- (1.) £11,395, to complete the sum for the Lunacy Commission, England.
- (2.) £46,665, to complete the sum for the Mint, including Coinage.
- (3.) £13,141, to complete the sum for the National Debt Office.
- (4.) £20,195, to complete the sum for the Patent Office.
- (5.) £19,255, to complete the sum for the Paymaster General's Office.
- (6.) £7,695, to complete the sum for the Public Works Loan Commission and West India Islands Belief Commission.
- (7.) £15,737, to complete the sum for the Record Office.
- (8.) £35,870, to complete the sum for the Registrar General's Office, England.
- (9.) £344,979, to complete the sum for Stationery and Printing.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he wished to ask the noble Lord the Secretary to the Treasury, whether the Supplementary Estimate voted at the commencement of the last Session of the late Parliament was entered in that Estimate? It amounted to over £30,000, and there appeared to be no comparison between the expenditure of last year and that of the present. It was stated that a large part of that sum was due for Foreign Office printing and other items. He felt sure, if anyone would take the trouble to look over the expenditure of the Stationery Department, he would certainly find that there was no tendency to decrease; but, on the contrary, that expenditure had increased last year considerably. The Committee, of which the hon. Member for North Lincolnshire (Mr. Rowland Winn) was President, looked into all these accounts and stated 670 in their Report that they, the House of Commons, ought to have a much more detailed account of the different sums expended in the different Offices. Unless they could have such a statement as that annually placed before them, he felt sure it would be impossible to know how the money voted was expended. The sums required by those different Offices had considerably increased, and he felt bound to say that he feared there must be a good deal of waste and reckless expenditure. His belief and conviction was that many of those Votes, enormous in size, might be cut down with advantage. He did not wish to add anything further, except that he felt sure that the noble Lord the Secretary to the Treasury, like those that had preceded him, would endeavour to exercise a watchful care over that expenditure. The hon. Member, also, who had presided over the Stationery Committee had taken a great interest in that matter, and could furnish valuable information. If the noble Lord turned his attention to the subject of that Estimate, he thought that the Estimate for next year might be less than that for this year.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that the hon. and gallant Member who had just sat down (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) was perfectly right, when he said that those Estimates required most careful watching, not only by the Secretary to the Treasury, but also by hon. Members of that House, who were responsible for the amount charged. But he thought his hon. and gallant Friend was in error with reference to the Supplementary Vote of this year. That Vote, which was taken last Session, referred to the year ending the 31st March last, and had nothing to do with the present year they were now providing for. Instead of an increase, there was a decrease of £480. To make a fair comparison, they must add the Supplementary Vote to last year's ordinary expenditure; in that case, there was a decrease in every detail instead of an increase. He should wish to have more of a detailed account from the different Offices, inasmuch as it was impossible to obtain anything more than an approximation in an Estimate such as they had before them.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, he was glad that his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had called at- 671 tention to that subject. It was very right that someone should do so. But he thought, in such a matter as they were then considering, a debtor and creditor account should be furnished to them, with the balance shown. There were, he saw, receipts estimated at £43,000, which wore shown in a Vote in small print, and there were various other items so shown which came into the Exchequer by other channels. He thought that all such items should be clearly and correctly set forth. Such sums, he contended, ought not to be shown in a small note at the foot of a page; but it should be conspicuously set forth as receipts derivable from other sources.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that all the information required by the hon. Member was contained in the Appropriation Account. It was impossible to have an accurate and detailed account in the Estimate; but the Appropriation Account showed everything in detail. At any rate, he would promise the Committee that the question of economizing in the Stationery Department should be carefully considered.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (10.) £17,400, to complete the sum for the Woods, Forests, &c. Office.
§ (11.) £30,618, to complete the sum for the Works and Public Buildings Office.
(12.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £17,200, he 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 1881, for Her Majesty's Foreign and other Secret Services.
§ Mr. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he should like to ask how the money under that Vote was distributed between the different Offices of the Secretary of State?
LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISE
said, that the information he possessed with reference to that matter was extremely limited. As far as he knew, the greater portion of the money was spent by the Department under the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
§ Mr. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, they were anxious to discover what amount of Secret Service money was spent in Ireland, although they did not ask for minute details. The people of Ireland 672 had an idea that a large proportion of that Vote was spent in that country, and that it was put to demoralizing and corrupting uses. There was a good deal of feeling in that matter, on account of what had occurred in previous years. He would only mention one or two instances—one was, that some years ago a lawyer, who had been retained by a number of Irish political prisoners, was taken into the pay of the Government, and induced to betray the confidence of his own clients. That fact became historical, and it was one of those facts which accounted for the peculiar affection with which British rule was regarded by the people of that country. On another and more recent occasion, an individual in the pay of the Government drew his income from that fund whilst engaged in detecting a conspiracy in Ireland. He first brought Irishmen into his toils, and betrayed them afterwards. To such an extent did he carry this practice, that he visited Catholic churches, and actually went so far as to take the Sacrament, in order the more completely to deceive and mislead his dupes. He (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) thought that the Irish people ought to know to what extent that corrupting money was being passed through that country, for, as long as money was expended for such purposes, so long would there be crime in Ireland. Money appeared to have been voted by Parliament in order that such men as he had referred to might be rewarded, and so many criminals be brought into the meshes of the law. They did not ask for minute details; but it was desirable, in the interests of justice, that they should have some idea as to the amount of money spent in paying spies and informers in Ireland.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he wished to support the application of the hon. Member for Queen's County (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) that the Government should afford some information as to the distribution of the Secret Service money. It certainly appeared strange to him that in the present age of the world and state of political progress, when the country prided itself on the frankness with which its Public Business was conducted, that it should be necessary to resort to the public purse for money to be employed in secret service. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury had assured the Committee that a large portion was 673 placed at the disposal of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. That intimation was, so far as it went, satisfactory; but he thought it was due to the Irish Members that some information should be given as to how much was spent in Ireland, inasmuch as he believed he was correct in stating that no item was regarded with more suspicion than the one then under discussion. The Government of Ireland were in possession of various sources of information; they had their magistracy, paid and unpaid, and their Police Force, besides professional agents and numerous bodies of amateur agents, who rivalled their professional brethren in zeal and assiduity. Considering the abundant means of information at the disposal of the Government, he thought it only fair to the Irish Members that the amount expended in Ireland should be made known to them.
