HC Deb 29 March 1901 vol 92 cc272-300

9. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £119,200, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge for Establishments for Military Education, which will come in course, of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902."


pointed out that no one representing the War Office was present, and asked whether, under the circumstances this Vote might he postponed.

SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)

asked whether, seeing the difficulty in which the Committee was placed, it would not be better to postpone the Vote until the questions which it was desired to raise could be, answered by some representative of the War Office.


The hon. Gentleman appreciates what has happened. The arrangement between the two sides of the House has produced, as it sometimes does, an amazing drying up of the fountains of eloquence, with the result that Votes have been obtained with regard to subjects which to all appearances would have kept the Committee many hours in discussing. This is very satisfactory and gratifying, but my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War, not expecting this happy consummation, has gone to the War Office to carry on his exceptionally laborious duties. I have, however, telephoned for my right hon. friend, and expect him to arrive in a few minutes; so if hon. Gentlemen do not mind putting their questions, I will take them down and my right hon. friend will be able to answer them when he comes.


disclaimed any desire to take an unfair advantage of the absence of the Secretary for War. He desired to point out that a stereotyped sum of £550 was put down for promoting efficiency in languages. This was exactly the same sum as had been voted last year, and he regretted that the War Office had not seen fit to offer an increased incentive to our officers to study modern languages. At the present time we were suffering severely in South Africa from the lack of knowledge on the part of our officers of the Dutch language. He contrasted the difference between the expenditure of this country in this May with that of continental countries, and urged that facilities should be given to officers to learn the language of every country with which we were likely to beat war.

MR. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)

suggested that the War Office ought to go a, little further, and in Army schools I acuities should be given to learn foreign languages. It was, he said, absurd to suppose that the ridiculous sum of £550 was sufficient for a nation like this to spend on such a subject. The War Office had not grasped the importance of the question. Every year more men of superior education entered the ranks in the hopes of obtaining a commission, and every facility should be given in the Army schools for men to acquire, at all events, a knowledge of French and Gorman. Possibly it would be a little difficult to learn Chinese in London, although, no doubt that could be accomplished with great trouble. Something might be done also for the non-commissioned officers, with great deal of advantage to the Army and themselves, by a more modern system of what in civil life was called secondary education for the young men who were training for Army school-masters. He hoped there would he less of the hide-hound idea of the War Office in putting down this stereotyped sum. The hon. and gallant Member had referred to the absolute lack of knowledge of Dutch among our officers in South Africa, but he had always noticed that it a man learnt a language there was no recognition of the fact. He hoped when the Army Estimates were gone into next year special attention would be given to these subjects.


suggested that some system analogous to that in force in India should be adopted. Certain bonuses were given when a certain standard of efficiency was reached in the various languages of India. That system had, so far as India was concerned, given very beneficial results, and should be adopted here with regard to European languages.


The hon. Gentleman pleads the same cause as he did when the Navy Estimates were before the House, and I have considerable sympathy with the views expressed, and I have no doubt that it would be of advantage to both the naval and military Services if there were more knowledge of foreign languages among the officers. But the English are not a nation much given to learning foreign languages. I think my hon. friend goes rather too far in suggesting that Chinese is one of the languages which our soldiers ought to learn, for the reason, as I have been informed by gentlemen familiar with Chinese trade that the common means of communication even among the Chinese themselves is by what is known as pidgin English. When we come to French and German it is a different matter, but I notice my right hon. friend has now returned to the House, and he will deal with the subject as affecting his Department.


said that when he raised this question last year considerable sympathy was expressed from the Treasury Bench. He noticed, however, that the amount in the Estimates remained as before, and no move whatever had been made in the mutter, so far as he could see. It was a very important matter, and he hoped something would be attempted before the Estimates came up for discussion next year.


said He would consider well the subject before presenting the Estimates

next year. In the press of many matters since be came into office this particular Vote had not engaged his attention.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 179; Noes, 47. (Division List No. 114).

Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm Young, Commander (Berks, E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George Yoxall, James Henry Mr. Anstruther and Mr. Hayes Fisher.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Hayden, John Patrick O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Ambrose, Robert Joyce, Michael O'Dowd, John
Boland, John Leamy, Edmund O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)
Boyle, James Lundon, W. O'Malley, William
Burke, E. Haviland MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) M'Dermott, Patrick Pickard, Benjamin
Cogan, Denis J. M'Fadden, Edward Power, Patrick Joseph
Condon, Thomas Joseph M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Reddy, M.
Crean, Eugene Murphy, J. Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Cullinan, J. Nannetti, Joseph P. Redmond, William (Clare)
Delany, William Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Doogan, P. C. O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Sullivan, Donal
Duffy, William J. O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid) White, Patrick (Meath, N.)
Ffrench, Peter O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Flynn, James Christopher O'Doherty, William Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.
Gilhooly, James O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)

10. £218,200, Miscellaneous Effective Services.

11. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not, exceeding £1,485,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge for Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals, and the In-Pensioners thereof; of Out-Pensions; of the maintenance of Lunatics for whom Pensions are not drawn; and of Gratuities awarded in Commutation and in lieu of Pensions, of Rewards for Meritorious Services; of Victoria Cross Pensions; and of Pensions, &c., to the Widows and Children of Warrant officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Men, &c., which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902."


wished to raise the question of the pensions granted to the widows and orphans of those who had fallen in active service in South Africa. This was an important new departure on the part of the Government. It had for the first time recognised its responsibility towards the dependents of those who had sacrificed their lives in the service of the State. He was sure the country viewed with great pleasure this new departure, and they would vote the money with the greatest satisfaction, because the country had become aware of the fact that in recent years much suffering had happened to the widows and dependents of those who had fought courageously for us in various parts of the world, and for whom no provision had been made by the State in the past. With regard to the amount the Government had detailed to the various ranks he had nothing whatever to say. Seeing that it was taxpayers' money, he thought a provision of 5s. per week, and 1s. 6d. per child, for the widow of an ordinary soldier or sailor was as much as could reasonably be expected. The pensions rose according to the rank or rating of the man who lost his life. He could not understand why the pensions were being withheld so long. A Committee had recommended that the pensions should be paid as from 1st April, but they were being withheld until 1st July. Even then the pensions were only to be given to the widows and orphans of those who were on the married establishment; the widows and orphans of men who married off the strength, that was (he supposed) without permission, were to be ignored so far as the Government was concerned. This was inexplicable. What was to become off these widows and orphans? The husband and father fought for his country, and the country would not recognise the distinction which the War Office was trying to make. If these widows were to be handed over to the tender mercies of the Patriotic Commission, Cod help them! The past history of the Commission had been exposed and condemned by every newspaper throughout the land. When money got into the Commissioners' hands it stopped in that stagnant pool and its circulation ceased. The Soldiers' Effects Fund should be applicable to the pensions which the War Office proposed under this Vote. He asked the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War whether in future the money belonging to that fund should not be handed over to the Patriotic Commission for administration.


You cannot discuss that on this Vote.


, said he was sorry he could not proceed with that subject, because this was the only opportunity for raising it. During the debate, on the Address in reply to His Majesty's Speech, when an Amendment was moved, they were debarred from raising the question. The hon. Member asked the Secretary for War to give the reasons which had influenced the War Department to come to the decision that the widows of men who married off the strength of the regiment were not to get the benefit of this Vole. They were probably the most numerous of the whole lot. He was sure the country would be painfully shocked when it realised that these widows were to be left to look for assistance to outside funds. He hoped it was not too late now to come to some other decision.


said that as a soldier he agreed that some distinction should be made between the widows and orphans of men borne on the establishment of regiments and those who had married off the strength. But surely the latter should have some allowance, if not the same allowance as the widows and orphans of men who had been on the strength. He did not mean that they should be placed exactly on a par with the widows and orphans of men whose conduct had been exemplary, but he thought some consideration should be shown to them. The whole history of the Patriotic Fund was that the Commissioners of the fund had made no effort to help those who properly came on the fund. So he hoped something would be done for the widows and orphans of those who, although they married off the strength of their regiments, had also died in their country's service.

MR. DUKE (Plymouth)

expressed the hope that the Government would do more for the survivors of the men who had married off the strength. The men had sacrificed their lives for the country, and a generous view ought to be taken of the cases of those whom they had left in a state of destitution. The number of men who married off the strength was very great. If a man gave his life for the country the question of discipline should be sunk and something should be done in a spirit of generosity. He suggested also that the pay of a man who had been killed should be continued to his widow until she became entitled to the pension she was to receive.

MR. LEVY (Leicestershire, Loughborough)

stated that in the House of Lords on Monday last Lord Monkswell asked— whether any alterations had been made since the commencement of the South African War in the dates and system of awarding pensions to soldiers disabled by wounds and sickness due to active service; and whether His Majesty's Paymaster General, as Chairman of the Board of Chelsea Commissioners, could give any information on the subject. In reply to that question the Duke of Marlborough said— that it would be very unfortunate if there were any wounded soldiers going about the country who were not adequately provided for. Previous to the South African War—for example, the campaign in Egypt—soldiers who were wounded, and consequently discharged from the Service, received an award from the Commissioners of Chelsea Hospital at a rate which they considered to represent the permanent loss in the earning power of the individual as a result of his wound. In the case of private soldiers who were partially able to earn, the rates varied from 6d. to 1s. 6d. In the case of soldiers who were quite unable to earn, the rates were from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d. These pensions, when granted, became permanent. Since the commencement of the South African War no alteration had been made in the rate of the pensions to wounded soldiers in the Royal Warrant. That was to say, no wounded man, partially disabled, could get more than 1s. 6d., and no man who was totally disabled could get more than 2s. 6d. But the Commissioners had unanimously decided to make a somewhat new departure, and, in nearly every case, to grant the maximum amount of pension at once. The hon. Member said he had had many instances brought to his notice in which men had been in receipt of one shilling a day. That seemed to be in direct contradiction to the statement by the Duke of Marlborough. He thought a statement should be made to the House showing exactly what these men were entitled to. Referring to the non-effective Vote for officers and men, he said he thought that, unless some greater provision was made for the men, the scheme to increase the number of men in the Army would be a serious disappointment to the House.


