|Surveys of the United Kingdom||35,000|
|Harbours, &c., under Board of Trade, and Lighthouses Abroad||2,000|
|Rates on Government Property||13,000|
|Public Works and Buildings, Ireland||30,000|
|United Kingdom and England:—|
|House of Lords, Offices||7,000|
|House of Commons, Offices||12,000|
|Treasury and Subordinate Departments||14,000|
|Home Office and Subordinate Departments||16,000|
|Privy Council Office and Subordinate Departments||3,000|
|Board of Trade and Subordinate Departments||35,000|
|Board of Agriculture||5,000|
|Civil Service Commission||7,000|
|Exchequer and Audit Department||10,000|
|Friendly Societies, Registry||700|
|Local Government Board||28,000|
|Mercantile Marine Fund, Grant in Aid||10,000|
|National Debt Office||2,500|
|Public Record Office||3,000|
|Public Works Loan Commission||1,500|
|Registrar General's Office||8,000|
|Stationery Office and Printing||90,000|
|Woods, Forests, &c, Office of||2,000|
|Works and Public Buildings, Office of||7,000|
|Secretary for Scotland||2,000|
|Registrar General's Office||1,000|
|Board of Supervision||1,000|
§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)
said, he wished to call attention to the Report on the Ordnance Survey which was made last year by the Departmental Committee appointed by the Board of Agriculture. He desired to know what had been done in the direction of carrying out of recommendations made by the Committee? Two great defects had been pointed out. In the first place, the Indices were remarkably bad, and the result was that there was great difficulty in picking out any particular map. The Departmental Committee had reported that a great improvement might be effected in this respect if a uniform style of heading were adopted, as at present there were two or three kinds of headings to various maps. Then, again, the Departmental Committee recommended that coloured maps should be allowed to be printed. At present maps in black and white only were issued, but it had been found that coloured maps were necessary 1430 in many parts of the country; and surely if the Government could not issue them some of the great map makers might be allowed to. He would be glad to know what was to be done in that matter. There was another recommendation of considerable importance to people in the country, and that was as to the classification of the roads. All the roads on the Ordnance maps were marked in exactly the same way; there was nothing to show the difference between a hard road and a mere green lane, and anyone driving might, if they depended solely on the map, easily find themselves leaving a metalled road for a green track. The Committee recommended that all roads classified as first or second class should be of such a nature as that the public were certain of having free access over them. There was great danger, when private roads were marked on the Ordnance map, of people being led to trespass upon them, thereby causing great inconvenience both to themselves and to the owners. There was a still more important question as to the footpaths. It was a useful and necessary thing that footpaths should be marked on the maps; but what occasionally happened was that cattle tracks wore marked as foot-paths. He maintained that when the maps were revised these errors should be rectified, and only real footpaths be indicated. Temporary tracks, such as those made by shepherds going to their folds, ought certainly not to be shown. Finally, he wished to know when the maps were going to be revised, and did the Government intend to advance sufficient money to carry out the revision? Bearing in mind the changes constantly occurring, he thought there should be a regular system of revision.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir J. T. HIBBERT,) Oldham
I wish to appeal to my hon. Friend not to press the matter further in the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture. As this is the first Vote in Supply, a more appropriate time for discussing it will be when the Estimates are taken.
§ *MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (hat it is inconvenient to discuss this subject in the 1431 absence of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture; but, at the same time, it is only right that the House should be informed when hon. Members will have an opportunity of raising the question. When is it proposed to take the Vote which provides for the Ordnance Survey? This is a very important matter, for I know from personal experience at the Board of Agriculture it is absolutely essential as a matter of economy that effective stops should be taken during the present Session to carry out the recommendations of the Committee. I am aware that some addition has been made to the Estimates for the present year; butlit is not nearly sufficient to enable the carrying out of even the smaller of the two principal recommendations of the Committee. The first of those recommendations is that the revision of the maps on the one-inch scale shall be proceeded with at a cost of £5,000, or, if the Highlands are included, at a cost of £7,000. But the second and much more important recommendation is that the revision of the maps on the larger scale shall be carried out at a cost of some £500,000 or £600,000, the expenditure of which is to be spread over 10 years. For instance, it is suggested that £16,000 shall be spent this year and £37,000 next year, and that year by year the sum shall be increased until the Ordnance Survey had been placed on a satisfactory footing. I need not press on the Committee the great importance of this matter. It has occupied a great deal of time and attention in past days, and it now requires to be dealt with without delay even on the ground of economy, as the longer it is put off the greater will be the expense in the future. The work must be undertaken sooner or later, and it cannot be abandoned, as that would involve practically the throwing away of the immense sums of money already expended on it. Even if it were postponed for any considerable time, it would become necessary to have a new Survey altogether. I wish now to ask two questions—When shall we have an opportunity of discussing this question in the full manner it deserves; and has any provision been made for carrying out the recommendations of the Departmental Committee? If the discussion is to be postponed any consider- 1432 able length of time we shall do our best to bring it on now.
§ *MR. MATHER (Lancashire, S. E., Gorton)
said, he had to appeal to the hon. Gentleman opposite not to press his question during the absence of the hon. Baronet the Member for the Tewkesbury Division of Gloucestershire, who was Chairman of the Departmental Committee, and who had written expressing regret that he could not be in his place, and who desired that the discussion should be taken when the Vote came on in the ordinary course. The other Members of the Committee (his hon. Friend the Member for Eccles and himself) were anxious to have a full and exhaustive discussion on the subject when the regular Vote for the Ordnance Survey Department was reached.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
said, he was reluctant to interpose in that discussion, but he felt that attention ought to be directed to a peculiarity connected with the Vote on Account which should have priority over other considerations. It had a bearing on the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division of Lincolnshire, and it was important that the House should know when the discussion upon this subject would be resumed. The present Vote on Account was asked for for two months. That, he ventured to assert, was unprecedented, and he could not at that moment call to mind any occasion on which the second Vote on Account had been for so long a period. The first Vote on Account was always given for two months, but the second Vote on Account was ordinarily given for one month; and if this Vote was agreed to, it would relieve the Government from the control of the House at large in the matter of Supply for two months instead of one. This would give the Government a degree of freedom which Governments had not usually had accorded to them, and he suggested to Members on both sides of the House that the Vote should not be agreed to without full knowledge and full understanding of what it implied. The late Government once proposed the second Vote on Account for two months; but so strong was the objection of the then Opposition that the Leader of the House, the late 1433 Mr. Smith, withdrew the proposal, and substituted one mouth instead. For his part, he saw no reason why they should now depart from what was the ordinary precedent, and from what had been deliberately confirmed; and he therefore earnestly pressed upon the Leader of the House and the Members of the Government that they should recognise the responsibility of their position, and substitute a request of one month for two. He apologised to the Committee for having intruded in this way, but he thought it was a matter of considerable gravity which deserved attention.
§ SIR J. GORST (Cambridge University)
I was not aware that this question was going to be raised, and it shows the inconvenience of the Vote on Account not having been laid on the Table until hon. Members have left for their holidays. An attempt was made by the late Government to obtain a Vote for two months at this period of the year, and I think it was very properly objected to by hon. Gentlemen now occupying the Government Bench on the ground that it was asking the House to abdicate one of its most important functions. So strong were the representations made that the then Leader of the House thought it right to yield, although he was at that time in possession of a mechanical majority, with which he could have forced it through the House. He, however, thought that the arguments were so strong and the case made out so good that he yielded to the representations which were made most properly and patriotically by the Opposition. I think that, under these circumstances, the Government should at least explain to the House why it is now necessary to deviate not only from the usual practice of the Committee, but from their own representations and arguments made use of two years ago. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be good enough to repeat- to the Committee the arguments which he then used as to the propriety of the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
The reason why the Estimate was not issued until after we had separated for the Whitsuntide holidays was because it was impossible to issue the Estimate until we knew how many Votes we should obtain in Supply. We were in Supply on the Friday when the House adjourned up to 1434 half-past 5, and it was quite impossible then to issue any notice with respect to the Estimates, but they were issued, I believe, on the following day. Therefore, due notice was given to hon. Members, although we knew many were absent from town. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin was not quite correct in saying that the late Government did not take their Vote on Account for two months. I have a Return here showing that the second Votes have generally been taken for two months. In 1886–7 provision was made for only one, and in 1887–8 for six weeks, but after 1886–7 provision has always been made for two months. We have followed the precedent in taking the Vote for two months. I do not think we deserve the blame which my right hon. Friend threw upon the Government for not having made a proposal for a shorter period.
§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)
said, that as they did not know what might happen by the end of two months, he had thought that this was the only opportunity he might have of raising the question at all, and that must be his excuse for having intervened. As the Minister for Agriculture was now in his place, he would repeat the questions he had previously asked, as to the recommendations of the Commission with regard to maps, and as to delineating different kinds of roads and footpaths.
§ THE PRESIDENT or THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. H. GARDNER,) Essex, Saffron Walden
I am sorry that I had no notice that this subject was to be brought forward. I fully admit the importance of the discussion, but would add my voice to the appeal which has been made for its postponement until the hon. Member for the Stroud Division of Gloucestershire, who was the Chairman of the Committee, is in his place. The Committee was only appointed last year, and I do not think it possible for the Report to be more exhaustive or more thorough. A certain sum of money has been voted for the purpose, and the Treasury have sanctioned the employment of an additional number of engineers in order to carry out the recommendations of the Committee. The other matter referred to requires very serious financial consideration, inasmuch 1435 as it involves a total expenditure of something like £600,000.
§ MR. GARDNER
It would be wrong for us to spend £16,000 this year unless we were certain that we should be able to complete the scheme and obtain the entire sum which the Committee said would be necessary. All the points which have been raised are of great importance, and are at the present moment under consideration; but I hope it will be seen that, in the absence of Members of the Committee, the matter cannot at this time be discussed so well as on a future occasion. An opportunity for full consideration will be afforded on the first Vote which is reached in Committee of Supply.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
We have had very positive didactic statements from two ex-Secretaries to the Treasury, and my right hon. Friend is in the habit of delivering lectures to the Representatives of the Treasury—especially to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—on our submission to the dictation of the Treasury. One condition of this criticism should be that ex-Secretaries of the Treasury should have some knowledge of what has taken place at the Treasury; but unhappily that knowledge is entirely wanting, both in the case of my right hon. Friend and in the case of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The right hon. Gentleman opposite developed from his inner consciousness a theory of what took place in 1891, when a patriotic Opposition resisted an unpatriotic Government who demanded a Vote on Account for two months, and the Government of the day repented of their crimes, acknowledged their sins, and reduced the Vote to one month; and the right hon. Gentleman behind me lectured us for our extraordinary conduct in bringing forward a Vote for two months—a thing which, he said, had been condemned, and which had never been done before of late years. The facts are exactly the opposite of those stated by the two right hon. Gentlemen. In 1891 a patriotic Opposition complained of the conduct of the Government in proposing a Vote for two months; but, so far from yielding to the complaints of the Opposition, the 1436 Government used their mechanical majority. I believe all majorities are "mechanical"—at least they are always called so—but why a majority is more mechanical than a minority I do not know, although I observe that during the Recess the minority have been ordered to be a great deal more mechanical. On the occasion referred to the then Secretary to the Treasury, the Member for Leeds (Mr. W. L. Jackson), when invited to point to any precedent for taking at the end of June a Vote on Account for two months, stated that the second Vote on Account had for 15 years been taken to two months at the end of May. This is the Secretary to the Treasury who lectures the Treasury night after night. A proposal made by the hon. Member for Northampton to reduce the Vote to one month was rejected by 119 to 61. I hope these facts will be a lesson to the House to take with a grain of salt the Treasury doctrines of the right hon. Member for the Bodmin Division of Cornwall.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, it must be remembered that this was a totally different year from the whole of the 16 preceding, because in none of those 16 years had the Government taken the whole time of the House as early as they had done this year. If the Government would set aside a week or a fortnight for Supply, the Opposition would allow the present Vote to be obtained at once; but they had before them at least two months on the Home Rule Bill; they were to sit from day to day, so that that Bill would take them to the end of July, and they were therefore asked to vote two months' Supply without having any opportunity of considering the Estimates in detail. He also protested at the Vote on Account having been put down at the last moment, so as to allow no opportunity for putting down Amendments. He therefore thought they ought to move the Adjournment of the Debate. He would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what period he proposed to put down Effective Supply—June or July?
§ MR. COURTNEY
thought the Committee would not regret his rash intervention after having heard the amusing speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On the evidence submitted he must confess that he was in error in supposing that a second Vote on Account had been uniformly restricted to one month, although he was very clear about the circumstances of the late Government having reduced the period of a Vote on Account in consequence of the remonstrance made by hon. Members of the Opposition. He was a little flattered by the apparent attention and effect which had been produced by his didactic manner in the past, and he supposed it had not always been so entirely in vain as it had that day. If they took Votes on Account for two months, they practically relieved the Administration from the criticism and control of the House of Commons, which ought to be most jealously guarded.
§ MR. A. C. MORTON (Peterborough)
said, he gathered from this discussion that all Governments were equally bad in this matter. They all tried to avoid discussion on the Estimates, and were particularly anxious to spend the money before the House of Commons had had an opportunity of considering the expenditure. With regard to the matter of the Ordnance Survey and the question of footpaths, he would ask that the officers responsible should be instructed not to agree to the hon. Member's suggestions that footpaths should not be shown on the map.
§ MR. JEFFREYS (interposing)
said, what he said was that sheep-tracks ought not to be put down as footpaths, but that footpaths ought to be carefully marked.
§ MR. A. C. MORTON
said, if it came to that, then the officers must hold a Court of Inquiry, and decide what were footpaths. If they did, it would save many people from going to the Courts of Law. He was afraid this was a suggestion in the interests of the landowners, who were always endeavouring to close these footpaths. If the footpaths were not marked, then they could bring these Ordnance maps into Court and say there never had been a footpath in the particular place. The Ordnance maps were very useful in deciding where there were footpaths, and he protested against 1438 these officers being instructed to keep anything off the maps. It very often happened that what were called sheep-tracks were really footpaths, and he hoped the Government would give instructions that the officers preparing the maps should show all the footpaths.
