§ MR. DISRAELI
I wish to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government with respect to the order of Business. The House agreed to the Irish Education Vote on Friday night on the understanding that the discussion might be taken on the Report, and I see that the Report is fixed for an hour to-night, which would render discussion quite impossible. There was also some intimation on Friday that there might be a Supplementary Vote, and that the discussion might be taken then; but it is not within my Parliamentary experience that discussion should be postponed till a Supplementary Vote is brought forward which is not even on the Paper. I have no wish to interfere unnecessarily with the conduct of Public Business; but, as I am afraid that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) will fail to gain the opportunity of raising the fair discussion he wishes on the question, I would suggest that the Report should be taken at the Evening Sitting to-morrow.
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) has misunderstood in some degree what took place on Friday night last, because the arrangement then was that the discussion should be taken on the Supplementary Vote, and that Vote is now on the Table; but we shall be happy, if we can, to fall in with the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion, and take the Report of the Vote 1888 on Account to-morrow evening. As the right hon. Gentleman has raised the question of the course of Business, I may, perhaps, be allowed to refer to the subject, and for the sake of order I will move the discharge of the Order for Committee upon the Debtors (Ireland) (Re-committed) Bill, which stands for tonight. It will be all the more convenient that I should state the views of the Government, because rumours have appeared, with more or less apparent belief on the part of the writer of the paragraphs, in print, which may naturally tend to raise doubt and misgiving in the minds of hon. Members, with regard to the intention of the Government to abandon, in particular, the principal and most important measure now before the House. These rumours are founded upon a misapprehension—an agreeable misapprehension, but one which I am desirous to remove. It is assumed, I admit, in strict conformity to the practice of the last few years, that we are rapidly passing, or have almost passed, by that period of the Session when, in conformity with Parliamentary usage, Votes may be taken upon the principal Estimates for the services of the country, the Army and Navy, or when measures may, with advantage and propriety, be sent to the House of Lords. Now, Sir, I have looked into the matter, and I find, from instances to the contrary, that neither of these suppositions is supported by invariable custom; but that their existence has given rise to the presumption that there is a uniform rule as to the time after which there will be no proceeding as to voting money, or doing legislative business. It will be found, however, as might, perhaps, have been anticipated in a practical Assembly of this kind, that the House has in years of pressure met that pressure by devoting more time to the discharge of its Business. That, however, I know, is not a convenient or an agreeable course to any of us, nor perhaps, Sir, to yourself, and very glad should I be if you and we could be relieved from the inconvenience; but duty must come before convenience, and I wish to refer to the rule applicable to such a case. In the year 1862, which was not a year of pressure at all, the Army Estimates were only closed on the 22nd of July—not the Supplementary, but the original Estimates. In the year 1889 1861, which was a year of some activity, though certainly not one of great legislative pressure, the Army Estimates were closed on the 27th of July, on which day the Navy Estimates were also closed. In 1860, which was a year of great legislative pressure, the Navy Estimates were not closed until the 20th of July, and the Army Estimates not until the 18th of August. In 1853, which was likewise a year of much business and activity, both the Army and the Navy Estimates were closed on the 9th of August. I have not had a search made into a long series of years, but was guided by my recollection of the years of 1853 and 1860, as indicating the manner in which the House adapted its convenience to the exigencies of Public Business. That is the state of the case as far as regards the Estimates, and it is not necessary for me to go into other cases where there have been Supplementary Army and Navy Estimates. Then, with regard to Bills, it appears to be an illusion with which hon. Gentlemen not at all unnaturally please themselves—and I feel, myself, a fond temptation to suppose that it is a thing without precedent, or almost without precedent, for Bills to be prosecuted in this House after we have reached what may be roughly called the middle of July. Again, I have looked back to two years within my own recollection, when the affairs of this country were conducted by the £10 Parliaments, as they may be called, and not by the Householders' Parliament, and I do not suppose that, in proportion as the constituency becomes more popular, either the zeal of the House of Commons or its disposition to make sacrifices for the public good is likely to become more slack. The two years to which I refer are 1833 and 1835, and in both of them I was myself a witness of and a participator in the whole of the proceedings. I will mention three of the most important measures of that very remarkable Session of 1833. The