§ MR. BLACK
asked the Vice-President of the Committee of the Privy Council for Education if, in preparing the Estimates for public education, there will be any objection to state separately the grants proposed for schools in Scotland, distinguishing the amounts proposed for schools connected with the Established Church, 539 the Free Church, the Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Ragged or Industrial Schools, instead of including them in one gross sum for public education in Great Britain.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, that the question to which the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. J. B. Smith) had called their attention was of great importance to the commerce and manufactures, as the opening up of the navigation of the river Godavery would be of great benefit in developing the resources of the country for a distance of 500 miles. The question, had not escaped the attention of the Government, for the letter of Captain Haig which had been referred to was a report which he (Sir Charles Wood) desired that officer, a gentleman of very great intelligence and well acquainted with the subject, to make, being anxious to see in a condensed shape the result of all the information obtained as to the practicability of opening out the river, great portion of which Captain Haig had himself surveyed. Since that Report had been made Captain Haig had been authorized to commence the works for the removal of the first barrier, provided an objection of a serious nature could be got over. The barrier first to be removed was in the Nizam's territory, who was to a certain extent an independent Prince, and it would be absurd to commence works in a territory not belonging to the Indian Government, and where that Government could not protect the persons employed. It was, therefore, necessary that measures should be first taken to remove the obstacles to the work arising from that circumstance. Directions had been given to the Indian Government to enter into communications with the Nizam for the purpose of obtaining the requisite command of the territory, and when that was accomplished measures would be taken for the removal of the first barrier, which would open the navigation for 250 miles. With respect to the question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Sykes) concerning the closing of the 5½ per cent loan, he had to say that, immediately after he became Secretary for India, he directed that no measures should be taken to raise any further loan there without the consent of the Home Government. However, having regard to the nature of the loan, the Government, on considering the question, doubted whether it would be consistent with good faith to close the 5½ per cent loan before the end of the Indian financial 540 year, and, therefore, no directions had been issued to close it earlier than that period, unless the entire sum raised should have been paid before that time. Seeing that not quite £2,000,000 had been raised up to the present time, he did not think there was much chance of the entire sum of £5,000,000 being taken before the end of April, at which time the loan would cease. As to the piers on the west coast of India, for the embarkation of cotton, three would be constructed in the course of the ensuing year. To the other question of the hon. Gentleman he had already given an answer. He had stated that the arrangement as to the grant of batta to the troops of the Persian expedition was, that one-half of the charge was to be borne by India, and the other half by this country. He had, in consequence of the recommendation of the Governor General, applied to the Treasury on the subject, but had not yet received an answer. The subject involved in the first question of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. W. Ewart)—the constitution of the Legislative Council—was, no doubt, a matter of considerable importance; it had engaged, and it would continue to engage the attention of the Home Government, but it was involved in considerable difficulty. Representatives of Calcutta, settlers and Native Bengal merchants, might be introduced into the Legislative Council, but the important class of landowners far up the country would not really be represented by the Native merchants. As far as that class was concerned, the Indian official servants constituted a far better representation. He had no objection to a financial statement or approved estimates being published in India; and this was done the other day, the Indian Government having published the estimates for the ensuing year; but he had objected to the publication of the estimate actually given, as from not having been corrected here, it gave an inaccurate view of their financial state. With respect to the question of the hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Cave) respecting the exportation of natives of India to French colonies, he might state that when he came to the India Office he found that a treaty was being negotiated with the French for the purpose of allowing the exportation of coolie labourers to those colonies in the same manner as the exportation had been legalized in regard to the British colonies, it being hoped that by that means an end might be put to the system of slave trade— 541 for it amounted to that—which had been carried on upon the eastern coast of Africa to the French colonies. The question was not concluded, but he could assure the hon. Gentleman on the part of the Government that in any arrangements that might be made, every care would be taken to promote the comfort and health of the coolies.
§ MR. H. B. SHERIDAN
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury when "Models of gasholders measuring a cubic foot, and such multiples and decimal parts of the said cubic foot," "with proper balances, indices, and apparatus for testing the measurement and registration of meters," would be deposited at the office of the Controller General of the Exchequer, in pursuance of the terms of the third section of the Act 22 & 23 Vict. c. 66, commonly known as the Act for Regulating Measures used in Sales of Gas?
