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Questions In The House

Volume 178: debated on Wednesday 24 July 1907

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Destroyers In The Mediterranean

I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether it was the intention of the Admiralty to reduce the number of destroyers in the Mediterranean before the recent loss of a destroyer which it is now the declared intention of the Government not to replace; and, if so, whether it is the intention of the Admiralty to make any further reduction in the destroyer strength there.

The reply to both parts of the Question is in the negative. It is con sidered that there is a sufficiency of torpedo craft in the Mediterranean to meet the present conditions.

Naval Barracks

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he can give the average number of men in the various naval barracks during the month immediately preceding the formation of the Home Fleet and the number on 31st May, 1907.

The average number in the naval barracks in November last was over 10,000. The actual numbers on the 31st May, 1907, were 6,017.

Channel Destroyer Flotilla

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, in view of the fact that the fully-commissioned destroyer flotilla was removed from the command of the Commander-in-Chief of. the Channel Fleet last January, whether this officer can obtain the services of the fully-commissioned destroyers for such exercises and at such times as he deems desirable.

The hon. Member is referred to the Answer given to the hon. Member for the Ludlow Division of Shropshire on 15th July.§The actual transfer of destroyers from the immediate control of the Commander-in-Chief

§See (4) Debates, clxxviii, 312.
to that of another can only be effected by Admiralty order and at their discretion.

Hms "New Zealand"

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty on what date H.M.S. "New Zealand" parted company with the Channel Fleet; on what date is she to rejoin that fleet; and whether, during any portion of the time, she has been replaced by another battleship.

The dates are 23rd April and 18th July, the date of sailing after completion of defects. The reply to the last part of the Question is in the negative; the replacement was in the discretion of the Admiralty not considered necessary.

Hms "Cumberland"

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he has completed his investigations into the reason why H.M.S. "Cumberland" was not docked after 20th December, 1905, until quite recently; and, if so, whether he can state the result of his inquiry and what was the condition of the ship's bottom when recently docked.

The "Cumberland" is being converted into a cadets' training ship. It was not considered necessary by the dockyard officials to dock the ship till she was taken in hand for this service. The condition of the bottom was good.

The Coastguard

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether in a case where a coastguard station is in process of being abolished, the Admiralty will consult the owner before sub-letting the premises for other purposes.

As regards Great Britain, the general practice is to give the owner or lessor the first option. In the case of Ireland the matter is in the hands not of the Admiralty, but of the Dublin Board of Works.

Battleship Armaments

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the experience of the Russo-Japanese War shows that the 12-inch guns now mounted in His Majesty's battleships will still be ready and efficient for immediate service after fighting a sustained fleet action; and, if not, by what method does the Admiralty propose to replace them.

The reply is in the affirmative. Guns damaged in action would, of course, be replaced by reserve guns.

Defence Of Home Waters

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet is the officer responsible for the defence of Home waters and of this country against invasion; and whether the strength of the Channel Fleet is to be increased in numbers beyond the fourteen battleships, four armoured cruisers, and three unarmoured cruisers to which it was reduced last January.

before the Question was answered, asked did not the Board of Admiralty regret being obliged, under the pressure of Questions placed on the paper by the hon. Member and his friends on the opposite side of the House, of which this was an example, to make public information regarding important details of our naval dispositions which ought not in the national interest to be divulged—["Order."]—and which in the case of all foreign Navies was invariably withheld.

The hon. Member's Question is in the nature of a speech. The Civil Lord of the Admiralty is quite capable of taking care of himself.

In reply to the first part of the Question, the hon. Member is referred to the reply to a similar Question given yesterday to the hon. Member for Rutland.†In reply to the second part of the Question, the Admiralty, as has been frequently repeated, are not prepared to indicate in advance the developments they have in view.

asked whether there would be a statement in regard to the strength of the Channel Fleet next week.

† See(4) Debates, clxxviii, 1339

objected that these Questions pressed upon the Admiralty asked for information which if published would be at the disposal of foreign countries.

asked whether the strength of the Channel Fleet did not appear in the Navy List.

said that if it appeared in the Navy List his hon. friend should be satisfied.

said that if the statement he asked for was not made on the Navy Estimates he would repeat his Question in debate.

asked whether, in the interests of the House and the saving of time, it was not desirable to place the full control of all the naval affairs of the country in the hands of the hon. Member for King's Lynn.

"King Edward Vii 'S" Defective Rudder

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether in view of the public interest in the matter, he will publish a Report giving all the facts and correspondence connected with the fraud committed by the Ayrshire Foundry Company on the Admiralty, who the responsible persons were, with their names and addresses, and the reasons why they were not prosecuted.

All the information in the possession of the Admiralty was placed at the disposal of the Public Accounts Committee by an official fully conversant with the facts. This evidence will be published in the usual course.

