§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee,
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £178,912, to complete the sum for the Science and Art Department.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, he should like to have some explanation as to the defalcation at South Kensington which occurred the year before last. He was informed that Mr. Simpkins had 399 absconded, and the question of proceedings against him had been referred to the Solicitor of the Treasury. That was five or six months since; and he wished to know whether any assets had been recovered to reimburse the Treasury? He also wished to know whether the place vacated by Mr. Simpkins had been filled up; and, if so, what security had been taken that the accounts would be better kept? If the place had not been filled up, what arrangement had been made for the due accounting of the Department? He should also like to know the result of the difference between the Treasury and the Education Department with regard to the position of Mr. Cole, and whether he would be responsible for the accounts for the coming year? He hoped the recommendations of the Committee on Public Accounts, having reference to the whole subject, had received the attention they deserved. Some definite principle should be laid down on which the different Departments should render their appropriation account for the purpose of audit. If South Kensington were directly managed and controlled by the central authority at Whitehall, the House would be much less grudging in its Votes of Supply.
§ MR. BAXTER
said, the careful attention of the Government, and especially of the Treasury, had been directed to the Report of the Committee on Public Accounts. A departmental Committee was appointed, consisting of officers of experience and long standing in the Treasury, to consider the whole subject, and a Minute was in course of preparation which went fully into all the matters referred to. No doubt the defalcation which had occurred at South Kensington was a very unfortunate affair; but, looking to the Public Accounts as a whole, things had worked satisfactorily. He thought, however, that it would be probably necessary to adopt some uniform practice to check the proceedings of parties who had to account for public money. Before next Session, he hoped to be able to produce such a plan—one that would give universal satisfaction, and until that was done he could give no further answer.
§ MR. RYLANDS
thought the defalcation referred to of not less than £8,000 a most discreditable transaction in connection with these accounts, and one that the Committee ought not to have 400 allowed to pass by unnoticed; for out-of-doors there was an impression that the heads of the departments at South Kensington must have been grossly neglectful of the public interests, or such a defalcation could not have occurred.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
admitted that the defalcation could not be passed over without animadversion. Blame must rest somewhere, and he fully expected questions to be asked on the subject. The defalcation had been £7,704, of which £1,337 had been recovered. Mr. Simpkins took away £600, which he sent back immediately. In three years, Mr. Simpkins would have been entitled to a pension of £250 a-year; and that the country had saved. With regard to the questions put, he had to state that the appointment of accountant had not yet been filled up, the duty was being performed by the bookkeeper, and the assistant bookkeepers; and the securities taken against defalcations were these—to allow no money whatever to remain in the office; extra receipts to be paid every day into the Bank of England, and money wages to be drawn and paid the same day. He did not consider Mr. Cole to blame in the matter; but thought that the evil had arisen from a system which had grown up of large balances being due from one office to another, and the fact that the defalcation had not been found out was owing to the system of auditing the accounts whereby the vouchers had not been accessible at South Kensington. He did not deny that a certain amount of blame might attach both to the permanent head of the Department, and also, he acknowledged, to his noble Friend and himself as the really responsible heads. If they had been as careful as they now saw they ought to have been, they should have dismissed Mr. Simpkins. The case was this—there had not been the slightest ground for suspecting dishonesty; but they had reason to believe that he was not an efficient officer—the least efficient officer at South Kensington. They had seriously considered whether they should dismiss him; but they erred on the score of kindness to him as an old servant. He doubted whether any hon. Member would not have taken the same course at the same time. He looked upon Mr. Cole's position at South Kensington as that of a working partner rather than an accountant.
§ MR. BOWRING
asked, Whether, as the School for Naval Architecture was to be transferred to Greenwich, the Vote for the future would be included in the Navy Estimates, and not under the head of Science and Art. He hoped that the building at South Kensington would be available for some other branch of science and art.
§ MR. MACFIE
suggested that some of the art treasures stowed away in the British Museum cellars should be sent round to the different schools of art. He also called attention to the unsatisfactory state of the Patent Museum.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the buildings at South Kensington were no longer under the control of the Council for Education, but that they had been transferred to the Office of Works. When the Naval School was removed, it would certainly admit of more space being devoted to other matters in connection with art and science. He was happy to say, as a reference to a kindred subject, that the success of Bethnal Green Museum was very remarkable, far beyond expectation. The fact must be most gratifying to Sir Richard Wallace, who had lent his magnificent collection of paintings and other works of art—probably the finest ever possessed by any private individual—for the inspection of that portion of the public which had least opportunity of such enjoyment. The visitors last week at Bethnal Green Museum were over 37,162, as compared with 17,024 at South Kensington.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £89,201, to complete the sum for the British Museum.
§ MR. SPENCER WALPOLE
said, the Estimate called for very few remarks. There was an apparent diminution of £20,000 on the Vote this year as compared with the last; but it was not a real diminution in the ordinary expenditure of the Museum. The £20,000, in fact, was a sum granted last year for a special purpose—to purchase the Castellani Collection, so rich in gold ornaments and gems. With reference to the excavations at Ephesus, which he wished on that occasion to refer to, they were begun nearly eight years ago. The expenses incurred in the first excavations 402 were comparatively moderate in amount—about £3,000 in four years. When Mr. Wood undertook, however, to extend them, with a view to discover the site of the Temple of Diana, the expense to be incurred became necessarily very large. There were two other objects in view—first, to obtain interesting inscriptions, and, secondly, any architectural and sculptural remains that might be valuable. The expense of making the excavations down to the end of last financial year amounted to no less than £8,000. They were carried on under a firman of the Porte, without which we could neither excavate nor carry away anything that might be discovered. An apprehension prevailed that the firman was not likely to be renewed; it therefore became the duty of the Trustees either to apply a portion of their own funds so as to proceed with the excavation before the firman expired on the 8th of March, or apply to the Treasury for the requisite means. It was under these circumstances that the excavations were discontinued at the end of April. No time was lost by discontinuing them, as such works in Asia could only be carried on between October and the first week in May. The Trustees having been informed by the Foreign Office that the Porte had consented to re-grant the firman for one year, they desired Mr. Wood to make an estimate of the sum that would be necessary to complete the excavations. He estimated it at £6,000—£3,000 to be expended this year, and £3,000 in 1873. They immediately applied to the Treasury, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who took the greatest possible interest in these excavations, stated, in reply, his readiness to grant by Supplementary Estimate £3,000 this year, and £3,000 the next. He thought he might say, in connection with these excavations, that one of their objects had been completely successful—namely, in ascertaining the exact site of the Temple of Diana. Another of their objects had been partly fulfilled—namely, in obtaining some valuable and interesting inscriptions. The value of the architectural and sculptural remains could only be determined when they had been brought to this country. The Government had also brought in a Supplemental Estimate for two other purposes connected with the Museum—the 403 purchase of certain papyri and the purchase of coins. The papyri were accounted the most valuable in existence, and the coins would make the Roman collection perfectly unequalled in the whole world. He thought the money would be well spent.
§ LORD ELCHO
expressed the great gratification with which he had listened to the statement of his right hon. Friend. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, he thought, was also entitled to great credit for the readiness with which he had assented to the proposals of the Trustees.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £4,315, to complete the sum for the National Gallery.
§ (4.) £1,250, to complete the sum for the National Portrait Gallery.
§ (5.) £9,450, to complete the sum for Learned Societies in Great Britain and Ireland.
§ (6.) £7,372, to complete the sum for the University of London.
§ (7.) £10,327, to complete the sum for the Endowed Schools Commission.
§ (8.) £14,285, to complete the sum for the Scottish Universities.
§ SIR DAVID WEDDERBURN (for Sir ROBERT ANSTRUTHER)
said, he wished to say a few words explanatory of the Notice of Motion which had been given—"To move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,370, being the salaries of the Professors of the Medical Faculty in the University of Edinburgh." He did not intend to ask the Committee to come to any decision on the question, but it was only fair to explain the reason why he did not intend to do so. About two years ago—or rather more—a certain number of ladies, desirous of studying medicine in the University of Edinburgh, applied for permission to attend the classes in that University. After duly considering their application, the authorities of the University thought that, the sanction of the Council and Chancellor ought to be granted, and these ladies admitted to study. For some time the ladies successfully pursued their studies, obtaining prizes, &c.; but about a year ago they found their further progress was barred, and the necessary facilities for completing their studies were denied them. It was in order to lay before the House the course followed by the authorities of the University that the 404 Notice which he had read was placed on the Paper; but owing to the late period of the Session, and to the fact that within the last few days a decision had been given in the Court of Session on the subject, he felt it would be inexpedient to press that Motion. He would only say that the ladies, having taken the best legal advice, determined to bring an action against the Senatus of the University. Within the past few days the Lord Ordinary had decided every important point in their favour. He should not enter into the details of that lengthy judgment; but he would express a hope that the Senatus and other University authorities would accept the decision as final in the case, and as indicating to them their duty in this matter, and that the decision, if it was appealed against, would be confirmed by the Superior Courts, so that the door for the admission of women to medical education in the University of Edinburgh which had now been opened might never be closed again.
