the right to demand that definite information should be supplied to him, publicly or privately, as to the ground for the arrest and deportation of any of His Majesty's subjects.
It is open to any hon. Member to put any Question that comes within the rules of order, and it is equally open to the Minister to decline to give a reply.
asked whether the hon. Member was entitled, to read a supplementary Question as he had just done. He himself had done so and had been declared out of order.
It depends upon the nature of the supplementary Question. There is no rule against reading.
†See (4) Debates, clxxvii., 522–3, 524–5.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India why it was that the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam gave instructions for an appeal to be lodged against the acquittal of one Johar Mandel, charged with the petty crime of a theft of paddy; whether his attention has been called to the fact that the appeal was rejected by the High Court, and to the remark of Mr. Justice Mitter in the case that there is no safety of the subject if the Government appeal in such petty cases; and, in view of the fact that intervention by the Government in such cases amounts to a denial of justice, what steps, if any, he intends taking in the matter.
I have seen a newspaper report of the case referred to, from which it appears that the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam, being of opinion that there had been a failure of justice, ordered an appeal to be filed. In dismissing the appeal Mr. Justice Mitter is reported to have used the language which the hon. Member quotes. I do not follow his suggestion that the intervention of the Government amounts to a denial of justice, and I have no doubt that the High Court in other cases, as in this, will see that justice is done.
asked if it came within the functions of the High Court to take notice of the petty cases of this character.
It is not for me to say what is the duty of the High Court. It administers justice and is guided therein by statutory authority.
Have not appeals of this nature become very much more common of late years than previously?
And does not the very rejection of this appeal by a Hindoo Judge of the High Court of Bengal conclusively prove that the intervention of the Government in such cases does not mean a denial of justice?
I should have thought so. I will inquire as to the number of appeals. I do not think it bears out the suggestion of the hon. Member for East Nottingham.
Deaths From Plague In India
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India what was the number of deaths from plague during June in the Punjab and in the whole of India; and what is the total for the six months in the Punjab and in India.
The figures for June are: Punjab, 58,821 deaths; Whole of India, 69,064. For six months ending June: Punjab, 632,953; Whole of India, 1,060,067.
Back Taxing In Rural India
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to an inflammatory pamphlet, known as Rack Taxing in Rural India, in which the acts of the British-Indian administration are so misrepresented as to be calculated to bring that Government into contempt and odium on the part of its subjects and to incite them to violent measures of opposition; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter.
The pamphlet, I believe, was circulated by a Member of this House for the instruction of other Members of this House. I am content to leave it to their judgment.
Arracan Capitation Tax
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether there is any effective supervision over the capitation tax levied on coolies from Chittagong on entering the province of Arracan; whether he is aware of the extra tax above the 1s. per head demanded from the coolies by the native official; and if steps can be taken to put an end to the system of taxing a man passing from one province to another, which restricts the supply of labour and is injurious to the province.
I have no information on the subject, but will ask the Government of India to give it their consideration and to report the facts.
Although the tax is only 1s., at least double that amount is squeezed by the official out of people crossing the border.
I will inquire.
German Steamships To Canada
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has now any information concerning the proposed new line of steamships between Germany and Canada.
No, Sir, I have no information.
I beg to ask the Under-secretary of State for the Colonies why military men are appointed to governorships of Colonies; what are the duties which they perform in the Colonies which are suitable for that profession; and whether he will in future consider the necessity of appointing commercial or business men to these positions.
A considerable proportion of the governorships has been held and I hope always will be filled by civilians; when a military man is appointed to be governor the Secretary of State is satisfied that the particular individual is fully qualified to perform the general duties of government. If the hon. Member will be good enough to look into the subject he will find that in many instances the governor also holds a commission as commander-in-chief and also that in certain instances the governorship is of a distinctly military character, as in the cases of Malta, Gibraltar, and Bermuda, when the nominee is suggested by the Secretary of State for War. For further information I would refer my hon. friend to a detailed reply which I gave to the senior Member for Bath as recently as the 20th June last.†
New Hebrides Convention
I beg to ask the Under-secretary of State for the Colonies whether any licences have yet been issued under the New Hebrides Convention.
†See(4) Debates, clxxvi, 590
No licences can be issued until the Convention has been brought into operation.
Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been called to statements from reliable sources that British traders are placed under great disabilities owing to this delay?
I have seen the telegram in The Times this morning.
It is sure to be right, then.
The "Knight Commander"
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is the intention of the Government to abandon the claims against the Russian Government for the sinking of the British ship "Knight Commander."
The Answer is in the negative.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a year has elapsed since the matter was referred to the Russian Government? Cannot something be done to expedite a settlement?
