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Commons Chamber

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 7 August 1907

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House Of Commons

Wednesday, 7th August, 1907.

The House met at a quarter before Three o'clock.

Private Bill Business

Glasgow Corporation Bill [Lords]. Reported, with Amendments, from the Police and Sanitary Committee; Report to lie upon the Table, and to be printed.

Message From The Lords

That they have agreed to, Leeds (South Parade Chapel) Charity Bill; Kingswood (Whitfield Tabernacle, School room, &c.) Charity Bill; Longton (Caroline Street Chapel) Charity Bill, without Amendment.

Amendments to, Broadstairs and St. Peter's Urban District Water Bill [Lords]; Western Valleys (Monmouthshire) Sewerage Board Bill [Lords]; Merthyr Tydfil Stipendiary Justice Bill [Lords]; Selsey Water Bill [Lords]; Midland Railway Bill [Lords]; without Amendment.

Petitions

Land Values (Scotland) Bill

Petition from Greenock, against; to lie upon the Table.

Licensing Acts

Petitions from Southwark, for alteration of law; to lie upon the Table.

Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill

Petitions against: From Aberdeen; Kincardine; and, Banff; to lie upon the Table.

Returns, Reports, Etc

Diseases Of Animals Acts

Copy presented, of Report of Proceedings by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, under the Diseases of Animals Acts, for the year 1906 [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.

Board Of Agriculture And Fisheries

Copy presented, of Report of the Progress of the Ordnance Survey to the 31st March, 1907 [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.

Historical Manuscripts (Royal Commission)

Copy presented, of Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Vol. III. [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.

Historical Manuscripts (Royal Commission)

Copy presented, of Reports on the Manuscripts of J. B. Fortescue, esquire, preserved at Dropmore, Vol. VI. [by Command]; to lie upon the Table.

Polling Districts (County Of Durham)

Copy presented, of Order made by the the County Council of Durham altering certain polling districts in the Bishop Auckland Parliamentary Division [by Act]; to lie upon the Table.

Postal Agreement (Peru)

Copy presented, of Postal Agreement for the exchange of Postal Parcels between the Post Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Post Office of Peru, dated 23rd February, and 3rd May, 1907, [by Command]; to lie upon the Table,

Government Lands In British East Africa And Uganda

Address for "Return showing, with respect to the Government Lands in British East Africa and Uganda, (1) area

sold; (2) sum realised for the same; (3) area leased and average period of lease; (4) rent of the same during each of the five years last passed, distinguishing land sold or leased in the railway strip and at Nairobi from the other Lands leased or sold."—( Mr. Wedgwood.)

Questions And Answers Circulated With The Votes

Increase Of Lough Erne Drainage Rate

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that the Lough Erne drainage rate has been increased this year by 30 per cent.; and if he can say what is the cause of the increase. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) Drainage maintenance rates are struck and levied, under the powers given by The Drainage and Improvement of Lands (Ireland) Act, 1863, by the local drainage boards which are elected by the proprietors of lands within the several districts. The rate which may be struck in a particular district does not come within the cognizance or control of the Government. It has, however, been ascertained from the secretary to the Lough and River Erne Drainage and Navigation Board that the rate of the present year amounts to £1,500, which represents a large increase on the rate for last year. This increase was due to the fact that the Board was involved in certain legal proceedings in connection with their rules. If the hon. Member or any ratepayer concerned desires fuller information on the subject, I would suggest that inquiry be made direct from the drainage boards.

Playing Of Military Bands At Dublin Exhibition On Sundays

To ask the Secretary of State for War if he can state under what circumstances and by whose orders are military bands permitted to play on Sundays in the Irish International Exhibition at Dublin. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) As the hon. Member was informed, in reply to a similar Question put on 28th June of last year, military bands are permitted to play on Sundays between the hours of 2 p.m. and 9.30 p.m., subject to certain special conditions.

Functions And Constitution Of The Board Of Trade

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Board of Trade is by statute the Lords of the Committee for the time being of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations; whether any such Committee has been appointed since 1786; whether, if so, the last Committee so appointed expired at or within six months of the death of His Majesty King George III.; and, if the Board of Trade as defined by statute has ceased to exist, what is the present position of the President of the Board of Trade. (Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George.) The Board of Trade is, by the Interpretation Act, 1889, and earlier statutes, the Lords of the Committee for the time being of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations. The Order in Council of 23rd August, 1786, has not been revoked, and the Committee is treated, in a very learned work known as "Anson's Law and Custom of the Constitution," as still existing.

Sheep Dipping Regulations

To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether be is aware that great inconvenience is caused to farmers by the regulations affecting sheep-dipping, in that they may have to dip their sheep during harvest time, and especially to those farmers who have their sheep on the moor and who, under the present regulations, may have to bring their sheep from a considerable distance in to be dipped and then turned out again, necessitating a second gathering; and whether he can see his way to extending the time during which sheep may be dipped from the end of August to the end of September. (Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) The period during which the dipping must be carried out was selected, after full consideration, as the one which would entail the least possible inconvenience to all concerned, and we could not extend it without having also to im- pose restrictions on the movement of sheep, which would cause much greater inconvenience than the present arrangements. If, however, my hon. friend will give me any specific instances of special difficulty I shall be glad to see if it is possible to meet them.

Delay In Erection Of Class Room At Waterville

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state what progress has been made with the erection by the Congested District Boards of an industrial class at Waterville, county Kerry; and whether it will be completed before the coming autumn. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The erection of a class room at Waterville has been delayed by the necessity of obtaining the Lord Chancellor's approval to the lease of the premises. The Congested Districts Board anticipate that the building will be completed before the coming winter.

Sale Of The Blacker-Douglas Estate

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state when the arrangements, signed by tenants to purchase their holdings on the Blacker-Douglas estate, were lodged by the land lord with the Estates Commissioners; whether the sale has been sanctioned or completed; and, if not, whether he can state when it will be finished. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The purchase agreements relating to this estate were lodged with the Estates Commissioners on the 3rd January, 1906. The case will be dealt with in order of priority, but the Commissioners cannot at present say when the proceedings will be completed.

Removal Of Irish Police Station Badges

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the emblem of the Crown, always displayed above the doors of police barracks, has been removed from Cullingtree, Brickfield, and Springfield Roads barracks and if he can say on whose authority they have been removed. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The station badges at the barracks mentioned were simply removed to receive their customary annual coat of paint.

The Exchequer And Audit Department Staff

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, having regard to the fact that in the recent reorganisation of the Exchequer and Audit Department the staff of Second Division clerks (comprising at the time about one-half of the whole Department, with twenty subsequent additions as retained Second Division clerks reached eight years service), whose approved service extended between eight and twenty-eight years, were, under special Treasury sanction, promoted to be examiners with Higher Division certificates in the newly-reconstituted Department, and that their attention was particularly directed by their Departmental heads to the circumstance that this reorganisation was designed to increase the efficiency of the Department by removing the hitherto artificial barriers to promotion, he will explain whether it was with the authority of the Comptroller and Auditor-General that recently the Assistant Comptroller and Auditor, and certain of his subordinate chiefs, assured certain probationers who entered under the new scheme of examination that they would be preferred for advancement before their senior and experienced ex-Second Division colleagues; and, if so, seeing the effect of such administration on the public service, will he say why seniority and equality of efficiency are ignored in making promotions in this Department. (Answered by Mr. Runciman.) The hon. Member has been misinformed. No such assurance was ever given.

Supposed Transfer Of Local Auditor From Cyprus To London

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether it has been decided to transfer a chief examiner of thirty-two years service from the Colonial Audit Branch in London to the local auditorship of Cyprus, in order to bring back to London the present local auditor in Cyprus at his Colonial rate of about £500 per annum; and, if so, seeing that this local auditor has only ten years service and has never passed a Civil Service examination for his position, and that his transfer back to London would mean his passing over the heads of men with three times his service, who obtained their positions through passing Civil Service examinations, will he explain why this step is to be taken. (Answered by Mr Runciman.) I understand that no such step is in contemplation, but that, if it were, the consequences would not be as indicated in the Question.

Audit Of Irish Public Accounts

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the dockyard accounts, the Admiralty accounts, the War Office accounts, the English and Scottish education accounts, the Post Office and other accounts are all audited by permanent local staffs at each of the various offices, while the Irish public accounts, with the exception of some slight local tests by a few men extending over only a very short period in Ireland, are all audited in London; and, if so, seeing that this audit of all the Irish public accounts in London means much duplication of work, will he explain why all such audit is not done in Dublin by adopting the same system of permanent local audit and supervision as obtains in the case of Devonport Dockyard and other accounts. (Answered by Mr. Runciman.) This matter has been frequently raised, and I have nothing to add to the Answers previously given.

Inspection Of Castings For Battleships

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the defective casting of the rudder of H.M.S. "Edward VII." was inspected in the rough or after it had been dressed; and whether the Admiralty will give instructions that in future all castings and mouldings must be inspected in the rough. (Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson.) This, and the four following Questions by the hon. Member relate to proceedings that took place under the preceding Board of Admiralty. I am informed that the rudder was partly inspected in the rough, but before complete inspection was practicable the electric welding was performed. As regards the second Question, such instructions have been given with respect to all similar work.

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the defective casting of the rudder of H.M.S "Edward VII." had, before inspection, been smudged with sal ammoniac, or some other preparation designed to produce a thick coating of rust or otherwise to obliterate the marks of tools or electric carbons; whether the practice of smudging castings before inspection is general; and whether the Admiralty will issue instructions to their inspectors not to pass any casting that has been smudged. (Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson.) I am informed that the treatment to which the rudder was subjected before inspection was secret, and no information regarding it reached the Admiralty of the day. There was no smudging. The Answer to the second Question is "no." In Answer to the third Question, instructions have been issued which it is believed will make any such improper treatment of a casting impossible.

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the sound test was applied to the defective casting of the rudder of H.M.S. "Edward VII."; if so, whether the fore hammer used in the test was wielded by the inspector or by an employee of the Ayrshire Foundry Company; and whether the Admiralty will issue instructions that in future the sound test shall invariably be applied and that the fore hammer shall be wielded by the inspector himself. (Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson.) I am informed that the sound test was applied in this case, as it is in all others, according to the standing practice of the Admiralty. The fore hammer was wielded by an employee of the Ayrshire Foundry Company in the presence and hearing of an Admiralty inspector and according to his directions. It is not considered necessary to interfere with the discretion of the inspector as to the use of the fore hammer.

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether other castings supplied by the Ayrshire Foundry Company to any of His Majesty's ships now in commission have been recently examined; and whether the Admiralty are satisfied that no defects exist in such castings similar to those discovered in the rudder of H.M.S. "Edward VII." (Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson): I am informed that all practicable examination of the castings supplied by the Ayrshire Foundry Company was made by order of the late Board of the Admiralty as soon as they received information about the defect in the rudder head of the "King Edward VII." All such castings have stood the test of actual service, and the Admiralty have no reason to suppose that defects similar to those reported in the case of the "King Edward VII." exist.

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what firms supplied the rudder and other castings for H.M.S. "Argyll"; and whether the Admiralty will institute a thorough examination of the castings built into this vessel. (Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson): I am informed that the particulars asked for in the first part of the Question could not be supplied without a long investigation of old accounts; and, as to the second, it is impossible without incurring very considerable expense in opening up completed work. All these castings have satisfactorily withstood the stress of actual service.

Loss Of British Vessels Through Floating Mines

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many British vessels are known to have been lost through floating mines since the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War; what was the latest date at which a loss of a Britsh vessel from this cause is believed to have taken place; and whether there is reason to believe that other neutral and British vessels have been lost through this mode of warfare. (Answered by Mr Lloyd-George): Two British vessels have been reported to the Board of Trade as having been lost-through floating mines since the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War, viz., the barque "Lucia," of Shanghai, which was blown up with fifteen of her crew about ten miles south-east of Lantishan Point, China Sea, on the 10th September, 1904, and the steamer "Sobralense," of Hong Kong, which was sunk with eleven crew and ten passengers, eight miles off Port Arthur, on the 12th May, 1905. Two London steamers also were damaged by floating mines, viz. "Kashing," on 25th October, 1904, and "Ningpo," on 6th July, 1906. Nine neutral vessels, of which three were British, have been reported as missing on voyages in the East, but the causes of their loss are of course purely matters of conjecture.

Pay And Conditions Of Irish Lighthouse Keepers

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Royal Commission on Light house Administration will visit the light houses on the Irish coast; and if so, would he recommend that they inquire into the pay and conditions of the light house keepers, and see that women and children are not kept on isolated stations, but have such stations made relieving, so that these families could be educated. (Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George): The Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the existing system of management of the lights, buoys, and beacons of the United Kingdom by the general lighthouse authorities, and as to the constitution and working of those authorities. I have no control over the proceedings of the Commission, but I understand from them that they have completed the taking of evidence and are engaged on their Report.