§ MR. RUSSELL GURNEY
said, he could not help thinking that the admirable judgment which had been delivered by the Lord Ordinary would have the effect of showing the Professors of the Edinburgh University what course they ought now to pursue.
§ DR. LYON PLAYFAIR
said, that the University of Edinburgh had been advised by eminent counsel that it possessed no powers of graduating women. A judgment to the contrary effect had now been given by Lord Gifford; and, if this were confirmed by the Inner Court, the University would, no doubt, exercise powers of female graduation. It was quite another question, whether medical Professors, who received only £100 per annum from the State for very onerous and exhaustive duties, could be compelled, for the same amount, to double their work by holding separate classes for a few lady students? The Judge had declined to give an opinion on this part of the question, and this Committee might well follow his example, and also decline to be tempted into such a discussion.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, the ladies in the action they took were fortified by the opinion of the Lord Advocate; and the decision of the Court of Session showed that the right hon. and learned Lord was right. He hoped the University would 405 give effect to the judgment which had been delivered; and if they did not, he should cordially vote next Session for such a Motion as that of which Notice had been given by the hon. Baronet. There was a large majority in favour of the admission of these ladies, and it was only those engaged in the craft who were opposed to them.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, he must enter his protest against the language of the hon. Member for Edinburgh. This question of the admission of ladies to the medical profession had cropped up in other places besides Edinburgh; and when, in spite of the use of the inelegant term "craft," the hon. Member said the members of the medical profession were opposed to these ladies, he seemed to forget that both in London and elsewhere they had given every facility which they possibly could. But it must be recollected that there were difficulties in the way of carrying out the united education of young men and women in the dissecting-room and elsewhere. He had the honour to belong to the medical profession, and he was quite certain the members of that profession would do all they could to further the interests of the ladies in connection with the profession, and he protested against the language of the hon. Member for Edinburgh as being unfair and ungracious.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) £1,350, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c. Scotland.
§ (10.) £406,081, to complete the sum for the Commissioners of National Education, Ireland.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he wished to make a few observations respecting the Vote. Last year, the National Commissioners proposed a Supplementary Estimate of £100,000 for the purpose of improving the condition of teachers. The Government, however, while recognizing the inadequacy of the salaries of the teachers of the schools in Ireland, thought they would have to settle other questions connected with the subject before the difficulty could be removed; they, therefore, had not time fully to consider the subject last year, and did not decide on granting the whole Estimate; but he had proposed then to take a Supplementary Estimate of £18,000 for the purpose of increasing the salaries of 406 the worst-paid class of teachers—the third class of probationary teachers. In consequence of an application from the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, a Supplementary Estimate also had been laid on the Table, the distribution of the money to be made on the principle of payment by results. The Government considered, when that application came before them, that one point in respect to which it certainly was not satisfactory was the extremely small proportion which the local contributions bore to the contribution by the State. From the last Report of the National Education Commissioners, it appeared that they received for the teachers in 1871, £359,697, and only 17 per cent of that sum was locally provided. The Government, therefore, felt considerable reluctance to propose a large addition of the State contribution, unless they could obtain increased contributions from local sources. Several proposals had been considered for obtaining increased local contributions. One was to have local rates and school boards as in England and Scotland. Another proposition was, that in localities where the contributions were inadequate, they should be supplemented by a rate, and that the money should not be expended by a school board, but by the Board of National Education. The Royal Commissioners, too, had recommended that the payment of school fees should be made compulsory; and that when the parents were unable to pay them, they should be paid by the Board of Guardians or some other local board. He was far from saying that one or more of these plans might not, or ought not to be adopted; still the discussion of any of them would involve an expenditure of time which could not be spared at the present period of the Session; but the Government felt that the condition of the teachers was so deplorable that it was not fair that that meritorious class of public servants should be kept waiting during an indefinite time for the promised increase of their salaries. The Government, therefore, not being able to deal comprehensively with the question of local rating in this matter, had thought right to introduce a Supplemental Estimate of £85,691, and had informed the Board of National Education that that addition to the grant was to last only for three years, in order that at the end of that period 407 the Government and Parliament might have an opportunity of considering the whole subject of the position of the teachers, and the proportion which the public grant ought to bear to the local contributions. One advantage which the Government hoped to gain from conceding this additional grant was the introduction at once of the system of payment by results, which would afford some security that Parliament would obtain a return for the money it granted. It had been a grievance complained of on the part of the National School teachers, that they were in a condition of dependence on the managers of the schools and liable to arbitrary dismissal; but in justice to the managers he felt bound to state that he had been informed on competent authority that the cases of arbitrary dismissal were extremely rare. He must also say that grievances existed not on one side only, because the managers complained that they were put to inconvenience by teachers leaving them without any notice. But when the State was about to take on itself the payment of 83 per cent of the salaries of the teachers, cases of hardship arising from the arbitrary dismissal of teachers should not be rare, but impossible. This view of the Government having been made known to the Board of National Education, that Board passed certain resolutions to the effect that managers of schools should enter into an agreement with the teachers specifying the duties and emoluments of the teachers, and that the engagement should only be terminable at three months' notice; and if a teacher were summarily dismissed, he should be entitled to three months' salary, unless the managers produced evidence to satisfy the National Board of Education that the dismissal arose from sufficient cause. Those conditions would give considerable protection to the teachers against summary dismissal; and as they appeared reasonable, he did not anticipate that objection would be taken to them. It was not the wish of the Government or of the National Board of Education to disparage the services rendered by the managers, or to deprive them of the legitimate power of appointing teachers and of dismissing them, after sufficient notice, though some managers might think that undue restriction was placed on their power by those rules. The Government did not 408 think it right that the rules should be summarily imposed on all managers immediately; and, therefore, the new rules would only be enforced on the appointment by the managers of new teachers, or when the managers informed the National Board of Education that they wished to apply for a portion of the new Grant about to be voted.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the Board of National Education would decide upon that point. The rules preserved to the manager the enjoyment of his present privileges, except that the power of summary dismissal of a teacher would be subject to the Board's decision that sufficient cause existed for such a dismissal, whether from immorality or insubordination.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that he felt bound to object to so much larger an amount of the public money being granted to Ireland for the purposes of education than was received in his own country. He did not, however, intend to conclude with a Motion for reducing the Vote; but they were now voting nearly £500,000 of money for the Irish Education Vote, together with a Supplementary Vote of £100,000 odd, amounting altogether to more than £500,000, while the whole of the Vote for Scotland was only £114,000. He found by the Report to which the noble Marquess had referred, that there were, in round numbers, 7,000 schools in Ireland, while in Scotland there were 5,000. The noble Marquess talked of 17 per cent of the money being furnished by Ireland to be used in this great work of education. He (Mr. M'Laren) had naturally supposed that that 17 per cent was received by subscriptions; but the whole of the subscriptions in Ireland did not amount to more than £13,000, which was only 3 per cent, and he asked whether it was not extraordinary that not more than 3 per cent should be paid towards education by all the wealthiest classes of that country? The children's school-pence in Ireland amounted to £50,000, so that the two together made up a sum of £63,000; and in that way the 17 per cent was obtained. Now, the people of the United Kingdom had to pay a very heavy rate for education, and if they had not the amount of the 409 Grant they would require, it would be necessarily larger. The effect, therefore, of this large Grant for Ireland, was to impose a tax upon the people of England and Scotland for the purpose of education in Ireland. What were their obligations in Scotland? It was to provide half the expenditure for these 5,000 schools; while in Ireland, if they took the subscriptions alone, they did not amount to more than 3 per cent; and even if they took the subscriptions and the children's pence together, he apprehended that the people of Ireland contributed far less to the expenditure for education than did the people of Scotland. He was not able to say how much was contributed by the whole of the schools in Scotland; but 1,000 at least of the parish schools contributed £48,000 a-year, which was laid as a rate upon the land in Scotland. By a Bill which was passed the other day, and which was now waiting for the Royal Assent, there was to be a rate made in Scotland on every owner and occupier of every manufacture and workshop—and even the Dissenting chapels were to be taxed—one-half the rate to be paid by the owner of