LORD FREDERICK CAVNEDISH
recognized the difficulty there was in not being able to give the required information. He could only say that the sum voted had been constantly diminishing during late years, and still continued to diminish. If the hon. Member who had asked for the information (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) would refer to the Appropriation Account he would find that that was so. In the year 1877–8 nearly one-half had been re-paid into the Exchequer, and in the following year £5,000 was not expended. It was most desirable that the sum should be voted, but absolutely impossible that the information required could be afforded to the Committee. It was necessary that confidence should be placed in the hands of those who had to dispense it.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he believed he was correct in stating that the Auditor General, in his audit of that Vote, took certificates or receipts from the different Secretaries of State for large sums; and, therefore, he was unable to show in his statement anything more than the lump sums received by those various Secretaries. All that he asked was, what were the details of that distribution? In so far as the sums were limited to each of the different Departments the information could not be obtained by reference to the Appropriation Account; and, therefore, that information he must urge upon the Secretary to the Treasury to afford him, in order that he might not be driven to 674 divide the Committee upon that Vote. The Secretary to the Treasury had referred to the Appropriation Account. He (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) held that account in his hand. In last year there was, out of the sum voted for Secret Service, a saving of £5,000; but he wished to point out that there was also a further sum of £10,000 employed in the same Service, which had been drawn out of the Consolidated Fund. In reality, therefore, instead of there being a saving of £5,000, that Secret Service Vote was exceeded by the sum of £5,000. He must urge upon some Representative of the Government to afford him the information with regard to the distribution of that money, otherwise he should be obliged to move for a reduction in the Vote by the sum the Appropriation Account showed last year to be unnecessary—namely, £5,753.
said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) was in error in stating that the sum granted by Parliament had been exceeded. There were two sums granted by Parliament; one upon the Consolidated Fund, and the other upon the annual Votes. Those two sums must be carefully distinguished. With respect to the first, in an ordinary year the whole of the sum not spent was returned into the Exchequer; and with respect to the second, the sum spent showed a decrease from that of the former year. But when the hon. Member said he should move to reduce the Vote by £5,000, because that amount had been returned into the Exchequer, he hoped that he would not take that course, inasmuch as it was impossible to do anything more discouraging to the parties intrusted with the expenditure, who were returning as much as possible into the Exchequer, than for them to find that Members of Parliament, the instant they saw the money returned, assumed that the amount expended was the maximum necessary for the charge, and that they proposed to cut down the Vote accordingly at once. It must be obvious, from the nature of the work and the exigencies of the Government, particularly in foreign countries, that it would be impossible to make an exact Estimate from time to time. He did not wish them to think that he was particularly fond of that fund; but when they looked at the matter they would see that it was not a fund which could 675 be parted with altogether. Still it was satisfactory to see that a considerable reduction had been made. He did not think, however, that it would be politic on the part of his noble Friend (Lord Frederick Cavendish), even if he were in possession of all the particulars, to lay clown fixed lines with regard to the distribution of that Fund throughout the Public Departments. If there was a sum granted out of that Vote for Ireland, he believed it was a very small sum; but, at any rate, he was bound to say that he considered that the expenditure of money under that Vote ought to be dealt with at the discretion of the Government, and that if the House of Commons had confidence in the Government they would feel sure that in all eases in which money was expended it was found absolutely necessary to do so. Although the amount required under that Vote was a small one, yet, considering its nature, he thought it would be obvious how unwise it would be to make the details public. If it had been a question for the House of Commons only, it would be a simple matter; but the hon. Member who had made the request must be aware that talking to the House of Commons was, in fact, talking to the world. That being so, he trusted that the hon. Member would be content that the money expended of late was greatly diminished, and that he would not conclude that the fact of money being returned into the Exchequer at the end of any year showed that the amount expended was the maximum required, but rather that that amount was to be defined as the expenditure for that particular year.
said, that the Committee had been asked to vote a sum out of the Estimates amounting to £23,000 for Secret Service money, and that an additional grant of £10,000 had been already charged upon the Consolidated Fund for the same purpose. But he thought that they were placed at a considerable disadvantage, on account of the absence of the information which had been applied for by the hon. Member for Queen's County (Mr. Arthur O'Connor). That hon. Gentleman had pointed out that the Controller and Auditor General audited that Secret Service money upon receipts furnished to him by the different Secretaries of State. He had asked the Government to inform him as to the differ- 676 ent sums paid to the different Secretaries of State; and he (Mr. Parnell) thought that a reasonable request and an application for information which would not trench upon the secrecy of the Vote, if they were told what amount was spent in Ireland. They did not ask for the amount spent in England, or Scotland; but, certainly, he could not but think that if the Government deemed it necessary to maintain the existence of that degrading and debasing fund in the Three Kingdoms, the Committee was entitled to know how much had been spent in those Three Kingdoms. They knew that in times past the money obtained from that fund had been put in Ireland to most demoralizing purposes. They knew that in 1865–6 Inspector Talbot was paid to bend the knee at the altar of Roman Catholic churches, in order, being himself a Protestant, to simulate the faith of the majority, and thus more easily to induce the people to become members of secret organizations, who, when they had become members, were handed over by this same man, who had himself drawn them in, to the officers of justice. They knew, also, that other persons besides that informer had imitated his example, and had taken the pay of the Government, in order to swear in persons, and induce them to offend against the laws of the country. He thought, under these circumstances, that they were entitled to ask the responsible Ministers of the Crown how much of that money had been spent during last year in Ireland, and how much it was proposed to spend there during the coming year. That would not be betraying the secrecy the Government desired to preserve. They were entitled to know how much was to be spent in any one particular country. He did not wish to dispute the proposition that it was advisable, under the circumstances, that Ministers should have the power to spend the money in the way of Secret Service without rendering account; but he did strongly dispute the desirability of enabling subordinates to do so. He could not conceive of a more demoralizing application of money; and, therefore, he thought that if the Government had not the required information in their possession, they might fairly ask that that Vote be postponed until they knew how it was applied; because, until the Government knew how much was spent in that way, 677 he did not see how they could be sufficiently judges as to the desirability of the present grant. It was reasonable to move the reduction of the Vote in the absence of the information, as they should like to have an opportunity of protesting against the application of that money in Ireland. What information was in the hands of the Government he considered they were entitled to. He felt most strongly disposed to ask that Progress be reported, in order that they might obtain more full information from the noble Lord the Secretary to the Treasury with reference to the disposal of the money of that Fund.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
said, that the money for the Secret Service Fund was asked to be voted in a lump; but what he wanted was that there should be a separate statement for Irish Secret Service money only. He strongly objected to the Fund for this reason—that there was a strong suspicion that abuses were committed in its expenditure, inasmuch as in Ireland, in times past, there had been great abuses. The case of Talbot, which had been referred to by the hon. Member who had preceded him (Mr. Parnell), had created a very bad impression in Ireland against the Government, which was a Constitutional Government, and he felt that that case had justly created a bad impression. He had heard of a man in the pay of the Government going down to two or three country districts, and not merely ingratiating himself into the secrets of the people, but it had been proved, further, that he swore in Fenians, and represented himself as an agent for that purpose. During the whole of that time he had been supported by that Secret Service money. In addition to his other acts, he represented himself to be a Catholic, went to the altars of the Catholic churches, and actually received the Sacrament. Nothing like the horror of the people of Ireland, when they discovered the truth about the man, and that he was directly in the pay of the Government, could be imagined. It was necessary for a man to be an Irishman and a Catholic in order to understand the horror of the people when that discovery took place If hon. Gentlemen on the other side could only realize the hatred and horror felt against the Government on account of the money spent in that Service, they would see how un- 678 wise it was that such money should be voted for any such purpose for carrying on the Government in Ireland. He strongly objected to the money of such a fund being left for administration in the hands of subordinate persons such as Talbot. He was sure that no state of things could be worse than that, or more calculated to bring discredit on the Government with reference to the administration of affairs in Ireland. They did not ask for the amounts expended in other countries; but they did wish to know what was spent in their own. Their object was to have a check upon the amount given to the different Offices, and he trusted that the information asked for might be given.
