HC Deb 23 July 1861 vol 164 cc1411-9

House in Committee,

Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £145,140, to complete the sum for Superannuation Allowances and Compensations.


said, that the Vote was increasing every year. He found several instances in which allowances had been granted upon the abolition of establishments, but with proper economy those persons, instead of being thrown on the public as pensioners, might have received appointments in other departments. There was, he observed, the case of a person who had been receiving£320 a year on account of ill-health since 1831; and another in which £700 a year was paid for "infirmity of body" since 1820—that was for forty-one years. There was an item of £2,000 for the Queen's coroner which needed explanation. He should like to know what the duties of that office were?


said, that no doubt the Act of 1859 granted more liberal allowances, and embraced a larger number of public servants than the previous Superannuation Act, and that accounted for the increase in this Vote. With respect to the allowance of £2,000 a year to the Queen's coroner and attorney, he (Mr. Peel) was not aware that the hon. Gentleman intended to draw his attention to this allowance, and he did not know the particular circumstances under which it was granted. He did know, however, that an Act was passed abolishing this office, and otherwise effecting a considerable reduction in the Vote for that department of the Queen's Bench.

Vote agreed to, as were also the four following Votes:—

(2.) £10,000, Commutation of Probate Act Compensations.

(3.) £1,040, Toulonese and Corsican Emigrants.

(4.) £325, Refuge for the Destitute.

(5.) £3,210, Polish Refugees, &c,

(6.) £3,951, Miscellaneous Allowances.


said, there was a charge included in this sum for a pension of £500 granted to Sir Thomas Clarges by Charles II., and he wished to know who received that money now.


said, he supposed it was the representatives of that person. The question of continuing the payment had been submitted to the law officers of the Crown lately, and they were of opinion that the payment could not be discontinued.


said, he should move that the amount of the grant should be struck out.


said, he hoped that the Motion would not be persisted in, for the grant had been made by the Crown and charged upon the old coal duties, and was as much private property as was the subject of any other grant from the Crown.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Vote agreed to, as were also the following six votes:—

(7.) £2,539, Public Infirmaries (Ireland).

(8.) £1,900, to complete the sum for the Westmoreland Lock Hospital (Dublin).

(9.) £700, Rotunda Lying-in Hospital (Dublin).

(10.) £200, Coombe Lying-in Hospital (Dublin).

(11.) £5,200, to complete the sum for the Hospitals of the House of Industry (Dublin).

(12.) £1,800, to complete the sum for the House of Recovery and Fever Hospital (Dublin).

(13.) £600, Meath Hospital, Dublin.


said, he did not intend to oppose the Vote, for he did not believe that a more valuable institution existed; but he conceived that the course which had been pursued of late years by the medical officers of the institution, in selecting their colleagues instead of allowing them to be chosen by election, was likely to bring the institution into discredit.


explained the circumstances connected with the recent acts of which the hon. Member complained, and pointed out that the gentleman who had been appointed was in every respect qualified for the office to which he bad been elected.


said, he considered that the mode of appointment was one which required some alteration.

Voteagreed to, as were also the following Votes:—

(14.) £100, St. Mark's Ophthalmic Hospital (Dublin).

(15.) £900, to complete the sum for Dr. Steevens' Hospital (Dublin).

(16.) £265, Superintendence of Hospitals (Dublin).

(17.) £58,700, Merchant Seamen's Fund Pensions.

(18.) £17,400, to complete the sum for Distressed British Seamen Abroad.

(19.) £5,121, to complete the sum for Charitable Allowances, &c. (Ireland).

(20.) £29,747, Nonconforming, &c, Ministers in Ireland.


said, he objected to the Vote. There were constant accessions to the claimants upon the fund, though the census showed that the body to which they belonged had in thirty years decreased 20 per cent. New claims, too, were being added. The Presbyterians of Ulster, moreover, he contended, did not require that assistance, inasmuch as they were rich, having in one year raised £30,000; for houses and £10,000 a year for missionary enterprises. They paid their ministers, however, very badly, and the system of granting them public money encouraged that practice. The grant was really an injustice to the class who received it, for a larger amount might be secured by the voluntary system. The Established Church, the Regium Donum, and the Maynooth Grant were like a three-legged stool. If any one of the three were taken away the others would tumble. He believed that a sum of £10,000 had been already taken on account. He, therefore, begged to move that the Vote be reduced by £28,000.


said, that the question had been substantially decided last Session after a debate upon the Regium Donum. The House then resolved to continue the Regium Donum. On the one hand, the Government would not propose any new endowments; but, on the other, they were of opinion that those, which had I been continued for a long time should not be withdrawn; and he knew of no body of men who were more entitled to the grant than the Presbyterians of Ireland.


said, that all parties in Ireland were in favour of the grant, and he would for his part desire to see it increased, so that the salary of each minister would not be less than £100; and in order to prevent these annual discussions, he would place the charge upon the Consolidated Fund.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £29,747, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expense of Non-conforming, Seceding, and Protestant Dissenting Ministers in Ireland, to the 31st day of March, 1862.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 78; Noes 18: Majority 60.

