§ "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £893,316, be granted to His 1156 Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for the following Civil Services and Revenue Departments, namely:—
|Vote 3. Colonial Services||212,300|
|Vote 2. British Protectorates in Uganda, etc||200,000|
|Vote 1. Temporary Commissions||9,000|
|Vote 23. Stationery and Printing||110,000|
|Vote 27. Secretary for Scotland, Office of||100|
|Vote 2. Miscellaneous Legal Expenses||400|
|Vote 5. Wallace Collection||3,333|
|Vote 8. London University||70|
|Vote 1. Diplomatic and Consular Services||15,800|
|Vote 6. Treasury Chest Fund||66,108|
|Vote 1. Superannuation and Retired Allowances||10,000|
|Vote 5. Savings Banks and Friendly Societies Deficiencies||51,758|
|Vote 2. Miscellaneous Expenses||4,600|
|Vote 6. Local Loans Fund||4,337|
|Vote 7. Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (Visit to the Colonies)||20,000|
|Vote 8. Funeral of Her late Majesty||35,500|
|Vote 2. Inland Revenue||20,000|
|Vote 3. Post Office||130,000|
|Vote 4. Post Office Packet Service||10|
|Total Civil Services and Revenue Departments||£893,316"|
§ Resolution road a second time.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said: I rise for the purpose of objecting to this Vote, and I think it will be for the advantage of the House that we should have your advice and decision as to the unusual form in which this Vote has been presented. It is a Vote of nearly a million of money, and it presents itself, I believe, for the first time, in the form of a Vote consolidating a number of classes of the Civil Service Estimates. Quite apart from the merits of that change, what I should like to hear your opinion upon is, under what authority and in what manner substantial and serious changes in the practice of the House are made. The circumstances will be fresh in the recollection of many Members. I do not wish to attribute any evil intention to those who made it, but this change was made in a manner which gave substantially no notice, and I venture to say it took all the non-official Members of the House by surprise. I have had some years experience of the Estimates, and I myself derived no information of any serious change having been made from reading the Paper. If such a change were necessary, I venture to suggest that it would have been proper that there should have been, as we often have in regard to Bills and Parliamentary Papers, a memorandum telling Members of the House that such a change had been made. What I wish to have your opinion upon is this, Has the Executive Government the power at a moment, with or without notice, and without consulting the House generally, to alter the established practice of Parliament? One of the most important duties of Members of the House is to watch the expenditure of the country, and that has been done by the aid of certain rules which have been made in regard to the form of Supply. Supply has been divided into classes which the House may conveniently consider, deal 1158 with, and vote upon, and, that being the established practice, this matter of form is vital to the control by the House over Supply. By what authority are serious changes to be made in the practice? If the Government can consolidate half a dozen or a, dozen classes, they may consolidate the whole of them, and if such a principle were to be laid down, then the Executive Government can practically defeat the whole control by the House over Supply by consolidating the classes. By that principle you may consolidate the Army, Navy, and Civil Service Estimates in one Estimate and closure it. In considering what is to be the policy, when making changes, we must consider the extreme case which might arise under such authority. No man is better acquainted than you, Sir, with the sound principle in the Courts of Equity that the practice of the Court is the law of the Court. And so the practice of the High Court of Parliament is the law of Parliament until it is altered by proper authority. Is it not sound Parliamentary and constitutional law that no established practice of this House should be changed without giving the House sufficient notice and allowing us to give our opinion upon it? I have observed, as some mitigation of the course taken by the right hon. Gentleman, that when he was asked by one of his own supporters whether this was to be a regular practice or whether it was only done under extreme pressure, the right hon. Gentleman said nobody but a lunatic would ever dream of its being made a precedent. I hope that we may, with your assistance, have it laid down that this is to be no precedent in the future So much then for the first part. I want to ask your opinion upon, Sir, what I am contending for, and it is a most important tiling, and that is, that no change shall be made in the established rules of this House, especially with regard to the question of Supply, without giving the House of Commons an adequate opportunity of discussing the change. We know it was done without notice being given to the House of Commons, but what I should like to know is whether it was done on your authority. It was done on Friday night, after the Government had obtained a great many Votes with the consent of the House. This is a matter which lies at 1159 the root of the authority and character of the House of Commons. We are told, indeed, that this House is falling in the estimation of the country. I think it is our business to maintain the rights of the House in the face of the country.
Now I pass for a moment to the merits of the thing itself. What is the merit in itself of consolidating a dozen separate Votes on each one of which the House ought to have a right of discussion and dividing. Although the Chairman of Committees has already ruled in Committee that we might discuss each item and divide upon it, we have no security that we shall be allowed to do so, if a Minister is at liberty to move the closure as soon as the Vote has been presented, and that motion can only be disposed of by a single division. If the principle laid down by the Chairman of Committees is conceded then we might discuss and divide on each item of the Vote, but there is no security for it, because the closure may be moved when six out of twelve items have been discussed, or it can be moved on the whole. If you once give the Government such authority in this matter without safeguards, you give them power to prevent discussion and division on any or all of these Votes. I venture, Sir, to submit that that is a question for you to advise the House as to whether or not changes of this magnitude and of this vital importance can be made, simply upon the suggestion of the Government, without adequate notice being given to the House. Whether there is any limit whatever, if it be so, to our power to test the feeling of the House by discussion and division, and whether this course might be taken in another year without there being an opportunity for that discussion and division upon these matters, which have hitherto been the universal practice of the House. It is a matter of vital importance, having regard to the position in which it places the House, and I venture to ask you, Sir—your authority stands much higher than even that of the Chairman of Committees upon this subject—if you will give the House the benefit of your judgment as to how far we have the power of resisting the autocracy of the Government in this matter of Committee of Supply and Report of Supply. It would be a very useful thing for the House of Commons to have an authoritative ruling from you.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman was putting a question upon a point of order. He has put several questions so far as I can gather upon that point of order, and, that being so, perhaps I may be permitted to put a question also.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said it was not strictly a point of order; it was rather asking the direction and advice of the Speaker on a change of procedure.
§ *MR. A. J. BALFOUR
On the point of order, Sir, may I ask whether it is not the fact that the consolidation of which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken did not place any further obstacle in the way of the Committee coming to a decision upon any item in the manner with which they were all familiar in dealing with Army and Navy Estimates. Is there not a distinct parallel?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is true, although the remark is irrelevant. I would like to ask a question with regard to the practice of the House. As I understand the right hon. Gentleman's question to you, Sir, he desired to know whether it was in the power of the Government to alter the form in which the Estimates are to be presented without consulting the House. I will ask whether it is not the immemorial practice and tradition to do so. It is not in the power of the Government to make any great change in the Orders of this House, and I admit fully and amply that it would be a serious matter indeed if there were power to effect any great change in the Orders of this House without the fullest notice and the fullest opportunity being given to discuss the alteration. I grant that fully, but I will ask you, Sir, whether at the time this change was effected there was not such a congestion of Estimates that unless this change or some other not less violent had been effected it would have been impossible to carry out the law and practice of Parliament; and I 1161 will also ask yon. Sir, whether the alteration in the Order was not as much due to the degree in which the Government was forced at the commencement of the session by the House in the discussion of these Estimates? These are questions which I hope you will hear in mind before coming to a decision.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Both the right hon. Gentlemen in putting to me points of order have introduced many questions of fact, have dealt with the merits of these questions, and have presented their arguments under the guise of arguing a question of order. Upon these matters I do not feel called upon to give an answer. So far as order and procedure are concerned. I may briefly say that it is extremely difficult in my judgment to define the precise limits of the rights of a Minister of the Crown in making alterations in the form in which Estimates have been usually presented to the I louse. Changes have undoubtedly been made from time to time (1 have not had the opportunity of investigating them) in the form in which Votes have been presented. Votes have been consolidated and reduced in number; but what the extent of the power of a Minister in that direction is I am not prepared to say. The change in the present instance, I am bound to say, does seem of a somewhat sweeping nature. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury say that it was only resorted to as a means of meeting a great emergency which had undoubtedly arisen. As to this state of emergency and how it was brought about, that has been dealt with by the two right hon. Gentlemen, and it is not my business to say anything about it. There was undoubtedly considerable difficulty in getting through business within the proper time, and it was to meet this emergency on this special occasion only that this change was made. If there was any idea on the part of the Government, of this or any Government, to make any permanent change of a large and important character in the method of presenting Votes in Supply, I cannot help thinking that they would themselves consider it necessary to take the House into their confidence, and to afford the House an opportunity of 1162 expressing an opinion upon it. Such a course appears so proper and natural that I feel confident that this Government or any other Government would follow it. As regards this particular instance, it has, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, been treated as a case of emergency, and an emergency there undoubtedly was and that being so, it should not be regarded as a precedent.
§ *MR. JOHN ELLIS
said he had a few questions to ask the Colonial Secretary in reference to one item of considerable importance which came under the sub-head "O 1, The Transvaal Concession, Land Settlement Commission, £7,800."He believed that an inquiry had been held as to the possibility of settling soldiers and others upon land in South Africa, and the questions he desired to ask were—what were the terms of reference to the Commission, who were the Commissioners, where did they hold their proceedings, did they go to South Africa, and did they hold any sittings there, did they examine witnesses there —what, in fact, they did there, and what conclusions did they arrive at? He supposed they had now returned to this country. He gathered from a reply of the right hon. Gentleman's that the Report had been submitted to Sir A. Milner for his comments, and those, no doubt, would be valuable; but inasmuch as the House was asked to vote £2.500 for the expenses of the Commission the House had a right to see the Report without delay. This question of land settlement called up many associations. In all countries and at all times the policy of dumping down persons (especially those who had recently been fighting against the late owners and occupants) upon land by the authority of a Government had led to a great deal of evil, and raised many grave misgivings. Land settlement was always a serious matter, but in South Africa at the present moment its seriousness was aggravated to a terrible degree. He had never been to South Africa, and was not sure whether that was not an advantage at the present time. But anyone who had read the history of South Africa, and had conversed with persons who had been missionaries or farmers or had occupied official positions in South Africa, as he 1163 had done ever since he had sat upon the South Africa Committee, would know that land settlement in South Africa was no new thing and had been not very successful in the past. Where the political element entered into the land settlement in South Africa there would be a state of thing's to which only the word "dangerous" could be applied. Had the Colonial Secretary seen a book on South Africa recently written by Mr. Dormer entitled "Vengeance as a Policy; Plea for a New Departure"? Mr. Dormer was formerly one of Mr. Cecil Rhodes's most intimate friends, but, like most respectable persons, had dropped Mr. Rhodes and all his works. In his book Mr. Dormer said—The two cardinal concurrent aims of any policy worthy of practical statesmanship must be the conciliation of the Dutch and the reinforcement of the British element in the population.What seemed to be meant by land settlement was placing soldiers and others here and there to increase a particular racial element supposed by some people to be more loyal than another racial element. It was to be hoped that the soldier settlers would be of a different character from those whom they had seen in the streets going by the ridiculous name of yeomen. Everyone who knew country life, as he did, knew that the town-bred man picked up in the slums of our great cities was no good at all as a farmer or cultivator of the soil. They must have men who understood husbandry, the habits of animals —or what he would call nature—the peasantry, and not the little undersized starvelings they had seen decked out in khaki during the last few days, a discredit to the British Army. What was the Colonial Secretary's policy? He believed that the conclusion to which Mr. Dormer came further on in his book; would be a true one—The most obvious means of attaining the end in view would be to make a settlement of loyal colonists on the land. If, however, it be the case—and this is the conclusion which is being slowly forced even upon those most reluctant to accept it—that suitable colonists are not likely to be forthcoming in adequate number; while it is, to say the least, doubtful whether the right sort of land in the right locality would be found,and so on Where was it proposed to place these settlers in South Africa? 1164 The most likely districts had been taken up, especially in the Transvaal, by the only people who really could cultivate it in the proper sense of the term. Their environment had made the Boers what they were, and to send out English settlers from the slums to that land could only end in failure. This policy of trying to get people to try land cultivation had never been a more gigantic failure than in Rhodesia. He asked what the policy of the Government was in issuing the Commission; what had we got by it; and what were its proposals? He hoped the Colonial Secretary would be able to give some information which would allay the alarm which the proposal to send out these persons had created in certain districts. He objected to any of the money of the British taxpayer being used for so dangerous an experiment, and as a protest he begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
To leave out '£893,316,' and insert '£893,216,' instead thereof."—(Mr. John Ellis.)
