Wednesday, 21st August, 1907.
The House met at a quarter before Three of the Clock.
Questions And Answers Circulated With The Votes
Notice Of Meetings Of Land Tax Commissioners
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the fact that, although The Land Tax Commissioners Act, 1906, expressly states that the Treasury shall cause notice to be given to each Commissioner of all meetings of the Commissioners of the county, etc., the clerk to the Land Tax Commissioners in the Ross Division of Herefordshire has repeatedly failed to notify many of the Commissioners of meetings which have been held since that Act came into operation; and whether he will take such steps as will ensure obedience to the provisions of the Act.
I have made inquiries on this subject, and I am informed that only two meetings of the Land Tax Commissioners referred to have been held this year, and that notice was given of each meeting to each Commissioner, resident in the district, in accordance with the instructions issued by the Board of Inland Revenue under the Act of last session.
Promotion In The Post Office—Cases Of Messrs J Y Bell And R M Stewart
To ask the Postmaster-General whether he will state the respective numbers of deputy staff officers, first-class clerks, second-class clerks, and third-class clerks in the supplementary establishment of the Secretary's Office who have longer service in the Post Office than Messrs. J. Y. Bell and R. M. Stewart, respectively, who were recently promoted to first-class clerkships of the Higher Division in the Secretary's Office.
To ask the Postmaster-General whether the two vacancies as second-class clerks of the Higher Division recently created in the Secretary's Office by the promotion of Messrs. Bell and Stewart will be filled by the promotion of experienced and efficient officers of the supplementary establishment, many of whom have from twenty to thirty years service in the Post Office; and, if not, will he explain how the filling of these vacancies by officially inexperienced young men from a Higher Division, Class I., examination is in the interests of the public service.
To ask the Postmaster-General whether, seeing that Messrs. J. Y. Bell and R. M. Stewart were recently promoted to first-class clerkships of the Higher Division in the Secretary's Office, with increase of salary from£255 to £550 and from £225 to £550, respectively, that these two officers entered the Post Office service so lately as November, 1899, and December, 1901, respectively, that many officers amongst the third-class clerks, second-class clerks, first-class clerks, and deputy staff officers of the supplementary establishment have three, four, and five times the service of either of these two recently-promoted officers, he will explain why the more experienced and more efficient officials of the supplementary establishment did not get these two promotions.
I will answer the hon. Member's three Questions together. I consider that it is in the interest of the public service to recruit the higher grades in the Secretary's Office as a rule by the open Class I. competition, which attracts much of the best material from the Universities and secures a high standard of ability and education in the successful candidates. Promotions are occasionally made from the supplementary establishment to the Second Class of the Higher Grade, if candidates with very exceptional qualifications are available, but the comparisons of length of service which the hon. Member suggests have no direct bearing upon the matter.
Sale Of Lord Kilmorey's Estate
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Estates Commissioners have yet fixed the price or percentage, under Section 23 (11) of the Land Act of 1903, for negotiating the sale of Lord Kilmorey's estate, county Down, and, if not, can they say when it is likely to be fixed and the sale completed; whether they are aware that assistance in the work of the sale and the furnishing of all the particulars of the estate was given by the clerk of the Kilmorey estate office; and will they, before the payment of the negotiating fees, arrange that this clerk shall receive proper remuneration for his work, in which his experience and knowledge of the estate were particularly useful.
The Estates Commissioners inform me that the sale of the estate referred to will not be completed for some time, and consequently they are not at present in a position to consider the payment of a negotiation fee under Section 23 of the Act of 1903. The Commissioners are not aware that the clerk in the estate office took part in negotiating the sale, and they cannot therefore express any opinion in the matter at present.
Treatment By Police Of Jeremiah Cotter, Of Ballingeary
To ask the Chief Secretary to the LordLieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in the case of Jeremiah Cotter, of Ballingeary, recently heard at the Cork assizes, this young man was arrested whilst his life was certified to be in danger by the medical officer for the district, Dr. Goold; that his father's house was broken into by the police under District Inspector Dale; that he was subjected to cruel ill-treatment, together with his father, an old man of eighty years, by being forced to walk to Inchigeelagh, a distance of five miles, and to travel from thence to Dunmanway, a distance of twelve miles, in an open car; and will he state whether any redress will be given to Jeremiah Cotter in these circumstances.
Jeremiah Cotter was arrested by the police on 5th April upon a warrant for the offence of unlawful assembly in September last, since when he had been evading arrest. When Cotter was being arrested an attack was made upon the police, one of whom was seriously injured. Cotter escaped from custody, having also sustained severe injury. He was re-arrested in his father's house on the following morning and conveyed to Dunmanway, together with his father, against whom a charge of assault was preferred. When the men had been taken four miles on the journey, a telegram, purporting to come from Dr. Goold, was produced stating that Jeremiah Cotter was unfit to be removed. He appeared, however, to be quite fit to travel, and was therefore taken on to Dunmanway by the police. It has not been alleged that he suffered any evil consequences from the journey. He was subsequently convicted of the offence of unlawful assembly, but he and his father were acquitted upon the charge of assaulting the police. I am not aware of any grounds for giving him redress.
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that Sergeant M'Elligott, of Ballingeary, stated in his sworn evidence both at Limerick and Cork Assizes that certain specified persons were present at and took part in what are known as the Ballingeary riots; is he aware that these persons, to the number of three or four, produced evidence to prove that they were not present at all on the occasions referred to and were acquitted by the jury, and that a special rider to their verdict was added by the jury to the effect that not one of these accused men were present at all; and, seeing that Sergeant M'Elligott was guilty of bearing false witness against these men, will he be indicted for perjury or dismissed, as Sergeant Sheridan was.
I am informed that some of the defendants in the Ballingeary riot case were tried at Limerick winter assizes, and others, who had evaded arrest, were tried at Cork summer assizes. The chief witness against the accused was Sergeant M'Elligott, upon whose evidence thirteen persons in all were convicted or pleaded guilty. Several other defendants were acquitted, not upon the ground that they were not present on the occasion, but simply because it was not shown that they had committed any overt act in connection with the unlawful assembly. The Judge referred to the honesty and impartiality of the police witnesses, and the police authorities have no knowledge of the rider which the jury is stated to have added to their verdict. Upon these facts there appears to be no foundation for the suggestion that Sergeant M'Elligott gave untruthful evidence.
Wexford Rural Cottages
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the rent ordinarily charged for labourers cottages in the Wexford rural district are ninepence or tenpence per week, and that when the occupiers of these cottages are unable to obtain employment in their own neighbourhood and have to go elsewhere in search of it, these rents are increased to one shilling and tenpence per week; will he say whether this increase has at any time obtained the sanction of the Local Government Board; is there anything in the Labourers Acts which entitles district councils to vary the rents charged to labourers in this manner; have two tenants named Nicholas Prendergast and James Ronan been recently evicted by the Wexford Rural District Council because they have declined to pay this rackrent; and, seeing the hardship that is inflicted on the occupiers in circumstances such as these stated, will he use his influence with the Local Government Board to prevent increases of rent on labourers who are forced by local exigencies to temporarily seek employment outside their own district.