The hon. Member who introduced this subject put one or two questions with regard to the widows of men who have died in the war. I know full well how great is the sympathy of the House for the men who have lost their lives in the war, and for those whom they have left behind them. The Government has for the first time in our history recognised the claims of these widows by giving pensions to the widows of non-commissioned officers and men. In taking that step they have been fully justified by the feeling of the country. But hon. Gentlemen have trenched on rather a difficult question by proposing that this advantage should be given, not merely to those who are married on the strength, but also to those who are married nut on the strength of a regiment. That point has been very carefully and sympathetically considered by the Government. The Government are the guardians of the public purse in this matter, and the charge which is likely to accrue will be a very heavy one. But there is also something besides that. It is not the desire of the Government that the great majority of soldier's who join at the age of eighteen should marry at an early age and have families dependent upon them. In the first place, a soldier's pay does not properly allow of it, and, secondly, he has to move at any moment from his station and go abroad, and a large number of families would mean a serious impediment. On the other hand, if these families are left behind it will entail the greatest possible misery and privation to those who become dependent on soldiers who can only spare a very small amount out of their pay. If we were to go back on our decision with regard to pensions, to give them only to those married on the strength, we should be encouraging to a very great extent this kind of improvidence, and when we sent the men abroad we should have to give separation allowances to their wives and families. That would be an enormous charge to contemplate. Then there is another difficulty. There are three classes, I believe, who at this moment are entitled to separation allowances. The first are the men of the Reserve who are married, the second those who are married on the strength, and the third those who have married in anticipation of going into the Reserve and have been kept on by the terms of service until the end of the war. My constituency abuts on Aldershot, and I can say this, that when the Reserves were called up in November of 1899, it being found that separation allowance was being granted and also that money was being granted from charitable funds to the wives of those who went on active service, a very large number of marriages took place, in the cases of Reservists who were not already married, within a day or so of embarkation. There were a considerable number of cases in which men who sailed on 7th November had married on 25th November or 26th November, and whose wives claimed at once to have the allowance. I think the step proposed would be very unwise, more especially as there are charitable funds which are available for the limited number of widows, as they are at present, who married men off the strength. With regard to the administration of the Patriotic Fund, I had the pleasure of silting on a Committee with the hon. Member respecting that fund, and. I was in favour, as the hon. Gentleman was, of more generous distribution of the fund. It was found that the administration of the fund was economical in the first degree, and that the money went straight to those for whom it was intended. But we thought that a larger class might be included, and the inquiry about to take, place will deal with that point. There is no doubt whatever that those widows who cannot be provided for by the Government, owing to the regulations giving the allowance only to those on the strength, can and will be provided for by the Patriotic Fund. I think the House would be unwise to insist on provision being made out of public funds on their behalf. The rules and regulations have not yet actually been got out, and will not be got out by the 1st April. Therefore 1st July has been adopted as the most convenient date. I really do not think that the provision which Parliament is asked to make for the widows of those who have fallen in the war is an illiberal one. Certainly my own desire has been to get this subject settled on an efficient and proper basis, remembering, as I do, that there is the strongest disposition on the part of Parliament, after these Votes have been given and when abuse has been found to have occurred, to find fault with the Government for not having foreseen the point at which they should have stopped. I hope in this particular case, having in view the extreme undesirability of putting in the way of our soldiers the temptation of making improvident marriages in the hope of getting separation allowances, the Committee will rest satisfied with the arrangement the Government propose.

Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted, and, forty Members being found present—


asked whether the Secretary of State for War could not see his way clear to make adequate arrangements whereby those men who were returned from South Africa partially or totally disabled should not have to eke out an existence on the mere pittance of one shilling a day. Many of these men had wives to keep, and it was a scandal that those men who had fought our battles in South Africa, and who had been incapacitated, should be compelled to live on charity. He noticed that the amount put in the Estimates for non-effective officers was something like £800 more than it used to be. It was the first duty of the Government to make ample provision in their Estimates for those soldiers who were incapacitated in the war, and who were thus prevented from earning their own living. He had seen in his own district many men who had been totally incapacitated, and they told him that all they got was one shilling a day. He should be very glad if the Secretary of State for War would state whether it was not possible to make some reasonable provision for these men.


said he could not allow the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to pass without some comment. The decision of the War Office in respect to the case of soldiers who married off the strength had been arrived at, they were told, as a question of policy. The question of justice and common humanity was left out of consideration altogether. The widows of men who had lost their lives in the service of the country were not to receive pensions, because, as a matter of policy, it would be inexpedient to encourage men to marry.