Publication Of Return On Condition Of The People

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he will be able to issue the Return upon the Condition of the People, etc. (Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George.) The Return will be issued in the course of a few days.

Decrease Of Indian Opium Exports—Loss Of Revenue

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the recent communication made by His Majesty's Government to the Chinese Government accepting the proposal to decrease the export of Indian opium to China year by year till it altogether ceases, any indication can be given of the sources from which revenue will be raised in the United Kingdom to recoup Indian revenues for the loss which will be occasioned by the transfer of the opium trade to other hands. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) It would be premature at the present preliminary stage of the negotiations, which import reciprocal conditions to be observed in China and in India, and have still to take the form of a precise agreement, to forecast their effect on the future revenues of India or the manner of dealing with the question of loss.

Rights Of The Jain Community To Parasanath Hill

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Jain community has any right to the whole Parasanath Hill extending to twenty-five miles in length and several miles in breadth, or whether their rights are confined to their temples and temple precincts; and whether he will consider the advisability of limiting such claims within such limits in the interests of other and more numerous religious communions. (Answered by Mr Secretary Morley): I answered a Question on this subject on the 16th July, and at present I have nothing further to add.

Liability Of Militiaman When Training To Support His Wife And Family

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of an inhabitant of Flintshire, who was called on the 17th June to attend the annual training of the Militia at Beaumaris, where he must remain until the 1st August, whose wife and three children have become chargeable to the common fund of the Holywell Union; whether he is aware that before leaving home the man was in regular work and able to maintain his family, and that representations have been received from the guardians to the effect that it should not be the duty of the ratepayers to make provision for the families of such persons during the time they are called upon to do service for the country; and whether the Government propose to provide maintenance where necessary for the families of those who are rendering compulsory service. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) A letter to the effect stated in the Question has been received from the clerk of Holywell Union, who has been informed in reply that the pay of a Militiaman can be stopped for the support of his wife and children to the extent and under the conditions laid down in Paragraph 145 of the Army Act, the provisions of

Regimental Strength of the Regular Army compared with the Numbers provided for in Army Estimates (exclusive of Officers).
Date.Establishment.Strength.Plus.Minus.Recruits.
Year.Number enlisted.
1st January, 1890206,836202,6804,156189929,401
1st January 1891207,826202,9394,887189031,407
1st January 1892208,164203,9944,170189136,003
1st January 1893208,577210,1411,564189241,659
1st January 1894209,277211,7232,446189335,195
1st January 1895210,985214,4573,472189433,698
1st January 1896211,077214,4383,361189529,583
1st January 1897211,915213,1481,233189628,532
1st January 1898214,257213,314943189735,015
1st January 1899235,928223,59512,333189840,729
1st January 1903268,864304,84735,983189942,700
1st January 1904267,651272,3574,706190341,011
1st January 1905263,147268,8895,742190440,956
1st January 1906268,692255,25613,436190536,339
1st January 1907250,855244,4556,400190636,151

The numbers given include British troops and Colonial corps serving at home, in India, and the Colonies, but do not include the Indian Army. The period

which apply to Militiamen when out for training.

Deficiency In Establishment Of The Regular Army

To ask the Secretary of State for War what was the deficiency in establishment of the Regular Army on 1st January for the last fifteen years: and how many men enlisted in each of those years.

( Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.)

of the South African War has been excluded, as the numbers were then abnormal. Re-enlisted men have not been included with the recruits.

Questions In The House

Second Class Royal Naval Reserve

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, in view of the fact that second-class Royal Naval Reserve men enlisted on the understanding that they would be retained in the service until the age of forty-five, will he consider the expediency of relaxing the regulation of 1st April, 1906, under which men of this class are now dismissed on attaining the age of thirty-five.

No Royal Naval Reserve man has ever been enlisted with the right to be retained till the age of forty-five. The Regulation quoted did not provide for the dismissal of Royal Naval Reserve men second-class at the age of thirty-five, but laid down that men who were thirty-five or over on the 1st April, 1906, should complete their current period of enrolment, but not be allowed to re-enrol. Those under thirty-five on that date have been given the opportunity of qualifying for the new Seaman Class by training afloat, and so remaining in the Reserve until they obtain the gratuity given on discharge.

West India Docks Naval Stores—Wages Of Storehouse Assistants

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that men employed at Deptford, in the West India Docks Naval Stores, and who have given every satisfaction by doing skilled work, viz., that of painting, for which they have received 26s. per week, have been informed that those of them who are under thirty-five years of age are to be appointed as storehouse assistants (permanently), and that their wages will be 23s. per week, with 6d. per week increase at the end of two years service; and can he say why this reduction should take place, especially when for the quality and quantity of work done the men are entitled to a substantial increase.

No order of the kind mentioned has been issued. Two men in receipt of 24s. per week have been selected for service as storehouse assistants, a position in which their prospects will be much improved.

Devonport Dockyard Refuse

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he has received recent further complaints with regard to the discharge of refuse from Devonport Dockyard in infringement of the by-law of the Devon Sea Fishery Committee; and whether he can say what steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence of what is being complained of.

One letter has recently been received alleging that the Devon Sea Fishery by-laws have been infringed. As regards the second part of the Question, the Admiralty are in communication with the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries with reference to a proposal to change the depositing ground.

Loss Of Destroyer At Malta

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he is in a position to give the reason for not replacing the destroyer recently lost at Malta; what is the amount of damage sustained by the destroyer recently towed to Malta; and how long the necessary repairs will occupy.

As regards the first Question, I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member's previous Question on the 24th July.† The "Mallard" sustained damage to the port shaft bracket, shaft, stern tubes and propellers, and to frames and plating in the after part of the vessel. I have already stated that these and other repairs will take three months.

Rosyth

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he can make a statement before the recess as to the intentions of the Government with regard to

† See (4) Debates, clxxviii., 1570.

Rosyth and the provisioning of a dockyard on the East Coast capable of accommodating the deep-draught battleships now built and building.

I have nothing to add to the statements which have already been made on this subject, except that detailed plans and estimates are being prepared for consideration.

Will there not be any Report as to the work done by the seven men who have been working at Rosyth during the last six months?

Will there be any addition to the seven or eight men now employed?

I have said I have nothing to add to the replies previously given, except that detailed plans and estimates are being prepared for consideration.

The Home Fleet

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if the Home Fleet will carry out night manœuvres now the review is over.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet has full authority to exercise that Fleet by day and night as he may consider necessary.

Will the Home Fleet take part in the Naval manœuvres to be held in the autumn?

Indian Administration

*

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he can inform the House when he expects to be able to announce the terms of reference to the Royal Commission on Indian Decentralisation. I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he can make any statement before the prorogation as to the institution of the proposed council of notables, and as to the progress made in the correspondence with Calcutta on reform of the legislative councils.

I hope to announce the terms of reference to the Royal Commission on Indian Decentralisation in a few days; and to lay Papers regarding the council of notables and kindred subjects before prorogation.

Australian Tariffs On British Imports

*

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received any further communication from the Australian Customs authorities with reference to the alleged unfair treatment of certain British imports, whether the Order complained of, by which duties were levied on certain articles of British manufacture at rates greatly in excess of their value, has now been cancelled; whether under these circumstances the excess duty already paid will be refunded by the Australian Government; and whether any assurance has been given that British manufacturers shall not be subjected to prejudicial treatment in future.

No further communication has yet been received from the Commonwealth Government on this subject, but their attention will again be called to it.

*

Has not the right hon. Gentleman received a copy of the note in which the Controller-General of Customs promised that the rebates shall now be made?

*

Panama Canal Labour

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if labourers drafted to the Panama Canal from Jamaica, Barbados, and other West Indian islands have been recruited on the same terms as those from Trinidad; and what assurances as to repatriation were received by the Government of those islands.

The recruiting of labourers in Jamaica for service in Panama is governed by the Emigrants' Protection Laws of the Colony, which provide inter alia for the payment of a deposit by the recruiter to remove all risk of an emigrant having to be repatriated at the cost of the Colony, and make the form of contract subject to the approval of the Governor in Privy Council. So far as the Secretary of State is aware, the canal authorities have not yet come to an agreement with the Colonial Government as to the terms of a contract. In Barbados the Governor has no statutory power to control the general terms of a contract for service in Panama, but the laws of the country provide that every such contract shall contain provision for the repatriation of the labourer at the end of his period of service. The Secretary of State is not aware that any special form of contract for service in Panama has been approved by the Government of any other West Indian Colony except Trinidad; and it must be borne in mind that large numbers of labourers have gone to the isthmus voluntarily and not under contract.

asked whether the Government would not insist that under any contract made these labourers should be repatriated, especially when it was remembered that Panama was not a proper country for settlement either for white or coloured men.

I think the Colonial Government may be relied on to take every step in their power to protect labourers who leave their shores under contract. If they leave voluntarily, of course that is a different matter.

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would make inquiry into the rate of mortality among the labourers, and whether it was not the fact that those who went from Jamaica practically all died.

MR. CHURCHILL said he had not refreshed his memory on the matter, but he should think that now the construction of the canal was under the direction of the United States Government there-must be a great reduction in the rate of mortality.

asked what would be done in regard to those labourers in whose case the contract could not be enforced.

In that respect we have made a communication through, the Foreign Office as to the statutory conditions imposed by the United States. The communication was only made about three weeks ago and no answer has yet come to hand. I should think we should, have the answer before Parliament rises.

Russia And Great Britain

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can see his way clear to inform the Russian authorities that, unless better treatment is meted out to the Russian, people, this country may deem it necessary to refuse to form any alliance with Russia whatsoever.

THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
(Mr. RUNCIMAN, Dewsbury; for Sir EDWARD GREY)

The Answer is in the negative. The internal affairs of Russia, as has been previously explained, cannot be made relevant to negotiations between the two Governments, and the question of an alliance has not been raised.

Liverpool Licences

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been directed to two cases heard at the last Liverpool transfer sessions in which the Liverpool justices by a majority decided to sanction the enlargement of two public houses belonging to Messrs. Peter Walker and Co., Limited, on condition that the owners forewent the £1,600 compensation awarded to them on the same justices' award in respect of an extinguished beerhouse licence in another part of the city and in addition paid the tenant of the same £250; and whether he will consider the case of such bargaining in connection with next year's Licensing; Bill.

My right hon. friend has asked me to answer this Question. I have no information of these particular cases other than that contained in the Question, but I am aware of the difficulties in which licensing justices find themselves in the matter of the conditions under which they may consent to the alteration of licensed premises, and the point is already under consideration in connection with the proposed legislation.

Brooklands Motor Track—Accommodation For Navvies

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the want of suitable house accommodation for the navvies lately employed upon the new motor track at Brooklands; whether he is aware that hundreds of these workmen were obliged to find shelter at night in the open fields and hedges of the locality during the whole of the work, causing great hardship to themselves and inconvenience to the residents of the district; whether he can give the name of the contractors for this work; and what action, if any, he proposes to take to deal with this and similar conditions on the different public works of the country.

My attention has been called to this subject, and I directed one of the medical inspectors of the Board to make inquiry with regard to it. He has now sent in his Report, which will very shortly be published. It appears from it that he was satisfied that, at the date of his visit, many (probably 300 or more) of the men employed were without any proper lodging. I understand that the main contractors for the work were Messrs. Price & Reeves. I have instructed the inspector to make a further inquiry as to the housing accommodation generally of navvies employed on works under construction, so that I may be able to determine what action, if any, should be taken in the matter.

Will the right hon. Gentleman supply Members of the House with the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the conveniences at Brooklands? Is it intended that the inquiry shall cover most of the public works in England and Wales?

The doctor's Report is an eight-page document on this particular public work. It will be laid shortly. Having taken the whole facts into consideration I have come to the conclusion that as there are 100,000 men, women, and children dependent on public works of this character I will issue a Report with regard to the moral and sanitary conditions under which they work and live in the same way as has been done with regard to hop and fruit pickers in Kent and other parts.

Sub-Post Office Administration

I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to the inconvenience frequently caused to the public by the small stock of postal orders kept at sub-offices in country districts; whether he is aware that a purchaser is frequently obliged to make up the amount that he requires by taking two postal orders instead of one, thus paying double commission; and whether he can see his way to allow a larger stock of postal orders to be kept in such sub-offices in the future.

My right hon. friend's attention has not been specially called to this matter, but complaints are occasionally received of the inconvenience occasioned by the stock of postal orders kept at a small office being insufficient to meet the requirements of the public in the neighbourhood, and arrangements are always made to increase the stock, if necessary. In such circumstances, when a purchaser is obliged to take two postal orders instead of one to make up the amount that is required, it is the rule that commission shall be charged not on two orders, but as though the order actually required had been issued. If the hon. Member will furnish my right hon. friend with the particulars of any case in which this practice has not been followed he will have inquiry made in the matter.