The Wexford Rural District Council have provided aarge number of labourers cottages, the rents of which are ordinarily only ninepence or tenpence a week. Some of the tenants have made a practice during the busy season of leaving their families in the cottages and going outside the district to obt in more remunerative employment, thus leaving the farmers without labourers and defeating the object for which labourers cottages are provided. In order to counteract this practice the council have made it a usual condition of letting that any tenant who so absents himself should pay the full rent of the cottage, as based on actual expenditure, and not merely the reduced rent charged to a labourer who gives the district the benefit of his labour. The Local Government Board do not consider this to be an unreasonable condition, but in any case they have no power to interfere with the council's discretion in the matter. The two persons named in the Question were tenants who, having gone elsewhere, had refused to pay the full rent charged by the council. The council, however, directed that they should be reinstated on paying the amount due.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will state what is the total value of coal, pig iron, and all other commodities exported during the last financial year.
The total value of the exports (including re-exports) from the United Kingdom during the financial year ended 31st March last amounted to £474,958,962, of which £6,716,905 consisted of pig iron and £31,389,538 of coal.
To ask the hon. Member for the Elland Division, as representing the Charity Commissioners, whether he is aware that, owing to the persistency of several residents in the Holme Lacey district regarding the disbursement of the Scudamore charity, six tenant farmers are under notice to leave their farms through the action they are alleged to have taken; whether he is aware that the landlord of these tenants is the trustee who has since agreed to a new scheme being drawn up for the future administration of this charity; and whether he can in any way protect these tenants from a landlord whose administration of a charity has been the subject of a public injury.
The Commissioners have no power to make inquiries as to the relations between landlords and their tenants or to take any action on any information which may be given to them.
Holme Lacey Charities
To ask the hon. Member for the Elland Division, as representing the Charity Commissioners, whether he will explain why the Assistant Commissioner, who held the inquiry into the Holme Lacey charities, did not make any inquiries from the clerk to the parish council as clerk to the trustees, but made his investigations in the company of the steward of the trustee whose disbursement of the charity was the subject of the inquiry.
The Assistant Commissioner who held the inquiry into the Holme Lacey charities made his investigations at Holme Lacey prior to the public inquiry, not merely through the agent of the Holme Lacey estate but also through the chairman of the present parish council and the chairman of the administering trustees of the parochial charities.
To ask the hon. Member for the Elland Division. as representing the Charity Commissioners, whether he is aware that the Holme Lacey Parish Council, who will have the administration of the Holme Lacey charities unless otherwise determined, is composed of a majority of the recent trustees' servants, viz., head steward, head gardener, and head mason; whether he will bear this fact in mind in drawing up the new scheme; whether this new scheme will include the Prynce's charity; whether any account has been rendered for the wood that has been felled upon these charity lands since 1837; if so, can he state the amount felled and the amount of money received for the same, and has this amount been disbursed; and, if so, in what way.
The Commissioners have no knowledge of the position of the members who compose the parish council of Holme Lacey. They are bound to regard the council as representative of the parochial electors. It is proposed to deal with the non-parochial charities of the Honourable Jane Scudamore and the parochial charities of the Honourable Mary Prynce and Sir John Scudamore by separate schemes. From an account book of the administering trustees produced to the Assistant Commissioner, it appears that since 1895 the total sum received for fellage of timber on the land belonging to the Honourable Mary Prynce's charity amounts to £70 1s. 4d., which, with other moneys, has been expended upon repairs to buildings and other improvements to the charity estate.
Woolwich Arsenal Pensions
To ask the Secretary of State for War whether Thomas White, who was discharged from Woolwich Arsenal with a pension on 4th April, 1903, after over forty-five years service, is entitled to a medal; and, if so, when he will receive it.
This man was not recommended for a medal, and therefore is not entitled to it.
Fair Wages Resolution
To ask the Secretary of State for War what steps have been taken by his department to give effect to the Resolution concerning the conditions of labour under his department agreed to by the House on 8th March, 1906.
If my hon. friend will look again at the Votes and Proceedings of that date he will see that the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Leicester, to which he is evidently alluding, on the Question that the Speaker leave the Chair, was not agreed to by the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for War what will be the exact pay and allowances of the men in the Imperial Yeomanry who accept service under the new Territorial Army scheme.
In cases coming under the new conditions, non-commissioned officers and men will draw daily during the annual training cavalry rates of pay: 1s. camp allowance, and 6d. ration allowance; and, if present at training and certified to be efficient in equitation, they will receive equitation bounty of £1. Married non-commissioned officers will also be granted separation allowance.
Netley Hospital Discharges
To ask the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that soldiers injured in the public service have lately been discharged from Netley Hospital as incurable and without reasonable provision for their support; and if, in view of the obligations imposed upon all employers in the United Kingdom to make provision for their work-people injured in the course of their employment, he will take steps to remedy this system of treatment of soldiers crippled in the national service depending for their maintenance upon private charity.
The general subject to which this Question refers was thoroughly discussed by the House last November, and I must ask the hon. Member, who was not at that time a Member of the House, to refer to the debate of 8th November, in which he will find ample information in regard to the points he now raises.
Sir Thomas Finlay Estate, Bawnboy
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that some seventy tenants on the Sir Thomas Finlay estate, in Chancery, near Bawnboy, who bought their holdings under the Ashbourne Act at sixteen and eighteen years purchase, have had to be sued subsequently for their annuities; is he aware that it is now proposed to sell the balance of the agricultural portion of this estate at twenty-three years purchase, and the village of Bawnboy portion of the estate at thirty years purchase; and will he, in view of the fall in price of farm products owing to increasing foreign competition and the increased cost of labour, have the terms of this sale reviewed so as to prevent the fixing of annuities on a basis that could not be met.
I am informed that out of seventy-seven tenant purchasers on the estate referred to only six have had to be sued for the recovery of their instalments. As regards the portion of the estate which has not yet been sold, the Estates Commissioners inform me that no proceedings for sale have yet been instituted before them, and they have no knowledge of any negotiations for sale which may in progress.
Danish Trade—Copenhagen Port
To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the Foreign Office Report on the trade of Denmark in 1906 and the opinion there expressed, on page 17, of how the establishment of the free port of Copenhagen twelve years ago has made it the central emporium of the Baltic trade and led to the founding of many new steamship lines; whether he can state the names of all the free ports on the Continent of Europe; and whether the information concerning their working has been collected in any one volume to which the public has access.
A Return giving the names of all the free ports on the Continent of Europe and certain particulars with regard to each port, based upon Reports obtained through the Foreign Office from His Majesty's Consuls, was ordered by the House of Commons and issued in the session of 1904 (Continental Free Ports, No. 344, of session 1904).
To ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty in what localities outside the United Kingdom naval prisons are situated; and what were the total establishment, victualling charges, and the maximum and minimum number of prisoners for each prison in 1906-7, so far as the information is readily available, and with special regard to information about the prison at the Cape of Good Hope.
The naval prisons outside the United Kingdom are situated at Hong Kong, Cape of Good Hope (Simon's Bay), and Sydney. The total establishment (of governor and warders) at each is eight, five, and eight, respectively. The victualling charges for the prisoners for 1906-7 were £90, £62, and £102, respectively. £157 is allowed at Sydney in lieu of provisions for the prison staff. At the two other prisons the prison staff is made up of naval ratings. The maximum and minimum number of prisoners in 1906-7 was:—
|Hong Kong||20 to 5|
|Cape of Good Hope||13 to 0|
|(for 14 days.)|
|Sydney||20 to 2|
To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what reserve of naval officers, seamen, and marines is available in the United Kingdom after commissioning for war all the vessels of the Home Fleet not including those attached to the vessels of the different fleets under repair or the Royal Naval Reserve.