Does the hon. Member suggest that the whole Army should be allowed to marry off the strength?


replied that the right hon. Gentleman was simply begging the question. At the present time we were recognising the claims of some widows who were no more entitled to recognition than in the instances he had raised. At present the War Office recognised the claims of the widows of Reservists who married a day or two before they sailed for South Africa. The right hon. Gentleman said that if they recognised the claims of the widows of those soldiers who had married without consent, that would be encouraging others to do the same. The real question was whether these widows were to have uniformity of treatment, and that question had been evaded by the speculative theories put forward by the Secretary for War as to what might happen if these widows were recognised. Did the Government propose to throw these women and children on the world to pick up promiscuous charily? If that was so, he had no hesitation in saying that such a decision would not receive the approval of the country. A great number of Reservists, when they discovered that funds were being raised, married a day or two before going out to the war. Did the right hon. Gentleman suggest that those men married in order to get the paltry sum which was offered them? It was a feature of this war that many of their officers married just before they went away. Did the right hon. Gentleman allege that they married with some ulterior motive? The Secretary for War had told them that the number of the class of widows for whom he was pleading was very few, and sooner than bring them into this Vote the right hon. Gentleman preferred to make them an exception in order not to encourage young soldiers to marry. It the House of Commons were left to decide the question there would not be a vote against including in the pension list the whole of these widows. The right hon. Gentleman went out of his way to endeavour to whitewash the Patriotic Commissioners. He was free to admit that the Committee which sat on the administration of the fund found no abuses in regard to expense of management, and so on; but they did find that the Commissioners had hoarded instead of administering the funds at their disposal, and he hoped the day was not very remote when those funds would be taken out of their hands altogether. He wished to know what was to be the medium through which this payment to the widows was to be made. Were the payments to go through the Army and Navy officials, or through some other outside body? They bad perfect confidence in the War Office and the Admiralty administering the pensions, but if it was to be delegated to the Patriotic Commissioners, there would be a, good deal of objection. When these men went away a year ago amid the cheering crowds, everybody declared that their widows would not suffer, and that the country would look after them. Now that the war fever had died out they were asked to accept the decision that the unfortunate widows and orphans of those who married off the strength were to be cast upon the world to pick up such sustenance as they could in the day of their trouble.

* COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)

, speaking as an old soldier, said he had no doubt whatever that it would be a most dangerous thing for the Secretary of State for War to class the widows of those who had married without leave with the widows of those who were married with leave. It would be a most serious thing to induce a lot of young fellows, just before going out to the war, to marry their sweethearts. At the same time, he felt most strongly that cases might arise which the commanding officer of a regiment should have the power of bringing before the Patriotic Fund or some fund of that kind with a view to the unfortunate widow of a man who had married without leave receiving proper treatment.


said it had been suggested that some distinction should be drawn between those who had married on the strength and those who had married without leave. The issue was now narrowed down to this—that the widows of the men who had married without the permission of their commanding officers and had then gone out to South Africa and had died were to be left to die in the workhouse.




said the right hon. Gentleman shook his head, and perhaps he thought that outside charitable organisations would make some provision for them. The Member for Devonport had been for years contending that the Patriotic Commissioners had not done their work satisfactorily. What they asked in the name of the country was for some assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the funds subscribed by the public for the support of those whose relatives died in South Africa should be handed over to some body distinctly under the control of this House, so that there should be money available for pensions for the widows and orphans of those who, though they had transgressed the rules by marrying without leave, were entitled to consideration at the hands of the country. The sum of £160,000, representing the unclaimed balances due to the relatives of deceased soldiers who had died in the service, was handed over to the Patriotic Commissioners, who hoarded it up for future use instead of distributing it. The country was enthusiastic with the men who went out to South Africa, and they were distinctly led to believe that those they left behind would be provided for. If those outside funds were properly administered they would then have the distinction which was asked for, and that would be quite sufficient to deal with the case of the widows of those soldiers who were not on the strength.


There appears to be some misunderstanding on the part of the hon. Gentleman opposite. I told the Committee an hour ago that the Government could not undertake to recognise the claims of those who had married off' the strength on the same basis as those who had married with leave. The hon. Member for Devonport has made a most impassioned speech, but be does not appear to have grasped the nature of the answer which I gave. I added frankly that I think their claims are claims to be recognised by the Patriotic Fund, and that I know the Patriotic Fund will recognise them.