We have proposed it shall go to arbitration, and I have no doubt that in the long run that course will be adopted.
Mr Abbott's Ransom
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has as yet received any reply from the Turkish Government with regard to the ransom paid for the release of Mr. Abbott from brigands.
The Answer is in the negative.
asked whether the Government would not take some steps to urge a settlement of this matter.
said that what was in the mind of the hon. and gallant Member had also been in his mind, and he had been looking back to precedents. In the two cases most nearly parallel the time was in one case one and a half year and in the other two and a half years. He intended to prosecute this case with the object of establishing, if possible, a better record; but at present he was well within time.
asked whether the money received in the past was not derived from the taxpayers of Cyprus.
said that in any case it was money which would otherwise have gone to the Porte.
asked whether he was to understand that the precedent would be followed.
No; because that precedent was established only after discussion had taken place as a last resort. Whether it will be necessary in this case to resort to any measure of that kind I cannot say until proceedings are further advanced.
British Trade Route In Persia
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can see his way to state, in connection with the pending negotiations with Russia, that it is not proposed to include within the Russian commercial sphere in Persia the old-established British trade route from Baghdad via Kermanshah to the interior, and also the British road from the Karun to Isfahan across the Bakhtiari Mountains.
I am unable to make any statement at the present stage of the negotiations.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the recent Egyptian census has been found to be imperfectly taken; whether, in consequence, it is proposed to take a fresh census; and, if so, when.
I understand that the final figures of the recent census have not yet been issued.
Khedivial School Of Law
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that M. Lambert, a Frenchman, resigned the rectorship of the Khedivial School of Law through differences with Mr. Dunlop, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Public Instruction, Egypt; whether he will explain the reason for the appointment of an Englishman to a Government post invariably held, since the establishment of the School of Law, by subjects of the French Republic, in view of the spirit of Article V. of the Anglo-French Declaration of 1904; and whether Mr. Dunlop will be requested to resign.
I understand that Monsieur Lambert, whose resignation was not desired, resigned his post as Principal of the Khedivial School of Law in consequence of a misunderstanding with the Ministry of Public Instruction on the subject of his leave. In view of the growing demand to enter the English side of the school the Egyptian Government decided to promote one of the existing English Professors to the vacancy thus created; there is no ground for the suggestion that such an appointment is in any way contrary to the spirit of the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904, and no reason whatever for the reflection upon Mr. Dunlop contained in the Question.
asked if M. Lambert's successor was qualified to give instruction in the French law?
That is a matter for the Egyptian Government, who had before them the requirements for the post and the qualifications of the gentleman appointed.
Has not the appointment received the assent and approval of the French Consul-General?
said he was unable to add anything to the information he had given the House.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British Adviser to the Egyptian Ministry of Education has refused to accede to the petition of a number of natives holding the secondary education certificates that the evening classes of the Khedivial School of Law should be re-established; and, if so, what is the reason for the refusal?
The Egyptian Ministry of Education has declined to re-establish these classes because the results derived from them previously were very unsatisfactory.
On what grounds have these evening classes been discontinued?
I believe because from an educational point of view the results were unsatisfactory.
They were too quick in learning the law.
In what way were the results unsatisfactory?
I will make-inquiry if the hon. Member wishes.
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can give any approximate estimate of the difference to the Revenue if the exemptions and abatements of Income Tax were based on incomes under one thousand sterling a year, instead of two thousand, in this year's Budget.
There are no official statistics of individual incomes exceeding £700 a year, and all estimates of the numbers, character and amount of such incomes are very largely conjectural. For the purposes of the Budget, I made the best estimates I could with respect to incomes from £700 to £2.000, but no attempt has been made to ascertain the proportion of those which fall between £700 and £1,000; and, in view of the very large number of incomes in the immediate neighbourhood of £1,000, any conjecture based on such data would probably be very wide of the mark.
Income-Tax And Sewers
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to a decision given by the House of Lords on Wednesday, 26th June, in the case of the Ystradyfodwg and Pontypridd Board and Benstead, to the effect that sewers vested in local authorities and maintained by them pursuant to duties imposed upon them by the Public Health Acts are assessable to the income-tax; if he can give some idea as to the total annual value of all sewers in the United Kingdom and of the burden which will now be placed on all ratepayers in respect of the income-tax assessed upon their public sewers, irrespective of the amount of the incomes of such ratepayers; and whether he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation to relieve the ratepayers of this income-tax burden now placed upon them for the first time since the income-tax has existed in this country.
