§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
Mr. Speaker, I wish to call the attention of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and also the right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to one or two matters connected with public business. I believe it may be stated with truth, that there has been only one sitting for the transaction of Government, business, and the night of the Navy Estimates may be said to be the first night of the Session. We know that the question of Papal aggression is the cause of considerable delay of public business. The question I wished to put to the noble Lord and his right hon. Colleague is this. Inasmuch as there is only practically a certain limited duration to Sessions of Parliament, inasmuch as many important public interests have a right to be heard and attended to in this House, I now ask the noble Lord whether it is fair, inasmuch as the responsibility devolves on him as the conductor of public business in this House, to appropriate so large a portion of the whole Session to the discussion of this question of Papal aggression. I willingly admit that great numbers of respectable people do take an interest in this question, but there are others who take an equally strong interest in other important questions, and I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the alleged equalisation and reduction of the coffee duties. The right hon. Gentleman gives notice that he is going to reduce the coffee duties. What, Sir, is the effect of it? Why, until that reduction is known, no business can be carried on; you at once suspend and interrupt an important trade. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives notice to the world that he intends to deal with the coffee duties, I say it is the incumbent duty of the Government to proceed with those resolutions, which will enable the Customs to commence taking the new duties on the article in question. It is the same with the timber duties; and, representing as I do a large manufacturing and commercial constituency, I feel it my duty to make some complaint at the unfair appropriation of public time. I do not 343 know whether we shall divide to-night, I think it probable we shall not. In fact, I do not know when we shall divide. Under these circumstances, therefore, I do hope the noble Lord will give some intimation that after this week the question of dealing with Papal aggression will be laid aside for the present. After the proceedings of last night—after that most able speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon, the Government ought to give time to the country to digest it. There is also a strong rumour about, that the Government will find it necessary to withdraw this Bill in consequence of the first clause containing those very provisions which the noble Lord is so extremely anxious to avoid. If that is the case, do not let us press on with any unnecessary haste. Let us rather lay it aside for the present; go to the real business of the country; and when you find these animosities somewhat subsided, you will be in a better position to give a patient and careful consideration to your legislation.
§ SIR T. D. ACLAND
did not think it fair to blame the noble Lord for the time consumed in the discussion of the question on Papal aggression, because he did not think it was his noble Friend's fault. The noble Lord had not made very many or very long speeches, and certainly no very angry speeches on the subject.
§ MR. ROCHE
wished to call the attention of the House to the question which had been put by the right hon. Member for Manchester. That right hon. Gentleman had asked whether, after Her Majesty's Ministers took the Second Reading of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, they would be prepared to go on with the other business of the country. He (Mr. Roche) hoped the noble Lord at the head of the Government would pay attention to that question. If the noble Lord compelled the House to go into a discussion upon the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, without any regard to many other important questions, to questions respecting Ireland—more particularly that of the tenant-right—the noble Lord must not be surprised if hon. Gentlemen coming from Ireland should, however reluctantly, avail themselves of all the forms of the House in order to insist upon this Bill, after having received its second reading, should stop there until the other business of the country was proceeded with. He supposed the noble Lord had a policy; he had got a Chancellor of the Exchequer, and no doubt that right 344 hon. Gentleman had got a budget. Let them then try the Government upon its general policy, and not proceed with the present species of governing, which was one merely to oppress Ireland, and torture the Roman Catholics of the country.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
Sir, I have no objection at once to answer the question of the hon. Gentleman, but it is a very different question from that which was put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester. The right hon. Member for Manchester complained of the great length of the debate upon the Second Heading of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and asked whether we could not suspend the adjournment of that debate, and whether we could not take a question of other business in the meantime. That seems to me to be a question improperly addressed to the Government, I should have been glad if the debate had finished on Monday last; but the question, is one which should have been addressed to those hon. Gentlemen who wished still to speak upon the question, but who, I apprehend, will find, in the end, that the matter has been tolerably well exhausted. With respect to the question of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the county of Cork, I have no hesitation in answering that, which was, whether, assuming the House comes to a second reading, we shall proceed to the other business; of the country? In answer to that question, I say, as it has been stated before, to the House, clearly and distinctly, that as soon as the House has decided upon the second reading of the present Bill, we shall go on, on the first Order night, with the Army Estimates. We shall endeavour to take the votes of the men for the Army immediately, so that we may bring in the Mutiny; Bill; and notice will be given on the next Order night respecting the bringing forward the Budget. On the next Order day we shall take the discussion on the renewal of the Income Tax. I therefore hope that this explanation will be perfectly satisfactory.