§ *MR. CHAPLIN
It is perfectly obvious we shall have no other opportunity of discussing this question, as I gather from the answers that have been given, for many months; and up to now we have failed to elicit any information whatever from the Government as to what they are going to do, except with regard to the first recommendation, and the smaller one, that is contained in the Report of the Committee. That being so, although I am very sorry to do it on this occasion, I really must press the question this afternoon, because a delay of mouths on this question would be fatal to its being dealt with during the present year, and I can submit most excellent reasons why that course ought to be adopted. I put the question to the President of the Board of Agriculture, and asked him whether they could not tell us, at all events, that they would go on with the work during the present year with regard to the maps on the larger scale; and he said it was impossible to say now that it was a large question and ought to be carefully considered, and that he could not give me any answer on this occasion. Why cannot he give mo any answer? When was this Departmental Report published? I find it was published on the 31st December of last year. But surely it has been the duty of the Government to be considering that question from then until now; and if, from the 31st December of last year to the end of May of the present year, they cannot make up their minds as to what they are going to do with regard to the Report of the Committee, I should like to know how long a period they will take to go successfully through that operation. The first excuse that was made was that the Minister for Agriculture was not present, an excuse which happily has been removed, and now I shall have no hesitation on this ground in entering upon this question; and as to the absence of my hon. Friend the hon. Baronet who was Chairman of this Committee (Sir John Dorington), I am quite certain, although no one knows 1439 more than he does of this question—and both he and his Colleagues deserve the thanks of the House and the country for the admirable and painstaking and most careful Report they have made on this subject—I am sure no one will be more pleased than the hon. Baronet himself, even although he is unfortunately absent this afternoon, if we can succeed in eliciting some definite statement from the Government in regard to this question. The Committee will, perhaps, recollect what was the origin of this Departmental Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for the Eccles Division made a Motion, which passed the House of Commons, I think, on the first night of last Session, by which it was agreed that a Select Committee should be appointed to examine into this question. I stated to my hon. Friend that, in many respects, I thought it was more desirable that this question should be examined into by gentlemen who were experts, and could be appointed upon a Departmental Committee; and he readily agreed to that suggestion, subject to the understanding—a pledge that I individually gave him—that the Report of that Departmental Committee should be laid upon this Table. The contention which has been held by many people with regard to the unsatisfactory position of the Ordnance Survey is, I think, more than fully borne out by the Report of the Committee. What is that position? I hope the Committee will not think I am unduly delaying them on this occasion, because this is really a matter of great importance, which has ocupied public; attention for several years. In order to understand the position, I think the Committee ought to be made aware of the work which is being done by the Ordnance Survey Department at present. In the first place, they are making town surveys on the scale of 126 inches to the mile. In the second place, they are making a Cadastral Survey of all cultivated land in the Kingdom on the scale of 25 inches to the mile. In the third place, they are making county maps on a scale of six inches to the mile. In the fourth place, they are making maps on a scale of one inch to the mile of all farms, one in outline with contours, and the other with hill shading. Fifthly, there is an advance edition of unengraved portions of the one-inch map, published by photo- 1440 zincography. Sixthly, there are maps of four inches to the mile. Seventhly, there are maps of 10 inches to the mile. I am bound to say that more beautiful work than has been accomplished and turned out by this Department I do not think can be found in any country in the world. But it has naturally cost the country an enormous sum of money. I am not aware of the total sum that has been expended up to the present time; but do know that in the last 10 years no less than £2,300,000 has been spent by the country upon this work. In support of the statement which I make, that no country in the world can produce better work than this, I should like to call the attention of the Committee to a statement which they will find on page 11 of this Report—No country at the present time possesses anything as perfect and complete as our Cadastral Survey published by the authority of the Government, and available at a moderate price to every person in the Kingdom, showing every plot of land and every isolated building, and having the new one-inch map founded upon it by the accurate copying power of the photographic lens.The great blot upon that work is this. In the first place, there is a great delay in the completion of the maps when the Survey is first made, and the second and worst feature of all in the present position of the Ordnance Survey Department is this: there is no complete system of revision provided for, and if revision is not carried out within a certain time after the maps have first been made a great part of that work naturally and necessarily becomes obsolete, and the advantage of that work to the public and of the money that has been spent upon it is practically thrown away altogether. I remember during last year and the year before there were great numbers of articles in the public Press which appeared constantly upon this subject, and more particularly in The Times, in which there were some most able articles; and public bodies and deputations were constantly waiting upon the Agricultural Department, and Memorials were presented pressing the urgency and importance of the work, and their complaints are more than justified by the Report which is now laid upon the Table of the House of Commons. I should like to call the attention of the Committee to a paragraph 1441 upon page 37, where they will find these words—The great necessities of the Survey are obviously completion and early revision, and with these necessities not even any suggested improvements should be allowed to interfere.They point out two things: that in the ease of the large maps, which are most expensive of all, timely revision is of greater importance even than in the case of small ones; and, in the second place, the longer that revision is postponed the more costly it will be to the country in the long run. On the first point they say this—and I am sure the Committee will see the importance of it—We find that while the large scale maps are excellent in quality and fully meet the purposes for which they were designed, the very largeness of the scales necessarily leads to their rapidly getting out of date.And they go on to say—This defect is most apparent in the 25.344-inch plans surveyed since 1854, and still more so in the town plans on the scale of 5 feet, 10 feet, and 10.56 feet to the mile. Scarcely any of them have been revised.I ask the Committee to consider what that means. Scarcely any of these maps have been revised, and that means that if the date of revision is postponed much longer they will become practically obsolete, and the whole sum of money spent on these large maps will be absolutely thrown away, and all the work will have to be gone over again. The Committee say—It is urgently necessary that the advantage of so splendid a work as these maps of Great Britain and Ireland undoubtedly are should not be destroyed for want of a regular system of revision.On the second point—namely, the increased cost of delay, nothing can be more emphatic than what is pointed out on page 11. They say—It has been shown in a previous paragraph that some of the 25-inch plans date from 1855, and have not been revised since. We have received evidence of the great cost entailed if the plans of the Ordnance Survey are allowed to remain for too long a period without revision, necessitating, in some cases, almost re-survey. It is evident that the revision of the 25-inch survey should be commenced without delay. We have the evidence of the Director General that if the revision of Great Britain is begun next year, it can be completed in 10 years at an extra expenditure of £630,000.Then comes this very important statement following upon that— 1442And that a delay of even a year will materially increase the cost.Now, Sir, for the purpose of this very material and important work what is the sum that the Director General estimates is necessary for the next year?—The sum required for next year (1893–4) is £l6,000, and we strongly recommend that this sum be providedSurely, that is not a very large demand to make, and I have felt it my duty to press this question this afternoon in the absence of any definite reply whatever from the Government: because I cannot help thinking that, unless we do press it and get an answer this afternoon, that £16,000 will not be forthcoming, and consequently a very much heavier burden, in the words of the Director General, will inevitably be laid upon the country in the future. That is the present position of affairs in regard to this matter. It is pointed out that, owing to the want of proper revision, a great deal of the work of the Survey is becoming more and more obsolete every day, a large part of the expenditure has already been thrown away and wasted, and the advantage of much of the work has been lost, and is daily being lost, to the public. That being so, we have the proposals of that Committee which is to remedy this state of things, and I am most anxious to ascertain what it is the Government really propose to do to carry out those recommendations. The President of the Board of Agriculture was good enough to tell us, with regard to the recommendation as to the maps on the one-inch scale, that many had been provided, and that be was in possession of the sum necessary to carry out this work. Upon this part of the recommendations I want some further explanation, because in the Estimates of the Surveys of the United Kingdom I find the whole increase is only £1,600. According to the estimate of the Director General contained in the Report of this Committee, the sum required for the purpose, if it is to include the Highlands, is £7,000.
§ MR. GARDNER (interposing)
said, the Treasury had sanctioned a sum of £2,000 spread over savings in other Estimates, and also the addition of a number of engineers at an annual cost of £5,000.
§ *MR. CHAPLIN
I am glad to find that, so far as that part of the recommendation is concerned, the reply is satisfactory, and that we may look forward to the completion of this work. Now, I have to press him on the other point—namely, the provision of the additional £1,600, in order to start the work of providing for the revision of the maps upon the larger scale. I have already pointed out that if they are begun this year all the necessary provisions for the complete revision of the maps on the larger scale can be completed in the course of 10 years for £630,000. Then you have the evidence of the Director General, and the statement of the opinion of the Members of that Committee, that if the work is postponed even for a single year the cost must inevitably be very materially increased. I should have thought, under these circumstances, that when my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had the case officially put before him, even on the ground of economy, he would see he was doing the most wise and prudent thing in sanctioning this comparatively very small expenditure in the present year. The work, sooner or later, is absolutely necessary. It cannot possibly be abandoned unless you mean to throw away all the advantage of these enormous sums of money that have been spent already on the work. The postponement of it for a single year can only add to your ultimate cost; and whether it be a Government composed of right hon. Gentlemen sitting on that Bench, or composed of those who have been and are their opponents, I am perfectly satisfied myself that a sum of money such as that I have named—namely, £16,000, could not possibly be better laid out than by providing it for starting this great work in the present year.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The right hon. Gentleman has made a very interesting speech on a very important subject; but the moral of his speech, as I understand, is that this £16,000 must be provided. Well, I am sorry to say I cannot afford a Supplementary Estimate of £16,000 for this further cost, however necessary it may be; and it will be my duty—and a painful duty it will be—to resist every proposal coming either from this Bench —and more, perhaps, from this Bench 1444 than from that, for a Supplementary Estimate on any subject, and I must appeal to the rank and file of the House of Commons to defend the Chancellor of the Exchequer against demands for Supplemental Estimates from this side of the House, and especially from his Colleagues, because I am subject to that pressure every day, and I am quite certain nothing would delight the President of the Board of Agriculture more than to have this £16,000. But he knows perfectly well I am not in a position to grant it. While I entirely admit that this is a subject which might properly occupy the attention of the Government, and might well be carried out when there is an abundance of money for the purpose, I am sorry to say that the present state of finances will not permit of it. My right hon. Friend opposite is a man of great ideas, and he rolled off his tongue the sum of £630,000 as if it was nothing. He said we must begin at once, or, if not, we should have to spend a good deal more than £630,000. He says if we do not begin this year it will cost us a great deal more the year after. He does not say how much more. I am very sure we shall have the same experience as most of us have had before, of our friends coming to us and saying—" If you do not lay this out now you will have to lay out a great deal more hereafter." On the same principle people go to bazaars and other places and buy things they think hereafter will be useful; but to induce you to spend money when you have not got it with a view to saving it hereafter is, in my opinion, not a wise principle. We do not disparage the object, but, on the contrary, are anxious to see this great undertaking carried on in the manner in which it has been carried on in the past—most satisfactorily. My right hon. Friend says—" You will need constant revision." That, of course, is very true as to the large maps; but these large-scale maps are not the maps which are used by the greatest number. They are principally useful to land surveyors and owners of land, and the large town maps are principally useful to Town Councils, &c. Still, I do not desire that this work should be in any way postponed; but if what my right hon. Friend desires is a Supplemental Estimate this year for the Survey, 1445 all I can say is, I am very sorry we cannot afford it, and I shall have to oppose any proposal of that kind.
§ MR. R. G. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)
said, this question was one which was apparently of some importance to the country, because last Session they had an important Departmental Committee to consider the question in all its bearings. That Departmental Committee, having considered the question with great care, made some valuable recommendations from various points of view. The Committee sat no fewer than 18 times; they carefully examined the witnesses, and afterwards drew up au important and exhaustive Report. They had no knowledge of what might occur during the next two mouths, when they might not have an opportunity of looking into this or any other question; and, therefore, it was necessary that they should discuss the matter now. Speaking as a town Member, he urged that it was very desirable, for the purposes of the County Councils and Local Governing Bodies in London and elsewhere, that they should have a good, thorough, and up-to-date survey of the various towns in the United Kingdom; and the great fault the Committee found with the surveys, especially the 25-inch surveys, was that they were always out of date. It took such a long time to complete the survey, that when they finished in one part of the country, practically the survey was altogether out of date in another part of the country. Among other recommendations of the Committee was one that there should be a descriptive handbook published respecting the signs on these maps; but the object aimed at would probably be better carried out by not having -a descriptive handbook, but where practicable, at the foot of each map, a description of the signs on that map. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the large survey was of no value, except to a very limited class of individuals. Was it not one of the objects of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to simplify the transfer of laud in the United Kingdom; and was there any better way of attaining that object than by having adequate maps of the whole of the laud in the United Kingdom, by which the buyer and seller could see the property in which they were interested? He did not see how there could be any objection 1446 to having these maps prepared with greater celerity. He recommended that steps should be taken to secure that maps of every part of the United Kingdom should be easily purchasable in London. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division of Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) had referred to the fact that the maps were well made, and undoubtedly worthy of the country. That might be as to the larger maps, but he would point out, with regard to the smaller maps, that they were not nearly so accurate nor so useful for general purposes as the maps used in Continental countries—as, for example, in France and Germany—and he would urge upon the Government that the latter class of maps ought to be procured. It was for the Government to set the standard in the matter of maps. At the present time the teaching of geography was not satisfactory, since it was conducted without any first-class physical map of the United Kingdom. He also honed that a change would be made in appointing the heads of the Survey Department, as the existing system of giving promotion to various distinguished officers of Engineers was not to the advantage of the Survey. The consequence of the system was that many of the heads of the Department were changed, and a Survey conducted in this manner could not be as efficient as it ought to be, and he would even say that they could see the difference in the work if they examined the present maps and compared their indications of mountains and rivers with those of earlier maps of the Survey. This might not be a burning question at the present time, but he would nevertheless urge it upon the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench, whom he would remind that, although the Chancellor of the Exchequer had pointed out that they had not such a good Budget as last year, they were asked to provide £35,000 towards this Survey. He thought they should sec that the maps had all clear representation of physical features of the country and that they should be properly shaded. He thought also that the other portions of the improvements suggested by the Committee should be carried out. He had not the honour to be a Member of that Committee, but, no doubt, if this question came up again at a later period 1447 of the Session, hon. Gentlemen who were Members would be able to place their views before them. In the meantime, he hoped the Government would provide proper maps, and that they would also provide that the series should be out in a reasonable time, so that the later one might not be altogether new, while the earlier ones were absolutely old. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite might also say, he thought, whether they could not issue the popular maps of the same class as in foreign countries.
§ *MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
said, he would only trouble the Committee for a moment, to say a word with regard to the footpaths and roads in the Highlands of Scotland.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said, he rose to Order. He had a reduction to move regarding lighthouses, and he wanted to know whether this discussion would affect his proposed action?
§ *MR. WEIR
said, this was a very important matter affecting the Highlands of Scotland; and if the hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn understood the question he would not try to prevent him (Mr. Weir) saying a few words on the subject to which he referred. He feared the hon. Member (Mr. Bowles) had not read the Report of the Agricultural Committee, and consequently was quite unacquainted with the question of roads and footpaths in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. He wished to call attention to the fact that there were many old roads in Scotland which were now covered over with heather as a consequence of the clearances of the people by the Highland landlords for the purpose of creating deer-forests. It was a sad state of matters when macadamised roads, as shown by the Report, were overgrown with heather and almost undistinguishable. The people had been evicted from their homes, and the roads and footpaths had been enclosed by the robber landlords of the North. He desired that these and other old roads and footpaths should be shown on the maps, so that the people might know where they were. Many of these roads were closed by the landlords, and it was only right that the Government should do all they could to have them shown or indexed on any revision that might be made of the maps of this part of the country.
MR. TANKERVILLE CHAMBER-LAYNE (Southampton)
said, they had heard a good deal that afternoon about maps and survey, and he should now like to say something about what he submitted was at least of equal importance. He desired to call attention to a grievance of which he thought employés in the Ordnance Survey Department very justly complained. He believed there were many people—he was not referring to hon. Members of that House, as they were, of course, well informed on every subject; but he was referring to people in the country—who knew as much about the work done by the Ordnance Survey as they did about the duties of an Archdeacon. Well, he could tell those people that the Ordnance Survey work was in the highest degree valuable, useful, and scientific: and that special, or, he might say, unique, qualifications were necessary to enable the employés satisfactorily to perform this work. There were in the Department what were called Civil Assistants. These were divided into two classes—the Permanent Civil Assistants and the Temporary Civil Assistants. They resembled each other in every particular save one; the rank was the same, the qualifications were the same, the remuneration was the same; they were taken on at the same age—some mere lads, and they were retired at the same age, 60; but there was this all-important difference: that the so-called Permanent Civil Assistants received a retiring pension, whilst the so-called Temporary Civil Assistants were retired without one. There was one rather curious circumstance in connection with this arrangement. The Permanent men—that was, the class entitled to pensions—were being gradually reduced in numbers, and the Temporary—the class not entitled to pensions—was being as gradually, or rather more rapidly, increased in numbers. Figures would prove the truth of this: In 1878 there were in the Department 678 Civil Assistants entitled to pensions and 349 not so entitled: and in 1891 there were 321 entitled to pensions and 1,200 not so entitled. Now, he did not want for a moment to ascribe this arrangement to a desire to evade the liability to grant pensions. He had no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the President of 1449 the Board of Agriculture would presently tell them it was due to a more honourable and generous motive, but they would not be surprised if an impression prevailed somewhat extensively that it was due to some cheeseparing influence. This, he took it, was certain—that if such a system were in vogue in connection with any private firm or public company, many of them would feel disposed to call it a dodge to save the pension money. And such a state of things involved a peculiar hardship so far as the Ordnance Survey servants were concerned. Their work, as he said just now, was sui generis. The qualifications for it, and the experience gained at it, are alike useless when, after devoting the best years of his life to it, a man was compelled to seek employment elsewhere. He was suddenly transferred from a position of competency and comfort to what, in many eases, was one bordering on destitution. He himself had had piteous appeals from persons so situated, and he confessed to a feeling of something like indignation when he found that men who had served the Crown long and faithfully were turned adrift in what seemed to him to be a heartless and ungenerous manner. He hoped it would not be said, in reply, that these men ought to save up while in work, and so provide for the requirements of old age. This would be adding insult to injury, for the remuneration was not sufficient, and in many cases the men were married and had families. Again, it must not be forgotten that the same restrictions applicable to other Civil Service servants were imposed on those men—for instance, they were not allowed to keep a shop or carry on any business during their spare time. This arrangement might be fair enough with those who were provided for by the State in their old age, hut it was exceedingly hard on these men who were thus deprived of their only chance of saving a few pounds. Neither, he hoped, should he be told that there was no hardship, inasmuch as the men belonging to this class knew from the first that they would not be entitled to a pension eventually. First, if this were said the country would learn that Her Majesty's Government offered work to men on condition that they would not ask for or expect pensions; and, secondly, it would not be strictly 1450 true, as these Temporary Civil Assistants had been told, that some of them would be added to the Pension List, and, though it might be a case of many called and few chosen, yet it was human nature for every man to think he might be one of the lucky ones, and so take his chance. There was a Departmental Committee appointed under the late Government to consider various matters with regard to the Ordnance Survey. It consisted of Colonel Leach, Permanent Secretary to the Board of Agriculture; Mr. Primrose, from the Board of Works; and a gentleman from the Treasury; and a deputation of the Civil Assistants waited on this Committee, and were distinctly told by Colonel Leach—That it was probable a certain number of the men with the longest service would be put on the Government List.This he (Mr. Chamberlayne) maintained was a direct inducement for the men to accept work. Also, in the Report issued by this Committee on page 14 it was stated—The question of superannuation is not one of the points referred to us for consideration, but several protests were made by the witnesses against its exclusion, and we think it right to draw attention to the fact that this question is obviously the one considered of most importance by the Temporary Civil Assistants. In 1891 there were approximately 300 Civil Assistants and 1,350 Temporary Civil Assistants. The former are gradually diminishing in numbers, and, under the present rules, will eventually disappear.Now, perhaps the Government might say in self-defence that herein was no hardship—a certain class of workmen had been abolished and another constituted—but he submitted that would he an evasion and not a fair explanation, Really the same class still existed, the difference being that whereas formerly pensions were granted after the qualifying period of service, now and from henceforth no pensions would be given. The Report went on to say—As the Survey will require continuous revision and re-publication, it will have to be maintained as a Permanent Department, and in these circumstances it may be expected that, sooner or later, the question of superannuation must arise in respect of these Civil Assistants who may be employed in a permanent capacity.There was a certain ambiguity about these words "permanent capacity," but he submitted that a man who had 1451 worked for the same employer from his youth till he had reached the age of 60 was entitled to call himself a "permanent employé. Well, what these men respectfully asked was that the words "Permanent and Temporary" might be obliterated and expunged, and that there should be one class of Civil Assistants, the members of which should be entitled to a pension on retirement. He did not think he should appeal on their behalf in vain, because the Members of Her Majesty's Government had often expressed themselves as favourably disposed towards this question of pensions for aged working men; and the Prime Minister (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) had more than once spoken in approval of it. He was sure that the attitude taken up by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to this matter, before and after the last Election—chiefly, by-the-bye, before—gave considerable satisfaction in the country, and all eyes were now turned towards the Government to see if their action would justify their words. He thought more reliance would be placed on their protestations, and more faith in their promises, if they would themselves set a good example and treat their own employés fairly and generously.