the premises, and the other half by the occupier. Under these circumstances, he considered it extremely unjust to make them liable to the whole of the expenditure for the 5,000 schools in Scotland, when so very little was charged upon the people of Ireland. The mode in which the Grants were given last year was very remarkable. Last year, it was stated by the noble Marquess that there was a Supplementary Grant of £18,700 for Ireland. In the ordinary Estimates of this year, there was another increase of £13,566, and then there was a Supplementary Estimate of £86,000; so that within the last 12 months the additional grants to schools in Ireland amounted to £118,000, whereas the whole Education Grant for Scotland did not amount to over £114,000. When the Government introduced the Bill, attention was called to the subject, and the noble Marquess said that the effect would be to increase the grants to five-sevenths in the Irish schools. In that case, if Scotland was to be placed in a position fairly to compete with Ireland, her Grant ought to be increased to £360,000. The other day, when he (Mr. M'Laren) asked the Vice President of the Committee on Education when he was 410 going to take the Supplementary Grant for Scotland, the right hon. Gentleman answered, in the fullest possible manner, that the Grant for Scotland was made a few days ago; and it was certainly not the intention of the Government to submit a Supplemental Estimate for Scotland, inasmuch as it had asked for all it considered necessary. It appeared from that statement that all the Government considered that Scotland required was £114,000; whereas they were of opinion that the grant for Ireland should be increased to three-fourths. He considered that there was no justification for the policy which the Government had adopted with regard to Ireland as compared to Scotland. What was the whole amount received in Ireland by subscription per school, for the support of a system of education to which the Government so largely contributed? It was just £2 0s. 2d. per school. Positively, that was all that the wealthy classes contributed towards the support of education; and inasmuch as the school fees amounted to £7 11s. there was paid in every school in Ireland a sum of £9 11s. 2d. from the people, all the rest coming out of the Parliamentary Grant. Let them contrast that with Scotland. The contributions to the Scotch schools alone, apart from the school-pence, amounted to £48 per school per year, by a rate formerly levied exclusively upon the land, but which was now to be levied upon the largest mansion and the poorest cottage alike. Yet in the face of that, Ireland was to get this enormous grant. If the Bill to which he alluded received the Royal Assent, not only would there be certain conditions to be fulfilled with respect to the erection of new schools, but the school boards would have to take over the 5,000 existing schools. Yet they were told that no Supplementary Estimate was needed for Scotland, in order to bring the Act fully into operation. He felt it to be his duty to call the attention of the Committee to the enormous disparity between the grants to Scotland and Ireland, for it certainly appeared to him that the maxim upon which the Government went was how little they could give to Scotchmen and how much to Irishmen.
§ MR. SYNAN
objected to the comparisons of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, for in Ireland all the schools had been 411 built by the people, and not a penny had been contributed by the State towards the buildings. He therefore considered that Ireland was quite entitled to the increased grant, and he had not the slightest objection that Scotland should get as much as she possibly could in furtherance of the same end. He thanked the Government for their somewhat delayed and tardy act of justice to the Irish teachers;—and with respect to dismissal thought it was so difficult to get competent masters, that managers would not discharge them except for immorality or serious neglect.
§ DR. BALL
observed that the Government were fully justified in adopting the course they had taken in this matter, for there was this peculiarity about national education in Ireland which justified the Government in taking the course now proposed—it was in every respect a State education, directed and controlled by the State. Therefore, while the State assumed all the authority over these schools, it could not expect to obtain any large amount of funds from the landowners and gentry; and if they, as in England, supplied a much larger amount than at present, they would require to have some share in controlling the system, and ask for free elective boards. He, however, was a supporter of the present system; and if the condition of the teachers under it was not what it ought to be, then it became the duty of the Government to make it better, and the Vote was but an act of justice to them. If we raised the social position of the schoolmaster, we would at the same time raise the intelligence of the people, and the better fit them to understand and appreciate what measures were for their real advantage. We had no chance in Ireland until we made the education of the people as good as it could be; and, therefore, he looked upon the Vote as the best laid-out of any in the Estimates, and the one which would bear the best fruit. He should like to see a provision made in the shape of a pension for aged teachers, and, in conclusion, must say that he entirely approved the resolution in favour of the teachers at which the National Board had arrived.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, he was glad the Government had felt themselves able to improve the position of the national teachers in Ireland; and, while 412 concurring in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Dr. Ball) that no money could be better laid out than this for the improvement of education in Ireland, expressed the hope that the Government would do something towards providing better residences for the teachers. With respect to dismisal, they had solved a difficult question in a satisfactory manner. No injustice could be done by the managers retaining the power when there was an appeal to the Board, which comprised Judges and the representatives of all denominations. He, for one, was not dissatisfied that the larger subject of elementary education was postponed for some time.
said, that the low salaries of the Irish teachers were a disgrace to the United Kingdom. In 1871, the average income from all sources of classed principal teachers was, for masters £42, and for mistresses only £34 10s. He, therefore, most heartily supported the Government in the steps they had taken.
§ MR. AGAR-ELLIS
congratulated the Government on their proposal to increase the salaries, though he attached more importance to the statement that the power of summary dismissal of schoolmasters would, if not abolished, be greatly modified. If the position of the teachers were improved, there would be fewer Fenians and fewer threatening letters.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
preferred the Scotch system, under which the landowners paid half the cost of the education.
§ MR. PIM
observed it was impossible as yet to make arrangements for taking the education of the people out of the hands of the Government to place it in those of local school boards, which provide schools supported by the rates; but still it was a thing to be looked forward to. He approved the Vote.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that although the National Education Commissioners had made no representation upon the subject, yet he had no doubt that Government would give its best attention to the suggestions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin with respect to making provision for aged teachers, and also to the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Clare, in respect to building of residences for the teachers. He was 413 pleased at the manner in which the proposal had been received by the Committee, especially by hon. Members representing Irish constituencies.
§ MR. MACFIE
, in reply to the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan), who had interrupted the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), and asserted that the Irish people built their own schools, said that there was a Return which showed that grants had been made towards the erection of 104 national schools in Ireland. He objected to Ireland being made the "pet child" of the Empire, and should like to know why the landlords of Ireland did not contribute more largely?
said, now that the voluntary system was done away with, and the rate system substituted, strict justice would require that Ireland should be put on the same footing as England and Scotland. There was no reason why one country should receive so much more than another out of the State funds. He had not the slightest doubt of the wisdom of the Government in their generation, doing as they had done; but he did not believe the Government would be able to settle the question of Irish education by giving large sums of money; indeed, he thought the adoption of that course would impose upon the Government and that House the necessity of dealing at an early date, perhaps next Session, with the whole question of education in Ireland.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (11.) £505, to complete the sum for the Commissioners of Education in Ireland (Endowed Schools).
§ (12.) £1,630, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, Ireland.
§ (13.) £1,427, to complete the sum for the Royal Irish Academy.
§ (14.) £2,360, to complete the sum for the Queen's University, Ireland.
§ (15.) £2,676, to complete the sum for the Queen's Colleges, Ireland.
§ MR. SYNAN
called attention to the sum of £1,300 said to have been made away with by the bursar of the Queen's College at Cork, and to the necessity of keeping the accounts after a better method than that now adopted. The Committee on Public Accounts had gone into the matter, and there appeared to be no power of getting the money back again. 414 He hoped that Her Majesty's Government would consider this part of the Report, and would come to the conclusion that the money should be regularly voted every year, so that the Committee might be able to say whether or not it was necessary.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the recommendation of the Committee to which the hon. Member referred, whatever its merits might be, would be carefully considered by the Government before next year's Estimate was framed. He must say, however, the Committee had rather overrated the importance of the matter which came before them—namely, the defalcation which appeared to have occurred owing to an improper keeping of the accounts. No doubt, it showed there was something extremely wrong in the system; but it had been thoroughly over-hauled, not only in connection with the Queen's College at Cork, but also at Galway and Belfast. The object of transferring this charge to the Consolidated Fund was to withdraw the discussion as to the maintenance of these colleges and the Queen's University from being the subject of annual debate in that House; and, therefore, the Committee rather exaggerated the importance of these financial matters, when they recommended so sweeping a change in the mode of supporting the Queen's Colleges.
§ Vote agreed to.