It would not be possible to give any estimate of the annual value of all sewers in the United Kingdom. There is, however, no reason to apprehend that the decision referred to will seriously affect the liability of sewers to assessment to income-tax. The sewer in question was not wholly an underground sewer. It was in part carried above ground, or along specially constructed embankments, and it had attached to it certain appurtenances in the shape of an outfall, with sluices and other apparatus. It had been held by a judgment of the Court of Appeal to be assessable to rates, and thereupon the Inland Revenue claimed that it was assessable also to income-tax on the principle that whatever is a proper subject of rates is also a proper subject of taxes. So far as sewers are concerned, the Board of Inland Revenue will be satisfied to treat the judgment of the House of Lords, as no more than an affirmation of that principle, and will not regard it as requiring them to depart from existing practice under which sewage works, pumping stations, and so on are assessed both to rates and to income-tax, but purely underground sewers to neither.
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can yet state the proposal he will make with regard to the terms for loans in Ireland, as promised by him last year during the discussion on the Labourers Bill.
The matter is being dealt with in the Public Works Loans Bill, which will shortly be introduced.
Case Of Albert Bach
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case of Albert Bach, who was sentenced on 9th January, 1904, at Middlesex quarter sessions to seven years penal servitude for receiving stolen goods to the value of 75s.; whether he is aware that this was Bach's first offence, although fifty-six years of age, and that the jury in the first instance recommended him to mercy; whether the ends of justice have been met by four and-a-half years imprisonment; and, if so, will he intervene.
I fear I can only refer my hon. friend to the Answer which I gave to the hon. Member for South West Ham on 5th June, which was to the effect that after repeated and most careful consideration I have not found any sufficient grounds for recommending any interference on the convict's behalf; that articles forming part of the proceeds of three separate cases of house breaking were discovered in his shop, and that a receiver of stolen goods who has a good reputation is for that reason a more dangerous criminal. As my hon. friend is no doubt aware, the prisoner can by good conduct obtain his release on licence when he has served three-quarters of the sentence.
Employment Of Young People
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Order No. 680, making the employment of young persons under the age of sixteen years and children without a certificate of fitness illegal in certain scheduled industries, which came into force on 1st January, 1907, has yet been acted upon; and whether the forms necessary for putting this order into operation have yet been issued from the Home Office; and, if not, when this will be done.
The Answer to the hon. Member's Question is in the affirmative. The only form required for the purpose of the Order was a revised form of the workshop edition of the general register; this has been on sale for some time.
Training Of Nurses
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the advisability of establishing a Government system of certificates and registration of trained nurses.
This matter has been under consideration for some time, but serious objections and difficulties stand in the way of the establishment of any such system as is proposed. I am not prepared to take any action in the matter.
Private Burying Grounds
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what conditions the right to use private I burying grounds is granted to religious institutions; whether any record of such private burying grounds is kept; and, if so, how many have been applied for during the past five years.
As I stated in Answer to a very similar Question a year ago, no permission to use such burial grounds as are referred to is required except in the case of a proposed new ground in a place where, in pursuance of the Burial Acts and Orders in Council there under for the protection of public health, no new burial ground may be opened without the approval of the Local Government Board. For any further information on the matter I must refer the hon. Member to the President of that Board.
Is the right to use these grounds granted without any record of the conditions attached?
That question should be addressed to the Local Government Board.
Gloucester Port Dues
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that at the port of Gloucester it is the practice of the local pilotage authority, when collecting pilotage dues payable upon a ship's tonnage, to abstain from adding to the ship's register tonnage the tonnage of the space occupied by deck cargo; and whether he will direct such local pilotage authorities to charge pilotage dues upon the additional tonnage representing deck cargo, in pursuance of Section 85 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, in order that the pilots, on whose behalf such dues are collected, may receive an additional payment in respect of ships with deck cargoes, as directed by the said section.
I am informed by the Gloucester Pilotage Board that their practice is as described in the first part of the Question. As I explained to my hon. friend the Member for North Somerset on the 11th instant, the Board of Trade have no power to issue directions to a pilotage authority, but I will communicate with the Gloucester Pilotage Board, calling attention to the provisions of Section 85 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, as affecting pilotage rates.
County Court Fees
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to fees at present charged by the county courts for plaints for the hearing of causes for administration matter; whether he is aware that the fees now charged are in many cases beyond the means of the poor for whose benefit county courts were, to a considerable extent, intended; and whether he will appoint a Departmental Committee to consider the matter.
As I intimated in my reply to my hon. friend the Member for Merionethshire on the 4th March last, I see no sufficient grounds for considering that county court fees in general are excessive, but if my hon. friend will indicate any particular fee which he regards as exorbitant, I will inquire into it.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether the recommendations of the 1890 Select Committee on the hop industry as to the compulsory declaration by brewers of all chemical hop substitutes used by them have been put into effect.