Under what compulsion? Will the Government undertake to see that they do administer the funds?


The hon. Gentleman's mistrust of this body carries him too far. It is a body composed of trustees of undoubted position, many of them members of this and the other House of Parliament, and all of whom have shown that their only desire is to administer the fund so that they shall have security that all those who are upon it shall receive the pensions given to them to the end of their lives. The hon. Member thinks the Commissioners have been a little too conservative, and so do I, but the pressure that the House of Commons can exercise has been put upon them to induce them to take up a less conservative attitude. As far as the Government are concerned, our position is this—we have undertaken the charge of all those who married on the strength and those who married with a reasonable expectation that they would shortly come into the Reserve, and have gone into the Reserve since they went out to South Africa. I have brought all these men under the rule. But I cannot admit that we can consider the widows of those who married off the strength in one category for one purpose and in another category for another purpose. What I do say is that those who married on the strength will receive pensions from the Government, and that those who married off the strength will be provided for by the Patriotic Fund, and I will take care that any influence I can bring to bear will be exercised in the direction of their being treated with the generosity and sympathy which we all desire to see exercised.


asked if the right hon. Gentleman would consult the Government as to the desirability of making a small contribution to the Patriotic Fund, to enable the House to discuss the doings of the managers of that fund.

DR. AMBROSE (Mayo, W.)

said he wished to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of two women who were not widows. On the previous day, in his capacity as a medical man, he had visited these women, whose husbands were at the front. One of these women had five children a sixth being dead. He could assure the Committee that if they could only realise the situation of dire distress in which these two women and their children were, they would hurl the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War from the Treasury Bench if he refused to give assistance. Someone had asked if the doctors would attend gratuitously women and children in such cases. He had done so, although entirely opposed to the war, for the past twelve months, and was, therefore, in a better position than other hon. Members to tell the Committee of the dire necessity in which many of these poor people were. They were living from hand to mouth, though they got a little assistance now and then from ladies from the West End. They talked about the Patriotic Fund, but why did not the Government step in and help? What had been done with all the money collected by the Telegraph and other journals? The way that money had been dispensed was ha disgrace to London.


said that the hon. Gentleman was discussing a War Office matter, which did not come under the Vote before the Committee.


said he would not proceed to discuss the distribution of the money collected, but he protested against the cold-blooded treatment meted out by the War Office to the wives and children of men who had given their lives to their country, ever since Crimean days.


said the Government could not guarantee to give a separation allowance to women who had married off the strength, and who were not entitled to it.

MR. PHILIPPS (Pembrokeshire)

said he did not care twopence whether a woman married on the strength or off the strength. If a soldier married without leave, let the right hon. Gentleman deal with him in his own way and punish him, but if that soldier went to the front and was killed his widow and children ought to get a pension from the State. They had heard a good deal about getting recruits and about reforms at the War Office, but here was the right hon. Gentleman making speeches saying that if a soldier married without leave his widow, if he were killed, might, with luck, and if there were funds in the hands of the Patriotic Commissioners, get a small allowance. That was all very fine, but he maintained the widows ought to be provided for by the country. However great the taxation was going to be he believed the representative of the taxpayers of the country would be perfectly prepared to vote the money to all the sufferers from the war. A good deal of money had been voted that was not popular, including the large amount to buy Salisbury Plain. He did not think anything the Government had done was so unpopular as to vote that money and not to provide for the relief of widows from the war. He knew be would he reproached in his constituency unless he protested against money not being voted for these widows. And he believed that every Member of the House, including the Irish Members, would be ready to vote money for the widows of the men who had died for their country. It was by such actions as this of refusing pensions to widows that the right hon. Gentleman, in spite of all his eloquence, was making the war unpopular in the country and bringing down a reproach on the nation.


said that the Irish Members had always voted against the war, but when it came to punishing, not the soldier who had married off the strength, but the innocent wife who was left alone when her soldier husband died, their feelings of indignation were roused. Surely it was stretching red tape too far to refuse gratuities to innocent sufferers. This cast-iron discipline was being carried too far in allowing the widows of the gallant men who had died of wounds in battle or from disease in South Africa, and their poor fathers and mothers, to be left to the cold charity of the workhouse He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider the matter; and grant justice to the widow's and orphan children.


said that surely the right hon. Gentleman would consider the suggestions that had been thrown out. The question of exercising discipline over a man who had married without leave was quite different from that of making a certain allowance to the widow of a man who had died for his country.


rose to put the question; whereupon—


As the right hon. Gentleman does not appear willing to meet this question. I beg to move to reduce this Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question put, "That a reduced sum of £1,484,900 be granted for the said Service."—(Captain Norton.)