§ Question proposed, "That '£893,316' stand part of the Resolution."
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I must point out that the hon. Member hes travelled somewhat beyond the limit of the Vote in entering into a, discussion as to what the policy of land settlement would be. The Vote before the House was for the Commission, and upon a Vote for the Commission it is not in order to discuss the future land settlement in South Africa.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo. E.)
asked whether it would not be in order to discuss the policy of appointing the Commission at all.
§ *MR. JOHN ELLIS
remarked that he had only said what he did to draw some explanation of policy from the Colonial Secretary.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham. E.
I am glad to learn from you, Sir, that I am not expected, and, indeed, it would not be in order for 1165 me, to follow the hon. Gentleman in the somewhat discursive remarks with which he has introduced this Amendment. Therefore I suppose I need not do more than refer to his extraordinary statement to the effect that the men who, as Imperial Yeomanry, are going out to fight the battles of their country in South Africa, are little, undersized starvelings and a disgrace to the British Army.
§ *MR. JOHN ELLIS
I said those whom we have seen in certain plaaes in London during the last few days.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
During the last few days! I should have thought. I think still, there is no other Member of the House who would repeat this statement, or who has been so unfortunate as the hon. Member in seeing the specimens of the new force whom he has seen. But, coming to the practical question, the hon. Gentleman asks what was the reference to this Commission. It was instructed to inquire into the possibility of a settlement for soldiers in South Africa, and subsequently the reference was extended to other employments besides the settlement on the land. The hon. Gentleman asks what was the composition of the Commission. It was composed of my hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty, as chairman, and Mr. Southey, who. I believe, is a large and highly respected farmer at Middelburg, as second member. It was originally intended that General Plumer should be added to the Commission, but. owing to his being actively engaged in the war he was unable to take his share in the inquiry, which was there-fore, conducted by the two gentlemen I have named. I should have thought, before I heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman, that everyone was agreed on the point of principle that it was desirable, to possible, to settle those who desired to settle in South Africa on the land, and, in the words of the book from which the hon. Gentleman has quoted, to "reinforce the British element" by that means. But as to the possibility of doing so the Government felt themselves to be very much in doubt. It was therefore necessary to make inquiry into the points which the hon. 1166 Gentleman himself has suggested as subjects for inquiry—namely, as to who would be the right men to be so settled, and as to whether any considerable number of soldiers, and not merely English, Scotch, or Irish soldiers, but those who have come from the colonies to assist us, should be settled. They also had to inquire whether there was land in existence which could be used for this purpose: whether it was the right sort of land or could be made the right sort of land by irrigation or other forms of improvement: what would be the cost of any scheme of settlement—in fact, a practical scheme was what we hoped the Commission would settle. Now the hon. Gentleman comes to this House and puts forward a statement which is entirely novel—that when the Government appoints a small Commission to inform it on an important question it is necessarily bound, immediately on the receipt of the Report, to present it to the House. There is no such rule or practice. Again and again it happens that a Commission is appointed to make inquiry, that a Report is produced for the information of the Government, and is not laid on the Table of the House or ever produced: and, in fact, it is a matter entirely in the discretion of the Government whether it should or should not be produced. In regard to the present matter, we have got a Report, which we think is a very informing Report, and for which we feel greatly indebted to my hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty and his colleague, who have taken an immense amount of pains and labour to produce it. They took a great deal of evidence, thee examined a great number of places for themselves, and have given us a great deal of information which is worthy of the most serious consideration. But, before we can form any policy of our own or make any communication to the House on the subject, we consider it necessary that we should consult Sir Alfred Milner. Considering the confidence which we at any rate, feel in Sir Alfred Milner, and considering the position which he occupies as Governor of the territories which. I think, are concerned, it seems to me perfectly absurd to take any other course. We have sent out a copy of the Report to Sir Alfred 1167 Milner, and I have said, in answer to questions of the hon. Gentleman and others, that as soon as we get his observations upon the Report we will consider whether it should be laid upon the Table of the House. If it would relieve the mind of the hon. Member, I would say that, as far as I can see at present, there can be no possible objection to the production of this Report. I do not think it would be wise to produce it at this particular moment, not only because we have not the advantage of any observations which Sir Alfred Milner may desire to make, but also because I do not think it would be prudent at this moment, before we have formed any idea ourselves as to what policy we ought to adopt, to indicate certain places in South Africa which are not at present in our possession as being places which are most suitable for a, scheme of this kind.
§ MR.J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman is very inquisitive. He is endeavouring indirectly to get from me information which I have declined directly to give, and, with all respect to him. I cannot go further than I have gone. As soon as we get this Report back from Sir Alfred Milner we will consider—with every expectation of being able to satisfy the curiosity of the hon. Gentleman—whether we can lay it on the Table of the House. We cannot go beyond that at the present time for the reasons I have given, and I think every reasonable man will consider them to be sufficient reasons.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
This is a very startling innovation of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman says he will take into consideration whether he will ever let us see this Report.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
My repartee to that is that we will take it into consideration whether we will pay for it. The practice of not laying Reports before the House seems to me to be a very 1168 strange one. You have got an interim Report from a Boiler Committee which discredits the efficacy of the whole British Navy, but you lay that upon the Table immediately, without waiting to decide whether you are going to remove the boilers or adopt a different make. The usual custom is to lay a Report upon the 'Table, and to say. "With regard to the Report before you, we have not had time to determine our policy." The Report is laid, and the Government take whatever time they like to consider the policy they will found upon it. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken, and justly, of the competency of the Commissioners appointed. The hon. Member opposite has shown his capacity in dealing with the Navy Estimates, and I understand he was the principal member of that Commission. Why is it, then, the Government will not lay the conclusions of this Commission upon the Table of the House? I hope I am not too suspicious, but I venture to think that it is because the Report does not suit them or carry out the view of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the strong reinforcement of British influence there.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I suppose the right hon. Gentleman did not hear me. That was a quotation which was used by the hon. Gentleman opposite. They were not my words, although I am quite ready to adopt them.
§ *SIR. WILLIAM HARCOURT
That is quite enough for my purpose. We have heard much of this. It is a gigantic plan of creating British faggot-votes in South Africa. I do not know how that may be but I am sure that at any rate the hon. Member for South Belfast will approve of an Orange settlement.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Then the Orange Free State is to become an Orange colony in South Africa! I quite understand. But there are two sides to this question. To propound to the Dutch population, whom you desire to pacify, the notion that you are going to take land which may belong to them for the purpose of reinforcing British influence is not 1169 likely to lead to an early pacification. I Therefore the sooner we know what is the intention of the Government, and what is the Report of this Commission on the subject, the better, because while the matter is left in doubt it is a source of the greatest irritation to the Boer population. Nothing can be more irritating to a people than to know that you are going to introduce among them—they do not know in what numbers—a population which is. I will not say hostile, but at any rate alien to themselves, with different interests and different objects. It is impossible to conceive anything more dangerous than that. I will not go into the general policy of the settlement to be made, assisted, as I understand, by the State. There was an experiment made within recent years with the Scotch crofters in Canada, but it was not at all satisfactory. Many of them have been entire failures, and the money has not been repaid. If you are going into a large scheme of settlement for the purpose of increasing the British possession of land, and consequently diminishing the Dutch possession of land, it seems to me that you are quite unnecessarily introducing a factor of racial irritation. To do this in the interests of one race and against the interest of another is a most unwise and dangerous policy, and one which will make the hopes of pacification, which are distant enough already, more distant still. Therefore, if, as I conjecture, the Report of this Commission is adverse to any proposal of this kind, the sooner we have, it produced in order to remove this suspicion on the part of the Dutch population the better, for it would do more than anything else to reassure the Dutch people and the Boers against the fear of confiscation and expropriation for racial purposes. The Government have a Report of competent people upon this subject, and we are as entitled to know the result as they are, or as Sir Alfred Milner is. Let Sir Alfred Milner express his opinion upon the Report; let the Government express their opinion upon the Report; but for Heaven's sake let the House of Commons know what that Report is and, above all let the people whose interests are to he affected by it know what the Report, drawn up by men who have seen South Africa, is. We have been told that we must trust the man on the spot, Well, 1170 the correspondence recently laid upon the Table has shown that it is the man on the spot whom we do not trust. I should like to have the opinion of the Secretary of State on this Report, although he is not the man on the spot. I should like to have the opinion of the hon. Gentleman who sits beside him (the Secretary to the Admiralty), who has been to South Africa and examined this question, as to what the Report says. It is a, most extraordinary thing to ask the House of Commons to pay for a Report which perhaps they will never see at all. And when the Government have got the opinion of Sir Alfred Milner, what do they propose to do with it? Will they drop their own Report? I have never seen the Report of a Commission presented with the comments of an outsider upon it. It is an extraordinary thing that the Government, after sending out a Commission of this kind, should ask Sir Alfred Milner whether the House of Commons should ever he allowed to see the Report. That is not a proper Parliamentary practice, and I shall certainly vote against it.
§ MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
One would imagine from the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that he already knew the contents of this Report. At any rate, he has spoken as though he did, and he has condemned the recommendations he imagines it to contain. But the right hon. Gentleman appeared to contradict himself towards the end of his speech. My right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary gave as reason for not laying the Report on the Table at the present moment, that the Government wished to consult Sir Alfred Milner. In my judgment, with all respect to the Colonial Secretary, I think the opinion of Sir Alfred Milner will be of even higher authority than that of the right hon. Gentleman himself on this subject. But the right hon. Gentleman opposite complained of the Government desiring to consult Sir Alfred Milner, and then, before he sat down, he found fault with the Government because on another occasion they did not follow a recommendation of Sir Alfred Milner. Such a line of argument seems to me to be both inconsistent and inconsequential. There are many precedents for a Government referring a matter of such im- 1171 portance to one so particularly competent to give advice.
§ "SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
We do not say that they should not consult Sir Alfred Milner before they determine what to do upon the Report. That is not my point. Of course they may. They may consult him as to what they should do a year hence if necessary. All I say is that they should not consult him as to whether we should see the Report.
§ MR. COHEN
I did not understand my right hon. friend to say he was consulting Sir Alfred Milner as to whether or not ho should lay the Report on the Table. He is going to decide that when he gets Sir Alfred Milner's remarks. That is a very wise decision, and it is not at all the same thing as the right hon. Gentleman opposite made out. I think my right hon. friend is wise in withholding the Report for the present, so that concurrently with laying it on the Table, which he has announced his present intention of doing, ho may be able to give the House the conclusions at which, fortified by the advice of Sir Alfred Milner, the Government have arrived.
§ MR. CAINE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I am sorry to infer from the statement of the Colonial Secretary that there really is no intention on his part to divulge the contents of this Report?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am not sure whet her I heard the hon. Gentleman correctly. Did he say I was not going to publish the Report?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Then the hon. Member has no light whatever to make that inference. There is every probability that it will be produced as soon as we get Sir Alfred Milner's reply.