§ MR. FRANCIS H. EVANS (Southampton)
said, his experience was that these sympathetic appeals to the Chancellor of the Exchequer never brought much money out of his pocket. He had taken a great interest in the question raised by his Colleague in the representation of Southampton. These men were placed in the Survey in 1871—only to be temporary hands, he believed; but as the work grew heavier, and the demands on the Survey increased in importance, it was found necessary to place them on the permanent staff. They were led to believe that as time went on pensions would be granted; and a deputation waited on the Departmental Committee the delegates pointing out the claims that the men had upon the Government. The then Chairman of the Committee admitted the justice of these claims, and said they would be considered—at least, that was the interpretation put upon what he said, that a certain number of men with the longest terms of service would be placed on the permanent list. The position of 1452 these men was very similar to that of the men employed in the Dockyards, and he was of opinion that they had equally valid claims to consideration. What was granted in the one case ought to be granted in the other. If the right hon. Gentleman representing the Government would look into the matter he would see that these men were not receiving the same consideration as the Dockyard employés. As he had said, he had taken these men under his own care, but since his Colleague on the other side of the House had brought the question forward, he had decided to support him, in the hope that he might succeed in getting something done. The matter was in the hands of the Department at the present time; but he would support the hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. Chamberlayne) not on the ground of sympathy, but because the claims of the men to superannuation were just and right.
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. H. GARDNER,) Essex, Saffron Walden
said, he thought he ought to offer a few words in regard to the men of whom the hon. Gentlemen representing Southampton had spoken. A Committee was appointed in June, 1891, to inquire into the status of the employés; that Committee reported, and the recommendations contained in the Report as to pay, promotion, travelling allowances, sick pay, legal holidays, and other matters of importance had been—with some slight qualification in favour of the men of the Survey—carried into effect in September and November of 1892. With regard to superannuation, he would remind hon. Gentlemen that this was a matter which was not referred to the Departmental Committee, as it was contrary to practice so to refer matters of that character, the Treasury being entrusted by Parliament with the control of the Pension Vote. Hon. Gentlemen would therefore see that no decision could have been arrived at on the question of superannuation by the Committee. He might say, however, that representations were made to him on the subject by the Junior Member for Southampton (Mr. F. II. Evans), which he had, as in duty bound, forwarded to the Treasury, and they were under the consideration of the Treasury at the present time. He would like to 1453 point out that, as matters stood, the men were not thrown out—turned adrift—in the manner in which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Southampton seemed to fancy. If there was no system of superannuation for certain classes of men there was a system by which gratuities were awarded to those who were not entitled to pensions. The basis on which the gratuity was calculated was never loss than £1 for each year's service; and he found that in the past three years a substantial number of claims of this kind—24 one year and 15 the second—had been admitted. He thought hon. Gentlemen would admit that these men, having received various gratuities from the Government, were not so absolutely destitute as the hon. Gentlemen who had spoken would endeavour to make them believe. The representations made to him had been for some time under the consideration of the Treasury, and he hoped soon to be in a position to give further information on the subject.
§ MR. T. CHAMBERLAYNE
said, he was obliged for the reply of the right hon. Gentleman, but, at the same time, he did not see how the gratuities granted could be of any use to an aged workman retiring after 60 years' service. He must, therefore, move the reduction of the Vote by £1,000. He was sorry to have to put the Committee to the trouble of a Division; but this was the first time the question of old-age pensions had been before the House this Session, and the country would desire to know what the attitude of the Government was on the subject.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Item of £35,000, for Surveys of the United Kingdom, be reduced by the sum of £1,000."—(Mr. Tankerville Chamberlayne.)
§ MR. R. G. WEBSTER
said, they had no information from the right hon. Gentleman who had addressed the Committee as to whether the recommendations which had boon sent forward would be carried into effect if agreed to by the Treasury. For this reason he would support the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 96; Noes 185.—(Division List, No. 96.)1454
§ Original Question again proposed.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said, he desired to call attention to a most important subject as affecting the commercial interests of this country, and especially as affecting the Department of the President of the Board of Trade; that was to say, "Harbours and Foreign Lighthouses," or lighthouses abroad. He did not wish to deal with harbours, but as to the lighthouses under the Board of Trade he had a great deal to say. [Ironical cheers.] Yes, he had a great deal to say; but with his usual consideration for the Committee he would make his observations as brief as possible. Lighthouses wore everywhere important, but their importance was greatest of all when the lighthouses were in foreign parts and maintained by the Board of Trade of this country. The mere fact that it was considered necessary by this country to keep up lighthouses in the West Indies and on the coast of South America was a proof of the importance attaching to these particular lighthouses. He need not toll the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade how important it was that the lights in these lighthouses should be of adequate force and easily distinguishable from other lights, and kept up in a proper and efficient manner. The right hon. Gentleman knew as well as he (Mr. Bowles) did the stress that was laid on the seaman when, after long hours of watching, he came to a spot in which he ought to be under the rays of a certain light, but failed to find that light. He knew that oftentimes the skipper was obliged to go to the mast-head to find the light his mate was unable to discover, and he was aware how important it was at all times that the lights should be in proper order. There were lights of various kinds; but, broadly speaking, the lights in ordinary use were of two kinds—the catoptric, which was a system of reflection, and the dioptric, which was a system by which the rays were brought together by reflection through convergent glasses. It was of the highest importance that the light suitable to a certain place should be set up in that place. It was equally important that the distinguishing period of the light—that was to say, the interval between the flashes—should be 1455 strictly adhered to. The precise duration of the interval was, as a rule, the only means the mariner had of distinguishing whether or not the light he saw was the one he was in search of. On one occasion the regularity and exactitude of a light at sea undoubtedly saved his life, and on another occasion irregularity as certainly very nearly lost it. Once on the coast of Syria, after battling with the breeze three days and three nights, never having been in bed, he came to a light, but, in consequence of its irregularity, could not tell whether it was on Mount Carmel or at Beyrout. The interval between the flashes in the case of the Mount Carmel light was 1½ minutes, and in the case of the Beyrout light 2 minutes; but the interval in the case of the light he saw was 1¾ minutes. The point for him to decide had been whether the Mount Carmel light was going too fast, or whether the Beyrout light was not going fast enough—and to show the importance of the question to him the safety not only of himself and of the vessel he commanded, but also that of his children, was at stake. If he had been mistaken in deciding that the light was that of Mount Carmel he would have borne up under it, and they would all, inevitably, have been lost. The Board of Trade in connection with these foreign lights did not do its duty. The first item among these lights was the Inagua, in the Bahamas. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, who was familiar with bankruptcy matters, patents, labour questions, and shipping, of course knew all about this light which was on the Inagua Island. It was a white light revolving at intervals of one minute, and should be visible at a distance of 17 miles. Well, he was credibly informed that it was not visible at 17 miles distance, and that, so far from revolving at its proper interval of one minute, it was extremely irregular, the interval being sometimes over a minute and sometimes under. The light had been reported irregular ever since 1890; but the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had never had it set right to this day. [Laughter.] Yes; the right hon. Gentleman was the responsible person. His was the salary he (Mr. Bowles) would have to reduce, and he was the person to see that this light was 1456 set right. There was the testimony of the Admiralty light list to show that this light was irregular. On the Caicos Island there was a white fixed light for which the President of the Board of Trade was responsible. The right hon. Gentleman was only responsible for 13 lights, the Trinity House being responsible for the general system of lights round this country. The Trinity House did its work admirably, because it was composed of trained practical men. What he contended was that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, in this matter of lights, did not do his work thoroughly. The Admiralty light list informed them that this light under the Caicos Island was not to be depended upon. On the Grand Turk Island there was another light which was not to be depended upon. There was an additional light promised in the Bahamas—on Beacon Cay—which had not yet been set up, and he should like to know whether it was really intended to provide this light? He had now done with the Bahamas and he came to the Lower Antilles. There was a light on Sombrero Island—a white reflecting dioptric light of the second order; but he maintained that it should be of the first order. This Sombrero light, which was inadequate under any circumstances, had been reported irregular ever since 1892. What had the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade done to remedy that irregularity? He (Mr. Bowles) had brought before the House four cases of irregularity out of 13 cases altogether, and he had also to make a serious complaint as to the light at Cape Pembroke on the Falkland Islands. This was the only light in that part of the world, and it was of the utmost importance that it should be a good and sufficient light, and of the first order. It was an ordinary reflecting dioptric light, and, no doubt, of the first order of dioptric lights; but his contention was that it should be a catoptric light of the first order. Instead of being visible for only 14 miles, this light should be visible for 20 miles. The lights round the coasts of Great Britain were as good as any lights in the world—possibly the French lights were a shade better; but he believed that our lights were, on the whole, as good as need be. And they 1457 had been managed for centuries by practical men. The Trinity House was responsible for them, and the Trinity House took care to see that there was no irregularity or inadequacy about them, and that complete dependence might be placed upon them and the fog signals, and all the other complicated apparatus they had to keep in order. But this could not be said of the lights of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. His lights were always wrong. If they were to have lights abroad it was necessary that they should be under the management of people who knew what lights wore, and not of people who did not know the difference between a jibboom and a sextant. Let the lights be attended to by men who had experience and knowledge of such things, and who, if there were defects, would know how to remedy them. Do not let a right hon. Gentleman be responsible for them who already had too much to do for his salary—a landsman, who was already a professor of bankruptcy and labour. He (Mr. Bowles) did not mean to labour this question, as there were others who understood it as well as he did, and, no doubt, would want to say something upon it. What he maintained was that the right hon. Gentleman's lights were in many cases inadequate and in many cases irregular, the reason being that in every case they were under the wrong Department. Instead of being under the President of the Board of Trade, they should be under the Trinity House. It was extremely likely that the right hon. Gentleman would agree with him that this was not business which should be carried on under the Board of Trade. If so, it was to be hoped the right hon. Gentleman would agree with him in another matter he intended to bring under notice later on —namely, the treatment of the Trinity House with regard to its funds. The Trinity House could not take charge of these lights, as it had not sufficient revenue. The President of the Board of Trade had £120,000 a year which belonged to the Trinity House. Stimulated by the example of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who put his hand into the Treasury Ghost, the right hon. Gentleman put his hand upon the funds of the Trinity House levied from dead sailors' wages and light dues, and paid clerks 1458 with that which ought to go towards expenses of lights. The right hon. Gentleman would admit that he did not know much about lights, and, no doubt, he would rather have them managed by the Trinity Board. Let him, then, set his face against what might almost be termed the malversation of these funds levied on shipping, and let him see that the money was handed over to the Trinity Board, not only to maintain those lights already in existence, but to establish others wherever they might be needed. He hoped that he should not be forced to move a reduction in the Vote.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. MUNDELLA,) Sheffield, Brightside
said, that the foreign lights under the control of the Board of Trade were very few in number, and the complaint made by the hon. Gentleman was the first he had heard with regard to them. If the hon. Gentleman was so patriotic that he wished to have the lights increased in quality and regularity, why had he not brought the subject before the Board of Trade, either by putting a question on the Paper or in some other way? The matter had been sprung upon the Committee without the slightest notice. All he could, under the circumstances, reply to the hon. Gentleman was that if he had any complaint to make regarding the lights the Board of Trade would be very happy to receive it, and to refer it to scientific authorities who knew more about the subject than he (Mr. Mundella) did.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said, he had brought the subject forward in the proper way on the Vote which related to it. In his opinion, one of the first duties of Members of Parliament was to attack defective administration, and he thought that when he found a large sum of money was spent on lights that were not adequate he was bound to draw attention to the matter. The right hon. Gentleman practically admitted the whole of his contention; and, therefore, he admitted that he was going on presenting dangerous lights to British and foreign seamen. The right hon. Gentleman said he had had no complaints before; but he ought to have known the state of affairs, whether he had complaints or not. It was not his (Mr. Bowles's) business to go about the world finding 1459 out defects in the Board of Trade's lights and reporting them to the right hon. Gentleman. It was the right hon. Gentleman's business to go about seeing that his lights were right. The attitude of the right hon. Gentleman, and his entire want of knowledge on the subject, were so serious to the seamen of the whole world that he felt bound to move the reduction of the Vote by £500.
Motion made, and Question put,
That the Item of £2,000, for Harbours, &c, under the Board of Trade, and Lighthouses Abroad, be reduced by the sum of £500."— (Mr. Gibson Bowles.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 95; Noes 191.—(Division List, No. 97.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ *SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
said, he wished to ask for some explanation of the Vote for Peterhead Harbour. That Vote had appeared now for a considerable number of years. The total Estimate for the work was £750,000, of which £226,000 had been already expended. It would thus be seen that the work, the value of which was extremely problematical, was progressing very slowly. The amount required for next year was £29,800, and £13,183 was put down for this year. [Mr. E. ROBERTSON dissented.] Well, at all events, between £25,000 and £30,000 was apparently being spent upon the work every year. He thought the Committee was, under these circumstances, entitled to some explanation of the way in which the construction of the harbour was proceeding. The work was very costly, and it was going forward at the slowest possible rate. In other words, the work was being proceeded with in a way that was bound to result in the maximum of expenditure with the minimum of advantage. Any gentleman who knew the principle on which works of this kind were constructed would see that for a harbour which was to cost about three-quarters of a million sterling to be built at the rate of £29,000 a year was a practical absurdity. It would be very much wiser for the Government to give up the work and to save the half-million of money which had not yet been expended than to proceed with the undertaking at its present slow rate of progress.
§ THE CIVIL LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. E. ROBERTSON,) Dundee
said, the hon. Gentleman had invited him to deal with two questions. One of these was a question of principle, and the other related to the slow rate of progress at which the work of constructing the harbour was proceeding. It would be hardly fair to call upon him (Mr. Robertson) to explain the principle of the work. The value of the harbour, no doubt, might be problematical; but the policy and principle of the work was settled nearly 10 years ago. He was not aware that the Vote was to be challenged, and he must respectfully decline to enter into any inquiry at the present moment as to the value of the work. The hon. Gentleman himself was responsible for the Vote during the last six years.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
said, if the hon. Member had steadily protested against a Vote he was officially bound to defend, such an extraordinary failure of official duty on his part had certainly escaped his (Mr. Robertson's) notice. The hon. Gentleman also challenged the rate of progress at which the work was proceeding. On this point he had made some mistakes with regard to facts. The £13,000 he had mentioned was entirely wrong. The amount asked for this year for the work was £29,000; and in view of the criticisms now indulged in by the hon. Gentleman, it was astounding to learn that £29,000 was the amount which had been asked for every year during all the years in which the hon. Member had been himself responsible for the Vote. The present Government were asking for exactly the same contribution as the late Government had asked for; and if there was anything wrong in this demand he must ask the hon. Gentleman to settle the question with his former Colleagues in the Admiralty.
§ *SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said, he, of course, apologised to the hon. Gentleman for not having given him notice of the question. He had not known that the item was to be brought forward to-day; but as soon as he found it on the Paper he gave notice to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Sir J. Hibbert) that he intended to raise the point. The hon. Gentleman who had 1461 just spoken was quite mistaken when he said that he (Sir E. Ashmead-Bartlett), or any other Member of the late Board of Admiralty, was responsible for this Vote. The Admiralty was only responsible for the execution of the details of work which was settled by the Treasury, and had nothing to do with settling the amount expended year by year. Of course, as long as he was a Member of the late Government he could have no means of protesting in the House against the Vote; but he had on all occasions in his power pointed out the unpractical way in which the work was undertaken, and was being conducted. He should be very happy, when the opportunity offered, of endeavouring to impeach the policy of the Vote. In the meantime, he must ask the supporters of the Government to reflect for a moment upon the admissions made by the hon. Gentleman who had defended the item. The work was decided upon some years ago, and was to cost about £750,000. Up to the present time less than one-third of the work had been completed, and at the present, rate the harbour would not be finished for another 20 years. Only £29,000 a year was being expended on the work. If it was to be proceeded with at such a rate he could only say that such a policy involved the maximum of expenditure with the minimum of advantage.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
The course which the hon. Member has taken, and the manner in which he has dealt with this Vote, is certainly a matter for surprise. We have observed that for several years he has been continuously silent, and it now appears that all that time he was meditating on the misdeeds of the Government, and particularly of the Department for which he himself was responsible. But now that he is no longer in an official position, he finds himself able to indulge in what Lord Beaconsfield once called "a wild shriek of liberty," and he protests against a policy which was pursued when he sat on the Treasury Bench, but which it now appears he always condemned. The hon. Member's conduct is, in my opinion, absolutely inconsistent with the established usages of administration in this country, and most demoralising to the Administration. If subordinate Members of a Government acquiesce in matters of which they disapprove they should for 1462 ever after hold their peace. They cannot enter into matrimonial connections with a Government when in Office, and then, when out of Office, proceed on principles of free love. You cannot have your cake and at the same time eat your cake. A subordinate Member of a Government who keeps silence whilst his Government remain in power ought not, when it ceases to do so, to come forward and condemn the conduct of those who have been his Colleagues. The adoption of tactics of that kind can only destroy the honourable understanding on which business is conducted in this country. This is the first occasion when I have known such a course to be pursued, and I hope it will be the last. During the 25 years I have been a Member of this House I have never before heard a subordinate Member of a past Government protest against and condemn a policy for which that Government was as responsible as its successor. I wish before sitting down to remind the Committee that, in order that the law may be complied with, this Vote must be passed to-night and reported to-morrow; and therefore, with all due submission, I would suggest that the Committee should be allowed to pass on to the discussion of matters more important than some of those which have hitherto occupied our attention. Large payments must be made at the beginning of June in connection with the Education Department, the Prisons Department, and the Irish Constabulary. These payments cannot be made until the Vote has passed through all the necessary stages and the Royal signature obtained. In these circumstances I trust that the limited time at our disposal will not be wasted in discussing comparatively trivial subjects. Let us see how we can best dispose of the time which yet remains to us.