§ MR. BARRY
said, they were merely asking for the amount spent in Ireland. There could, he thought, be no objection to furnishing that information; and, therefore, he considered they were not asking too much. He was glad to have noticed that some hon. Members on the other side were interested in that question as well as Irish Members. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) had made strenuous efforts to reduce that Vote. He (Mr. Barry) was sorry the hon. Member was not in his place then, because he was fully convinced that he would support the Irish Members in their contention that the amount spent in their country should be stated. They knew that in former times an infamous newspaper had been maintained in Dublin out of that Fund. He did not, however, say that that was the case now. He trusted that the Government would see their way to furnish the information that had been called for, and thus that the public mind in Ireland might be disabused.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he felt bound to state that he should look with horror at anything that could be done similar to what the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. O'Shaughnessy) had stated. It was a long time ago that money for Secret Service or otherwise could be employed to stimulate men in order that they might be arrested. Personally, he should be glad if the request of the hon. Members could be complied with; but he did not see how the information could be given with respect to Ireland, and refused in other instances. If such particulars were given, the character of 679 secrecy would be gone. However, he did not see, if the information were not forthcoming, any reason why Progress should be reported. The Fund had reached as large a figure in former times as £150,000; and he was glad to see, in comparison with that, such a small amount as was now asked for. He hoped that the time would come when they would be able to do without it altogether; but he did not believe that that time had yet arrived. He must ask the Committee to vote the money, leaving it to the discretion of the Government. If reliance could not be placed in them for the expenditure of such a fund as that, they were not fit to occupy the seats in that House that they then occupied.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, that with reference to the employment of the Secret Service Fund, it appeared to him that the money had been used for illegal purposes. He was glad to see on the Treasury Bench the Legal Representative of the Irish Government, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Londonderry (Mr. Law). He was glad, also, to find that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had not experienced the difficulties that had obstructed the return of some right hon. Gentlemen to that House. He wished to appeal to him on the legal aspect of the matter they were then discussing. It was notorious that Police Inspector Talbot was paid by the Government to induce young men to enter an illegal combination; and he should like to know what attitude the Government of Ireland would assume, if, in the recent land agitation, a similar thing had been attempted by persons in the pay of the Government? For instance, would the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland take no notice of such proceedings as those of Talbot; would he not feel it his duty to prosecute a Police Inspector who was a party to transactions of that kind? He was sure that an expression of opinion in reference to such conduct would be very welcome. They had had one expression of opinion from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and, certainly, so far as it went, it was satisfactory; and he (Mr. O'Connor Power) had no doubt that as long as the Irish Government was in the hands of the then Chief Secretary he would 680 not be a party to sanctioning such practices. A complaint had been made of the expenditure of Secret Service money in Ireland; and there appeared to be no doubt that, in times past, money had been spent there for the purposes of the kind he had mentioned. With reference to its employment in England for similar purposes, he supposed that most of the hon. Members present had received circulars sent round by organizations whose chief interest was to report on the Contagious Diseases Acts. There was an instance of the employment of police for the purpose of carrying out certain provisions of those Acts; and, certainly, it did appear as if police were paid by the Government in order to induce other people to do what was illegal. These were matters that demanded their serious attention, and he thought it was due to the Irish Members to be informed to what extent such practices were permitted in Ireland. He should be glad to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Law) say something upon the subject.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. LAW)
said, he had but a small knowledge upon the matter under consideration, nor was he aware that Inspector Talbot had been paid out of that Fund. He was inclined to the opinion rather that, being a detective, and therefore a member of the Police Force, he was paid as a detective in the ordinary way. With reference to the question which had been asked by the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power), he felt perfectly free to state, notwithstanding the position he then held, that in case any policeman, or other detective, assisted in or encouraged the commission of crime, he would certainly be considered to have exceeded his duty; and if he induced people to enter illegal combinations for the purpose of disclosing them afterwards, he would most assuredly place himself within the meshes of the law, and ought to be prosecuted. He considered that while that Fund remained in existence they ought not to be compelled to give the details of it, for, in that case, its character of secrecy would certainly be lost. He thought hon. Gentlemen ought to be satisfied with the statement of the Government that it would be their object 681 to reduce the amount of that Fund to the lowest possible figure.
said, he thought it desirable that the Government should have time to examine into the uses made of that money by their Predecessors in Office. It was possible that when they had inquired into the matter they might be able to give the Committee some information as to the employment of the Fund in the Three Kingdoms. If that information could be afforded, it would have the effect of getting rid of the annual debates that took place as to the administration of that money. If the Government should find, on examining into the employment of the money by their Predecessors, that the Vote was unnecessary, it might be at once done away with. He thought that the request he had made was not unreasonable—namely, that the Committee might know how much was spent in England, Scotland, and Ireland respectively.
§ DR. COMMINS
said, that the answer of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Law) was, to him, an additional reason for supporting the Motion before the Committee. If the money spent under that Vote in Ireland was not for the detection of crime, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman had implied, for what purposes was it employed? If they were to form an opinion as to its employment, from the history of the Government of Ireland in former times, he was afraid they would have a sad record to retrace—a record which would show actions of Governments in previous times by no means creditable to them. They were not inclined to suspect the Government then in Office at all, even after the position they took up that night before the Committee. They did not believe that the money would be misspent by either the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary or the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland. He thought, however, that there were strong reasons why the Government should free themselves from the evil suspicions which must inevitably attach to the expenditure of that money in Ireland. If the different sums granted to the Secretaries of State were known, it would not be difficult to follow the expenditure of those sums with regard to Ireland, and they would then have the satisfaction 682 of knowing that the money was not applied to illegal purposes. If the information that had been called for were given, the confidence of the Irish people would be won by the Government, and when he considered the evil precedents in the expenditure of that money in former times, he could not imagine how it was that the Government could refrain from sacrificing upon the shrine of Irish confidence the paltry Vote of £4,000 or £5,000, which they had then asked for, for the purpose of Secret Service.