(16.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £18,300, 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 1873, for the Purchase of a Site, Erection of Building, and other Expenses for the New Courts of Justice and Offices belonging thereto.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
, in rising to move that the Vote be reduced by £5,000, said, he had to complain that the House was spending £1,500,000 on these new buildings, and that it could not be said to have yet had a tangible sum submitted to it, an assertion evidenced by the fact that the House had certainly not up to that time approved any design for these Courts. On the 22nd of February the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner of Works, in answer to a Question put by him, said the designs had been exhibited for 415 several weeks in the Library last Session, and the Government had approved the designs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer afterwards stated that, although there were certain designs of a very simple character, it was not till November that they were finally brought to the shape in which they were exhibited; the House of Commons had no opportunity of expressing their opinion respecting them, and when they were called upon to vote a large sum of money it was their duty to see that it would be well laid out. The subject had been bandied about from the Office of Works to the Treasury, and from the Treasury back to the Office of Works; but the confusion which arose did not stop there. On the 6th of July, he (Mr. C. Bentinck) addressed a Question to the Chief Commissioner as to whether the design exhibited in the Royal Academy was the true design. The right hon. Gentleman said the design was not approved by him, but by the Treasury; and if the Treasury was responsible for that design, why was not the Chancellor of the Exchequer present to answer for it? Whatever explanation might be given by the Government, the fact was a large sum was to be voted, and the House did not know what the design was to be, or who was responsible for it. There was, no doubt, an elaborate elevation by Mr. Street, the adoption of which would, he thought, be a lasting disgrace to the art of this country. His object was to gain time. There was plenty to do on the site in preparing the foundations and other necessary works before they could arrive at any artistic question, and it was quite competent for them to ask Mr. Street to take back his plans and alter them. If he could not produce a more satisfactory design the architect might be changed, just as they had recently changed the sculptor in the case of the Wellington monument. He also wished to know the intentions of the Government in regard to the approaches of the Law Courts, and the ground which was not wanted for the buildings. With a view, therefore, to elicit some satisfactory information upon the subject, he should move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £5,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £13,300, 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 1873, for the Purchase of a Site, Erection of Building, and other Expenses for the New Courts of Justice and Offices belonging thereto."—(Mr. Cavendish Bentinck.)
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, he did not wish to follow his hon. Friend into the artistic question; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman who might reply to him would state when some progress might be expected to be made with the buildings for which the ground had been cleared five or six years ago. Power was taken in 1865 to obtain a site for the new Courts of Law. Since then a large space of ground had been cleared, a great number of persons being dispossessed of their habitations; and, beyond the introduction of some bricks, no action had been taken. Meanwhile the interest on a very large sum of money—some £700,000 or £800,000—was accruing. He hoped some assurance would be given that the work would be proceeded with without further delay.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for White-haven had hardly done justice to his own views. Some time ago his hon. and learned Friend submitted for their consideration a Motion which he (Mr. Ayrton) then stated was four years too late, because he proposed that the whole question should be reconsidered, and he made some reflections on Mr. Street, as if he were incompetent to perform the duties for which he was appointed. He (Mr. Ayrton) regretted that; for the appointment of Mr. Street determined the style and character of the building to be erected; and that gentleman was singularly well qualified to carry out that style and to produce a building of as much beauty as any other architect that could be named. His hon. and learned Friend had fallen into considerable confusion between the general plan which had been laid in the Library towards the close of last Session, and the more detailed drawings Mr. Street had since made, and which, no doubt, had from time to time varied in minor details and in ornamentation; but the general scope of Mr. Street's design had not been altered since it was exhibited in the Library. No benefit would result from communicating to the House from time to time any change which Mr. Street might make in the details or ornamentation of the front of his building. In August last year 417 the Treasury gave their sanction to the south front, and, according to contract, Mr. Street was bound to deliver the contract drawings which were necessary to enable the contractors to make tenders in February this year; but he deemed it desirable that the agents for the contractors should follow him with his contract plans and drawings, and that course was being taken; but as Mr. Street aimed at a great variety of ornamentation, he found that the contract plans and drawings required much more time than he anticipated, and, so far as he could judge at the present moment, the Office of Works would not be in a position to invite tenders for the construction of the building for the next three or four months. His hon. and learned Friend wished to know what was to be done with the approaches to the Courts of Justice, and with the land not required for the building. At present, nothing was to be done with it. All the land would be required by the contractors for the enormous works to be undertaken, for the preparation of the stone, and stores for the building. He believed that the building would have ample approaches; and if it was desired to make them more beautiful the Metropolitan Board of Works would be the best authority to decide on that point. Mr. Street, in his opinion, was quite competent to carry out the design.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
would remind his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Whitehaven, that this particular work was initiated by Act of Parliament, and certain Commissioners were appointed by that Act, whose powers, he believed, had not ceased until a recent period. The work had been entrusted to a most eminent architect, and the House had better leave the matter in his hands.
MR. ALDERMAN W. LAWRENCE
wanted to know whether the architect had entered into a contract under seal to carry out the works for a certain sum?
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, he should like to know when the buildings would probably be ready for occupation?
§ MR. AYRTON
replied, that a contract for the performance of his work for a certain sum had been signed, and the time necessary for the completion of the building would be between six and seven years.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, that having learnt there was no probability that the work would be proceeded with this year, he would withdraw his Amendment.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(17.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £65,975, 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 1873, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Mint, including Expenses of the Coinage.
§ MR. RYLANDS
, in rising to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £5,000, said, that he entirely agreed with what had been said by Lord Kinnaird, that the Mint accounts were so made out as to lead to great mystification. He added that there would be no difficulty in so making out the accounts that the transactions of the year and their results could be properly and clearly shown, for as the nation paid the whole of the expenses, all that the Mint had to deal with was the amount it received for coin and the cost of the bullion it purchased for the purpose of coining. The Master of the Mint, however, said he could not show the year's results of the copper coinage in reference to the profit and loss of the department on the transaction. Anybody, however, who was acquainted with mercantile transactions would see that there could be no difficulty in doing that. It appeared from the accounts that there was no doubt a large profit upon copper and silver, whilst upon gold there was no profit whatever. Upon the whole, there would be, as a rule, a profit of 9 per cent upon silver coinage, and as to copper the profit was much larger. In the 10 years from 1861 to 1870 the profit upon silver and copper was £689,061, and deducting the sum accounted for as seignorage, the amount was £531,898. Taking the profit upon copper alone, the amount was no less than £420,158, and he wished to know where this sum had gone to. It would doubtless be said that it had been paid into the Exchequer, but still he could not trace any such payments, for from the Estimates only a sum of £105,000, under the head of extra receipts on a profit admitted to be over £395,000, had been paid into the Exchequer. 419 Full particulars upon these points ought clearly to have been included in the Report of the Master of the Mint. The waste upon gold, too, varied very considerably from year to year. In some years the waste was £200 per £1,000,000, while in others it was £480 per £1,000,000, and altogether there seemed such an irregularity in the circumstances of these transactions that he thought the House ought to have fuller information on the subject. He would, therefore, suggest that particulars should be given of the extra receipts, which were estimated this year at £50,000, so as to distinguish in each year the amounts received on account of the seignorage upon silver and copper, and from the sale of gold sweep. He made no charge against the honour or propriety of conduct of any of the officials of the Mint; but the whole thing was so unsatisfactory that next Session he would move that the subject should be examined into by a Select Committee. In the meantime he would move the reduction of the Vote by £5,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £60,975, 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 1873, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Mint, including Expenses of the Coinage."—(Mr. Rylands.)
MR. ALDERMAN W. LAWRENCE
drew the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the great inconvenience which was at present felt throughout the country in consequence of the insufficient supply of silver coinage, and expressed an opinion that in that respect the right hon. Gentleman did not fully appreciate the wants of the country. He complained that during the last 10 years the amount of silver coin in the country had been allowed to diminish. Now, although at one time there might be a scarcity of demand, it was sure to be followed by an increased demand; and therefore they need not be afraid that they should have too large an accumulation of silver coinage. The increase in the wages of the people and the increased general prosperity of the country had had the effect of enhancing very much the demand for silver. It had come to his knowledge that even in the Postmaster General's Department silver was scarce. He had been told that when 420 people went for postage stamps at some of the branch Post Offices they could not get change for half-a-sovereign.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. Member for Warrington having found by the Returns that a large quantity of silver and copper had been coined during the last 10 years, he calculated that, a certain profit had been made, and he asked what had become of it. Now, it was not so easy for the Mint to make out its yearly accounts as it was for manufacturers, because there were two sources from which the copper and silver came. One was purchased in the market at the market rates, and the other was what the Mint was bound to take back in old worn-out coin at a considerable loss; but that was a small matter compared with the subject generally. The answer to the question what becomes of the money was extremely simple. The hon. Member treated the statistical tables as if they were all the sources of information on the subject, and because he did not find from them and the Estimates all he required, he considered that proper accounts did not exist. If, however, the hon. Gentleman had looked into the finance accounts, he would have found that the profits on the copper coinage during the past 10 years passed into the Exchequer. The profit, as appeared from the finance accounts, was £435,433, and that on silver during the same time was £203,000, making together a sum of £638,433. From that, however, had to be deducted certain expenses that were incurred on the coinage.