The declaration of hop substitutes has not been made compulsory on brewers. But in the Returns collected for inclusion in the "Brewers Licences Return" presented annually to Parliament, brewers are invited to state the quantities of hop substitutes used by them, and these are shown in a separate column in the Parliamentary Return.
Will the Government consider the desirability of making the Return compulsory?
The Government do not think it necessary.
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether the annual Return of brewing materials includes all hop substitutes used by brewers.
The Return is believed to include all hop substitutes used by brewers. For although the disclosure of the quantities of such substitutes is not compulsory, the Board of Inland Revenue do not find on the part of brewers any reluctance to give the information.
Royal Gardens, Kew
I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he is aware that the gardeners employed in the Royal Gardens, Kew, do not at the present time attend lectures of any kind; and whether the Department is now paying the sum of £1 per lecture to certain officials of the Kew staff for lecturing to two men, neither of whom is in any way connected with the gardening section at Kew; and, if so, will he state what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter.
The Answer to my hon. friend's Question is in the affirmative. The lectures in question are provided for the benefit of the young gardeners, who are expected to attend, but who have recently abstained from so doing. The matter is under consideration, but I am unable to make any statement on the subject at present.
The Public Trustee
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether the Lord Chancellor has yet made a rule constituting the office of Public Trustee, as required by Section 14 of the Public Trustee Act; if so, when such rule will be laid upon the Table of this House, in accordance with the provisions of the Act; and whether he can explain how Mr. C. J. Stewart came to be appointed to the office of Public Trustee prior to such rule having been made and laid upon the Table.
No such rule has yet been made. It is expected that the rule will be laid on the Table of the House by the end of the present month. The employment of Mr. Stewart has been provisional. He has not yet been officially appointed Public Trustee, and it is not anticipated that he will receive that appointment until September or October.
If the rule is not laid on the Table until the end of the present month, how will there be an opportunity for the House to move to annul the rule within thirty days; and how, as the office of Public Trustee has not yet been established, is it that Mr. Stewart has announced his acceptance, and has resigned his connection with the brewery company with which he has been associated?
I anticipate there will be ample time before the House rises to allow discussion of the rule. Mr. Stewart has been provisionally employed to organise the office and the machinery which must be put into operation before the Act comes into use. The appointment has not yet been made, and will not be made until the House has had an opportunity of discussing the rule. It is not expected that it will be necessary to appoint him until the date named.
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that at the present moment the office of Public Trustee has not been established and, if so, is there any precedent for appointing a gentleman provisionally to an office which does not exist?
I entirely agree that the office has not been established, and that there is no precedent for appointing a gentleman to an office which does not exist.
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether he can give the names of the other candidates for the post of Public Trustee which were before the Lord Chancellor when Mr. C. J. Stewart was selected for the office.
Applications for appointment to a public office are usually made in confidence, and I think that confidence ought to be respected. I have not seen a list of the applicants.
Will the Attorney-General tell us in confidence whether the hon. Gentleman is one of the applicants?
No, Sir; I am not seeking any Government appointment.
At a later stage,
asked Mr. Speaker whether it was competent for the hon. Member for South Donegal to impute to him a personal pecuniary motive in any Question he might address to Ministers.
said that if the hon. Member took exception to his observation he would at once frankly apologise. He interrupted the hon. Member on the spur of the moment, and he thought that no one but the hon. Gentle man himself would have imagined that he imputed any motive to him.
To ask the Secretary for Scotland whether the flag with the device Or, a lion rampant within a double tressure flory counterflory, gules, is the personal flag of the Sovereign in Scotland; and, if not, when it ceased to be so used.
The flag as described was the personal flag of the Sovereign in Scotland, and in a sense may be held to be so still, but it has ceased to be so used since the time of the Union.
Do I understand that the flag may be used now by anyone without qualification in Scotland?
I do not think the hon. Gentleman had better under-stand that.
Cost Of Police In County Clare
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the county council of Clare, having considered the claim of the Royal Irish Constabulary of £39 13s. 2d., costs of extra police in respect of the half-year ended 31st March, 1907, have refused payment of said claim as being an unjust taxation; and whether he will relieve the county from this charge.
It is the fact that the Clare County Council have expressed the intention of refusing to pay the charge referred to in the Question. The extra police for which the claim is made consisted of a portion of the Reserve Force chargeable to a specified area, and there is no power to relieve the county of the cost. The necessary statutory certificate is about to be issued in order that the charge may be recovered from the county council.