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the defective rudder, fraudulently supplied by the Ayrshire Foundry Company had been built into the battleship "King Edward VII." at the time they were informed by the works manager of the Ayrshire Foundry Company of the fact that it was defective; and, if so, what was the extra cost involved to the public in ripping it out and replacing it with a good one.

The Answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, the only cost to the Crown ultimately involved in replacing the first rudder with a good one, including the cost of the latter, was £48 4s. 8d.

suggested that the hon. Member should await the publication of the evidence by the Public Accounts Committee.

asked whether this matter had not been investigated by the law officers of the Crown under the late Government.

That is so, and they came to the conclusion that no prosecution could be instituted.

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what steps the latter have taken to prevent defective castings supplied by Admiralty contractors being electrically welded on Sundays or holidays as was criminally done in the case of the rudder supplied by the Ayrshire Foundry Company to H.M.S. "King Edward VII."; whether the Admiralty have on their inspecting staff for the passing of contract-supplied castings any practical moulders; and, if not, will he explain why.

The serious attention of the Admiralty inspectors has been called to the possibility of electrically welding defective castings, and conditions are inserted in all present contracts which will prevent the repetition of such practices. As regards the second and third parts of the Question, I must refer the hon. Member to the full replies which I gave to similar Questions yesterday.†

Hms "Ringdove"

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, and, if

† See(4) Debates, clxxviii, 1337
so, when, His Majesty's ship "Ringdove," which is at present employed on the coast of Scotland for the protection of fisheries under the Admiral commanding the Coastguard and Reserves, is to be withdrawn from that service; and whether any vessel is to take her place.

Is any vessel at present employed on this service to be withdrawn?

Scottish Coastguard

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether any reduction in the coastguard in Scotland is in contemplation.

The reply which I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for the Rye Division of Sussex applies equally to the Coastguard stations in Scotland. †

Smokeless Blank Cartridge For Artillery

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if smokeless blank cartridge for artillery is used by both French and German armies for training purposes; and, if so, if he will instruct the authorities of the Arsenal to provide smokeless blank cartridge for our Artillery.

I understand that smokeless blank ammunition is used by both French and German Artillery. As I have already explained to my hon. friend on 18th July, the Ordnance Committee are carrying out experiments with this object in view, but the provision of a suitable cartridge at a reasonable cost has not yet been arrived at.

Is there any particular difficulty in England greater than exists in France and Germany of doing this apparently simple piece of work?

I am afraid it is by no means a simple piece of work.

† See(4) Debates, clxxviii, 1336.
The results arrived at in Germany and France differ from each other; and, I believe, they are not nearly so effective in Germany as in France.

British Colonial Shooting Team

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that for a number of years past representative shooting teams from Canada, Australia, and other Colonies have visited England, and that the Colonial Governments have made grants in aid of the expenses of the teams representing their respective Colonies; and whether, in view of the above facts, he will make a grant in aid of the expenses of the team representing the mother country which, for the first time, will shortly visit Canada and Australia.

I have nothing to add to the Answer I gave to an exactly similar Question yesterday.‡

Burma Railways

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, with reference to MR. Brodrick's reply of the 13th June, 1904,§to the hon. Member for the Strand Division of Westminster, upon what dates was the report of the acting chief engineer for construction, Burma Railways [No. 3605/45/8–1], of the 22nd August, 1900, representing that unsound work was being put into the G ôkteik Bridge, received by the board of directors in London and considered by them; what was the date upon which an inquiry was held into the representations as to bad work, and who were the Burma Railways Company's engineers present thereat, and who was the Government inspector, and is he aware that the acting chief engineer was superseded, by order of the acting agent of the Burma Railways in Rangoon, on the 29th August, 1900, owing to the attitude he (the acting chief engineer) had taken upon the question of the work on the G ôkteik viaduct.

I regret that I have not the information for which the

‡ See(4) Debates clxxviii, 1340-41.
§See(4) Debates, cxxxv., 1475.
hon. Member asks. In reply to a previous Question on the 21st February, the Secretary of State stated that he had no ground for apprehending that there was any cause for anxiety as to the stability of the G Ôkteik Bridge, and this statement has been confirmed by a report subsequently received from the Burma Railways Company. The allegations that have been made as to unsound work in the construction of the bridge have been investigated and have not been confirmed. The bridge is periodically inspected, and the Secretary of State does not propose to make any further inquiry on the subject.

Indian Rupee Coinage

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India what number of rupees was coined in the last financial year; what is the profit on each rupee at the present price of silver; what is the proportion of fine silver to alloy in the rupee; what is the proportion of fine silver in the quoted ounce of standard silver; and what number of silver dollars was coined at the Indian mints, and what is the weight and fineness of this coin.

The number of rupees coined in 1906–7, including the recoinage of old rupees, was 254,331,516. Taking the price of silver at 31 ½d. per standard ounce the net profit on the coinage of a rupee is approximately 4d. The fineness of the rupee is 916 6 per thousand; and that of standard silver is 925 per thousand. No dollars were coined at the Indian mints in 190–7.