Kendal Telephone Charges

I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether he has approved of the scheme of charges now being enforced by the National Telephone Company in Kendal, whereby all new subscribers are compelled to go on the measured rate; whether this measured rate entails a special charge of 1d. for all calls between local exchanges over junction wires, which have hitherto been free; whether this scale of charges is within the schedule fixed by the agreement of 2nd February, 1905; whether such agreement and schedule are accessible to the public and where a copy can be obtained; if he has approved of this scheme, when was this approval given; and whether he has taken any steps to gauge the opinion of commercial and public bodies other than the National Telephone Company.

The rates now being charged to new subscribers by the National Telephone Company are, so far as my right hon. friend is aware, within the limits prescribed by the agreement of 2nd February, 1905, and his consent was, therefore, not necessary for their introduction. They do include charges of 1d. for the use of junction lines between exchanges in different parts of exchange areas. The agreement of 2nd February, 1905, was printed as a Parliamentary Paper in that month, and again with the Report of the Select Committee which considered it.

Oldbury National School Mistress

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he has received a petition from the parents and parishioners of Oldbury against the dismissal of Mrs. Hewitt, head mistress of the local national school whether he can give the grounds for the termination of her engagement; and whether his Department is satisfied that the reasons given justify the action of the managers.

Yes, Sir, I have received the petition referred to. The teacher's engagement was terminated in accordance with a regulation made by the local education authority, requiring female teachers to resign their appointments on marriage. The Board's jurisdiction is confined to determining whether the marriage of a female teacher does or does not constitute an educational ground for dismissal, and I am bound to hold that it is an educational ground.

Mortomley Catholic School Teachers Salaries

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the local education authority still persists in with holding payment of the salaries of the Mortomley Catholic school teachers; and whether the decision as to the correct interpretation of the inspector's report rests with Mr. Brown, the secretary of the West Riding Education Department, or with the Board of Education.

I hope this matter will be settfed in the course of a few-days. I am now in communication with the local education authority. The Answer to the last paragraph is "with the Board of Education."

Bibles For Non-Provided Schools

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education if he will state on what grounds the West Riding education authority have ignored the request of the managers of non-provided schools that their schools should be supplied with Bibles, while making no-such refusal to similar requests from provided schools.

I have no information as to this, and it is not a matter in which the Board have any authority to intervene unless a specific case, in which a dispute has arisen between the managers and the local authority, is submitted to them for determination under Section 7 (3) of the Act of 1902.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will inquire whether such a case has arisen, and whether the ground of refusal was that the Bible was a merely denominational book, or whether it is considered a book unnecessary for the education of children?

I cannot undertake to do anything of the sort. This is a question which may come before me to determine in my judicial capacity under Section 7, Subsection 3, and I must wait till the case is brought before me.

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Do not these schools belong to the reputed richest Church in Christendom, and is that Church too poor to provide Bibles for their day schools and Sunday schools?

[No Answer was returned.]

East Hardwick School

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the West Riding education authority has decided to build a new council school in place of the existing Church school at East Hardwick, on the ground that the requirements of the Board of Education have not been carried out; that plans obtained by the managers, embodying the required improvements, have been in the possession of the local education authority since 1905; and that the delay in carrying them out has been due to the refusal of the local education authority to express any opinion upon these plans; and whether, under the circumstances, the Board will favourably reconsider the unanimous appeal of the adult inhabitants of East Hardwick against the provision of such new school.

Yes, Sir, the managers submitted plans for the improvement of the school, which the local education authority refused to approve. The plans were submitted to the Board of Education, and I was advised that, even if they were carried out, the premises would still be unsatisfactory. I therefore decided that the school which the local authority proposed to provide was necessary and that the recognition of the existing voluntary school shall be terminated as soon as the new council school is opened.

Is it not the fact that the plans have been deliberately withheld? In view of the fact that this is an extremely small village, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision?

The plans have, as a matter of fact, been submitted to the Board, which has decided that even if the buildings were executed they would remain unsatisfactory, and I have no option, therefore, but to recognise that the new schools are necessary.

The United Arts Club

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General if his attention has been directed to the case of Challoner v. Robinson, decided on 30th July last, in which the plaintiffs were the United Arts Club, an association of painters, who were sub-lesseos of certain premises, on which they held an exhibition of pictures, from lessees, to whom the Arts Club had regularly paid all rent due; whether in consequence of the lessees having failed to pay the rent due to the head landlord, Messrs. Robinson and Fisher, of Willis' Auction Rooms, the head landlord, claiming the right to distrain on the property of strangers I found on the premises, has distrained upon and proposes to sell all the pictures; whether Mr. Justice Neville, in delivering judgment, said that this constituted an I extraordinary state of things, which, monstrous though he held it to be, had hitherto escaped the zeal of the legal reformer; and whether the Attorney General will bring in a Bill next session to stop this kind of action in future.

This question involves the consideration of the policy of maintaining the law of distress in its present form. The facts stated in the Question afford an illustration of one of its worst features. I cannot defend all the provisions of the law as it now stands. I am unable, however, to promise to introduce a measure upon the subject next session.

Can nothing be done for these unfortunate painters who, through no fault of their own, had their pictures seized and sold?

[No Answer was returned.]

House Of Commons Kitchen Accounts

I beg to ask the hon. Member for Mid-Derbyshire whether he will present to this House a complete account of the receipts and expenditure of the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms for the Session.

The recent Report of the Kitchen Committee was presented in the same form as in previous years. It was a correct account of purchases, sales, and prices, and meals supplied up to date.

Will the hon. Member answer my Question? Will he present a complete balance-sheet of receipts and expenditure for the session? I want to know what has become of the balance of £872 12s. 3d. of the subsidy unaccounted for.

If the hon. Member will do me the honour of taking tea with me in my private room, I shall be pleased to supply the information.

The hon. Member for Sutherland is not the only Member interested in this question. Are all the Members to have tea with the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee?

May I ask, if I am to meet my hon. friend, whether he will provide something more substantial than tea?

I may remind my hon. friend that this is a temperance House. I think the hon. Member for St. Pancras is a member of the Kitchen Committee and should himself be in possession of the information asked for.

Loch Shieldaig Fishery Prosecution

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that two men were recently prosecuted at the instance of the Procurator Fiscal for being in a boat on the sea at Loch Shieldaig, Rossshire, on the 14th and 21st May, with intent illegally to take or kill salmon, and that, although no fish were found in their possession, each man was fined 30s.; and, seeing that the Honourable Mr. Murray, of Lochcarron, the proprietor of the land ex adverso the sea at Loch Shieldaig was the only person interested, will he take such steps as may be necessary to prevent a Crown officer instituting proceedings of this character out of public funds in the sole interest of a private individual.

I understand the facts are substantially as stated by my hon. friend. It is in accordance with practice that the Procurator Fiscal should prosecute in cases of this nature, provided the expenses of the prosecution are defrayed by the parties interested. The expenses of the prosecution in question were defrayed by the District Fishery Board.

Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether he will arrange to allow small landholders in burghs to have the benefit of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill in the same way that crofters are allowed the benefit of The Crofters Act, 1886.

My right hon. friend has asked me to reply to this. As my hon. friend is aware, the Bill does not interfere with the existing rights to which he refers: the Government do not propose to alter it as he suggests.

Sligo County Council

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that an unqualified person named Peter Cawley has on many occasions sat and voted as a member of the Sligo County Council; and whether the Local Government Board have taken, or intend to take, any action to prevent this person from repeating such irregular proceedings.

The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and to the second in the negative. The Local Government Board have been advised that the matter is not one in which they should take action. The Sligo County Council have full power to exclude Mr. Cawley from participation in their proceedings, and if they should fail to do so it is open to any ratepayer to take action in the matter.

United Irish League—Boycotting Of Mrs Villiers

On behalf of the hon. Member for South Antrim, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the New Inn branch of the United Irish League in Galway addressed a demand to Mrs. Villiers, a lady resident in the neighbourhood, that she should dismiss certain of her servants, including a certain ex-policeman named M'Dermot; that on refusing to do so she was rigorously boycotted; and that as a consequence of this boycott the horse of a man named Riley, which had been lent to her, was smeared with tar and paint on the night of the 25th instant; and, seeing that she is unable to obtain help to work her farm, whether the time has come to put the Crimes Act in force to put an end to the lawlessness which exists in certain parts of the West of Ireland.

I am informed that the local police have no evidence to the effect slated in the first part of the Question. It is the fact that Mrs. Villiers has suffered some inconvenience, but she has not been rigorously boycotted as stated. She has been unable to procure extra labourers for the harvest; but her permanent employees have remained in her service, and she is not boycotted as regards supplies. It is the case that Mr. Riley's horse was daubed with paint on 25th July. As regards the concluding part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the Answer which my right hon. friend has repeatedly given to similar questions.

What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by rigorously boycotted."

Well, she has not been refused supplies, and her servants have not left her.

Cattle Driving At Loughrea

On behalf of the hon. Member for South Antrim, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord- Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that on the morning of the 29th July a band of persons, numbering upwards of 200, armed with sticks, entered upon the lands of Mr. H. Persse, at Woodville, Loughrea, and, in defiance of the seven police stationed on the lands, drove off Mr. Persse's cattle; whether he is aware that Mr. Persse has asserted that one of the policemen in question informed him that they had instructions not to use arms in attempting to prevent these cattle drives; have the police any such instructions; and have any persons been made amenable to the law in connection with this outrage.

At one o'clock on the morning of 29th July a crowd of about 200 persons attempted to drive the cattle off Mr. Persse's farm. The six policemen who were on duty at once dispersed the crowd, using what force was necessary. Less than one-fourth of the cattle were driven off the farm, and these were at once replaced by the police. The head constable immediately reported the matter to Mr. Persse at his residence, and this gentleman instead of recognising the fact that the police had protected and secured his cattle suggested that the police were no use at all, and asked what good their revolvers were if they did not use them. The head constable replied that the circumstances did not justify the use of firearms, but said nothing about instructions on the subject. The police have not been instructed, either to use or not to use firearms in these particular cases. They have full general instructions, however, as to circumstances in which the use of firearms is justifiable. The question of taking proceedings in this case is under consideration.

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that people placed in the position of Mr. Persse should use arms themselves in accordance with the suggestion of the Chief Secretary?

Belfast Policeman's Pension

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a few days ago Constable Biggins, of Springfield road barracks, Belfast, was invalided out of the force as the result of an injury sustained on duty, and that he was only granted a pension of £19 a year; and whether, in view of the fact that Biggins had thirteen years' service, that he had an unblemished record, with good educational equipments, but has now been turned adrift practically a cripple and utterly unfit for work involving physical exertion, and in view of his circumstances, he will open this case for re-consideration.

The facts are substantially as stated in the Question. Constable Biggins was accidentally injured when practising physical drill nearly a year ago, and has since been under almost continuous medical treatment. He has now been retired from the force as being partially incapacitated, and has been awarded the highest pension which the Statute permits, having regard to his length of service, and to the extent of his injuries. I regret that the Government have no power to re-open the case.

asked whether special consideration could not be given to this case, as the man and his wife and family had been practically put out into the streets?

The highest pension possible under the circumstances has been given him.

Labourers (Ireland) Acts Order, 1906

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts Order, 1906, Rule 6, which directs every rural district council in Ireland to advertise in two or more local papers and post placards throughout their districts within one month from the 1st November, 1906, notifying that representations for the purposes of the Acts may be lodged with their clerk up to the 1st February, 1907; will this course be adopted annually; will he say in how many cases this requirement has been complied with, and give the names of the defaulting councils, if any, and the names of the councils which have not yet considered these representations; and is it intended to publish new rules annually, or is there only to be one scheme under the 6 Edw. 7, c. 37.

Rule 6 of the Labourers Order is in the terms set forth in the Question. If the hon. Member will refer to Rule 14 he will find it provided that the several representations which may be received during each year ending 30th September shall, if not taken into consideration during such year, be considered by the rural district council at their second meeting after the termination of such year. So far as the Local Government Board are aware, Rule 6 has been complied with in all cases. The replies to the last part of the Question are in the negative. It is, however, open to the Board at any time to revise the rules in such manner as may be deemed necessary. Further schemes can, of course, be made in pursuance of additional representations as contemplated in Rule 14.

Ballingah Medical Officer

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state why the Local Government Board refuse to sanction the appointment of Dr. Clarke as temporary medical officer for the Ballinagh dispensary district; how near to this district does Dr. Clarke reside; has Dr. Clarke at present any dispensary; who has been in charge of this district for the past three months, and what appointments does he hold, distinguishing those which are temporary from the permanent appointments; and will this matter have his special attention in the interest of the sick poor of the district.