said, he should move that the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again, in order that the Government might have more time for the consideration of that question. He thought that the request that the consideration of the matter be postponed for further information was not unreasonable, looking at all the circumstances of the case, and the fact that the Government did not appear to possess the information asked for with reference to the distribution of the Fund between the different Secretaries of State.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 17; Noes 102: Majority 85.—(Div. List, No. 9.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
moved the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £5,000, which he said was the amount not expended out of the grant made for similar purposes last year.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding £12,200, 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 1881, for Her Majesty's Foreign and other Secret Services."—(Mi: Parnell.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 20; Noes 91: Majority 71.—(Div. List, No. 10.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
confessed that he did not understand upon what grounds several distinguished Members 683 of the House, who were very persistent in opposing this Vote in the last Parliament, had been able to vote for it on the present occasion. He had had the honour, under the direction of the Chairman, of acting as a Teller in the division which had just taken place, and it was his duty to tell the minority. He found, however, that there were only three Liberal Members who gave a proof of their consistency in the matter by voting now in the same way they voted in 1879—namely, the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Jacob Bright), and the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt). He had been glad to recognize the presence of other English Liberal Members in the same Lobby; but they were all new Members. Other English Liberal Members, from the hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Charles W. Dilke) down to the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands), were conspicuous by their absence from the Committee, or, still worse, they were conspicuous by their presence in the opposite Lobby. Personally, he was very anxious to learn his Parliamentary lessons, and to learn them well; but he could not avoid asking himself what kind of lesson he was to draw from conduct of this nature? Only a few nights ago he had expressed a hope that Liberalism would not prove to be a paltry and selfish struggle for place and power; but if there were to be many repetitions of the political inconsistency he had noticed that evening, he would begin to think that he had been a little too sanguine in his hope, and that he was not warranted in believing that in Liberalism was evoked the sacred cause of liberty. He certainly was unable to account for the way in which some of the most active Liberals in the last Parliament now seemed to turn their backs upon the most sacred principles. At all events, it was desirable that those who were opposed to this Vote should persist in their protest against it. They were only a small Party, and, therefore, it was all the more necessary that they should be an energetic Party. If all the Liberal Members who supported them in the last Parliament had voted with them on the present occasion, they might have been contented with one division; but as they were reduced to 684 20, it was desirable that they should record their protest against the Vote in as emphatic a manner as possible. In the first instance, they made an attempt to postpone the Vote; but they were beaten. Next, they made an attempt to reduce the Vote, and they were beaten again. They intended now to take a division against the Vote in its entirety.
§ MR. DAWSON
said, that upon the ground of common sense he should be inclined at once to admit the principle that the Government must have a fund of this nature, because it was quite clear to men who had studied the history of the country that there were many matters, perhaps some of them unworthy, but others right and proper to be done, which it would not always be expedient to bring before the public. But, in the view of an Irish Member, there were certain conditions which rendered it utterly impossible for him to accede to this Vote for Secret Service money which cast a stigma on his country, and was capable of producing terrible results. As a Catholic Member he could not support the Vote, because he believed it might be employed in inducing a non-Catholic to go into the Catholic chapels and receive the Sacrament which Catholics believed to contain the Real Presence, and thus desecrate the Sacraments of the Church for the purpose of inveigling young men into a conspiracy against the very Government they served. He did not know how any Catholic could reconcile it to his conscience to throw a veil over such proceedings. He thought the opinion he had arrived at was based upon a very honourable and enlightened foundation. It was his duty, some time ago, in the Corporation of Dublin, when a member accused a certain friend of his of inciting persons to commit murder from the platform, to call upon that member to name the person and the place before such a diabolical charge was allowed to go forth. The gentleman in question found himself obliged, from want of accurate information, to withdraw the charge; and he afterwards told him (Mr. Dawson) that there were undoubtedly cries of the kind referred to in the crowd. But it might have been that the cries and incitements to murder came from people sent there by the Government, and paid out of this Secret Service Fund. The English nation, of all nations in the 685 world, prided itself above all things upon being perfectly clear, straightforward, and open in all its transactions, and they ought not to rest for an hour under the imputation of sanctioning a system of sending people to desecrate the Irish chapels, and inducing young men to commit crime. As the Representative of a country in which these sacred principles wore desecrated in the manner he had described, and having some feeling for the reputation of his countrymen, and believing that it was wrong to encourage people to go about inciting youth to commit murder and other crimes they would otherwise never dream of, he should feel it his duty to vote against the proposed grant. Those who were inclined to support that which was fair, open, manly, and noble, would join the Irish Members in their protest, and he was glad to see that as they went on their minority was increasing.
§ DR. LYONS
said, that as the discussion had taken that course, he felt it uncumbent upon him to say a few words. If he believed that any portion of this money was spent in Ireland for the purpose of corrupting the population he would vote against the whole of it; but he believed there was no proof whatever that the money had been so applied. He took it that the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Law), although he had not been able to give an absolute denial on this particular matter, was not made upon light authority, and really met the special case. Now, it so happened that he (Dr. Lyons) knew something of the circumstances of the death of that unfortunate man, Talbot, and he also knew from personal acquaintance with the City of Dublin that he was a member of the Detective Police Force. Of course, there were circumstances connected with that force, and circumstances necessarily connected with the discharge of the duties of the service that no one on abstract moral grounds could pretend to defend; but still they did not in this practical world profess to say that Governments could be set up and go on working upon purely hypothetical and abstract moral grounds. But the assertion was borne out by his experience that the greater part of this money was expended in the East of Europe, in the discharge of duties which were forced upon us principally from a 686 reason to which he had called attention some time ago—namely, that we had not a sufficient number of public servants who were capable of understanding the language of the country in which their services were discharged, and we were thus largely dependent on hired interpreters. If that were not unfortunately the case, he believed that a great deal of this money might be entirely dispensed with. He had been told by an illustrious and distinguished authority, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, that he was nothing but a political scavenger in the East. He (Dr. Lyons) fully believed that the chief purpose to which this money was principally applied in Constantinople, and other parts of the East had been in counteracting the falsehoods and mystifications which had to be contended with in regard to political matters in which money was lavishly used by other Powers. It was greatly to be regretted that money of this kind had to be voted; but he believed that the public service in Constantinople and other parts of Europe would absorb a great deal more, if it were not diligently watched. It had been his conviction, for many years past, that this money was not applied in Ireland at all. He did not yield to the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Dawson), or to any other Irish Member, in his desire to see the Government of Ireland carried on in the most perfectly pure manner; and, owing to the mode in which the discussion had been carried on, he had felt it incumbent upon him to say that there was every reason to believe the money was not expended in Ireland, but was spent in connection with political matters in other parts of Europe.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, that the hon. Member for Dublin who had just spoken (Dr. Lyons) seemed to know a good deal more about the application of Secret Service money than the Gentlemen who sat on the Treasury Bench. The hon. Member had entered upon a sort of explanation of it; but he (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) failed to see any authority or justification for the hon Member's statements. Her Majesty's Government had certainly said nothing of the sort, but had carefully abstained from making any assertion of the kind. The Government of Ireland, with their 12,000 police scattered over the length and breadth of the country, and with 687 the extraordinary powers which the police possessed, ought to be capable of dealing with the crime of Ireland without bringing in the corrupting influence of Secret Service money. Reference had been made to Talbot, the informer, who was shot because he had made himself obnoxious by his criminal conduct, and had outraged every feeling dear to Irishmen—the most sacred feelings of the Irish heart. They had been told that he was a detective in the regular pay of the Government. If so, the conclusion they must arrive at was that Irish detectives were capable of doing enough dirty work without bringing in an additional force to do work still more vile. He regarded this money as demoralizing every man it touched, and he must beg to record his protest against its being granted by Parliament. So long as the money continued to be voted it would create occasions for its expenditure. It was a system which tended to perpetuate itself; and, in the interests of common morality and honesty, he protested against the employment of such a demoralizing fund in Ireland.