Irish Church Temporalities Act and the Irish Coercion Act had been passed at a comparatively early period of the year, but the East India Charter Act was read a third time in this House on the 26th of July, 1833; the West India Slavery Bill was read a third time on the 7th of August; and the Bank Charter Act Bill was read a third time on the 19th of August in 1890 the same year. Hon. Gentlemen will see, therefore, that there is still a large margin available, though I hope we shall not require to make use of it. One other case of legislation I will quote, because it is a remarkable one. It is the case of the Municipal Corporations Act, which those who sat in this House at the time will recollect was regarded as a measure of immense constitutional and political importance at the time it was passed, though the case and smoothness with which it was worked may diminish the liveliness of our recollections. Two of my hon. Friends who are sitting opposite will remember the occasion very well, and will agree that I have given a correct description of the measure. The Municipal Corporations Bill was introduced into this House on the 5th of June, 1835, it was reported from Committee on the 17th of July, read a third time on the 20th of July, and then sent to the House of Lords. With exemplary patriotism the House of Lords went thoroughly into the particulars of that Bill, and I believe they heard evidence and counsel on the subject. Their Lordships sent the Bill back to this House on the 31st of August, and the Lords' Amendments were not considered here until the 1st of September. They were considered for four days, during which time a conference ensued; a second Conference was held on the 7th of September, and the Bill was finally disposed of and made an Act of Parliament on the 12th of September. Therefore, there is time available for every reasonable purpose, and more, I trust, than is likely to be required for reasonable purposes under the present circumstances. I need not say, with these considerations in our mind, that the rumours which have been propagated as to the intention of the Government to recede from the prosecution of the Secret Voting Bill are wholly and absolutely without foundation. They rely upon the known and proved views of a large majority of the Members of this House, and they adhere without the slightest reserve to the intentions that they have hitherto declared. This being so, it has been their duty to review the Orders from time to time, and we have found that the number of Bills of secondary importance is so great that we think it will not be in the power of Parliament satisfactorily to dispose of 1891 them during the present Session. The Orders for to-night, so far as the Government are concerned, number 33, besides which there are several in the charge of private Members. We have examined that list with a view of ascertaining what measures it may be in our power to prosecute, for we are desirous to relieve those hon. Members who take a special interest in any of those measures from uncertainty in regard to them. First of all, there is the 15th Order for the re-committal of the Debtors (Ireland) Bill, which I shall move to discharge. The 16th Order relates to a subject which has been already discussed in this House on a point of form, though not upon its merits. It is a Parliamentary proceeding with regard to the Black-water Bridge Bill, and we think it better not to go on with it, because the subject is one which will require more consideration. The 17th Order refers to the Inclosure Law Amendment Bill, and it is with regret that we have arrived at the conclusion that it will not be possible to have that measure satisfactorily disposed of during the present Session. I may say the same of several other Bills—the Pilotage Bill, the Coal Mines Regulation Bill, and the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Bill. These are Bills of great importance, but they are likewise Bills requiring very considerable discussion of details, and we do not think it will be possible to obtain for them that full and thorough discussion which we desire. Then there is the Pharmacy Bill, which evidently could not be passed without a great deal of discussion, and that we propose also to withdraw. The next Order is the Bankruptcy (Ireland) Amendment Bill, which is an important measure, likely to be beneficial to Ireland; but my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General for Ireland, who has charge of it, does not think he can fairly expect the House to pass it during the present Session. These are the eight Bills which it is not our intention to go forward with. After this statement of particulars, which I thought it desirable to lay before the House, I will conclude by moving that the Order of the Day for the re-committal of the Debtors (Ireland) Bill be discharged.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he wished to correct an erroneous impression of his right hon. Friend at the head of 1892 the Government with regard to the division on Friday night, in reference to the Irish Education Grant. He wished to state that no factious opposition was raised on that side of the House. His hon. Friend proposed to move the reduction of the Vote, leaving a portion of it to stand over, in order that there might be a subsequent discussion; but the Chairman ruled that his hon. Friend, not being a Minister of the Crown, could not make that Motion. He confessed that hon. Members on that side were surprised at his right hon. Friend not moving that which as a Minister he might have moved.