The appointment of Dr. Clarke as temporary medical officer for the Ballinagh dispensary district was objected to on the ground that his residence was outside the dispensary district, and was inconvenient for the sick poor. The nearest point of the dispensary district is about three miles, and the most remote nine miles, from Cavan, where Dr. Clarke lives. The Local Government Board have not sanctioned the appointment of Dr. Clarke as the medical officer for any dispensary district. Dr. Clarke has been acting as temporary medical officer for the Ballinagh dispensary district since the 18th June last, but without the sanction of the Board. He has also been appointed as temporary medical officer of the Kilnaleck and Stradone dispensary districts, but the Board have had to object to those appointments upon the same grounds. The guardians, by their action in continuing to employ Dr. Clarke, may render themselves liable to surcharge for any payments they may make for his salary. Dr. Clarke has further been appointed as temporary medical officer of Cavan Workhouse from 7th instant to 4th proximo, and to this appointment the Board have given their sanction.

The Drainage Of The Lower Bann

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that the local body charged with the duty is not regularly dredging the precipitation basin of the Lower Bann below the weir at Toomebridge in county Antrim, with the result that the watercourse is partially obstructed and that the floods are higher and last longer than they otherwise would; and whether pressure will be brought, to bear on the local body to discharge its duties in this respect.

So far as the information in possession of the Irish Government goes, the weir basin in question is regularly dredged by the trustees of the Lough Neagh drainage district. It was stated last year that during the preceding ten years an average of over £300 per annum had been expended in dredging and the maintenance of the plant. If, however, any person interested is not satisfied that the works of the drainage district are properly maintained, he should address the trustees in the matter, and if still not satisfied, he should apply to the Commissioners of Public Works.

William George Molloy Estate, County Roscommon

I bog to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if the estate of William George Molloy at Ballyfermoyle, county Roscommon, has been sold to the tenants; whether an inspection has been made of lands owned by John Molloy; and whether it is intended to provide land for the three evicted tenants from the William George Molloy estate on the lands owned by John Molloy.

NO proceedings for the sale of this estate have yet been, instituted before the Estates Commissioners. When their inspector was making local inquiries as regards the evicted tenants on the estate he visited the holding which John Molloy occupies as tenant, but the question of acquiring that holding has not been considered by the Commissioners, seeing that the estate-is not pending for sale before them.

Slander Action Against Greencastle Constable

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention, has been called to the result of a recent action for slander against a constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary, stationed at Greencastle; whether the usual course-in such cases is to transfer the constable or constables concerned; whether this has been done in this case; and, if not, whether it is proposed to transfer those involved to another district.

In this case a decree or £2 and costs was given against the constable. The Inspector-General informs me that in such a case it is the usual practice to remove the constable concerned to another district; but in this particular case the question of transferring the constable has been held over pending the return to duty of the Commissioner of Police, who has been ill for some time. The Inspector-General's attention has only now been called to the matter, and he is making further inquiries with the object of considering what action may be necessary.

Are we to understand from this reply that the Inspector-General's attention is not directed to these cases unless questions are first asked in this House?

I believe in this case the matter was under the consideration of the authorities before the Question was put, but I would remind the hon. Member that with the present position of affairs in Belfast the time of the Inspector-General is fully occupied. This matter was so trifling that the County Court Judge only awarded £2 damages.

Mayo Scholarship Dispute

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings of a meeting of the Mayo technical instruction committee of the Mayo County Council, held on the 23rd July, 1907, at which it was decided not to give a scholarship, won in open competition by a boy named Dowling, on the ground that the candidate was the son of a district inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary; is it open to the committee to invite competition and then exclude the successful candidate on such a ground; is part of the money that the committee administers provided out of Imperial funds; and has the Local 'Government Board any control in the matter.

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

Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to the proceedings in question The boy Dowling who was refused the scholarship is the son of District Inspector Dowling, of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The money for these scholarships is partly provided by the 'Department and partly by county funds. The Local Government Board has no authority to intervene. In all cases of dispute the rules provide that the matter shall be referred to the Department, whose decision shall be final. It was undoubtedly the intention of the Department to confine the scholarships to the children of the poorer classes in the community, and competition was therefore confined to those attending the primary schools. Dowling, being the son of an officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary, belongs to a different class, but was within the rules as attending a national school. These rules may be altered and revised, but until this has been done he was clearly eligible, and ought not to be denied renewal of the scholarship won in open competition. The Department will do what is possible to close an unfortunate dispute.

I think the hon. Gentleman ought to be content with what I said. The Department will do its best to close this unfortunate dispute.

What does the hon. Gentleman mean by closing the dispute? We have a right to know whether a boy eligible for a competition is going to receive the reward.

Well, I think that if the question had not been asked it would have been settled before now.

Have not the Mayo Technical Committee made a rule that the holder of a scholarship should be resident in the county?

No. The Committee have recommonded an alteration in the rule for next year.

Will the Department in arranging the rules prevent such an occurrence in the future?

agreed that the scholarships intended for particular localities should be confined to the residents in the county. That was a matter for the future. They must proceed now according to present rules.

Removal Of A Galway Magistrate From The Commission Of The Peace

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the evidence given at the last Galway assizes in reference to the charge against Peter J. Kelly of unlawfully encouraging certain persons unknown to kill and murder the Right Hon. Frederick, Baron Ashtown, has been laid before the Lord Chancellor of Ireland; and whether any decision has been come to with reference to the retention of the name of Peter J. Kelly on the commission of the peace.

The evidence given at the trial referred to was not submitted to the Lord Chancellor in view of the result of that trial. The Lord Chancellor, however, informs me that his attention has been directed to a speech delivered by Mr. Kelly on 21st July, having regard to which the Lord Chancellor has felt it to be his duty to supersede Mr. Kelly in the commission of the peace.

asked whether it was a fact that the Lord Chancellor punished Kelly for a charge on which he was acquitted.

It was in reference to another speech on another occasion that the Lord Chancellor removed him from the commission of the peace.

Will the right hon. Gentleman get the Lord Chancellor to stay his hand until it is decided whether or not the man shall be tried?.

No, Sir; the Lord Chancellor has already acted in the matter. He exercises his discretion as to whom he should leave on the commission of the peace and whom he should remove.

What evidence had the Lord Chancellor that this man made the speech or that it was correctly reported?

Adulteration Of Calves Food

I beg to ask, the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether his Department is aware that feeding stuffs for calves are so heavily adulterated that hundreds of these young animals die before they are a month old; whether he will inquire of the Secretary of his Department if he has had crushed linseed, which had been sent to him from Clare on or about the Kith April, analysed; will he state the percentage of organic and mineral matter; what the latter was that was found in the crushed linseed; and will he give instructions to his Department to appoint inspectors in the cities and large towns to take samples of feeding stuff's and forward them to the Department to be analysed.

The Department are aware that there are some meals sold in Ireland for calf rearing purposes which are seriously adulterated, and that it has been stated that in many instances calves died from being fed with this deleterious matter. Moreover, some of these adulterated calf meals are sold at many times their actual value. In three test eases, those of the Union Feeding Company of Liverpool selling "Linko" at Enniscorthy, the same company selling "Linko" at Enniskillen, and the National Feeding Company of Cork selling "calf meal" at Caherciveen, the purchasers, on receiving the Department's analysis and estimate of value, refused payment of price charged, and when prosecuted by vendors were entirely successful and obtained costs. In the "Linko" case, tried at Enniskillen, the vendors obtained a decree in the Lower Court for the full amount claimed. This decision, however, was modified on appeal thus—a decree was given for 7s., the maximum value placed by the Department on the meal for which the company charged 28s., and costs were given against the company; in the third case the company concerned appealed against the adverse judgment of the Lower Court, but when the appeal came on for hearing they withdrew, and costs were awarded to the defendants. In the case mentioned in the Question, a sample of material sold as "crushed flaxseed" for calf rearing purposes was forwarded to the Department from county Clare on 6th April last. This was analysed and found to contain an undue proportion of sand and mineral matter, viz., 5·22 per cent. When this meal was prepared for the calves a sediment was deposited containing 70 per cent. of mineral matter, whereas from pure crashed flaxseed there should be no deposit whatever. In this ease the same course of action as in the above cases was open to the buyer. The Department's action in this particular instance was limited under the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuns Act, 1906, to sending report and leaving purchaser to use his discretion as to obtaining redress under Common Law. The Department, under Section 12 of the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act, 1906, have appointed samplers for the whole of Ireland. They undertake analyses of materials for instructors working under county schemes, and for farmers in certain cases in which there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the materials are of inferior quality. Further, they give technical advice in prosecution cases.

Lisburn Union Registrar Of Deaths

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the attention of the Registrar-General for Ireland has been called to the fact that since the establishment of the City Fever Hospital in Lisburn Union the duty of registering the deaths in that institution falls to the registrar in Lisburn; whether he has received a resolution passed by the Lisburn Board of Guardians suggesting the appointment of a second assistant-registrar for the Ballylesson district; and whether, under Sections 16 and 23 of the Act for the Registration of Births and Deaths in Ireland, the Registrar-General will constitute the hospital, a special district in order to relieve the ratepayers of Lisburn Union from payment for the registration of deaths in an outside institution, or, alternatively, to give effect to the resolution of the guardians.

The Registrar-General's attention has been called to the fact stated in the first part of the Question. The Registrar-General has received the resolution of the Lisburn Board of Guardians, but is unable to comply with their request, seeing that the statute empowers the employment of one assistant registrar only in each district. The Registrar-General regrets that he cannot accede to the proposal that the hospital should be made a separate registrar's district. It would, he informs me, be entirely without precedent to constitute a public institution, situate in a certain union, into a separate district, to form part of another union.

Winter Dairying In Ireland

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether his attention has been specially called to the evidence of Messrs. P. Vaughan, J. P., William McDonnell, J. P., chairman of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce, and other witnesses, given before the Committee of Inquiry into the working of the Act of 1899, strongly favouring the establishment of a system of winter dairying in Ireland; is he aware that Sir Horace Plunkett also advocated the adoption of this system as likely to improve the Irish butter trade and to lead to a large increase of tillage; and what steps, if any, the Department propose to take towards the adoption of an agricultural reform in Ireland which has already produced most beneficial results in Denmark.

The Department have noticed the evidence in question, but neither in the majority nor in the minority Report of the Departmental Committee of Inquiry is there any definite suggestion made as to how winter dairying may be increased in Ireland. There is no difference of opinion as to the desirability of encouraging the industry and the authorities in drafting schemes suitable to particular districts. Last year the Department themselves initiated a small experiment of this nature at their Agricultural Station, Clonakilty, and when the experiment has been twelve months in progress—which will be in this autumn—a report will be published of the results. When this report is issued and when the results of the experimental tillage scheme which the. Cork County Committee of Agriculture put into operation for the first time this year are available, the Department, in conjunction with the Agricultural Board, will consider the matter further. In the meantime, I have arranged to receive a deputation from the South of Ireland on Monday next, and the whole subject, which the Department recognise to be of the greatest importance, will be considered at a special meeting of the Agricultural Board.

Churchtown (Wexford) Mails

I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to the frequent complaints made about the delay in delivering letters at Churchtown, county Wexford; and what action he proposes to take in the matter. I beg also to ask the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that letters addressed to Churchtown, county Wexford, from England via Rosslare, are first taken to Waterford, then to Wexford, and thence to Churchtown; and can he arrange to have them delivered direct from Rosslare.

I understand that letters for Churchtown, Wexford, have occasionally been delayed owing to their having been sent in error to a place of the same name in the delivery of Waterford. Suitable notice is always taken of errors of this nature when they are due to carelessness. Letters from England for Churchtown, Wexford, forwarded via Rosslare are sent not to Waterford, but to Wexford. It appears that the night mail via Rosslare at present arrives at Wexford too late to connect with the mail cart to Churchtown; but my right hon. friend is inquiring whether it is possible to improve the arrangements in this respect.

London Parliamentary Registers

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that there are some 200,000 men in London who are kept off the register of Parliamentary electors by changing their residences; and whether he will consider the advisability of remedying this state of affairs by bringing in next session a Bill to place Londoners in the same position as residents in other large towns by enabling them to claim for successive occupation from any one division of London to any other.

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

I am aware of the special electoral disabilities which attach to the London voter, and my hon. friend may be assured that they will be considered by the Government when the reform of electoral anomalies and defects is undertaken. When that may be, however, I am not, at present, in a position to say.