It would not be in the interests of the public service to give this information.
To ask the Postmaster-General whether he can state why the vacancy for the postmastership of Cardiff, caused by the superannuation of the postmaster, was not advertised in the Weekly Circular, and that on 13th August, 1907, notification was given in the Post Office Circular that Mr. T. T. Fairgray, postmaster of Exeter with a salary of £625, had been promoted to Cardiff, salary £750, not giving every officer an equal chance of making application, and why Mr. Fairgray was appointed to the postmasterhip of Shrewsbury, 28th January, 1902, salary £550, and postmaster of Exeter 10th November, 1903, salary £625, although no notification was given in the Official Circular of the vacancy at Exeter; and whether Shrewsbury and Exeter are the headquarters of the Post Office district surveyors.
The vacancy in the postmastership of Cardiff occurred just after other postmasterships with similar salary had been advertised, and as the names of all possible candidates had already been collected there was no necessity or advantage in advertising the vacancy at Cardiff. Mr. Fairgray was appointed to the postmasterships named by the hon. Member because on each occasion he was considered to be the most suitable officer for the position. Shrewsbury and Exeter are the headquarters of district surveyors, but the hon. Member is mistaken if he thinks that appointments to postmasterships are made by the district surveyors.
Excise Revenue Frauds In Scotland
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that an Excise official named Mr. A. R. H Haslam reported another Excise official named Mr. William Stead to his collector and supervisor for allowing participating in, and inciting to frauds on the Revenue and on property owners at a certain distillery or warehouse in Scotland; that, in consequence of the inaction of the collector and supervisor, Mr Haslam reported the matter direct to till Board of Inland Revenue; and that Mr. Stead was summarily dismissed from the Excise service, after an inquiry was held by two inspectors; will he say why Mr. Haslam, as prosecutor, was not allowed to hear or see the evidence given before these two inspectors by the collector, supervisor, and other officials and employees; whether, seeing that Mr. Haslam was commended by the Board for having brought the irregularities under their notice, he will explain why the Board did not inflict any punishment on the collector and supervisor; and why Mr. Stead has not been prosecuted for fraud and smuggling by the Board of Inland Revenue as a result of its inquiry.
The Board of Inland Revenue inform me that there is no ground for imputing inaction to the collector or supervisor in the case referred to. Mr. Stead lost his position and his right to pension after long service as a result of the complaint made against him, and in the opinion of the Board he was thereby adequately punished for his offence.
Glengassaugh Distillery Excise Officer
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, seeing that Mr. Haslam, late first-class excise officer at Glengassaugh Distillery, has been superseded for alleged insubordination, that Mr. Haslam incurred the displeasure some time previously of his collector and supervisor and the investigating inspector and practical advisers of the Board of Inland Revenue at Somerset House by reporting charges of fraud which were pre alent at distilleries and warehouses, that the gravity of these charges was minimised by these officials on the ground that a full inquiry and exposure would lead to serious consequences, that Mr. Haslam's only act of alleged insubordination consisted in not obeying his superior officer in the carrying out of instructions regarding an excess charge which were contrary to the Statute Law and the Inland Revenue Regulations, he will explain whether Excise officials are held blameworthy if they obey a superior in the commission of an illegal act; if so, will he say why Mr. Haslam has been punished for refusing to carry out what he considered an illegal order on the part of his superior; and will he now move the Board of Inland Revenue and the Treasury to give further consideration to this matter.
I have nothing to add to the numerous replies given by my predecessor on this subject last session.
Alleged Malpractices In The Customs And Revenue Services
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, seeing that officers of Inland Revenue stationed at distilleries, managers and clerks at distilleries and distillers' duty free warehouses, Customs and Excise officers and employees at duty free (bonded) warehouses, and men employed in the working of warehouses in which wines and spirits are stored free of duty pending removal, are in the habit of obtaining wines and spirits gratis, and free of duty, for removal to their homes, that this is especially the case at distillers' warehouses in Scotland, that this custom involves losses to property owners and to the Revenue, that Excise and Customs officers in high places are chiefly responsible for this state of affairs, and that this custom has an injurious effect on the health and probity of these Customs and Excise officers, he will cause the Board of Inland Revenue to issue such stringent regulations on this subject as will effectually safeguard the Revenue and property owners from such losses.
I am not aware of any foundation for this serious charge against the members of the Customs and Excise services. If the hon. Member is able to produce evidence in support of his allegation, I will cause each case to be investigated.
Income-Tax On Underwriting Commissions
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer why instructions have been given to surveyors of income-tax to enforce for the first time the collection of income-tax on underwriting commissions on shares, and treat such com- missions as profit at a time when every transaction is showing a loss to the underwriters in the capital value of any shares allotted.
No general instructions of the character referred to have been given to surveyors of taxes, nor have the Board of Inland Revenue been able to trace any particular case of the kind referred to in the Question; but if the hon. Member will give me details of such a case, I will have inquiry made into the matter.
Deaths From Plague In India
To ask the Secretary of State for India what was the number of deaths from the plague for each of the Presidencies of India, and for each month for the years 1904, 1905, and 1906, and end of June, 1907.
A comprehensive Return of Plague Deaths in each month in each Province of British India and in Native States, from October, 1896, to April, 1907, was recently published by the Government of India. It will probably be found by the hon. Member to meet his requirements. I will send him a copy, with figures added for May and June, 1907.
Cost Of Military Prisons Outside United Kingdom And India
To ask the Secretary of State for War in what localities, outside the United Kingdom and India, military prisons are situated; and what were the total establishment, victualling charges, and the maximum and minimum number of prisoners for each prison in 1906-7, so far as the information is readily available.
The information as regards detention barracks, as the military prisons outside the United Kingdom are now called, is as follows:—
|Establish-ment.||Soldiers under sentence dur-ing the year 1906.||Victualling charges (approximately).|
|Maximum number.||Minimum number.|
|Jamaica||5||9||Empty on various dates||114|
|Singapore||5||13||Empty on various dates||97|
|Branh detention barracks:|
|Bloemfontein||2||16||Empty on various dates||*|
|Middelburg, Cape Colony||2||14||Empty on various dates||*|
|*£1,866, South Africa (cannot be given separately).|
Questions In The House
German Navy Bill
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, having regard to the fact that no translation of the German Navy Bill, 1906, nor of the German Estimates, is available, and that copies of the Bill and of the Estimates are not purchasable in Berlin, he will cause copies of the Admiralty translations of these documents to be placed in the library to enable the House to be informed as to the proposals of the German Government as to the German Navy.
I have already stated, in reply to a previous question from the hon. Member, that it is not the custom of the Admiralty to present to the library anything except their own publications.
Government Buildings And Reinforced Concrete
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Admiralty have made use of reinforced concrete in connection with Government works or buildings; whether the material has been found suitable and economical; whether it has given satisfaction and when first was it used for Admiralty purposes.
Reinforced concrete is used by the Admiralty in the construction of floors, jetties, etc. Though the prime cost is higher than that of timber, the small cost of maintenance renders it more economical, and there is no reason to anticipate that it will not continue to be satisfactory. It was first used in large works in 1904.
Birmingham Chamber Of Commerce And The Australian Tariffs
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Lord Elgin has received a communication from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce representing that serious injury will be inflicted on Birmingham industries by the new British preferential tariff introduced into Australia by Mr. Deakin and Sir William Lyne; and what action Lord Elgin proposes to take in the matter.
