§ House in Committee; Mr. FitzRoy in the Chair.
§ (1.) £109,842. Superannuations.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, that these allowances were proposed to be granted under the Act of Parliament, but several of them were not in accordance with the scale laid down by it. He thought, moreover, that the system was radically wrong, as those who enjoyed a long life after their retirement, received much larger sums than the nature of their services deserved. He found from the papers that these instances were by no means uncommon; amongst others he might mention that one gentleman had retired over twenty years ago on the ground of ill-health, and was still drawing his retired allowance. He would suggest that a capital sum should be given instead of a pension: it would be a better provision for his family if an officer died soon after his retirement.
said, that the present scale of superannuation pensions was founded on an Act of Parliament; and if the system of paying sums down were adopted, he feared there would be many cases in which public servants would spend the money thus given them upon their retirement, and would be thrown upon the public bounty after all. He would also state that the cases referred to by the hon. Gentleman were not cases which had occurred under the ordinary course of super- 1389 annuation, but cases in which the parties had retired for purposes of economy at the desire of the Government.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that of this enormous amount of retiring allowances, a large proportion was paid by way of compensation for abolished offices. Now, why were these persons not appointed to other departments of the service upon the abolition of their offices? A large saving would be effected by adopting this system. In many instances retiring allowances were granted to persons who had spent but a few years in the public service, and it did seem as though this large expenditure was saddled upon the public to a great extent for purposes of patronage. One instance he would mention in which an individual was paid £700 a year as a retiring allowance in 1820—thirty-seven years ago—on account of "infirmity of body," and he had been receiving it ever since. The proper course would have been to give this person six months or so to recover his health instead of pensioning him off in this way. He had no doubt that many of these retiring pensions were occasioned by the improper creation of vacancies, and he believed that if the subject were inquired into by an independent Committee of that House a large sum might be struck off from these estimates.
§ MR. WISE
said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the scale on which the retiring allowances to Consuls were made, which he thought quite inadequate. In almost every case where they had retired from ill health, the allowances were miserably small. In one ease, where a Consul with £800 a year salary, had been obliged to retire from that cause only, the miserable pittance of £200 a year was allowed to him. He knew twenty-six cases in which the Consuls had retired on account of serious ill health, and in all of which trifling pensions had been granted after twenty, thirty, and forty years' residence abroad. The injustice of this was, he thought, the more striking when contrasted with the pensions allowed in the diplomatic service. Ambassadors and Ministers received considerable pensions when they retired, while the Consuls who had been long in the service did not receive much more than the amount contributed by the consular body. The total consular salaries were £137,260, and the pensions £10,542; but the Consuls contributed to the Superannuation Fund no less than £6,863, whilst the diplomatic service paid nothing 1390 and received £22,530 in pension, and £150,000 in salaries. A Consul with £500 a year, after serving twenty-five years, and being subject to a deduction of 5 per cent, would receive on retiring £250; and he might mention the case of a Consul General at Chili, who after eighteen years' service at £1,400 a year, received but a pension of £400, having contributed £1,440 to the fund. Considering our complicated relations all over the world, and the immense interests of British property and of the British people, and how important it was to secure the services of able and qualified persons, it seemed to him, that if they wished to obtain good public servants for this branch of our service, they must treat them better than that. He also complained that in many instances, where an office had been abolished, and compensation granted, the office had been shortly after revived, and instead of the same civil servant, another person had been appointed to fill the office against all principles of economy and efficiency. The compensations to be voted this year amounted to £9,720, and he should cite two or three instances in proof of what he stated. A Consul General at Buenos Ayres, receiving £2,500 a year, retired a few years ago at the age of thirty-eight with a pension of £1,000 a year, and it was said that the office was abolished. Almost immediately after, another Consul was appointed, held the office for a very short time, and then retired with, a pension of £266 at the age of thirty-one. At the present moment, we had a Consul General and Agent with a salary of £1,885, and a Vice Consul with £500 a year, making the total outlay £3,651. Again, at Venice, a Consul General receiving £1,200 a year, retired at the age of forty-three with a pension of £600 a year. Abolition of office was the reason assigned. We had now, however, another Consul General at Venice with a salary of £700 a year. He would leave the Committee to judge, whether these appointments and reconstruction of offices were necessary, and whether they were made for the good of the country or for the private advantage of some favoured friend. For his part, he did not see why, if a port became of less importance and the trade small, so as to call for little labour at the hands of a Consul, a reduction in the salary of the existing Consul could not be made; or, at all events, a more systematic promotion established, instead of taking 1391 the Consul out of the service altogether on a compensation, and then appointing a fresh officer. The third case he would mention was, that of Tripoli. In 1852, a Consul General receiving £1,600 a year, retired upon a compensation of £850. The office was abolished; but, notwithstanding that, we had now a Consul at Tripoli with £800 a year, and a Vice Consul with £300 a year. He did not say that it was not essential to have a Consul at Tripoli; but he could not see the advantage of abolishing an office, of granting compensation, and then of appointing a fresh officer in that fashion. Again, in 1851, we had a Consul at Foo-chow-foo with £1,200 a year; the office was abolished, and he retired on a pension of £600. Immediately after, another Consul was appointed, and the present establishment consisted of a Consul and Vice Consul, with salaries of £1,200 and £750. He mentioned these facts, because he thought that it was better to give cases, than to make long orations on the Estimates. The public purse was not unlimited; he hoped, therefore, that the Government would consider the subject, that they would not give these compensations, where they were not deserved, and that they would not abolish offices, and in a short time reconstruct; them at such a serious expense to the country.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he thought that though a certain latitude must be allowed to the Government with regard to pensions and allowances, there should be some general rules observed with regard to them. There were two items with regard to which he should like to have some explanation. It appeared that Mr. Espine Batty, Consul, retired after eight years' service, and, his salary having been £1,000 a year, the pension he received was £500 per annum; and, on the other hand, that Jonathan Johnson, clerk, retired after thirty years' service, and his salary having been £800 a year, his pension was only £550.
