HC Deb 21 May 1867 vol 187 cc924-31

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £14,101, to complete the sum for the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission.


said, he had called attention to this Vote last year, and he now begged to ask his hon. Friend the Secretary of the Treasury, Whether he would institute an inquiry with the view of making the office of the Commissioners self-supporting?


remarked, that the Office was a very useful one; but economy should be introduced into it to the utmost extent.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) £8,600, to complete the Sum for Inclosure and Drainage Acts, Imprest Expenses.

(3.) £52,025, to complete the sum for the General Register Offices in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh.

(4.) £11,424, to complete the sum for the National Debt Office.

(5.) £3,349, to complete the sum for the Public Works Loan Commission and West India Relief Commission.

(6.) £10,144, to complete the sum for the Lunacy Commission and Inspection, &c., of Lunatic Asylums.


thought that the amount of business done by the Commissioners did not warrant the charge on the public now in all above £24,000 a year. There were three systems in use, and that in Ireland was the most economical, while it worked in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. He suggested, therefore, that an attempt might be made to assimilate the three systems—a course which would probably be attended by advantage and economy.

Vote agreed to.

(7.) £223, to complete the sum for the General Superintendent of County Roads in South Wales.

(8.) £1,414, to complete the sum for the Registrars of Friendly Societies in England, Scotland, and Ireland.

(9.) £13,115, to complete the sum for the Charity Commission for England and Wales.


stated that last year he had expressed a willingness to inquire whether arrangements could be made for recouping from individual charities the expenses incurred for their benefit by the Charity Commission; and he hoped that his hon. Friend the present Secretary to the Treasury would look into the matter.


, after referring to the original purpose for which the Commission was appointed, to inquire and report into a certain class of cases, mentioned the recent bequest of Dr. Brown, of Dublin, for the foundation of a hospital for sick cats, dogs, and birds, and questioned the propriety of the State bearing the expense of seeing that such eccentric ideas were carried out.


said, the Charity Commission had two distinct functions; first, to make inquiries and report to Parliament or the Attorney General; and secondly, under the Act of 1861, to discharge the duties of a subordinate branch of the Court of Chancery. He would not discuss the will of Dr. Brown, as there was a Bill relating to the matter before the House.

Vote agreed to.

(10.) £5,041, to complete the sum for the Local Government Act Office, and the Inspection of Burial Grounds.

(11.) £1,724, to complete the sum for the Landed Estates Record Offices.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £444, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1868, for the Quarantine Establishment.


said, this Vote had given rise to considerable discussion last year, when it was objected to on the ground that quarantine establishments were confined to the South of England, and that the ports in the North of England did not participate in the advantages of such establishments. No explanation had yet been given to the House on the subject.


said, that instead of this being a subject of complaint he thought the ports in the North of England ought to be congratulated for not needing quarantine establishments. The large share of the Vote which went to the ports in the South of England, such as Southampton, arose from the fact that they were the principal ports of arrival of steam packets from places liable to be infected, and there was a necessity for providing quarantine accommodation for cases of yellow fever, which came from the West Indies, and especially from the Island of St. Thomas.


reminded the right hon. Gentleman that there had been great occasion for a quarantine establishment at Liverpool last year, where there had been very serious outbreaks of infectious disease.


hoped that the Secretary of the Treasury would not be induced by the questions that had been put to extend the quarantine establishments beyond their present size. They were partly intended to be mere skeletons which could be developed in time of danger, and partly kept up to satisfy the prejudices and regulations of foreign countries with which we trade largely.


thought that these establishments were either too large or too small, and that the best thing that could be done would be to abolish them, and throw the burden of protecting the towns where they existed from imported disease upon the municipal authorities. He should bring the matter before the House on a subsequent occasion in a more definite form.


said, that as this subject of quarantine was in some measure connected with the Board of Trade he might be able to give some explanation upon this Vote. The fact was that expenditure on this head was dying away. The tendency of legislation in this country for some time past had been to diminish quarantine establishments. Thus Bristol, Liverpool, and Hull formerly had them, but they had been done away with in those places. The quarantine establishment was kept up for Imperial purposes, not because we were afraid of infection, but because, unfortunately, we had to consider the prejudices of other countries. The Mediterranean Powers would put us into quarantine at once if we did not keep up a quarantine ourselves. The Southern ports of this country where quarantine was kept up were those with which the Mediterranean ports traded. Consuls of European Powers reported the smallest alteration in the quarantine laws to their respective Governments. Spain was extremely sensitive on this point, and seemed to look out for excuses to impose quarantine. This was a very serious matter. In 1825 Mr. Huskisson took upon himself to issue free pratique to ships in Portsmouth, Southampton, and London, and the result was that the whole of the United Kingdom was put into quarantine by the Mediterranean Powers, every arrival from England subjected to lengthened detention, and the country was thereby put to the greatest inconvenience. That was the real explanation of this Vote, and not because there was any danger from yellow fever being imported into the country, it being well known that, as a general rule, yellow fever could not exist below a certain degree of temperature. Even in the West Indies it was almost unknown 1,000 feet above the sea. The hospital at Liverpool was established in consequence of the outbreak of cholera, caused by German emigrants who had reached that town across the country from Hull and not from the sea, and therefore, of course, the expenses of that establishment were properly defrayed out of the local funds.


said, he did not regard the explanation which had been given of this Vote as being satisfactory, and therefore moved that it be reduced by the Bum of £700.


thought that the money was well expended.


said, there was one difficulty about the Motion of the hon. Member, which was that he had moved to reduce the Vote by £700, whereas the Vote was for £444 only.


said, he understood the Vote was for £1,444.


said, the Vote now asked for was £444, to complete the sum of £1,444 required for this purpose.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the proposed Vote be reduced by the sum of £443 10s."—(Mr. Lusk.)