I am extremely sorry that there should be any misunderstanding as to the proceedings on Friday night. The Chairman of Ways and Means undoubtedly did rule that no one but a Minister could move a Grant of money, and I do not wonder that my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge should have expected us to bring forward a Motion. The fact, however, is that we had ascertained from the Chairman that that could not regularly be done, and if we had simply diminished the Vote we should have crippled the service for the year.
pointed out that up to this time only two Votes in the Navy Estimates had been taken. Consequently, the House had no opportunity of discussing important questions respecting dockyards and the supply of stores and ships.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
inquired what the Government proposed to do with the Chancery Bill, which for the last three months had been placed on the Paper once, and sometimes twice, a-week.
We do not abandon all hope of proceeding with it; but some further statement on the subject will probably be made shortly.
§ MR. LIDDELL
expressed his deep regret at the withdrawal of the Coal Mines Regulation Bill, which both masters and men had looked forward to with anxiety.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he had been prepared for some such announcement from the Government with regard to the course of proceeding as had just been made to them, because, during the past six weeks, he had calculated that every Monday the Government Orders had numbered more than 30. That 1893 day there were more than 40 Orders on the Paper, and they were chiefly Government Orders. If that were the first occasion on which the Order Book was so crowded, he should have thought little of it, but should have regarded it as preparatory to the announcement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister that he was about to sweep off the list eight of his Bills. Now, with 33 Orders of the Day still remaining upon the list, he held that it was totally impossible for hon. Members of that House to know what business was to be proceeded with and what was not; and he took that opportunity of humbly and respectfully representing to the House that, if they intended to understand the business which they were expected to proceed with, the House ought to remonstrate against the practice of thus thronging the Order Book, and rendering it impossible, amongst such a large number of Orders, to discover those which were to be prosecuted further. He had looked into the public newspapers, and with shame he saw that their playbills were distinguished from other playbills by nothing but their excessive variety. But he wished to comment, for an instant, upon the course which had been taken by the Government. It was this—they had now swept from the list various Bills, in particular the Mines Bills had just been adverted to, to which numerous sections of the population had been looking with anxiety; and they treated the present occasion as one of urgency, he might say as an emergency; but who had created that emergency? Who but the Government themselves? And what, he would ask, was their object in creating that emergency? It was this—they were determined that the country should not, during the Recess, if they could prevent it, have the opportunity of considering the Secret Voting Bill, which was, in itself, either a new Reform Bill, or the matrix of a new Reform Bill. Well, he presumed that that was the result of some arrangement entered into between Her Majesty's Government and the majority on the other side, whose conduct on that subject had been so unprecedented—unprecedented, that was, in their determination to vote, and their determination not to discuss. Why, they seemed to represent the very essence of secrecy themselves. They had 1894 entered into a secret understanding with the Government to coerce the House of Commons, and it was impossible to avoid that which they appeared most to dread—the reference of that measure to the country for mature consideration during the Recess, before they had the opportunity of forcing it through the House of Commons. But he also thought that they had another object. There was manifestly a desire on their part to produce a collision between the Houses of Parliament, and a desire to avoid a reference of that measure to the country before that collision was produced. He could not help thinking, then, that the only exigency which impelled the Government to act in that way was a party exigency; and, in his judgment, a party exigency was but a poor excuse for retaining in Session the Houses of Parliament, as though there were some great emergency which rendered it necessary.
§ MR. RODEN
said, he hoped the Government would re-consider their determination with regard to the Coal Mines Regulation Bill.
§ MR. SPENCER WALPOLE
said, he should like to take notice of one observation which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government as to the practice of that House, and the course of proceeding with regard to postponing the Committee of Supply. The right hon. Gentleman had mentioned precedents for postponing Committee of Supply until the end of July, or even until August; but the unusual occurrences soon after the passing of the Reform Act would account for some of those postponements; and with regard to the later ones, both 1853 and 1860 were exceptional years in consequence of the change which had taken place in the Government. He was anxious that the House should bear this in mind, and that the attention of the Government should be called to the matter, because if Committees of Supply were postponed, two consequences must follow; one of which was that of late years it had led to the growing practice of taking Votes on Account, which was a most objectionable course, for it did not give the House the opportunity of considering the grievances connected with those Departments for which the money was taken. The other consequence was that so far as regards the two great services — the 1895 Army and the Navy—he did not believe that the Government could produce any instance in which the Votes had been postponed so late as in the present year. Now, if that proceeding were to be drawn into a precedent, a most dangerous consequence might be established, because at a future time the peculiar duty of the House to superintend and control the expenditure on the Army and Navy would be postponed to a period of the Session when there was not that large attendance of hon. Members which led to the Estimates being properly criticized. For those reasons, he hoped the House would impress on the Government the necessity of going into Committee of Supply at an earlier period of the Session.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, he agreed with his right hon. Friend that the practice of taking Votes on Account was inconvenient; but that which had occurred this Session was still more objectionable, for money had been taken on account of the first two Votes in the Navy Estimates, which had been applied to other matters, without the policy of the Government as to those matters being either stated to the House or sanctioned.