§ SIR. E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said, he wondered that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was himself the chief monument of inconsistency, should rate him, seeing that he had changed his policy more often than anybody else, and, after swallowing his former opinions, was now revelling in the very Parnellite juice he had once so strenuously denounced. He was not going to sit still under such a lecture. There was no ground for the ridiculous hectoring which the right hon. Gentleman had indulged in. The right hon. Gentleman was very found of 1463 jumping on someone whenever opportunity offered; but he was not in the least affected by the stigma which the right hon. Gentleman had endeavoured thus to cast upon him. The matter to which he had drawn attention was initiated before the late Government came into Office, and the work must be carried forward under successive Governments. There was nothing improper or unusual in the course which he had taken. Had he time to examine the speeches and votes of the right hon. Gentleman during his chameleon-like career—which Heaven forefend!—he would, he was certain, find instances of inconsistency on the right hon. Gentleman's part which would eclipse altogether the inconsistency which the right hon. Gentleman had attributed to him.
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N. E.)
said, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had reminded them that they only had one night in which to discuss the Vote on Account, and he would at once point out that that was the fault of the Government itself, as the Vote might have been brought forward on the day before the holidays. He was himself very unwilling to raise any question unnecessarily; but there was a matter in which he took considerable interest, and he felt he was obliged to seize this opportunity of bringing it under the notice of the Committee. He wished to draw attention to the question of the employment of soldiers and sailors on the completion of their service in the Civil Departments of the State.
§ *MR. A. C. MORTON
I rise to Order. I want to raise a question on Class II., which refers to the officers of the House of Lords, which has priority, I think, over the subject to which the right on. Baronet refers.
§ MR. R. T. REID (Dumfries)
Did not the late Chairman of Committees lay down a Rule that when once a Vote had been discussed it was out of Order to touch on Votes which preceded it?
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS (Birmingham, S.)
I want to raise a question on Class I. as to rates on Government property. I think that that has priority over the subject referred to by the hon. Member for Peterborough.
If the right hon. Baronet likes to give way there can be no objection to the hon. Member for Peterborough raising the question he wishes to. As to the point of Order, I would remind the hon. Member that no Amendment has been moved.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I should like to ask your ruling. Are we to have discussions without Amendments being moved, and without limit? If we are, and if hon. Members are to be allowed to go back to Votes already passed over, we shall never get on. W e ought, surely, to pass the Votes in their order.
§ LORD G. HAMILTON (Middlesex, Ealing)
If my right hon. Friend makes a speech on the subject to which he is calling attention, and that is followed up by a speech from another hon. Member on the same topic and with an Amendment in connection with it, would not that prevent any discussion on Votes preceding this one?
Certainly it would. I certainly agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it is most desirable that the Votes should be taken in their order. The difficulty here is that hon. Members have not given notice of their intention to move Amendments, and it is not easy to see that the subjects are raised in their proper order.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
said, he wished to refer to a subject connected with Vote 13 in Class I. (Rates en Government Property). This Vote involved a sum amounting, in the aggregate, to nearly £250,000. As they knew, Government property was not legally liable to rating. This Vote of nearly £250,000 was, therefore, a voluntary contribution by the House in aid of local and municipal rates. If he was correctly informed, a considerable part of this sum was given in aid of rates levied for the purposes of the Church of England. If so, that was a case of the "free love" to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had recently referred. The present Government, with the aid of about 60 1465 Roman Catholic Members from Ireland, were seeking to disestablish two Protestant Churches in this country, and yet they were, apparently, willing to aid one of these Churches out of public moneys. The position of the Government appeared to be anomalous, and he hoped an explanation might be given. He did not see how the Government could accept the principle of Disestablishment, and, at the same time, ask the House to pass Estimates which included voluntary payments on behalf of the State Church. He wished to ask—aye or no—did this Vote contain any sum which would be a voluntary payment to the Established Church?
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, that if the hon. Member had given him notice he would have obtained for him all the information that was possible. [Sir J. GORST: Oh, oh!] Well, they could not be expected to be conversant with, and able to give full information on, every matter of detail connected with the Estimates, unless they were informed beforehand that the information was required. Personally, he could not say whether any such voluntary payments were made to the Church of England or not; but the Government paid wherever a private person would be compelled to pay, and as a private person was not compelled to make a voluntary payment, he should, therefore, argue that the probability was that no payment was made. He would obtain the information, and give it to the hon. Member on the Report. That was the only way in which he could answer the question.
§ SIR J. GORST (Cambridge University)
said, the ejaculation which he interposed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman had not for its object to suggest that it was unreasonable to ask for notice; but it was to show his surprise that the Government should complain of the absence of notice. The Vote on Account was not delivered until after the House had risen for the Recess, and, therefore, it was impossible for hon. Members to give notice. He protested against the Government, under those circumstances, complaining of want of notice. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet and himself were the only Members who had notices on the Paper, and they were put down on speculation. The extraordinary and unusual course pursued by the Govern- 1466 ment had made it absolutely impossible to give notice.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, that on general subjects notice was not always necessary; but this matter was really one of detail, which he was not able to answer without notice. He thought that most Members knew that the Vote on Account referred to every Vote which had not been passed; and, consequently, it would not have been difficult for anyone who wished to bring forward any question to put down notice.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
said, he had had every intention to give ample notice; but he had found it impossible, in accordance with the Forms of the House, to do so. He had put down two Notices dealing with the Vote on Account, and he found it impossible to indicate, otherwise than in a general way, the points he desired to bring before the Committee.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
said, it was impossible for him to have given the right hon. Gentleman notice, because he had not himself observed that the question of rates was to be dealt with by the Estimates until just before he rose. He could tell the Committee, although the right hon. Gentleman could not, that this Vote contained money which was to be devoted to the ordinary purposes of the Church of England, and that it contained voluntary payments recommended by the Government. He was not now complaining of this payment; but his contention was that such payment was an inconsistent one for the Government to make.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. H. FOWLER,) Wolverhampton, E.
Who makes the payment?
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
That is not the point. If I am correctly informed, this Vote contains payments made in certain localities for the purposes of the Church of England.
§ *MR. H. H. FOWLER
said, the hon. Gentleman misunderstood his point. He asserted that the payment was made, and what he desired to know was by whom it was made? An objection had been raised in this House against Government property being exempted from the payment of local rates; and the Government, while not admitting that it should be rated in the same way as any other 1467 property, consented to make payments to the various Local Authorities in lieu of rates. The money was handed over to Town Councils and other Local Bodies. This contribution could only be dealt with by the Local Authorities for local purposes, for which rates were levied.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
said, it made no difference who actually made the payment. He thought the Government ought to ascertain the kind of rate to which it was contributing; and if it discovered that it was contributing any money in aid of the Church of England then it should take care to deduct such amount. He would take a hypothetical case. Supposing one authority claimed a grant of £10,000, and it was found that one-tenth of that money would be handed over for the purposes of the Established Church, would it not be the duty of the Government to say—"No; you shall only have £9,000. We will not give you the £1,000 which you propose to pay over to the Church." It surely made no difference who paid the money. If the Government contributed to Church rates then it was acting inconsistently.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he wished to know, with regard to the series of dynamite explosions in Dublin, whether any measures were being taken to protect more efficiently the public buildings in that city; and whether it was proposed to offer any reward for the discovery of the guilty persons, who were supposed to be a very small body probably unconnected with any political organisation? He believed an inquiry had already been held under the Explosives Act, and he wished to know what precautionary measures were to be taken? He also wished to know whether there was any provision in the Estimates for the completion of the roofing of the Carlisle Pier where the mails were landed, and whether the work would be carried out this year? He had now been drawing attention to this question for several years. It took him three Sessions to find out what Department was responsible for the work, and having ascertained that it was the Treasury he had next to convince the Postmaster General that the mails suffered damage by being landed on the unprotected pier in bad weather. The amount required for the completion of the covering was very small indeed. 1468 The sum required for this very necessary work was not large—about £2,000, lie believed.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MOKLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, it could not be more than £3,000. The Board of Works made preparations to begin, and then left off the work. He thought he might appeal to the right hon. Gentleman's own experience, and he was sure— he was convinced—that the carriage of the mails—and mails were liable to get injured if not destroyed by exposure— would be facilitated by the completion of this work.
MR. J. MORLEY
said, in answer to the question put regarding the offering of rewards for the discovery of the perpetrators of explosions, that the subject was fully considered on the occasion of the explosion last Christmas; and that it was also considered by the last Government, when the same conclusion was arrived at. He had read very carefully the arguments which had weighed with successive Home Secretaries in the matter, and the opinion had uniformly been held that the offer of rewards was a system which did not produce good results. More likely than not, the offer of a reward would be accompanied by serious drawbacks. One drawback was that those whose duty it was to investigate crimes might wait till the reward was offered before taking action. Again, it was undoubtedly the fact that in the Colonies, and sometimes in this country, stimulated by the hope of reward, charges had been brought for which there was no foundation. In one or two cases actual wrong had been done to innocent persons in this way. He could assure the hon. Member that the question had been fully considered without any prejudice; and the deliberate conclusion had been come to to adhere to the principles laid down by the Home Office. Unless some strong reason should be shown on some future occasion for departing from that course, the Government would continue in it.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, that it was not possible to find money this year for the better protection of the mails at Carlisle Pier. Some other year he hoped the work would be carried out.
§ MR. JACKSON (Leeds, N.)
said, that he heard the reply of the Secretary to the Treasury with surprise. When he was at the Treasury a distinct promise was given that, if the pier were widened to accommodate two steamers, the work mentioned by the hon. Member should be performed. The pier had been widened for some time; and it was urgently necessary to make better provisions for the mails. He hoped they would have a word from the right hon. Gentleman to say that the undertaking of the Treasury would be carried out.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, he admitted the matter was one of great urgency. It would not be lost sight of.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
merely wished to add to what he had already said, that the improvement was very much required, and he would express a hope that the right hon. Gentleman would have the work forwarded as soon as possible.
§ *MR. W. KENNY (Dublin, St. Stephen's Green)
said, he wished to ask, with reference to the grant of £5,000 for the building of a Lecture Theatre in connection with the Royal Dublin Society, whether the building would belong to the Society or to the Government as one of the Science and Art buildings? He would remind the Financial Secretary that the Society were also subscribing £5,000 towards the erection of this structure, and it would be desirable to know whether, if the Home Rule Bill passed, the Society would be affected in its control of the building.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, that the building would be under the control of the State. But the grant would not alter the present condition of things as between the Royal Dublin Society and the Government.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said, he was greatly interested in the development of sea fisheries along the Irish coast, and he would like to put a question in connection with the Vote for Light Railways in Ireland as to whether any alteration had been made in the plan for the Skibbereen and Baltimore Light, Railway? He had had a conversation with Father Davis, who had done so much to develop the fishing industry on that part of the coast, and be heard from him that the railway was to be continued to the shore, where a pier was to be 1470 built. He hoped that plan would be adhered to; but a rumour had been going the rounds that the plan was to be abandoned. If it was to be abandoned, he could only say it should not be done without very good reason. The industry of fishing in the plan depended upon the carrying out of that plan; and, if it were not carried out, the work of the last two or three years would go for nothing. He, for one, would like to see this industry developed, and he trusted to hear that the rumour was unfounded.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, that there was no grant for building the pier. The money was voted for the purposes of the railway. There was a probability that in two or three years' time the money for the pier would be found from funds devoted to such purposes. He agreed as to the necessity for connecting these light railways with piers, and would gladly do all in his power to have the work carried out at the earliest moment.
§ *MR. PERCY THORNTON (Clapham)
said, he had had some experience in the neighbourhood, having just returned from Skibbereen, and it was felt in the district that the light railway, as it stood, was practically useless. The fishing industry at Baltimore suffered through lack of proper pier accommodation. The pier which he saw there was so high above the boats landing at it that the fish got destroyed by being thrown out upon it. It was far too high, and he should he glad if something were done to improve the method of treating the fish on landing. As he had said, the general opinion was that the railway works, if allowed to remain as they were, were practically useless. He was pleased at being able to place his views before the Committee, having promised the people at Baltimore to ventilate the matter.
The right hon. Baronet is in Order. He rose on two occasions, and gave way to other hon. 1471 Members. He is entitled to be heard now.
§ *MR. A. C. MORTON
I wish to deal with the House of Lords. It is not quite fair. On a point of Order, Sir, will it be competent for me to deal with the question later on?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
said, he would not stand in the way of the hon. Member for more than a moment or two—provided, of course, he got a satisfactory answer to his inquiry from the Secretary to the Treasury. The question about which he wished to make inquiry was, to his mind, of extreme importance; it was one that, so far as he was individually concerned, he had dealt with while at the Post Office. The question was as to the employment in public offices of soldiers and sailors who had served their time. Very early in the Session he asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he would lay on the Table the Report of the Treasury Committee on this subject. The right hon. Gentleman replied that the Report had been delayed by the illness of a Member of the Committee, but that when it was presented it would be laid on the Table. In Hansard the words relating to laying on the Table did not appear—they had been dropped out, which was a proof of the advantage of the present system of revision; but he had the right hon. Gentleman duly reported to that effect in The Times. Again, six weeks ago, in answer to another question, the right hon. Gentleman stated that he would consider whether the Report could be laid before Parliament. It was notorious that a great number of places in the public offices, which could be filled by soldiers and sailors, were given away by private patronage. If the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary would inform the Committee that the Report would be laid upon the Table he would not press the point, which otherwise he should be compelled to do.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, as to the insinuation that the report of his words in reply on a former occasion had been altered, he could say that, if there had been any alteration, it had not been made by him. He was not sure but that what he said was that he was prepared to consider whether the Report 1472 should be laid on the Table. The Treasury were now considering the Report to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred, and until some determination had been arrived at in reference to the matter he could not state positively which of the recommendations contained in the Report would be carried out. The recommendations were strongly in favour of the employment in Government Departments of retired soldiers, and he hoped that those recommendations would receive favourable consideration. With regard to laying the Report upon the Table, he could not give a distinct answer at the present time; but he would see how far he could go towards having this done.
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON
said, as to the report, he had understood the right hon. Gentleman on a former occasion to promise its production. He could not but regard his present reply as unsatisfactory, dealing with so important a matter as the employment of soldiers——
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON
said, he was most willing to include sailors; but it was to be remembered that sailors served a very long time and got good pensions, so that the smaller places did not attract them. While at the Post Office he opened all outdoor places preferentially to soldiers and sailors. It was for the interest both of the Civil Service and the Army to give them places in the Service of the country. The Reports received from the Ambassadors showed that the employment of retired soldiers was carried out much more largely by the Governments in other countries. In Austria less was done in that way than in Germany, notwithstanding that 59,000 places were held by soldiers. The system seemed to be to induce non-commissioned officers to prolong their term of service as long as possible, and a superior class of posts was reserved for them. This was what was done in Germany, and in France, and in Italy; and the result was that in each of these countries the strongest inducements were held out to good conduct in the ranks. A non-commissioned officer of not less than 12 years' service had thus absolute prospects held out to him for the future. They had 90,000 men so employed after leaving the German Army, and so it was that 1473 the Service in that country was popular. He (Sir J. Fergusson) was convinced it was the duty of the Public Departments to encourage a system of this kind; and he would add that, it should not be a system founded on haphazard. Nothing would be more satisfactory to the soldier himself, if he behaved well, than that he would have a place open to him when his period of service had concluded. Why should they not give places to a number of such men in and about the Houses of Parliament, at the Foreign Office, at the Home Office, just as well as in the War Office, and at the Admiralty Offices, which, he was aware, did set an example at the present time? If they had a system of this kind in all their Departments, it would no longer be regarded as a reproach to have enlisted, and the advancement to these offices would be regarded as a reward for honourable service.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOU WAR (Mr. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN,) Stirling, &c.
said, the right hon. Gentleman opposite no doubt set a good example while he was at the Post Office: but the right hon. Gentleman had no monopoly of the opinion that retired soldiers and sailors should be employed in the Civil Service, because he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) and the Government were most anxious to provide suitable employment for them. The right hon. Gentleman exaggerated when he spoke of the employment of German retired soldiers in Government Departments. In Germany, they had to bear in mind, the State had control of the railways, and, therefore, situations could always be found in connection with the railways for discharged soldiers. The Government were doing their best to induce private companies and firms to employ retired soldiers and sailors, and they were doing their best themselves to set a good example in the matter. He entirely agreed with his right hon. Friend; but the Treasury Committee had presented a Report, which was now being considered. He hoped that in these circumstances the right hon. Gentleman would have some little patience until a decision could be arrived at with regard to the recommendations in the Report.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
said, they were always told to have a little patience. He thought too much patience had already been exercised with regard to this question. It was not a Party question; it had been brought forward from both sides. The late Government were as much to blame in connection with it as the present Government were, and he and other hon. Members intended to bring the matter forward on every Vote that allowed of their doing so until justice was done. Both that House and the House of Lords should appoint old soldiers and sailors to be their messengers and attendants, instead of allowing butlers and other private servants to be pitchforked into such berths. The Army would benefit by this system. The Secretary for War could find employment for many men, and it would be even, from a military point of view, an advantage to him to have the men under his eye, so that he could tell whether his Reserve was at home, or whether it was in existence at all. It would be an advantage to non-commissioned officers, too; and the employment need not be confined to messengers, but might be extended to many clerkships. He went further, and said there were many other appointments that could be offered to the noncommissioned officers and men from the Army, for in these days they were as well fitted by education for these posts as many of those who obtained them by competitive examination. If they were to show a good example themselves and employ these men, they would soon find that private firms and large public companies would follow it. If it was done in Germany, where they had a conscript Army, it was much more necessary where it was a volunteer Army, as in England. Unless something were done he could promise that when the ordinary Votes in Supply came forward upon every Vote connected with the Public Departments they would raise this question, and do their best to see that these posts were filled by soldiers and sailors.