§ MR. CAINE
I am glad to hear it because it will save me the necessity of making any long speech. This is not a mere Departmental Committee, but a Commission, and it is customary when a Department appoints a Commission that the Report of that Commission should in one way or another be made 1172 public. I represent a constituency which takes a very great interest in South Africa. We have in the mining parts of Cornwall a larger number of persons interested in Cape Colony and the Transvaal than any other constituency in the United Kingdom, and this Report has been looked for with great interest. The Cornish miner is also a bit of a farmer, and many are thinking that now the country- is conquered and there is a likelihood of a settled Government, and all the rest of it, they may be able to get a bit of land in the Transvaal, and by working the land during a part of the year and earning good wages in the mines during the other part, they will be able to make a very comfortable livelihood for themselves. Many of them are looking for this Report to bepublished, and I trust the Colonial Secretary will make some communication, for the sake not only of Cornwall, but also of the rest of the country with regard to the future of these colonies. Another reason for issuing this Report is that a very great number of those who have enlisted or are now enlisting in the various forces for South Africa have done and are doing so with the belief that when the war is over and they have completed their service some decent sort of settlement will he found for them in the country they have helped to conquer. I believe that this Report will show that there is really no prospect of land settlement for these men, and it is most important that the Report should be published so that we may know exactly what the Commission have done, what wit nesses they have examined, and what are the conclusions they have drawn, and I what recommendations they have made.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I take this opportunity of raising this question in view of the fact that the Colonial Secretary a few nights ago, in his most honeyed tones, disclaimed any intention of attempting another plantation of Ulster in South Africa. Let me call the attention of the House to the peculiar position in which it is placed with regard to this Report. In the first place I regard the issue of the Commission at all as an extremely serious blunder. I venture to say that the issue of this Commission and, above all, the 1173 terms in which it was issued, and I may say, without any disrespect to the Secretary to the Admiralty, the personality of the Chairman of the Commission, all, I think, had a very serious effect in the prolongation of the unhappy and terrible struggle in South Africa. If this House had been asked to sanction the issue of this Commission, I am perfectly sure many Members would have resisted it as something of the most dangerous and serious consequence. But the Commission was issued without consulting the House of Commons, and now, after the Commission has taken place, after it has heard evidence and made its Report, when we come to deal with the cost of the Commission, the House is not even given an opportunity of discussing the policy of the Commission, and up to the present there is no promise that we shall ever see the evidence or the Report. The House had no control over the Commission when it was appointed, and it is to have no supervision of it now it has reported. The Colonial Secretary says, "Oh, but you can vote against the money for the Commission"; in other words, the full liberty of Members of the House of Commons is preserved when they can vote in a minority against the payment of money already spent. I never heard a proposition that put the House of Commons in a position of such ridiculous and absurd futility as this proposition of the Colonial Secretary. What is the statement of the Colonial Secretary? He docs not tell us what the Report is. He does not even give us a glimpse of it. He confines himself to two propositions. First, when I raised this question before, He said we might relieve our minds, as nothing like the plantation of Ulster was contemplated. So far so good. Now he says it would be imprudent for the Government to publish a Report with regard to what would be done with lands which are not yet in our possession. That is a most sinister observation. In other words, the lands which are now held and occupied by the Boers, against whom this country is fighting, are to be part of the spoil which the Government contemplated handing over to the British troops after the war. The Colonial Secretary says it would be imprudent to publish this Report of the Commission stating what was to be done with the territory not now in our possession.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I shall be most happy to give a full explanation on that point. The idea that we contemplated taking land which is not ours, except by purchase in the ordinary way, is a suspicion which has only entered into the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have no intention whatever of expropriating owners or of confiscating their property, or of obtaining property for this purpose in any way other than as we should obtain it supposing the thing were to occur in this country.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I think this debate has been justified by that admission at any rate. The debate is fully justified if it elicited only that statement from the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
It never entered into my mind until I heard the hon. Gentleman suggest it, that anybody would suspect such a thing.
§ MR.T. P. O'CONNOR
I put this to the House. A Commission is appointed, with the hon. Member for West Belfast—a gentleman who with all his ability, is not known for particular sweetness and gentleness and amiability to his political opponents—a Commission is appointed, under the chairmanship of this gentleman, this violent Imperialist, for the settlement of the soldiers in South Africa after the war. I say the only possible interpretation that the world—and especially the Boers, who are not very trustful, and who have no reason to have great confidence in the permanency of their position, from which they have been driven three times in succession by British forces—could put upon such a Commission is that the English soldiers were, to be settled upon the land taken from defeated or conquered Boers. I express my gratitude to the hon. Member who initiated the debate, which has brought from the Colonial Secretary for the first time—
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No. The hon. Gentleman said something about the Ulster plantation the other night, 1175 and I told him then that he might rest assured that nothing of the kind was contemplated in South Africa.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
The point to which we have got is this: Is the Report going to be published or not? The right hon. Gentleman set up a Commission without consulting the House of Commons. He now comes to the Mouse and demands the money to pay for the Commission, and at the same time refuses to give the slightest value for the money—namely, the evidence and the Report. The question is, Ought this Report to be published or not? I hold that every day the publication of the Report of the Commission is delayed is a day of prolongation of the war in South Africa. We do not know what the Secretary to the Admiralty reported. The golden chain of silence is flung upon him by the Colonial Secretary. He is not usually so diffident in the expression of his views, but to-night and on the last occasion the question was under discussion the Colonial Secretary did not allow the hon. Gentleman to break that golden silence in which on rare occasions in his Parliamentary career he has taken refuge. Let us know if it is true that the Secretary to the Admiralty reported that South Africa was no place for those men; that all the talk about splendid positions and opportunities was but mere imagination; and that, as matter of fact, there is in South Africa nothing but the mining camp for the miner and the veldt for the Boer. That would have a great effect in this country, as well as in South Africa, and would do a great deal to bring the war to an end. What was the fact in recruiting for the Yeomanry? Many of them are going out not merely for the purpose of fighting your battles, but with the intention and belief of finding a new career when the war was at an end. 1s it not cruel, if in the pocket of the Colonial Secretary there is a Report against the possibility of all this, that young fellows should be allowed to go out buoyed up with hopes and fallacies of this kind? On the other hand, is it not cruel to the Boers, if this Report clearly shows that the Government do not intend to confiscate the lands, to allow them to go on fighting in the belief that it is their lands they are fighting for? I think we 1176 have proved conclusively that this motion has been justified, and that the House should press again and again until they get the early publication of this most interesting and vitally important Report.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I venture to point out to the House that this is not a very profitable way of spending the evening when there are questions of real substance and importance to be raised, and I suggest that we might now proceed to a division. [Nationalist cries of "Oh!"]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman may not share my view, but surely I may express the view that this is not a question of such substance as should deserve to occupy much more time, when there are other questions demanding consideration? My reasons for that belief are very shortly stated. The indignation of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is founded upon two beliefs—first, that the Report of this Commission is adverse to the policy of the Government, and that therefore the Government are endeavouring to conceal it, and, secondly, that it is part of the scheme of the Government to forcibly expropriate the Boer population, and to substitute in their place soldiers or other emigrants from tin's country. Both those beliefs are entire misconceptions. My right hon. friend refuses to say whether he will or will not publish this Report. There is nothing contrary to precedent in that. There are endless Reports of Commissions which have never seen the light. I do not think it probable that this Report will be added to them. But it is not fair to find fault with my right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary for refusing to give any answer other than that which he has given—namely, that he will not in the present state of affairs make that Report public. We pledge ourselves, however, that the beliefs which have aroused the indignation of hon. Gentlemen opposite have absolutely no foundation at all. If they had a foundation, no doubt they would justify 1177 some of the anger which has been poured upon our heads, and no doubt they would provoke a great deal of fear in South Africa. But I am sorry that even the suspicion of them has found expression in the House. Owing to the strangely exaggerated and truncated versions of our debates which reach South Africa, the suspicion of hon. Gentlemen opposite may reach Boer ears as if they represented the real facts of the case. They do not represent the truth of the matter. If then, hon, Gentlemen opposite are to continue this debate, at all events let them not do so under the erroneous impression that any such act of suicidal policy as the compulsory confiscation of Boer lands in South Africa is contemplated by this Government.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E)
The right hon. Gentleman told us or we gathered from him, that he rose with a double object—first, to put an end to what he considers an unprofitable discussion, and, secondly, to remove what he described as groundless suspicions. I cannot understand how, if those were the purposes, he had in view, the right hon. Gentleman did not perceive that there was one simple and efficient way of securing his end—namely, by answering the appeal which has been made by producing this Report. If we obtained from the Government a promise that the Report would be produced within a reasonable time and laid upon the Table of the House, so that Parliament, which is now voting the money for the Commission, could, before the close of the session, have some opportunity of considering whether this was a legitimate and justifiable expenditure, I think we should be very well satisfied. But the matter really does not end with the rights and usages of the House of Commons in relation to the expenditure of money. It has been pointed out over and over again that there are two sets of people whose minds are agitated so long as the contents of this Report are not disclosed. On the one hand, you have the Boer farmer in South Africa, who may be, as the right hon. Gentleman has told us, under a complete misconception. The Boer farmer, rightly or wrongly, is in a state of 1178 apprehension as to whether or not his land is going to be taken from him. On the other hand, you have the soldiers who are being recruited day by day and sent out to South Africa from this country, many of whom go out in the belief that they will there find homes and means of livelihood. Surely, as long as you have that state of apprehension, suspicion, hope, and expectation, you have a condition of unsettlement which it is most undesirable to perpetuate, and to which the production of this Report would at once put an end. I confess I have never heard a stronger ease made out for the presentation of a document which is in all its essential characteristics a public ' document, and I earnestly hope the Government will put an end to this debate, as they can do if they please, by promising to produce this Report.
§ *MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
I think there is a very obvious reason why this Report should not be produced to the House. I am not in the secrets of the Commission, and I do not know the contents of the Report, but if there is any recommendation as to the acquisition of tracts of land in South Africa it is most undesirable that the Report should be laid upon the Table of the House at the present moment. We have heard a great deal from the other side of the House about the influence of the millionaires and the land speculators in South Africa. The Colonial Secretary is perfectly right in refusing to produce the Report now, because if any other course were taken it-would very likely strengthen the hands of those land speculators, and enable them to gain possession of the land before the Government have the opportunity of so doing, and thus raise the price this country will have to pay. The right hon. Member for West Monmouth talks a great deal about Boer susceptibilities, but he never appears to think of English susceptibilities. There are many English and loyal colonists in South Africa whose susceptibilities ought to be regarded just as much as those of the Boers and the Dutch. Sixty years ago in the settlement of Canada, there were the same racial susceptibilities as now exist in South Africa, but the men who were 1179 the Liberal statesmen of those days, and who then settled Canada, did not entirely give in to the French susceptibilities. Their plan was to settle English men upon the land, to produce English interests, and to regard English susceptibilities in Canada. I therefore think that the Members of the Opposition who speak only of the Boer susceptibilities are not carrying out the true traditions of the old Liberal party.
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
I do not think the hon. Member who has just spoken has built up a very strong case for the Government withholding this Report. Our case is that this is a public Commission, paid for out of public money, and that this House, which has to vote the money, has the first title to see the Report in all its purity, before it is doctored in South Africa With regard to the Yeomanry, it is pretty well known that the greater part are not yeomen at all. Most of them know nothing whatever of farming. You might as well put a farmer into a druggist's shop as to put many of these so-called yeomen on farms in South Africa, or elsewhere, ft is admitted that many of them had never touched a horse in their lives, and they probably would scarcely know a cow from a bullock. Moreover, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, the difficulty is to get them to remain in South Africa; they are wanting to come home. It is the same also with the time-expired soldiers.