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 76; Noes, 127. (Division List No. 115.)

Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.) Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.
Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud) Grant, Corrie O'Malley, William
Ambrose, Robert Griffith, Ellis J. O'Mara, James
Austin, Sir John Harmsworth, R. Leicester O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Bell, Richard Hayden, John Patrick Philipps, John Wynford
Black, Alexander William Helme, Norval Watson Pickard, Benjamin
Blake, Edward Horniman, Frederick John Power, Patrick Joseph
Boland, John Joyce, Michael Rea, Russell
Burke, E. Haviland- Layland-Barratt, Francis Reddy, M.
Caldwell, James Leamy, Edmund Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Levy, Maurice Redmond, William (Clare)
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Lundon, W. Rigg, Richard
Cogan, Denis J. MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Condon, Thomas Joseph M'Dermott, Patrick Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (N'rth'nts
Crean, Eugene M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Stevenson, Francis S.
Cremer, William Randal Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport) Sullivan, Donal
Cullinan, J. Murphy, J. Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.
Delany, William Nannetti, Joseph P. Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gow'r
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Donelan, Captain A. O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) White, Patrick (Meath, North
Doogan, P. C. O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.
Duffy, William J. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Dunn, Sir William O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Ffrench, Peter O'Connor, T, P. (Liverpool) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Doherty, William Captain Norton and Mr. Kearley.
Flynn, James Christopher O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Gilhooly, James O'Dowd, John
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Morton, A. K. A. (Deptford)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Mount, William Arthur
Arkwright, John Stanhope Firbank, Joseph Thomas Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Fletcher, Sir Henry Nicol, Donald Ninian
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gordon, Maj. E. (T'rHamlets) Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Bain, Col. James Robert Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Eldon Goulding, Edward Alfred Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry Plummer, Walter R.
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds Pretyman, Ernest George
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (M'dd'x Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Harris, F Leverton (Tynemouth
Bignold, Arthur Haslam, Sir Alfred S. Randles, John S.
Bigwood, James Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley) Rankin, Sir James
Bill, Charles Higginbottom, S. W. Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Blundell, Colonel Henry Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Rentoul, James Alexander
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Renwick, George
Brookfield, Col. Montagu Kimber, Henry Richards, Henry Charles
Bullard, Sir Harry Lambton, Hon. Frederick Win. Ritchie, Rt Hon. Chas. Thomson
Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H. Law, Andrew Bonar Royds, Clement Molyneux
Cautley Henry Strother Lawrence, William F. Samuel, Harry S. (Limebouse)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Lawson, John Grant Seton-Karr, Henry
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Lee, Capt A H (Hants. Fareh Sharpe, William Edward T.
Chamberlain. J. Austen (Worc. Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Charrington, Spencer Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Smith, H C (North'mb Tyneside
Clare, Octavius Leigh Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.) Spear, John Ward
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'th) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. E. Talbot, Rt. Hn. J G (Oxf'd Univ.
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Macdona, John dimming Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow Maconochie, A. W.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire) Valentia, Viscount
Cranborne, Viscount Majendie, James A. H. Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Manners, Lord Cecil Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E.
Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh. Warr, Augustus Frederick
Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'mlets, S. Geo Meysey-Thompson, Sir M. M. Wason, John Catheart (Orkney
Dickson, Charles Scott Molesworth, Sir Lewis Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin More, Robert J. (Shropshire) Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Morgan, Dav. J. (Walthamst'w Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Morrell, George Herbert Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N. Wolff, (Gustav Wilhelm TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George Mr. Anstruther and Mr. Hayes
Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath Young, Commander (Berks, E.)

Original Question put, and agreed to.

12. £188,500, Superannuation, Compensation, Compassionate Allowances and Gratuities,


said that the Vote was a very important one, and there were various questions his hon. friends desired to raise on it; but, in view of the fact that there was an important Irish Bill (the Roman Catholic Disabilities Removal Bill), which was supported by the Irish Members, on the Order Taper, they did not desire to discuss the Vote in Committee.


It is only fair to remind hon. Members that the invariable practice on a Friday evening devoted to Supply is for the Government to move the adjournment of the House after the Votes have been disposed of.


asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was really serious in proposing to move the adjournment of the House at ten o'clock, and thereby preventing a large number of Members from discussing a Bill which was on the Order Taper and in which they score interested. They had been keeping very late hours recently in the House, the closure had been frequently applied, and there had been no end of statements from the Government as to the necessity of rushing Supply through the House of Commons. The Irish. Members were now prepared to allow the Vote before the Committee to pass, in order that they might have an hour, or even half an hour, to lake the sense of the House on the Bill on the Order Paper. The right hon. Gentleman, however, coolly told them that he intended to move the adjournment of the House at ten o'clock, and cut the Irish Members out from getting the Second Beading of a Bill which had been before the House year after year for many years, and which the right hon. Gentleman would admit engaged the interest, not only of the Irish Members but of millions of His Majesty's subjects.


