HC Deb 21 July 1862 vol 168 cc592-8

Supply considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.

The following Votes were agreed to:

  1. (1.) £184,706, Superannuations, Allowances, &c.
  2. (2.) £812, Toulonese and Corsican Emigrants, &c.
  3. (3.) £325, Refuge for the Destitute.
  4. (4.) £3,062, Polish Refugees and Distressed Spaniards.
  5. (5.) £58,700, Pensions to Masters and Seamen, Merchant Service.
  6. (6.) £20,400, Distressed British Seamen Abroad.
  7. (7.) £3,726, Miscellaneous Allowances.
  8. (8.) £2,539, Treasurers of Public Infirmaries (Ireland).
  9. (9.) £2,600, Westmoreland Lock Hospital (Dublin).


objected to the ratepayers of this country being taxed to support an institution of this character in Ireland. We had hospitals all over England, but for the support of none of them was any demand made on the public purse.


thought the complaint of the hon. Member could scarcely be sustained, when £5,000,000 were voted for the fortifications, from which Ireland was to get no benefit whatever.

Vote agreed to; as were also the following:—

  1. (10.) £700, Rotunda Lying-in Hospital (Dublin).
  2. (11.) £200, Coombe Lying-in Hospital (Dublin).
  3. (12.) £7,600, Hospitals of the House of Industry (Dublin).
  4. (13.) £2,500, Fever Hospital, Cork Street (Dublin).
  5. (14.) £600, Meath Hospital (Dublin).
  6. 593
  7. (15.) £100, St. Mark's Ophthalmic Hospital (Dublin).
  8. (16.) £1,300, Dr. Steevens' Hospital (Dublin).
  9. (17.) £245, Board of Superintendence of Hospitals (Dublin).
  10. (18.) £9,034, Charitable Allowances on Concordatum Fund.
  11. (19.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £39,747, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1863, for Non-conforming, Seceding, and Protestant Dissenting Ministers in Ireland.

MR. HADFIELD moved to reduce the Vote to £366, being the sum paid since 1804 to the fund for supporting the widows and orphans of ministers of the Synod of Ulster. The hon. Member proceeded to address the House in favour of the voluntary system.


supported the Vote, and contended that there was a comparative cessation of agrarian and other crimes where Presbyterians preponderated. This Vote was a very ancient one, and was given as a substitute for the tithes, in which the Presbyterians had a share, on the settlement of Ulster. He trusted therefore that the Committee would not be guilty of the injustice of withdrawing the Vote.


regarded this grant as worse than useless to the parties to whom it was given, as it induced them to rely upon the State to do that which they were well qualified, and with better profit, to do for themselves. It was a wrong also to the people of this country that they should be taxed to support a ministry with whom they had no connection whatever; and, in fact, the grant could not be justified on any ground whatever, the Presbyterians of Ireland being the most wealthy part of the community.


was ready to admit that the Presbyterians of Ireland were a wealthy body, and they contributed largely to their religious charities; but he believed that this Vote had rather a political tendency than a religious one. The Presbyterians were a most loyal and meritorious body, and there was no doubt that these grants had been made to them for their loyalty to the Sovereigns of this realm. It would be unnecessary to enter into a political discussion upon the Vote; but he felt satisfied that the Committee would adhere to the Resolution which had been adopted from year to year, and that this sum, which for a vast number of years had been given to the Presbyterian body in Ireland, would not be withdrawn. His hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield was a consistent advocate of the voluntary system: but he trusted he would not press his Motion to a division.


said, that the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) had used no arguments in favour of his proposition, except those which he had so repeatedly urged against the principle of the Government in any way interfering in giving any religious instruction at all to the subjects of Her Majesty. He regretted to hear the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland say that this was a political question. He (Sir H. Bruce) denied that assertion, and insisted that it was purely a religious question.


considered that the right hon. Baronet had put the question on its true basis. This was a grant for bribing the Presbyterians of Ireland. [Sir ROBERT PEEL: I did not say that]. That was the meaning of what the right hon. Baronet said. The Presbyterians were paid for being loyal; but there was not, he believed, a disloyal man in England; and if the Vote were granted to the Presbyterians for their loyalty, it was time it should cease.


drew a contrast between the Presbyterians and the Roman Catholics in Ireland—the former being a rich, powerful, and, excepting so far as this grant was concerned, an independent body; the latter the poorest classes in the country, although the great majority of the population, maintaining a large and expensive hierarchy, building their own churches and cathedrals upon the purely voluntary system. If the Amendment raised the whole question of the Church endowments in Ireland, he should certainly vote with the hon. Member for Sheffield. But the fact was, that so long as the State established one Church in Ireland, and that of the minority, it would be necessary to maintain the Regium donum in Ireland in order to bribe the loyalty of the Presbyterians of Ulster. Sooner or later the whole question regarding this anomalous state of things must be raised, and a more just and equitable arrangement arrived at.


thought that the hon. Member for Sheffield, himself a Dissenter, who had proposed to withdraw this Vote from the Irish Presbyterians, might have left them to judge for themselves. They did not object to the Vote.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £366, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1863, for Non-conforming, Seceding, and Protestant Dissenting Ministers in Ireland.