§ MR. BROADHURST
I was led into that digression by the fact that this Commission was appointed to consider what inducements, if any, could be held out to Englishmen to remain in South Africa as residents. With regard to the right hon. Gentleman's statement that there is no intention of taking the land from the Boers and giving it to a foreign people, all of us here would accept the right hon. Gentleman's word of honour. But what reliance can we expect the Boers to place upon his statement? The Boers remember the Prime Minister's declaration that we desired neither territory nor gold-fields, a declaration which was 1180 followed by the annexation of the two Republics. Therefore, if they doubt and disbelieve the right hon. Gentleman's word we cannot be much surprised. We have a right to the production of this Report immediately on or before payment for it. My object in rising was to appeal to the Secretary to the Admiralty, the Chairman of the Commission, to give the House some further information on the matter. It is most unusual for him to be muzzled by anyone, and if, with his great power of lucidity and condensation, he would give us a ten minutes résumé of the leading features of the Report, we should listen with great interest, and probably reward the Government by an early decision on this Vote. Neither the Colonial Secretary nor the Leader of the House has given any precedents for this procedure, so that I presume there are none. I remember the appointment of a great many Commissions in my time, but never have I known one the Report of which was sent round the world for the observations of people in no way connected with it before being presented to Parliament. I ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty to return to the ways of his early youth, and give the House some information. It was not always that we wen1 so anxious to hear him, but to-night we are dying for him to speak. It is a great opportunity for the hon. Gentleman to distinguish himself, and I sincerely trust he will not miss it.
Attention called to the fact that folly Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
said he could not understand the Government appointing this Commission, because it did not seem to him that a large part of the Orange River Colony or the Transvaal were yet fit to go into. Certainly if a gentleman in the position of the Secretary to the Admiralty had gone into the portions of the Transvaal where soldiers might be settled, he would not have returned to tell the tale. Of what value then could be the Report of such a Commission? An hon. Gentleman had said that the Government had taken a wise 1181 step in suppressing the Report, because it they had done so millionaires and land speculators would have taken advantage of it and would have bought up the land. For his part he did not think there were many millionaires, who were not loved by the Boers, who would buy land there, He did not gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman what reason he had for entertaining the proposals of this Commission. This Commission differed from ordinary Commissions, inasmuch as it did not consist of experts. The only expert was a farmer who came from Middleburg, and who might be a great authority on the method of settling people on the land; but could anyone say that the Secretary to the Admiralty had a large amount of agricultural experience? Was Sir Alfred Milner consulted on the point as to whether that hon. Gentleman should be sent out on the Commission? If so, he surely might have been able to see the Report of the Commission before it was sent home to the right hon. Gentleman. But if Sir A. Milner did not see the Report before, why should it be sent out to him before being placed on the Table of the House? Why should Sir A. Milner be placed before the House of Commons? The Report would not alter by a single iota the policy which Sir A. Milner would adopt. He could hardly believe that Sir A. Milner had been consulted as to the selection of the Commissioners for so important a purpose as that stated. The Secretary of State for the Colonies said that this was a very informing Commission, and that the Report was informing. But what could the Secretary to the Admiralty know of agriculture or irrigation in South Africa? He would rather take his opinion on Army and Navy matters. All sorts of conditions had to be considered in South Africa—climatic conditions, and so forth—and a very strong Commission should have been appointed. Why was it necessary to appoint a Commission at all? Why could not Sir- Alfred Milner have interviewed farmers in South Africa and obtained advice upon this question for the Government? Such a course would have obviated the necessity of sending out the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty at all. But the Commission having been appointed, and having reported, he could not under- 1182 stand why the Report was not laid on the Table. If the Report was one which, would help the Government to settle soldiers and others in South Africa he failed to see why it was not published. For his part he believed this policy of settlement on the land would not be a success, and it was probably owing to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Navy also being of that opinion that the Report was not presented to the House. The scheme of the Colonial Secretary did not commend itself to the colonies, who looked with distrust upon any scheme of settling the colonial forces in South Africa. The colonies wanted to retain their men in their own colonies. The opinion of the Boers upon the appointment of this Commission and the settlement of their lands was also a matter worthy of consideration. He thought that the country had a right to know, as they had to pay, what it was they were paying for, and that the Report of the Commission ought to be presented to the House. That being so he supported the Amendment of the hon. Member for Rushcliffe Division.
§ MR. DILLON
When the Secretary of State for the Colonies interrupted the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, he said the Government had no idea of expropriating property or acquiring land in the two Colonies, as you call them, but which we call the two Republics, except in the ordinary way of purchase; and my hon. friend the Member for Scotland Division seemed to be to some extent satisfied, or, at least, to have his fears allayed, by the statement. I confess, Sir, that that statement had no such effect on my mind, because, in my opinion, the purpose and method by which land is to be got, or by which the Government expect to get land in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, is not by expropriation or confiscation after the pattern of the Ulster settlement in Ireland, when the inhabitants were swept out of the country, treated like wild beasts, and deprived of their lands. The Government know they have no need of having recourse to that system, and, for my part, I confess that the interruption of the Secretary of Slate for the Colonies had for me a most sinisterand significant meaning when taken in connection with the recently published Papers giving particu- 1183 lars of the negotiations between Louis Botha and Lord Kitchener. When we hear the Secretary of State for the Colonies declaring that the Government has no intention of confiscating the lands of the Boer farmers, but intends to acquire them by the ordinary machinery of purchase, we are reminded in the most unpleasant way of what the Secretary of State for the Colonies did when, in his telegram to Sir Alfred Milner, he substituted the word "loans." What, I ask, was the object of offering these men, ruined by your policy, burned out of houses and homes, and their property carried away—what was the object. I say again, of offering them loans?
§ *MR. SPEAKER,
Order, order! The hon. Member is now criticising correspondence which has no bearing on the question.
§ MR. DILLON
I am only criticising it in so far as it bears on the observations of the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he said it was not proposed to acquire the land of the Boers except by methods of purchase. I say that is not what he has provided for in dictating to Lord Kitchener the, terms and the machinery by which he will have these unfortunate Boer farmers at his mercy.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
These references to the correspondence in question do not bear on the observation made by the right hon. Gentleman, that if the lands were taken for the purpose of settling others on them, those lands would be bought in the ordinary way by purchase or compensation. The two things are quite dissimilar.
§ MR. DILLON
I shall not press that point further in view of your ruling, Sir, but I may remark that it seems to me that this question of loans gives the Secretary of State for the Colonies the opportunity of acquiring the lands, and I think it is most natural that this rather extraordinary correction of Lord Kitchener's offer should have arisen in my mind when I heard the right hon. Gentleman making the interruption to which I have alluded. The point which I chiefly desire to emphasise is the impolicy of appointing such a Commission 1184 at all. I think that is a point that has not been sufficiently dwelt upon, and I say further that the full effects of the appointment of that Commission are aggravated by the withholding of the Report. If we had that Report we would know whether it was in favour of or against these settlements. If it is against the settlements it would have a considerable effect in allaying the suspicions of the Boers and in promoting peace. If, however, as I strongly suspect, this Report is in favour of these settlements, then I think the House of Commons should have an immediate opportunity of discussing it and the policy it embodies. I hold, further, that the appointment of this Commission while the war was still in progress was a monstrous and most iniquitous blunder. It was a policy calculated, if not intended, to prolong the war. It appears to me that that is so clear that it requires no argument to support the contention. In this case you have to deal with a people whose history is very singular and peculiar. This is not the first time their lands have been taken away. This is not the first time they have been driven into the wilderness, driven too by the very Government with which they now have to deal. And when they hoar of a. Commission sent out to investigate whether it is possible to plant English soldiers in their country—a Commission presided over by a prominent representative of an Ulster Protestant constituency—I say even if these people were much less suspicious the natural conclusion in their minds would be that the policy about to be put in force was a policy of confiscation, a policy like that which was practised in Ireland with such disastrous results for the people of Ireland.
It may be thought by those who have not studied the question as carefully as I have that this is an exaggerated view to take, but let me remind the House of one circumstance, which is of dramatic and picturesque interest in this matter, and which gives colour, consistency, and confirmation to the views I have expressed. This is the circumstance to which I refer. Commandant Louis Botha is probably the one man of all others amongst the Boers who is most inclined 1185 to make peace on honourable lines, and put an end to this disastrous war. Mrs. Botha, who is acting as the emissary of your generals in South Africa, and carrying on the peace negotiations, is a grand-niece of the Irish rebel, Robert Emmet, and do you suppose that Commandant Louis Botha, her husband, and the other Boer leaders are not. through her familiar with every detail of the history of Ireland, and of the ruin of our country by the very methods you are proposing to put in force in the Transvaal and Orange Free State? They know what you did for Ireland—the tyranny you introduced, the confiscation you practised. In this respect I may say these men have lived, as it were, in an Irish atmosphere; and when you send out to represent you on this Commission the Member for an Ulster constituency, what conclusion can they come to hut that you are going to treat them as you treated Ireland? What can you expect these men to think if you are going to inflict upon the Transvaal and the Orange Free State a system which has plunged Ireland for hundreds of years into religious and political animosities? No matter what this Report contains. I impugn the policy of the appointment of this Commission, and I say deliberately, that in my opinion the appointment of this Commission, and its secret Report, is in a considerable measure responsible for the prolongation of the war. One of the conditions put forward by Louis Botha in his interview with Lord Kitchener was that there should be three millions of money put into the work of restoring the destruction you have perpetrated in the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The object of that was of course, to enable the people to hold their homes. Lord Kitchener agreed to that, but the right hon. Gentleman, who has this Report in his pocket. would not agree to it. Is it not absurd to suppose that Botha, when he reads these proceedings, can come to any other conclusion than that the reason why Lord Kitchener was overruled was because this Commission, presided over by the Member for West Belfast, would have to be set aside if Lord Kitchener got his way in the negotiations with Botha? I say this action of appointing this Commission was a policy 1186 calculated to have the effect of prolonging the war. The Secretary for the Colonies took a very wobbling position upon this Report. "First he would and then he would not." He declared there was no obligation whatever for the Government to publish this Report. Then, when pressed, he said it would not be published until he had Sir Alfred Milner's opinion—I wish he had more respect for that opinion—upon the terms of peace. But what in the name of commonsense has Sir Alfred Milner's opinion upon this Report to do with its publication? I say it is an outrage to think that the House of Commons is to be denied this most important Report, bearing upon the policy of this Empire and upon the war, until Sir A. Milner gives his opinion.
The First Lord of the Treasury stated that the only thing that made him uneasy was the account of this debate that might he sent out to South Africa. Well, Sir, there will be a great deal of suspicion, and the account of these transactions will confirm the suspicion in the minds of Botha, De Wet, and the Boer farmers that there is some monstrous effort being made to rob them of their land. But the Boer leaders do not look to the speeches of Ministers qua Ministers. They look to the men who have directed the policy of England ever since the Jameson Raid, not to the speeches of a Colonial Secretary who three years ago declared that it would be not only unwise, but immoral, to put pressure on the President of the Transvaal, but who, although he had made that declaration, within two years engaged all the forces of the Empire in crushing the forces of that State. So the Boer farmers and their leaders naturally look to the men who in the past have shown that they could make their policy prevail, and when they see in the press in South Africa, and the press here controlled by Rhodes and Company, over and over again telegrams announcing that when this war is over three-fourths of the farmers of the Transvaal will be ruined men, and will be forced to part with their farms at any price offered by the Government, and that then these farms should be given to British soldiers—then. Sir, I think I am justified in saying that suspicion on 1187 their part is not unnatural. I must repeat these words—that three-fourths of the farmers will be ruined men, and must part with their farms for any price that is offered by the Government. That is the policy that has been adopted by the party opposite. That is the policy avowed by the Rhodesian press in this country and South Africa. That is the policy that has made these men desperate, and J say deliberately that when the Secretary of State for the Colonies refuses to confirm even the offer of Lord Kitchener, in view of the quotations which I have referred to, and in view of the cheers we have listened to, small wonder if Louis Botha and his men should say "Let us die with our arms in our hands, with as many Englishmen around us as we can kill, rather than be outcasts and beggars in the land." [A laugh.] I accept that laugh as good testimony of the spirit in which some hon. Members deal with this subject. I have said outcasts in the land. I repeat, is it any wonder that a soldier and gentleman like Louis Botha would prefer to die with arms in his hands and as many Englishmen lying round him as he could kill, rather than be a beggar in the land which his fathers won from the wilderness, and which they themselves love and are defending with a gallantry which the whole annals of the human race can hardly surpass.