Yes, Sir; as I stated yesterday, a letter making representations to this effect and asking that the operation of the tariff might be postponed has been received and communicated to the Commonwealth Government by telegraph. A reply was received to-day as follows:—"Australian practice (is) to collect new duties from date Resolutions are laid before Parliament. Not practicable (to) accede to request (of) Birmingham Chamber of Commerce."
Does the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce intend to take this lying down?
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he did not think that the Chamber of Commerce, like the Government, should enter into negotiations.
I should be loth to express an opinion as to what action ought to be taken in these or any circumstances by the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
The Cullinan Diamond
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Secretary of State has been approached by the Government of the Transvaal with reference to the proposal to present the Cullinan diamond to the Crown; and, if so, what advice has the Secretary of State given to the Transvaal Government.
No, Sir; the Secretary of State has not been approached by the Transvaal Government and has given no advice upon this subject.
Transvaal Civil Service
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the reorganisation of the Transvaal Civil Service is being carried out in such a way as to involve the wholesale displacement of British officials by Boers; and whether any representations have been or will be addressed by His Majesty's Government to the Government of the Transvaal on this subject.
The Secretary of State does not think that the first part of the hon. Member's question correctly represents the facts. On the general question of retrenchment, His Majesty's Government have nothing to add to the statement made by me on the 19th inst. in moving the Second Reading of the Guaranteed Loan Bill.
If the British Government were assured that British officials were being displaced through racial prejudice would they feel it incumbent on them to make friendly representations?
It would be very undesirable that we should impute motives to a self-governing Colony in respect of an action that is absolutely within its own scope and authority. A large number of displacements occurred before this Government came into office.
asked whether General Smuts had not declared that the Transvaal Government had no intention of making any discrimination.
I believe that is so.
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the British flag has been hoisted upon the Isle Royale, Lake Superior; and, if so, was this done by the instructions or with the approval of His Majesty's Government.
The following telegram has been received from Lord Grey: "Referring to your telegram of 8th August, hoisting British flag, Isle Royale, no foundation for report. Some lads may have been amusing themselves at a picnic on the island."
Colonial Trade Reports
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the lack of public official information concerning the trade done by each of the British Colonies and Dependencies with foreign countries, and the importance of such information to manufacturers and merchants in the United Kingdom, he can arrange for the periodical issue of Trade Reports giving information about Colonial trade, similar to the information now furnished with regard to foreign trade in the Consular Reports published by the Foreign Office.
I would call the attention of my hon. friend to the series of Colonial Reports, of which about forty five are issued each year. A list of recent Reports is printed at the end of the latest issued, that for Sierra Leone, 1906 (Cd. 3285). This series does not at present include Colonies possessing responsible government, but no doubt the matter will receive consideration in connection with the appointment of commercial agents in the principal Colonies.
Lagos Timber Concessions
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to state the decision of the Colonial Government with regard to the Ijebu timber concession at Lagos, by which it was contended that an area of 600 squares miles, after reduced to 100, was conceded to Mr. Robert Brown by the Awujale and chiefs; whether the Secretary of State has now consulted the Governor, who is at present in England; and what action it is proposed to take.
Before consulting Sir W. Egerton, it was necessary to telegraph to the Colony for further information to complete the case; but the matter has now been referred to him. I am unable to state at present what action, if any, will be taken by the Colonial Government in the matter, and the Secretary of State is giving it his personal attention.
asked if the Government had any power to interfere in the case of bargains made with native chiefs.
said that that was largely a question for the Courts to determine, but in certain circumstances the Government had powers which they could exercise.
Turkish Raids Into Persia
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Turkey has agreed to withdraw her forces from Persian territory with a view to facilitating the delimination of the frontier.
His Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople was informed on the 11th instant that orders had been sent to withdraw the troops within the neutral zone and to punish those guilty of alleged excesses. Since that date information has been received to the effect that some Turkish troops are still within Persian territory, and His Majesty's Ambassador has made further representations to the Ottoman Government.
Is there any truth in the report that a new and more extended raid on Persian territory has since taken place?
We have no information.
British Interests In Morocco
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the losses experienced by British residents at Casa Blanca, and to the statement of Mr. Bolton, a missionary, that whilst the French, German and Spanish Governments took measures for the protection of their subjects, no similar action was taken by the British; and whether he will state what action has been taken to safeguard the interests and the lives of British residents in Morocco.
My right hon. friend regrets to state that His Majesty's Consul has reported that extensive damage has been caused to the property of British and other residents at Casa Blanca, but he has no knowledge of the statement to which the hon. Member refers. His Majesty's Government considered that it was for the French and Spanish Governments to take all steps which were possible for the maintenance of order in the open ports of Morocco, and they have full reliance in the measures undertaken by those Governments for the protection of the lives and property of Europeans, irrespective of nationality, in the ports in question. No other Power sent any force to Casa Blanca, and the action of the British Government has been in conformity with that of the rest of the Powers. As regards the comparatively small number of British subjects resident in the interior of Morocco, it is understood that the members of the British Colony at Morocco City were to leave that place for the coast on the 11th instant; and the Consular Officers at Fez and Alcazar have received instructions to take what measures are possible for the withdrawal to the coast of British residents in their respective districts should the situation appear to necessitate such a step.
British Commercial Attachès
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any conclusion has yet been arrived at for giving effect to the recommendations of Sir Eldon Gorst and Mr. Llewellyn Smith in their Report upon the system of British commercial attachès and commercial agents; and, if so, whether he can state the nature of the action which it is proposed to take on that Report.
The recommendations contained in the Report have been adopted, and the new system came into force on 1st July last.
Foreign Lottery Bonds
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the decision of the police magistrate at Westminster on the 10th day of January, 1907, it is now competent for anyone to sell and advertise for sale in this country foreign lottery bonds; and, if not, in view of the conflicting decisions of the police magistrates thereon, whether the Treasury or police authorities will take immediate steps to obtain the opinion of the divisional court on such sale or advertisement for sale as to its legality or otherwise.
The decision of the magistrate at Westminster which is referred to in the Question is not decisive as to the legality of the sale and of advertisements of the sale of foreign lottery bonds; and, as my hon. friend is aware, a conviction has been obtained in similar circumstances. I have under consideration whether it is desirable to take any, and, if so, what, steps. It is open to any one to raise the legal question.
Lead Poisoning In The Earthenware Trade
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that there were twelve cases of lead-poisoning in the china and earthenware trade during last month; whether this is above or below the monthly average of such cases in this trade; and what steps he proposes to take with a view to diminishing the number of such cases.
It is the case as stated in the Question that twelve cases of lead-poisoning were reported to the Home Office in this industry in July. This number is above the average monthly number of cases during 1906 and the first six months of 1907; but as the hon. Member will understand, the numbers fluctuate to some extent from month to month and the total number of cases for the first seven months of this year is considerably below the number for the corresponding months in 1906, fifty as compared with sixty-eight. The whole question of lead-poisoning both in the Potteries and in other trades is under my consideration.
Will the Government take into consideration the desirability of gradually introducing rules against the use of lead in the future?
That question was debated on the Estimates at considerable length and perhaps the hon. Member will excuse me for not now going into so large a question.
London Police Buildings
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, as a moiety of the cost of erecting London police courts, police section houses, and barracks is paid out of the police rate, he will give directions to the receiver of the Metropolitan Police Fund to furnish a detailed statement of expenditure, separately giving the cost of the site and buildings, the annual amount of the rental received from the barracks, and the amount of the annual deficit.