§ MR. DILLWYN
thought they were arguing very much in the dark. They certainly did not know that this money was expended in Ireland in corrupting the Irish people. He did not believe that it had been so spent. It had been stated, and he believed correctly stated, that the greater part of this money was required for foreign services, and he could easily understand that it might be so. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) complained of the Liberal Party for not having voted with him; but he (Mr. Dillwyn) would remind the hon. Member of the issue which had been raised. The hon. Member said the first proposition was to postpone the Vote, and the next to reduce it. Now, that was not exactly the case. The first proposition was not to postpone the consideration of the Vote; if it had been, perhaps others would have gone with the hon. Member; but the Motion was to report Progress. As he had just said, he would not, for one, vote for this money for the purpose of corrupting the people of Ireland, or corrupting anybody; but he must remind the Committee that they were voting now not for the Estimates of the present Government, but for those of the late Government. They were voting for Es- 688 timates which they were in reality bound to pass, in order that the service of the country might be properly carried on; but they must not forget that the Estimates submitted by the Government were the Estimates prepared by their Predecessors. He did not believe that Her Majesty's Ministers would expend the money in the way that had been described, and he did not believe they would ask for it, unless they were of opinion that it was required for the Public Service. He therefore intended to vote for the grant, having full confidence in the Government that they would not spend more than they absolutely required. He did not think they would ask for money if they did not believe it to be necessary; and, under these circumstances, and considering the exceptional nature of the Estimates, he would vote for the grant. But what he wished particularly to point out was that it was hardly fair for hon. Members to put the case as it had been put, and to propose the exceptional course at 8 o'clock in the evening of proposing, because they were not satisfied with a particular Vote, to report Progress, and thus prevent the remaining Estimates from receiving consideration. He thought the more legitimate course would have been to move the postponement of the Vote.
said, he had moved to postpone the Vote, in order that the Government might have time to obtain information of which they were not now in possession. The explanation which the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) had given of his vote on the question of reporting Progress did not apply to his vote on the last occasion. He found that on the 12th of May, 1879, the hon. Member, along with a large number of hon. Members who voted with the Government now, voted against the Government on a precisely similar Motion. The Motion he had just made was to reduce the Vote by £5,000, and in 1879 the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) moved to reduce the Vote by exactly the same sum. Of course, circumstances altered cases, and he found that in the 1879 Division List Mr. David Chadwick voted for the Motion; but strange to say, on the present occasion, the hon. Member voted against it. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain also voted in 1879 against the Motion, 689 and on the present occasion he voted in its favour. He found that Mr. Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn then voted for the Motion of the hon. Member for Burnley; and he exceedingly regretted to find that, on the present occasion, the hon. Member for Swansea walked through the Division Lobby against it. Mr. T. W. Evans also voted to reduce the sum by £5,000 in 1879, and in 1880 voted against such a reduction. Then, again, Sir Arthur D. Hayter voted in 1879 to reduce the amount, and this time he voted for intrusting the Government with the sum of £19,100 without reduction. Mr. J. Holms appeared in the Division List of 1879 as in favour of the reduction; but, on the present occasion, he (Mr. Parnell) was horrified to find the hon. Member for Hackney supporting the grant of the full amount. Mr. W. M'Arthur, Mr. D. M'Laren, Mr. G. Osborne Morgan, Mr. Anthony J. Mundella, Mr. James Stewart, Mr. J. Whitwell—that noted financial reformer—and Mr. B. T. Williams, all in 1879 voted for the reduction, and on the present occasion all these hon. Gentlemen voted against it. Now, he asked, where was political consistency? Hon. Members, when a Liberal Government came into Office, voted for intrusting them with a sum of money against which they voted on a former occasion. Where were their principles? It seemed to him that they had vanished. He should be very glad to hear that there was something in the composition of the present Government which enabled them to administer a sum of money of this kind better than their Predecessors. Was that the principle on which they voted the sum on the present occasion? ["Hear, hear!"] But they did not say so on the last occasion. If they contended that the Estimates had been put into the hands of the new Government by their Predecessors, and that they were obliged to vote them, he submitted that they were not obliged to do so. They were entitled to criticize them, and already the Government had agreed to one alteration. Last night a reduction of £5,000 was made in one of the Votes, and certainly they ought to be entitled to criticize and vote against any of the others just as much. He was glad to think that some hon. Members who formerly sat on that side of the House still preserved their political consistency, 690 and had not endangered their principles by walking across.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, this was exactly one of those cases in which he thought they should change with the times. If there was one Vote more than another which they voted with trust the Secret Service money was the one above all others. He voted against it last year because he had had experience of the Government. He had tried them some years, and he had lost confidence in them. Now they had got a new Government in whom he had great confidence, and he was willing to show them his confidence by intrusting them with this money. He was quite sure they would not misappropriate it, and if they did not require it they would hand it back.