Transvaal Labour Ordinance

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether this Government intend to make any representations to the Transvaal Government with a view to the removal of the restriction under the Labour Ordinance which prevents British subjects from being imported to do unskilled work in the mines of the Band.

As the hon. Member is aware, the Labour Ordi- nance which was enacted by the late Government will be repealed at an early date, and His Majesty's Government do not propose to make representations in the sense suggested but it must be borne in mind that even pending the expiry of the Ordinance there is nothing to prevent British subjects who do not come within its special definitions from undertaking work in the mines.

Workmen's Compensation In The Transvaal

I beg to ask the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that a Workmen's Compensation Bill has been gazetted in the Transvaal which provides for compensation by employers to employees under certain circumstances, the advantages of which, however, are extended to white persons only, thus excluding coloured employees from its benefits; and whether such differentiation constitutes a disability or restriction upon coloured people, such as was contemplated by the Government when making the reservations in the Transvaal Letters Patent.

Yes, Sir, I have seen the Bill, and my inclination is to think that it does not fall within the reservation; but the matter is one which must, of course, be determined under legal authority at the appropriate time.

Assault By Natal Planter On A Coolie

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the recent case of assault upon one Sukhaie, an indentured coolie, by his master, a Natal planter, named John Leask, junior; whether he has read the evidence led at the trial to the effect that the coolie was brutally flogged by his master with a reim, or raw-hide thong, for not obeying his order; that the said coolie was at the time weak and ill with dysentery; that, after his flogging, he was in gaol for seven days on a charge of desertion; that he shortly after died, his death, according to medical evidence, being possibly accelerated by the blows he received; whether he is aware that, although convicted, the punishment of the said John Leask, junior, was a fine of £10;and whether His Majesty's Government will consider the advisability of approaching the self-governing Colonies with a view to abolishing indentured labour.

My attention has been drawn to a newspaper report of the case in question, and the Secretary of State will communicate with the Colonial Government and with the Secretary of State for India on the subject. The last part of the hon. Member's Question raises an issue too wide to be conveniently discussed in an Answer to a Question.

Mr Churchill's Vacation Tour

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Secretary of State for the Colonies proposes to avail himself of the services of the Under-Secretary for a visit to British East Africa and Uganda; if so, at whose cost such a visit will be undertaken ; and whether he will suggest, through the Secretary of State, that the visit should be carried out by a permanent official of the Colonial Office who deals with matters relating to the Protectorate, so that the Colonial Office may have the permanent advantage of an official personally acquainted with the district to be visited.

THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
(SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Stirling Burghs)

Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to Answer his Question, as it personally affects my right hon. friend the Under-Secretary. As the hon. Member was informed on Monday, the Secretary of State for the Colonies has expressed a desire that my right hon. friend should, during the autumn, visit the East Africa Protectorate and Uganda; and unless unforeseen circumstances should prevent him my right hon. friend intends to do so. It will be both convenient and useful that he should be accompanied by a permanent official from the Department. The usual practice will be followed of charging the expense of such a mission, which is not likely to be considerable, to public funds, but my right hon. friend's personal expenses for living and transport, other than Government transport, will be defrayed by himself.

asked if the Under-Secretary would endeavour to include British Central Africa in the visit, the distance from East Africa Protectorate not being very great.

Why not in regard to expenses follow the example of the late Ministry?

Apart from other circumstances, it is the wish of my right hon. friend co pay his personal expenses.

The Hague Conference

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can inform the House what instructions have been given to His Majesty's representatives at The Hague on the following points—the bombardment of undefended coast towns by the fleets of belligerents, the seizure and destruction of private property at sea, the publication of loans by belligerent powers in neutral markets, and the obligation of a formal declaration of war.

My right hon. friend cannot make statements about the instructions given to the delegates; nor add to the statements which have been made public by the Conference as to its proceedings.

Company Law In Guernsey

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Project de Loi, or draft Bill for the amendment of the company law of Guernsey, referred to by him in answer to a Question on the 30th October, 1906,t has yet become law; and, if not, if he can give the House any information with regard to the prospects of legislation on this subject by the authorities of the Island; and if he can state what, if any, is the ad valorem capital duty payable on the registration of companies in Guernsey.

† See(4) Debates, clxiii, 886

The Projet de Loi was referred to a Committee of the States of Guernsey, who for various reasons have not yet been able to report; but it is hoped that their labours will soon be concluded. In March, the Board of Trade suggested a conference with representatives of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, with the object of seeing whether the the Law relating to joint stock companies in those Islands could be made more uniform with that in force in this country, and a meeting was held on the 4th of this month, when the matter was gone into with, I hope, useful results. As regards the last part of the Question, I understand that an ad valorem duty of is. per cent. on the capital is payable in the case of companies registered in Guernsey.