§ MR. LOWE
said, that in answer to the question put by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Black), he should be very happy if it were in his power to adopt the mode of making out the Education Estimates suggested by him, but he hoped to be able to show him that it was impossible to do so. The hon. Gentleman was aware that the Estimates for Education differed in some respects from other departments, The Government was in this condition, that they offered grants to various bodies on certain conditions, and it was in the power of the latter to accept whatever they pleased. The Estimates, therefore, had to be founded on the best conjecture that could be formed of the amount of money that would be accepted by the public. The accounts were at the same time exceedingly complicated, and it would be very difficult to frame them in the way specified by the hon. Gentleman. The Estimates were under eleven heads—such as for buildings, books, pupil teachers, schoolmasters, and the like, and putting the sums for each of these heads together they endeavoured to arrive at as correct an estimate as possible of what was likely to be required for the year. If the proposition of the hon. Gentleman were adopted, however, they would have to multiply these eleven heads by five, making in all fifty-five heads under the five distinct bodies among whom the grants were divided. That would not only make the matter more complicated, but it would expose the Estimate to a much greater risk than at present of being fallacious, because, when they 542 estimated on a large scale, they were more likely to be accurate than when they made up a great number of small details. There was another reason against the proposition of the hon. Gentleman. The principle of the present system was, that each denomination, in receiving the public money for its own educational purposes, was content to waive its objections to all other denominations which it believed to be in error, receiving it too. It was a sort of truce, by which every particular denomination waived all objections to others getting the public money on consideration of receiving it for themselves. Now, if the proposition of the hon. Gentleman were adopted, it would be found that debates would take place on all the grants. It would be impossible to keep peace among the different bodies. They would have a regular hunt, each denomination turning out to hunt down the others. That would not be a desirable state of things. The hon. Member had asked for an account of the expenditure; but he would find that this was usually given in the tables annexed to the Estimates. He wished the hon. Member would distinguish between estimates and accounts. An account in the fullest detail would be willingly given, but he (Mr. Lowe) greatly objected to breaking up the Estimates into a number of small portions, merely for the purpose of giving an opportunity for a great number of debates on merely denominational questions. For these reasons he could not comply with the request of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. LAING
observed, in reply to the question of the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Sheridan), the Act of Parliament to which he had referred imposed upon the Treasury duties which that department was unfitted to discharge. The object of the Act was to supply the public with a standard measure of the foot of gas, and the Treasury had called the Astronomer Royal to their assistance, and with that assistance a model gas-holder bad been prepared as prescribed by the Act of Parliament, and it bad been deposited in the office of the Exchequer. The Act further required that copies of the model should be sent to the Lord Mayors of London and Dublin and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and those copies had been sent, The whole duties thrown upon the Government had, therefore, been duly performed. He believed the Astronomer Royal was the only person who really understood the Act 543 of Parliament, and he stated that it was very defective, and he doubted whether it would be of practical utility without further legislation. At present the Government had no power to compel private companies to avail themselves of the models provided, and therefore it would remain a good deal with the local authorities of the different towns as to how they would apply the measure and prevent fraud. The Astronomer Royal was devoting his attention to the subject, and he would shortly make a report to the House, and then it would be seen whether further legislation would be necessary.
§ MR. E. P. BOUVERIE
said, he did not wish to add another to the twenty speeches they had heard, but could not help calling attention to the example they had had of the moderation of hon. Members in making use of the privilege they had of putting questions and making speeches on the Motion for adjournment till Monday. They had been taken over the whole of the world, and had heard discussions on almost every conceivable subject. They began with an airing in the parks, and then took a sail-down the river Godavery; from thence a journey to Morocco was deemed advisable, and then a trip to Jersey. Then, after travelling over a great part of the world, they amused themselves with discussing such matters as education estimates, exportation of coolies, and some thirteen or fourteen subjects of similar interest. He could not think this was a course of procedure calculated to add lustre or dignity to their proceedings. Friday was fixed for Orders of the Day; but these had been neglected in order that hon. Members might have an opportunity of bringing forward questions on which they happened to take an interest. Such a course of proceeding must be thought by any stranger who happened to be present unworthy of the first assembly in the world.
said, if the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman had been carried, it would have been of the utmost possible convenience to the House in passing the Estimates. It had been rejected, but he would call upon the Government to go on with the Estimates on Mondays,' and to give up their precedence on Fridays.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House at its rising to adjourn till Monday next.