§ MR. LITTON
said, he represented an Irish constituency, and if he believed that any portion of this money was applied to corrupt purposes he would oppose the grant, and would have pleasure in acceding to the proposition of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). But he was at a loss to know why that hon. Member, and those who sat with him, were so sensitive on this subject. He believed the loyalty of the people of Ireland was a subject of the greatest and highest importance; but it had not been shown to the Committee that any portion of the Secret Service Fund was proposed to be spent in Ireland for the purpose of corrupting the inhabitants of the country. Every Member of the Committee must be aware, as a matter of common sense, that in the administration of the government of any country there must be purposes to which no public fund was properly devoted, in keeping the authorities up to their work in regard to the peace of the country and the matters that came within the administration of the law. With great respect, he thought a fund so applied was devoted to a proper purpose—namely, in the support of law and order, and he did not hesitate to say that this was the great object which they ought to have in Ireland, because until this was accomplished with a just and liberal hand Ireland could not be prosperous. Therefore, he thought that the hon. Member for Cork had failed to show any reason why this money should be refused, and, after having already twice divided the Committee, to prolong the 691 debate would be to trifle with their patience.
§ MR. MONTAGU SCOTT
fully appreciated the principles of hon. Members who opposed a measure whilst they sat on this side of the House, and supported it when they sat on the opposite side; but he called the attention of the Committee to the remarks of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), which were to the effect that he was afraid of a misappropriation of the money by the late Government. He thought that was an imputation which no hon. Member had a right to cast upon the late Government. He protested against it, and he thought it only right that the hon. Member should withdraw an expression which, he presumed, fell from him in the heat of argument.
§ MR. D. M'LAREN
admitted that he voted against the grant last year, and said he was still of the same opinion. If a distinct Motion were brought forward for the bonâ fide purpose of testing the question, and when the question was decided, letting it alone, and going on with other Business, he would willingly vote for it again; but when it was brought forward in this way he would vote against it. As the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) had said, circumstances altered cases, and that was his defence. Here were the circumstances under which they were placed. The Government had recently come into power; they had a little more than two months of the Session of Parliament to run, and a great deal of Business to do, and Business in which the hon. Gentlemen opposite were greatly interested—the Business of Ireland; and it appeared to him that the time of the Committee had not been profitably spent that evening in discussing this question and dividing upon it over and over again in different phases. He had no sympathy at all with the way in which the Vote had been procrastinated, and least of all with the Motion to report Progress at that early hour.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, that hon. Gentlemen on the Government side of the House were very easily satisfied, because the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Law) was at liberty to deny that any of the money had been devoted to the payment of Talbot, that, therefore, none of it had been spent in Ireland. 692 The hon. Member for the City of Dublin (Dr. Lyons) said the right hon. and learned Gentleman had exhausted the subject; but did the hon. Member never hear of Pierce Nagle, the informer, or of Corrigan, Massey, and a whole string of informers who had nothing to do with the Police Force? Who paid that class of Government spies? They were paid out of the Secret Service Fund, and under a Liberal Administration. The hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) said it was a question of men with him, which amounted to a charge of downright dishonesty against political opponents; and he (Mr. O'Connor Power) was sorry that the hon. Member, who usually showed so much generosity to those with whom he differed, should have defended himself on such a ground. There could be uo doubt at all as to the purposes for which Secret Service money was spent in Ireland. In 1848, Lord Clarendon was brought into the Dublin Police Court by the infamous Buchanan, because the Viceroy hesitated in laying down the filthy lucre which had been promised him for betraying champions of the Irish Party at that time. He was surprised to hear an accusation of trifling with the time of the Committee. There might have been some trifling during the present Parliament; but it certainly had not come from the third Party, and when the trifling was carried on by very influential persons the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. Litton) did not rise and protest against it. The hon. Member would find that it was not a wise course to impeach the motives of hon. Members of that House. In fact, if he had had the experience of the last Parliament, he would have seen that it was a very dangerous course, and that a speech of that character constituted in itself a justification which otherwise might be wanting. He therefore trusted that if they expressed themselves strongly their motives would not be impeached.
§ Mr. SHAW
said, an excuse had been made for the Government that they had not been long enough in power to make arrangements for blotting this Vote out of the Estimates. If any Member of the Government would get up and pledge himself that it should not appear this year, and that they regarded such a Vote as discreditable, and intended to carry on the Business of the country above board, so that the whole world might 693 see what they were doing, he would not be for further dividing the Committee. He was quite certain that, no matter where the money was spent, the country got no value for it. He thought very little of it was spent in Ireland. However, the country ought not to meddle with any business that required bribing and working in the dark.
§ MR. BYRNE
said, the Government came into power to carry out the motto of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform; and whilst he had no charge to make against any of the Members of the Government, he thought some of them looked as though they were ashamed of this Vote. He was sorry to hear the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. Litton) say that which he did not know to be true—namely, that some of this money was spent in Ireland for the purpose of keeping order. The Government had not given them the information which they were entitled to have, and he thought that any man who knew the world would not approve of the employment of Secret Service money either in great or small matters. The head of a large business establishment spent no secret service money; and he was sure no Member of the Government, in his private capacity, would allow his steward or his servant to do so. As the Government did not toll them how much of the money was spent in Ireland, they were entitled to think there was something to hide. They had long memories in Ireland. They could remember cases in which Secret Service money had been expended, and the name of Sadleir might be added to those already mentioned. Therefore, as they knew the money had been badly spent in past times, they were entitled now to ask for an explanation.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he might be permitted to summarize the arguments that had been urged in favour of this Vote. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. W. E. Forster) had dwelt upon the necessity of preserving law and order. That was an old phrase; but he (Mr. Biggar) thought that if proper interest was shown in the welfare of the people law and order would then follow; and that, in his opinion, was the proper direction which their reforms should take. Another argument used by the right hon. Gentleman was that no evidence existed that 694 any part of the Secret Service money was spent in Ireland. Of course not; it was no easy matter to obtain evidence with regard to the Secret Service money, for the very reason that it was secret in its application, and that was why the public did not know how it was spent. It had been stated on a former occasion in evidence that this Vote was divided between the Home Office, the Foreign Office, and the Department under the control of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in certain proportions; and that, he thought, fully justified the Members who really represented the people of Ireland?—not the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. Litton), who only represented the Whiggery of a certain section of the people—in asking for information as to the manner in which this Fund had been applied. Again, it had been stated that, in the event of a conspiracy existing in Ireland, the largest share of the Secret Service Vote would be expended in communication between the Treasury and the Home Office, in order to ascertain whether the latter could spare any portion of the money assigned to them. That he considered to be a corroboration of the contention of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power), who argued that this money was used for the basest purposes, such as that of entrapping people to commit themselves by the utterance of rash words, which were afterwards distorted for the purposes of getting them committed to prison. He did not think it right that the Government should use means of that sort for carrying out their policy; and the Committee ought, in his opinion, to say that they would not allow the present Government to lend itself to the courses which had been followed by their Predecessors, by refusing to pass the Vote.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, there was evidence to show that the Government had always in hand Secret Service money sufficient for its business during six months. It being the case, therefore, that, as the Prime Minister had told them a short time since, the amount used had been very much reduced, it could not be necessary to take the Vote at all, for the amount in the hands of the Treasury at that moment must be very considerable. Again, they had effected annual savings for some time past; for which credit had been given in 695 the Estimate, and which, represented the accumulated sum of £19,000. There could be no time so convenient for putting an end to this Vote as the opportunity which was presented by a change of Government; because, when the outgoing Ministers left their Departments and surrendered them to their successors, they had to make up their accounts, which would show the balance of the Secret Service money in hand. The present Government had a good opportunity, for that reason, for affording the information which he had asked for—namely, what amount of money belonging to the Fund in question was in the hands of the Secretary to the Treasury, and what proportion of the sum now asked to be granted was to be allotted to each of the Public Departments? Because, so far from the whole of this money being devoted to services abroad, it had been elicited by one of the Members of the Public Accounts Committee that it might naturally happen, in view of certain contingencies in Ireland, that the share of the Fund in the hands of the Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary might be drawn upon by arrangement between them and the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The Treasury appeared to have been very unwilling to acknowledge any responsibility with regard to the allocation of this Fund; but the Treasury witnesses had admitted that it was distributed in something like equal proportions between the Departments he had named. Now, this transfer of a portion of the grant belonging to any particular Department to the Chief Secretary for Ireland was by no means a proper proceeding. He was inclined to think that one-fourth of the money went to the Foreign Secretary, and that it was afterwards transferred by private arrangement into the hands of those who administered affairs in Ireland. It was due to the people of Ireland that they should know by what means the Government transfers were effected; and it would certainly be of interest to the constituency which he represented to know from what fund those persons were paid who had followed him and his friends about King's County, jotting down every word they could hear which fell from their mouths. That system had obtained in Ireland for some time past, and was of such a character as would exasperate any proper-minded 696 people; and an English friend of his who had been with him in Ireland some time ago had said—"I must admit that you Irishmen are treated like a parcel of slaves, and in England we would not stand it." He would ask the Secretary to the Treasury what proportion of the sum now asked for was to be devoted to purposes of the kind he had alluded to in Ireland?