I must remind the hon. Member that the question to which he is addressing himself is not the one before the Committee. He must put himself in order.


said he was quite aware that, technically, he was not in order. He would not discuss the matter further, but he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to allow it to go forth to the millions of people interested in the Bill that at ten o'clock at night the Irish Members would not be permitted to take the sense of the House on it.


said he did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman rightly understood him. The Irish Members were willing to allow the Vote which they had a perfect right to discuss to pass in order that they might get on to the next Order of the day.


I hope hon. Gentlemen will understand that the course I have stated as the course which the Government feel bound to adopt has nothing whatever to do with the merits of the Bill. That is my view, and I know hon. Members will believe me. Whether they think it is desirable or not, that course is in adherence to general principle, and to general principle alone. Hon. Members will remember that under the Supply Rule Fridays are allocated to Supply, and although Bills may be put down Members interested in them go away knowing they will not come on for discussion. Further hon. Members should remember that on Friday, being a Government day, we should put down Bills ourselves Bills of great general importance—it we did not feel that no Bills ought to be taken on Fridays. I am sure, therefore, that hon. Members will feel with me that if the Government allowed private Members' Bills to be taken on a day which did not belong to them, it would be asking the House to accept a principle unjust in itself and most inconvenient. As far as I know anything about this Bill, there is nothing to object to in it. Its general principle, at all events. I would not have any objection to, but if the Bill were the one of all others I desired should be passed, I should still think it my duty as Leader of the House to observe the general rule which, on the whole, is a rule of expediency and for the proper order of debate, and to support the Government in declaring that on Fridays no business but Supply should be taken.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

I hope it will be consistent with the rules of order to pursue this matter. The Government say that Fridays are allocated to Supply alone, and that they abstain themselves from putting down Government Bills because they intend the entire sitting to be devoted to Supply. On this occasion all the Supply put down has been practically granted. [AN HON. MEMBER: No, no.] Technically I am correct. The right hon. Gentleman will admit that he has received facilities, and that a considerable amount of Supply has been voted. With regard to the particular Bill on the Order Paper, the right hon. Gentleman says, as far as he can observe, he sees no objection to it in principle. We now find ourselves in the position of having practically finished Supply, and still having two hours before the time for the adjournment. The next Order is a Bill to which the right hon. Gentleman takes no objection, and is it not a great hardship, to put it no higher, that we cannot have the few minutes necessary for the passing of the Second Rending of this Bill? I am most anxious not to outstep the limits of order, but I may be allowed to point out in one sentence what this Bill is. As the law stands at present, absurd restrictions exist against the existence in Ireland and England of religious orders. These religious orders, such as the Franciscans and the Jesuits, cannot by law live in the country or own property, and I do not think that there are half-a-dozen Members of the House, whatever their political opinions may be, who will not admit that that us an absurd state of law and ought to be abolished. I suggested to my hon. friend who has charge of the Bill that if the Bill were reached he should not trouble the House with a long speech, but should simply move the Second Reading. If there are objections in detail to this Bill, they can be dealt with in Committee, and all we ask is that, having let Supply go through, we should be given an opportunity of taking the Second Heading of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says he cannot do that because it is against precedent. I would ask him, if he takes that view so strongly, can he afford us some hope or give us some undertaking that the small modicum of time necessary to discuss the principle of this Bill will be afforded to us at another period of the session? If he will undertake to close Government business sonic night in time to enable us to take I he Second Reading of the Bill, then we will not pursue the matter further now. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot do that. I am afraid it will be necessary for us to discuss this Vote, and also the question of the adjournment, which no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will move after the Vote is carried. I would make a conciliatory appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, and would ask him, in view of the character of the Bill, and that opposition to it is confined probably to two out of the 670 Members of the House, whether he would not make some small concession to us and give us an assurance that on a future occasion we should have half an hour, or less, in which to discuss the Bill. If he will do that, we will at once withdraw the claim we now make. I would earnestly appeal to him in the interests of that wide tolerance which I believe exists in the minds of the great majority of the Members of the House, to afford some small opportunity of dealing with this question, which, although it may not press very hardly on these religious orders, because the evasion of the law is winked at, is still regarded by the people of Ireland as a badge of inferiority and a relic of the bad old days when their religion was prescribed by law.


I must point out that this discussion is irregular. The Committee now seems to be discussing the merits of the next Order on the Paper. The Vote before the Committee must he disposed of one way or the other.


I think the right hon. Gentleman might be allowed to reply.