§ *MR. G. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N. E.)
could not allow the Vote to pass without entering his protest against the suggestion that provision should be made for men because they had served in the Army or Navy. He 1475 had no desire to depreciate the fitness of these men for the work, or to do anything that might be calculated to prevent them obtaining a livelihood after they left the Service, but he entered his protest against it being thought they ought to make special provision for these men. To him it seemed that hon. Members spoke more or less in the interest of a military régime. It ought to be known to every man they had hosts of men—competent and able men—who were endeavouring to get positions in various Government Departments, and if they were to reserve posts in connection with the Government Departments for men who had chosen the Army or Navy as a profession, then he said they were entering upon a course which they did not know whither it would lead them. It must be understood that he had no objection to a man who had been in the Army or Navy getting a good position after serving his country, but what he objected to was that to follow the suggestions thrown out by more than one hon. Member might be placing them upon an inclined plane which might land them they knew not whore.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
agreed with the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Howell) that there were many of our fellow-subjects who discharged their duties in their varied walks of life satisfactorily to this country, and he wished them every prosperity during the remainder of their lives; but what the hon. Member failed to see was that those persons to whom he referred had not been engaged in the service of the State, as soldiers and sailors had been, for very small remuneration during the time they served, and it was in the public interest that every inducement should be offered to them to render that service to the State with some prospect that in after life, so far from that fact telling against them in the struggle for existence, it should be remembered to their advantage. The hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Howell) spoke of the difficulty persons had in obtaining positions in Government offices, and he thought that was one of the points that the Government would do well to bear in mind. The jobbery that took place in the endeavour to get persons into Government positions was one of the greatest nuisances with which public men had to 1476 deal, and he was not speaking from the point of view of one Party or another; but there was no doubt that a Member of Parliament was expected to get positions of trust for all the relatives of every constituent, and he was reminded not only positions of trust but positions of emolument. Governments were worried out of their existence by applications from their supporters on behalf of this description and manner of persons. If it was understood and clearly laid down that, with certain necessary exceptions, the great mass of the patronage of the State would be exercised in a sense preferential to those who served the State itself, it would put down a vast deal of jobbery, secure Ministers from a great deal of unnecessary worry, and insure the State being faithfully served by good and competent servants. He hoped the Government would not think that the disclaimer of the hon. Gentleman, no doubt in perfect good faith, represented the general sense of the Committee, but would realise that, having to deal with a volunteer Army and Navy, it was most essential that every inducement should be held out to get competent and intelligent men to join the Public Service. They could all recollect that not many years ago it was looked upon rather as a sign of going to the bad when a young man joined the Forces of the Crown; but the present generation viewed the matter in a better light. He hoped the Government would persevere with the resolution they had apparently formed, and thus relieve the Committee from the necessity of having this question again obtruded upon its notice.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said, the Secretary of State for War stated that these appointments would be given to soldiers and sailors if competent; but he (Mr. Bowles) thought it should rather be sailors and soldiers if competent.
§ *MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
explained that, in speaking as he did, he meant nothing disrespectful to the sailor.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
was glad that the right hon. Gentleman intended no reflection upon the sailor, for undoubtedly the sailor was the handier and better man of the two. Another thing he wished to call attention to was the delusion that seemed to prevail in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the 1477 Secretary of State for War, and also in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Sir James Fergusson)—namely, that because the sailor served for a longer period than the soldier, and got a pension, he was not, therefore, in a position to require or wish for a position under Government. The sailor, as a rule, left the Service at the age of 40; and if he was not fit, on account of his age, for a messenger, right hon. Gentlemen were not fit at 40 for Ministers, and in that case there would be a large disappearance from the Front Bench opposite. For all purposes for which a messenger was employed the sailor was most admirably suited. It was said that the Admiralty and the War Office did all they could to get employment for their sailors and soldiers; but, so far as the Admiralty was concerned, he was afraid that was not the case. He had been to the Admiralty himself more than once to see if he could get an old sailor, and he had found the greatest difficulty to get any knowledge as to any sailor who had retired from the Service. There were an immense number of posts that might be thrown open to those men. Take the Foreign Office. At present the messengers were appointed from the hangers on, and he thought it would be far better to give these posts, at even reduced salaries, to sailors and soldiers. He was sorry to hear the remarks that fell from the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Howell), who seemed to set up a rivalry between the working classes and the soldier and sailor. He certainly thought those posts should be given to soldiers and sailors who had given the best years of their life to the State, for, after all, it was really a continuation of the same service. He had referred to the case of the sailor who left the Service at the age of 40; but the case for the Naval Reserve man was particularly strong, because when he left the Service he was dismissed without a pension, and, as a rule, had to live for 10 years before he received a pension. He knew many of these Naval Reserve men, and they were excellently well fitted for the post of messengers, and, furthermore, he thought they had great claims to consideration in the matter.
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
was glad that several hon. 1478 Members had been good enough to say a word on behalf of the sailor. He had not heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman who introduced the subject, but he thought it did not require much pressure on any earnest-minded man to support the argument that soldiers and sailors had a strong claim to consideration. The question was not new, for it was raised 20 years ago, when a large meeting was held on the subject at the United Service Institution, and it was then strongly forced on the attention of the various Public Departments. A sailor particularly was a handy man, and he believed it would be an economical arrangement to put sailors into these posts, because it would save them from entering into contracts for whitewashing, papering, and gilding, and these men would do it without extra pay, as they did on board ship, where all the officers found was the paint and the gold. Not only would it be a saving, but these sailors would do the work batter than longshoremen; put the tools in their hands, and they would do justice to their employers, and that without asking for extra pay. He did not think it worth while to take up more time in discussing a matter that was obviously to the advantage of the Government, and he should not have spoken at all except for the remarks that had been made. When he heard his hon. Friend get up and speak about the sailor he seemed fired with a similar kind of enthusiasm, and if he had not spoken it might have been thought he had no sympathy with the sailor; and, therefore, he strongly commended the suggestion of the employment of these men to the Government.
(Northumberland, Wansbeck) wished to associate himself with the protest made by the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Howell) against any preferential advantages being offered to any particular class in finding employment in Government Offices. A soldier or sailor, in selecting his profession in life, was governed very largely by the advantages which that profession held out to him; and when he had made his selection he (Mr. Fenwick) did not think he ought to have any preference offered to him in the shape of finding employment for him when his professional service was ended. He equally protested, with the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. 1479 Hanbury), against muddlers and hangers-on, as they had been called, being pitchforked into these positions over the heads of other men. He approved of the principle of free and open competition for Government Offices, and he should strongly protest against any preference being given either to soldiers or sailors to what was shown to ordinary civilians. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet (Mr. James Lowther) advised the Government to close this question at once if they wished to prevent criticism every time the Estimates were considered. On that point he could assure the Treasury that if they accepted the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman they would not have obviated their difficulties, because the opposition to such a plan would become keener and more acute every time the Estimates were considered; and he, therefore, joined in strongly protesting against any preference being given to either Army, Navy, or Naval Reserve men.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said, that, being sympathetic to both the soldier, and the sailor, he trusted the Committee would not be unsympathetic and unjust to the civilian who paid the rates, and who had a right to an equal chance of employment if it could be got. Other things being equal, the soldier and the sailor now had the advantage over the civilian from his training and discipline. He would point out to the hon. Member for Lynn (Mr. Gibson Bowles) that the sailor, though superior to the soldier, was not the man he was formerly; he was not such a good all-round man as he was 15 or 20 years ago; but even supposing he was all that was said of him, that was no reason why a man who had never been in the Service should be handicapped as he would be if facilities were to be found for the soldier and the sailor. He was astonished to hear the hon. Member for Lynn say he was in favour of employment being given to the man with a pension. He trusted the day was not far distant when plurality of offices would be done away with from the highest to the lowest, and that a man receiving a pension would not be allowed to enter into unfair competition with other men in the labour market who had no pensions. A man with a pension of from 5s. to 10s. a "week was able to accept a berth at a 1480 lower wage than a man who had no such pension. At Olympia and the Fisheries and Colonial Exhibitions they found Superintendents of Police, who were receiving pensions of £3 and £4 a week, doing work for Is. 6d. a night that a poor man would be glad to do. At the theatres they found quartermasters doing work at 2s. per night that poor board-men, or sandwich-men, would only be too delighted to get at the same price. Take the London County Council, and they found they had 900 firemen, and every one of them had been either in the Mercantile Marine or the Royal Navy. What more favourable means of finding employment did these men want? He protested on behalf of a number of men who did not wish the soldier or sailor to be handicapped, but who asked to be allowed to compete with them on fair terms, and this was the reason he objected to the soldier and sailor having a preferential position offered to him. What did they find at Woolwich? There were 500 pensioners employed there, and these men were responsible for dictating the rate of wages to be paid to 3,400 labourers, and the result was that 2,800 of these labourers received a starvation rate of wages, in consequence of the pensioners taking low wages that, with their pensions, was equal to market rate, below which non-pensioners could not live. The authorities were uncharitable enough to accept the labour of the pensioners at unfair rates. The tendency was to give too many facilities to the soldier and sailor, and what those on whose behalf he spoke asked for was fair competition all round.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. FREEMAN-MITFORD (Warwick, Stratford)
said, that he wished to support the views of the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Fergusson). He had not intended to trouble the Committee with any remarks on this subject; but he confessed that he had listened with astonishment and pain to some remarks which fell from the hon. Member for Bethnal Green, which remarks were afterwards emphasised by the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division and by the hon. Member for Battersea. It had always been held by civilised 1481 nations to be their duty to do what they could to make the old age of their soldiers and sailors as happy as possible. Soldiers and sailors had to face various climates. The position of our own soldiers was exceptional in this respect, and contrasted with the position of soldiers in the German and the French Armies, who, for the most part, remained in their own country. Our soldiers had to go to India and other unhealthy countries, where they had to encounter the dangers of climate, as well as the other dangers which were incidental to a soldier's life.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I rise to Order, Sir. This is a Vote for Messengers for the House of Lords. Is it in Order to discuss the question of public offices generally?
Strictly speaking, I think the hon. Member should confine himself to the question of the House of Lords' Messengers.
§ MR. FREEMAN-MITFORD
, continuing, said, that the men were entitled to all the more consideration on account of the nature of their service. If any country in the world was more bound towards its soldiers and sailors than another it was this country. There was another reason why they should consider the claims of their soldiers and sailors. These men, having learned habits of discipline, were pre-eminently qualified to fill such posts as were in the gift of the Public Offices of this country. They had before them admirable examples of the fitness of these men for posts in the Public Offices. The men whom they had employed had done their work well. The men included not only ordinary soldiers and sailors, but men who had filled the position of noncommissioned officers in the various orderly rooms, and who were capable of taking up duties that required considerable ability and education, such as, no doubt, was the character of the duties of messengers of the House of Lords. It was his firm conviction that it would be a most unwise thing to adopt any principle by which these men should not, at any rate, have a preferential claim on the Government for such positions as had been described. By considering the claims of these men they could make the Services more attractive than they were at present. No doubt amongst the civilians who applied for these posts were many excellent men; but they had not 1482 gone through similar discipline, and they had not similar testimonials of service and character on which reliance could be placed. When the old soldier or sailor came to them with the testimonials of those under whom he had served they knew that they had men on whom they could rely.
§ MR. HANBURY
said, he was sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but he desired first to say a few words as to the remarks which had fallen from the hon. Member for Battersea on the subject of pensions. Although he might differ from that hon. Member in being most anxious that preference should be given to soldiers and sailors over civilians, he agreed with a great deal of what he had said on the subject of pensions. He desired to remove every obstacle to the employment of these men; and he wished, therefore, to say he was quite sure that if this preference were given to soldiers and sailors those for whom he acted would not consider it fair or right that they should receive their pensions in addition to the pay for the work of the office. There might be exceptional cases which would have to be dealt with differently; but he was bound to say he agreed with the hon. Member for Battersea that these pensions for public services ought not to be used to depreciate wages outside. That was the principle on which they should act, and he, for one, would certainly object to pensions being paid in addition to the salaries for work in Public Departments.
§ *MR. A. C. MORTON
said, that no doubt he was stupid, but he could not understand what the employment of soldiers and sailors had to do with this Vote, unless under certain circumstances they were going to send them to the House of Lords. He had always been struck with the immense difference between the cost of the staff of the House of Lords and that of the House of Commons. In the Paper they had presented to them they found the Vote for the House of Lords was £42,000, while that for the House of Commons was £50,000. But £42,000 did not cover the cost of the House of Lords' staff. There was another sum of £60,000, and a further sum of £5,000 or £6,000 out of what was called the 1483 "Fee Fund." In looking through the Estimates he found some most extraordinary charges. The Serjeant-at-Arms in attendance on the Lord Chancellor got £1,500, and, in addition, a personal allowance of £96. That was the general policy. These officials got their salary and "something else." Let them take, for instance, the Department of the Chairman of Committees. There was the Counsel to the Chairman, who received £1,500, and a further £250 for taxing costs on Private Bills, that sum being provided under another sub-head. The Senior Clerk received a maximum of £850, but under another head he got a further allowance of £150, making his salary £1,000: how was it that that was described as a maximum of £850? He was aware that some years ago a Committee was appointed to consider this question; but, so far as he could ascertain, the only result was a reduction in the salaries of the housemaids. There were some 11 housemaids in the House of Lords; but he had been unable to find any in the House of Commons—so far as the Eistimates were concerned. What was the net result? The House of Lords, which did not do one-tenth of the work which was performed by the House of Commons, cost just about as much money for its staff. That surely was not right? He did not intend to raise any question as to the use of the House of Lords; but he did contend that its officers should not be more highly paid than those of the House of Commons. He did not know what Cabinet Minister had charge of this Vote; but he wished to give notice that whatever the fate of his present Motion he proposed later on to ask the Committee to postpone the remainder of the Vote. His reason was this. Of late they had had most extraordinary threats as to what would be done in the Upper House if a certain thing occurred in the House of Commons. Well, be wanted to know if right hon. Gentlemen, in making those threats, were speaking on their own authority, or were authorised to speak for the Upper House? He intended to move the reduction of the Vote by £1,000, and in so doing he desired to intimate that he blamed the Government for foolishly providing this money for excessive salaries. They had it in their power to refuse to 1484 put these sums in the Estimates, and it was their duty to decline to pay
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the item of £7,000 for House of Lords Offices be reduced by the sum of £1,000."—(Mr. A. C. Morton.)
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, his hon. Friend was within his right in bringing forward this Motion, but the House of Commons could not control the expenditure of the amounts to which he had drawn attention. It was only indirectly that pressure could be brought to bear by the Government. Formerly the fees received by the House of Lords were dealt with by the House of Lords themselves, and they were only brought into account on the understanding that a Committee of the House of Lords should deal with these matters. That Committee was desirous of reducing the payments, and, as vacancies arose, many items wore reduced. He might particularly mention the Office of Black Rod. When the next vacancy arose there would be a reduction of that item. With regard to the House of Commons staff, that was under the control of Commissioners, among whom was the Speaker, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and one other Member of the Government. The hon. Member complained that the salaries to the House of Lords staff were greater than those paid in the House of Commons. He did not understand that his hon. Friend complained of the salaries of the officials of the House of Commons.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
He did not wish to say that the payments in the case of the House of Lords were not extravagant. He thought many of them; were. But he did not see what connection there was between that and the action which the Lords might take with regard to a certain Bill, which was to be sent up to them from that House, and he should offer an unqualified opposition to his hon. Friend if he moved the Amendment which he had threatened.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, that in consequence of the answer of the Secretary to the Treasury he should support his hon. Friend. That House had the control of the money, and if the House of Lords did not get it, they would 1485 not pay it out of their OWN pockets. As the Secretary to the Treasury bad said, these salaries were not only far too high, but they were unduly extravagant. Black Rod received a salary of £2,000, and the Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, who did 20 times the work of Black Rod, received £1,200. The Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Lords received £1,500, while the Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms who held a like position in the Commons only got £800. The door-keepers of the House of Commons received £250 and £300 a year, and the door-keepers of the House of Lords £600 a year. That was a flagrant scandal. The Junior Clerk at the Table received about 40 per cent. less than the Clerk of the other House, there being no comparison in the matter of work. He did not agree that the Treasury had no control. He remembered that be had on one occasion to move the reduction of the salary of the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords (who did scarcely anything) in order to secure the proper remuneration of the Chairman of Committees in the House of Commons, who had to work exceedingly hard; indeed, he could not understand why the House tried to kill its Speaker and its Chairman of Committees, by keeping them on duty such long hours. Some of the House of Commons officials were not paid as they ought to be. They had a lot of men here in the House of Commons who, in many cases, were underpaid, whilst in the other House they had a number of men who, though they had hardly any work at all, were extravagantly paid. The House of Commons had possession of the money out of which these payments were made, and he thought they should show their sense of the inequality of treatment of the two Houses by supporting the hon. Member for Peterborough in his Motion to reduce the Vote.
§ MR. HANBURY
said, that if they went to a Division he should support the Motion, because there could be no doubt of the uselessness of "protests" and "understandings" in these subjects. Protests were not sufficient, but they had the power to act. No one could say that they had not the right to refuse the payment of these salaries, and if it were the case that the salaries paid in the House 1486 of Lords were much higher than those paid in the Commons, though the work was less, the system should be put an end to. He could not conceive why the salaries in the House of Lords should be out of all proportion to the work done. The salary of the Chairman of Committees in the Lords was formerly £2,500, whilst that of the Chairman of Committees in the Commons had only been £1,500, though the latter official had 20 times more work to do than the former. The disparity was ridiculous. He should like to go further than an "understanding" in the matter of the salaries of the officials of the House of Lords. Understandings always led to an infinity of trouble. What the particular understanding which bad been referred to was he did not know. If it was that the Lords were to hand over all their fees to the House of Commons, he would remind the Secretary to the Treasury that they did nothing of the kind. The House of Lords kept back a large proportion of their fees for pensions which were distributed on a scale of which they had no knowledge in the House of Commons.