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, he had already stated that he could not give the information asked for. It was quite true that the Committee of Public Accounts inquired into this subject about 10 years ago, when it was found that an accumulation of the Fund had taken place; but that was at a time when the rule was not in force for the surrender of the surplus of the previous year. Since that time, however, the Vote had been placed in the same position as the others, and any surplus that arose upon it from year to year was surrendered to the Exchequer, so that there was at that time no accumulated balance.
§ MR. BARRY
said, he thought that new Members like himself would derive from the discussion which had taken place a useful lesson in political consistency, and would learn the difference between the Liberal policy both in and out of Office. In the rugged school of Northumbrian Liberalism, in which he had been brought up, the conduct of the Government would have been described as of a very pinchbeck character. He ventured to suggest that, if the Government would accede to the very reasonable request made by his hon. Friend (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) for information as to the proportion of this Fund which had been spent in Ireland it would save further discussion, and that if they had done so at an earlier period much valuable time would have been saved.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, he wished also to express his disappointment at the course which the Leaders of the Liberal Party had taken on that occasion. The hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), had recommended the Committee to have some confidence in the Government of their choice; but he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) would remind the hon. Gentleman that that great Liberal, Mr. Fox, had declared a wholesome distrust of all Governments to be the characteristics of true Liberalism. 697 He was surprised that no assurance had been given that the sympathies of the present Government were not with the form of expenditure in question, and that it should not be carried on beyond the present Session. He was quite certain that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland despised this expenditure, and he could not doubt his complete contempt for the whole system on which it rested. He did not believe that any good was ever done to a State by the expenditure of Secret Service money, which was under the management of subordinates, and which was expended in making little armies of informers and spies, and turning away from the Government whole classes of the people who would otherwise support them. The system of shifting portions of the Fund from one Department to another, as indicated by the hon. Member for Queen's County (Mr. Arthur O'Connor), seemed like the virement system of the Second French Empire, when public money was allowed to be diverted to all sorts of purposes, quite different from those for which it had been voted by the Assembly. He urged the Government to get rid, once for all, of the whole system, and thereby secure more fully the confidence of the people; and he trusted that an assurance would be given that if the Vote were passed that evening they should hear under the auspices of the present Government no more of the Secret Service money.
§ MAJOR O'BEIRNE
said, he had objected to this Vote when the matter came before the Committee last Session. He believed that the greater portion of the money had been expended in Ireland by the late Government for political purposes.
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, both he, and, as he believed, many other new Members of the House, were anxious for some declaration on the part of the Government with respect to this Vote. While they were very anxious for economy, they had also perfect confidence in the present Government, and they felt that allowance should be made for the difficult position in which they were placed, by having to deal with the affairs of the country so suddenly. It would be satisfactory to them to be assured upon the faith of the Government that they regarded the Vote asked for as really 698 necessary for the Public Service, and that during the Recess it should be re-considered, and if necessary revised, so that next Session they might be prepared to state, more fully than they could then do, what were their views as to the necessity of the continuance of the Vote in question.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, if his hon. Friend who had just spoken (Mr. Webster) had been present during the earlier part of the debate, he would have heard from him a declaration very much in accordance with the view which he had just stated. He felt that if there were an onus, or anything disagreeable, attaching to the Vote for Secret Service money, it was very hard that it should all accumulate upon the head of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. More of the brunt of that matter came upon the Irish Government than was its due. He was asked to give an assurance that before another Session arrived they would do away with that Vote. It was impossible for the Government to make that declaration. They could not know what would be the condition of affairs in Ireland, Scotland, or in England next year. All he could say was that he heard with surprise, he might say with horror, some of the different uses to which hon. Members appeared to think that part of the money for which he was responsible might be applied. He could hardly suppose that hon. Members really thought that it could be used in the employment of persons to go into a Catholic church, desecrating every feeling of religion, for the purpose of persuading people to the commission of crime. He did not know why the hon. and gallant Member for Leitrim (Major O'Beirne) had supposed that the late Government spent any portion of the money for electioneering purposes in Ireland and several other uses of that kind, and it was quite impossible that the present Government could be supposed to be likely to do so. He would add that he did not believe it would be safe for the Government to bind itself to do away with the Vote, He considered that a great responsibility rested upon the Government, which personally he felt very strongly; and he hoped he should be able to keep to his determination that, as far as he was concerned, the money should never be used in a manner which his conscience disapproved. He 699 should be glad if next year at this time the state of Ireland should be such that he, on behalf of the Irish Government, might have it in his power to say they could do without the Vote altogether. He asked those hon. Members who had taken part in that discussion to do all they could in Ireland—and their influence was great—to prevent any danger to law and order, and then if the Government could do without the money they would be thankful to dispense with it. He could not say, however, that that result would occur, and it would be a very foolish thing for the Government to give an absolute pledge on the subject. They were sensible that the application of a fund of this kind might very easily be abused, and if they were not fully aware of that they ought to be. He could promise that, as far as he knew, it would be used under the very strictest sense of responsibility.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
hoped that, after the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, it would not be thought necessary to proceed to a division. What was chiefly necessary was that the right hon. Gentleman should clearly understand the charge that was made, not against him personally, but against the Irish Administration. The right hon. Gentleman asked whether any hon. Members of the Committee could suppose that he would be guilty of sending an informer into a Roman Catholic place of worship, to there desecrate the Sacraments, in order to get up charges against Irish people No one suspected the right hon. Gentleman; but it could not be said that other persons had not been suspected, and with good cause. The persons suspected were subordinate officials, who had done things which had not come under the Chief Secretary's notice. It was the system against which they were fighting, and not against particular individuals, especially against the present holder of the Chief Secretarial Office. The right hon. Gentleman had also appealed to the Members for Irish constituencies to assist him in keeping the Irish people in order, and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that such appeal would not be made in vain to men who were fully conscious of the responsibility placed upon them. But, at the same time, he might be permitted to tell the right hon. Gentleman that the responsibility for the 700 peace of the country rested principally upon the Government of the day, and that, therefore, it was unfair to make an attempt to shift the responsibility to the Irish Members of Parliament. It was in the power of the Government to bring in measures which would have the effect of restoring the Irish people to a condition of prosperity, and so to keep them in a state of perfect tranquillity.