§ MR. MUNTZ
said, the discussion showed the necessity of the manufacturing departments being carried on on a separate system. There was no doubt that in this case all the money was accounted for; but it would be more satisfactory if a debtor and creditor account was kept, and these profits explained, so that the public might be able to understand it. The country suffered a considerable annual loss by the wearing of the old silver coin; but it might be lessened by the mixing of some alloy, not to deteriorate its value, but to make it wear longer. He suggested that more half-crowns should be coined and less florins. There was a general feeling in favour of the old half-crown; and not only that, but the former were coined at as cheap a rate as the latter, for when a 421 florin was coined there had to be the expense also of coining the additional sixpence. He hoped that next year a Select Committee might be appointed to inquire into the whole subject of the manufacture at the Mint.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (18.) £9,502, to complete the sum for the Fishery Board in Scotland.
§ MR. BUTT
complained of the exclusion of Ireland from any participation in the benefit of the grant. He called attention to the fact that since 1800 Scotland had received £1,250,000 more than Ireland for her fisheries, and said that, under these circumstances, he did not think he was asking too much if he pressed upon the noble Marquess the propriety of employing a small sum in giving loans to the Irish fishermen who were reduced to poverty, in order that they might supply themselves with boats and gear. This course had been recommended by a Commission, and also by a Committee of that House, and the Inspectors of Fisheries had stated that nothing could save the. Irish fisheries from entire extinction except the application of a sum of money in the manner he had stated. Moreover, two of the most eminent political economists of the day—Mr. J. S. Mill and the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett)—had stated from their places in Parliament, that the granting of these loans would be in accordance with the soundest and wisest principle of economy.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that had it not been for the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick, that Scotland had got £1,250,000 more than Ireland since 1800, he should not have troubled the House with any remarks on the subject. But in point of fact Scotland did not get one shilling. All the bounties and export duties were abolished 42 years ago, and since that time Scotland had not got one shilling. When the bounties were given, there was a bounty of 2s. 8d. a-barrel on the exportation of fish, and there were 4s. a-barrel given to those who caught the fish, making 6s. 8d. But one would suppose from the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman that this was a law which appertained to Scotland only; whereas it was a law appertaining to the United Kingdom, and the reason why the people 422 of Scotland got this bounty—a very foolish and absurd thing, as he thought—was that they caught the fish, and the Irish people did not get the bounty, because they would not take the trouble to catch the fish. They would find that in the writings of Adam Smith, that eminent man said that the bounties then payable upon the tonnage of vessels employed in fishing were bounties given to catch money, and not to catch fish; and the result was that people having no connection with the fisheries at all, but who were landsmen, extemporized fishing boats during the six weeks that the fishing lasted; and there were instances where the fishing was such a sham and pretence, that bounties at the rate of £100 for every barrel of herring were obtained. In consequence, an Act was passed in 1815 by which the export duty was at once abolished, and the bounty on the catching was reduced to 1s. a-year until it should expire altogether. It expired in 1830, and during the 42 years which had since elapsed not one shilling had ever been paid for bounty on fish to Scotland or England, or any other part of the United Kingdom. There was a Return presented the other day showing the quantity of coal exported. Supposing there had been a bounty of 4s. on each ton of coal, and that on looking over the account it was found that there was a large sum paid to England and also to Scotland, and nothing to Ireland, would any sane man say that was injustice to Ireland? Certainly not; because why should they get a bounty when they had no coal to export? It was the same with the fish. The people of Scotland and of England caught the fish, exported them, and got the bounty. Another objection he had to the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman was, that he assumed that the system of loans which he now asked for the fisheries of Ireland prevailed at one time in Scotland. He ventured to say that such a system had never prevailed in Scotland at any period at the expense of the Government. No doubt, benevolent people in Scotland got up associations—there were three great societies—for promoting fisheries, and they made loans, and they ruined themselves by making them. Why should not benevolent individuals in Ireland make loans to the poor fishermen? In regard to the merits of the particular Motion, which implied 423 that part of the money that was now given to Scotland should be given to Ireland, or an equivalent, he wished to say that he would be willing that not only a part, but the whole of it should be withdrawn, because he believed that the system of inspecting and branding the fish was pernicious to Scotland. The Board of Trade, two years ago, disapproved of it, as did likewise the Foreign Office; and the Treasury had passed a Minute also disapproving of it; and he had been in hopes that the Secretary of the Treasury would have brought in a Bill to abolish this last fragment of the absurd mode of trying to promote fisheries. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that two of the greatest authorities on political economy—Mr. J. S. Mill and Mr. Fawcett—had approved of the Motion. But there were other equally eminent men who held a very different opinion. Mr. M'Culloch, in his Commercial Dictionary, said that the best way to support the fishery was to let it alone; and the quantity of herrings cured and the quantity exported having been nearly doubled since the cessation of the bounties, the fishing was now, for the first time, placed on a secure foundation. He (Mr. M'Laren) asked for the total abolition of the Scotch Board. He had seen in an Edinburgh paper a communication, signed by the leading merchants of several German ports to which the fish was exported, in which they declared that the brand was a failure and a deception, and that the officers did not thoroughly examine the contents of the barrels, but were content to examine the mere surface of some of them. If that system would be an advantage to Ireland, he would make her a present of it with all his heart.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
, with reference to what had been said by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), said, he could not admit that the branding system in Scotland had failed. The Commission presided over by Lord Camperdown did not come to that conclusion. It had been proved before the Commission that the system had its advantages, and the fees derived from it saved the public from a considerable charge.
§ MR. MACFIE
observed that he had the highest authority for stating that the east of Scotland herring trade would be lost to the country if the brand were abolished. Instead of there being a 424 loss to the Revenue from the branding, there were several hundred pounds of profit derived by the country from it.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he believed the Secretary for the Treasury was not prepared to admit the accuracy of the comparison which had been drawn between the sums given for the encouragement of the fisheries in Ireland and Scotland. That, however, was not a question which it was necessary now to decide. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick very properly did not grudge the money spent on Scotland, and he thought hon. Members for Scotland should not grudge any money spent on Irish objects, if they thought it good for Ireland. The question was, whether the Government were or were not prepared to assent to the recommendation of the Fishery Commissioners, to advance small sums on loan for the promotion of the Irish Fisheries. He admitted this had been urged on the Government both by Committees and Commissioners. He had brought the matter under the notice of the Government last Session, and the answer he received from the Chancellor of the Exchequer was this—he was not prepared to make loans of public funds on personal security. Without going into the merits of the question, it appeared to him that answer had a good deal to recommend it in a common-sense point of view, for looking at it as a question of political economy, it was impossible to justify the proposal that the money of the State should be lent without adequate security. There was, however, just a possibility that the experiment might be tried to a limited extent in a manner which would not be so objectionable. There was a fund in Ireland which had been raised for a charitable purpose, and was subject to this limitation, that it might be given, but not lent. He had some hope that the experiment might be tried to a limited extent with that fund; but some alteration would require to be made in the Act of Parliament which regulated its distribution.
§ Vote agreed to.425
(19.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £183,826, 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 1873, for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Embassies and Missions Abroad.'
§ MR. MONK
, in rising to move that the Vote be reduced by £200, being the allowance to Mr. Jervoise for house rent at Rome, said, they had already a Minister residing at the Court of Rome—at the Court of the Sovereign of Italy—and there was no reason why there should be a separate Mission to the Vatican. He objected to that on two grounds. He took exception to the propriety of this country having any diplomatic intercourse with an individual who was not a temporal Sovereign—namely, the Pope; and he also objected because diplomatic intercourse between this country and the Roman States having been regulated by an Act passed in 1848, that Act should be strictly observed. He was surprised to hear what the Attorney General had stated on this subject the other evening. He said the Pope was still Sovereign of the Leonine City; but he made a great mistake in that respect. The King of Italy was the only temporal Sovereign of the Roman States, including the Leonine City. The population of the Leonine City had all taken part in the Plébiscite, and declared almost to a man that Victor Emmanuel was Sovereign of that portion of the States. The question, therefore, was, whether it was lawful for this country, under the Act of 1848, to continue to accredit a diplomatic agent or envoy to the individual who now occupied the Papal chair. It was no answer to say that the same person occupied the Papal chair now as in 1848; for he had since been dethroned from his position as temporal Sovereign, and there was no power in this country to hold diplomatic intercourse with an individual if he was not a temporal Sovereign. England, moreover, was so well represented at the Court of Rome by Sir Augustus Paget that there could be no reason for sending a Mission to the Vatican. He regretted that, as the greater part of the Estimate had already been voted, he could not move the omission of the whole sum; but he would certainly take the sense of the House on its reduction by £200.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £183,626, 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 1873, for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Embassies and Missions Abroad."—(Mr. Monk.)