Police quarters usually form part of police stations, and, in such cases, it would not be possible to give a detailed statement as suggested; but before the accounts of the Metropolitan Police Fund for the current year are issued I will consider whether some additional information might be given.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that very extravagant prices are being paid for some of these sites?
That is a matter of opinion, but if the hon. Member can give me any specific case I will inquire.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether disciplinary charges against the police are heard and decided in camera; whether the accused are allowed the aid of a legal adviser; and whether he will consider the advisability of placing the police on the same footing as the Army and Navy and giving to them in all charges involving dismissal, degradation, or serious punishment, the right of the charge being heard in public and the aid of a legal adviser if desired.
Disciplinary charges against the police are not investigated in public, and there is no legal advisor on either side. The great majority of such charges are for breaches of service regulations, and to investigate these in public would be contrary to the interests of the police themselves and of the service. The officer concerned is given every opportunity of putting forward the facts and of calling witnesses, both police and private persons, and of having inquiries made in order to assist his defence. When, however, a member of the public makes a charge of misconduct against a police officer who denies it, and in the conflict of evidence the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner who is investigating the matter is not absolutely satisfied that he has the means of forming a correct decision, the complainant is requested to prefer his charge before a magistrate.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the hearing of these charges in secret is one of the most serious grievances of the men?
I really do not know to what class of cases the hon. Members refers.
Charges involving dismissal, degradation, or other serious punishment.
I can add nothing to my Answer.
Have the police a right of appeal from the Commissioners to the right hon. Gentleman?
Certainly, and they do appeal.
Infants In Public Houses
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has completed his inquiries into the subject of women taking their infants and young children into public-houses in London and the large towns; and, if so, whether he will lay the reports upon the Table of the House.
I have called for and received reports upon this subject from the Metropolitan Police and from the Police of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and Bristol. The information collected is being summarised, but the summary is not yet complete owing to difficulties that have arisen in satisfactorily tabulating the materials furnished. I hope, however, that the summary will be ready shortly, and I will send a copy to my hon. friend.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that is practically the same Answer he gave me nearly six months ago?
It is not in the least the same answer. At the request of my hon. friend I extended the inquiry which I had already made, and my present Answer refers to the result of that extended inquiry.
asked whether he could have that part of the reports that have already come to hand.
Surely my hon. friend would like the whole, so that he may draw his deductions from it.
said what he desired was that the information which had been acquired might be given to the licensing authorities between now and February next in order that the licensees of those houses where the evil prevailed might be opposed.
said he would be very glad to discuss the matter with his hon. friend as soon as he was in possession of the information he required.
pointed out that after next Wednesday a considerable interval would elapse before Parliament met again. This evil was a very grave one, and the House ought to have the information already obtained, so that something might be done.
asked whether a summary of these reports would be laid on the Table before the prorogation. If not, would the right hon. Gentleman publish the report
replied that it was his intention to publish the information.
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, when he had the whole of the evidence before him during the recess, he would arrange next session to introduce legislation dealing with the whole matter.
My hon. friend must be aware of the statement made by the Prime Minister that a Licensing Bill will form one of the first portions of the business to be transacted next session.
German Trade And The Price Of Food
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the statements in the Consular Report from Germany (3847) that, whilst commerce in that country in 1906 was good beyond expectation, a number of circumstances seem to point to the fact that the price of food has risen more rapidly and more consistently than wages; and whether he can supply any statistics bearing on or confirming the latter statement.
I have seen the report referred to. Such information as I have for Germany points to the conclusion that in recent years prices of food have risen to about the same extent as wages. I am, however, causing further inquiries to be made.
Consumption Of Meat In Germany
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the statements in the Consular Report from Germany (3847) that, whilst it is officially stated the consumption of meat per head of population has fallen from 86·3 pounds in 1905 to 81·48 pounds in 1906, the reduced consumption of meat by the working classes is really more considerable than the official figures seem to admit; whether he has any official information confirming the latter statement; and whether he can state what restrictions exist on the importation of foreign cattle, sheep, and pigs into Germany.
I have seen the statement referred to. There are no data in the possession of the Department which enable me to check the figures for the consumption of meat in the German Empire as a whole. With regard to the last part of the Question a summary of the principal existing regulations in Germany affecting the importation of live stock is given in the issue of theJournal of the Board of Agriculture for May, 1905, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. friend.
Port Of London Bill
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether any notices which would be necessary in the case of a Private Bill will be given by the Board of Trade in November in respect of the proposed Port of London Bill.
I am hoping to introduce next session a Bill dealing with the Port of London, and notices for the Bill would be given before the end of November.
Transhipments In The Thames
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether goods of foreign or colonial origin which are transhipped in the River Thames, but not landed, are included under the head of imports in the Board of Trade Returns; and, if so, whether they also appear as exports or re-exports.
Goods transhipped under transhipment bonds in the River Thames or elsewhere are not included under the general heads of imports, exports or re-exports, but a separate account is kept of their value and is published in the second volume of the "Annual Statement of Trade." Goods in transit which are not transhipped under bond are included in the Returns both of imports and re-exports.
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state what power the new Traffic Department of the Board of Trade will be given to ensure that all new schemes for London locomotion seeking statutory authority are brought before it for examination; whether the Department will possess power to take evidence during such examination; whether the report of each scheme made by the Department on such examination will be forwarded to the Committee of Parliament before whom that scheme appears; and what steps, if any, are being taken to empower the Commissioner to deal with those items of London traffic which stand outside the present scope of the Board of Trade, namely, those under the control of the Home Office and the Local Government Board.
The new branch of the Board of Trade will have no power to compel promoters to submit their schemes for preliminary examination before the deposit of Bills, unless such submission should be required hereafter by an alteration of Standing Orders. In the meantime I do not anticipate that the absence of compulsory powers, either in this matter, or the taking of evidence, will seriously interfere with the work of preliminary examination. The Board of Trade will make any communication which may be necessary as the result of such examination to the Parliamentary Committee which deals with the matter. As regards matters falling within the scope of the Home Office and Local Government Board, the Board of Trade are in communication with those Departments, and are assured of their co-operation.
asked if changes would be made in the Standing Orders next session to coincide with the right hon. Gentleman's Answer.
I do not think any Amendment will be necessary, but if it should be, the matter will not be lost sight of.
Promotions In The Post Office
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General if he will state the number of gentlemen now in receipt of annual salaries of £300 and over employed in the Savings Bank Department, Comptroller and Accountant-General's Department, Money Order Department, Secretary's Office, and other branches of the Post Office, who were promoted to the permanent establishment from the old boy clerks class after a period of probationary service. I beg also to ask the Postmaster-General if he will state how many appointments to first-class clerkships were made in the different departments of the Post Office during the periods 1887-1891, 1897-1901, and 1902-6; and how many of the gentlemen receiving these appointments had been originally promoted to the permanent establishment from the old class of boy clerks.
I may perhaps answer these two Questions together. I do not think I should be justified in authorising the collection of the statistics asked for, as they would involve considerable expenditure of time and labour out of all proportion to any result obtainable.
Merioneth Education Dispute
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education if he will state the tenor of the replies of the Merionethshire local education authority to his recent letters about the payment of salaries to teachers in non-provided schools; and what action the Board is taking.