Welshpool Cemetery Scandal

I bog to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the case of the parish clerk of Welshpool, who disinterred human remains from a consecrated place of burial without the right hon. Gentleman's permission; and what he steps he intends taking in the matter.

Before. the right hon. Gentleman answers this Question, may I ask if he has reason to believe that the action that he took in the matter has not satisfied the objections raised in the locality concerned?

I had better answer the Question on the Paper. In accordance with my promise to my right hon. friend the Member for Montgomery Boroughs, who asked me about the case on the 1st of this month, I directed legal proceedings to be instituted against the parish clerk. The case was heard by the magistrates at Welshpool on the 16th, when the accused pleaded guilty to an offence against the 25th Section of the Burials Act, 1857 (20 and 21 Vic. cap. 81) and was fined £1 or in default sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will take any steps to arrange who shall be responsible in the future with regard to the churchyard? Is he aware that in this case the clergyman said he was not responsible, and that the clerk alone was responsible? Suppose the clerk dies tomorrow, who is responsible?

Hungerford Justices' Clerk

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the chairman of the Hungerford Bench and the county treasurer for Berks had repudiated liability for £55 5s. penalty and costs collected by the late clerk to the Justices, MR. Hopkins; whether some authority is responsible for this and similar moneys; and, if not, will he take measures to protect these public moneys which are collected in the name of the Crown.

My attention has been called to the matter. The sum mentioned was due from the estate of the late clerk to the Justices, who died insolvent. Neither the Justices, nor the county treasurer, nor any other authority is responsible. I have no power to intervene in the matter, and I am not prepared to propose any charge in the law by which the clerk to the Justices is responsible for fines and fees collected by him.

But ought not securities to be insisted on in this and other cases? The money has been lost.

Chained Prisoners

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give the figures for the year 1906, showing the number of prisoners in English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish prisons, respectively, obliged to wear chains or cross irons.

The numbers for the year 1906 of prisoners obliged to wear chains or cross irons were: in prisons in England, 15; Wales, 0; Scotland, 0; Ireland, 1.

Are we going to take the burglars of Great Britain under our wing?

Wage Statistics

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether it is his intention to send out forms to employers in certain trades calling for a return of the number employed, conditions of labour, wages, etc.; if so, in order to make the return more complete, will he consider the desirability of sending out forms bearing distinctive numbers only, retaining in his office a complete register of firms called upon to make a return, with the number attached in case of reference, with a view to removing the objections on the part of many employers to make the return; and will he consider the desirability of following a similar course when collecting returns under the Census of Production Act.

With regard to the information which is being collected respecting earnings, I am glad to be able to inform my hon. friend that a large proportion of the employers who have been asked to send returns to the Board of Trade have already done so. The employers were all informed that the identity of individual returns would not be disclosed in any way. In making second application to firms which have not as yet supplied returns, the Department is giving them the option of making use of a reference number instead of stating their names and addresses. The Census of Production Act requires the signature of the person filling up the form, but the names will be detached from the forms when received in the Board of Trade so that they will only be known to the officer receiving the returns.

Will my right hon. friend explain how he proposes to treat the considerable proportion of firms who do not return their wages? How will those firms be treated in working an average of the whole sum paid for wages?

I think we have sufficient information already. It gives a very good idea of the wages paid in all the leading districts and industrial centres in this country. In fact we have returns already which cover over 3,000,000 of workmen, whereas in returns twenty years ago they only covered about 1,500,000.

I am sorry to trouble my right hon. friend again. Is it not true that the firms who do not return information are the worst employers and pay the lowest wages?

[No Answer was returned.]

School Building Grants

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education if he has received any applications from local education authorities for a share in the sum of £100,000 for erecting new public elementary schools. I beg also ask the President of the Board of Education when he will lay upon the Table the regulations informing local education authorities of the methods to be adopted for ascertaining the wishes of parents in single-school areas, with a view to providing a second school from National funds.

In reply to these Questions, I must refer the hon. Member to the Answers which my right hon. friend gave to the hon. Member for the Ecclesall Division of Sheffield on Monday last.†

Land Tax Commissioners

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if a number of Land Tax Commissioners have recently been appointed; if so, by whom have such appointments been made; and how many have there been.

† See(4) Debates, clxxviii, 1179

There have been no appointments of Land Tax Commissioners more recent than those made by the Land Tax Commissioners Act, 1906. The list of Commissioners then appointed was published in the London Gazette of 28th December, 1906, and covered some forty pages. No addition can be made to the list, except by Act of Parliament.

The Public Trustee

I beg to ask MR. Attorney-General whether he will state the date of the provisional appointment of MR. C. J. Stewart to the office of Public Trustee; whether such appointment was verbal or in writing; and, if in writing, whether there is any objection to laying a copy of the same upon the Table of the House, either prior to or concurrently with the rule establishing the office.

