§ Order for Consideration, as amended, read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be taken into Consideration this day."—(Mr. Wheelhouse.)
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he permitted Bills of private Members to be placed on the Paper for the Saturday Sitting when they were opposed Bills? It was contrary to all precedent to permit the Bills of private Members, when they were hotly opposed, to be placed on the Paper for the Saturday Sitting.
§ MR. MONK
said, that he had given a Notice of opposition to that Bill. The hon. and learned Member in charge of the Bill wrote to him some weeks ago, and requested him to withdraw his Notice of opposition. In reply, he intimated to the hon. Member that if he would accept his Amendments he should be most happy to withdraw from all opposition. A considerable time having elapsed, and having received no reply from the hon. Member, he asked him whether he acceded to his request, and the only answer given by the hon. and learned Member was that he had not taken the trouble to look at his Amendments. If the hon. and learned Member would not take the trouble to look at his 594 Amendments, of course he had no other choice than to continue his opposition to the Bill. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was from no fault of his that the hon. and learned Gentleman had not taken advantage of opportunities of bringing his Bill before the House. Iii his (Mr. Monk's) opinion, it would be perfectly useless for him to bring it forward on Saturday, and he believed that the hon. and learned Gentleman had not the slightest desire to carry the Bill. His only object seemed to be that the Bill should appear day after day in his name upon the Orders of the House.
§ MR. WHEELHOUSE
said, that there must certainly be some misapprehension upon his mind, or upon that of the hon. Member for Gloucester, with reference to the Bill. To the best of his belief he had never refused to consider the Amendments which either he or anyone else had proposed to the Bill. If any circumstance, or any words or act of his had created the impression on the mind of the hon. Member that he would not consider those Amendments, then he regretted the circumstances very much. Bat the hon. Member for Gloucester had gone out of his way to tell him that he did not want to pass the Bill, and that he had no wish or desire to do go. He could only say that he had tried to pass that Bill for 10 years. He had tried to pass it against the opposition of five or six hon. Members of that House, and no more. Every single stage as to which opposition could be brought to bear had been made use of by those five or six hon. Gentlemen. It must be as well known as anything in the world could be that, so far from wishing to have the Bill upon the Paper, and not to pass it into law, he had over and over again sat in that House night after night, not only for months in that Session, but for months in previous Sessions, in order that those poor children might by some accident get a better chance of obtaining education than they now had. It was hard—very hard—that motives of that kind should be imputed to him, knowing as he did how earnestly he had tried to pass that Bill. He hoped that such a statement would never go forth again with respect to that or any other Bill to which he had put his name.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
thought that no one who had watched the conduct of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leeds in that House, especially in reference to that Bill, could doubt his sincerity or the spirit that always animated him with regard to that Bill. His own impression—and he had observed his hon. and learned Friend frequently—was that he had brought the Bill forward from a heartfelt desire to accomplish what was a most excellent and desirable object. With respect to the observations of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, he fully acknowledged their force, and that they were placed in some little difficulty. There could be no doubt that, with regard to Saturday's Sitting, it ought to be confined to Government Business. But they were in a peculiar position with regard to the Sitting for that day. By some means, a Private Bill had been fixed for consideration that morning. Then there was the Bill of his hon. and gallant Friend the Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works with respect to water expenses, also fixed for Saturday's Sitting. Under those circumstances, he felt it would be rather hard to set up a strict rule against his hon. and learned Friend, for it might seem invidious to prevent his Bill being fixed for the Saturday's Sitting, when two other Bills of private Members had been allowed to be put down for that day. He would, however, leave the matter entirely in the hands of the House.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE moved to leave out "this day," in order to insert "on Monday next."
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "this day," in order to insert the words "upon Monday next,"—(Sir Charles Dilke,)—instead thereof.
§ Question, "That the words 'this day' stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. MONK
remarked, that the hon. and learned Gentleman said that he did not recollect what took place. He entirely accepted that explanation, for, no doubt, the matter had escaped his memory. He must repeat, however, that he had told the hon. and learned Member that he should be happy to meet him at any time in order that the Amendments might be considered.
§ MR. RYLANDS
rose for the purpose of saying that a Division was not challenged on the question, in consequence of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He understood from him that he accepted the principle for which the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea contended. They believed that the practice of restricting a Saturday's Sitting to Government Business was a most convenient and a most important one; but they considered that, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated that two other Private Bills had been allowed to be put down for Saturday, it was unnecessary to go to a Division upon the matter. He rose for the purpose of expressing a hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House would adhere to the principle in the future, and not allow the Bills of private Members, when they were opposed, to be placed on the Paper for a Saturday's Sitting.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Consideration, as amended, deferred till this day.