SIR FRANCIS BARING
said, he wished to inquire whether the rule laid down by the Committee of 1834, with reference to superannuations and compensation on the abolition of office, was now adhered to? As he understood, the recommendation of that Committee was that they should be the same. He wanted to know whether that rule had been altered, or whether some of the cases referred to in which the compensation awarded had been very large were special ones, out of the ordinary course?
said, that the practice of the Treasury as regarded abolished offices was by no means uniform. No doubt the rule of giving compensations according to the principle laid down in the Act of 1834 might be considered as the general practice of the Treasury; but in some cases, where it was for the convenience and the economy of the public service that particular offices should be abolished, and where great hardship to individuals accrued, they had considered it competent to the Treasury to act with greater liberality. If a person were superannuated under the Act of 1834, either through age or illness, he must be taken to have left the service for his own convenience, and it must be remembered that his office was immediately filled up by another person, and there was no gain to the public. But the case was altogether different when they abolished an office and compelled a man to retire sooner than he otherwise would have done. No other person was then appointed to the office; the gain was all to the public, and the person so deprived of his situation was entitled to consideration. With respect to the two cases selected by the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen, (Colonel Sykes) one was the case of a professional gentleman taken from the law, and in all such cases professional officers were dealt with differently from those who were in the public service as clerks, and who had not been called on to give up a profession. There was a strong instance of this which he could mention. Two years ago Parliament passed an Act which did away with the Metropolitan Building Board, and provided that all servants who had been employed in that department for three or four years should have two-thirds of their then salary. That provision was inserted in the Act on the distinct consideration that they were professional men, who had been withdrawn from their profession, and had, consequently, lost what connection they might have had. With respect to the observations of the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Wise) with respect to the case of the late Consul at Buenos Ayres, he wished to remind the Committee that that charge would not again occur, because arrangements had been made for the re-employment of the officer in question. He was willing to admit the hardship of some of the rules respecting the consular service, but at the same time he would observe that next year, as his hon. Friend was aware, the whole matter would be sub- 1393 mitted to a Committee, when abundant opportunity would be given to bring forward the whole details of the service.
SIR FRANCIS BARING
said, he did not think that his hon. Friend had exactly answered his question. No doubt there might be cases of great hardship on the abolition of offices. But his hon. Friend was aware that the recommendation of the Committee was that the same practice should be followed in superannuation cases as in the case of abolition of office. His question was whether in this case the rule had been exceeded, or whether the cases in question were special? No doubt the case of a professional man taken out of his ordinary line of life to fill an office was different from that of a clerk who was taken into the office early in life, and who retired after long service. He quite agreed, also, that many cases of hardship might arise from the sudden abolition of office; but his experience told him that it was by no means the best class of officers who were reduced. When the Committee made its recommendation he knew that the officers were full of complaints; that officers who were selected for reduction were selected because they were not the best officers in the service, and they had retiring allowances granted them, while others were retained, and had to serve much longer, merely because they were more energetic and able men. He believed that in all cases where an extra sum was allowed to retiring officers, the recommendation was that a special minute should be made and laid on the table of the House.
was understood to say, that in the particular instances alluded to, the Act of 1834 had been complied, with, and special minutes made and laid on the table. With regard to others the minutes had been made in former years.
In reply to a question from Mr. BLACKBURN,
said, that the Act of 1834 did not grant any specific compensation for the abolition of offices. It merely referred to compensation to those worn out in the service. Up to the age of sixty-five the Treasury had no power to grant superannuation allowances, except under a medical certificate that the officer was no longer fit to serve, combined with a general certificate of good conduct. The superannuation for offices abolished was under a different law, or, rather, arose out of the prerogative of the Crown itself, which had been exercised for a long period 1394 and had been recognized by various Parliamentary Committees.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he would refer the hon. Gentleman to the Act itself, which enacted that no compensation shall be given for offices abolished, except under certain circumstances.
replied, that what really was enacted was, that in the cases of offices abolished the compensation should be made out of the funds devoted to the service of that particular department.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, he wished to call the attention of the hon. Gentleman to a case in the superannuation list, where a gentleman retired from the service at eighty-four years of age, after a service of ten years only. That gentleman had been receiving a salary of £1,500 a year, and since his retirement a pension of £375 a year. He wished to ask whether it would not have been better to have appointed a younger man from whom more work could have been obtained. There were some other cases which he might name were it not invidious to do so.
replied, that the cases referred to were those very ones abolished by the doing away of the Metropolitan Building Board, and in which the compensation had been distinctly defined in the Act.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he also would beg to call the attention of the hon. Gentleman to the case of a clerk of the venison warrens, who, after a service of fifteen years at a salary of £150, was allowed to retire on his full salary, and to ask upon what principle that amount of compensation was allowed?
said, he could not state the exact ground upon which the full salary had been given. Probably it was a patent office, and the person who filled it was entitled to the full salary.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also the following Votes—
§ (2.) £2,058, Toulonese and Corsican, Emigrants.
§ (3.) £1,300, National Vaccine Establishment.
§ (4.) £325, Refuge for the Destitute.
§ (5.) £2,680, Polish Refugees, &c.
§ (6.) £4,281, Miscellaneous Allowances,
§ MR. WISE
said, that he observed that £700 of this Vote was to the poor French refugee clergy. Now, as he understood that it was sixty-six years ago since this Vote was placed on the Estimates, and as he assumed the clergymen in question 1395 must have been at least twenty-one years of age at that period, and therefore must by this time have reached the age of eighty-seven, he wished to know how much longer it was expected that Parliament would be asked for this money, and whether the recipients were indeed living?
replied, that the application was made through the secretary of the society, a most respectable person, and there was no reason to suppose the money was improperly paid.