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. MR. Stewart has received no appointment, provisional or otherwise, but he is being employed in organising the new Department which it will be necessary to create under the Bill. It is intended to appoint him in the month of October. I understand the rules will be laid on the Table before the end of the month.

asked if the lion, and learned Gentleman was aware that MR. Stewart still retained his position in the brewery with which he was connected.

Scottish Fisheries Protection

I bog to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether the Government propose to remove the cruiser from watching the trawlers in the North of Scotland?

Did not the right hon. Gentleman give the House to understand yesterday that the vessel was to be withdrawn?

Scottish Valuation

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his Department have any means of ascertaining definitely the sum total of all the feu-duties and long building leases in each of the counties and burghs of Scotland; if not, as such information would be necessary to know the exact effect of the Prime Minister's promise to exempt these from any proposed taxation under the Land Values (Scotland) Bill, whether he proposes to add a clause in that Bill to insert a further column in the new valuation roll (after the column under the new heading, capital land value) in order to obtain the amount of this value, as otherwise the information gained under the proposed new column might be illusory.

The first part of the Question is founded on misapprehension. By the Act of 24 and 25 Vict., cap. 83 (1861), County Voters (Scotland) Act, as amended by the Act of 48 Viet., cap. 16 (1885), Registration Amendment (Scotland) Act, all feu-duties and ground annuals are in point of fact at present entered in a separate column in the Valuation Roll. The hypothesis upon which the second and argumentative part of the Question is founded is accordingly erroneous, and it is not proposed to insert a further column duplicating formation already on the roll. Any suggestions by my hon. friend arising out of the shape of the roll under the Bill will no doubt be made by him before the Grand Committee, of which he is a member.

Scottish Public Parks

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that some town councils in Scotland, having purchased parks on behalf of their ratepayers, daily close the whole of these parks to these same ratepayers, except on payment for admission; whether he is aware that councils have not this power; and whether he will introduce legislation to give them such?

I am not aware of the facts mentioned, and as I answered to my hon. friend on a similar subject on 18th June last, I shall be glad to have the particulars on which he bases his statement. When these are furnished I shall consider the need or expediency of legislation.

Irish Horse Breeding

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether in view of the failure that attended the efforts of his predecessor in the regeneration of the Irish draught horse, he will see that in future proper steps are taken for the attainment of this object, and that practical effect be given to the resolution which the agricultural council have unanimously passed recommending the starting of a stud book for this breed of horse.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR IRELAND
(MR. T. W. RUSSELL, Tyrone, S.)

The measures hitherto taken by the Department with a view to establishing a register for the Irish draught horse were, in their opinion and that of their Advisory Committee on House Breeding, on proper lines. The question was again recently considered by the Department in consultation with their Advisory Committee, and it was decided to renew these measures in the current year. It is hoped that the wider acquaintance of owners with the provisions of the scheme will have the result that animals of the requisite description will be forthcoming for registration this year. Of the 322 mares offered for inspection last year not one, in the opinion of the Department's Inspector, was of the type sought.

Kanturk Guardians And The Newmarket Extra Police Tax

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has received a copy of a resolution passed by the Kanturk Board of Guardians on the 10th instant, again protesting against the extra police tax levied in the Newmarket or northern portion of the union, and stating that as an excuse for the prolongation of this heavy tax on the ratepayers the constabulary authorities allege the necessity of the maintenance of a protection hut on the farm of Owen Daly, and that if possession of this farm, which was purchased by MR. Daly through the Recorder of Cork East Riding, and the purchase money-paid over by him to MR. Curry, court registrar, nearly two years ago, be handed over to him, any necessity for the maintenance of the hut will be at once removed; whether he will make inquiry as to why possession of the farm is not given to this purchaser without further delay; whether he will state what portion approximately of the free force of police of Cork County is allocated to the Kanturk and Newmarket districts under normal circumstances; and what other extraordinary circumstances (if any) exist to justify the continuance of the extra police tax.

I have received the resolution referred to in the Question. I am informed that MR. Daly is in actual possession of the greater part of the farm which he has purchased, but that he has not yet got a legal assignment of the farm. The matter is at present before the Courts, and the Government have no power to interfere. About one-sixth of the free force of County Cork E. R. is usually stationed in the Kanturk and Newmarket districts. The police authorities inform me that the three extra policemen for whom a charge is made on local authorities are required for the protection of MR. Daly. There is no other necessity for extra police in the localty.

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that this man paid £318, the savings of a lifetime, to the registrar who was the representative of the County Court Judge, and the Government having now obtained a verdict against the sureties, would the money be refunded?

replied that of course it was very unfortunate that the court registrar should disappear with the funds, and measures had been taken to recover the amount from his sureties, but these proceedings occurred in Court and the Government had no control over them. He quite agreed it was a very great hardship.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was not a single criminal ease in the whole district at the last quarter sessions nor at the assize, and that being so, are the constabulary authorities entitled to quarter extra police?