§ COLONEL STUART KNOX
said, the "Massacre of the Innocents" had that year been accompanied by threats and worthless precedents. The right hon. Gentleman had said he withdrew those measures because they required more consideration; and the same argument would apply to the Local Government (Ireland) Bill, which was likely to be made a good one if the opinion of the constituencies interested could be taken on the subject. That Bill might be withdrawn, and brought in again next Session.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
, in supporting the appeal of the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Liddell), said, he should protest most strongly against the withdrawal of the Coal Mines Regulation Bill. There never had been an occasion when the question was more ripe for legislation; both employers and employed had fully discussed it, and the question might be settled in a shorter time than it ever could have been before. He believed that two Saturday Morning Sittings would finish it. It was a matter affecting the welfare of thousands of their countrymen, and they had spent hundreds, if not thousands, 1896 of pounds to bring the Bill to the present stage. The greatest mortification and dissatisfaction would be felt if it were now thrown overboard.
§ MR. CANDLISH
said, he would make a similar appeal, for he was equally certain, with the hon. Member who had last spoken (Mr. Mundella), that there existed no difference of opinion as to the principle of the Bill. The only variance was as to details.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, in consequence of representations which were made to me, and with which I greatly sympathise, I promised to support these Mines Regulation Bills when they were brought before the House. No Bills have been brought forward in which a large number of people take a greater interest, and I think it one of the first duties of the Government to make arrangements that such Bills should be passed. One of the first duties of this House, we have always been taught, is to redress the grievances of the people, and these are real grievances of the people. This portion of the working classes looks with confidence to Parliament for redress; and I am authorized to say not merely on their part, but on the part also of some of the most important employers of labour whom I have seen, and others interested in mines, that there never was a happier moment for settling the question, for there never was a period when a better understanding prevailed between employers and employed; when all the questions arising out of this matter have been more thoroughly scrutinized; or when they have arrived at a more satisfactory solution of them. It is therefore with great regret I hear those Bills are to be withdrawn; and I must say that I should be very glad if the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government and his Colleagues, in order to carry not only those but various other measures of great interest, would make up their minds to withdraw the Bill for secret voting. That Bill is the great obstacle to the progress of useful measures in which the people feel the deepest interest, because they know that if they are carried they will materially benefit their position; and I do not think that they will be satisfied to see them sacrificed in order to carry a measure which, after all, is a mere political speculation. But if it be one of our chief duties to redress the grievances of the 1897 people, certainly our first great duty is to attend to the due expenditure of their money, and I cannot at all agree with the conclusion at which the right hon. Gentleman has arrived about closing Committees of Supply. Speaking without notes, but having a tolerably clear remembrance of what has occurred in reference to this subject since I have been a Member of this House, I think I may venture to say that there never was a period when the Committee of Supply, especially with regard to the Navy Estimates, was in such an unsatisfactory state of arrear. Only two Votes out of 19, I think, have been passed; and of the remaining 17, some clearly involve discussion, and I hope settlement by this House, as important questions connected with the administration of the Navy will then be brought forward. Irrespective of that, there is the Motion of my noble Friend the Member for Chichester (Lord Henry Lennox) with regard to the loss of the Captain, and it would be disgraceful to the House of Commons if Parliament were to be prorogued without going into that matter. A national catastrophe has happened, and when it has been asserted, and asserted upon authority, that that catastrophe can be clearly traced to mal-administratton in our Navy—without giving now any opinion of course myself but speaking of it in a desultory manner, it would be disgraceful to this House to separate without investigating that matter, as far as a Parliamentary discussion will permit us so to do. Here are the grievances of the people. Year after year a measure with respect to the miners, from whom I had the pleasure of receiving a deputation at my house on the subject, has been thrown aside, and it is again withdrawn, although the miners have been led to expect and believe that nothing could this Session prevent a satisfactory settlement of a question in which they are deeply interested. We are, moreover, told that there is no prospect of any arrangement by which we may go at an early day into Committee of Supply. When the right hon. Gentleman rose to communicate to us the decision of his Cabinet, I certainly thought it was not for us to question on this occasion the propriety of their judgment with respect