The Committee divided: — Ayes 16; Noes 58: Majority 42.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

The following Vote was then agreed to:

  1. (20.) £3,750, Ecclesiastical Commission.
  2. (21.) £15,788, Temporary Commissions.


wanted to know what were the duties of the Fine Arts Commission, for which £880 was proposed to be voted. He moved the reduction of the Vote by that amount.


asked for information respecting the purchase of the portrait of Mrs. Siddons for 1,000 guineas.


said, that the portrait referred to had not been purchased by the Fine Arts Commission, but by the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery. With regard to the Fine Arts Commission, it was due to this Commission that a school of fresco painting had been established in this country which did not before exist. The frescoes in the Houses of Parliament might not be all that could be wished, but they were a great improvement on any previous works of this kind produced by English artists. The spaces to be occupied by works of art were now nearly filled; and as the labours of the Commission were rapidly approaching a close, the Commission would soon cease to exist.


said, that there were nine or ten lancet windows just opposite Mr. Maclise's fine picture of the meeting of the Allied Generals, which windows were filled with red, yellow, and green glass. The consequence was that at one moment the Duke of Wellington appeared to have been indulging in strong potations, while at another the illustrious hero seemed to have just returned from a sea voyage in very rough weather.


said, that a blind had been placed outside this painted window to mitigate the intensity of the light passing through the coloured glass; and which would, he believed, to some extent effect that purpose. This blind had not, it appeared, been used for the last two or three days; but he would give directions which would obviate the well-founded complaint of the noble Lord.


said, if the Commission were wound up, it was not on the ground of their labours being undervalued, but of the Commission having really terminated the business for which they were appointed.


wished to know what had been determined upon in regard to two statues in which he felt interested—the statues of John Bunyan and Oliver Cromwell.


trusted that his hon. Friend would not revive a discussion as to the merits of Oliver Cromwell, since they were not involved in the Vote before the House. The Estimates this year already voted included a statue of William III. and another of Queen Anne, and beyond that nothing had been done or proposed to the House. Any further decisions in regard to these statues had been postponed to next year.


protested against the public money being voted in statues of this kind. The funds for such purposes ought to be raised, if at all, by private contributions.


complained that the Secretary of the Mines Inquiry Commission had practically been appointed by the noble Lord at the head of that Commission, and wished to know why he had not been nominated, as usual, by the Home Office.


said, that no complaints of the inefficiency of the Secretary had reached him. It was not unusual to leave the members of a Royal Commission to nominate their Secretary.

LORD ALFRED CHURCHILL moved to reduce the Vote for the West India Encumbered Estates Commission (£2,037) to the sum voted last year—£750.


said, that several additional West India colonies had applied to have the Act extended to them, and that the salary of the Chief Commissioner had therefore been increased from £500 to £1,000. It was in contemplation to charge a commission on the sale of estates, so as to reduce the burden of this Vote.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Vote agreed to.

(22.) £29,088, Patent Law Amendment Act.


drew attention to the fact that the sum of £9,166 10s. was paid in fees to the Attorney and Solicitor General for signing certain documents connected with patents.


called attention to certain items, under Schedule E, by which it seemed that £12,000 a year was paid to the Attorney General for Ireland, and £800 a year to the Solicitor General for Ireland as compensations, and said he thought the large sums set down justified a call on the Government for some explanation.


stated, that the whole question of the Patent Laws was now under the consideration of the Government. He was not acquainted with the origin of those cases of compensation alluded to; but would make inquiry into the subject.


said, that the item pointed out by the hon. Member for Lambeth was a flagrant abuse of an indefensible source of revenue to the Law Officers of the Crown. There was no reason why the salary of the Attorney General, derived from such sources, should be double that of the Lord Chancellor. As guardians of the public purse, they were bound to require explanation of the large sums paid to these Law Officers for merely nominal duties.


said, that since he had the honour to be Solicitor General the Patent Laws had been altered. He did not know the present duties of the Law Officers of the Crown in this respect, but they had no more onerous or anxious duties at the time of which he spoke than those connected with patents. They had not merely to sign their names, as was sometimes represented, but had often to deal with matters of great delicacy and difficulty.

Vote agreed to.

(23.) Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £15,764, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1863, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Fisheries in Scotland.


said, he had authorities to show that the herring fishery in Scotland was never in a more prosperous position than it was at present, and therefore thought it high time to get rid of this expense to the country. He should move to reduce the Vote by £12,555 13s. 4d., the remainder being an item for pensions of officers employed in the Fishery Board—a sum he should not oppose, believing it would be a great hardship to those officers to withhold it.


defended the Vote. If the present superintendence of the fisheries were abandoned, the French seamen would come over and drive our own fishermen away, at the risk of collision and disturbance. The inspectors and officers of the Board rendered great services, and the amount of the Vote was inconsiderable when the magnitude of the interests concerned was taken into account.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £3,208 6s. 8d., be granted to pier Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1863, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Fisheries in Scotland.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 66: Majority 50.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Twelve of the clock; Committee to sit again this day, at Six of the clock.