§ MR. HANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman apparently agreed with this. They would, therefore, probably hear something from him about it. How was this money spent on pensions in the House of Lords? Was it given on any definite scale?
§ MR. HANBURY
No; nobody could toll. They did not know when the pensions were earned, and when the men were obliged to retire. So far as he was aware, men might go on serving in the House of Lords until they were 100 years old. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury said the salaries paid to the officials of the House of Lords were too high, and altogether out of proportion to the amount of work done, and when they got an admission like that from a responsible Minister he (Mr. Hanbury), Tory as he was, did not mean to allow himself to be led away by "understandings," or anything of the sort. Until these salaries were placed on a better footing, and the amounts paid were proportionate to the 1487 work done, he hoped the House of Commons would refuse to vote the money.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)
said, he agreed with all that had been said by the hon. Member for Preston and the hon. Member for Peter borough, but he doubted whether an adverse vote now would have any other effect than bringing the two Houses into collision. The proper way to bring about a reform in the salaries of the officials of the House of the Lords—a reform, to his mind, very much needed—would be by appointing a Joint Committee of the two Houses to go thoroughly into the whole matter of the salaries paid in either House. They would be very unwise if in that House they tried to hector the House of Lords. The House of Lords, as far as he knew, was composed of reasonable men. [Laughter.] Yes, and many of them were very learned; but, be that as it might, the Committee, he was sure, would be disposed to agree that if there were a Joint Committee appointed to inquire into these matters they would be much more likely to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion than they would be by now taking an adverse Division. If the hon. Member for Peterborough pressed his Motion to a Division he (Commander Bethell) should support the Government.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
said, the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just sat down had given them good reasons why they should support the Motion for the reduction of the Vote. He had suggested that they should not hector the House of Lords. Well, he (Mr. Rowlands) had no desire to do that; but what they wished to do was to express a strong opinion as to the way in which the House of Lords spent the money voted to them. Some years ago a Committee sat and made endeavours to reduce the expenditure in the House of Lords, but the reductions effected were so trifling that no one took notice of them. The only way in which they could really bring about a reduction in this expenditure was by refusing to vote the money to the House of Lords. Whenever this Vote had been before the House no one had attempted to defend 1488 the charges the House of Lords made upon the Commons—no one had attempted to defend the salaries the House of Lords paid its officials. They were continually favoured with apologies such as they had just heard from the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite. It was high time that the House of Commons showed, in an emphatic manner, that they were determined to bring about a reduction of expenditure in the House of Lords.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said, they must all agree that the scales of the salaries paid in the two Houses were not right, and that some change was necessary. But they must avoid inflicting injustice upon existing office - holders; therefore, he thought that the best solution of the existing difficulty would be, to appoint a Committee to decide what the salaries should be in future as vacancies occurred. That policy had been pursued, to a certain extent, by the late Government, and the present Government, he thought, should follow in the footsteps of their predecessors. The instances cited, from the door-keepers upwards, showed that salaries had been dealt out to officials in the House of Lords with too lavish a hand. The salaries ought to be liberal both in the House of Lords and in the House of Commons; but they should be according to an approved scale. A pledge ought to be given by the Government that no new appointment would be made until the salaries had been re-adjusted. The whole question required investigating, for he did not think the arrangements in either House were what they should be. The time was coming when all these salaries should be put upon a proper basis, and when a general system of remuneration should be adopted. The fact that the House of Lords received higher fees in connection with private Bills than the House of Commons had nothing to do with the question, the great bulk of those fees being paid into the Exchequer. He should hesitate to vote for the proposed reduction, but desired to hear a distinct assurance from the Treasury that they contemplated considering all new appointments with a view to apportioning the salaries more equally.
§ *MR. A. C. MORTON
said, he had no doubt the Secretary to the Treasury had told them all he knew about the matter, and he therefore did not quarrel with what the right hon. Gentleman had said. Whether the money which went to pay the salaries of the officials of the House of Lords came from fees or anywhere else, it was all under the charge of the House of Commons, and the House of Commons had a right to see that it was properly expended. The right hon. Gentleman did not think the House of Lords officials were paid too much——
§ *MR. A. C. MORTON
Then they ought to be reduced—or if they were not reduced the salaries of the officials of the House of Commons ought to be increased. He thought the Committee ought to go to a Division, if it were only as insisting upon this matter being dealt with in a regular system. He wished to say a word with regard to the Refreshment Department. In the House of Commons they supplied their own refreshments, he was told at a loss. In the House of Lords the Refreshment Department was let out to a contractor, whose business it was to sell the workmen about the building as much drink as possible, so that he might realise a profit. The contractor did not require a licence, and he supplied drink to the workpeople about the House throughout the period of the year when Parliament was not sitting, very much to the disadvantage of those work people. The policemen on duty could not interfere. He should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would speak to the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works on this subject.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, he would carefully consider the point raised by the hon. Member. If the House of Lords would agree to the appointment of a Joint Committee to consider the salaries of the officers of both Houses the Treasury would assent to it. Beyond that he could not commit either himself or the Treasury.
§ MR. R. G. WEBSTER
hoped the Government would assent to the suggestion that no new appointments should be made before the whole question of these salaries was taken into consideration.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 66; Noes 139.—(Division List, No. 98.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HANBURY
said, he did not rise to move an Amendment, but to give notice of what he intended to do when the ordinary Vote came on. He thought the time had come when the services in the House of Lords and the House of Commons should be put practically on the same footing as other branches of the Civil Service. He knew there were distinctions that might be drawn between the services of officers in the House o Commons, which lasted only six months in the year, and those of officers in other Departments which lasted 12 months. But, granting these exceptions, he failed to see why service in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords should not be put on the same footing as the rest of the Civil Service. These Houses, and some of the Law Offices, were the last holes and corners where patronage had a foothold, and he thought that they ought, at any rate in the House of Commons, to set an example to the rest of the Civil Service. The House was anxious that the Civil Service should be purified from top to bottom, and conducted on lines common to all the Departments, and that there should be a regularised, systematic mode of promotion and appointment, and it was not wise, therefore, that the House of Commons should stand outside that scheme, and that its clerks should be placed on a totally different footing from those of the other Departments, with the exception of the House of Lords. He did not think the Civil Service Commissioners had anything to do with the officials of the Houses of Parliament. A clerk entered the service of the House of Commons without undergoing an examination. There were no definite rules governing his promotion, his salary, or the age at which be was to retire. All through the rest of the Civil Service, according to an Order in Council which 1491 had been promulgated, Civil Servants were required to retire at the age of 65. In the House of Commons there was no such rule, and he was told that at present there could be no such rule, as an Act of Parliament stood in the way. But he thought that what was a good rule for the rest of the Civil Service ought to be a good rule for the House of Lords and the House of Commons. He did not think it was right that they should see men of over 70 filling posts in the Houses of Parliament which much younger men considered themselves entitled to. At present the service in the House of Commons was regulated by one of those very large bodies which ought to be obsolete, and which at one time were too common all over the Public Services. The service in the House of Commons was entirely in the hands of a large Committee, consisting of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Speaker, the Master of the Rolls, a half-a-dozen Judges, and half-a-dozen other public officials. It was ridiculous that any service in the world should he controlled by a body of that kind. He did not expect that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would give a definite answer now; but as they had been doing their best in past years to put the rest of the Civil Service on a proper footing, he trusted that steps would be taken to see that men in the service in the Houses of Parliament rose on a properly defined scale, and were retired and pensioned at a reasonable age. He would not press for a reply now; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consult the Government with the view of bringing on the ordinary Estimates in about a fortnight. He saw the President of the Local Government Board smiling at the idea; but he hoped the Votes would be brought on in a week or two, because if it was the idea of the Government that, having got the Vote on Account, they need not bring on the real Estimates for some weeks, that was a reason for fighting the Vote tonight and to-morrow. He hoped that no such evil idea lurked in the mind of the Government. He would assume that the Estimates would be brought on again in a fortnight, and he hoped that when they were brought on the Committee would be told that the Govern- 1492 ment could see their way to bring in a Bill dealing with this question, so that none of those refuges of jobbery and patronage should be left, and that all the services, including the Houses of Parliament and the Legal Offices, should be brought within the powers of the Civil Service Commissioners, and under the same rules. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to promise that the matter should be considered before the Estimates wore again brought on.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
I appreciate the hon. Member's courtesy in giving me this notice of his intention to raise this question when the Estimates come on. He has dealt with us in a considerate manner. The subject shall receive consideration, and when the Vote comes on I shall be quite prepared to meet him.
§ DR. CLARK
said that, in consequence of the Leader of the House having refused to give them information, or the means of obtaining information, as to the financial relations between England, Ireland, and Scotland, he was disposed to move to cut English and Irish salaries down to the Scotch level. Every office in England was much better paid than in Scotland, and as for Ireland, she had always been the spoilt child of the Treasury, and every office in that country was more highly paid even than in England. For the Home Office and subordinate Departments the amount voted for England was £102,000, which was a preposterous sum when they bore in mind that Scotland only received £11,000. If England received a proportionate grant to Ireland, the amount paid to her would be only £77,000. He should move to reduce the payment to England down to the Scotch level. The payment to Ireland was £44,000, and he should avail himself of every opportunity, also, of moving to reduce this Vote down to the Scotch level. He should not call attention to this subject at the present moment if he foresaw any other opportunity of discussing it. But in all probability the ordinary Vote would not come before them until August, or perhaps November or December. It was necessary for the Government to sacrifice either their big Bills, their Departmental Bills or Supply, and the late Government had set the example of 1493 sacrificing Supply. They had been in the habit of taking two or three large Votes on Account, and then at the end of the Session the Estimates were run through in a lump, as many Votes being run through in one night as ought to occupy the Committee 10 nights. He protested against the refusal of the present Government to re-appoint the Committee appointed by the late Government to inquire into the financial relations between different portions of the United Kingdom. He was convinced that the result of the inquiry of such a Committee would be to show that, Scotland was overtaxed, and that everything Scotch was underpaid. The Local Government Board in England received £165,000, in Ireland it received £135,000, and in Scotland only £8,000. They agreed four or five years ago that all these local Votes should pass away, and that in lieu thereof a portion of the Excise should be given. So far as England and Scotland was concerned these charges were taken off; but Ireland was in the happy position of getting a share both of the Probate Duty and the other duty. And that was the state of things in every direction, Scotland being unfairly treated all round. Here was a Liberal Government, forsooth, the great bulk of those who composed it being Scotchmen, and yet they absolutely refused to give a Committee which the late Conservative Government gave, and which sat once. ["No, no!"] Yes, it was three years ago. It sat one night immediately after the passing of the Appropriation Bill. The hon. Member who then represented West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) pressed the Irish case and they had a discussion, and they suspended the Standing Orders, so that the Committee might sit after the House was prorogued. There was one sitting, and one Return was presented, showing how much Ireland was overcharged. Now, however, in spite of the number of Scotch Members in the Government, this Committee was refused. The Committee was essential, in order that light might be thrown on this question of the financial relations between the three countries, and in order that they might discuss it thoroughly. If the Government were going to remain in their present position of refusing this 1494 Committee, the proper course would be to discuss the matter in Committee of Supply and press it forward Vote by Vote. He would not divide the Committee on the present occasion, but he merely wished to toll the Government what to expect if they did not assent to the re-appointment of the Select Committee.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
thought some answer ought to be given to the observations of the hon. Member for Caithness. At an earlier period he had put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister asking whether he was prepared to re-appoint the Financial Committee which bad been appointed by the late Government, and which had done some work, and the right hon. Gentleman had replied that at this moment he was not prepared to grant a Committee. He (Mr. Hunter), however, had not understood that the right hon. Gentleman took up the position that he refused during the currency of the present Session to appoint the Committee. Of course, so far as Ireland was concerned, she would not care to enter into the financial question at present; but to Scotland it was a question of most vital importance. There could be no question, on the figures that had been produced by the Treasury, that Scotland was overcharged by a very large sum per annum. The precise amount of that sum was, of course, a matter upon which different opinions might be entertained——
Order, order! I do not see how this question arises on the Home Office Vote. It seems to me it would come more properly on the item for the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
§ *SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
said, he had a question to put to the Home Secretary on Vote 4. He had on two occasions asked questions as to the assault made on the Vicar of St. Anne's, Bermondsey, and the replies he had received bad been of such an unsatisfactory character that he felt compelled to bring the matter before the Committee. This gentleman— the Rev. F. B. Walsh—attended an anti-Home Rule meeting at Bermondsey as an ordinary citizen on the 24th April. 1495 He took no part whatever in the proceedings; he made no speech, and the greater portion of the meeting no doubt were not even aware of his presence. A very disorderly crowd, composed entirely of supporters of Her Majesty's Government, were gathered outside. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they knew something of the electoral proceedings in the South of London during the last election, and since, would realise what a disorderly crowd of that kind meant, because during the election in July there was a scene of unprecedented disorder and violence arranged—deliberately arranged and wire-pulled by the Radical managers in South London. The crowd in question was, undoubtedly, a repetition of what had taken place on a larger scale during the General Election. Gangs of rowdies marched from meeting to meeting and, acting under orders, broke up nearly every political meeting which took place on the Unionist side in the South and South West of London. Well, a most disorderly crowd was gathered outside the meeting attended by Mr. Walsh. They attacked people going into the meeting, throwing life preservers, bags of red ochre, and other dangerous missiles at them. Mr. Walsh left the meeting, and at its close was proceeding quietly in the direction of his home. He was followed by a portion of the crowd, was stoned and probably struck, and received the most serious injuries. He was confined to his room for upwards of a month and suffered extreme pain, whilst it was not too much to say that for a time his life was in danger. When he (Sir E. Ashmead-Bartlett) brought the matter to the attention of the Home Secretary (Mr. Asquith), the right hon. Gentleman replied with the easy nonchalance which he affected on these occasions. On neither occasion did he offer the slightest expression of sympathy to the victim of the outrage. The right hon. Gentleman thought he saw an opportunity of scoring off a political opponent, and, amid the cheers of his supporters, he said that the account which he (Sir E. Ashmead-Bartlett) had taken from The Times was exaggerated. He had put the question at the request of Mr. Walsh's relations, and after the Home Secretary's reply he received a letter from Mr. Walsh's wife, 1496 in consequence of which he put a second question, which embodied a description of the outrage as sent to him by Mrs. Walsh. It appeared that a stone struck the rev. gentleman first, and that on turning round to remonstrate he was struck in the eye with a stone which cut him to the bone. Blinded with blood, he staggered to the railings, when another stone struck him on the back of the head, rendering him unconscious, and he evidently had many blows because he had many bruises. Mr. Walsh said that "the street was filled with a howling mob," One would have thought that upon being-asked a question, based upon Mrs. Walsh's letter, the Home Secretary would have moderated his previous tone and expressed some sympathy with the victim of the outrage. Not in the least. Speaking in his usual defiant tone, the right hon. Gentleman said he adhered in every particular to his former answer, which was founded upon a statement made by Mr. Walsh to the Superintendent at the time. The right hon. Gentleman added that some disorderly lads had thrown stones at Mr. Walsh. As a matter of fact, the persons who threw stones were not disorderly lads but full-grown roughs of the most violent and disorderly character. The right hon. Gentleman said it was uncertain whether the stones were thrown at Mr. Walsh or not. There was not the slightest doubt whatever that these ruffians followed Mr. Walsh and deliberately attacked him when they found him alone. The right hon. Gentleman denied that the street was filled with a howling mob. That was, however, the statement made by Mrs. Walsh, and made, without the slightest doubt, with Mr. Walsh's assent and concurrence. The fact was that a disgraceful, brutal, and unprovoked attack had been made by a political mob, consisting of supporters of the present Government, upon one of their opponents. There was not the slightest doubt that if an injury of that kind had been inflicted upon a supporter of the Liberal Party, and that the present Opposition had been in Office, the House and the country would have rung with the case for weeks and perhaps for months. He should not have pressed the matter on the present occasion had it not been for the tone adopted by the Home Secre- 1497 tary. Up to the present moment, in spite of the brutality and cowardice of the attack and the great injuries which had been inflicted upon this unfortunate clergyman, not a single word or suggestion of sympathy had fallen from the representative of the Government. Admitting that the right hon. Gentleman's own description of the occurrence was accurate, it was still insufficient to support the statement that the account of the attack given in the first instance by The Times, and supported subsequently by Mrs. Walsh's letter, was exaggerated. The violence which had been used towards Mr. Walsh was but part of the system of carefully arranged, planned and paid for outrages, which were perpetrated at the last Election throughout the whole of South London. Member after Member, on the Opposition side of the House, would be able to give proof of the fact that it was perfectly impossible for an open Unionist meeting to be held in South and South-West London last July. The leaders of the outrages that took place were perfectly well known, and the gangs marched solidly from place to place. It was a very serious thing when that sort of terrorism and violence was allowed to prevail. This was not the first time that disorderly scenes had occurred in Bermondsey. It was bad enough when political violence took the form of disorder at public meetings; but when it developed into cruel, unprovoked, cowardly and most injurious assaults upon inoffensive individuals, it was certainly time for the Government to express sympathy with the victims of the outrages and to do their best to discover the perpetrators.
§ MR. BARROW (Southwark, Bermondsey)
said, with regard to the speech just delivered, he had to say simply that he never had a ticket meeting at Bermondsey, and never had a disturbance at a meeting—indoors or out of doors. On the occasion referred to a meeting was held in the Town Hall, and the electorate were much excited by a speech delivered by the hon. Member himself—a speech, he was informed, which was calculated to provoke disorder. He had heard that the hon. Member had avowed that he would never appear there again.