Vote agreed to.

(21.) £3,750. Ecclesiastical Commissioners.


said, ho objected to the Vote, on the ground that the Commissioners were rich and did not want it. In four years they had spent £98,000 upon lawyers and surveyors, and in the year 1858 alone £32,000. He would certainly take the sense of the Committee upon it,


said, that the sum was voted for the expenses incurred by the Ecclesiastical Commission in the performance of duties formerly discharged by the Church Building Commission, which had been dissolved.


said, ho objected at the time to the transference from the Church Building Commissioners to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. What had the Commissioners to do? He believed absolutely nothing.


said, he could not help making an observation on the great amount paid by the Commissioners for surveyors and receivers. In 1858 no less a sum than £10,814 was paid to two firms of land surveyors in London for commission, and in 1858 the sum had grown up to £20,546. It appeared to him that the better plan would be for the Commissioners to appoint some person at a sufficient salary to do that work. In the year 1858 there was also paid to lawyers £11,992. He certainly thought that was an expenditure which should be inquired into.


explained the duties which devolved on the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in connection with the Church Building Acts. They were of a most onerous and important character, and the Commissioners would be glad to be relieved of them. The money asked for would, therefore, be well applied. As to the solicitors' and surveyors' charges, the Commissioners were not afraid of a full investigation into these matters. The Commission had charge of large estates and vast sums, and the charges were neces- sarily heavy, "It had always been their earnest desire to keep down their legal and professional expenses as much as possible.


explained that the duties of the Commission under the Church Building Acts were to receive the conveyance of sites where persons were willing, at their own private charge, to build churches, and' when the churches were built to separate for ecclesiastical purposes from the existing parishes those districts which were to be assigned to the new churches. The cost of these duties under an Act of Parliament could not be defrayed out of the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commission.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £3,750, be granted to Her Majesty; to defray a portion of the Expense of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England, to the 31st day of March, 1862.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 66; Noes 34: Majority 32.

Vote agreed to;as was also

(22.) £12,606, to complete the sum for Temporary Commissions.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £29,005, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Fees, Salaries, Expenses, and Compensations, payable under the provisions of the Patent Law Amendment Act, to the 31st day of March, 1862.


called attention to the large amount of fees received by the law officers of the Crown.


said, he should move the reduction of the Vote by£9,166, the expense of fees payable to the law officers of the Crown. He complained that the operation of the law was most unjust, as bearing upon working men who were desirous of obtaining patents. There was a charge for travelling expenses to obtain the Lord Chancellor's seal when he was out of town. Surely if the Lord Chancellor went out of town for business or pleasure it was his duty to leave some officer in town who could, affix the seal. The amount of fees payable by a working man to get a patent made out was no less than £50, which was excessive, whereas in America a patent could be taken out for £3 or£4.


said, the law officers of the Grown received certain fees in respect of patents; in return for which they were expected to examine specifications, and sometimes had to call persons before them. The aggregate sum appeared a large one; but the law officers only received two guineas upon each provisional protection, and one guinea upon each grant a patent, and, considering the large incomes, made by barristers at the head of their profession, it was not excessive. A reduction in the charge, of taking out a patent had within the last few years been made, and the charge, which used to be £300. was now £25 for a period of three years, The Commissioners of Patents did not recommend any further reduction of the fees, which they said would increase the number of speculative and useless patents.


said, that the fees for a three years' patent were £50, not £25.


said, the reduction of the fees to a low amount would be a great boon, to inventors.