Closure Return

On behalf of the senior Member for the City of London, I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether he will lay upon the Table of the House a Return giving the number of occasions since 1887 on which closure by compartments has been carried, the names of the Bills to which it has been applied, the number of days (if any) devoted to each on the Committee stage before closure by compartments was put into operation, the total number of days (if any) devoted to each in Committee of the Whole House, and the number of days allocated to each on the Report stage?

Carrying Bills Over

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether the Government, in view of the number of incomplete Bills which have to be dropped at the close of each session, will consider the propriety of carrying forward to the succeeding session of the same Parliament such as have reached an advanced stage?

asked the Prime Minister whether, having regard to the number of incomplete stages of Bills which the Government meant to pass, and the pressure brought to bear upon Members not to discuss Bills, he would consider the expediency of passing a general guillotine Resolution to the effect that on 12th August next all Government Bills which had passed Second Reading should be passed through their various stages—

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I do not think that the number of such Bills is great this session, and therefore the question hardly arises at the moment.

The Belfast Dispute

asked Mr. Speaker whether he would be in order in putting a Question of which he had given the Secretary for War private notice concerning the Belfast strike, in the absence of the Minister to whom the Question was addressed.

*

replied that the hon. Member could put his Question if he wished, but he was afraid he would not get any answer if there was no Minister responsible present who could answer it.

, suggesting that perhaps the Prime Minister would answer, asked whether the Secretary of State for War was aware that a large number of military troops had been turned to parade the streets of Belfast that morning and that the men had each been supplied with twenty rounds of ball cartridge; whether he would use his influence to have these soldiers withdrawn, as they only irritated the strikers and tended to render abortive all efforts to end the dispute.

SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN said he had not received any communication with regard to the information the hon. Member had just given the House, and apparently it had not been received by his right hon. friend the War Minister, or he would no doubt have been in his place to reply. In the right hon. Gentleman's absence he knew of no Minister who could answer the Question.

Am I then to understand from the Prime Minister that there is no responsible Minister present prepared to deal with this Question? It is a most serious matter.

As I understand it, the circumstances only occurred this morning; and I have had no knowledge of it at all, therefore I can hardly be expected to give an answer to the hon. Member's Question. Personally, I have no knowledge of it whatever.

If the Prime Minister cannot see his way to induce the Government to withdraw the troops, will he use his influence with the Secretary for War to get him to withdraw the ball cartridges?

[No Answer was returned.]

A Personal Explanation

asked the indulgence of the House while he made a personal explanation with reference to an incident which occurred at Question time on 29th July.† On that date he asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether it was the established practice of the Navy to hold a public court-martial on every officer who lost or surrendered his ship; and, if so, why this rule had not been enforced in the case of his Majesty's ship "Ariel," which was lost on Malta Breakwater on 19th April. His motive in asking the Question had absolutely nothing to do with the officer in command of the "Ariel"; the Question was based on broad grounds of administrative policy. It was, he submitted, a perfectly legitimate Question, and one asked in the highest interests of the Navy, with no sort of arrière pensée. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs, in a supplementary Question, described the Question as ungenerous, and proceeded) to insinuate that at one time five years ago he (Mr. Bellairs) had been in a similar position and liable to court-martial. To that statement he gave an unqualified denial. The Secretary of the Admiralty asked for notice of the Question of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, and having waited twenty-four hours for such a Question to be put down, he wrote to the hon. Member the following letter setting out the incident as reported in Hansard, which was word for word identical with The Times report, and asking for the name of the hon. Member's informant—

"30th July, 1907.

"Dear SIR,

"On Monday, 29th July, I asked a question in the House as to whether it was the

† See (4) Debates, cIxxix., 461.

established practice of the Navy to hold a public court-martial on every officer who lost or surrendered his ship; and if so, I proceeded to ask why the rule had not been enforced in the case of H.M.S. "Ariel," lost on Malta Breakwater, on 19th April. It was a perfectly legitimate Question and one asked in the highest interests of the Navy, with no sort of arrière pensée. I believe that public trial is better than a secret court of inquiry, but the foundation of my question lay in a deep-rooted love for the traditions of a service which Gladstone once described as 'the noblest profession in the world.' It is one of the glories of the Navy that under any circumstances in which an officer loses the ship confided to his charge, be the odds even or a thousand to one against him, he faces a trial by court-martial. The fact of the rule being invariable, as I believe it to have been, prevents any suspicion of disgrace attaching to being brought to trial, and it absolutely shuts the door on favouritism. Had you given me the slightest notice of your intended supplementary Question I might have explained these matters to you, and so prevented the House being troubled with the following unedifying personal wrangle.

'"Mr. DALZIEL asked whether the procedure differed from that which was followed five years ago in the case of the hon. Member who put this somewhat ungenerous Question.

"' Mr. BELLAIRS asked whether it was ungenerous to ask such a Question when, where a court-martial was held, the sword of an officer was returned to him with honour where there was no fault on his part. That was the reason why he put the Question.

"'Mr. DALZIEL: May I ask for an Answer to my Question?

"' Mr. EDMUND ROBERTSON requested the hon. Member to put down notice of his Question.

'"Mr. BELLAIRS asked what was the insinuation which the hon. Member desired to make against him.

"' Mr. DALZIEL: The only explanation I desire to make—

"MR. SPEAKER stopped further remark by [ruling that these interventions were irregular.

"As no notice of a Question has been placed on the Order Paper, you appear to be content to let the matter rest there, having succeeded in insinuating that some incident in my career rendered me liable to a court-martial five years ago for the loss of my ship. I now ask for particulars, and when I have shown you that the story is untrue, I feel sure that you will see that the proper course to be followed is to give me the name of your informant who appears for his own reasons to have selected this date of five years ago as being the one which coincided with my retirement from the Navy. I am sure you would not have made this charge unless you believed yourself to be in full possession of the facts, and you will therefore have no difficulty in complying with my natural desire for an immediate reply.

"Yours faithfully,

"CARLYON BELLAIRS.

"James H. Dalziel, Esq., M. P."

On the preceding day he (Mr. Bellairs) received the following letter:—

"The Reform Club,

"3rd August, 1907.

"Dear SIR,

"I am in receipt of your favour of the 30th, which unfortunately—through no fault of yours—was forwarded to ray country address, and consequently reached me later than would otherwise have been the case.

"I have some difficulty in ascertaining from your letter what you really wish me to reply to. I thought the Question you put in the House—to which you allude—an exceedingly ungenerous one, more especially having been addressed by one who at one time held a commission in His Majesty's Navy. I still think so.

"The supplementary Question I asked sought to obtain information as to whether the procedure of which you' complained had not been similar to that followed in reference to an incident—the full particulars of which you are, of course, fully cognisant—in which your own conduct was the subject of inquiry.

"The Secretary to the Admiralty was unable without notice being given to provide me with the information. Perhaps you will do so.

"Awaiting the favour of a reply.

"I am,

"Yours faithfully,

(Signed) J. H. DALZIEL.

"Carlyon Bellairs, Esq., M. P."

To this he replied:—

"August 6th, 1907.

"Dear SIR,

"I received your letter this morning. You repeat, but do not explain why, it is 'exceedingly ungenerous' to ask a question as to the reasons for the Admiralty departing from the accepted practice of holding a public court-martial when a ship is lost. The fact that I have been a naval officer is the very reason why I should ask the Question, and I am not disposed to defer to you on a matter of taste. In answer to my request for particulars about the untrue statement you made that I was in a similar position and liable to a court-martial five years ago, or in 1902, when I retired from the Navy, you have the assurance to ask me for information about an event which never occurred. The suggestion that I was under a cloud in 1902 is unworthy. So far from having anything to be ashamed of in leaving the Navy, your course compels me now to state that I received letters from the Admiralty in 1902 expressing great regret that I should feel that the state of my eyesight necessitated leaving the Navy. Lord Selborne personally sent for me and expressed his regret, and the Board spontaneously wrote stating that their desire was to give me special promotion on retirement, but that the age regulations precluded them from doing so until I reached a certain age.

"Finally, let me state that I have never rendered myself liable to a court-martial; I have never on any occasion lost a ship or been in a ship which was lost, and my 'conduct' has never been the subject of an inquiry.

"Yours faithfully,

"CARLYON BELLAIRS.

"J. H Dalziel, Esq., M. P."

The final letter which passed was as follows—

"August 7th, 1907.

"Carlyon Bellairs, Esq., M. P."

"House of Commons.

"Dear SIR,

"I have received your letter of the 6th, and also an accompanying letter in which you state your intention of making a personal explanation on the subject in the House of Commons.

"Had you awaited my reply to yours of yesterday's date, you probably would not have considered it necessary to trouble the House in the matter, but as you have thought fit to decide on this course without awaiting my further reply, it only remains for me to state that I shall be in my place in the House at the time you mention.

"Yours faithfully,

"J. H. DALZIEL."

He had informed the House that he asked the Question on broad grounds of administrative policy. Article 91 of the Naval Discipline Act, under which the Admiralty acted, laid down that if a vessel is lost she shall be deemed to remain in commission until a court-martial shall have been held, pursuant to the custom of the service. That Article was conclusive that he was right I in asking his Question, because it amounted to this, that the Admiralty were not complying with the Articles of War. He thought the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs was wrong in importing prejudice into the case by insinuating that he (Mr. Bellairs) was personally interested, and had rendered himself liable to court-martial in a precisely similar way.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs) said he would only take up the time of the House a few minutes in explaining the circumstances in which he asked the supplementary Question. Between the time the hon. Member's Question ap- peared on the Paper and the time when it was asked it had been represented to him by friends who knew all the circumstances of the case that it was an exceedingly ungenerous and exceedingly cruel action on the part of the hon. Member, having been a naval officer himself, to reopen an incident which had been closed some months back, and to suggest that some more severe punishment should be inflicted on the offender.

May I contradict that statement? The contrary is the case. The court-martial might have given a less punishment, and it was, besides, a public and not a secret body.

MR. DALZIEL said he would, of course, accept the interruption of the hon. Member. But in any case the incident had been closed, and the person affected, having accepted the decision, had a right to believe that the whole matter was at an end. To the lay mind, however, the fact that the hon. Member suggested that a court-martial should have been held was in his view equivalent to the suggestion that the punishment was not so severe as it might have been. While an officer against whom a charge was made had a right to demand a court-martial he entirely demurred to the suggestion that this was the invariable course adopted with regard to a lost ship, and he could give instances in which no court-martial had been held. As to the supplementary Question he was not responsible for the interpretations put by the hon. Member. He entered the House at the moment that the hon. Member was putting his Question, and he had in his mind the representations which had been made to him. His supplementary Question was whether the procedure followed in this case was not the same as that followed in the case in which the hon. Member was concerned some years ago. Two newspapers said "five years," which was not correct; and if the hon. Member construed his suggestion as meaning that there was a cloud over him and that he retired from the Navy on that account, he willingly withdrew such a suggestion. Such a thought never entered his mind, for he did not know how long it was since the hon. Member retired from the Navy. He maintained, however, that he was justified in asking the Question, and he demurred to the statement of the hon. Member denying his justification. He accepted the responsibility of stating now as a Member of the House that the hon. Member was himself concerned in a case in which the procedure was exactly the same as that followed in the case under discussion, and that the hon. Member was liable to a court-martial if the commander had ordered it. He asserted that the conduct of the hon. Member had been the subject of inquiry. On August 9th, 1895, torpedo boat No. 80, of which the hon. Member was in charge, came into collision with torpedo boat No. 72. A court of inquiry was held, and it found that the organisation of the torpedo boat was inefficient in respect of navigation, and Rear-Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson said that the collision was due to the faulty arrangements of Lieutenant and Commander Bellairs for the command of his boat. The Admiralty officials concurred in the view here expressed. He maintained that this finding amounted to censure on the hon. Member, and as such he still thought that it stood against him to-day.

observed that the incident referred to occurred twelve years ago, but the inquiry held was not into his conduct. Such inquiries as these were held almost from day to day, and there was scarcely an officer in the service who had not undergone the ordeal of such an inquiry. The order that led to the collision had not been given by him, and he was not present when it was given. The order was given by a sub-lieutenant through the voice tube, and he took the responsibility of it in order to prevent the promotion of the sub-lieutenant from being interfered with. He had given strict injunctions that the voice tube was never to be used to communicate with the helmsman, owing to the fact that it might lead to an accident, but the sub-lieutenant on that occasion neglected his order. At the time he thought it right to take the whole of the blame upon himself, and he willingly did so. There was no inquiry into his conduct, but, only into the cause of the collision. This accident in no way resembled in the slightest degree the subject of the Question he had put on the Paper.

New Member Sworn

Albert Stanley, esquire, for the county of Stafford (North-Western Division).

Police And Sanitary Committee

Special Report brought up, and read; to lie upon the Table, and to be printed. [No 290.]

Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill

As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.

MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S. E.) moved to substitute the Agricultural Commissioners for the Land Court as the authority to which applications should be made for registration as a new holder by agreement with the landlord. He said the object of the Amendment was to provide that when the landlord had agreed with any other person in respect to any land to be constituted a new holding, such person might apply to the Agricultural Commissioners to be registered as the new holder. The constitution of the Land Court and the constitution of the Agricultural Commissioners had never been discussed by the House at all. When one of the financial clauses was under discussion the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill moved that the salary of the members of the Land Court should be increased from £1,000 to £1,200. That increase might be necessary, but the fact that these large sums were to be voted out of the Imperial Exchequer showed that the English members of the Standing Committee were justified in taking great interest in the Bill. It was generally acknowledged that the Land Court was the most arbitrary and autocratic body ever established in any civilised country, and that it was one to which there was no parallel outside of Russia or Morocco. It consisted of five members who were to have control of the Scottish land question, and he believed they were to have control of the Agricultural Commissioners. He was not sure what the constitution of the Agricultural Commissioners was to be. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin pointed out yesterday that they were going to perform in Scotland the duties which were performed by the Board of Agriculture in England. Very wide powers had been entrusted to the Board of Agriculture in England for the coercion of county councils, whereas the Agricultural Commissioners, who would take the place of that body in Scotland, would be entirely under the Land Court. They might even be under the control of one member of the Court, for there was a provision in the Bill which enabled the members of the Land Court to delegate their powers to one of their number. This procedure to which the Amendment referred was utterly inconsistent with the other provisions in the Bill. The application referred to in Clause 7 as to registration was to be made to the Land Court, but he held that it ought to be made to the Agricultural Commissioners as in the case of other applications referred to in other parts of the Bill. It might be argued that in this case there had to be agreement between the landlord and the small holder before the application for registration could be made. Clause 7 contained eighteen subsections, and it was, therefore, extremely difficult to understand it. The Bill was one of the worst examples of legislation by reference, and so numerous were the references to the Crofters Acts and other Statutes that it was almost unintelligible to ordinary members. The "Agricultural Commissioners" were referred to in subsection (13) of this clause, and in Clauses 15, 16, and 17 as the body to whom applications were to be made in regard to the matters dealt with by those clauses. He wished to know why in the instance to which the Amendment referred the applications were to be made direct to the Land Court. Perhaps the Bill had been hastily drafted, but he thought they could hardly expect it to be a very good Bill when it was remembered that it was one of four land Bills which the Government had brought forward in one session of Parliament. That was a most difficult team for anybody to drive, and he was not at all surprised that there were some discrepancies and many unintelligible portions of the Bill. It appeared to him to be absolutely necessary that the words "Land Court" should be left out of the first subsection of Clause 7 and that the words "Agricultural Commissioners" should be substituted. He begged to move.

said that in seconding the Amendment he would like to call the attention of hon. Members who had not the advantage of being members of the Scottish Committee, to the extraordinary character of this clause of which they were about to undertake the discussion. It contained eighteen subsections, and when one came to wade through them all, one must get into a fog.

MR. ABEL SMITH said that the hon. and gallant Member had more than average intelligence; but it would take from two to three months for any man of ordinary intelligence to understand the Bill. The eighth subsection, which dealt with the functions of the Land Court and the Agricultural Commissioners, was rather confusing; and he ventured to think that the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Durham would go one step towards elucidating the mystery. If there was to be a Land Court at all and also a new body of Agricultural Commissioners, the establishment and constitution of which had been passed the previous night in silence, their respective functions should be clearly defined and clearly separated the one from the other. The duty laid on the Land Court by the first subsection ought to be explained in the most lucid way to the House, and so also should the duty to be laid on the Agricultural Commissioners. Fair rents were to be fixed by the Land Court. No doubt that was a judicial function, but the function described in the subsection was an administrative function, and the words "Agricultural Commissioners" ought to be substituted for the words "Land Courts."

Amendment proposed to the Bill—

"In page 6, line 35, to leave out the words, 'Land Court,' and insert the words 'Agricultural Commissioners.'"—(Mr. Lambton.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'Land Court' stand part of the Bill."

said that one would imagine that there was some hidden result or purpose in the clause which he had not hitherto perceived or appreciated. He was sorry that he could not accept the substitution of "Land Commissioners" for "Land Court." The Land Court was the authority to whom was committed the keeping of the register of the new holders, and the machinery for that was based on previous Acts. That was a natural arrangement, and the Land Court should therefore be responsible for the register. He did not think that hon. Members opposite quite appreciated that the application to be registered was only to be made, in the first place, after an agreement had been arrived at between the landlord and the new land holder. The Agricultural Commissioners were the practical executive authority which was to supervise and contribute to the creation of the new holdings. The first subsection had nothing whatever to do with that or with the operations of the Agricultural Commissioners. The first subsection said that if the landlord and any other person agreed in respect of any land "such person may apply to the Land Court to be registered as a new holder under this Act, and such person may thereupon apply accordingly, and subject to the provisions of this Act may be so registered." The register was to be kept in the Land Court's keeping.

MR. SINCLAIR said that that did not apply in this case. If the hon. Member looked back at Sub-section (10) he would see that the Land Court determined in respect of what land holdings for new holders might be constituted, and up to what date the power to constitute them otherwise than by agreement might be exercised. That was a perfectly simple proposition.

said that the Secretary for Scotland had told them that this subsection referred only to cases of voluntary agreement, and that the Land Court had no functions to perform except to keep a record of the individuals who applied for new holdings. But at the end of the subsection occurred the phrase "may be so registered." With whom was that discretion left?

Exactly. If any person agreed with the landlord in respect to certain land such person might apply to the Land Court to be registered a new holder, and subject to the provisions of the Act might be so registered. The discretion rested with the Land Court. He agreed with the hon. Member for Hertfordshire that it was no exaggeration to say that however carefully one might examine this Bill it was impossible, unless one were endowed with supernatural powers, and every virtue and the superior intelligence of the hon. and gallant Member for East Edinburgh, to separate the functions of those two august bodies—the Land Court and the Agricultural Commission. His hon. friend had counted the number of times that those two bodies were mentioned in the clause, and found that it was over twenty. He supposed that the Land Court was to keep the register of small holders, but why should not the Agricultural Commission also keep such a book? He was sure that he and his friends would vote for the cost of the supply of another book. The Secretary for Scotland seemed to think that nobody was to be considered in this matter except the landlord and the tenant, and that was the reason why the right hon. Gentleman got so confused on the points raised by the Opposition. But the general taxpayers of the country, who must meet the expense of the experiments to be made under this measure ought also to be considered. The Land Court was charged with the duty of seeing whether the applicants for registration had fulfilled the necessary conditions. They knew that the entry on the register was only the first step in the transaction.

MR. SINCLAIR said that a new holder would not be duly qualified for registration otherwise than by agreement who did not satisfy the Agricultural Commissioners as to his ability to fulfil the obligations incumbent upon him.

asked if he was to understand that a man would not be eligible to avail himself of the pro visions of the Act until his name was registered.

MR. SINCLAIR said that supposing a landlord created a small holding on his estate there was no obligation on him to call upon the tenant to register his name. But if at any moment the landlord and tenant agreed that it would be to their mutual interest that the holding should in future be a holding under this Act, then there would be power to agree that the holding should be registered. The small holders of another character must first be registered. If the right hon. Gentleman's quarrel was with the Land Court the Government could not agree with him. If his quarrel was with the power of registration which was given to the Agricultural Commissioners it was a different matter.

MR. WALTER LONG said he could, not allow the right hon. Gentleman to deal with his argument by way of reply before he had completed it.

MR. SINCLAIR said he was simply explaining that if the right hon. Gentleman's quarrel was with the Land Court and if he wished to get that out of the Bill they could not agree with him, but if he wished that the registration should go to the Agricultural Commissioners that was a different matter.

was obliged for the interruption, but he did not think the right hon. Gentleman was throwing any new light on the question before the House. The duties cast upon the Land Court were not of the mere perfunctory character which was represented. The application of this Bill would be in regard to the privileges conferred on the new holders under this measure, and nothing that the right hon. Gentleman had said had shaken his argument. They must I be thankful for small mercies when they were told, under a Radical Government, that the landlord was to be enabled to set up small holdings. He did not know how long that privilege would last; he supposed until the next Land Bill was brought in. Meanwhile it was thought that this Bill would produce such a glamour over the land that these two people who had hitherto got on very well together would suddenly discover that they wanted to go into this Court. That he did not think was likely. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the landlord and tenant had only to agree and the Land Court would do the rest; but that was not the case at all. Let them take the ease of a man who had been indebted to his landlord for his improvements, he would come in under the Bill. It was quite obvious, unless they were absolutely mistaken in the view which they took of the effect of the preceding clause, that this was not a mere trivial matter. The argument of his hon. friend was that the Land Court ought not to be called in, and he could not conceive anything more reasonable than his proposal that this task should fall upon the Agricultural Commissioners. But the right hon. Gentleman said it must be the Land Court. He could not accept that proposition. If it were merely a matter of entering a man's name in a book there would be no justification for pressing the Amendment. But that was not the case and the right hon. Gentleman had not shown that it was so. They, on the contrary, said that this power of setting up the new holder ought to be exercised by the Agricultural Commissioners and not by the Land Court. The Government were making a large experiment which could only be successful at the cost of a large sum of money, a considerable portion of which would come out of the pockets of the taxpayers of England. For these reasons he supported the Amendment of his hon. friend.

thought that the Agricultural Commissioners were likely to be more capable persons to deal with this matter than the Land Court. Under last year's Bill questions of this sort would have gone before the Agricultural Commissioners, but the Government were now setting up a Land Court to deal with such matters. The Land Court was an importation into the Bill, and an innovation. It was indeed the chief evil in the measure, and he supported the proposal to substitute the Agricultural Commissioners. He was afraid that the greater number of the new holdings would not be registered under this clause, because the proprietor would lose his control over the money which he had paid for equipment under the Crofters Act of 1886. Registration was either a serious matter or it was not. If it was a mere matter of form it would not be largely indulged in, but if it was a condition precedent to the granting of loans by the State it was a different matter. The question, as he understood, had to come before the Agricultural Commissioners in the first place, and then before the Land Court. This would mean double work between the two authorities. It was somewhat like a Chinese puzzle, and if one bit was taken out of it it failed. These details were not necessary last year, and were not necessary now. They had not been told either in Committee upstairs or in the House why they were necessary. They had never heard the reason why the Land Court was pitchforked into the Bill.

*MR. SPEAKER said the hon. Member must only discuss the clause and not the general merits of the Bill.

argued that it, was not necessary to have a fresh organisation but supposed they would be told that the mind of Scotland was behind this Bill. He had, however, not heard a single expression of opinion in its favour.

thought that the discussion showed that the Opposition did not intend to destroy the Bill, but rather wished to facilitate its progress. If the landlord and tenant met together at the registrars and a book was produced in which the transaction was entered there would be an end of the matter. What would take place would be that both the landowner and the landholder would make application to the Land Court to be registered. A form would then be sent to each of them to fill up. It would be filled up and returned, and the Land Court would then have to refer the matter to the Agricultural Commissioners, who would have to send down and investgate the claim of both the landowner and the landholder to be registered. The Agricultural Commissioners would then report back to the Land Court and recommend registration. If the Amendment were accepted all that process would be avoided. They would apply at once to the Agricultural Commissioners who would at once investigate the circumstances of the case and report to the Land Court that an application had been made to register as a small holding a certain holding, and that after investigation they recommended its registration. The Land Court would then write to the landowner and the landholder and notify them that the holding had been registered in their book as a small holding on such a day. Was not the proposal of his hon. friend more calculated to encourage the formation of small holdings by agreement than the round-about method favoured by the right hon. Gentleman? He did not think many people would avail themselves of the provisions of this clause, but he was quite sure that the simpler the clause was made the more would people avail themselves of the privilege. For these reasons he supported the Amendment of his hon. friend.

said he had had occasion before to explain to the House that one of the objections that attached to the discussion of a Bill under closure by compartments was that the Government felt themselves absolved from giving any answer to the arguments adduced or even from taking the trouble to give a correct account of the Bill nominally in their charge. Everybody, even its authors, must approach Clause 7 with singular misgiving. Never in his experience had he seen a clause extending over two and a half pages of a Bill which brought into action so many different bodies. Most Governments in the past had endeavoured to bring in every separate Department in a separate clause, but when they read this bewildering piece of legislation they found the Land Court figuring in the first section, the Commissioner for small holdings in the third, and the Agricultural Commissioners in the sixth. And these three parties pursued their mazy dance through the remaining of the eighteen sub-sections of the clause in such a manner that even the strongest head might be made to feel confused by their evolutions. What was the defence of the Secretary for Scotland for putting in these Agricultural Commissioners—a new body which they had never been allowed to discuss either in the House or the Committee, though it figured so largely in this measure? The right hon. Gentleman had given two reasons, and both were founded on a misconception of fact with regard to his own measure. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House in the first place that Sub-section (1) dealt solely with existing holdings.