I presume the noble Lord refers to the Board's letters to the local education authority asking whether the claims of the managers of certain voluntary schools for the repayment of sums paid by them to the teachers are correct. The Board have not as yet received replies.
asked when the Board's letter was sent.
I think on Thursday or Friday last.
In view of this procrastination, will the right hon. Gentleman telegraph to the local authority to the effect that many of these teachers have not yet received their salaries?
The noble Lord has no right to use the word "procrastination." The local authority has not delayed in this case at all. They have refused to pay the salaries on the ground of principle.
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was not aware that it was part of the policy of the "Welsh revolt" to consume as much time as possible in correspondence with the Department.
Advice given by the President of the Board of Trade.
Penrhyn Dendraeth Voluntary School
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the Merioneth-shire local education authority have refused to pay 15s., due on 30th June last, to a widow woman who is a cleaner in the Penrhyn Dendraeth voluntary school; and whether he will take steps forthwith to cause this injustice to be remedied.
The noble Lord appears to be more eager in this matter than the managers, for I have not at present received any complaint from them, nor have I any information on the subject.
Will the right hon. Gentleman inform himself on the subject?
No, Sir. Until I receive a complaint from the managers I shall not take any action.
The Secretary Of The Welsh Education Department
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether the Denbighshire local education authority, of which the present Secretary of the Welsh Department was a member, for some time declined to pay a salary sufficient to secure a properly qualified headmaster for Llanelian School, and the managers were forced to engage and pay the present headmaster as from the 1st January, 1906, at a salary£12 higher than that offered by the local education authority; whether the local education authority have recently agreed to pay the higher salary but have refused to pay the arrears for 1906; and whether they have been upheld in this refusal by the Board of Education, and, if so, for what reason.
The form of the Question does not make it clear whether the reference to the present Secretary of the Welsh Department is by way of identification of the local authority in question or was intended to convey an imputation upon the impartiality of a Civil Servant. I assume that the noble Lord does not intend to make insinuations conveying an unfounded charge. The evidence in this case led to the conclusion that the managers had not, in respect of the year 1906, done all in their power to obtain a teacher at the salary offered by the local authority.
Wrexham Education Scheme
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that a scheme for the administration of the Wrexham parochial education foundation is shortly to be issued, and that until it is issued it is necessarily uncertain whether the Brymbo Church of England school will preserve its denominational character; whether the Denbighshire local education authority have nevertheless insisted that certain alterations shall be carried out in the school immediately; and whether the Board of Education will secure for the managers of the school a short delay until the scheme mentioned has been issued.
The unsatisfactory character of the premises of this school has been the subject of correspondence between the Board of Education, the local education authority, and the managers since May, 1904, and I cannot consider the resolution which the local education authority have passed to be in any way unreasonable.
Does the right hon. Gentleman assume that the allegations in the Question are correct?
No, Sir; I take no responsibility for the noble Lord's allegation.
Garforth Parochial School
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education on what grounds the Board arrived at its decision on 3rd June, 1907, that it saw no adequate reason for requiring the reorganisation of the Garforth parochial school; and on what grounds the Board arrived at an opposite conclusion on the same matter on 12th July, 1907.
In the earlier decision of 3rd June consideration was not given to the fact that the size of the premises necessitated that a certain number of children must in any case be excluded. On my attention being drawn to this aspect of the case I had no hesitation in giving the decision of 12th July.
May I ask if the accommodation in this school was taken into consideration?
Two questions were running concurrently; that of reorganisation and that of the number of children that had to be excluded.
But had the right hon. Gentleman not considered the question of accommodation when he gave his decision of 3rd June? That is what I understand.
The hon. Member is not justified in drawing that conclusion.
But the right hon. Gentleman said so himself. Is he aware that the standards to be transferred to the council school cannot be accommodated there? Did not the right hon. Gentleman on 12th July make an order transferring standards three to six from the parochial to the council school? Is he aware there is no accommodation for them in that school?
The hon. Member has not stated correctly the decision of 12th July. I gave no decision that standards three to six should be transferred.
Why, I have here the right hon. Gentleman's own correspondence. I will quote it.
Order, order! This is now becoming a debate.
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that for the last two years the Denbighshire local education authority, under the guidance of the present Secretary of the Welsh Department, have been attempting to convert the Llangollen boys' and girls' schools into one mixed school, and that the managers have consistently resisted the proposal, as being against the best interests of the schools; whether the Board of Education, acting by the same Secretary of the Welsh Department, have recently sanctioned this; and what is the statutory authority for this action.
The authority for my decision in the case in question rests upon the general duty of the Board of Education to do all in their power to secure the highest possible standard of efficiency; and no doubt can reasonably be raised that the amalgamation of the two small departments here involved will tend to this end.
In view of the position until recently held by the Secretary of the Welsh Department on the Denbighshire local education authority, will the right hon. Gentleman arrange in the event of any disputes arising between that body and the managers of voluntary schools they shall be dealt with by some other official of the Department?
If any Question arises I will consider that.
Questions have arisen over and over again.
Mortomley School Dispute—Motion For Adjournment Refused
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he had been officially informed that the money due for salaries to teachers in the school at Mortomley had yet been paid by the local education authority.
No, sir, not officially, but I am happy to tell the noble Lord that I have communicated to the managers of the schools that the local education authority have agreed to pay.
May I ask whether if the money is not paid by the end of the session the right hon. Gentleman will apply the Defaulting Authorities Act?
I cannot give an undertaking of that sort. I must first know the reason why the money was not paid. I imagined that the only reason why the money has not yet been paid is that the officials were away on holidays.
said that considering the very unsatisfactory reply of the right hon. Gentleman, he had no alternative but to ask leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing the failure of the Government to secure payment of the salaries.
pointed out that no attempt had been made to establish that he had any authority in the matter.
said he had asked the Question repeatedly for more than a fortnight, and the salaries still remained unpaid. He maintained that the right hon. Gentleman had the power to enforce payment.
I know there is some confusion on this point. This case is not like the Merioneth case. The school in question had not been recognised, but we have now recognised it, and informed the local education authority of that fact, so that the salaries will now become payable.
I really am not in a position to judge between the two hon. Members on this point. I think I am bound to take the assurance which has been given by the right hon. Gentleman that the county council have assured him that they are prepared to pay and are about to pay.
said that he wanted payment to be enforced.
I do not think even if the noble Lord was successful and the House was to adjourn that would enforce payment.
Can the right hon. Gentleman name a date by which the education authority will pay?
said he had written to the managers of the school informing them that he was satisfied with the condition of the playground, and that he was, therefore, prepared to put the school on the grant list, and the local education authority had informed him that they would raise no objection, but would give rate-aid to the school. No more than that could be done.
Cannot the right hon. Gentleman tell the education authority that they must pay at once?
said he had no doubt the clerks were away on holidays, but the money would be paid.
Someone must be there to transact business.
The money will be paid in the ordinary way.
Are the whole of the education authority and all the clerks away on holidays?
said he was informed that this money had been due for four months.
Boy Clerks' Memorial
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if he has yet given a reply to the boy clerks' memorial presented in September, 1906; and, if not, can he say when a decision will be given; if any revision in their conditions of service is contemplated; and when it will take effect.
I am unable to make any definite statement on this subject at present.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that eleven months have elapsed since the memorial was sent in?
I am quite aware of that, and, as I announced yesterday, the whole scheme is now under my consideration and I hope to announce the result shortly.