MR. GEORGE WHLITELEY (Yorkshire, W.R, Pudsey)
said that in the speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman there were matters of great weight and gravity to be debated and discussed. The object of the right hon. Gentleman was apparently to dissipate what he believed to be the erroneous views which were held by the hon. Members opposed to him in this policy. If he desired to dissipate any views which he believed to be wrong there was one method of doing so—by producing the Report of the Commission which the Mouse was so desirous to have. If he was not prepared to produce the actual Report, the right hon. Gentleman might at least have informed the House of the gist of it. He might have submitted a synopsis of it, so that the minds of hon. Members might be satisfied. No blame had been 1188 attached to the Government for their action in transmitting the Report to Sir Alfred Milner before proceeding to act on it, but they did blame the Government for refusing to take the House into their confidence about the matter at a time when the Report was being bandied about between London and South Africa. The House was in a very difficult position, as was the Government, with regard to this matter. The Government sent out a Commission well qualified to deal with such questions as might crop up, the president of which was so much in the confidence of the Government that he was elevated to an important post in the Government in his absence from this country. The hon. Gentleman made a Report to the Government which was no doubt a very able one, but before the Government presented it to the House it had to be sent out to Sir Alfred Milner in order that he might dot the "i's" and cross the "t's" of the Report of the hon. Gentleman. The Government had placed the House in a, very undignified position, and put a stigma upon the efforts of the hon. Gentleman. What incentive would the hon. Member in the future possess to undertake such labours if after all his trouble his Report might never see the daylight in the first place, and be held back from the House, or might be presented in a mutilated form. The debate upon this question had, in his opinion, been justified. The House had not obtained an inkling as to the suggestions which the Report contained, except that it contained some scheme of purchase. No one would quarrel with any scheme of purchase, but he would like to know who it was that was going to purchase. Were the men who were now promenading the streets in khaki going to purchase the land. Judging from their style he did not think they had the funds to do so, and if they were not to purchase the land who was? Was the unfortunate British capitalist going to purchase the land? These were matters upon which the country had a right to be informed. One hon. Member had alluded to the physique, stamina and hardness of the pseudo-Yeomanry now being sent out to South Africa. At a time when we were trying to attract men to the Army to do this work in South Africa, it was advisable to present an 1189 attractive scheme, so that the farm labourers of this country—the bona fide veomen—would be attracted. If the Government were prepared to produce a scheme they should boldly say what their proposals were, and if they had done so, and showed that they were desirous of meeting in some form the desires of the House of Commons, they would have staved off the debate which was taking place, and have been able to deal with more important matters.
§ MR. LLOYD -GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
pointed out that the Government were alone responsible for the present debate and its prolongation, because on the last occasion when information was asked on the point the Colonial Secretary, who refused to say whether there was a Report prepared at all, within a, few minutes of the question being raised moved the closure. Here was a Commission of great importance, which had cost nominally £2,500, but the actual cost of which Would be something like £20,000,000, which according to the right hon. Gentleman had prepared a Report containing valuable information with regard to the settlement of soldiers in South Africa. Yet this document was withheld from the very body which represented the people of England, and which had eventually to find the money to carry out the recommendations of the Report. It was part of the policy of treating the House of Commons with disdain. We had a new constitutional theory now. Sir Alfred Milner was the latest importation into our constitutional theory. Last week it was the House of Lords which was first in receiving information, and the House of Commons nowhere. This week it was Sir Alfred Milner and the right hon. Gentleman who were first in regard to this important information, and the House of Commons nowhere. Step by step the House of Commons was being gradually lowered in the constitutional and political scale. Soon the people's chamber would be wiped out altogether, and the Government would be carrying out a policy of nominating an executive council to carry out the dictates of the Colonial Secretary, or rather of the Cabinet. He called the attention of the House to the state of the Front Ministerial 1190 Bench. There were two occupants of it who knew what the Report contained—the Colonial Secretary and the Secretary to the Admiralty. The former was absent, and the latter had gone as far towards the boundary which divided the House from its precincts as he possibly could. He was muzzled—he was not allowed to say a word, he was only allowed to laugh. The laughter and jeers which they had heard during the previous speech from the Ministerial Benches were very significant. He was not at all sure whether the whole meaning of the Report could not be evolved from those sneers. The House was not to be told what the Report contained. This was the first time the Report of a Commission of this importance had been withheld from the knowledge of the House. [At this point Mr. BALFOUR took his seat,] At last the House was getting a responsible Minister to take part in the proceedings. He feared, however, it was not the First Lord of the Treasury's interest in the subject which had drawn him to the House—it was much more likely to be an intention to terminate the discussion. An indication of the real value of the Report was given by the Colonial Secretary when he explained that the Commission inquired about places for the settlement of English soldiers which were not in our possession. Where were these places? In the possession of the Boers—in parts of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony that we had not yet ever penetrated? He had heard about cooking a hare before it was caught, but the Colonial Secretary was cooking the hare before it had even been seen! It was no wonder that the Colonial Secretary showed small keenness to issue the Report. The real reason was that the, right hon. Gentleman must be beginning to doubt the wisdom of his policy in appointing the Commission. His reluctance to publish the Report was its condemnation. A more unwise, a more unfortunate, a more reckless act than the appointment of this Commission had never been perpetrated in South Africa even by the Colonial Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury was very solemn in his appeals to the Opposition not to say anything 1191 which might reach the ears of the Boers. I The appeal should have been addressed to the colleague who sat next to him—the Colonial Secretary. It was not the speeches of individual Members of the House that did the mischief and the evil—it was the acts of the Government. Which had the greatest weight among the Boers, the speech of a humble Member below the gangway, or an act under the Seal of the Colonial Office, which appointed a Commission to inquire whether the Government could settle soldiers upon the farms of the Boers in South Africa? The Boers had heard of the Commission, because it was appointed, as was everything that was done by the Colonial Secretary, with a flourish of trumpets. It was one of the right hon. Gentleman's impulses to do a cheap and popular thing, which had from time to time created so much mischief. It had been suggested by the papers supporting the Colonial Secretary that the farms ought to be divided amongst the yeomen. In one journal an article was headed, "The Spoils for the Victors"—it was a recommendation from beginning to end in favour of confiscating the property of "these rebels." If the Government wished to encourage the Boers and provoke them to prolong the war to the utmost they could do so in no better way than by such foolish, such indiscreet acts as the appointment of this Settlement Commission. The mere statement of the Colonial Secretary that we should buy out the Boers was no answer to their anxiety for the safety of their homesteads. The right hon. Gentleman had denuded their country, depleted their farms, burnt their homes, and now proposed to buy; them out! What was there that would in the slightest degree make these people believe that our intention was not to turn them out? The result of the Colonial Secretary's refusal to publish the Report would be that the suspicious nature of the Boers, of which so much had been heard, would be stirred to its depths, and that the war would be prolonged for a longer and more inde-
§ finite period. The right hon. Gentle man ought not only to publish the Report but also to state whether he was going to act upon it.
§ MR. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich)
stated that, having travelled through the Transvaal, he was able to form a fair idea as to the nature of the country, and in his opinion—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member would not be in order in discussing the probability of success or failure of a scheme of settlement in the Transvaal.
§ MR. CAWLEY
desired merely to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman the importance of telling the British public the truth about the country. If this Report were published, it would doubtless save a great number of the yeomen and others who were going out to South Africa from dire disappointment. Before the war commenced a certain portion of the British press incited the people of this country to war by making out that the Transvaal was a sort of E1 Dorado for farmers. It was a peculiar thing that the people who knew least about farming always thought that they knew most, and the greater number of the yeomen, who had no real knowledge of farming—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
intimated that the hon. Member was again entering into the policy of such a scheme of settlement.
§ MR. CAWLEY
said he would merely ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his decision, and give an epitome of the Report, so that the British public might not go out to South Africa, only to meet with disappointment.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 193;.Noes, 118. (Division List No. 98.)1195
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Arnold-Forster, Hush O.||Bagot, Capt. Joceline FitzRoy|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc, Stroud)||Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Bailey, James (Walworth)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bain, Colonel James Robert|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Austin, Sir John||Baldwin, Alfred|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Greene, Sir E W(B'rySEdm'nds)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Gretton, John||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hain, Edward||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bigwood, James||Hall, Edward Marshall||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Bluudell, Colonel Henry||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Mdd'x||Purvis, Robert|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Rasch, Major Frederic Curne|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Harris, F. Leverton(Tynem'th)||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Heath, James(Staffords.,N.W.)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Bull, William James||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hope,J F(Sheffield, Brightside)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Butcher, John George||Howard, Capt. J (Kent, Favers.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenh'm)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbysh.)||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Round, James|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn.J.(Birm.)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'l)||Kenyon Slaney, Col. W.(Salop)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Chapman, Edward||Keswick, William||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Knowles, Lees||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lambton, Hon. Frederick W.||Smith, H C (North'mb).Tynes'de|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawson, John Grant||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Stock, James Henry|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Stroyan, John|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol,S)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lowe, Francis William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'dUniv)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm||Macdona, John Cumming||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dimsdale, Sir JosephCockfield||Maconochie, A. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Majendie, James A. H.||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E.|
|Faber, George Denison||Maxwell. Rt. HnSir HE (Wigt'n)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Maxwell, W.J.H (Dumfriessh.)||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE (Taunton)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Middlemore, John T.||Welby, Sir Charles G.E. (Notts).|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Milward, Col. Victor||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Finch, George H.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.L.)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||William's, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Foster, Sir Michael (Lond. Univ.)||Morrell, George Herbert||Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Garfit, William||Morrison, James Archibald||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptford||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Mount, William Arthur||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham(Bute)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Colliding, Edward Alfred||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Abraham, William(Cork,N.E.)||Brigg, John||Causton, Richard Knight|
|Ambrose, Robert||Broadhurst, Henry||Cawley, Frederick|
|Asher, Alexander||Burke, E. Haviland-||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Burns, John||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Bell, Richard||Burt, Thomas||Crean, Eugene|
|Black, Alexander William||Caine, William Sproston||Cremer, William Randal|
|Blake, Edward||Caldwell, James||Cullman, J.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Boyle, James||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Delany, William|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh)||Leamy, Edmund||Redmond, JohnE.(Waterford)|
|Dillon, John||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Levy, Maurice||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Dully, William J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Duncan, James H.||Lloyd-George, David||Rigg, Richard|
|Ellis, John Edward||Lundon, W.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Fenwick, Charles.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Field, William||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M'Demott, Patrick||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Fadden, Edward||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Mooney, John J.||Sinclair, Capt. Jn.(Forfarshire)|
|Gilhooly, James||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon.Herbert J.||Morton, Edw. J.C. (Devonport)||Spencer, Rt. Hn C. R. (Northants)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Murphy, J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.)|
|Hardie, J. Keir(MerthyrTydvil)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Harwood, George||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipp'rary Mid)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, James(Wicklow,W)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon Chas. Seale-||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Doherty, William||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Horniman, Frederick John||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Dowd, John||Wilson, Fred W.(NorfolkMid.)|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Malley, William||Wilson, Henry J.(York,W.R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Partington, Oswald|
|Kinloch, Sir John GeorgeSmyth||Pickard, Benjamin||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Labouchere, Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Lambert, George||Rea, Russell|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Reddy, M.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That '£893,316' stand part of the Resolution."1196
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 196; Noes, 121. (Division List No. 99.)1199
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J (Birm.||Garfit, William|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Chapman, Edward||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim|
|Austin, Sir John||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Greene, Sir E.W. (Bury St. Ed.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Corbett A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Greene, HenryD. (Shrewsbury)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Cox, Irwin Edward Bain bridge||Gretton, John|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W.(Leeds)||Cranborne, Viscount||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hain, Edward|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H (Bristol)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G (Mid'x|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C,||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfd.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Davies, Sir Horatio D(Chatham)||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.|
|Bigwood, James||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampste'd|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hobhouse,Henry (Somerset,E.)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Duke, Henry Edward||Hope, J. F. (Shef'ld,Brightside|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Howard, Capt J(Kent, Faversh.|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Faber, George Denison||Howard, J. (Midx.,Tottenham)|
|Bull, William James||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Butcher, John George||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Finch, George H.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Johnston, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbysh.||Fisher, William Hayes||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Foster, Sir Michael (Lond, Univ,||Keswick, William|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Knowles, Lees||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Stock, James Henry|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Nicholson, William Graham||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lawson, John Grant||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stroyan, John|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants. Fareh'm)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Pemberton, John S. G.||Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'dUniv.|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Pierpoint, Robert||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Long, Col. Charles W. Evesham||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Plummer, Walter R.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lowe, Francis William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pretyman, Ernest George||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Pryce-Jones. Lt.-Col. Edward||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Purvis, Robert||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Macdona, John Gumming||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Warde, Lieut. Col. C. E.|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Welby, Lt-Col.A.C.E(Taunton|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Welby, Sir Charles G.E.(Notts.|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (EdinburghW||Rentoul, James Alexander||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton. Lyne)|