MR. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)

said he did not wish to say anything about the Bill itself, but at all events it was understood by a great many hon. Members that on Friday nights no business except Supply would be taken. He knew one hon. Member, his hon. friend the Member for South Belfast, who would have been present it he had had any idea that the Bill would be brought forward. His hon. friend and other hon. Members went away under the impression that only Supply would be taken.


said that before the right hon. Gentleman replied perhaps he might, without discussing the merits of the Bill or infringing the rules of order, be permitted to point out a precedent for the course the right hon. Gentleman was asked to take. Last session† on a Government day business was disposed of at an earlier hour than was expected. The next Order was the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Children Bill. The Government moved the adjournment, but they were appealed to to allow the Bill to be dealt with, as it excited considerable interest in the House, and in answer to that appeal the Government withdrew the motion for the adjournment and allowed the Bill to be discussed. He thought that was an exact precedent, and he would ask whether the right hon. Gentleman would now follow the action of the Government on the occasion he mentioned.


I have nothing whatever to complain of in the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who have just spoken. The precedent mentioned by the hon. Gentleman is really no precedent. I was not in the House at the actual moment when the business of Supply was concluded, and, unfortunately, con- See Debates, Fourth Series, Vol. lxxx., page 518. trary to my directions another Order of the day was called on.


I was in the House all the time. Mr. Goschen, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty, actually moved the adjournment of the House, and it was in answer to an appeal made to him that he withdrew it.


It is perfectly true that the Government moved the adjournment, but not until after the order of the day had been called and the House had entered upon the discussion of the Bill. That was through a misapprehension of the very clear directions I had given to the Gentleman then in charge of the business of this bench. If the hon. Gentleman will consult the archives of the Mouse he will see that I have over and over again moved the adjournment immediately after the conclusion of the business on Fridays, against Bills brought in by Gentlemen on my own side of the House and supported by the great majority of the party to which I belong, and I think as impartiality should be exercised by the Leader of the House it would be absurd to make an exception in favour of a minority as against a majority. I have nothing to do with the merits of the Bill. It is in the power of hon. Gentlemen to keep on the discussion of Supply until twelve o'clock, and I suppose they will do so if I do not give way, as I feel I cannot in honesty and honour give, way. I wish I could. Then the hon. Gentleman says to me. "Give us an opportunity." Is it to be the rule of the House that whenever Supply finishes before twelve o'clock the Bill which is next Order of the Day is to have a slice of Government time for its Second Reading discussion? I think the hon. Gentleman will see that if this House is to be managed on general principles irrespective of the merits of Bills, the general principle which I have laid down is the only one which can be laid down. If I gave way now to the eloquent appeal of the hon. Gentleman, the force of which I admit, I should be perfectly helpless in dealing with any Bill in future which had any backing at all in this House, and as a matter of fact Friday would cease to be a day given to Supply, and would become a day on which those who have the power of obstructing or discussing Supply at length would always be making bargains with the Government, that if they refrained from discussing Supply they should have the Second Reading of some Bill in which they were interested. That would be very inconvenient. Frankly I say that if the House now indicates that their view is that Friday should not be exclusively given to Supply, I shall be bound to put down Government Bills as the next orders, which would, of course, exclude private Members' Bills. I am not able to accede to the request of the hon. Gentleman. I have not dealt with it in any contentious spirit, and I am sure he will feel that no other course was open to me in the interests of equality and justice.


The precedent quoted by the hon. Member for East Clare is scarcely a precedent in this case. I have looked the case up in Hansard. We were dealing with the Army Supplementary Estimates on Report of Supply, not with the ordinary business of Supply. I myself feel great sympathy with my hon. friends, but I quite understand the position the Leader of the House has taken up, and, in the general interests of our procedure, I am bound to say that his decision to keep Fridays intact for Supply is in the general interests of legislation in the House. I am sorry we could not have some pledge with reference to this Bill, because I should like to see it brought before the House and divided upon. It is a, Bill which ought to have an opportunity of eliciting a vote from the House; but while I should be glad to press that view I am bound to support the decision the right hon. Gentleman has taken in the interests of public business, and because it conduces to general fair play.

MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

said he thought the precedent mentioned by his hon. friend the Member for East Clare was very much stronger than was acknowledged by the right hon. Gentleman. The action proposed by the right hon. Gentleman would be a direct premium on loquacity. The right hon. Gentleman said he could not break a rule, but if there was a rule there should also be an exception to prove it. That was logic. The Roman Catholic Disabilities Bill was the exceptional case and deserved the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman. His lion, friend the Member for Waterford had made a moderate proposition, and if the right hon. Gentleman could not assent to the Bill being discussed now, he ought to assent to it.


I must respectfully ask the Committee to come back to the matter before it. This discussion is irregular.


said he would suggest that the Vote be allowed to pass, and when the Bill was taken the discussion could continue on the motion for adjournment.

Resolution agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.

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