§ *SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said, he could assure the Committee that every statement the hon. Member had just made was inaccurate. [Cries of "Oh!"] The meeting he addressed in the Town Hall, although a number of Liberals were present, was most orderly, and there was not the slightest disturbance. There was a violent mob outside the Hall before the meeting began. He challenged the hon. Gentleman to prove that there was disturbance in the Hall, or to produce a single sentence from his speech which was calculated to provoke disorder. It was quite possible the hon. Member might not be prepared to do that now; but he challenged him to do it any time in the future. [Cries of "Order!"]
I must remind the hon. Gentleman that the question before the Committee is the conduct of the Home Secretary.
§ MR. BARROW
said, he was glad the hon. Member had acknowledged that at a meeting attended by a number of Liberals there was no disorder, but perfect order, because on a previous occasion it was complained that it was hard to get a Tory meeting in the constituency. That could not be said again, for Liberals were willing the other side should be heard, and, as the hon. Member confessed, they listened to himself and his friends with order. He would ask the hon. Member how he reconciled his present with his previous statement. With respect to the Home Secretary's replies on the question of this attack, he had heard them, and he considered that they conveyed a fair representation of the facts as stated by the authorities of Bermondsey. The street was not crowded by a rabble; there were half-a-dozen boys who followed the rev. gentleman, and the police were unable to capture the boys who threw the stones. He was certain from all he had heard that there was no evil design; nothing but a spirit of mischief prevailed, and that was the infection from the excitement outside the Town Hall. The Home Secretary's answers were clearly adapted to the circumstances of the case, and he thought there was nothing more to be said.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
I think, Sir, the Committee has hardly had a more conspicuous instance of the abuse of an occasion of this kind, on which questions of general policy might fitly be raised, than that which we have just witnessed. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir E. Ashmead-Bartlett) has gone into the details of what, after all—though the result is a very lamentable injury, for which I have expressed my regret to the rev. gentleman—was nothing more than a street row. The hon. Gentleman, however, has not told us—and he must have been aware of it—in connection with his remarks, that I was not in Office last year, and was not then responsible for the conduct of the police. The responsibility rests on his Colleagues. There is considerable discrepancy as to the origin of this disturbance, and the hon. Gentleman has displayed much curiosity. Well, I know nothing of that. The information given to me by the police —and upon it I am bound to rely—is that the rev. gentleman was proceeding along the street, that he undoubtedly received two, or perhaps three, blows with stones, and he had in consequence suffered serious injury, and had been in bed for some time. I have intimated to the rev. gentleman, through his wife, my sincere sympathy with him, and my extreme regret that the occurrence should have taken place. It appears there was a meeting held in the Town Hall, at which the rev. gentleman spoke. I was not there, and I do not know. If the hon. Gentleman opposite thinks I should be brought to the Bar of the House he should tell us why. I am only saying what I have been told is the fact, according to the police, who are entitled to know, and who have reported to me. As I have said, a meeting was held in the Town Hall, over which the hon. Gentleman himself presided.
§ MR. ASQUITH
Well, the hon. Gentleman was, at any rate, a very prominent figure. We have here the statement, not only of the police but of the rev. gentleman himself. Will the hon. Gentleman say that the statement made by 1500 the rev. gentleman to the police is unworthy of credence? That statement was that when he was half-way down the street something struck him on the head, and on his turning round he was struck on the eye, as he believed, by a stone. He did not know that he was followed. There was nothing in the nature of a rescue, and he was not surrounded, nor was any one near him. He had no idea by whom the stone was thrown, and could give no further information. That is the statement of the rev. gentleman. The police state they were not in sight when the missile was thrown, but they came up subsequently, and assisted the rev. gentleman home. A boy was seen running away, and every endeavour was made to discover the offenders. To make assurance doubly sure, I had further inquiries founded on the suggestions made by the hon. Member, with the result that the police were of opinion that the suggestion that the street was filled with a howling mob, which followed the rev. gentleman, could not be true. The rev. gentleman did not know that he was followed until a stone struck him on the head, and the police found him leaning against the railings with no one near him. When the clergyman had gone a short way down the street, after coming out of the meeting, some boys threw stones—whether at him or not appears to be uncertain. The perpetrators ran away when the police arrived. The police assisted him to a doctor's, where the wound was dressed. I would ask the Committee, under these circumstances, what could I or the police do that has not been done in this case, and what possible ground of complaint is there against the authorities? I am very sorry the rev. gentleman has been injured, but I see no reason to believe that the boys who injured him attended the meeting. The suggestion is that; they were a body of supporters of the Government, who, being worsted in argument, had taken the only revenge that was open to them by assaulting an unoffending clergyman with stones in the street. This was an ordinary street row; and while it is very much to be regretted that the police did not happen to be present at the exact moment when the stones were thrown—and that sometimes happens, unfortunately—yet, as 1501 soon as they came up, they did everything they could to assist the victim of the outrage, and left no stone unturned to secure the offenders. I would, therefore, ask what possible justification there can be for occupying the time of the Committee, delaying the progress of business, and postponing the discussion of important questions of policy by this miserable controversy over the trumpery details of a street row?
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
said, he would remind, with reference to his closing observations, the right hon. Gentleman that that House had always been regarded as the grand inquest of the nation, and that injuries to the persons and liberties of Her Majesty's subjects had not been considered beneath its notice. Hon. Members had had during the present Session very few opportunities of bringing grievances forward; and this was the only occasion since the lamentable occurrence took place on which it could be brought to the notice of the House. He was not going to detain the House; but he maintained that when an outrage took place in the Metropolis, and when one of Her Majesty's subjects was seriously injured, any hon. Member who had reason to become acquainted with the circumstances was only discharging his duty in bringing the matter before the knowledge of the House on the first opportunity that presented itself. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see that such an outrage did not take place again.
Mr. Macfarlane rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
THE MARQUESS OF CARMARTHEN (Lambeth, Brixton),
on a point of Order, wished to know if he could, on this Vote, call attention to the growing practice of carrying revolvers; or whether he should wait until the Home Office Vote?
THE MARQUESS OF CARMARTHEN
said, in that case, he would raise the question now. The usual answer of the Government on this question was that something would be done if the House would have patience. Meanwhile, men were being shot in the streets day after day. The Home Office issued a Circular to all Coroners asking for a Return of the fatalities caused by revolvers; but these Returns only included fatal cases; and there were many more where serious, but not mortal, injuries were inflicted. The evil was a great and growing one; and the remedy he would suggest—perhaps he was not in Order, but he would venture to say that a remedy might be applied by prohibiting gunmakers from selling revolvers to any persons except those who could produce a licence to carry them. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department must be aware of the danger of this indiscriminate carrying of revolvers, and he ventured to hope that he would give the suggestion he had made full consideration, with the object, if necessary, of bringing in a practical Bill upon the subject.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, he recognised that the question was well worthy the consideration of the House; but it would be a dangerous precedent to discuss and criticise in Supply, not only what a Government had done, but also what it ought to have done. He did not, however, make any complaint of that. The question had been engaging his attention for some time. The noble Lord was wrong in supposing that the application for Returns of injuries inflicted by-revolvers had been made only to the Coroners. The Home Office made a similar application to all the hospitals in the country. Of course, the information so obtained could not be complete; but it was so large and valuable that he and the Under Secretary (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) saw their way to frame upon it a working measure; and if the state of business would allow of it, and if the House were disposed to treat the Bill as non-contentious and non-controversial, he did not despair of effecting improvements in the law even in the present Session. He was as anxious to see something done as the noble Lord himself was.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said, he wished to raise a small but an important point. They in the House of Commons were under many obligations to the 80 or 100 policemen—members of the Metropolitan Force,—who were in attendance in and around the Houses of Parliament. The duties of these men practically commenced when the House sat and ended when it rose; and during all that time they had to wear heavy tunics, heavy boots, and heavy helmets. He merely wished to put it to the right hon. Gentleman——
§ *MR.HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N. E.),
on the Vote relating to the Foreign Office, said, he understood that an application had been made to the Argentine Government for the extradition of Jabez Spencer Balfour, and that the Argentine Government had expressed their willingness to give up Mr. Jabez Balfour provided the Government of this country under similar circumstances and conditions would surrender criminals. He considered that such an arrangement would be an equitable one, and would pave the way to an Extradition Treaty in the future. He felt it would be a disgrace if the Government did not use every effort to bring this man to justice, seeing that he was once a Member of that House, and a man who posed as a religious reformer, and obtained money from all classes. He had no personal interest in the matter, as he had not lost a penny through this man's dishonesty, and he never passed a word with him in his life; hut he knew that hundreds and thousands had been reduced to almost absolute starvation by the defalcations of Mr. Jabez Balfour, and he felt it was the bounded duty of the Foreign Office to do everything in its power to see that he was restored to the hands of justice in this country. He was not accusing the Foreign Office of not having done their duty; he only wanted to know if they had taken all the steps possible for the purpose of restoring this man to 1504 the bosom of his friends in this country. He was sure there were many besides those who had suffered very severely who would be only too glad to find Jabez Balfour once more on British ground to have justice meted out to him according to his deserts.
asked what had been done with regard to the £100 in respect of International Law promised to Third Secretaries? The hon. Baronet, when last this matter was mentioned, admitted that the Third Secretaries had been hardly treated, and expressed the hope that the question would eventually be arranged. He would like to know whether there was any prospect of these gentlemen being paid the sum to which they were fully entitled?
§ *SIR E. GREY
said, the question raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman had been the subject of very earnest consideration, and a decision was on the point of being arrived at which, he hoped, would be satisfactory to those concerned. With reference to the question of the extradition of Mr. Jabez Balfour, he could only repeat what he had already stated to the hon. Member for Bethnal Green in reply to questions put by him. When it was known that Mr. Jabez Balfour was in the Argentine Republic, application was made by the Foreign Office to the Argentine Government to surrender him to the Authorities of this country. The Argentine Government replied that in the absence of an Extradition Treaty they could not surrender him, unless Her Majesty's Government would promise to give reciprocity in a like case; but by British law they had no power to surrender foreigners unless they had an Extradition Treaty. The hon. Member had very fairly put the point when he said that the Argentine Government asked for reciprocity, and would Her Majesty's Government give it? He had no hesitation in saying the Government were ready to give reciprocity by the only means by which the English law allowed it to be given. Some years ago an Extradition Treaty with the Argentine Republic was actually signed, but the Argentine Republic were not prepared to ratify it. The Treaty was signed, and 1505 was an expression of the desire of this Government for reciprocity in this matter; and as soon as the Argentine Government ratified that Treaty there was no doubt this country would he in a position to say they could guarantee reciprocity in the sense that the British law allowed them to do so. These being the facts, any reticence which occurred in reference to questions on the subject was occasioned solely by anxiety that in the interests of justice no more should be said than was absolutely necessary. He could assure the hon. Member that as far as their present powers allowed, or as far as the extension of future Extradition Treaties would permit them, no effort would be spared to bring to justice people guilty of such crimes as this, in whatever country they might have taken up their abode.
§ *SIR THOMAS LEA (Londonderry, S.)
desired to know whether there had been a considerable increase in the slave trade since this country had given up the right of search of slave dhows at Madagascar? He understood the hon. Baronet had stated that this right had been given up in consequence of the French Treaty with Madagascar, and since that answer had been given there was a strong feeling in some quarters that the Slave Trade was very much increasing in consequence of this right of search having been given up.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs was well aware that the right of search, which was purely a conventional right of search, was not allowed to be exercised over French vessels on the Coast of Madagascar; and, consequently, the Slave Trade on the Coast of Madagascar was at this moment being carried on under the French flag, without any power of interference by this country. That was exactly what would take place with regard to the liquor traffic in the North Sea, and the day would come when this country would bitterly regret having consented to that Convention which gave foreign cruisers the right to search British ships at sea. As to the question of the extradition of a former Member of that House from the Argentine Republic, he was no friend of Extradition Treaties; but if it were right 1506 to ask that someone in a foreign country should be given up to us, was it not equally important to inquire whether this country had not persons in their power whom they had no right to have? Take the case of Arabi Pasha. He defied any hon. Member of that House to give him any ground or good authority or any good law under which Arabi Pasha was kept a prisoner by the power of England. Arabi Pasha had been exiled from his native country and had been located in Ceylon. He had again and again given promises of good conduct and asked to be restored to Egypt; but his demands had always been met by an absolute refusal. He invited the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs to say under what rule of either the Law of Nations or the Municipal Laws of England Arabi Pasha was kept prisoner in Ceylon by the power of this country? There was another matter on which he wished for information. He had the honour of drawing the attention of that House some time ago to the Behring Sea question, and he pointed out several matters which were subsequently corroborated in the course of the arbitration proceedings at Paris. In case they came to a permanent and successful issue of the arbitration with the United States with reference to the part of the Behring Sea they claimed, they would have left untouched and undecided the far more serious matter of the remaining one-third of the Behring Sea which was exclusively claimed by Russia. He should like to know what arrangements had been made by this country with the Russian Government with respect to that one-third of the Behring Sea which was not covered by the arbitration proceedings in Paris?
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
said, he noticed by that morning's papers that private letters from Uganda were beginning to arrive, and he desired to ask whether the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs expected any letters from Sir Gerald Portal, and would he promise to lay them on the Table of the House as soon as they arrived?
§ MR. LEGH (Lancashire, S. W., Newton)
wondered that the hon. Member for Lynn could regard Arabi Pasha as a hero and a martyr. He had always looked upon Arabi as a sort of Oriental 1507 Boulanger, at once tyrannical, cowardly and fanatical, and stupendously ignorant. What was his history? He started originally as a mutineer——
THE CHAIRMAN (interposing)
said, it was not in Order to go into the history of Arabi Pasha. It did not arise in this Vote.
§ MR. LEGH
said, he was anxious to say something against the proposal of his hon. Friend that further indulgence should be extended to Arabi Pasha. His contention was that there was nothing in his history to justify any clemency being shown to him. This was how Arabi Pasha started: He obtained high position——["Order, order!"]
I do not think it is in Order to go into the character and history of Arabi Pasha. Anything which affects the Secretary for Foreign Affairs or the Foreign Office with regard to the present position of Arabi Pasha may be material.
§ MR. LEGH
asked, was Arabi Pasha to be regarded as a martyr? It was admitted he was an exile; but the question was, whether he was an ill-treated exile? It appeared it was considered a grievance that this exile was domiciled in Ceylon. He had always been under the impression that, the Island of Ceylon was a Mussulman paradise. What hardship, then, was there in a man being exiled to his own paradise? Arabi was in receipt of a pension of £300 a year; and if he had served his time and been a faithful subject and had been retired as a general officer, the question was whether he would have been receiving anything like such a pension? Had Arabi been separated from his relations? On the contrary; he understood Arabi resided in a kind of patriarchal splendour, surrounded by his wives and, for all he knew, by his sisters, his cousins, and his aunts; and here in this dignified seclusion he received the visits of itinerant politicians, who obtained his views probably on subjects such as Parish Councils and the prospects of bimetallism. He hoped that neither this nor any other Government would pay any attention to the appeals of his hon. Friend, and he hoped no consideration would be shown to Arabi Pasha in future.
§ MR. W. REDMOND (Clare, E.)
asked whether, in answer to the hon. Member for Northampton, the Prime Minister had not stated that the matter of allowing Arabi Pasha to change his place of exile was under consideration of the Government and in all probability such a change would be allowed?
§ *SIR E. GREY
said, in answer to the hon. Member who had last spoken, he had not referred recently to the answer of the Prime Minister which had been mentioned, and his recollection of its terms was not exactly the same as the hon. Member's. His recollection was that the Prime Minister stated that the question of the domicile of Arabi and his companions was one which depended on large general considerations, and that he could not make any definite promise on the subject. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member for North Galway, he had to say that no news had yet been received from Uganda. Sir Gerald Portal was to arrive in Uganda towards the end of March. He thought it would take three months at least for a Report to arrive from Uganda, so that no Report could have been received yet. As to whether he would lay the communications from Sir Gerald Portal on the Table of the House, he thought in all cases the Government ought to have an opportunity of reading the documents before they were laid on the Table. He had not the least doubt that, as soon as Reports were received from Uganda, the House and the public would be made acquainted with the tenour of them.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
inquired, would the hon. Baronet acquaint the House when the first Reports were received from Sir Gerald Portal?
§ *SIR E. GREY
said, there would be no objection in stating the fact as soon as Sir Gerald Portal had made a Report on Uganda. As regarded the territorial waters of Madagascar, the Protectorate which France exercised over Madagascar was recognised by the late Government some years ago. France signed the greater part of the Brussels Act, and the general purport of that Act was that the countries who signed it undertook in their own territories and in protected territorial waters the charge of suppressing the Slave Trade, With the 1509 Protectorate of Madagascar France had undertaken the charge of the Slave Trade in the Protectorate waters of Madagascar, and, with the recognition of the Protectorate exercised by France, had gone the recognition of the obligation by France to take charge of the Slave Trade and suppress it in these territorial waters. As regarded Russia and the Behring Sea, he could assure the hon. Member for King's Lynn that Russia had not put forward any claim to territorial jurisdiction in the open sea. There seemed to be a distinction drawn between jurisdiction over the seals and jurisdiction over the sea. He could only say for the present that a provisional arrangement with Russia would, he hoped, be arrived at by which the seals should be protected on the Russian side of the Behring Sea, and no claim to that part of the sea had been put forward by Russia, so that the question of territorial jurisdiction did not arise, as far as Russia was concerned. A future permanent arrangement would no doubt depend upon the issue of the discussions now proceeding.