|Maxwell, Rt. HnSir H E(Wigt'n)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Maxwell, W.J.H.(Dumfriessh.)||Bollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Wilson, J. W (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Moles-worth, Sir Lewis||Round, James||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|More, R. J. (Shropshire)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Morgan, Day. J. (Walthamst'w)||Seton-Karr, Henry||Young, Commander (Berks,E.)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Simeon, Sir Barrington||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Smith, HC (Northum, Tyneside||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Mount, William Arthur||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G.(Bute)||Smith, Hon. W. F.D.(Strand)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Mooney, John J.|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Flynn, James Christopher||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Asher, Alexander||Foster, Sir Walter (DerbyCo.)||Murphy, J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon Herbert Henry||Gilhooly, James||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert. J.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Bell, Richard||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Black, Alexander William||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ryMid|
|Blake, Edward||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hardie,J. K. (MerthyrTydvil)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Boyle, James||Harwood, George||O'Doherty, William|
|Brigg, John||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Dowd, John|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hobhouse, C.F.H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Malley, William|
|Burns, John||Holland, William Henry||O'Shanghnessy, P.J.|
|Burt, Thomas||Horniman, Frederick John||Partington, Oswald|
|Caine, William Sproston||Jameson, Maj. J. Eustace||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Caldwell, James||Joicey, Sir James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Russell|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kinloch, Sir John George S.||Redmond, John (E. Waterford)|
|Caney, John Joseph||Labouchere, Henry||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lambert, George||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Crean, Eugene||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leamy, Edmund||Rigg, Richard|
|Cullinan, J.||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Levy, Maurice||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Delany, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lloyd-George, David||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel|
|Dillon, John||Lough, Thomas||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lundon, W.||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dully, William J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sinclair, Capt. Jn. (Forfarshire|
|Duncan, James H.||M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Dermott, Patrick||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R (North'ants|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Fadden, Edward||Sullivan, Donal|
|Field, William||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Weir, James Galloway||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk,Mid)||Mr. John Ellis and Mr. T. P. O'Connor.|
|White, George (Norfolk)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|White, Luke (York, W. R.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Whiteley, George (York, E.R.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ *SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
referred to the item in respect to savings banks and friendly society deficiencies. The deficiency this year in respect of savings banks amounted to £39,866, and in 1903, when the interest on Consols was reduced, the deficiency might be materially increased. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would be faced with the serious question of how that deficiency in respect of both trustee and post office savings banks should be dealt with, and he hoped that the idea which would commend itself to the right hon. Gentleman would be not only an increased power of investment to the National Debt Commissioners in respect of funds entrusted to them and paid over by the savings banks, but also that the trustees and managers of the savings banks would be allowed greater powers of investment in local and other securities. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had more than once stated that legislation on this subject must take place, and last session a Bill was introduced providing for a fluctuating rate of interest to the depositors. Those connected with banks generally, not only the depositors, but also trustees and managers, felt that such a fluctuating rate of interest fixed annually would be a matter of great difficulty with regard to anticipatory calculation, and also that it would have a tendency to decrease the deposits in savings banks, which were so conducive to the thrift and providence of the country. As Chairman of the Inspection Committee of Trustee Savings Banks, he (the speaker) believed, so far as it was possible to form a judgment, that the deposits were made by those classes which it was the original intention of the Savings Banks Act to help, and that generally speaking the banks had the great provident value which had always been attached to them. Further, the State got the benefit of the services of these honorary trustees and managers, who did most admirable work on behalf 1200 of the country. His main object in rising was to make a strong appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make at least a full inquiry before he again proposed a measure for the establishment of a fluctuating rate of interest, and also to give an opportunity to those connected with the banks to express the very strong wish that existed for an enlarged field of investment. He believed that properly made investments in local securities were the very best and a perfectly safe form of investment, and he hoped before any legislation was a tempted with regard to the matters he had referred to a committee would be appointed to inquire into the whole subject, and into the expediency of effecting those administrative reforms which had been recommended by the Inspection Committee in its annual reports, and embodied by himself in a Bill which he had introduced into the House of Commons.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be extremely cautious in dealing with this matter at all. When this question was before us on a previous occasion it was supposed that Consols were too high, and that they were going up to lot). The present tendency seems to be to go to 50 rather than 150. The dangers which were anticipated with reference to savings banks in consequence of what are called the terribly inflated condition of Consols has disappeared, and I do not I think the danger is likely to reappear— at present, at all events. Therefore, if I might venture to offer any suggestion to the Chancellor of the Exchequer it would be to leave this matter alone.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said that with Consols at 95 and Exchequer Bills bringing in 311/16, the House might very well wait before dealing with this subject. He seriously doubted the wisdom of largely increasing the scope of the present investments of savings banks, because directly the savings banks held large sums in other securities they practically guaranteed those secure ties, and the advantage of their having a larger field of investment was at once 1201 done away with. It was not necessary to go into the subject of the fluctuating rate of Consols, but he could not see why the savings bank rate should not fluctuate the same as any other bank rate, if necessary. From the present condition of the money market it was not likely that the difficulty with regard to Consols would arise for some years, and he congratulated the Chancellor of the Exchequer on not having done much at present.
§ MR. COHEN
urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be very cautious as to how he interfered with the securities in which savings banks funds might be invested. The depositors had the security of the State, and when the State had given that security it should take care that the funds were invested in Government securities. He did not say that that was a rule from which under no conceivable circumstances should any departure be made, but certainly the right hon. Gentleman had been very wise in not allowing the actual price of Consols at the moment to govern his decision in the matter. The question was far too important to be determined by the fluctuation in the price of Consols, and if the present rule were departed from it would artificially appreciate the value of the other securities in which the savings banks were permitted to invest.
§ MR. LOUGH
congratulated the hon. Members for East and North Islington on their change of mind in regard to this question, and reminded them that when the Bill to which reference had been made was introduced he stood up for the very principle they were now so well advocating. There was every reason why the rate of interest paid to depositors in savings banks should not fluctuate. The Vote before the House dealt with the state of savings banks only to the end of 1899, but perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer could state the position at the end of 1900, as the House would be glad to know exactly how the matter now stood.
§ SIR EDGAR VINCENT (Exeter)
joined in the congratulations that no change was about to be made in the 1202 present conditions. He very strongly held the opinion that a fluctuating rate of interest would be a great calamity to all the investing classes of the country, and also that the reduction of the present rate of interest would be detrimental to savings banks. He therefore hoped that no change would be made in either respect so long as present conditions obtained.
§ MR. PLATT-HIGGINS (Salford, N.)
said the Manchester trustees of savings banks felt very keenly that they were compelled to invest the money they lent in the purchase of Manchester Corporation stock. They wished most distinctly not to be obliged to purchase stock which fluctuated, hut to be allowed to lend money in fixed sums to be returned in the same amounts. They did not wish to incur the risk of complications arising in the market; if they lent £100 they desired to got £100 back. The House had never had any explanation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to why they were subjected to the present inconvenience.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
desired to call attention to a matter which affected a large class of taxpayers in the country. The income-tax on incomes up to £700 a year was graduated—
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that under the Inland Revenue Vote there were certain charges for law expenses, prosecutions, and collection, and his point was that under the existing administration there were very considerable difficulties in the way of people obtaining rebates of amounts due to them if their incomes were less than £700 a year. He did not in the least blame the local officers, as they simply acted upon instructions, but it ought to be made as easy as possible for people to obtain such rebates as they were entitled to.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I do not see how this comes under the present Vote. The hon. Member's complaint seems rather to touch the policy of the Chan- 1203 cellor of the Exchequer, and in that case would come on on the ordinary Estimates, on the Vote for the Chancellor of the Exchequer's salary.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
then called attention to the desirability of improving post office accommodation at the large railway stations in this country. On the Continent the accommodation for post office purposes at the stations was infinitely superior to that provided in this country.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
intimated that in the Report of Supply for the 28th February there was a Vote for post office buildings, but not in the Report under discussion.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
then directed attention to the Vote for stationery and printing, and thought the House was entitled to have the printing of Hansard done more expeditiously. Members of the Canadian Parliament actually had on their breakfast tables the report of the debate of the previous evening.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
This Vote is for printing done for public departments and in the Stationery Office. Hansard, is not printed in the Stationery Office; there is merely an arrangement between the Treasury and Hansard by which a certain number of copies are supplied.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
pointed out that the only expenses asked for in the Supplementary Estimate with regard to British East Africa were in relation to a punitive expedition, and the abolition of slavery would not come under that.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said the House was constantly being told that the object of these military expeditions in distant parts of the Empire was the suppression of slavery, and under these circumstances he thought the House had a right to say a word with regard to the cost of those operations.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
thought that if these military operations were undertaken, one of their main objects being to put down slavery, we should be perfectly consistent and put down slavery where we had the power to do so as early as possible. He concluded by thanking the Speaker for the courtesy with which he had pointed out the circumstances under which he was precluded from raising the questions to which he had referred, but doubtless other occasions would arise upon which he could return to those subjects.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
referred to the Printing and Stationery Vote, a portion of which was required for mourning stationery in connection with the death of the late Queen. He did not intend to quibble with the amount spent, but he certainly thought the Government might have set a better standard of taste in regard to the stationery. Its hideous black border was offensive to the eye and the taste. [Ministerial laughter.] If hon. Gentlemen opposite had no taste he could not help it.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
In that case, Sir, I will call your attention to the fact that hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite are evidently not in a fit condition to behave themselves.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! That again is a most irregular observation, and I must ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw it.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
As probably I cannot prove it, I beg to withdraw the observation. The hon. Member expressed the hope that when in future such stationery was required some form of border would be devised which was less offensive to the taste than that now adopted. He also objected to the Vote of £20,000 which took the form of a grant to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York in connection with their visit to the colonies. The object for which that expense had been incurred had been neither considered nor sanctioned by the House of Commons, and 1205 he asked whether it was in accordance with constitutional practice and procedure that the nation should be called upon to bear such expenses without the House of Commons having first sanctioned the expenditure. Cases of emergency might arise-wherein it was necessary to incur liabilities without an opportunity presenting itself for consulting the House of Commons, but that was not the case on the present- occasion. If this expenditure was not being incurred under any rule or decision of the House, by whose authority was it undertaken? The next Vote on the Paper was in connection with the funeral of the late Queen. He had no objection whatever to the amount spent on the funeral ceremony; his objection was entirely to the manner in which the money had been expended. The ceremony took the form of a military funeral, and he protested in the strongest and most emphatic manner against the Head of a constitutional State being buried with military honours, to the total exclusion of the whole civil and religious life of the community. The late Queen was the head of the Army, but she was also head of the Anglican Church as bylaw established, of the law courts, and of the State, and an explanation was due to the- nation why the funeral was entirely a military display from which civic, religious, and communal life was altogether excluded. A part of the Vote was for stands erected along the route of the procession. He recalled with a feeling of shame that he had the honour of occupying a position on one of those stands. There were three stands erected, one for the veterans of the Army, one for cadets being trained for the Army, and the third for Members of the House of Commons. The dignified part which the representatives of the people of England were called upon to play-in the funeral ceremonies of England's greatest Queen was to stand on tip-toe upon a stand some thirty yards away from the procession in order to obtain a glimpse of it as it passed along. Whoever was responsible for the making of those arrangements was guilty of an insult to the nation at large and to the House of Commons in particular. The leading characteristic of the august Lady who for so long adorned her high office was that of domestic simplicity. Nothing 1206 gaudy appealed to her; garish displays were alien to her tastes and feelings; and it did seem to him a mockery that the last ceremony in connection with the passing of such a Queen should have taken the form of a huge military display, a pageant, a show for the multitudes to gape at, from which all simplicity was absent, and in connection with which feelings of reverence were all but an impossibility. ["No."] Hon. Members might differ from him on that point; his feelings were dictated by what obtained among the simple and homely people of a Scotch village, where reverence for the dead was a marked and distinguishing feature of all these last rites and ceremonies, and the great military show, and the enormous crowd of people, assembled not to do reverence to England's dead Queen, but to see the ceremony provided for them, grated upon his feelings. What he felt then, and what he felt now was that the dead body of England s Queen was used as a recruiting sergeant to help the- military designs now being carried into effect. Apart from any-feeling of that kind the fact could not be denied, and dare not be disputed, that the House of Commons, the representative of the nation, was ignored and passed over, and that the gentlemen of England were prepared to submit to the indignity without protest and without feeling the degradation it involved. If anything were required to mark the decadence of England's greatness they had it in the fact that the House of Commons, composed of English gentlemen, was prepared to see its high position taken from it, and the soldier placed where the ruler by right should stand, He asked for information in connection with these two items—first of all, by whose authority the expenditure for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall's tour had been incurred, and secondly, who was responsible for the arrangements in connection with the funeral of the late Queen, and why it was that the funeral was turned into a military display from which the civil life of the nation was altogether eliminated?