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he thought it might be convenient that he should state at once what he conceived to be the law on this question. The hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Monk) was perfectly entitled to say that he (the Attorney General) had been under a mistake when he said the other evening that the Pope was still Sovereign of the Leonine City; but whether he was Sovereign of the Leonine City or Sovereign of the Vatican seemed to him perfectly immaterial for the purpose of the question now before the House, for the holding of intercourse with that person, be he Sovereign or not, was not and never had been forbidden by law. He had taken some time and trouble in investigating the matter, and it appeared somewhat strange that they should be called upon at that time of day to inquire whether the Sovereign of many millions of Roman Catholics should or should not be allowed by law to hold diplomatic intercourse with the spiritual head and representative of the religious faith of so many of Her Majesty's most faithful and loyal subjects. The question, as he understood it to be put by his hon. Friend, was this—whether it was lawful for the Sovereign of this country to hold diplomatic intercourse with the Pope? He used the term Pope on purpose—putting the point as much against himself as possible; for he would not blink the question. The question was commonly put on some statutes of Elizabeth; and the first statute was 1 Eliz., c. 1, s. 27. That was confined, in terms, to the spiritual authority of the Pope; and, if not so confined, that section of the statute had no application in terms to the question before the House. The 5th of Elizabeth, with the penalties of prœmunire, whatever those might be, for "setting forth, maintaining, or defending the authority, jurisdiction, or power of the See of Rome within this realm," which was the next, had been repealed by the 9 & 10 Vict. The most important statutes upon this point, however, were those of William and Mary. 427 There was the famous Bill of Rights, the Preamble of which declared that—Whereas it has been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Parliament and Kingdom, that the King or Queen should marry a Popish consort.It was enacted that if either should be reconciled with or hold communication with the See or Church of Rome, or profess the Popish religion, or marry a Papist, he or she should be excluded from or become incapable of inheriting the Crown of England, and in all such cases, where the Sovereign wasreconciled to or held communion with the See of Rome or possessed the Popish religion, the people of the realm were absolved from their allegiance, and the Crown was to descend to the next heir being a Protestant, as if its possessor were naturally dead.So that if his hon. Friend was right in his interpretation; if diplomatic intercourse with the Vatican was "holding communion with the See of Rome," so forbidden by the Act of William and Mary, the people of this country were absolved from their allegiance, and the Crown descended to the next Protestant heir. That was the startling conclusion to which his hon. Friend must come. The 12 & 13 William and Mary followed up the matter. Precisely the same penalties were enacted as in the Bill of Eights, and it absolved from their allegiance all subjects of a Sovereign who held communion, and so forth, with the Pope of Rome. Then the 3rd section went on to declare that whoever hereafter came to the possession of the Crown should join in communion with the Church of England as by law established. These were the provisions down to 1848 of the English law, and these were the words of the Act of Parliament in which it was said that diplomatic intercourse with the Pope was made unlawful. It occurred at once to one's mind that the words all pointed to spiritual and religious communion. Such was the state of the law upon which, if at all, the holding of diplomatic intercourse with the Pope was illegal in this country. If one went back to the Acts of Henry VIII. the case could not stand upon them for a moment. It must stand on the Acts he had cited, if it was to stand at all. The question was an important matter, and it was well that it should be settled, either by argument or authority, once for all. In 1848 the Government of the day brought in a Bill 428 which became the 11 & 12 Vict., c. 108, for enabling Her Majesty to establish and maintain diplomatic relations with the Sovereign of the Roman States. It was very instructive to read the debates on that occasion, and especially the speeches of the Marquess of Lansdowne and Lord Palmerston, and the very learned speech made on the subject by Mr. Chisholm Anstey, who was at that time a Member of the House, and was peculiarly learned in this branch of the law. Lord Lansdowne stated strongly that the Bill was brought in rather to allay doubts which other people felt, than the doubts he himself felt, and he made reference to the opinion of Bishop Burnet as expressed in his History of his own Times, and afterwards repeated by Sir James Mackintosh in his History of the English Revolution, that the mission of Lord Castlemaine to the Court of Rome in the reign of James II. was illegal. Lord Lansdowne pointed out that Lord Castlemaine's Mission was illegal, not because he was sent to the Court of Rome, but because he was sent to reconcile the Kingdom of England with the See of Rome, which was directly at variance with the law of the country; and he further showed that the illegality of that Mission had been confounded with the supposed illegality of sending an Ambassador to the Court of Rome for the purpose of holding diplomatic intercourse on State matters. Lord Lansdowne had also shown that a great amount of intercourse had in point of fact taken place between the Sovereigns of this country and the Popes, from the time of James II. to the time when he was speaking—in Sir Robert Walpole's time, in the time of George III. and of George IV., between whom and the Pope autograph letters had passed. These facts showed that there was not anything illegal in keeping up diplomatic relations with the Pope. The hon. and learned Solicitor General and himself had advised the Government, therefore, that there was nothing illegal and improper in what had been done, and that there was no law, so far as they were aware, which rendered illegal or even of doubtful legality the sending of a person to hold intercourse and to do business with the Pope. His own opinion on the subject must stand or fall on its own merits; but, fortunately, it was not one unsupported by authority, because it 429 appeared that in former years, the question now raised was put to great and distinguished men, who unanimously—in answer to questions of the relevancy of which the House should have an opportunity of judging—gave their opinion that there was not, and had not been, any reason, in point of law, why the Sovereign of this country should not hold diplomatic relations with the Pope. In reading the documents he was about to refer to, he hoped he should not be supposed to break the rule, which he considered sacred, that the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown were confidential opinions; but the authors of the opinions he would now quote were all dead, as well as the persons who asked the questions and the persons with respect to whom the opinions were given, and therefore no confidence was broken in reading the documents. The first question was put in August, 1832, by Sir George Shee, when Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to Sir Thomas Denman, afterwards Lord Denman, and to Sir William Horne, in the following terms:—I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to request that you will favour him with your opinion whether, as the law now stands, it would be legal for the King to accredit a diplomatic agent to reside at the Court of Rome in the character of Minister or Chargé d'Affaires? I enclose for your inspection the draft of a letter of credence from His Majesty to the Pope, which it is proposed should be made use of, in case your decision should be affirmative as to the legality of that Mission.The following was the answer of the Law Officers of the Crown:—We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant, stating that you were directed by Viscount Palmerston to request that we would favour him with our opinion whether, as the law now stands, it would be legal for the King to accredit a diplomatic agent to reside at the Court of Rome, in the character of Minister or Chargé d'Affaires. You enclosed for our inspection the draft of a letter of credence from His Majesty to the Pope, which it is proposed should be made use of in case our decision should be affirmative as to the legality of such a Mission. In compliance with his Lordship's desire, we have taken the question submitted to us, together with the proposed letter of credence, into our consideration, and have the honour to report that, as the law now stands, we are clearly of opinion that it is legal for the King to accredit a diplomatic agent to the Court of Rome, and we approve the form of credence, which we have the honour to return.In 1833 Lord Denman became Lord Chief Justice, and Sir William Horne Attorney General; and in April, 1833, 430 Sir John Campbell, having been consulted, wrote the following letter to Lord Palmerston:—It appears to me that His Majesty may accredit a Minister to the Court of Rome. I had a strong impression on my mind that this was forbidden by Act of Parliament, but after a diligent search I can find no such Act. Of course, it is lawful unless expressly declared to be unlawful. I conceive, therefore, that a Minister may be safely sent to Rome, accredited in the manner proposed; but he must be careful not to bring home with him any Bulls or relics, otherwise he may incur the penalties of a prœmunire, or be found guilty of high treason.So the matter remained until 1834, when the Law Officers of the Crown were consulted again, Sir George Shee writing to them in March of that year as follows:—I have the honour to transmit to you a letter from the Lieutenant Governor of Malta, enclosing a document issued by the Papal Government appointing M. E. Lanzon to be Papal Consul in that island, and soliciting the approval of His Majesty to that nomination. I also enclose a copy of the commission granted by His late Majesty to Mr. J. Parke, constituting him His Majesty's Consul in the Roman States, together with the draft of the form in which the King's exequatur is usually granted to foreign Consuls to enable them to act in His Majesty's dominions. And I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to request that you