to proceeding with the Ballot Bill, though I regretted their decision; but I supposed that 1898 that notification would be accompanied by an intimation being made to the House that fair and constitutional opportunities would be given to the House, particularly as regards the expenditure of the country, by going at an early period into Committee of Supply. But, as regards both these matters, we find that there is no prospect of our doing our duty to our constituents and the country generally, and I think it most unsatisfactory. It is certainly for the Government to decide how long they may think proper to postpone Parliamentary discussion; and when we remember the great responsibility of the Government, no one can seriously maintain that so long as they sit upon that bench they are not the best judges of that question. But we have a right to make conditions, and to say that we expect the business of a great nation as this is, if it is carried on by a large and an unusual sacrifice of time, will be conducted with a due deference to the constitutional privileges of Parliament. The bonâ fide control in Committee of Supply is one of our most valuable and important privileges, and if the right hon. Gentleman insists on proceeding with this Bill for secret voting, we have a right to expect that he should have secured to the miners of the United Kingdom the passing of these Bills, which they have regarded as a certainty, and which would have been accepted by all classes connected with that important branch of industry with the utmost satisfaction. I adverted earlier in the evening to another point, in the hope that I might have made a suggestion which would have removed some of the embarrassment of the Government, and at the same time have satisfied the representatives of Ireland as to that matter of education in which they are so deeply interested. I made the suggestion that we might probably take the Report on Tuesday evening, and then have the discussion; bat I find my efforts have been quite unavailing, for it cannot be brought forward at any hour which would give us a fair prospect of any satisfactory discussion, and therefore all I can do is to suggest to the Government to give to-morrow morning to that subject. The discussion will probably conclude at an early hour, and we could then resume our duties in Committee on the Bill for secret voting. 1899 After what occurred on Friday night, the right hon. Gentleman is bound to secure a fair consideration of the question of Irish education, and I am sure that the Government will not refuse Irish Members an opportunity of speaking upon a question which so deeply interests them. I deplore the state of Public Business, for our position could not be more unsatisfactory. I will not say that the right hon. Gentleman has adopted a minatory tone to-night; but the adroit intimation which he made that if we do not meet him exactly as he wishes he will secure for us a great deal of personal inconvenience is to be regretted; because I am quite convinced that to attempt to force down a measure which no one can say is one of exigency or emergency—which is an unexpected measure—which is a different measure from that produced by the Government last year, and therefore, from the nature of that circumstance, an immature measure —I say, I think to attempt to force a measure of this kind upon Parliament by such a sacrifice as this—the sacrifice of the highest constitutional privilege of the House of Commons, in checking and controlling public expenditure, and the sacrifice of the most important interests of the miners, and compelling those industrious classes to forego that redress of their grievances under which they have been so long suffering, and which now might be terminated with the happy concurrence of their employers, is, in my mind, fraught, or soon will be, with great disaster to all concerned.
I rise with the intention of making some proposition on the part of the Government with reference to the Mines Regulation Bill. I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the removal of the grievances of the miners is a matter of the first consideration, for although those grievances are deeply felt, it appears to the majority on this side of the House, whatever may be the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman and his followers, that there are also grievances connected with the freedom of voting in which the people of this country take a still greater interest. I readily admit that the feeling in reference to the Mines Regulation Bill is great; but the Government must at this period of the Session be allowed to select which measures shall be advanced and which shall be withdrawn. However, there 1900 appears to me to be a chance, of which I would gladly avail myself, of passing this Bill which has been so long before us. There is, I believe, a general desire to settle this measure, which involves some questions of considerable difficulty. It is said that both masters and men are interested in the passing of the Bill, and that is true; but they are interested from different points of view, and, therefore, there may be a difficulty in disposing of them, except in Committee of this House. I would, however, propose that this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, which should be so constituted as to represent all interests, in the hope that their efforts may succeed in narrowing to the smallest extent the differences which still prevail. It may then be possible to reduce the number of Amendments which now appear on the Paper, and, should there be then sufficient time still remaining at the disposal of the House, we might pass this Bill.