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol. W.
The hon. Member has called attention to two items in the Supple- 1207 mentary Estimate. The first is that of £20,000 for the tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York to our colonial possessions. He has asked by whose authority the expenditure has been incurred. By my authority. I am convinced that there is perhaps no item in all the Estimates that are presented this year which would be more cheerfully voted by the House of Commons than that of the expenses of this tour, undertaken, as it is at personal sacrifice to the Duke and Duchess and the King and Queen, in the discharge of a solemn duty, undertaken at the request of our great colonies in Australasia and Canada and in other parts of the world, and calculated. I believe, to be of immense advantage in consolidating and welding together our Empire, and in instructing its future ruler as to the greatness of his responsibilities. I do not believe that even the hon. Member himself really seriously objects to this Vote. I now come to the second point to which the hon. Member called attention—the expenses of the funeral of her late Majesty the Queen. The hon. Member has not expressed, and I am quite sure that no one would express, any objection to the amount of the Vote, but he has called attention to the manner in which the funeral appeared to him to have been conducted. He has described it as a military pageant from which the civil and religious elements were entirely absent, and he has stated that in his opinion that solemn procession through 'the streets of the metropolis was viewed merely as a pageant by the hundreds and thousands of spectators, and not with feelings of reverence. I do not think that would be the impression of anyone else who witnessed it. If there was a military element in the funeral it was largely necessitated by the fact that it was impossible to keep the streets without the presence of the military, and no one, so far as I am aware, has expressed any objection to this except the hon. Member himself. I am persuaded that though there was a certain amount of military ceremony in the funeral, it was not more than was right and proper in the funeral of a Sovereign of this country, that the ceremony was solemn, quiet, and reverent, 1208 and that certainly both the civil and religious elements were adequately represented. The hon. Member has found fault with the accommodation reserved for the House of Commons. I have nothing to do with arrangements of that kind. All the arrangements for the funeral were under the supreme control of the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, who. I think, the House will remember was not long ago responsible for similar arrangements on the occasion of the public funeral of Mr. Gladstone, and who. I believe, conducted on both occasions the arrangements entrusted to him in a manner deserving praise. I do not think the hon. Member is justified in the remarks he has made, and I think it was perfectly evident that they did not meet with the sympathy of the House.
Having dealt with these two points I will say one or two words on the matter brought before the House by the hon. Member for South Islington. He referred to the item in the Vote for the expenses of the saving banks. I am glad to observe that this is a diminishing item owing to the fact that the investments have been more profitable during the past year than in the immediately preceding years. I agree with the hon. Member that it is eminently desirable that careful inquiry by the House of Commons should precede any legislation on this subject. When I introduced my Bill last year I was careful to state that such was my intention. I do not anticipate that any Bill for dealing with the interest paid to depositors in savings banks should or ought to receive assent without very careful previous inquiry by a Select Committee; and although I am sorry that the particular proposal I made was not very well received by some Members of the House, yet J am by no means wanting in the hope that when it comes to be fairly examined and discussed it may be found to be much more valuable than has been supposed. I can only say-that it has been eminently successful in connection with savings banks in France. There is one point which makes the matter somewhat urgent, and that is the fact that in 1903 the rate of interest in Consols is automatically reduced by ¼ per cent., and that as the savings banks moneys are largely invested in Consols, the income from this investment will 1209 diminish by a large annual sum: and therefore after that time there may be a considerable deficiency to be voted by Parliament. Before that time comes the question must be examined by the House of Commons in order to ascertain in what way it can be dealt with.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
directed attention to the tact that the last fifteen Votes in the Supplementary Estimate were passed through Committee without a single word being said about them, owing to the new procedure adopted by the First Lord of the Treasury, and by which they were lumped together. He would ask the Secretary to the Treasury to give some information to the House upon some of the subjects in connection with which they were asked to vote money. In the Stationery and Printing Vote there was the extraordinary sum of £100,000, which the Secretary to the Treasury said had been necessitated by the war. He had often said that there was absolutely no knowing where the expenses of the war were going to end. The large sum asked to conduct military operations did not represent what would be the full cost of the war and that was illustrated by the fact that no less a sum than £100,000 extra was asked for stationery and printing. Could the Secretary to the Treasury give any facts to justify this enormous sum? That gigantic sum appeared to be out of all proportion to any real necessity there could be. An additional stun of £15,800 was asked for the diplomatic and consular services. I low did it come about that this considerable sum wits asked for? He presumed that it was expense which had arisen out of military operations in China. He also asked explanations of £4,000 in connection with the state of affairs in the Portuguese Settlement, and £1,200 for telegrams in connection with the state of affairs in the Far East. It would be much better in his opinion if the Government were to cease their policy of aggravating the Chinese, and leave them alone in their own country. He was sure they would treat in a proper way the Europeans going there, but the present system of harrying and worrying the Chinese—
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he mentioned this merely for the purpose of pointing out that the cause of the cost of which he complained was to be found in the warlike policy of His Majesty's Government. In the Vote for the Treasury best Fund an increase of £,63,261 was asked. He ventured to say that the explanation given of that amount was not quite clear. They were asked to vote an additional sum of £4,600 for the Lord Chamberlain's Department to provide insignia of the Distinguished Service Order. No doubt that Order was highly prized by the gentlemen who earned it, and no doubt they received it in a meritorious and proper way. He believed that the vast majority of those who received the Order would feel it to be only a compliment to be allowed to pay any paltry cost there might be in connection with providing themselves with the decoration which they hung upon their breast. When there there were so many people in the direst straits in this country, when they found themselves surrounded in every part of the United Kingdom by distress, when they knew that even within a few minutes walk of the House there were in the streets and alleys and slums of Westminster people who were probably at the moment hungering for a crust of bread, and suffering semi-starvation, it was rather frivolous that the taxpayers should be asked to pay £4,600 merely for the purpose of buying some blue, green, red, or yellow ribbon to decorate the coats of gentlemen who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The next Vote had reference to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall's visit to the Colonies. With regard to that he had nothing whatever to say. He thought if they sent them there it would be rather hard to ask them to go without their travelling expenses. The Irish felt it, no doubt, a hard thing that they should be called upon to pay a proportion of that expense, which really did not affect them much, but from the English point of view, and from the ordinary commercial business point of view, he did not blame the Government for paying the travelling expenses of their Royal Highnesses. With regard to the Vote of £35,000 for the funeral of Her late Majesty, he did not desire to say a single word. That was a matter for the country 1211 and the House of Commons, and if they thought that the money was properly expended he did not feel disposed to offer any objection. It was a hardship and a grievance that Members of the House should be called upon at that hour (11.25 p.m.) to consider fifteen Votes, upon which they were not allowed to say one word in Committee of Supply. He might say in this connection that he believed the whole House of Commons heard with the greatest satisfaction the statement which Mr. Speaker made from the Chair, in connection with the new departure of lumping the Votes of the Supplementary Estimate together, that this would not be regarded as a precedent by the Government in the future.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
called attention to the extra expenditure in connection with the diplomatic service. The Vote showed an increase of 75 per cent, on the original Estimate, and that mainly for telegrams. That was a very large increase in one year after the Estimates had been made out. That could not be entirely owing to the prolongation of the war, for even if the war had been over there would have been large expenditure in connection with peace negotiations. An increase of 75 per cent. on diplomatic telegrams was more than could be accepted without very considerable explanation. Several hon. Members had intended to raise the question in Committee, but were precluded from doing so because the Vote was not reached. There was very considerable difficulty in discussing the matter on the Report stage, and his only course was to move a reduction at once.
§ MR.COURTENAY WARNER
said that that was another difficulty which confronted hon. Members when discussing Estimates on the Report stage. He hoped that the Government would give the House some explanation of such a large increase. He regretted that hon. Members should be precluded from discussing such an important question in Committee.
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBER- LAIN, Worcestershire, E.)
I will deal as briefly as I can, but I hope, with sufficient fulness to satisfy hon. Members, with the various questions that have been addressed to me. If the hon. Member who has just spoken will look at the Vote he will observe that only £4,000 can in any way be said to be connected with the state of war existing in South Africa.