§ DR. CLARK
said, the Natal Legislature had passed a Bill for the purpose of giving itself a Government, and he desired to know whether, before the Queen's sanction was given to the Bill, it would come before the House of Commons in the same way as did the Bill for giving responsible Government to Western Australia, or whether it would be dealt with by an Order in Council? If by the latter method, would the Government, before coming to a final decision, consider two classes in Natal who were practically outside the scope of the Bill? There were almost as many of our fellow-subjects from India as there were white men in Natal. These men came originally to work in the sugar plantations, but many had established themselves as merchants; and as they were content with a lower standard of comfort and lower profits than the white merchants, they were gradually cutting out the latter. Attempts were being made to put down this competition. As far as he understood, there was one Bill passed by the Legislative Council of Natal giving itself responsible Government; but as it proposed only one Chamber, it did not 1510 meet with the approbation of the late Secretary for the Colonies, who wanted two, and the Colonial Office drafted a Bill which, he believed, was practically the Bill which had now been adopted by the Legislative Council. By this Bill the British Indians and the natives of Natal were not to be given the franchise which was enjoyed by the same classes in Cape Colony. Why was the Colonial Office going to permit Natal to have a more conservative policy regarding British Indians and natives than the Cape Colony? By the Bill it was proposed to maintain the so-called Native Law, and to make the Governor the supreme Chief. He protested against such a policy, which was simply shameful. If they were going to make any change at all, the natives should come under the same conditions as the present Cape Law, and should have the right of representation. He wished to know whether Parliament would have an opportunity of discussing the Bill, or whether the matter was to be decided by the Cabinet? As to the question of Zululand, there were three unfortunate prisoners in Natal— Cetewayo's brothers—and when they made a change, they would have to consider their position. If the Government policy was to be carried out at all, it must be carried out by men who were favourable to it and who were loyal to them, and not, as on a former occasion, by men who were bitterly opposed to it.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)
said, he wished to ask a question with reference to quarantine at Malta. The way in which British subjects were treated under Quarantine Law there was a monstrous abuse. When a ship was put into quarantine, the passengers were sent to the quarantine establishment for considerable periods, ranging from a week to a fortnight. They were pitchforked into what might almost be described as a dirty hole, and were treated with the smallest consideration, and had to submit to blackmail. They had to provide their own food in the best way they could; and it was only by paying blackmail that they could obtain any convenience or comfort. The question had been brought before the Colonial Office over and over again. He knew that Malta was under Local Government, and that it 1511 was difficult for the Colonial Office to interfere; but no doubt pressure could be brought to bear. He now raised it in Committee, in order that the hands of the Under Secretary might be strengthened in dealing with the matter.
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. S. BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
We have no absolute power to insist upon any definite measure in regard to the quarantine at Malta; but something may be done by calling attention to the question, and in bringing as much pressure to bear on the authorities as we can. Such matters as these often get into a routine, if special attention is not occasionally called to them. I have already communicated with the Governor, and I hope that something may be done, now that public attention has been called to the subject, to improve the condition of the lazaretto at Malta. The Self-Governing Bill of Natal will not come before the House of Commons; it will be assented to by Order in Council. The measure passed is the exact Bill which the late Government insisted should be placed before the electors of Natal; and, being in the nature of a bargain, it can hardly now be altered; but when it comes before the Government, the question as to the natives and the Native Law affecting them will be carefully considered. The British Resident Commissioner in Zululand is about to retire on a pension, and all the questions connected with Zululand are receiving the best attention of the Government. They must necessarily, however, stand over until the successor of Mr. Osborn has been appointed. The successor of Mr. Osborn will not be connected with either of the two Parties in Zululand. He will go there with an open mind, and it is hoped that satisfaction will be felt by all those interested in Zululand when they learn what steps have been taken to arrive at a successor to Mr. Osborn. The Government hope that by the advice they will then receive they will be able to bring to an end the disputes which have brought so much injury on that unhappy country.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, that the prolongation of the difficulties in Zululand had been more 1512 due to Mr. Osborn's maladministration and want of tact than to any other cause, and he hoped that the Government would do their best to see that Mr. Osborn's successor was a man who would show more sympathy with the natives.
§ MR. PIERPOINT (Warrington)
asked whether there was any hope that the inhabitants of Cyprus would be relieved of the great burden of the tribute paid not to the Porte, but by agreement to the British and French Governments in connection with the Guaranteed Loan of 1855? He should like to know under what agreement this money was paid over to France, and when the agreement came into existence?
§ MR. CONYBEARE
was glad that this question had been raised, because he had raised it himself a year or two ago. He hoped they would have some explanation as to the arrangement which had been made.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I rather agree with the opinion which has been expressed as to the tribute being part of the terms under which this land of Cyprus was acquired by the English Government. It was agreed that a certain sum should be paid over to Turkey in return for the rights which Turkey had previously exercised over the Island. This was part of the arrangement made at the time of the Anglo-Turkish Convention, which has been in operation for some years, and I do not see any method by which we can interfere with it now.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
thought there was some ground of complaint while this enormous sum was being taken away from the Island. Year after year, in the rainy season, lives were lost through the absence of bridges which ought to be built. He was not saying anything against the Ottoman Government. It was their business to make the best bargain they could. Several proposals had been made, but he thought the Island ought to be handed over to Greece, to which it properly belonged. He entered his protest against this outlandish arrangement being indefinitely continued to the prejudice of the islanders.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
appealed to the Committee to allow the Vote. The Report of the Vote must be taken tomorrow, and there must be a Royal Order to follow to enable certain payments to be made, which must be made on June 1. He hoped hon. Gentlemen would allow the Vote to be taken.
§ SIR J. GORST
said, the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that there were some very important matters which ought to be discussed on the Vote on Account. On the former occasion when a Vote on Account was asked for, he had given notice that he would call the attention of the Committee to a new expenditure on the part of the Board of Trade in the creation of a Department of Labour. That expenditure was still going on, but it had received no sanction whatever from Parliament. The discussion on the former Vote on Account was closured before that item was reached, and probably, in the course of half-an-hour, the present discussion would be closured. Therefore, they would have an entirely new expenditure embarked upon the Board of Trade on a most important subject, and that expenditure would have gone on till the end of the Session without ever having been sanctioned in Committee of Supply. In these circumstances, he wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he would put down the Report on the Vote on Account as the first Order to-morrow, and thereby give the Committee an opportunity of sanctioning this new expenditure incurred by the Board of Trade? A few years ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer made some remarks which were exactly opposite to the present position of Committee of Supply. He would read them to the House as expressing the sentiments which animated hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman said—What we want before giving this Vote on Account is some assurance that Supply will be properly discussed. The plan of the Government is to get Supply as much out of the way as possible. It is but a mere question of Money Votes. It is a question of the control of administration, and, therefore, the object of the Government is to postpone and compress Supply into as small a space as possible. The most effective course, in my opinion, would be to diminish the Vote on Account by one-half and make it for one month only.1514 Those being the sentiments of hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House, as well as of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would do one of two things? Would he diminish the Vote by one-half and take the Vote for a mouth only—and in that case he did not think there would be any difficulty about getting the Vote—or would he take that night the whole Vote for two months, and promise that to-morrow the Report of the Vote should be taken as the first Order of the Day, so that there might be an opportunity for discussion, and so that the expenditure of the Government might not be withdrawn altogether from Parliamentary control?
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
The Motion to which the right hon. Gentleman refers was not made by me, but was made by another Member, and it was resisted by the former Government, and resisted by a mechanical majority and defeated. However good the doctrine I then laid down may be, it was resisted by the right hon. Gentleman and his friends; they refused to be bound by it, and they gave up to Supply far less time than has been given to it this year. I must leave it to the Committee to determine whether they will take the course adopted previously. The instances will be found to be numerous in which a Vote on Account has not occupied more than one night. The present Vote has been discussed as if it were a Vote on the Estimates themselves; the discussions have been appropriate to the Estimates and not to a Vote on Account. A discussion on a Vote on Account is usually devoted to matters of urgency; but nobody can say that has been the character of to-night's discussions. Some of the speeches related to topics that arise in Inter Votes. I do not speak in any language of undue criticism of what has taken place, but I do wish to point out to the Committee that you cannot expect on a Vote on Account to discuss the subjects that are included in the Vote on Account, otherwise you would have what would be a double discussion upon the whole of the Estimates which cannot be so dealt with. It has not been the practice in former Parliaments, and the occasions 1515 have been rare on which the Vote on Account occupied more than a single night.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
After the speech of the right hon. Gentleman I must continue until such time as the Government think fit to close the discussion. I had given notice to move the reduction of an item in respect of the Board of Trade and subordinate Departments by £500, my object being to call the attention of the Committee to the new departure which the Board of Trade have taken. What the Board of Trade have done has not been of a very extensive character. They have a Department in the Board of Trade which was called a branch of the Statistical Department of the Board of Trade which related to the question of labour, and upon this was spent the very meagre sum of £10,000. What the Board of Trade has done is to increase by 50 per cent. the expenditure on this Statistical Department. I always thought the Department very much starved, and, as far as the increase in the staff of the Department and in its functions go, I think everybody will agree that the conduct of the Board of Trade was reasonable and proper. In fact, I should be prepared to go so far as to praise what had been done by the right hon. Gentleman; but I am afraid my vocabulary would not be strong enough to satisfy his ideas of the praise due to this Department. I, therefore, leave him to praise his own Department in his own terms. There are three things I complain of. The first objection I make is of the name the right hon. Gentleman has given to this new Department. He called it a Labour Department. The right hon. Gentleman knows "what's in a name" much better than the inexperienced Juliet. He is rather of the opinion of Mephistopheles that men have a propensity, when they hear a mere name, to believe there must be something of reality behind it. So the right hon. Gentleman paints up "Labour Department of the Board of Trade" in Parliament Street, and he knows very well that nine people out of ten will believe that a Labour Department of the Government has been created, and that they will give him the credit of being the creator of it. To 1516 us, who for many years have advocated the creation of a Labour Department of the Board of Trade, this is not altogether satisfactory, because the creation of a sham Department is a real and serious obstacle to the creation of a real Department. What a real Department of Labour requires is certainly Executive power. Now, this Department is nothing but a Statistical Department—a Department of pure inquiry, pure record, and possesses no Executive power whatever. It does not concentrate all the different functions which the Government exercise in reference to the industry of the country under the hands of one Minister in one Department. The responsibility of Parliament is single and undivided. Of course, at this hour of the night, with the Closure imminent in 20 minutes, it is impossible for me to do justice to the position which I wish to take up. I cannot explain in so short a time what a real Labour Department ought to be; therefore I can do little more than say that the Department of the right hon. Gentleman is a sham Department of Labour, and expose myself to his contradictions and his jeers. That is my first objection—that the right hon. Gentleman has given to this Department a name which is a sham and deceptive name, and which is an obstacle to the real thing which we all desire to see established being hereafter established. If he had instituted a real Department of Labour, I would have been the very first to have expressed my admiration of his statesmanship and conduct; but I do think, if there was not time and leisure to create the real thing, it is a great pity he should have taken refuge in the establishment of a mere sham. The second objection I have to what the right hon. Gentleman has done is that he has entirely ignored and has attempted to supplant the operations of the Royal Commission on Labour. The Royal Commission on Labour had the advantage of obtaining the assistance of a very valuable Secretary; and under that Secretary, during the last two years—as the Secretary to the Treasury knows—at very considerable expense there has been created an office, admirably organised, which has collected statistics and evidence respecting labour, not only in this country, but in every part of the 1517 world. If anybody wanted an example of the efficiency of this Department they could not do better than see the Blue Book which was issued just before Whitsuntide, giving an account of the conditions of labour all over the world, and of the migration of labour from one country to another. If hon. Members had road that admirable production they would have seen that not only was the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade incorrect when he said that the Labour Commission had only touched the American fringe of the question, but they would see that his own Commission, which he had sent out to do over again the work already admirably done by the Secretary to the Labour Commission, was only touching the fringe itself, because his inquiries are confined to the United States of America, whereas the Blue Book gives information about the migration of labour in every part of the world; and, as giving an exhaustive account of the position of labour, it deserves a somewhat better recognition from the President of the Board of Trade. But that is not all. This new Statistical Department of Labour is feeding itself from the Labour Commission. It is possessing itself of all the information which has been obtained by the Labour Commission; and, more than that, the right hon. Gentleman is tempting the clerks and officials of the Royal Commission on Labour, who have not yet completed their task, to leave the work of the Royal Commission in order to take service in the Labour Department of the Board of Trade, and thereby very seriously crippling work of that description. Of course, any persons who have been employed and trained in the Royal Commission on Labour have a much better prospect of permanency in the service of the Board of Trade than in that of the Labour Commission, and I know the work of that Commission is being crippled, because the right hon. Gentleman is tempting the officials of that Commission to leave their employment and take service under the Board of Trade. The third complaint I have to make as to the action of the Board of Trade in this matter is in respect to the selection of labour correspondents. I am quite willing to give 1518 the right hon. Gentleman every credit for having selected his labour correspondents without regard to political considerations. Unfortunately, I should say that a large proportion of the leaders of the working classes of this country are Gladstonians, and I am afraid a great proportion of them prefer the interests of Party to the interests of labour; and therefore I am not surprised—it is natural—that if the right hon. Gentleman selected them without regard to any political considerations he would find the great majority of those who were selected were supporters of his own Party. But that is exactly the mode of selection which is complained of in the Lords Lieutenant of counties; and when the Lords Lieutenant of counties selected without regard to political considerations, and it was found that the great majority they selected were opponents of the present Government, their conduct was denounced and decried, and if yon are going to make a proper apportionment in the Magistrates you ought to be equally careful you make a proper apportionment of the correspondents you appoint throughout the country. I go further. I do not know who advises the right hon. Gentleman in the selection of correspondents; but in some instances not only are they supporters of the present Government, but most violent political partisans, and their knowledge—if they have any—of the conditions of labour throughout the districts in which they are appointed is derived from their having gone about agitating and making speeches on behalf of the present Government, and they are really not labour correspondents. They are Radical correspondents in the interests of the Government. Their appointment is really a method of subsidising agitators, and paying them for going about the country, particularly in the rural districts, for the purpose, not of giving reliable information upon the subject of the condition of labour, but of propagating opinions in favour of the present Government. I cannot help expressing my regret that a matter which might have boon treated as one of no particular character whatever should have been made by the right hon. Gentleman of so extremely partisan a character, and that he should have in so barefaced a manner attempted to make 1519 political capital out of what professed to be, and what ought to have been, a general movement of no political character in favour of the workers of this country. He might have extended his Statistical Department of the Board of Trade with the greatest possible advantage, and everybody would have supported him. Why was it necessary, in the first place, to pretend to establish a Labour Department which the Government are not yet prepared to establish; and why should he have crippled the operations of the Royal Labour Commission, of which he himself is an officer—and which, out of loyalty to the body he belonged, he should have supported—and why in the employment of this Labour Department should he have appointed political agitators in the rural districts instead of men who could have really given him accurate information?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. MUNDELLA,) Sheffield, Brightside
I shall only occupy the five minutes which have been left to me to reply to the right hon. Gentleman, not on the direct defence of the Labour Department, but by a defence of the appointment of correspondents, because that is the main allegation in the ease of the right hon. Gentleman. He says that, with respect to these correspondents throughout the country, I have practically been subsidising agitators. Now, Sir, he complains of the selection of those so-called agitators. The subsidising of the whole of the correspondents amounts to£500 a year. It ranges from no payment whatever—some of them are honorary—then to£10 the lowest to£20 the highest. It is an appointment, not for life but for pleasure, and can be terminated at any moment. These correspondents are appointed solely because of their ability to supply useful information for the benefit of the working classes, and they are not selected by me, although I take upon myself all the responsibility for the appointments. They have been selected in the most careful manner by the Controller, the Labour Commissioner, and Mr. John Burnett, the Chief Labour Correspondent, in conjunction with my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth. 1520 They have gone through these four hands, and have received the approval of these four gentlemen before they came to me for consideration. I know nothing of the politics of any man of them. There is only one with whose politics I am at all acquainted. In the case of the Chief Correspondents, the second I appointed was a life-long Conservative—the one who is in receipt of £300 a year. His name is well known; but it is a good appointment, and was made solely on the ground of the fitness of this gentleman. With respect to the local correspondents and their small stipends, I say these men will do splendid service for it, and the best evidence of this can be found in The Labour Gazette, the first number of which has been issued and criticised as a most impartial journal by all the Conservative papers, and by none more than the leading Tory papers of London. And yet the right hon. Gentleman comes forward and abuses these appointments and says we are subsidising agitators. I think nothing further need be said on this branch of the subject. As an answer to what the right hon. Gentleman said in disparagement of the Labour Department let me just call his attention to the language of one of his Leaders. Here is a speech delivered to the working men of Liverpool by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington. This gives an estimate of the work that has been done and is being done by the Labour Department, and the only mistake is that he attributes to a Conservative Minister this Labour Department. Here is what the noble Lord says—I would also remind you, in recalling the record of the attitude of the Tory Party towards the labour interest—I think it ought to be remembered—that the connection between Government and the labour interest which now exists was first made close and direct by a Tory Minister.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
No; he did not withdraw the statement about the Labour Department, but he withdrew the statement attributing it to the wrong Minister. Let us see what the noble Lord goes on to say—It was my right hon. Friend Sir Michael Hicks-Beach—[Cheers]—when he was President 1521 of the Board of Trade, who established the Labour Bureau, which undoubtedly at once got the confidence of the Labour Party in England; and he appointed, if you recollect, as good a representative of the Labour Party as could be selected in the person of Mr. Burnett, and he also instituted The Board of Trade Labour Gazette, which is published officially by the Board of Trade, and gives to all labour organisations the most authentic and the most valuable official intelligence as to the state of the demand for labour in various localities, as to the state of the markets, and as to other questions deeply affecting the working man.I appeal from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University to the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington. I leave it where the noble Lord left it, and when we come to discuss these Estimates in Supply I shall be able to give a full and complete answer to the right hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ MR. BARTLEY, sitting and with his hat on, said: I think you ruled, Sir, that you would put the Closure on account of the exigencies of the Public Service.
I did not rule at all upon the matter. I simply stated my reason for putting the Motion.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 192; Noes 124.—(Division List, No. 99.)
§ Original Question put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ It being after Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.