MR. A. J. BALFOUR said his right hon. friend beside him had reminded him that the words used by the right hon. Gentleman were "holdings already in existence." The sub-section dealt with nothing of the sort.

pointed out that this subsection dealt with new holdings. But new holdings were of two classes. There might be holdings brought into existence after the passing of this Act, which had existed as fully equipped holdings previously and been afterwards brought under the operation of the Act. The other class of new holdings would be holdings actually created under the provisions of this Act.

MR. A. J. BALFOUR said he wished the right hon. Gentleman would remember that this was a Scottish and not an Irish Bill, and that when in connection with it they were speaking of new holdings they did not mean old holdings. Everybody but the draughtsman of the right hon. Gentleman would call a holding already in existence an old holding. The Government were not content with new legislation, but had to have a new terminology. If the House would look at the marginal note of this clause they would see that it said, "powers to facilitate the constitution of new holdings," and how a clause so described could be said by the authors of the Bill to be a clause for dealing with existing holdings passed his comprehension. So much for the right hon. Gentleman's first argument. His second argument was almost more unfortunate. It was that the persons to register the holdings, because the people in charge of the new holdings, were the Land Court, and the book was kept by the Land Court. He would venture to point out that if that were so access could be had to the book, but he did not believe it was in the possession of the Land Court. The 27th Section of the Crofters Holdings Act was an unrepealed section and by that section the record was to be kept in the Sheriff Court. It seemed to him, reading the two Acts together, that the book was not kept by the Land Court.

asked what were they to think when the right hon. Gentleman addressed two arguments in favour of the Bill each of which was founded on misconception? He did not know whether that was the way in which the Bill was dealt with in Committee, but with all respect he must say the right hon. Gentleman ought to have made himself acquainted with the contents of the Bill after it came down stairs. The arguments in favour of the Bill having been dismissed—they had been abandoned by the right hon. Gentleman himself—what were the merits? The real point was whether the Land Court was to be the body to register these new holdings, or whether it was to be the Agricultural Commissioners. Clearly every sound argument tended in the direction of making those responsible for the holdings who created new ones. If they looked at Sub-sections (6) and (18), it must be clear to the House that it was the body responsible for the expenditure of public money, for the using of the taxpayers' money for the purposes of these new holdings, who should determine whether they should be registered or not. Was not that common sense? If anything further were required to justify the argument they found it in the next section relating to assistance given; and if assistance was to be granted by the Land Commission, ought it not to be registered by the Land Commission, and if it was to be registered by the Land Commission, where else could it be registered except where the right hon. Gentleman desired it to be registered, namely, in the book which for the moment he thought was in the custody of the Land Court, but was, in fact, in the custody of the Sheriff? If the administrative body had first to settle the propriety of the loan, surely they were the people who ought to register the holding. It was a most obvious and simple Amendment which his hon. friend had moved, and he should have thought that it would have been jumped at by the Government. If, however, they still adhered to the form of the Bill, he thought the Secretary for Scotland would agree that as the only two arguments which he had used had been abandoned by himself, he or one of his colleagues should get up and give them a new version of the defence they proposed to urge against the suggestion which they had made from that side of the House. Any argument which had been advanced so far had been abandoned, and he ventured to think the time had come when they should have some more solid basis than had yet been found for maintaining the Bill in its present shape.

was understood to say that the Secretary for Scotland apparently did not quite understand the point. What he had submitted was that the Agricultural Commissioners had to satisfy themselves that the applicants were suitable persons for holdings, and, if under Section 6 the Agricultural Commissioners might make an advance of money, then it seemed to him absolutely impossible to maintain the Land Court in the position given it by Subsection (1), and at the same time protect the taxpayers and the Agricultural Commissioners against loss. The Agricultural Commissioners were responsible for the money advanced under the Bill, and they ought to be responsible for rejecting the holding.

MR. SINCLAIR said there were perfectly clear and definite functions for the Agricultural Commissioners and for the Land Court. A number of holdings were registered in the Landholders' Holding Book which were not new holdings, but which came within the operation of the Act, for instance under Clause 2. A number of holdings within the limits of the Act would be entitled to the facilities given by it entirely irrespective of the action

AYES.

Abraham, William (Rhondda)Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd)Clough, William
Adkins, W. Ryland D.Black, Arthur W.Clynes, J. R.
Alden, PercyBowerman, C. W.Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)
Ambrose, RobertBrace, WilliamCooper, G. J.
Ashton, Thomas GairBranch, JamesCorbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd
Asquith, Rt. Hon Herbert HenryBrigg, JohnCornwall, Sir Edwin A.
Astbury, John MeirBright, J. A.Cory, Clifford John
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)Cowan, W. H.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnCox, Harold
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)Burt, Rt. Hon. ThomasCraig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)
Barlow, Percy (Bedford)Byles, William PollardCrooks, William
Barran, Rowland HirstCampbell-Bannerman, Sir H.Curran, Peter Francis
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)Carr-Gomm, H. W.Dalziel, James Henry
Beale, W. P.Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightDavies, Ellis William (Eifion)
Bell, RichardCawley, Sir FrederickDewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)
Bellairs, CarlyonCheetham, John FrederickDewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)
Benn, W. (T'w'rHamlets, S. Geo.Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)

and without the knowledge or help a all of the Agricultural Commissioners They had adopted as the procedure under this Bill the procedure of the Crofters Act of 1886, and just as under that Act responsibility for registration lay with the Crofters' Commissioners, so would responsibility for registrator lie with the Land Court under this Bill The right hon. Gentleman had made the perfectly fair point that he had stated that the Landholders' Register must be kept by the Land Commission. He was of course, in error, but he thought Members who were in Committee upstairs would do him the justice to say that it was a slip. They all knew from the discussions in Committee that the Land holders' Book was kept by the Sheriff's clerk, and, just as responsibility for entries lay with the Crofters' Commission under the Act of 1886, following that procedure responsibility for registration lay with the Land Court under this Bill. Entries were made in the Landholders' Holding Book of orders and applications which had been decided by the Crofters' Commission, and similarly entries would be made in the book kept by the Sheriff's clerk in each county of orders and applications decided by the Land Court, who were the only authority under the Bill entitled to send orders and applications for registration. The Land Court was the only body which would have cognisance of orders and applications, and it was to the Land Court, therefore, that they committed this duty of registration.

Question put.

The House divided—Ayes, 222; Noes, 64. (Division List No. 384.)

Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.Laidlaw, RobertRichardson, A.
Duckworth, JamesLamb, Edmund G. (LeominsterRickett, J. Compton
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Lambert, GeorgeRoberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)Lamont, NormanRobertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)Lardner, James Carrige RusheRobertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Elibank, Master ofLeese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)Robinson, S.
Erskine, David C.Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)Roe, Sir Thomas
Essex, R. W.Levy, Sir MauriceRunciman, Walter
Esslemont, George BirnieLewis, John HerbertRussell, T. W.
Everett, R. LaceyLough, ThomasSamuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Fenwick, CharlesLuttrell, Hugh FownesSears, J. E.
Ferens, T. R.Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)Seddon, J.
Ffrench, PeterMacdonald, J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs)Shackleton, David James
Findlay, AlexanderMacnamara, Dr. Thomas J.Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir WalterMacpherson, J. T.Sherwell, Arthur James
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryMaeVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)Shipman, Dr. John G.
Freeman-Thomas, FreemanMacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)Silcock, Thomas Ball
Fuller, John Michael F.M'Callum, John M.Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Fullerton, HughM'Crae, GeorgeSmeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Furness, Sir ChristopherM'Kenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldSnowden, P.
Gill, A. H.M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert JohnM'Micking, Major G.Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Glover, ThomasMaddison, FrederickStewart, Halley (Greenock)
Goddard, Daniel FordMallet, Charles E.Strachey, Sir Edward
Gooch, George PeabodyManfield, Harry (Northants)Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Grant, CorrieMarnham, F. J.Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Gulland, John W.Massie, J.Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth
Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. BramptonMasterman, C. F. G.Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)Micklem, NathanielTaylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh)Molteno, Percy AlportThomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)Montagu, E. S.Thorne, William
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.Mooney, J. J.Torrance, Sir A. M.
Hazleton, RichardMorgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Helme, Norval WatsonMorgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)Ure, Alexander
Henderson, Arthur (Durham)Morrell, PhilipVerney, F. W.
Henry, Charles S.Morton, Alpheus CleophasVivian, Henry
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)Murphy, John (Kerry, East)Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Hobart, Sir RobertMurray, JamesWalton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Hodge, JohnMyer, HoratioWalton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Holland, Sir William HenryNicholls, GeorgeWard, John (Stoke upon Trent
Holt, Richard DurningNicholson, Charles N. (DoncasterWaring, Walter
Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)Nolan, JosephWason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Horniman, Emslie JohnO'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Waterlow, D. S.
Hudson, WalterO'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)Weir, James Galloway
Idris, T. H. W.O'Grady, J.White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Illingworth, Percy H.O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Jacoby, Sir James AlfredPartington, OswaldWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Jardine, Sir J.Pearce, William (Limehouse)Whitely, John Henry (Halifax)
Jenkins, J.Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Johnson, John (Gateshead)Pickersgill, Edward HareWilliams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen
Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Jones, Leif (Appleby)Pullar, Sir RobertWilson, W. T. (Weshoughton)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)Radford, G. H.
Jowett, F. W.Raphael, Herbert H.TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Kearley, Hudson E.Rea, Russell (Gloucester)
Kekewich, Sir GeorgeRea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')
Kelley, George D.Rees, J. D.
King, Alfred John (Knutsford)Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton

NOES.

Anson, Sir William ReynellBridgeman, W. CliveCorbett, T. L. (Down, North)
Anstruther-Gray, MajorBrotherton, Edward AllenCraik, Sir Henry
Ashley, W. W.Bull, Sir William JamesDavies, David (Montgomery Co.)
Balcarres, LordButcher, Samuel HenryDouglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Baldwin, AlfredCastlereagh, ViscountDu Cros, Harvey
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)Cave, GeorgeFaber, George Denison (York)
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeCavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C. W.Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)Fell, Arthur
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh HicksCecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Ferguson, R. C. Munro
Bowles, G. StewartCochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey

Forster, Henry WilliamMeysey-Thompson, E. C.Stone, Sir Benjamin
Gordon, J.Mildmay, Francis BinghamTalbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Harris, Frederick LevertonParkes, EbenezerTennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)
Harrison-Broadley, H. B.Powell, Sir Francis SharpThomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark)
Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)Randles, Sir John ScurrahWalker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Hunt, RowlandRemnant, James FarquharsonWolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Kimber, Sir HenryRutherford, John (Lancashire)Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)Younger, George
Lane-Fox, G. R.Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.)Sloan, Thomas Henry

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir. Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.

Lonsdale, John BrownleeSmith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. AlfredStarkey, John R.
Mason, James F. (Windsor)Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.

MR. SINCLAIR moved to insert words in Clause 7 requiring the Commissioner to ascertain "after due inquiry what demand for small holdings exists in any district, and after consultation (where practicable) with the landlord or landlords what land (if any) is available to meet that demand, under what conditions such land is cultivated, and what employment it affords." He said that when the Committee discussed this question it was suggested that it would not be proper when the Commissioner of Small Holdings went into a district to make his inquiry as to whether land was available for new holdings and whether there was any demand for them, to do so behind the back of the owner of that land. Such a course would, in practice, never be taken. It was not intended that the Commissioner should go down and make secret observations for himself, but that he should go rather in a friendly spirit to endeavour, in the first place, to carry out these schemes with the agreement of all concerned. He had promised to reconstruct the second subsection, and as amended it would read—

"It shall be the duty of the Commissioner for Small Holdings to report from time to time to the Agricultural Commissioners, after due inquiry, what demand for small holdings exists in any district, and after consultation (where practicable) with the landlord or landlords what land (if any) is available to meet that demand, under what conditions such land is cultivated, and what employment it affords."