§ MR.AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Then the hon. Member relieves me from the necessity of making any further explanation.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The first cause is the disturbed condition of affairs in China, and secondly there is a sum of £4,000 for telegrams with reference to the state of affairs at Lorenco Marques. As the hon. Member knows, Lorenco Marques became of very considerable importance. Events of great interest took place there, and he will understand that it was necessary for the Foreign Secretary to communicate with our representative there, and not infrequently. It is not unreasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the past year, that more inquiries than were anticipated were necessary, especially when it is remembered that the Estimates had to be framed in October, November and December of the year before last. The hon. Member for East Clare asked me to give him some indication as to how the £100,000 for the Stationery Vote was made up, that sum being described in the Vote as being mainly due to the war. I ought to say that the Stationery Vote includes something more than hon. Members may suppose. It is not only notepaper and printing, but a variety of other stores also, such as packing-paper, required by the War Office for the stores they have sent out to South Africa. That has been supplied by the Stationery Office, as well as special waterproof coverings to cover articles which might be damaged by damp. Then there were thirteen million envelopes demanded by the War Office in excess of their normal supply, and 1213 250,000 discharge certificates were also required in excess of the usual supply. Then there were special account hooks for the use of officers and men, which were prepared with counterfoils, so that an order might he given for payment and a record kept. Of all ordinary supplies there has been a large excess required this year. Without wearying the House, I think I have said sufficient to show hon. Members how the increase has occurred.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he was much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for the information, and merely wished to ask whether the hon. Gentleman would consider the advisability of putting the details in the Estimates next year, which would have the effect of preventing him and other hon. Members from making speeches.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I would be very ready to fall in with the hon. Gentleman's view, and am perfectly open to make a bargain with him. The hon. Gentleman asked me to explain the item for the Treasury Chest Fund. This consists of a fixed sum of about £700,000 to supply various treasury chests abroad, and to meet the needs of the Services in different places. In ordinary years there may be some deficiency to be made good owing to the loss incurred in transferring money. In the present year there has been a loss on the Treasury Chest Fund in some dozen different stations, and profits on treasury bills in half a dozen others, but of course the main item which has raised the figure this year is the very large sum required in South Africa for the pay of our forces. In ordinary times the money required by the treasury chest at the Cape is provided by the Cape Government, we supplying them in return with any money they may require in London. But owing to the very large increase in the amount necessitated by the war, the Cape Government were not able to supply us, and we were obliged to make arrangements with the banks instead.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Oh, yes, Sir. No money is included 1214 in this Vote for the payment of the troops; this is merely the cost of providing money in South Africa. Then, with reference to the provision of the Distinguished Service Order badges, the War Office anticipated that a considerable number would be required. [Mr. LABOUCHERE: Have they got them in stock?] Yes, Sir; there are a certain number in stock, which will shortly be required. Some, I believe, have already been required in connection with the operations in China and West Africa, though none up to the present in connection with the operations in South Africa. By ordering a very large number we have been able to secure a very considerable reduction on each badge. [Mr. W. REDMOND: How much?] I speak from memory, but I think I am substantially correct when I say that the reduction is from £9 12s. to £6. [Mr. W. REDMOND: How much does a Victoria Cross cost?] There are no Victoria Crosses in this Vote, but I imagine that the Victoria Cross does not cost anything like as much as the Distinguished Service Order Badge. The hon. Member suggested, I do not think seriously, that the recipients of these honours should be called upon to pay for them. I think that would be very ungracious, all the more as the Order is one that is given to all ranks, and may therefore be a very heavy tax on the scanty means of some of the recipients.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin. St. Patrick)
said that, while acknowledging the courtesy of the hon. Gentleman, he desired to call attention to two points. There was an enormous increase in the Post Office Vote, regarding which he should like to have an explanation. Then there was £200,000 added for Commissions. He was a Member of the Port and Dock Board of Dublin, and he wished to have a Commission appointed, and would like to know its probable cost. Then the expenses connected with the Scotch Private Bill Act were increased by £100,000. He would also like some explanation as to that, because it was a subject in which Irish Members took an enormous amount of interest, He objected, as a business man, to the way in which the Supply Estimates were brought forward in one sum. The heads of the different Departments ought to be criticised across the 1215 floor of the House in a businesslike fashion, He hoped the system would not be used as a precedent, but that in future the financial business of the House would be carried on on ordinary business principles. Surely no commercial firm would lump such an enormous number of items together without-giving an opportunity of their being analysed or audited. He entirely agreed with what had been said with regard to the savings banks, and believed it would be highly prejudicial if the rate of interest were to fluctuate, in his opinion it ought to be a settled rate. He trusted the hon. Gentleman would give him some information about the increase in the Post Office Vote. Of course, he knew it extended over the three kingdoms, but still the Post Office authorities ought to be able to judge their expenditure better.
§ MR. NANNETTI
said that with reference to the stationery and printing contracts he was not satisfied with the explanation that had been given. As a printer himself he would not object to the expenditure, provided it was spent among the working printers of England. He should like to know how many of the thirteen million envelopes referred to by the hon. Gentleman were produced in England. He knew well that none of them were manufactured in Ireland, and the next best thing, to his mind, was that they should be of English manufacture, and that Germany and other Continental countries should not get the money. If there were thirteen million envelopes he, wished to know how many millions of reams of notepaper were required. The printers of England were badly in want of employment, and he should be glad to know that the money mentioned in the Vote was spent among them. He also wished to know whether all the money went into one firm or was spread over a number of firms, or spent in overtime. If the overtime system were adopted, owing to pressure or otherwise, it was a very bad thing, and he would appeal to the hon. Gentleman to put a stop to it.
§ MR. FLAVIN
said he hoped that the hon. Gentleman would give the information which his hon. friend had asked 1216 for. Apart from political considerations he felt that the subject was very important to the manufacturers of England, if not to the manufacturers of Ireland. The taxpayers of Great Britain were compelled, owing to war and other unforeseen causes, to pay very heavy rates, and the very least they could expect was that the money raised by that means should be distributed among them again. Although hon. Members had pressed the question again and again they had been unable to obtain any information as to where the envelopes and other articles mentioned were manufactured. They all knew that in Germany, owing to the sweating system, envelopes could be supplied at a cheaper rate than in England. He hoped the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Vote would give some explanation on the matter. Then, with reference to the printing for public Departments, he certainly had not heard any detailed explanation regarding it. It was extraordinary that on every single occasion on which his hon. friends endeavoured to encourage the industries of England or of Ireland they were absolutely refused information. If it were to be the policy of the Government to boycott the industries not only of Ireland but of England and Scotland, and send money out of the country, then right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench should announce that policy at the General Election, but they would not do that. It might be said that his hon. friends spoke simply for the purpose of obstructing, but that was not so. They claimed all along the right to express their opinion on questions before the House. They had always complained of the small amount of money spent in their own country, although it contributed more than its fair share of taxation. They were compelled to pay, and could only make their protest. They were justified in protesting, not only on behalf of their own constituents, but on behalf of the constituents of other hon. Gentlemen who did not do their duty. Only a few nights ago he raised a very important question of interest to the agricultural community of England—namely, as to how corn was supplied to His Majesty's horses. But he could not obtain any information. He could assure 1217 hon. Gentlemen, however, that the more information was suppressed the more they were determined to press for it. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would answer the questions which had been raised, otherwise he was sure, some of his hon. friends would think it necessary to continue the discussion.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I have no right to speak a second time, hut, with the permission of the House. I may assure the hon. Member that all the, stationery stores are ordered within the country.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Within the United Kingdom. All the stationery and printing required in Ireland is ordered in Ireland; and the whole of it within the United Kingdom. In every case where it is possible public competition is invited for tenders, the only exception being in the case of one or two firms where some speciality is required which only these firms can supply, but even these firms are in the position of having contracts obtained by public competition.
§ *MR. O'DOHERTY
Are we to understand that the stationery used in Government offices in Ireland is made from paper manufactured in Irish paper mills?
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I understand that is so. Part of the increase of the Post Office Votes is due to the war, which involved a considerable increase in the stores: a great deal to the extra cartage by road owing to the removal to Mount Pleasant, and the remainder to the general increase of business which requires a larger staff, and the engagement of men to fill the places of the Reservists and others who have gone out to the war in South Africa, and whose places had to be filled in other ways.
§ *MR. O'DOHERTY
said a question had been raised with reference to £700, the cost of the Salmon Fisheries Commission in Ireland. He wanted the assurance of the hon. Gentleman that the Government would take steps by legislation to carry out the recommendations of that Commission in order to protect the salmon fishing, industry in Ireland.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That is not the Commission of which the hon. Gentleman thinks. That is the Scottish Salmon Fishery Commission.
§ *MR. O'DOHERTY
said that in Committee of Supply he had called the attention of the First Commissioner of Works to the increased Vote for fuel and light; and the First Commissioner informed the Committee that he had made certain arrangements with colliery owners in England for next year. He would like to draw attention to the fact that several Continental Governments were inquiring into the use of compressed peat for raising steam for machinery and ships. A few days ago there was an announcement in the Engineer that the Government of Sweden had appointed an expert to examine the peat resources of Sweden and. Norway for the purpose of providing an economical fuel for the public service. If that were done by the present Government in this country, it would go a good way towards developing a great industry not only in Ireland, but in Scotland. He asked the Government to give an assurance that they would appoint a Commission to inquire into the use of compressed peat, which would give employment to many people in the congested districts both of Ireland and Scotland. There might be a large saving to the British taxpayer, for no doubt during the last two years the Government had been at the mercy of the colliery owners. Apart from the saving in money, it might be the means of educating workmen in districts of the United Kingdom which were not coal-producing. He was glad to hear that a great part of the stationery used by the Government departments in Ireland was manufactured in Ireland; but the hon. Gentle- 1219 man had not answered the question whether any part of the thirteen million envelopes required for the South African campaign were manufactured in Ireland, or whether they were manufactured (entirely in England.
§ MR. GILHOOLY (Cork County, W.)
said he wished to direct attention to the question of the failure of the Postmaster General to provide a postal service to the village of Castletown, Berehaven.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not entitled to ask any question on the Post Office service unless it applies to the Supplementary Votes.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 241; Noes 53. (Division List No. 100.)1221
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Dickson, Charles Scott||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Allen, Chas. P.(Glouc.,Stroud)||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Keswick, William|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Duke, Henry Edward||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Knowles, Lees|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lambton, Hon.Frederick Wm.|
|Asher, Alexander||Elibank, Master of||Lawrence, William F.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Faber, George Denison||Lawson, John Grant|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herb. Henry||Fardell, Sir T. George||Lee, Arthur H(Hants.,Fareham)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Austin, Sir John||Fenwick, Charles||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Bain,' Colonel James Robert||Finch, George H.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S,|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Levy, Maurice|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Fisher, William Hayes||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn.SirM. H. (Bristol)||Fuller, J. M. E.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Garfit, William||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bignold, Arthur||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bigwood, James||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth)|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Brigg, John||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlt's)||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||M'Iver, David (Liverpool)|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Gorst, Rt.Hon. Sir John Eldon||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Bull, William James||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Butcher, John George||Graham, Henry Robert||Malcolm, Ian|
|Caldwell, James||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Greene, Sir E. W. (BurySt.Edm||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Middlemore, John T.|
|Cavendish, V. C.W. (Derbysh.)||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Grenfell, William Henry||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gretton, John||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.)||Greville, Hon. Ronald||More, Rbt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow|
|Chapman, Edward||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd.||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynemth.)||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hayne, Rt.Hon. Charles Seale-||Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptford)|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Morton, Edw. J.C.(Devonport)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Henderson, Alexander||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset,E.)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Holland, William Henry||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Horniman, Frederick John||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Howard, Capt J (Kent, Faversh.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham||Joicey, Sir James||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Seton-Karr, Henry||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|Partington, Oswald||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E.|
|Plammer, Walter R.||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Price, Robert John||Smith, HC (North'mbTyneside)||Welby, Lt.-Cl. A.C.E. (Taunt'n)|
|Priestley, Arthur||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks)||Welby, Sir Charles G.E.(Notts.|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Smith, Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Purvis, Robert||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Ratcliffe, R. F.||Spencer, RtHn C.R. (Northants)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Reckitt, Harold James||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Whiteley, H (Ashton und. Lyne)|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Stock, James Henry||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Ridley, Hon. M. W (Stalybridge||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid)|
|Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Rigg, Richard||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox. Univ.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.)|
|Richie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)||Wodehouse, Hn. Armine (Essex|
|Robertson, Herbert(Hackney)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthr)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B.Stuart-|
|Ropner, Col. Robert||Thornton, Percy M.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Round, James||Tollemache, Henry James||Young, Commander (Berks, E)|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Ure, Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Valentia, Viscount||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wallace, Robert|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Gilhooly, James||O'Doherty, William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Bell, Richard||Hardie, J. Keir (MerthyrTydvil)||O'Dowd, John|
|Boyle, James||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Joyce, Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leamy, Edmund||Reddy, M.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lundon, W.||Redmond, JohnE. (Waterford)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Dermott, Patrick||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Fadden, Edward||Sullivan, Donal|
|Delany, William||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Thompson, E.C. (Monaghan,N)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mooney, John J.||Whiteley, Geo. (York, W.R.)|
|Duffy, William J.||Murphy, J.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Duncan, James H.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Field, William||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W.)||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool|
Question put, and agreed to.