will take these Papers into your consideration, and report to his Lordship your opinion whether His Majesty can lawfully recognize a Consul appointed by the Pope, and permit him to act within his dominions; and, if so, whether any and what alterations should be made in the wording of the Royal exequatur permitting M. E. Lanzon to act as Consul at Malta,That was replied to by three most remarkable authorities—Sir Herbert Jenner, Sir John Campbell, and by Lord Cottenham, then Sir Charles Pepys, previous to his elevation to the Peerage—and their reply was as follows:—We are honoured with your Lordships commands, signified in Sir George Shee's letter of the 17th inst., transmitting a letter from the Lieutenant Governor of Malta, enclosing a document issued by the Papal Government appointing an individual to be Papal Consul in those islands, and soliciting the approval of His Majesty to that nomination; also enclosing the copy of the commission granted by His late Majesty to Mr. Parke, constituting him His Majesty's Consul in the Roman States, together with a draft of the form in which the King's exequatur is usually appointed to foreign Consuls to enable them to act in His Majesty's dominions. And your Lordship is pleased to request that we would take these Papers into consideration, and report our opinions whether His Majesty can lawfully recognize a Consul appointed by the Pope and permit him to act within his dominions; and, if so, whether any and what alterations should be made in the wording of the Royal exequatur permitting M. E. Lanzon to act as Papal Consul at Malta 431 In obedience to your Lordship's commands, we have prepared a form of exequatur, permitting M. E. Lanzon to act as Papal Consul for the Roman States at Malta, to which we are humbly of opinion that there is no legal objection.In June, 1837, Mr. W. Fox Strang ways wrote from the Foreign Office as follows, to Sir John Dodson, Sir John Campbell, and Sir Robert Rolfe—I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to request that you will report to him your opinion whether there is any existing law which prevents the Crown from accrediting and sending a diplomatic agent to the Court of Rome.The following was the reply of those Law Officers:—We are honoured with your Lordships commands, signified in Mr. Fox Strang ways letter of the 3rd inst., stating that he was directed to request that we would report to your Lordship our opinion whether there is any existing law which prevents the Crown from accrediting and sending a diplomatic agent to the Court of Rome. In obedience to your Lordship's commands, we have the honour to report that we are of opinion that there is not any existing law which prevents the Crown from accrediting and sending a diplomatic agent to the Court of Rome.Well, if all those authorities were wrong, he should be content to bear his share of the error along with them; but he preferred their clear opinion on the matter to any doubts which his hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester might raise, and he remained decidedly of opinion that there was nothing to prevent the Sovereign of this country from holding diplomatic intercourse with the Pope of Rome.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
said, this was a question of the greatest importance, involving the allegiance of Her Majesty's subjects, and he had to complain that the Attorney General had completely changed his ground since the last time the subject was under discussion. The objection then made was, that the Act of 1848 did not cover Mr. Jervoise's appointment, because it only permitted diplomacy with a territorial Sovereign, whereas now the Pope was entirely without territory, and the Attorney General's defence was, that the Pope was still a Sovereign with power of life and death over what he was pleased to call the Leonine City.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
explained that all he had said was that the Pope was the same person with whom the Act of 1848 declared it was not illegal to maintain diplomatic relations.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
said, he was compelled to differ from his hon. and learned Friend, for if they looked to the words of the Act 12 & 13 Will. III. c. 2, they would find good ground for believing that they touched this very case. He must observe, in passing, that Lord Castlemaine's mission was not spiritual, but temporal. His hon. and learned Friend had quoted several of the highest legal authorities, and among them Lord Campbell, as holding that such intercourse was legal, but he had not quoted Lord Campbell's speech in the House of Lords on the debate. In that speech his Lordship said—But although that was the opinion of the humble individual then addressing their Lordships, it was by no means the general opinion; and, certainly, for 180 years no such relations had been maintained."—[3 Hansard, xcvi. 870.]Lord Lansdowne and the Duke of Wellington also seemed to be of opinion that an embassy to the Pope would be illegal. If the law were clear, what was the necessity for a Bill, which, indeed, asserted that there were grave doubts about it? If the Pope ever wished to conduct negotiations with Great Britain, he would not do so through Mr. Jervoise. The very circumstances in which he was placed involved antagonism with the views of Sir Augustus Paget, and was it desirable for us to have antagonistic envoys at the same capital? At the best, the office of Mr. Jervoise was a sham and a sinecure, and unless it were to be regarded as a set off against the prosecution of the Galway priesthood, he did not see what good purpose it could serve to continue it. In conclusion, he must say it was extremely unfortunate that they should have to argue this important question at such a period of the Session. No doubt, it was very convenient to the Pope to have attending him a gentleman who would look at all matters connected with him through Ultramontane spectacles, as evinced in the despatches of Mr. Jervoise, but that was no reason why England should pursue that course.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
said, he was surprised at the argument which the Attorney General had produced to the House, and he must say that the eminence of the names he had referred to did not settle the question, because when those opinions were given the Pope was a temporal Sovereign. He should 433 like to know whether there was any other case where an envoy had been commissioned to a personage who was not a temporal Sovereign? The question really turned upon the interpretation to be put upon the Act of 1848, at which period of time the whole debate showed that there was to be no recognition of the spiritual authority of the Pope, and he was recognized simply as a temporal Sovereign. He did not now really occupy that position. He (Mr. Aytoun) should like to know what was the object to be attained by having an envoy to the Pope apart from the envoy to the Court of Rome, who would transact all matters connected with politics and commerce? He also wished to know whether Mr. Jervoise was under the control of Sir Augustus Paget or not?
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, that the discussion was unnecessary, as Mr. Jervoise was not accredited diplomatically. The mistake arose from the language in which he was spoken of in the Roman papers. He had himself received a letter from Mr. Jervoise which settled the question. Mr. Jervoise said that when the cannon of the Italian Army approaching Rome were heard, the whole of the Corps Diplomatique packed up and left, but he, not having any diplomatic or official character, remained. There was no law against sending a diplomatist to the Pope—that was settled by the Act of 1848, but, as a matter of fact, that Act had remained a dead letter. The House of Lords inserted a provision compelling the Pope's envoy to this Court to be a layman, and consequently the Pope had declined sending any envoy at all.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
Having taken part in the debate which took place in 1848 upon the Diplomatic Relations Act, I have heard with astonishment the declaration which has just been made by the Attorney General. The Attorney General expressed an opinion, which he no doubt had a right to entertain—that it is shameful and disgraceful that this country has not diplomatic relations with the Pope of Rome in his character of a Sovereign Pontiff. [The ATTORNEY GENERAL: I did not say so.] Then the note which I took is quite wrong, and we are to suppose that the hon. and learned Gentleman has never expressed any opinion to the effect that it is desirable that this country should have 434 diplomatic relations with the Sovereign Pontiff. He has, nevertheless, declared that there is nothing in the law that would prevent the establishment of such diplomatic relations. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the Act of Settlement and the other Acts of like effect. Now, it does happen that as the Bill for establishing Diplomatic Relations with Rome was introduced into the House of Lords it proposed directly that diplomatic relations should be established with the Sovereign Pontiff. That was the proposal made by Lord Lansdowne in the House of Lords; that was the substance of the Bill. In the House of Lords great objections were taken to that particular proposal, and in Committee it was determined to exclude everything from the Bill which would sanction diplomatic relations with the Pope in his character as Sovereign Pontiff; the form of the Act was purposely framed with the intention of excluding any diplomatic relations with the Pope in his ecclesiastical and spiritual character. I can give strong proof of this. Early in the debate in Committee in the House of Lords, the late Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley, observed that the Preamble of the Bill recited the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, to which the Attorney General has referred, and the first enacting words were, that—Notwithstanding anything contained in the said recited Acts, or either of them, or in any other Act now in force.These words were purposely struck out by the House of Lords. Is it possible that the intention of the Legislature can be made more clear than by the fact that when the proposal to establish diplomatic relations with the Sovereign Pontiff in his ecclesiastical and spiritual character were produced in a Bill before the House of Lords, those words which referred to the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement as statutes which it was proposed to contravene by the operation of the Bill, were struck out? Is it possible to have anything more distinct than that? The Duke of