Land Tax Commissioners
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether a large increase has lately been made in the numbers of the Land Tax Commissioners; what are their present duties; and is it proposed to throw any more duties upon them.
As regards the first part of this Question, I must refer the hon. Member to my Answer of the 24th ultimo.† The Land Tax Commis- sioners perform statutory duties in regard to the administration of the land tax and the appointment of persons to supply vacancies among General Commissioners of Taxes. I am not aware of any proposal of the kind indicated in the last portion of the Question.
Tree Planting Schemes In Ireland
I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether two different schemes were in operation under the Department for the supply of fruit trees and plants to different parties in Ireland; whether he can give the official title of the different schemes, and state if under one of them free plants have been distributed to titled and wealthy persons by the Department.
In addition to the horticultural work carried on by the county Commissioners there are two fruit schemes in operation. Under the first eight centres have been selected consisting of about twenty acres each, which have been planted to test the corn menial possibilities of growing fruit for marketing on strictly commercial lines and as a farm crop. The trees were provided by the Department free of cost. At each centre about twenty farmers were selected to conduct the experiments on the understanding that they would each furnish an acre of suitable land for the purpose and would do everything necessary for the proper cultivation of the fruit and the success of the experiment. At each centre they are assisted by a resident horticultural expert who is provided and paid by the Department. Under this scheme 175 acres have been planted. Under the second scheme—fruit growing for profit by resident gentry in Ireland—the Department defrayed half the initial cost of the fruit trees planted, and undertook to supply free expert advice as to the purchase, planting, and cultivation of the trees and in the grading, packing, and marketing of the produce. Slightly over forty acres have been planted in connection with this scheme, and the experiments which are being carried out are with the same object as the first scheme. A few of the landowners who have co-operated with the Department in this scheme are titled.
asked if directions would be given in future that money intended for the poor of Ireland should not be used to provide trees for wealthy individuals.
I hope I shall be able to find better use for it than proposed under the second scheme.
Were the local authorities consulted in regard to these schemes?
No, Sir, they have been carried out as independent schemes.
Is it not the fact that several Members of the House of Lords are among the resident gentry who had trees supplied at the public expense?
I have a list of the names here, but I do not think any useful purpose would be served by reading it.
Consultative Committee On Educational Administration
I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether, by Section 23 of the Act establishing the Department, a Consultative Committee for the purpose of Co-ordinating Educational Administration was created; whether this Committee was ever called together since 1899, and, if not, what was the cause of allowing the section to remain inoperative for eight years; and if he now proposes to take any steps to put Section 23 into force by calling the committee together.
The Consultative Committee for Co-ordinating Educational Administration, constituted by Section 23 of the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act, 1899, meets from time to time as circumstances require. The last meeting was held on 16th April in the present year. The next meeting will probably be held in October.
Ballinagh District Medical Officer
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will say in how many cases the Local Government Board have objected to the appointment of temporary medical officers in dispensary districts on the ground that the proposed doctor resided outside the district; is he aware that, in the Ballinagh dispensary district, the doctor who has been doing temporary duty for over three months resided in Cavan, where the doctor whose appointment is refused also resides; will he state why the two doctors have been meted out different treatment; will he state in how many cases the Local Government Board have surcharged Poor Law guardians for payments to doctors appointed to do temporary duty, whose appointments were not sanctioned by the Local Government Board, within the last three years; and will he state whether the Local Government Board intend t have the guardians surcharged in Dr. Clarke's case.
The Local Government Board are unable to state, without a very extensive search, the number of cases in which they have made objections, or the number in which surcharges have been made. In refusing to sanction Dr. Clarke's appointment the Board acted under Article 22 of their Dispensary Rules, winch was framed in the interests of the sick poor. It is the fact that the previous temporary medical officer resided in Cavan, but the Board objected to this arrangement and the guardians themselves eventually found it to be inconvenient and put an end to it. More-ever, Dr. Clarke's case differs from that of the previous temporary medical officer, inasmuch as it was proposed to place him in charge of three dispensary districts, in not one of which he resides. The power of surcharge rests with the Auditor, and not with the Local Government Board.
Cock-Fighting On Dernagore Island
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that, on the 6th July last, at Dernagore Island, in Carrowel River, where Cavan borders Fermanagh, a force of police pursued some young fellows alleged to be about to take part in a cock-fight at 11.30 in the morning; will he say why the police shot at these young men, and why seven shots were fired in broad daylight; did the police summon the parties for cock-fighting; is he aware that the police broke a cot the property of one Donohoe, and will he be paid compensation for the act of the police; and will all the circumstances of this affair be looked into, with a view to the police discharging this part of their duty without using their firearms in this peaceful district.
On 6th July, at half-past one in the morning, the police came upon a party of men preparing to hold cock-fights on Tranish Island in Lough Erne. The party then crossed to the opposite shore of the lake, whither they were pursued by the police. About half-past ten, after a nine-hours chase, the party, which numbered several hundreds succeeded in reaching Dernagore Island by means of cots, which I understand to be small boats. The police had no boats at the place, and a constable swam across to the island with the object of getting one. He was met by a number of men who rushed at him with stones in their hands, and one of his comrades on the opposite bank thereupon fired two revolver shots in the air in order to deter the men. The constable swam back without getting a boat. Seventy-eight persons were summoned by the police for aiding and abetting in cock-fighting, and fines were imposed. I am informed that the police did not break any cot. The Inspector-General does not think it necessary to issue any special instructions in the matter. The constable who fired in the air merely did so as a warning to the men who were threatening his comrade.
Lismore Union Clerk
On behalf of the hon. Member for the Blackpool Division of Lancashire, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what were the reasons assigned by the Court for declining to give Alexander Heskin, who has been appointed to the clerkship of Lismore Union, his discharge in bankruptcy.
The Chief Registrar of the Court of Bankruptcy in Ireland informs me that Mr. Heskin does not appear to have ever applied for the certificate which is the equivalent of an English discharge in bankruptcy, and therefore it is not the case that the Court has declined to give a certificate.
Waterford District Asylum Committee
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to a resolution of the Waterford District Asylum Committee on the 12th instant, rescinding a resolution of the committee at its previous meeting giving Dr. Oakshott, the resident medical superintendent, an increase of £50 to his salary of £700; whether he is aware that the resolution granting the increase, now rescinded, was carried only by the casting vote of the chairman; whether he is aware that several of the rural councils of the county Waterford have unanimously passed resolutions against the increase, having regard to the fact that the maintenance charges for the asylum have increased by over £3,000 in the past year; and whether the approval given by the Lord-Lieutenant to the increase of salary is now of effect, in view of the rescission by the committee of the resolution granting it.
The facts are as stated in the Question, save that Dr. Oakshott's former salary was £450 per annum, and that the increase in the maintenance charges of the asylum, which is due to an increase in the number of patients, amounts to less than £300 a year. The concurrence of the Lord-Lieutenant in the increase of salary is now of effect notwithstanding the rescission by the Committee of the resolution granting the increase of salary. The Committee had no power to rescind that resolution without the Lord-Lieutenant's concurrence. Dr. Oakshott's rights as an existing officer at the passing of the Local Government Act of 1898 were reserved to him by Section 115 of that Act. If the Act had not passed, he would before now have received in the ordinary course an increase of £100 per annum, and as a matter of fact the Committee granted him an increase of that amount in May last, but subsequently rescinded the resolution.