These words had been designed to meet the considerations he had mentioned, and they directed the attention of the Commissioner to the fact that he should have regard to the present conditions of cultivation of the land as being pertinent to his inquiry. His attention was also directed to the consideration of what employment the land at present afforded. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed to the Bill—

"In page 7, line 1, to leave out, from the words 'Commissioners,' to end of line 3, and to insert the words 'after due inquiry what demands for small holdings exists in any district, and after consultation (where practicable) with the landlord or landlords what land (if any) is available to meet that demand, under what conditions such land is cultivated, and what employment it affords.'"—(Mr. Sinclair.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

MR. WALTER LONG said he quite recognised that the Amendment was intended to meet the points which were raised upstairs, and he was much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for this concession. The Amendment, however, did not strike him as being a good specimen of artistic draughtsmanship. As for the consultation with the landlord, that could not, of course, take place if the landlord was away, and he might be residing in Australia. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was intended that the Commissioners should go down to these districts rather in a friendly spirit than otherwise. What was meant by that? He should have assumed that the Commissioner would have gone down in an entirely friendly spirit.

The right hon. Gentleman cheered that statement, but his language did not imply that. The clause threw upon the Commissioner for Small Holdings an extremely invidious duty, because it laid upon them the obligation to inspect other people's property and there were a great many landowners who would resent it as an intrusion, because they would not believe that the Commissioner was any better judge than they were of the needs of the locality. The words suggested that there should be consulation with the landlord, and that there should be an inquiry as to the demand for small holdings. Those provisions would ensure a certain amount of caution and care which would not have followed from the words in the original clause. The grave blot on the Amendment was that it took no note of the displacement of labour. That point, however, would be met by an Amendment which he intended to move.

Question put, and negatived.

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

Mr. WALTER LONG moved to add after the word "demand" the words "without causing undue displacement of agricultural labourers, or others, presently employed on or about such land. "Reference had been made to Irish land legislation as the only precedent to be found for the general plan of the Government. In one part of Ireland they had had this system of small holdings in much larger and more general existence than in any other part of the United Kingdom. In some parts of North and Mid. Antrim small holdings of about twenty acres were the rule and not the exception, and in those parts of Ireland they had none of the social difficulties which were to be found in the South and West which had led men away from the development of industries. There they had a thrifty and industrious population, the land was suitable and fertile, and the holdings averaged about twenty acres. What had been the result? In both those divisions of Armagh there had been a steady decrease in the population. Hon. Members opposite would be living in a fool's paradise if they imagined that by any legislation of this kind for the extension of small holdings they were going to solve those social evils of depopulation which were affecting the rural districts. If they decided to establish small holdings in so singular and favourable a way to the new small holders, in the name of common justice they ought to have regard to those who were now living on the soil. If the experiment was a success, and if a large number of small holdings were established, agricultural labourers must be displaced. The Amendment was intended to do two things. One was in connection with this section, and the other was to do something more at a later stage of the Bill. He submitted that they had no right to create small holdings in the general interest of the community, however excellent that object might be, if, in so doing, they deprived a section of the community in the locality of the living which they were getting and on which they were dependent. It was all very well to say that they would find employment on the small holdings, but that would not be so. If a man was to make a living on a small holding, he must have very little paid labour; he must depend on the exertions of himself and his family. If a farm of 200 acres of mixed cultivation was broken up into holdings of fifty acres each, what would become of the poor labourers? While the large farm would give employment all the year round to ten or twelve able-bodied men, the smaller holdings would not provide work for the same number. The labourers on a large farm not only got regular work, but they were provided with houses, and they had gardens which they could cultivate. He submitted that, unless the Commissioners were satisfied that small holdings could be established without unreasonable displacement of present labour, they ought not to take any steps for the setting up of the holdings. To set up small holdings and to prevent labourers from making their living would be a curse rather than a blessing, and it would do the very thing which ought not to be done in the way of driving people away from the rural districts. The Amendment should as a matter of justice be accepted. He hoped that on further reflection the Government would do now what they refused to do in Committee. If this legislation were to be the means of disturbing the opportunities of employment in the country districts, there would be hostility raised against the movement for small holdings before the ink of this measure was dry in the Statute Book. If the Bill was not to be thrown out, he wished it to pass with as few defects as possible. He was not pressing this in the interest of a particular class, for, although the proposal he made was primarily in the interest of the labourers who would otherwise be displaced, it was equally in the interest of all other classes of the community that those men should not be unfairly dealt with. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment to the Bill—

"In line 4, after the word 'demand,' to insert the words 'without causing undue displacement of agricultural labourers, or others, presently employed on or about such land.'"—(Mr. Long.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

MR. SINCLAIR said the right hon. Gentleman knew well that the conditions of farm labour in Scotland differed from those prevalent in England. Farm servants in Scotland were migratory, and there was great scarcity of labour in many rural districts. Many of the larger farmers complained of the increasing difficulty in getting sufficient labour for their farms. This consideration had been pressed on the Government in the Standing Committee, and the Government agreed with the critics of the Bill in desiring that this consideration should be present to the mind of the Commissioner of small holdings. He had more confidence than the right hon. Gentleman in the likelihood of an increase in the population in the rural districts from the creation of small holdings in Scotland. He suggested that the phrase "or others" was indefinite and too wide in its meaning, and the words should be omitted. Subject to that modification the Government would accept the Amendment.

said he saw no harm in including the words "or others." He thought, however, the words "farm servants" more descriptive of the conditions in Scotland than the words in the Amendment.

said if the right hon. Gentleman would accept the words "farm servants," which was a Scottish term, he would accept the Amendment.

said that would cover the case. After all, the object of the Agricultural Commissioners was to make small holdings; it was not their business to consider the agricultural labourers or anybody else. It was, therefore, desirable that it should be present to their minds that in creating small holdings there might be considerable displacement of labour. He had never thought that by the creation of small farms they would add at all to the land ward population. He believed that the greatest amount of labour was given by the large farms in the highest state of cultivation, because the small agricultural farm was not so highly farmed as a rule, though there were a great many exceptions. If anything, there would be a decrease rather than an increase in the state of cultivation by the substitution of small farms for large ones. There were, however, other advantages in the change, and it was on the ground of these he wished small holdings to be created wherever practicable.

*

said he was so deeply interested in this Bill that he felt it was his duty to state to the House his own experience. Many years of his childhood were spent on a small holding of twenty-five acres, for which his father paid a rent of £50 a year. His father afterwards took a small farm of 500 acres, and while living there he himself gathered some experience of the conditions of agriculture in Scotland. He had the greatest admiration for the right hon. Member for South Dublin, who had a knowledge of agriculture in England, but whose knowledge of agriculture in Scotland was not so complete. He could not agree with him that the creation of small holdings would lead to the displacement of farm servants. He attended a meeting of farm servants recently at Ellon, and he was assured by the men who were present that with a 35-acre holding a farm servant would not be very much better off financially as a holder than as a servant, but that socially he would be much better. A farm of 500 acres could be so divided as to leave room still for the labourers, and there would be no danger of displacement at all. The statements made in Committee by hon. Members opposite were taken from the Scottish newspapers, which were almost without exception dead against this measure. There were two sides to every question, and unless both sides were heard a sound judgment could not be formed. On the previous day he had attended a meeting in the constituency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and had the privilege of speaking to 1,000 farm labourers. A ploughman was in the chair, and moved a resolution which was seconded by a ploughman and carried with the greatest enthusiasm. He might be allowed to read that resolution—

"I beg to move that this meeting of ploughmen and farm servants support the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill. That we consider it the most genuine scheme of Land Reform that has ever been proposed for Scotland. That it will help to stop rural depopulation and relieve the overcrowding of our towns and cities, and give ploughmen a chance to become their own masters on fair and reasonable conditions. That we consider that all opposers of the Bill are not friends of the ploughmen. That we give the Liberal Government our most enthusiastic support, and hope it will carry the Bill into law this session."
No one looking at the faces of those earnest men, who gave him the most attentive hearing in spite of the noises of the fair all round, could realise anything else than that they were in earnest in this matter of small holdings. It was also his privilege to attend a meeting at Perth at which delegates from every part of Scotland except Orkney and Shetland were present, and their demeanour showed how deep was the undercurrent in favour of this Bill.

*

said that the hon. Member was opening a very wide door of invitation to hon. Members to make Second Reading speeches. He would point out that the Amendment was a very narrow one—an Amendment on an Amendment—and the hon. Member should confine himself to that.

*

said he begged Mr. Speaker's pardon for not being better acquainted with the rules of the House. As a business man he had not yet got acclimatised to the forms of the House. He had come there to do things, but he was beginning to find out how not to do things. He regretted that he could not agree with the Amendment of the right hon. Member for South Dublin. In Aberdeenshire, where the farmers mostly depended on stock and grass, it was as easy to attend to stock on a smaller holding as on a large farm; and he felt it his duty to plead the cause of the farm labourers from whom he sprang.

said that if the hon. Member had strayed into a very wide field, he had spoken with an earnestness and from a large personal experience which could not fail to impress hon. Members and enlist sympathy from all quarters of the House. As to the resolution passed by the farm labourers who attended the meeting the previous day in Fifeshire, he would say that whatever those farm servants thought of the criticisms which hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House had made on the Bill, those criticisms were made in real friendship and in their interests. The Amendment proposed by his right hon. friend was obviously necessary. The hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire seemed to think that large and highly cultivated farms could be cut up into small holdings without diminishing the amount of labour on the same area of land. As a general proposition he thought the hon. Gentleman was wrong. There might be exceptions here and there where the hon. Gentleman might be right, where small holdings were occupied by a similar number of heads of families; but he was convinced that that was not the universal rule. It should be remembered that the great advantage of small holdings as exhibited in Prance and elsewhere was that the same person was owner and cultivator, and that the wife and family gave an amount of work to the farm that was never asked for here, and if asked for, would never be given. They worked hard for long hours. It followed that if it was wished to keep a large number of heads of families on the land in this country the way to do it was not to cut up large farms into small holdings unless they went in for intensive cultivation. His hope for Scotland was in intensive cultivation, but that could not be done so well on small holdings of thirty or forty acres as on large farms where labour could be highly organised. He admitted that there were places in Scotland where intensive cultivation could be carried on on small holdings, but these were not very many, especially in the county which the hon. Gentleman represented and in other districts. This was partly due to climatic conditions and the time of the year at which vegetables and the like came to maturity. Intensive cultivation could not be carried on there with profit and success compared with the South of England and the Channel Islands. He did not think the hon. Gentleman, those authority he admitted, would deny any of the propositions which he had ventured to lay down. Therefore small holdings were created where intensive cultivation was impossible. The number of heads of families on the land would be reduced and the evil of rural depopulation, which they all deplored, increased. He thought that the right hon., Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland was wrong in opposing the Amendment of his right hon. friend. He did not see that it could do any harm.

said he did not think there was any great difference between the two sides of the House as to the merits of the question: the right hon. Gentleman had been engaged for the most part in painting the lily. If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin would strike out the words "or about" from his Amendment it would probably meet the views of the Secretary for Scotland. It must be remembered that the Scottish were a practical people and no Agricultural Commission or Land Court would propose to set up a small holding which would cause rural depopulation. He thought the best test of the matter was that the agricultural labourers were all enthusiastically in favour of the Bill. They had no fear of rural depopulation being caused by small I holdings. All that the Leader of the Opposition had said in regard to intensive cultivation was true. There were, however, various parts of Scotland where that argument did not apply and where large holdings could be cut up in order to create small holdings and increase the number of people on the land. He would suggest that the right hon. Member for South Dublin should now accept the proposal of the Secretary for Scotland and allow the discussion on this point to come to an end.

said that the discussion had been carried on by practical people and he had been enjoying a feast which those practical people had provided for him. This was not a personal matter between the Secretary for Scotland, and himself. He did not want any do words, and they clearly ought to be ejusdem generis, and if the right hon. Gentleman thought that "farm servants" would meet what was requisite he would be prepared to accept the Amendment in the amended form.

assured the right hon. Gentleman that the expression would form a complete category of farm employees.

said he was in sympathy with the object of the right hon. Gentleman, but he feared that under the words suggested shepherds would be left out.

did not think his hon. friend need have any concern in this matter, because it had been mentioned in the Report of the Commissioners on Small Holdings and the Report of the Agricultural Commissioners, and the question had been fully considered.

Amendment to the Amendment (as amended by the substitution of the words "farm servants" for "agricultural labourers or others") agreed to.

Proposed words, as amended, there inserted in the Bill.

Amendment proposed to the Bill—

"In page 7, line 5, to leave out the word 'new' and to insert the word 'small.'"

Amendment agreed to.

who had given notice of his intention to move to leave out Subsection 5 of Clause 7, which was in the following terms—

"Where a new holding is constituted by agreement, the rent agreed between the landlord and the new holder shall not be altered by the Land Court for a period of seven years from the term at which it first becomes payable,"
said he thought his object would be better attained if he moved an Amendment standing in the name of his noble friend the Member for the Thirsk Division of Yorkshire "to insert after the word 'not' the words 'if the same shall have been agreed upon for a specified period,' and after the wo