Wellington's whole object was to prevent the opening of any diplomatic relations with the Sovereign Pontiff in his ecclesiastical and spiritual character. The occasion for introducing the Diplomatic Relations Bill was—and this was admitted by Lord Lansdowne—that in a 435 Mission entrusted to Lord Minto he had virtually contravened the law, because he had negotiated with the Pope for the withdrawal of the Jesuits from Switzerland, where they were then creating disturbances that ended in a civil war. That was the cause of the introduction of the Bill. Can anything be stronger than this proof—that the intention of the Government of the day was to establish diplomatic relations with the Sovereign Pontiff, as head of the Roman Catholic Church, in order to induce the Pope to control the Order of the Jesuits and the other Orders in the Church of Rome? But Parliament distinctly refused to give its consent to that proposal, and struck out every single word from the Bill that would enable the Government of Her Majesty to establish any such diplomatic relations. The purpose of Parliament was different. Parliament desired that this country have relations with the Pope in his then capacity of temporal Sovereign of the Roman States. The right hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Clare has correctly stated that the reason that these relations have never been established is that there is a provision in this very Diplomatic Relations Act of 1848, forbidding the reception at the Court of St. James's of a nuncio or any other ecclesiastical envoy. No doubt the Pope desired to establish relations with England in order to facilitate the exercise of his ecclesiastical and spiritual power in this country; and he refused to accept the offer of the Parliament of England, because it was only to establish diplomatic relations in temporal matters. The Pope quite understood that by the terms of the Act, excluding the reception of an ecclesiastical envoy from the Court of Rome, the Act imperilled the exercise of his ecclesiastical and spiritual jurisdiction in this country, which it was his object to establish. I well remember the present First Lord of the Treasury speaking upon the second reading of the Diplomatic Relations Bill in this House. The right hon. Gentleman adverted in 1848 to the improbability of the Pope attempting to exercise any ecclesiastical jurisdiction by assuming to parcel out this country into dioceses for the purpose. He spoke of that as an improbable attempt; but it has been made since 1848, and has led to resistance by Parliament through other enactments. The right hon. Gentleman voted 436 for the second reading of the Bill, stating that it was improbable that the attempt to which I have referred would be made. The attempt has, nevertheless, been made, and has been resisted. True, the right hon. Gentleman expressed an opinion to the effect that he did not see any valid objection at that time to acknowledge the spiritual character of the Pope's authority in this or any other State. That I admit; but what was the course of Mr. Chisholm Anstey, a learned Roman Catholic lawyer? He raised objections to the Bill expressly upon this ground—that the recognition of the temporal character of the Pope as the Sovereign of the Roman States, by the then Bill as alone entitling the Government of this country to hold diplomatic relations with him, which was the permissive portion of the Bill by implication; but practically excluded the right to enter into diplomatic relations with the Pope in his spiritual and ecclesiastical character. That was the whole ground of Mr. Chisholm Anstey's opposition to the Bill in this House. The First Lord of the Treasury seemed to countenance this opposition, raised with a view to get rid of that limitation contained in the Bill; but whatever might have been his views in this respect, he did not attempt to enforce them. The House in 1848 felt by offering to establish diplomatic relations with the Pope in his capacity of temporal Sovereign, that it had effectually excluded negotiations with the Pope in his spiritual and ecclesiastical character. As the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General has stated, that doubts had existed at several periods, as to whether it was not legally competent to Her Majesty to open diplomatic relations with the Pope, the intention and effect of the Act of 1848 have been to solve these doubts. The Pope himself acknowledges, by his having refrained to send a nuncio or ecclesiastical envoy to the Court of St. James's, that he quite understands that these doubts have been solved. There are Protestant Powers which have maintained diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Take Germany, for instance. Prussia, by her Constitution, admits the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in that country, and on certain terms has had diplomatic relations with the Pope. And what has now happened? Why, the German Government has 437 offered to send as its envoy to the Pope a Cardinal—Cardinal Hohenlohe; but His Holiness has refused to accept him, on the ground that he claims him as his subject, and denies that the Cardinal can be a subject of the Emperor of Germany. The German Government, however, still keeps an envoy at the Court of Rome; because, as I have already said, the Constitution of Germany recognizes the establishment of the Church of Rome by law in the German dominions. There is no such element in the Constitution of this country; therefore there is no excuse for establishing diplomatic relations with the Pope of Rome in the manner forbidden by this Act of Parliament. The right hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) may attempt to excuse what has been done on the ground that Mr. Clarke Jervoise, who is at Rome, is not a diplomatic agent; yet it is palpable that if he has no functions to perform there, he ought to be at home in the Foreign Office, for the presumption is that his employment at Rome is contrary to the object and intention of the Act of 1848. There is a dictum which Prince Bismarck has recently uttered that I think ought to weigh with this House. Prince Bismarck has recently declared that, since the title of Infallibility has been attributed to the present Pope, and by him accepted, no State, in its senses, will enter into any Concordat with His Holiness. And this also is notorious—that to enter into diplomatic relations without a Concordat is doubly dangerous; God grant that we may never have either between England and the Pope of Rome. I must say that it appears to me a most unwise, a most dangerous, and a most illicit transaction, by which Her Majesty's Government seem to be practically evading this statute, and maintaining relations with the Pope, as a spiritual power, although they are forbidden to do so by the statute law of this country. ["Divide!"] Hon. Gentlemen appear very anxious to divide, and I myself have no objection to divide; but I warn the advocates of opening diplomatic relations with the Pope in his spiritual capacity, that they must not expect, if they succeed in their object, to find these illicit relations remain where they are. They cannot prevent the Pope's using the opportunities they offer. Do the supporters 438 of the Government desire the repeal of the prohibition against the establishment of relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Pope of Rome? Is that their object? If it be not, let them say so; but if this is their desire, every vote they give in this division will be interpreted to mean that they wish to open communications between the Church of Rome and Her Majesty's Government. Let them avow this as their object and vote for it; but remember that at the next election they will have to ask the people of England to sanction what they have done.
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
explained that Mr. Jervoise did correspond with the Foreign Office, and not through Sir Augustus Paget. The hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan) had said that despatches from Mr. Jervoise had disclosed Ultramontane sympathies. In the opinion of the Foreign Office that was not the case; on the contrary, Mr. Jervoise's official superiors held that he had performed his duties with the same intelligence, tact, and discretion that had characterized his predecessors.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 17; Noes 45: Majority 28.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (20.) £191,982, to complete the sum for Consular Establishments Abroad.
§ (21.) £976,468, Customs Department.
§ (22.) £542,990, to complete the sum for the Post Office Telegraph Service.
§ (23.) £2,114, Repairs of Anstruther Harbour.
§ (24.) £5,040, Supplementary sum for Lunacy Board, Scotland.
§ (25.) £3,000, Supplementary sum for Temporary Commissions.
§ (26.) £2,600, Supplementary sum for Miscellaneous Expenses.
§ (27.) £630, Presents to Abyssinian Chief, Prince Kassai of Tigré.
§ (28.) £139,400, Military Education.
§ (29.) £46,600, Army Miscellaneous Services.
§ (30.) £196,800, Administration of the Army.
§ (31.) £27,300, Rewards for Distinguished Services, &c.
§ (32.) £71,900, General Officers' Pay.
§ (33.) £526,500, Reduced and Retired Officers' Pay.439
§ (34.) £154,100, Widows' Pensions.
§ (35.) £19,200, Pensions for Wounds.
§ (36.) £33,900, Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals.
§ (37.) £1,257,300, Out-Pensions.
§ (38.) £167,600, Army Superannuation Allowances.
§ (39.) £19,300, Militia, Yeomanry Cavalry, and Volunteer Corps.
§ (40.) £853,500, Army Purchase Commission.
§ (41.) £18,000, Supplementary sum for Steam Machinery and Ships building by Contract.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
Before voting the £18,000, supplementary to Vote 10 of the Navy Estimates, permit me to ask the Secretary of the Admiralty the following Questions, of which I have given him private Notice. I understand that the five schooners which it is proposed to build in Australia, are intended for the superintendence and regulation of the Polynesian labour traffic. Will the sum of £18,000 complete the five schooners, at say, £3,600 a-piece? What is their tonnage? How are they to be armed and equipped? Will they be independent commands, or manned as tenders to the Commodore's ship, and how soon may they be expected to be ready for service?
§ MR. SHAW-LEFEVRE
replied, that they were built at the recommendation of Commodore Sterling, commanding in Australia; that the sum would complete them in about five months; that they were to be armed with a 40-pounder Armstrong gun, and commanded by a lieutenant; but it was not decided whether as a separate command or as tenders.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday.