HC Deb 26 February 1876 vol 227 cc989-94

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

  1. (1.) £23,875, Patent Office, &c.
  2. 990
  3. (2.) £23,651, Paymaster General's Office.
  4. (3.) £22,509, Public Record Office.
  5. (4.) £9,600, Public Works Loan Commission, &c.
  6. (5.) £45,911, Registrar General's Office, England.
  7. (6.) £489,635, Stationery and Printing.


asked, was the printing open to public contract; and, if not, was there any objection to allowing the matter to be open to contract?


, in reply, said, it was difficult to give a full explanation without going into detail. A portion of the Vote was for the printing of the House of Commons, which was under the control of the House and the officers of the House; a portion of it was for public Departments; a portion of it was for Returns ordered to be printed. Some reduction had already been effected, and, as far as he was concerned, no efforts should be spared to reduce the Stationery expenditure by competition when that could be done.

Vote agreed to.

  1. (7.) £26,284, Office of Woods, Forests, &c.
  2. (8.) £38,865, Works and Public Buildings Office.
  3. (9.) £24,000, Secret Services.
  4. (10.) £6,225, Exchequer and other offices in Scotland.


asked, whether the new regulations with regard to the Queen's Plates in England applied to Scotland and Ireland? It had been promised that something should be done to improve the breed of horses. What had been done to carry out that promise?


, in reply, said, he was not acquainted with what the new regulations were, but there were only £218 in this Vote to which they could apply. He should, however, be ready to answer the question upon the Report.

Vote agreed to.

(11.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

That a sum, not exceeding £12,672, he granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1877, of the Salaries and Expenses of the Fishery Board in Scotland.


said, he would move to reduce the Vote by the sum of £3,822, upon the ground that his constituents were very much dissatisfied with the Fishery Board for not making arrangements in reference to fishing on the coast. He thought their branding fees ought to suffice to pay the expenses of the Board, and the reduction he proposed represented the difference between those fees and the total sum.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £8,850, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1877, of the Salaries and Expenses of the Fishery Board in Scotland."—(Sir William Cuninghame.)


hoped the Committee would not consent to the Amendment. The change was not desired in Scotland. A Royal Commission, some years ago, proposed that the fishery grant should be increased. No attention had been paid to that recommendation, and he thought the proposal of the hon. Gentleman was entirely in the wrong direction. He would suggest that the surplus revenue produced by the brand should be handed over to the Fishery Board, to be expended for the benefit of the fisheries in accordance with the recommendation of the Royal Commission. It was a considerable source of revenue, for upwards of £45,000 surplus money had been paid to the Treasury since its establishment.


said, a strong feeling had lately grown up among persons interested in the Scotch fisheries that the Government brand was useless and unnecessary. It was formerly considered to be a guarantee of the quality of the fish, but was no longer so regarded, and the Continental buyers now insisted that the herrings should be subjected to an inspection on delivery there. He, therefore, thought it ought to be understood that in some few years' time the brand should be dispensed with. He saw that large sums of money were paid for cruisers and gunboats for services professedly rendered to the fisheries. He understood that the commanders of those vessels were not called on to interfere, except in cases of risk or danger to life. Instead of rendering the assistance they might they sailed from port to port, and passed the best part of their time in harbour. He hoped the first Lord of the Admiralty would inform the Committee what was the nature of the orders given to the commanders.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question again proposed.


said, he would move to reduce the Vote by the sum of £350, the amount paid to the commanders of cruisers.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £12,322, he granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1877, of the Salaries and Expenses of the Fishery Board in Scotland."—(Mr. James Barclay.)


said, a complaint was made last year from the North of Scotland that the commander of the Jackall did not set out to assist some fishing-smacks which were a considerable time out at sea, and about the safety of which some apprehensions were entertained; but it appeared that the commander was at the time watching the weather and did not think there was any danger. The duty of the cruisers was to protect the fisheries and keep order on the fishing grounds, and it was not intended that they should act the part of tugs to bring the fishing-boats home. Of course, it was their duty to render assistance in case of danger; but in the instance referred to the captain's conduct was justified by the fact that all the boats came home safely.


said, that the Government paid £3,000 to £4,000 per annum in this Vote which gave no satisfaction to any one. He hoped the Government would revise the Vote before next year.


, in reply, said, a considerable portion of this money, as much as £3,000, was expended on public works, for the benefit of the fisheries, and for the protection of life. As the majority of the Scotch Members were in favour of the brand, it was not thought right to discontinue it. The charge upon the Exchequer was not more than £3,000, the revenue produced by the brand paying for the cost of the establishment.


said, that some time ago, as Chairman of a Commission appointed to inquire into the fisheries on the Scotch Coast, he frequently went on board the small cruisers which were engaged in the protection of the fisheries, and he found the commanders were zealous in discharging their duties, and gave great satisfaction to those interested in the fisheries. He believed that complaint was made of them now for the first time, and that it was founded on a misapprehension of the duties which they had to perform. He hoped the reduction would not be pressed.


asked where was the corresponding Vote for the Irish fisheries? He hoped Scotch Members would support the Irish fisheries as the Irish Members would support them.


said, as far as he could ascertain, the feelings of the Scotch Members and of the country were in favour of the maintenance of this Board, which was a great advantage to the fishing trade, and especially the herring trade, the expense of which was paid by a small fee for branding. But what he wanted to say was that Ireland had had no such advantage, and the Irish fisheries stood in a very different position. He should, however, vote for this grant, in the hope that a similar Vote would be proposed for Ireland before long.


asked in which way the item of £3,000 in aid of piers was expended?


, in reply, said, it was an annual Vote under the Act 5 Geo. IV. sec. 54, and during the last two or three years the money had been expended in improving the harbour of Anstruther.


said, he did not understand the remarks of the First Lord of the Admiralty, as the votes specified certain sums paid to the commanders of the cruisers. He inquired what were the instructions given to the commanders of the cruisers? The difficulties which had occurred were due to a want of knowledge by the fishermen what duties the cruisers were expected to perform. He also wished to know what the duties of the Fishery Board were?


said, he must press for information upon the subject.


, in reply, said, he would inquire into the question as to the duties and pay of the naval officers of those cruisers. No complaint had been made to him on the subject except in the case he had mentioned.


said, the general opinion was that these cruisers on the East part of the coast should be withdrawn altogether.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

  1. (12.) £5,705, Lunacy Commission, Scotland.?


said, he would like an explanation. In England, the Commissioners in Lunacy were paid £1,500 a-year each. The three Masters had the same amount paid yearly, not by a Vote of that House, but under the statute by which they were appointed. He would like to know why the two Commissioners in Scotland, who were not in any way inferior to the Commissioners in England, should be paid only £1,000 a-year each?


objected to the existence of the Lunacy Commission, not because the Commissioners were unfit, but because they had not sufficient duties to perform, and in consequence had shown a desire to magnify their office and create expense. Instead of complaining that the Vote was not larger, he thought it might be dispensed with altogether.


, while bearing testimony to the ability with which the Commissioners did their work, declined to enter into the grounds on which the claims for increase of salary had been refused. He deprecated the practice of Members on either side advocating the increase of salaries of public officers.

Vote agreed to.

  1. (13.) £6,665, Registrar General's Office, Scotland.
  2. (14.) £82,783, Board of Supervision, Scotland.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.