Golf Estate, Roscommon
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Estates Commissioners have in their possession a farm at Toneroe, county Roscommon, formerly portion of the Goff estate; whether a small portion of this was divided four years ago; whether the remainder is still in the possession of the Commissioners; and whether stops will be taken immediately to have the rest divided among the small tenants on the estate and in the locality.
The Estates Commissioners inform me that no land at Toneroe appears to be included in any estate purchased by them or in their possession.
Irish Education Grant
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland was the sum of £1,000,408 mentioned by him in introducing the Irish Council Bill the sum voted by Parliament for primary education in Ireland for the year ending 31st March, 1907; does the Report of the National Board for the year 1905–6 give the sum voted by Parliament for primary education in Ireland for that year as £1,390,833; was that sum voted by Parliament for primary education in Ireland for that year; and, if so, how has there been a difference of £390,425 between the sums voted by Parliament for the years 1905–6 and 1906–7.
The sum which I mentioned, or intended to mention, as the amount provided by the Votes for national education in Ireland was £1,408,000, that is to say, the amount in round numbers of the estimate for the current year. It has only recently come to my notice that I am reported to have said £1,000,408, instead of £1,408,000.
Earl Of Dunraven's Estate
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, can he say whether the case as between the Earl of Dunraven, of Adare Manor, county Limerick, and his tenant, Mr. George Spearing, of Baybus, Adare, for sale and purchase of Mr. Spearing's farm, has as yet been brought to an issue; and, if not, will the Estates Commissioners use their mediation in arranging the difference as to price consequent on the flooding of a portion of the holding as the result of hatcheries having been put down in the River Maigue flowing by, through the agency of the Earl of Dunraven.
The Estates Commissioners have purchased from Lord Dunraven certain property, including the holding of which Mr. Spearing is tenant. Spearing alleges that his holding has been injured by the diversion of a stream by Lord Dunraven. The Commissioners have fully inquired into the matter, and have come to the conclusion that mediation on their part would not be effective. Spearing urges his claim with the object of reducing, as against the Commissioners, the purchase money paid by them to Lord Dunraven for the holding, whereas his proper remedy is to assert his claim, if any, against Lord Dunraven, by legal proceedings for damages. Spearing has declined to purchase at the price paid by the Commissioners, and he is, therefore, simply a tenant to the Commissioners, who propose to take steps for the recovery of the rent which he is withholding.
Foreign Office Vote
I beg to ask the Prime Minister, in view of the numerous subjects which there is a desire to discuss on the Foreign Office Estimates including the Sugar Convention, Egypt, the recent Customs Agreement with Turkey, an opportunity for discussing which has been promised, and other subjects, whether he can see his way to devote more than one day to the discussion.
The following Questions were also on the Paper:—
To ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the number and importance of the subjects to be discussed on the Foreign Office Vote in Supply, he will extend the time allotted thereto.
To ask the Prime Minister, whether, in view of the wide interests dealt with by the Foreign Office Vote, he can see his way to devote two days to its discussion.
Perhaps I may answer the Questions of my hon. friends the Members for Tyneside and Montgomery Boroughs at the same time. I am afraid I cannot see my way to affording more than one day to the Foreign Office Vote. With regard to the Sugar Convention, that is a matter of fiscal policy which does not specially concern the Foreign Office Vote.
reminded the Prime Minister that there was a desire to discuss the question of the Congo, and asked him to reconsider his decision.
could not promise any more than one full day.
Worcester Election Petition
I beg to ask the Prime Minister if he is aware that the overseers of the city of Worcester have levied a rate of 3½d. in the pound on the municipal ratepayers to meet the cost of the election petition proceedings, and that women ratepayers are being called upon to pay this rate; and whether he will consider the desirability of introducing early next session legislation which will relieve women from having to pay for the consequences of male political corruption, or a measure by which women may have the rights as well as the duties of citizenship.
I am afraid I cannot make any promise on this subject.
Pacific Islanders Act Amendment Bill
I beg to ask the Prime Minister when it is proposed to introduce the Pacific Islanders Act Amendment Bill.
There are difficult legal questions involved in this matter which are under reference to the Law Officers, and I cannot give any reply to the Question.
I beg to ask the Prime Minister if it is the intention of the Government to give any extra days for discussion in Supply over and above the three days which still remain, in view of the restricted occasions which the House has enjoyed up to the present time for debate in Supply.
No, Sir, I am afraid this cannot be done. The ordinary opportunities will have been given. I may mention with regard to a somewhat cognate subject, namely the Report of the Public Accounts Committee, that although the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not amount to a pledge it involved an acknowledgment of expediency; and an opportunity for the discussion of the Report will be given, but I am afraid it will be in the expiring hours of the session.