Could the right hon. Gentleman say when these police had been transferred from one portion of the county to another, and if they were so transferred why should Kanturk and the other council pay extra for them?

I must have notice of that; the point upon my mind is that the police are necessary for the protection of MR. Daly.

asked whether the right hon Gentleman had seen that there was no criminal business at the last session or assize.

replied that his last words were that there was no other necessity for the presence of the police than the protection of MR. Daly.

asked the right hon. Gentleman to look into the whole question of the allocation of the police force.

Fermoy Relieving Officer

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that one of the relieving officers of the Fermoy district, who was dismissed his office for irregularities committed by him after an inquiry by the Poor Law Board, has since been reinstated; whether he can state the reasons for his dismissal in the first instance; and why he was subsequently reinstated.

The relieving officer referred to in the Question was not actually dismissed. It is the duty of relieving officers to give allowances of outdoor relief at the houses of the applicants, but in this particular case the relieving officer required some of the poor people to travel long distances in order to receive their allowances from him, and treated them harshly in other ways. The Local Government Board requested the guardians to call for the relieving officer's resignation. The guardians, however, while strongly censuring the officer for his conduct, unanimously requested the Board to withdraw their demand for his retirement on this occasion, and the Board consented to do so, but upon the distinct understanding that he would be at once dismissed if any further dereliction of duty should occur.

Is it not the fact that the Local Government Board inquiry was brought about at the instigation of the guardians?

And had this man not been reprimanded on more than two occasions before the inquiry?

I quite agree that in Ireland, as in other places, it is very difficult to get guardians to act promptly and wisely in these matters. They are very often too kind-hearted, but the Local Government Board cannot always be quarrelling with them on that account. No doubt it would have been better if this man had been dismissed.

J W Leahy Estate Near Cahirciveen

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is now in a position to say what steps have been taken by the Estates Commissioners to fix the purchase price of the J. W. Leahy estate at Aghatubrid, near Cahirciveen, in view of the fact that more than six months have elapsed since the case was put in their hands by the landlord and the tenants.

The Estates Commissioners have issued to the owner a preliminary estimate of the price which they will be prepared to offer for this estate, and as soon as the owner has shown prima facie title they will make a formal offer for purchase.

Irish National School Teachers

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the number of national school teachers at present in second and third grades, respectively; and the number at the maximum salary of third grade who have now completed three years satisfactory service, and who have not yet been promoted to second grade.

The Commissioners of National Education inform me that on 31st December last there were 2,551 principal teachers in the second grade, and 4,316 in the third grade. The present numbers in these grades cannot be stated with accuracy, as promotions are in course of being made. There are 774 teachers who have completed three years service on the maximum salary of the third grade. The Commissioners cannot yet say how many of these have fulfilled the conditions for promotion, but the cases are being investigated as rapidly as possible.

Irish Industrial Schools

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that in many industrial schools children are retained against the expressed wish of their parents, who have good homes and are in a position to provide for them comfortably; and what are the reasons for refusing to restore the children of parents in such circumstances.

I am not aware that the fact is as stated in the Question, and I should be surprised to find that it is so, having regard to the circumstance that in the majority of instances the destitution of the child is a determining factor in the case. Industrial schools were certainly not intended for the children of parents who are in the happy circumstances described by the hon. Member. If any such case as is referred to should be brought to my notice I will have the fullest inquiries made.

asked if the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider his decision in regard to three children in the Black-rock School, and would allow their release if he could prove that there was a comfortable home awaiting them.

I will certainly look into the case, but I may say that in the great majority of cases the poverty of the parents is the dominating factor which leads to the detention of the children in the schools.

The case I refer to was one affecting four children. The right hon. Gentleman released one, but refused to allow the other three to go. I can show him there is a comfortable home awaiting them.

Kilkishen Evicted Tenants

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will inquire of the Estates Commissioners why Mrs. Margaret Shearin, of Kilkishen, county Clare, has not been reinstated in her holding on the Doonass property; and whether the Estates Commissioners wired to MR. Fitt, solicitor, Limerick, instructing him not to take further steps in getting Mrs. Shearin to sign the agreement as arranged until he heard from them again.

The Estates Commissioners have taken no stops to secure Mrs. Shearin's reinstatement, because the applicant's late husband was not an evicted tenant, but surrendered the holding in which reinstatement is claimed. The holding has since been bought by the present tenant. It was at one time suggested that Mrs. Shearin should receive an allotment of the untenanted land on the estate, but this was found impracticable, and the Commissioners accordingly telegraphed to MR. Fitt telling to him take no further steps in the matter.

Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire of the Commissioners if it is not possible to obtain another holding for this woman in some other neighbourhood?

It is not for me to interfere with the discretion of the Commissioners.

Irish Education Rules

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the new Rule 127 (b) of the Commissioners of National Education is not universally carried out; and if he can state why preference is given as between Roman Catholic and Protestant schools.