said, that the Government had previously taken a Vote for £1,000, and now only asked for the balance, £444, of the total sum required.


suggested that as the subject was an important one it should be brought forward as a substantive Motion.


would ask, as he had asked before, if quarantine was necessary, why had it been broken by the officer who ought to have insisted on its rigid execution — the Medical Superintendent at Southampton? Under such circumstances it was ridiculous to maintain there an officer of that description. A lay figure or man in buckram would serve the purpose as well, and the sooner the system was done away with the better.


said, his answer must be the same as that which he had formerly given to the hon. Baronet. He allowed that there was no danger of yellow fever spreading in this country, especially during the winter months, and that it was not to be communicated by contact. But cholera might be communicated by contact. Other countries had faith in quarantine, and great commercial loss would ensue to this country if no quarantine were imposed here. The hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish) was in favour of supporting the quarantine establishments by rates. Now, if the rate were to be compulsory, the sum required to be levied would be much greater than at present. If, on the other hand, the rate were not to be compulsory, it would be levied in some towns and not in others, so that its incidence would be unequal, and foreign Governments would not feel secure, but would place all vessels from our ports in quarantine.


said, all he argued for was equality. He did not think it right that one town should practically be paying for quarantine out of its local board of health rates while such establishments were supported out of the Imperial funds in others. However, he would recommend the withdrawal of the Motion, because it was obviously inconvenient to discuss questions of policy in Committee of Supply.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Vote agreed to.

(13.) £24,000, to complete the sum for the Secret Service.

(14.) £294,020, to complete the sum for Printing and Stationery.


complained of the large increase on this Vote. Twenty - eight years ago the Civil Service Estimates were only £2,500,000, whereas they had now grown to £8,000,000. Of course a portion of this increase was apparent only, but still there was a large and constant growth. This year the charge for Parliamentary Printing was £76,000, whereas it was last year only £66,000. He thought that a good deal of money might be saved by the establishment of a statistical department, where Members might obtain the information they wanted without putting the Government to the expense of preparing and printing Returns.


agreed with the hon. Member that Returns were often moved for without any regard to the principle of economy, and were often of no practical good when made. If hon. Members would co-operate with the Government in refusing unnecessary Returns the Vote might be reduced.


thanked the hon. Gentleman for calling attention to the question of Returns. The expense stated in this Estimate with regard to these Returns by no means represented the entire cost occasioned. Extra clerks were often required to be engaged by the several Departments to have them prepared. He had received a note soon after coming into office from the Secretary to the Treasury, urging him to refuse all Returns that were not absolutely necessary, and he hoped the House would not require Returns to be produced unless some substantial ground for calling for them could be shown.


said, he could not admit that independent Members were unwilling to assist the Government in refusing Returns. He had himself divided the House against granting a Return moved for, and had succeeded in getting it rejected. Some Member of the Government ought to be responsible for checking the great expense of those Returns, and he would suggest that all such Returns should be moved for in a regular manner and at a proper time.


instanced a case in which £500 last year was saved by refusing one Return which he considered wholly unnecessary. The Committee on Printing had come to some conclusions which he hoped would check extravagance in this matter.


said, that if there was liberality in granting Returns, there was also niggardliness. Among the books supplied to the military schools were some calculated to imbrue the minds of the soldiers with seditious and anti-national sentiments, and a Return which he had moved for of a list of those books had been refused.

Vote agreed to.

(15.) £129,350, to complete the sum for Postage, Public Departments.

(16.) £24,440, to complete the sum for Law Charges, England.

(17.) £141,035, to complete the sum for Criminal Prosecutions.

(18.) £200,925, to complete the sum for Police, Counties and Boroughs.

(19.) £8,625, to complete the sum for the Admiralty Court Registry.

(20.) £2,236, to complete the sum for the late Insolvent Debtors Court.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again." — (Mr. Dillwyn.)

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

(21.) £66,467, to complete the sum for the Courts of Probate and Divorce.

(22.) £107,127, to complete the sum for County Courts.

(23.) £3,440, to complete the sum for the Office of Land Registry.

(24.) £16,103, to complete the sum for Police Courts, Metropolis.

(25.) £123,848, to complete the sum for Metropolitan Police.

(26.) £17,850, Revising Barristers.

(27.) £658, Divorce Court Compensations.

(28.) £10,292, to complete the sum for Bankruptcy Compensations, &c.

(29.) £39,381, to complete the sum for the Common Law Courts, England.

(30.) £54,447, to complete the sum for Criminal Proceedings, Scotland.

(31.) £36,850, to complete the sum for the Courts of Justice, Scotland.

(32.) £11,486, to complete the sum for General Register House, Edinburgh.

(33.) £65,314, to complete the sum for Criminal Prosecutions, &c., Ireland.

(34.) £4,522, to complete the sum for the Court of Chancery, Ireland.

(35.) £10,852, to complete the sum for the Court of Queen's Bench, &c., Ireland.

(36.) £2,407, to complete the sum for Judges Registrars, Ireland.

(37.) £1,025, to complete the sum for Manor Courts, Ireland.

(38.) £1,869, to complete the sum for Registration of Judgments, Ireland.

(39.) £10,051, to complete the sum for Registration of Deeds, Ireland.

(40.) £100, Commissioners of High Court of Delegates, Ireland.

(41.) £4,899, to complete the sum for the Court of Bankruptcy, &c., Ireland.

(42.) £7,673, to complete the sum for the Court of Probate, Ireland.

(43.) £9,492, to complete the sum for the Landed Estates Court, Ireland.

(44.) £5,500, to complete the sum for Process Servers, Ireland.

(45.) £420, Revising Barristers, Ireland.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported upon Thursday.

Committee to sit again upon Thursday.