§ MR. MAGNIAC
said, he could not consent to go into Committee on the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Bill unless it could be fully and fairly considered. There were many points on which the miners of particular localities were specially interested; but their opinions would have little weight at the end of a Session. Under the circumstances, he should prefer to go on with the Ballot Bill.
§ MR. GREENE
remarked that the subject of regulating mines had been before the House for many Sessions, while the opinion of the country had never been asked about the Ballot Bill, on which not one-third of hon. Members were pledged to vote. It seemed, however, that all the legislation of the country must give way to that paltry, contemptible Bill. It was becoming clear to the country that the Government were theoretical and not practical, and were incompetent to conduct the affairs of the nation. Was not the position of the House becoming ridiculous? He recommended hon. Members to go home to their constituents, and to return to this House determined to pass measures of a more sensible character than the Ballot, which would destroy the straightforward character of Englishmen.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, the Government could not accede to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), to take the Irish Education Vote the first thing to-morrow morning instead of the evening. After the Ballot Bill the first business that would be taken would be the Navy Estimates.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
suggested that the Parliamentary and Municipal Elections Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, as was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman in reference to the Mines Bills.
§ MR. C. B. DENISON
desired to know whether it was the intention of the Government to postpone the consideration of the Navy Estimates until the Ballot Bill had passed through Committee? He could only say that if the Government persisted in any such intention, it would tend to produce on the House a feeling of uncommon exasperation.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
replied that, as far as the Government could at present see, the Navy Estimates would be taken the first time the House went into Committee of Supply.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
contended that the Question put by the hon. Member for the Eastern Division of the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. C. B. Denison) had received no answer. Would the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government do him the favour to give him a distinct reply? He might also observe that he could confirm what had that evening fallen from his right hon. Friend the Member for Tyrone—that the statement made by the Prime Minister was calculated to give rise to a very erroncous impression, for the fact was that as yet the Navy Estimates were almost untouched.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
desired some information with respect to the course to be taken in connection with the inclosure schemes which had been before the House for the last three years.
replied, that one of the difficulties connected with the subject was that it was impossible to proceed with the inclosures until the House had decided the principles upon which the inclosures were to be made.
§ MR. G. BENTINCK
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty to give an Answer to the Question that had been put to him relative to the Navy Estimates, or whether 1902 it was to be understood that the right hon. Gentleman declined to state when he should be prepared to go into Committee. The House ought to have a clear understanding on the subject.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, the House should be distinctly informed whether the Navy Estimates were not to be brought forward until after the Ballot Bill had been disposed of.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, the right hon. Gentleman had intimated across the Table that it was impossible then to name a day. That was not the Question that was put to the Government, but whether the Navy Estimates were to be delayed until the Ballot Bill had been disposed of. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would inform one of his Colleagues, and let him state it to the House.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the only answer the Government could give was, naturally, that they would make the Business they had in hand their first consideration. They could not say how long the business would take, and therefore it was impossible to say, until they found what time they had at their disposal, what other business they would be in a position to take.
§ SIR JAMES ELPHINSTONE
said, the Government appeared to make the Business of the House as disagreeable as they possibly could. The question of the unfortunate loss of the Captain, concerning which Motions had long been on the Paper, as well as the great question of the construction of our ships, were at least as important as the business that they were nightly in the habit of discussing. Owing, however, to what he might term the obstinacy of the Government, the right hon. Gentleman had hitherto not yet been able to pass a single measure; and the right hon. Gentleman, to punish the House, had determined to keep them there as long as his royal pleasure dictated, and to inflict upon them as great inconvenience as possible to induce them to submit to the course prescribed by his tyrannical Government.
§ MR. ST. AUBYN
asked, whether it was the intention of the Government to refer the Metalliferous Mines Bill to the same Committee as that which was to be appointed to deal with the subject of Coal Mines?
replied, that the same reasons for referring the latter Bill to a Select Committee did not prevail in the case of the former measure. In any case they would not be referred to the same Committee.
§ Bill withdrawn.