In reply to Mr. BLACKBURN,
said, that the Vote did not include £1,200 given by the Government to certain literary characters.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he must object to several items of the Vote. For instance, he found an item of £22 formerly charged on the hereditary revenues of Scotland, which included alms given to Her Majesty's beadesmen and the expense of finding them with gowns. He thought such payments ought to be discontinued. He also saw an annuity of £500 granted by King Charles II. to the ancestor of the late Sir Thomas Clarges in fee, which he saw no reason why the country should be called upon to pay at the present time. He objected to the charge on principle.
replied, that all these charges had been subjected to the strict examination of a Committee of that House, and had been retained on the ground that it would not be keeping good faith with the recipients. The Committee must remember that the items were formerly charged on the land revenues of the Crown, and the charge had been transferred with the revenues in question.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that he did not object to their present payment, but thought they ought to cease on the decease of the recipients.
§ In reply to Mr. SPOONER,
stated that the item of £90 9s. for repairs of the bridge at Berwick was a charge which had formerly been defrayed from the Civil List.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £1,895, Infirmaries in Ireland.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
expressed his opinion that this was one of those items which ought not to continue in the Estimates. It might have been defensible before the establishment of the Poor Law in Ireland, but he thought the charge of such institutions ought not now to be thrown upon the public taxes.
could console his hon. 1396 Friend by informing him that under the 14 & 15 Vict., &c. 68, these allowances would be gradually discontinued.
Vote agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £3,135 be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expense of the Westmoreland Lock Hospital, Dublin, to the 31st day of March, 1858.
§ MR. COWAN
said, he rose to object to the item. The noble Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell), when he was at the head of the Government, had proposed to reduce the allowances to the Dublin hospitals at the rate of 10 percent per annum, until they altogether ceased. In 1854, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Dublin, the subject was investigated by a Committee, who recommended that the grants should be continued. The Commissioners appointed at the suggestion of that Committee recommended that the total sum granted for the support of the Dublin hospitals should not exceed £15,600, while the aggregate amount now asked of Parliament was £19,017, or an excess of nearly £4,000. In Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and other large towns, there was a large immigration of poor Irish, for whose support the ratepayers were compelled to provide from their own resources. The people of Scotland were also about to be called upon for large contributions for the establishment of lunatic asylums; and if it was right that grants similar to that now under consideration should be continued, the House ought to decide upon what principle the money of the State was to be applied to such objects. He therefore proposed that the recommendation of the Committee of 1854 in favour of a certain fixed and specified sum should govern the House on this occasion, and that the £2,600, less the£850 voted on account last Session—in other words, £1,750—should be the sum granted for the Westmoreland Lock Hospital for the present year.Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £l,750, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expense of the Westmoreland Lock Hospital, Dublin, to the 31st day of March 1838.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, it was extraordinary that, in the face of complaints from year to year, the grant for this hospital should on this occasion be £2,770 more than the grant of last year.
said, he had endeavoured 1397 to do all that lay in his power to carry out the understanding of the Government of which his noble Friend the Member for the City of London was at the bead, until he was interrupted by the appointment of a Committee of that House. He certainly opposed the appointment of that Committee, but unsuccessfully, and when it reported to the House, no other course remained to the Government than to carry out the recommendations which it made. A Commission was also appointed for the purpose of inquiring how the £16,000 granted by the House for the support of those hospitals should be applied. That Commission recommended a certain distribution of the funds, which the Government, of course, adopted. Besides, an Act of Parliament passed last Session which confirmed the proceedings both of the Committee and the Commission. As to the charge that the Government was this year exceeding the Vote of last year in respect to the Westmoreland Lock Hospital, he could explain how that was. Only £1,215 of the Estimate of 1856 happened to be voted, so that £1,385 was advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund to mate up the Estimate, and that £1,385 had now to be repaid, and was included in the Vote for the present year.
§ SIR J. TRELAWNY
said, he doubted whether the explanation of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wilson) was correct on constitutional grounds. The Government ought to have a policy and to act upon it.
§ MR. KIRK
said, the Vote ought not to be objected to by the English Members, inasmuch as whenever it was found that any of those numbers of poor Irish who came over to this country and enriched it by their labour on public works in London, Glasgow, and Liverpool, were unable longer to contribute their labour in that way, they were at once sent home and landed on the nearest shore, unless by long residence in this part of the kingdom they had gained a settlement in it.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he begged to remind the hon. Member (Mr. Kirk) that any Irishman gained a settlement in England after he had resided in it for four years.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he wished to recall to the recollection of the Committee that the grants for these hospitals were guaranteed by the Act of Union, and had continued ever since uninterruptedly, and that a Committee of that House, of whom eleven were English and four were Irish Members, had recently recommended their continuance. He added that on a division thirteen Members of the Committee voted for the continuance of all the grants, and that the grant which they were unanimous in recommending should be continued without reduction was the very one now under discussion. Moreover, he might mention that at the time of the Reformation there were hospitals in London, such as St. Luke's, St. Thomas's, and St. Bartholomew's, which had lands in Ireland, and which they were allowed to retain. There were monasteries at that time in Dublin which had lands in England, but they had lost their lands, and had been allowed grants by Parliament in lieu of them. This alone constituted an equitable claim to an equivalent.
§ MR. COX
said, he could not but characterise the Vote as a paltry one, and was quite surprised that an hon. Member for such a city as the city of Dublin (Mr. Vance) should ask assistance for the Dublin hospitals. The people of Dublin were rich enough, and he was quite sure they were willing, to support their own charitable institutions. The London hospitals were supported by voluntary contributions, and he did not see why the people of Dublin should not act in a similar manner.
said, that in fact three of the largest London hospitals were supported by public moneys, being endowed with the revenues of monasteries suppressed in the reign of Henry VIII.
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ Vote agreed to; as were also the following Votes—
§ (9.) £700, Lying-in Hospital, Dublin,
§ (10.) £300, Combe Lying-in Hospital, Dublin.
§ (11.) £4,600, House of Industry, Dublin.
§ (12.) £2,500, House of Recovery, Dublin.
§ (13.) £400, Meath Hospital, Dublin.1399
§ (14.) £150, St. Mark's Ophthalmic Hospital.
§ (15.) £1,805, Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin.
§ (16.) £427, Board of Superintendence, of Hospitals, Dublin.
§ (17.) £4,338, Charitable Allowances.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he must complain that so large a sum should be granted to persons at the will of the Government, The Committee ought to have a list of the persons, and some explanation ought to be given as to the manner in which the money was expended.
said, he had no means of furnishing details at present, as the money was expended in Ireland.
Vote agreed to.
(18.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding.£39,008, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expenses of Non-conforming, Seceding, and Protestant Dissenting Ministers in Ireland, to the 31st day of March, 1856.
§ MR. BAXTER
said, he rose to move the reduction of this Estimate to £366, the amount for widows and orphans, at the same time he wished to state that in asking the Committee in reality to reject the Vote, he was not actuated by any ill-feeling towards the people of Ireland. Being a Protestant and a Nonconformist, he would be the last to breathe a syllable against a body of men for whom he entertained the highest respect, and he should not grudge the money if he believed that the grant was founded upon a correct principle, or was likely to benefit the Irish people. A similar grant was withdrawn from the Nonconformists of England when the noble Lord the Member for the City of London was Prime Minister, and the Nonconformists in this country regarded its withdrawal as a boon and an advantage. He did not wish to raise the question of the Established Church in Ireland. But in Ireland they had not been content with the establishment of Protestant Episcopacy. They had passed an Act providing for the education of Roman Catholic priests, at the same time that they made grants out of the public Treasury to Presbyterians and Unitarians of the Synod of Ulster. The principle of indiscriminate endowments had been received with considerable favour by some of our leading statesmen, and perhaps this might turn out to be a step in that direction; but he believed that principle to be a most vicious one, and calculated, if acted upon, to subvert our civil 1400 and religious liberty. Still it was a principle, and he could understand it; but, in selecting four out of twelve denominations in Ireland, he did not think they were acting upon any intelligible policy whatever. He was convinced they would never have ecclesiastical peace in that House or in the country until they began to act upon the opposite principle of impartial disendowment. There were no special reasons why this grant should be maintained. He had often heard it said that the grant was given in lieu of tithes, and that the Presbyterians in the north of Ireland had a right to it. But he had looked carefully into the history of the transaction, and, after the fullest and most impartial investigation, he believed the statement in question to be a pure and unmitigated fiction. Dr. Reid, the historian of the Irish Presbyterian Church, said not a syllable about it; and he learned from a passage in the Memoirs of Lord Castlereagh, that the Presbyterian ministers were put in possession of the tithes being at that time ministers of the Irish Church. They were deprived of them in the time of the Commonwealth, and from the Restoration down to 1672 the Presbyterian ministers of Ireland were supported by the voluntary liberality of their people. William and Mary afterwards granted them a sum of £1,200 a year, to be paid out of the revenues of the Irish Establishment; but in little more than a twelvemonth the Irish Parliament passed a Resolution to the effect that this pension was an unnecessary branch of the Establishment. The Queen continued the grant, but it was soon discontinued by the Irish Government. He thought that the whole history of the donum proved most conclusively that it was neither more nor less than a reward for political services. In 1772 it was placed in the annual Estimates under the head of "secret service" money, and when Lord Castlereagh endeavoured in 1799 to alter the mode of distribution, he entitled his scheme—" A plan for strengthening the connection between the Government and the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster." Such being the origin and history of the grant, what had been its effect upon the Presbyterian Church? It had weakened that Church, and diminished the stipends of its ministers by drying up the sources of voluntary liberality to such an extent that one of their own pastors had spoken of it as the most beggarly denomination in Christendom. It appeared from a recent 1401 Parliamentary Return, obtained by the hon. Member for Sheffield, that the Presbyterian congregations of Ulster raised on the average, by their own exertions, no more than £57 per annum each, and it was very remarkable—such had been the effect of the grant—that some of the largest and wealthiest congregations actually contributed less than some of the smallest and poorest. Let him contrast that miserable result with what had been done by the Free Church of Scotland. When the disruption in the Scottish Church took place, 448 ministers and professors abandoned their offices and emoluments in the Established Church of Scotland. That number had grown, in 1857, to 801, with about one-third of the whole population of Scotland adhering to their discipline. In the first year of the disruption the sustentation fund was £68,000; last year it was £108,000. In the first year of the Free Church's existence the ministers received a stipend of £105 annually; now, the number of ministers had increased to 712, who received £140, in addition to the freewill offerings of their congregations. In fact, the average salaries of the Free Church ministers were larger than those of the ministers of the Established Church. The missionary fund had risen from £3,000 in 1843 to £14,000 in 1856. The Free Church schools last year numbered 607, and the manses 535: all created since the disruption. In that space of time the Free Church had raised no less than £3,902,000 for religious purposes. He asked the House to contrast the working of Presbyterianism under the voluntary system in Scotland with its working under State subsidies in Ireland, He submitted that he had made out a case for the consideration of the Committee which justified him in asking them to support the Amendment which he proposed. He was fully persuaded that, if they would take that course, it would have the effect of strengthening Presbyterianism in the north of Ireland, and would be the first step towards the abolition of a policy which was false in principle, and could not be permanently maintained. He should, therefore, conclude by moving that the Vote be reduced to £366.
§ MR. KIRK
said, he felt it necessary to correct some of the mistakes into which the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) had fallen. When the Presbyterians first settled in Ireland, the question was 1402 not whether they were Episcopalians or Presbyterians, but whether they were Protestant. The Irish Protestant Church at that time was not altogether identified with, the Church of England, but was founded on seventy-two Articles, differing in many essential particulars from the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England; the object then being to establish a universal Protestantism in Ireland. Accordingly, the Presbyterian ministers took possession of the manses and tithes, but when the Commonwealth came, they, in common with all other clergymen, were deprived of their revenues. Upon the Restoration they were restored to their benefices, but when the Act of Uniformity was passed, they again, in common with all other non-conforming ministers, were deprived of them. In 1672, however, and not in 1772, as the hon. Gentleman had stated, the present grant was made. It was true, that during the latter part of the reign of James II. the grant was withheld; but it should be understood that James II. was a Roman Catholic, and, therefore, not likely to favour any grant for the maintenance of Protestant ministers. After the Revolution of 1688, the first Act of William III. upon landing in Ireland was to restore the grant, and the very words of that grant were, "in lieu of the tithes of which they had been unjustly deprived." Thus, the Presbyterians claimed it as a contract entered into between them and the Government at that time. It was on a similar footing as the Scotch grant, and like it had been placed on the Consolidated Fund, and it was only very recently that it had been put on the annual Votes. The opposition to this grant did not come from, the Free Church of Scotland, but from a society in the city with a very long name—he meant the "Society for the Liberation of Religion from all State Assistance and Control." He had attended one of their meetings and learnt that their object was to destroy the Irish Church, and to effect that object they sought to obtain the support of the Roman Catholics by depriving them of the Maynooth grant, and of the Presbyterians by the withdrawal of the Regium Donum. The hon. Gentleman who objected to this grant, if he had referred to a paper laid upon the table of the House in February last, would have found that Scotland had not been without her share of grants for religious purposes. These having exactly the same object in view as the Irish grant, but not a word was 1403 said against them by any Scotch Member. That return showed that in five years the Church of England had received grants to the extent of £203,296; the Church of Scotland, £106,452; the Church of Rome, 131,910. The grant to the Irish Presbyterians had been always a free and unconditional grant. No Government had attempted to impose terms in respect to it, and if any attempt had been made to impose such terms it would have been vehemently resisted. The Irish Presbyterians believed the grant to be their inalienable right; they received it from their fathers, and would certainly, if possible, hand it down untouched to their children. Let it be remembered that the Scottish Presbyterians found the north of Ireland a barren morass, from which the English settlers had fled in disgust. They had transformed it from barrenness into fertility; and, though the worst land, it was now the best cultivated part of Ireland. It had no fuel of intense power to work its manufactories but what it imported from England and Scotland; and yet, in the face of all these disadvantages, it competed successfully with both countries. He trusted earnestly that the Committee would not assent to the proposal of the hon. Member for Montrose.
§ MR. C. GILPIN
said, he would beg to ask the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, if he really believed that a contract existed between the Government of this country and the Unitarians of the north of Scotland for granting them a certain sum annually? If the principle of State support for purposes of religion were right, then the Roman Catholics of Ireland undoubtedly had the first claim as constituting the great majority of the people. He should support the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, however, upon the plain and intelligible principle that all grants of public money for religious purposes were wrong in principle, and also from a strong conviction that these grants tended to lessen the vitality and diminish the strength of true religion wherever they were applied. If the Motion of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baxter) were carried, it would be one step towards the consummation so earnestly desired by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner)—the abolition of the Maynooth grant. Let the Protestants first show to the people of Ireland that they did not want the money of the State, and then they could consistently, and with clean hands, demand 1404 that the Roman Catholics should give up the grants they received.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, that he should support the Amendment, as he altogether denied the existence of a contract. The whole system of State grants was humiliating and degrading to their common Christianity, and was, moreover, absurd, as the Legislature was called on at one and the same time to support the most opposite systems of religion. It was miserable to see the contrast presented between the Free Church of Scotland, which during the thirteen years of its establishment had collected £3,900,000 by voluntary contributions for the support of its institutions, and the Irish Presbyterians, who during the same period had been begging £520,000 or thereabouts from the State. Throughout the whole of Great Britain and Ireland there was not one denomination of Dissenters, with the exception of this rich body, which received a single shilling from the State for religious purposes; and he trusted that the Committee would come to the decision that the grant should no longer be continued to a body so well able to maintain its own institutions; for they might rest assured that, if the grant were withdrawn, the income of the Presbyterian clergy would be increased fourfold by wealthy voluntary contributions.
§ MR. BAXTER
briefly replied, and observed, that the reference which had been made by the hon. Member for Newry (Mr. Kirk) to Scotland was peculiarly unfortunate, seeing that no nonconformist body in that country received a penny from, the State for religious purposes.Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £366 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of Non-conforming, Seceding, and Protestant Dissenting Ministers in Ireland, to the 31st day of March 1858.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 41; Noes 117: Majority 76.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
(19.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,600, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to pay the Salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and Retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March, 1858.
§ MR. BAXTER
said that, though opposed to the policy of this Vote, he should not trouble the House to divide against the grant, as he looked upon the last division as decisive in respect to it.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he should propose to reduce the Vote by £900. There were six orthodox professors at Belfast College, and he thought three would be quite ample; and that of the two non-subscribing professors of divinity one might be dispensed with, for they were only occupied about an hour each day. He trusted that all such miserable grants would shortly come to an end, and that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who had put a termination to ministers' money, would also get rid of every one of these subjects of contention.
§ MR. CAIRNS
said, the hon. Member objected to this Vote on the voluntary principle; but how did he propose to set it right? Not by taking it away altogether, but by reducing the amount. What sort of argument was it that because there was a small number of students, one professor should teach them everything? It was said the professors did not lecture more than an hour a day each. He should like to know in what academical institution the professors lectured longer. The establishment of the Queen's College in Belfast had given rise to an agreement that the Queen's University should be supplemented with this theological college; it was a solemn compact entered into by the late Sir Robert Peel.Whereupon Motion made, and Question, "That a sum, not exceeding £700, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to pay the Salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1858,"—put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (20.) £575,482, Customs Department.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to express his satisfaction that the cost of collecting the various branches of the public revenue was now submitted to Parliament, at the same time he must complain that the expenditure incurred for this purpose far exceeded that which was found necessary during the early portion of the present century. In the ten years preceding 1810 the cost of collecting the revenue was 5 per cent, and in the years between 1810 and 1814 it was 5½ per cent, the revenue at that time being nearly equal to its present amount. Last year, however, the cost of collecting the revenue exceeded 7½ per cent, the whole amount expended for that purpose, including superannuations, amounting to £4,699,000. 1406 The cost of collection during the last year exceeded that of 1854 by £642,000, and that of 1855 by £313,000, and he hoped the Government would afford some explanation on the subject.
observed, that they were at present on the Customs Votes, and undoubtedly he must admit that there had been a considerable increase in the cost of collecting the Customs duties, but it must be borne in mind that, although the revenue from Customs had exceeded that of former years—which was somewhat a matter of surprise after the large reductions of duty which had taken place—it was necessary to regulate the establishment of the Custom House, not with relation to the amount of duties to be collected, but to the amount of trade with which it was necessary to deal, because it was requisite to provide for the examination and superintendence of every vessel, whatever might be the nature and value of the goods she carried. When hon. Gentlemen remembered the extraordinary increase of trade which had taken place within the last two years, and especially last year—when they recollected that the entries of shipping were double what they were in 1849, when the Navigation Laws were repealed, they would readily understand that a very large establishment must necessarily be required by the Customs department to superintend the vessels and the goods landed from them. He thought it ought to be a matter of great gratification to the House that, although such extensive reductions had taken place in the Customs duties, the revenue derived from that source had not suffered, and the increase of trade was proved by the circumstance that a lower rate of duty yielded an amount equal to that formerly received.
§ In reply to Mr. HASSARD,
stated, that it was quite true that at present the cost of the tobacco warehouses was in excess of the rent received from that source, but that in a short time an arrangement would come into force which would do away with the present system, and tobacco would in future be warehoused like any other commodity.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (21.) £979,133, Inland Revenue.
§ MR. COWAN
said, he wished to know whether the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury had received any representation with respect to the salaries of the officers of Excise. Several petitions had 1407 been presented to the House, representing that since those salaries had been fixed at their present amount an increase had been made in the salaries of various other departments, and that the Excise officers were inadequately remunerated. He believed that the salary of an Excise officer was no more than £90 a year, which was never raised, while the salaries in other departments were increased by £5 or £10 each year. Unless an Excise officer was promoted to the rank of supervisor, his salary remained at £90 to the end of his life. He believed that the Board of Inland Revenue had strongly recommended the Treasury to consider favourably the representations of the Excise officers; but he was aware that was an inopportune moment for making any demand upon the Treasury. He begged to thank the Government, and particularly the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, for having conceded the prayer which had been presented for so many years by the officers of Excise that the system of compulsorily removing them to distant parts of the country might be abolished. He knew that a feeling of gratitude pervaded the Excise officers for that concession.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to ask how it was that the charge for this year was £200,000 in excess of the year 1854?
stated that the increased poundage on the income tax, which, however, had ceased on the 20th of March last, accounted for it. The only other increase in the Estimate was on account of the allowance to riding officers of £20 a year for a horse. With regard to the observations of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh respecting the remuneration of Excise officers, the Government had received a very large number of applications for increase of salary from the Excise officers. The majority of them evidently emanated from one common centre, although they had arrived from a great number of quarters. One of the main reasons urged for an increase of salary was their liability to pay the income tax. All he could say was that the Board of Inland Revenue and the Treasury would consider the application, and make known their decision in a short time.
§ MR. BLACK
observed, that the salary of a first-class surveyor of Excise in Scotland was £200 a year, while the salary of a first-class surveyor in England was £460 a year. Again, the salary of a 1408 second-class surveyor in Scotland was £170 a year; the salary of a second-class surveyor in England was £400 a year. The salary of a third-class surveyor in Scotland was £160, while in England the salary of a third-class surveyor was £340 a year. So that while the average salary in England was £253, in Scotland it was only £170. Now, the officers in Scotland had precisely the same duties to discharge as those in England, and the qualifications demanded were identically the same. He hoped, therefore, that an end would be put to the odious distinction between their salaries.
§ MR. WISE
said, he wished to be informed by the hon. Secretary to the Treasury whether the Chief Commissioner of Works had the superintendence of the building and repairs of the Ireland Revenue Offices and the General Post Office, because he found in this Vote an item of £25,000 for new buildings, although last year a sum of £30,000 was voted for the same purpose.
said, that till very recently the whole of the expenses connected with each department of the Inland Revenue were paid out of the gross receipts of that particular department; but the whole of the works of the public departments were for the future to be under the superintendence of the Commissioner of Works. The reason why this Vote was not transferred was that the works to which it referred were in progress when that change was effected.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he would beg to remind the hon. Secretary to the Treasury that he had not answered the question of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Black) as to the distinction between the salaries of the English and Scotch surveyors of Excise.
apologised for not having replied to the hon. Gentleman's observations. He was informed that although the name was the same the duties of the officers referred to were entirely different, and he could only say that the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Inland Revenue Board were exceedingly desirous of doing everything to do justice to all the officers employed in the collection of the Inland Revenue. He was sure that the difference of the duties was quite sufficient to justify the difference of the salaries.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (22.) £43,120, Revenue Police (Ireland).
§ MR. VANCE
asked, if there had been any increase in illicit distillation in Ireland during the last year to justify this large estimate? He observed in the Estimate an item of £2,880 for the "wages and victualling of crew of Seamew revenue steamer, and coals." This was not an Estimate for the coastguard service; it was merely for the revenue police, and he could not understand what the police had to do with a revenue steamer.
said, the Government had no reason to believe that there had been any increase of illicit distillation in Ireland within the last year; on the contrary, there appeared to have been less than formerly. With respect to the amount of the Estimate, the Government hoped, under the Bill which he should ask the House to read a second time on an early day, to reduce the expenditure materially in the course of the present year. As to the Seamew steamer, the hon. Member might not perhaps be aware that for many years past it had been absolutely necessary to maintain a steamer on the north and west coasts of Ireland for the purpose of visiting the creeks and islands where illicit distillation formerly prevailed to a very large extent, and that it had been found extremely useful in suppressing the trade.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (23.) £1,268,181, Post Office.
explained, that no fewer than 1,500 new district post offices had been established, so no village of any size was without a post office, and no farmhouse without its letter carrier. Indeed, the department was to be looked at as a part of the public service rather than a means of revenue.
§ MR. GROGAN
said, he wished to know why there was a medical officer and medicine provided for the men of the London Post Office, and not for those of Dublin?
said, that the number of men in the Dublin office was small as compared with the number in the London office, and would not justify the appointment of a medical officer.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, he must complain that in the Estimate for the conveyance 1410 of mails by railroad, amounting to upwards of £580,000, no less than £268,039 was put down as an unascertained sum for services which were easily ascertainable— namely, £204,703 for the conveyance of mails on the Great Western, North-Eastern, and South Wales Railways; £47,000 for the same service on the Great Southern and Western Railway, Ireland; and £16,336 for the same service on the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, the Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway, and the North British Railway. He suggested that it was desirable to bring those charges before the House in a more complete and businesslike manner.
explained, that whenever a service was ascertained the cost was given with precision. But this large sum was taken as an estimated charge only, because there were a great number of arbitrations pending, the claims connected with which the Post Office might be called upon to pay at any time in the course of the year.
§ Vote agreed to, as was also—
(24.) £323,150, Superannuations (Revenue Department).
(25.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £100,000 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st March, 1858.
§ MR. WISE
said, that in a great country like this £100,000 was probably not too great a sum to be intrusted to the executive for unforeseen expenditure; and all that the country required was, that it should be used for necessary and proper purposes. He thought that some of the items required explanation. There was a sum of £1,000 paid to the parties who brought home the treaties of peace from Paris and Persia. Seeing that the country paid £42,000 a year for couriers and messengers, the necessity of giving to a gentleman who was in the receipt of a good salary, a sum of £500, merely for travelling from Paris to London, was not very obvious. There was also £2,000 given to the clerks of the Foreign Office in consequence of the extra duties performed by them during the war. He believed the clerks at the Foreign Office did their duty well, and he was the last person to grudge them full and ample payment for their services, but he was anxious to know whether the hardworking junior clerks had received their fair share of this amount, or was it all swallowed up by two or three superior officials, 1411 who superintended the labours of the rest and generally obtained most of, if not all, the credit. The item of £1,200 for the legal expenses connected with the purchase of Burlington House seemed to be excessive. The Solicitor of the Treasury had a large salary, and he could not imagine how such an expenditure could have arisen from the purchase of a house and two acres of garden. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland received an annual salary of £20,000, yet there was a paltry charge in this account of £18 for a robe for that distinguished representative of royalty. There was a charge of £28,517 for special missions, being those of Lord Clarendon to Paris, and Lord Granville to Russia; but they had voted a few nights since £37,500 for miscellaneous diplomatic expenditure, of which £12,500 had been appropriated to the mission to Petersburg and Moscow at the recent coronation. There was no portion of our expenditure that required inspection more than this department, for it was scattered over several Estimates. £180,000 was annually charged on the Consolidated Fund for the salaries and pensions of the diplomatic body, and he might mention, that since 1840 no less a sum than £5,431,000 had been expended for all the departments connected with the diplomatic and consular establishments. So long as Reports of Committees and Resolutions of that House were ignored and set at defiance, and such small missions as those of Hanover, Florence, and Stutgard continued, we should find that this expenditure would continue, and probably increase. Last year, besides £150,000 for salaries, and £22,530 for pensions, and £37,500 for miscellaneous expenses, the sum of £7,390 had been allowed for outfits, making £217,420 for one year's diplomatic expenditure, and to show the Committee the character and amount of this outlay, he might state, that during twelve years we had voted for outfits £55,304; for special missions £123,720; for house rent £110,774; and for miscellaneous expenses £235,581; amounting in all to £525,379; and unless the Committee had these items in sectional Estimates, it was not possible, without considerable trouble, to know what each department cost. It was easy to assume that the Paris embassy cost £10,000 a year, that being the sum stated in the annual accounts; but in another Vote was £3,909 for miscellaneous expenses; in another £1,709 for repairs and taxes, and 1412 £401 for wages; and it must not be forgotten that we had paid £87,000 for the embassy house; and in addition to this, during the last three years, we had paid £1,150 for altering and repairing the chapel. So at Constantinople the salaries were £11,340, but the extra were £8,269, the repairs £1,000, the wages £564, whilst the House had cost £86,615. Until he had carefully inspected these Estimates and examined those of past years, he had no idea of this large expenditure, and he thought that Her Majesty's Government were not doing their duty in permitting what appeared to him a very unnecessary and very extravagant drain upon the public purse.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he really must correct the hon. Gentleman's inaccuracy, for the robe of the Lord Lieutenant cost £18 and 7d. He must also complain of £287 for the translation of a French tariff, and£2,000 for a Commission to Erzeroum to settle differences out there between neighbouring Governments. This charge for that Commission had been going on for fifteen years, and yet the Commission had returned to this country ten years ago, and one of them, the Hon. Mr. Curzon, had written a very amusing book of his goings on there. Then there was £834 for researches in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea for nitre—rather an out-of-the-way part of the world.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, there was an item of £62 17s. 8d. for bringing home John Frost, after transporting him out of the country at the public expense. There was an item of £1,516 for the Islington Park, and an item of £4,000 for collars and badges for knights. He also objected to the charge for the police at Aldershot and other encampments. It appeared to him that the commander at a camp ought to be able to keep his troops in proper discipline without the aid of the civil force. Then he found the sum of £1,200 to be distributed among the Episcopalian clergy in Scotland—a vote which was open to many objections; but he would not detain the House upon that. Unless a party was formed in that House to keep down the expenditure, they would never produce an effect on the Government, and he feared the country would be thrown into financial difficulties. He could not but believe that more attention would be paid to these subjects in the House of Commons if the franchise was extended.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to call attention to the very large sums remaining unexpended of balances of civil contingencies. Not less than £150,000 remained of the balances of former years, and this ought to be spent before any new money was voted. He found in page 5 an account of expenses incurred for presents to Dr. Kane and others of the American Arctic expedition. He did not, in the least, complain of that money being spent, but he thought the Government ought to take some notice of the spirited conduct of Mr. Peabody, a gentleman of great wealth and high position, who had contributed several thousand dollars towards the expedition for discovering the Erebus and Terror. He objected to the items of £6,145 for the Commission for settling the territory of the Cape of Good Hope, as he held that the colony ought to pay this expense.