Holywood District Council Clerk
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings of the Holywood Urban District Council in relation to the embezzlements by James H. Barrett, the ex-clerk of the council, extending from the year 1899, when he was appointed clerk, down to 1905, when he was dismissed, of moneys received by him on account of the cemetery, town court, and general funds of the council; whether the Local Government Board of Ireland advised the council that they would approve of the council instituting the criminal proceedings advised by senior counsel who had been consulted by the council's solicitor, or of a compromise of the felony; whether he is aware that the council, acting as alleged upon the advice of the Local Government Board, submitted the person accused to a cross-examination on the 8th instant, and a suggestion was made to the accused that a payment by him of £30 and £25, moneys expended by the council in connection with the matter and of the amounts not accounted for by him, would secure him immunity from a criminal prosecution; and whether he will at once consider the entire facts, in the interest of the ratepayers of Holywood and of public official life.
The attention of the Local Government Board was drawn to the proceedings referred to in the first part of the Question. The Board received a deputation from the Holywood Urban District Council who laid before them senior counsel's opinion and other documents in the matter. The Board informed the deputation that the matter was one for the council to decide, but suggested that, before taking any proceedings against Mr. Barrett, the council should give him an opportunity of attending and making a personal explanation in respect of the allegations made against him. Mr. Barrett attended before the district council on 8th instant, but the minutes of proceedings do not show that any suggestion of the nature referred to in the Question was made to him. Mr. Barrett is no longer in the employment of the district council, and the matter has therefore passed out of the jurisdiction of the Local Government Board. The question of taking proceedings is still under the consideration of the district council.
Banbridge Train Disturbance
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the attack made near Banbridge, county Down, on Thursday night, on a train containing Nationalists returning from a political meeting in Rostrevor; whether he is aware that, in addition to hurling stones through the carriage windows, an attempt was made to wreck the train by placing stones on the track; and whether, in view of the numerous previous complaints about conduct of a similar character in the neighbourhood, the police will be directed to exercise closer vigilance in the future.
The police authorities inform me that on the evening in question, at a place about 1½ miles from Banbridge, a great many stones were thrown at the excursion train referred to and sixteen carriage windows were broken. The police, however, are of opinion that no attempt was made to derail the train. The engine driver did not observe anything unusual in the motion of the engine. The stones found beside the rails were small, and appeared to have been those thrown at the train. As is customary on such occasions, the police were posted at intervals along what was considered to be the dangerous portions of the line, but the stone-throwing took place outside that area. The police will take all possible precautions to prevent and detect offences of this nature.
On behalf of the hon. Member for South Dublin, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether any progress has been made in regard to the railway to Belmullet.
The Irish Government are in communication with the Midland Great Western Railway Company on this subject, but matters have not reached a stage at which I could with advantage make any public statement.
Irish National Teachers' Civil Rights
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has yet ascertained if the Commissioners of National Education were unanimous in their decision refusing to comply with his request to modify the rules dealing with the civil rights of teachers.
The Commissioners of National Education have informed me that, in their opinion, it is undesirable, in the interests of the public service, to give information such as is asked for in the Question.
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether this is his opinion—if not will he have the salaries of these Commissioners refused until they comply with a reasonable request of this kind?
I am afraid I could not take such a drastic remedy as that.
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what are the civil rights referred to?
The right to attend meetings and one or two other things.
Are we to understand that the public rights of citizens are refused when a man enters the public service in Ireland?
No, and I may say that teachers in other countries outside Ireland are subjected to certain disciplinary rules with a view to securing civil respect and independence. I certainly think that the rules in Ireland press very heavily.
Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to have these Commissioners made amenable to Parliament?
I must not refer to my Irish Council Bill.
Oh, no! We never mention it.
Irish National Board Of Education
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the National Education Board of Ireland do not think it desirable to give to Parliament details as to the attendance at Board meetings of each of its members, and the amount of travelling and personal expenses received by each member from the 1st July, 1906, to the 30th June, 1907, on the ground that no useful purpose would be served by furnishing this information to Parliament, and that they state that payments for such travelling and personal expenses are regularly audited by the Exchequer and Audit Department; and whether he will consider the desirability of securing that Parliament, having to vote this money, should be informed as to the amounts and particulars of its expenditure, and will he take steps to see that it is given in the way asked by the hon. Member for Kilkenny.
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer this Question. In my reply to the hon. Member's former Question on the 14th instant, I stated that the Commissioners had informed me that they did not think it desirable to give details as to the attendance of individual members of their body, as they considered that no useful purpose would be served by furnishing this information. This answer was not meant to refer to the travelling and personal expenses of the Commissioners, but merely to the number and dates of the meetings attended by each Commissioner. Members of the Board receive first class travelling expenses, together with an allowance of a guinea for each night necessarily spent from home when attending meetings, or an allowance of 7s. for an absence from home of not less than eight hours when absence for the night is not necessary. These allowances are, of course, made only to members of the Board who do not reside in Dublin. The Commissioners inform me that, so far, the sum of £656 12s. 5d. has been paid in respect of the travelling and personal expenses of their body during the year ending 30th June last. The accounts of some of the Commissioners have not yet been presented, and therefore a full statement of the amounts paid to each Commissioner is not yet available.
Irish Trade In Australia
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Commercial Intelligence Committee requested its special commissioner, when inquiring into Australian trade conditions, to restrict his investigation to the trade of Great Britain with Australia, or was he instructed to inquire to what extent Irish trade was carried on with Australia; and, if so, can he explain why the Report is entitled Report upon the Conditions and Prospects of British Trade in Australia, in view of the fact that the term British does not include Irish.
The Commissioner's instructions were not confined to the trade of Great Britain, and I do not think that the term "British" in trade statistics is usually understood to exclude "Irish."
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, in consequence of the small amount of information as to Irish trade with Australia given in the recently-issued Report of the Commercial Intelligence Committee, he will arrange that, in the event of similar inquiries being instituted as to the trade of Great Britain and Ireland with English Colonies or with foreign countries, the special commissioner shall be instructed to make special inquiries about the existence of an Irish trade, and to report thereon.
I have noted the point raised by my hon. friend in case of any similar inquiries which may be instituted in future.
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that Mr. Patrick Haren, when sub-postmaster at Ballinskelligs, county Kerry, in consequence of the increasing postal business, spent £50 on building a second office, having been promised that he would get rent for it; that, when the building was finished, he applied for the rent, but received no reply from the Post Office authorities; and whether, in view of the fact that the sub-postmastership has now been transferred, through no fault or incapacity on the part of Mr. Haren, he will take steps to compensate Mr. Haren for the expense to which he was put in erecting this office.
It was a condition of Mr. Haren's appointment that he should provide the necessary accommodation for the post office busi- ness, and I understand that he altered his premises from time to time for this purpose; but I cannot find that any promise was ever made to him that he would be allowed rent in consideration of such expenditure, and indeed it would be contrary to practice to make any such allowance.
Dunturk Letter Delivery
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General, whether arrangements can be made for a daily delivery of letters in Upper Drumnaquoile, Castle-wellan, and in parts of Dunturk and Drumaroad bordering on the new railway line, so as to obviate a day's delay on three days a week.
I have called for a report on this subject, and I will send the hon. Member a reply.
English Material In Irish Public Buildings
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if the English architect employed in connection with the proposed College of Science in Dublin proposes that the superstructure of the new building shall be of brick, faced with Portland stone courses; and, if so, can he state why, in accordance with pledges publicly given, Irish stone and material are not intended to be used in the construction of this Irish building.