§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,370,000, be granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the Charge for the following Revenue Departments to the 31st day of March 1877, viz.:
|Post Office Packet Service||150,000|
|Post Office Telegraphs||200,000|
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
said, he would move that the Chairman do leave the Chair, in order to enable the House to go into the Irish business, which stood upon the Paper for that evening. He had to complain that several Irish Bills had, night after night, been put down in such a position that they could not be taken until an hour too late to allow of their being properly discussed, and he would express a hope that the Government would give some pledge that Irish Business would not be placed upon the Paper, unless there was a prospect of its being brought on at a reasonable time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—(Captain Nolan.)
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, that he had more than once attempted to proceed with the Cattle Disease (Ire- 1878 land) Bill in Committee, but he had been met by opposition to which he did not care to apply an epithet on that occasion. That opposition had come from one or two of the Irish Members—certainly not from anything like a majority of them. It was true the Bill was down for that evening, and that it would be impossible to bring it on; but he had to remind the hon. and gallant Member that it had, the last time it appeared on the Paper, been postponed at his own request. They would postpone the Cattle Disease Bill to that day week, and he hoped to make an arrangement by which it could be brought on then. As for the Clerk of the Peace and of the Crown (Ireland) Bill, and the Admiralty Jurisdiction (Ireland) Bill, which were also down for that evening, he had only to say that they were brought in shortly before the Recess, and that Notice of Opposition to them was given even before they were printed. However, the Government would do their best to give an opportunity for the discussion of both those measures. For his own part, he had invariably consulted, and would continue to consult, the convenience of Irish Members on both sides of the House so far as lay in his power.
§ DR. WARD
said, the reason why opposition was offered to proceeding with the Cattle Disease (Ireland) Bill and other Bills was because they were always taken at an early hour in the morning when many Irish Members were absent, and when there was just a sufficient number of hon. Members on the Government benches to form a majority. That practice was at the root of a great deal of the dissatisfaction which was felt with regard to the conduct of the Public Business by Irish Members.
§ MR. BUTT
urged that, as far as possible, Bills should be put down for an evening when there was some probability of their coming on, and expressed his willingness to give whatever assistance he could with that object to the right hon. Baronet, whose courtesy to the Irish Members he gladly acknowledged.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PLUNKET)
promised to do what he could to have Irish Bills brought on at a convenient time.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.1879
§ (2.) £100,000, on account, for the Army Purchase Commission.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
said, he had to complain of the obscure and very unsatisfactory manner in which the Estimate for that part of the public expenditure needed for the purchase of Army officers' commissions was presented to the House. The information afforded was of the most meagre character, and the audited accounts of the actual outlay were even more unsatisfactory. The House of Commons had a fair right to complain that the Estimates, and above all the audited Expenditure, failed to give information as to the number of officers of the several grades, and of the different branches of the Service, whose commissions had been bought up. If it were not for the thoroughly reliable characters of the distinguished officers on the Army Purchase Commission, the greatest abuses might be perpetrated, under the cover of the obscure and unsatisfactory manner in which the Estimates were made out, and especially in the vague way the accounts were rendered. Besides, the House had a right to expect that the fullest details should be given as to the result of their great measure to spend many millions in buying back the Army from the officers.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER,
in reply, said, that the Estimate was presented in the form which had been in use for some time, and according to the arrangement made when the Purchase system was abolished; but he should be glad if any improvement could be effected in its form, and he would consider with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War in order to see whether that could be done.
§ Vote agreed, to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.