§ MR. GREGORY
said, he spoke from a knowledge of recent proceedings in the Bight of Benin, and consequently must complain of the Vote which had been made to a most unworthy person, King Pepple, who had been lately deposed from his kingdom in those regions. The liberated negroes in the Bight of Benin were preyed upon by the kings of those countries; but it was to the efforts of those free negroes that the increasing trade which was springing up between this country and the coast of Africa might be attributed.
explained the items in the Vote. As to the balances, a statement was presented last year, showing the exact state of the accounts. There was a balance of £80,000 in hand, and that sum, £70,000, was afterwards repaid to the Exchequer. With regard to the presents voted to the officers in command of the expedition sent out to search for the Erebus and Terror, they were confined to those officers who were actually employed in the expedition. He was quite sure that Mr. Peabody, from his position, made contributions from higher principles than the expectation of any marks of approval from this country, but the Government would always feel the greatest gratitude towards those gentlemen, and especially Mr. Peabody, who assisted to fit out that expedition. With regard to the gratuities which had been referred to, it had been an immemorial custom to give £500 to the messenger who brought home a treaty of peace or the news of a great victory, and the custom had been followed in the instances 1414 of the fall of Sebastopol, the Treaty of Paris, and the Persian Treaty. With regard to the £2,000 given to the clerks in the Foreign Office, that was the only office to which no extra assistance was afforded during the whole time of the war. There was great pressure upon it, and he was sure the Committee would be of opinion that the Treasury only did what was right in complying with the earnest request of Lord Clarendon and distributing £2,000 among the whole of the clerks, irrespective of their grades. With regard to the charges for special missions, such as Lord Clarendon going to Paris and Earl Granville to Moscow, they were different from those voted the other night for special expenses connected with the embassies, the latter being for couriers, postages, and other extra charges of the current year. With regard to the cost of obtaining a translation of the French tariff, it was thought desirable that the Board of Trade should be in possession of all the different tariffs to meet returns ordered by the House, and to put hon. Members in possession of valuable information. With regard to the item of £1,200 for the Episcopalian clergy of Scotland, that sum was paid last year, and it was the last time the item would appear. With regard to the charges for police at Aldershot, Dovor, and Shorncliffe, where there were large numbers of troops congregated in camp there would be camp-followers, and the police were required, not to keep the soldiers, but to keep the camp-followers in order. The small charge for searching for coal was incurred at the time of the war, when it was thought important to discover new supplies of coal for our steamers. With regard to the charges for Orders of the Garter, it had often been remarked that it was a very mean thing to offer an honour to a military officer for distinguished service in the field, and at the same time expect him to pay £200 or £300 for fees. The Government had therefore come to a decision two years ago to distribute these honours gratuitously, and their decision had received the approval of the House in the last and preceding Sessions of Parliament. With regard to the charges for the passage of governors, they were made upon a regulated scale, and had long been defrayed by the country.
explained that the grant to the Irish Presbyterians was a very old one. It originated with the Irish Parliament, and had been voted ever since the Union. That to the Scotch Episcopalians was of recent origin. It was at first only occasional, and did not become regular until about fifteen years ago. Government felt, therefore, they could withdraw one, but not the other.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, no one would wish that distinguished naval and military officers should be called upon to pay fees when they received a well-merited honour: but he objected to having any fees at all paid to a set of idle, useless officers.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, he should move the reduction of the Vote by £5,403 4s. 6d., made up of the following items:—Expense incurred on account of police on duty at Dovor and Shorncliffe, £542 13s.; the Commission for inquiry into the Government of Maynooth College, £1,200; fees paid to the Clerk of the Crown on the election of a temporal peer for Ireland, £46 3s. 1d.; for granting a pardon to J. Frost and others, £62 17s. 8d.: expenses incurred on account of intended park at Islington, £1,516 16s. 8d.: Episcopalian Church of Scotland, £1,200; and Mr. Poole, remuneration and expenses while engaged in researches for coal in Nicomedia, and for nitre on the shores of the Black Sea, £834 12s. 1d.Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £94,507 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March 1858.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that perhaps the hon. Baronet was not aware that all these sums had been already paid. If the Amendment was carried, the only result would be that the sum at the disposal of Government for next year would be £95,000 instead of £100,000, but not one of these items would be affected.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
thought that in that case their control of the public finances was a mere farce. He withdrew his Amendment.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
stated that Lord Wensleydale was, in the first instance, created a Peer for life, but it was afterwards found necessary to make him an hereditary Peer. He paid 1416 the fees for the first patent himself, but the Government thought that they ought to pay the expenses of the second.
said, that the last expedition of Dr. Barth to Central Africa had produced very remarkable results, and great benefits were likely to be derived from it both as regarded the interests of commerce and civilization, and therefore the Treasury had adopted the recommendation of Lord Clarendon, that successive expeditions should be sent out for four or five years, as he considered that it was only by following up the experiment in that manner that a way could be opened for private enterprise. Arrangements had been made to carry out his recommendation.
replied, that the expeditions were now in preparation. One was to be directed to the north-east coast of Africa, and the other was to ascend the Niger.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he must still complain of the item for a robe for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, as Grand Master of the Order of St. Patrick.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ The House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again on Wednesday.