Motion made, and Question, That the item of £9,166, for Fees payable to the Law Officers of the Crown, be omitted from the proposed Vote,

—put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £13,018, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Fisheries in Scotland, to the 31st day of March 1862."


said, he objected to the system by which a charge was made for the use of a particular brand. It would be better if the trade were left entirely to protect itself. As matters stood the careless and the careful curers of fish were placed on the same footing. He also wished to ask whether orders had been given to the war steamers engaged in protecting the fishery, so that no such catastrophe as that which had recently resulted in the death of a fisherman should again occur?


said, that the policy of the Fishery Board had been frequently under consideration, and a Commission was issued three or four years ago, who inquired on the spot and reported to the Treasury, in consequence of which report an Act was introduced by which certain fees were charged for branding. He was partly responsible for the Bill, but confessed that he entertained considerable doubt as to the policy of the provisions. There was, however, a strong feeling in Scotland on the subject, and if efforts were made to abolish the Fishery Board, corresponding efforts, he believed, would be made to maintain it, the brand being regarded as of essential service to the foreign trade. With regard to the unfortunate occurrence connected with the Jackall, the Fishery Board were fully aware of the gravity of the circumstances, and, no doubt, would give the necessary instructions to the commander of the vessel, so that no occurrence of his sort might happen again.


said, that as all parties seemed agreed that that was a most objectionable payment, he would move that the sum of £13,018 be omitted from the estimate.


explained that last year upwards of £3,800 had been received by the Board in the shape of branding fees, and is also obtained by other means £3,000; so that if these two sums were deducted from the Vote, it would be seen that the money actually to be paid by the country for the support of the Board was only half of the Vote.


said, he trusted that the Committee would not entertain the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Locke), especially as some portion of the Vote was distributed in pensions.


said, ho believed that there was a general feeling in Scotland that the Fishery Board would disappear altogether. At the same time what had been done to improve the fishing ports was advantageous to them, and he hoped the hon. and learned Member's Amendment would not be persisted in.


said, that a more rotten piece of protection was never known. It was usual, however, in such cases to vote the pensions, and he trusted that his hon. Friend would amend his proposal accordingly.


said, he also objected to the Vote, on the ground that there was no more reason for expending the public money in branding herrings than in making roads and bridges in Scotland.


said, that so far from the money being expended in the improvement of harbours it was mainly spent in nets.


said, he must deny the accuracy of the statement made that the Vote was asked for the purpose of protection. The Commissioners reported that it was a national interest, and by no means an improper object to foster this branch of industry, in which a large number of the poorer classes were engaged. The grounds stated in opposition to the Vote were altogether inefficient to maintain that argument.


said, he did not wish to strike off the salaries and pensions, and was willing to reduce the Vote to £8,711. He objected to voting money for mere I local matters, and they were often enough reminded of that when there was any money required for metropolitan improvements.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £4,247, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Fisheries in Scotland, to the 31st day of March, 1862.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 55: Majority 24.

Original Question put, and agreed to. (25.) £2,000, Trustees of Manufactures (Scotland).


said, that the Vote involved a greater job than the last. It was the only Board of manufactures supported out of the public money, and he would propose that the Vote should he negatived.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £2,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge on account of the Annuity to the Board of Manufactures in Scotland, in discharge of Equivalents under the Treaty of Union, to the 31st day of March, 1862.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 63; Noes 13: Majority 50.

Vote agreed to, as were also the three following Votes:—

(26.) £35,000, Local Dues under Treaties.

(27.) £3,500, inspectors of Corn Returns.

(28.) £1,000, Boundary Survey (Ireland).

(29.) £11,930, to complete the sum for; the Census of the population.


inquired why it was that; the expense of the census in Scotland was proportionally greater than the expense in England or Ireland?


said, that the reason why the expense of the census in Ireland was less was because the police were the enumerators in that country. The greater area of Scotland in comparison with the population, and the greater difficulty of travelling, in consequence of the want of railways and the nature of the country, rendered the census proportionally dearer in Scotland than in England.


said, that another reason which increased the cost of taking the census in Scotland was a Motion proposed by the hon. Member himself last year, requiring the enumerators in Scotland to take an account of the number of occupied and unoccupied houses, of the number of houses building, and of the windows contained in the houses.

Vote agreed to.

(30.) £26,457, Telegraph Companies Subsidies.

In reply to Captain JERVIS,


said, that the Red Sea Telegraph Company might be said to be reduced to a state of neutralized existence; but it did not appear to the Government desirable to proceed at the present to any definite conclusion with respect to the financial arrangements involved. They were, however, of opinion that it would be desirable to ascertain at a moderate cost the condition of the line, and his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade had received some reports which he hoped would enable him shortly to apprize them more precisely as to the mode and extent of the inquiry which it would be expedient to undertake, in order that they might arrive at the root of the matter. So far as his information at present went he did not think the circumstances of the case very favourable.

In reply to Sir MORTON PETO,


said, the Turkish Government were now employed in establishing a telegraphic line along the Euphrates from Brusa down to Bassora, by means of which he hoped communication would be opened with India.

Vote agreed to, as was also

(31.) £36,000, Malta and Alexandria Telegraph.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.

Committee to sit again To-morrow.