The Commissioners of National Education inform me that Rule 127 (b) is carried out, and that no exception is made in favour of schools under any particular management, whether Protestant or Catholic.

Irvine Estate Evicted Tenant

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether any representatives of the late John M'Quade, who was formerly evicted from his farm in Drumkirk, on the Irvine estate, near Ederney, county Fermanagh, have made application to the Estates Commissioners for reinstatement on this holding; if so, does he consider the applicant as suitable for, and one that should be provided with, a holding under the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Bill; and are the Estates Commissioners prepared to offer reasonable compensation to the present occupier who holds it as a grass farm, with a view to the restoration of the representative of the deceased man M'Quade or some other suitable evicted tenant;.

:The Estates Commissioners have received from John T. M'Quade an application for reinstatement in the holding formerly occupied by his deceased father. The Commissioners after inquiry have placed the applicant's name upon the list of persons suitable to receive an allotment of land, but they do not propose to take any steps to reinstate him in the evicted farm, which has been occupied by another person under lease for the past twenty-three years.

Cattle Mutilation On The Kenmare Estate

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the police have received information that a valuable three-year-old cow, the property of MR. Edward Godfrey, of Donemark, the local bailiff on the Kenmare estate, was killed and mutilated while grazing on the lands of Ardnagoshel, belonging to MR. Hutchins, J.P.; and what steps have been taken to discover the perpetrators.

:The police authorities inform me that the facts are as stated in the Question. The police have used all possible efforts to discover the offender, but so far without success.

Colemanstown Evicted Tenant

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether John McNamara, of Mountshannon, county Clare, has applied to the Estates Commissioners for reinstatement on the farm now held by Patrick M'Auliffe, at Colemanstown; whether the present tenant of this farm has held it for upwards of eleven years in the face of persecution by the United Irish League; whether John McNamara is one of the 2,000 for whom holdings are to be provided under the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Bill; and, in the event of Patrick M'Auliffe being compulsorily dispossessed of his holding, whether he will be given compensation for the permanent improvements he has made, and for the loss he has suffered through the instrumentality of the United Irish League.

:The Estates Commissioners have received John McNamara's application for reinstatement in a farm which has been occupied by John McAuliffe for the past eleven years. The Commissioners have fully inquired into the case and have decided to take no action upon the application. McNamara is already in possession of a farm of up-wards of sixty acres.

Mr Conor O'kelly's Arhagh Speech-

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been called to a speech delivered by the honourable Member for North Mayo, on 7th July, at a meeting of the United Irish League, held at Arhagh, in connection with the refusal of a man named Haire, who is in possession of an evicted farm, to surrender it for the purpose of enabling the former tenant to be reinstated, in which the hon. Member said they must boycott Haire absolutely, rigorously, and completely, and that they must isolate him from his fellows until he surrendered his farm; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter.

My right hon. friend the Attorney-General for Ireland answered a similar Question on my behalf on the 11th instant. I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer then given, †

Lady Osborne's Nenagh Tenantry

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can say whether the Estates Commissioners received a memorial last January from all the tenants on the estate of Lady Osborne, of Beech wood Park, Nenagh, in the county of Tipperary, several of whom are under £5 rateable value, asking them to request the owner if she would sell the untenanted land on the estate comprising about 300 acres, which is at present let to graziers on the eleven months system, to the Estates Commissioners for distribution amongst the said tenants and several other small holders on the estate and in the district; if so, whether they have taken any action in reference to it; and, further, whether the tenants requested the Estates Commissioners to ask Lady Osborne whether she would sell to them the interest in the tenants' holdings with the object of resale to them.

The Estates Commissioners received the memorial referred to and communicated with the owner, who informed them that her estate includes no untenanted land except the demesne, which she does not intend to sell. The owner further informed the Commissioners that she had offered terms of sale to her tenants, whose holdings average an area of fifty acres. The majority of the tenants agreed to accept Lady Osborne's terms, but owing to the opposition of a small minority the sale fell through. The Commissioners do not propose to take any action in the matter.

Education Grants

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to what

† See(4) Debates clxxviii, 56
object he proposes to devote the equivalent grant payable to Ireland in respect of the £100,000 to be voted for the erection of public elementary schools in England and Wales.

The hon. Member appears to assume that if the sum mentioned in the Question should be voted, a proportionate grant would be made to Ireland in addition to the £65,000 already provided in the Estimates for the building of national schools in Ireland. This is not the case.

Kenmare Estate Evicted Tenants

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what is the cause of the delay on the part of the Estates Commissioners in giving assistance to MR. D. O'Shea and MR. Cornelius O'Sullivan, two tenants who have been reinstated on the Kenmare Estate, county Kerry.

:The Estates Commissioners are negotiating for the purchase of the holding formerly occupied by Daniel O'Shea, but an agreement as to the price has not yet been arrived at. A grant cannot be given to him until terms of purchase have been arranged. The Commissioners have received their inspector's report on Cornelius O'Sullivan's application for a grant, but have not yet come to a decision in the matter.

Will the right hon. Gentleman urge the Commissioners to do something in this case before the summer passes?

I do not think, the Commissioners require to be reminded of their duty. I will remind them, however.

Mr Ginnell's Speech

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether in view of the wide publicity given by the Press in Westmeath and the West of Ireland to the speech of the hon. Member for North Westmeath lately delivered at Killulagh, in which he advised his audience to obtain possession of the grass farms by driving the cattle off them, and in which he said they had it on the authority of Lord Denman, a member of the Government, that scattering cattle was no crime if they were not houghed, and in view of the added importance which a speech of this character has when made by a Member of Parliament, he will take steps to have the conduct of the hon. Member adjudicated upon by a Court of law.

I informed the hon. Member on Wednesday last that there was no evidence of the speech referred to beyond that afforded by the newspaper report. No proceedings could be taken upon a newspaper report.

Has the right hon. Gentleman endeavoured to get any evidence of what happened at this meeting?

The only evidence is a newspaper report, and the Irish Office has had experience of the folly of taking criminal proceedings on a mere newspaper report.

:I am quite prepared to ask the police what took place, but I do not think we can take criminal proceedings on the recollections of a policeman.

International Disarmament

I beg to ask the Prime Minister if the British delegates to the Peace Conference have given notice of any resolution in favour of international disarmament.

My right hon. friend must refer to the Answer given yesterday to the hon. Member for the Ecclesall division of Sheffield on the same point †

The Ayrshire Foundry Company

:I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether, having in view all the facts of the case and that the action of the works manager of the Ayrshire

† See(4) Debates, clxxviii,1358
Foundry Company in reporting to the Admiralty that it had been supplied with a defective rudder for the battleship "King Edward VII" had probably saved the country from a naval disaster of a national character, he could see his way to recommend a money grant to this man.

I have nothing to add to the Answer given by my right hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty to a similar Question on the 17th of this month.‡

Vagrancy Law

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether he can see his way to promise to bring in a Bill next session dealing with the Vagrancy Law.

Alleged Sales Of Peerages

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the Motions down on the Order Book praying for the appointment of a Select Committee of this House, with full powers to compel testimony and to send for persons, papers, and records, for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is any truth in the charge of the hon. Member for East St. Pancras that honours are bought and sold in this country; and what action he proposes taking.

I am not aware that any case has been laid before the House for such an inquiry as is suggested, and until the Motions to which reference is made become operative Motions by being brought forward and supported in this House, no occasion arises for taking them into consideration.

asked if he was to under-stand that the Motions for inquiry were to be unnoticed on the Order Paper and the country was to be permitted to infer that neither the last nor the present Government dared face any of these Motions.

did not think this would be inferred.

‡ See(4) Debates clxxviii, 667
When the Motions came on, the Government would know what evidence could be produced and would judge for themselves.

asked whether the Prime Minister did not consider this one of the gravest matters that could possibly affect the honour of Parliament and that such allegations ought to be investigated.

:That depends on the case that is made. I do not know what evidence the hon. Member has on which he bases his statements. I have no knowledge of the evidence in the matter, and until I know that I cannot tell what weight to attach to the statements of the hon. Member.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would publish an account of the Party funds?

Earl Of Cromer

at the Bar, acquainted the House that he had a Message from His Majesty the King, signed with His Majesty's own hand, and he presented the same to the House, and it was read by MR. Speaker (the Members being uncovered), and is as followeth:—

EDWARD REX.

His Majesty, taking into consideration the eminent services rendered by the Earl of Cromer, O.M., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., K.C.S.I., C.I.E., formerly Agent and Consul-General in Egypt, and being desirous in recognition of such services to confer upon him some signal mark of His favour, recommends to His faithful Commons that He should be enabled to grant Lord Cromer the sum of £50,000.

:I beg to move, Sir, that His Majesty's gracious Message be referred to Committee of Supply.

Ordered, "That His Majesty's Most Gracious Message be referred to the Committee of Supply."—( Sir II. Campbell-Bannerman.)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman when it is likely that this grant will come up for discussion?

Selection (Standing Committees)

reported from the Committee of Selection; That they had discharged the following Member from Standing Committee C (in respect of the Small Holdings and Allotments Bill): MR. George White; and had appointed in substitution (in respect of the Small Holdings and Allotments Bill): MR. Beck.

Report to lie upon the Table.

Prohibition Of Medical Practice By Companies Bill Lords

Read the first time; to be read a second time upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 284.]

Territorial And Reserve Forces Bill

Lords' Amendments to be considered upon Tuesday next, and to be printed. [Bill 286.]

Advertisements Regulation Bill

Lords' Amendments to be considered To-morrow, and to be printed., [Bill 287.]

Finance Bill

As amended, to be printed. [Bill 288.]

Limited Partnerships Bill

Lords' Amendments to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 289.]