said, it had been his intention, following the precedent set in the last Parliament, to take two divisions against that Vote; but as the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had made a statement which appeared to be generally satisfactory to the Committee, he could only say that he would not further take up the time of the Committee by discussion or divisions. If the right hon. Gentleman had only favoured the Committee with the statement he had now made three hours earlier, that space of time would have been saved. On the whole, it seemed to be as difficult to abolish Secret Service money as to do away with flogging in the Army.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(13.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding£4, 856, 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 clay of March 1881, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer in Exchequer, Scotland, of certain Officers in Scotland, and other Charges formerly on the Hereditary He venue.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
said, he could not let the Vote pass without putting in his usual protest against the grant for Queen's Plates. He had always entertained a hope that as soon as a Liberal Government came into power they would abolish this grant. Perhaps they had not been sufficiently long in power to cut off the grant in the present year and he would not now press the point further; but if it was proposed next year, he should certainly move the omission of the Vote, which could not, in his view, have the effect either of elevating the moral tone of the people or of improving the breed of horses. He did not object to people running horses; but he contended that if they wanted sport they ought to pay for it themselves. [Cries of 701 "Move!"] He had not, as already stated, intended to oppose the Vote on the present occasion; but as it seemed to be wished, he would move to reduce the Vote by £218, the sum set down for Queen's Plates in Scotland.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Item of £218, for the Queen's Plates and Plate for the Royal Company of Archers, he omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Sir Andrew Lush.)
in supporting the Amendment, contended that the money granted did no possible good either in improving the breed of horses, or in any other way. Races were too often scenes of riot and dissipation, which it was not desirable to encourage either in Scotland or elsewhere.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, he had the greatest faith in the good intentions of the Scotch Members of the House; but he was struck with the amusing nature of their opposition to this Vote. Some five Sessions back they succeeded in getting the Vote struck out of the Estimates, and, in consequence, it was not included in the following Session. Then the Scotch Members expressed great dissatisfaction, and succeeded not only in having the Vote restored, but actually obtained payment of the Vote which had, at their own instance, been struck out in the previous Session. It was to be hoped that that solemn farce was not to be acted in each Session. He was willing to vote with the Scotch Members, if they were prepared to pursue a consistent course, and not again put themselves into a ridiculous position.
§ MR. D. M'LAREN
said, the facts had not been stated with perfect accuracy by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry). The Vote was struck out without a division, but was restored at the instance of certain interested persons who went behind the backs of the Scotch Members to the Treasury, and talked the officials over to their way of thinking. He denied that Scotch Members as a body had any hand in the restoration of the Vote, or the payment of the amount which had been struck out of the Estimate the year before. He felt sure a large majority of the Scotch Members and the Scotch people would oppose the Vote on its merits; but, as far as he was concerned, he was perfectly 702 sick of hearing this question discussed year after year in the House.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, he thought the question should be decided by the wishes of the Scotch Members. The Irish Members were very strongly in favour of Queen's Plates in Ireland; and, therefore, in his opinion, the Scotch Members were equally entitled to them, if they chose to have them; the same advantages ought to be extended to Scotland as were extended to Ireland. He hoped they would be allowed to proceed at once to a division.
§ MR. M'LAGAN
said, he should protest against the money being given up, whilst much larger sums were received from the Imperial Treasury for this purpose in England and Ireland. He should, therefore, support the Vote.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
said, he objected to the Scotch Members ruling in that House, and to the public money being given away in a manner which they thought proper. He desired to know what meaning was attached to the words used by them "entitled to Plates?" The English Members received no money for such a purpose from the Votes. He entirely objected to the application of the money of the people to racing purposes in the neighbourhood of such places as Prestonpans and Musselburgh, where none but old screws ran, that were not worth the trouble of going to see. This system of taking the money out of the public purse was a very bad example, and ought not to be supported for a moment by hon. Gentlemen in the House of Commons. If the Scotch and Irish people wanted sport, he was quite willing that they should have it as long as they paid for it themselves, and did not call upon his constituency for the money. He intended to divide the Committee upon his Motion.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, that although he had voted the other day against adjourning for the Derby, he had thought he might as well go down to Epsom and see what it was like. He was free to confess that if it were merely confined to the racing he should have considered the proceedings only exceedingly silly, but not absolutely obnoxious. But he was convinced that the Derby, in particular, was a sort of saturnalia in gambling, which was incident to all classes in the Kingdom, and which vice it, in common with other horse races, 703 tended to encourage, particularly in the lower ranks of society, where its baneful influence was more marked than in any other. It was well known how widely this vice of gambling upon horse races had spread throughout the British Empire. He knew that the telegraph-wires between this country and India carried racing news, and gave rise to an enormous amount of gambling in the latter country. Lotteries had been prohibited by law; but, notwithstanding that, under the guise of Derby sweepstakes they were continued, and enormous sums of money were taken from the public every year to support what he would call the unhallowed sport of race-gambling. He felt himself, for these reasons, bound to vote against giving Queen's Plates to Scotland, and to other portions of the Kingdom. It was a perfect farce to speak of them as an encouragement to the breed of horses; indeed, they had no other effect than deterioration in this respect; they served no useful purpose whatever, but, on the other hand, gave rise to and encouraged very harmful practices. He should certainly oppose the Vote.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
said, it was quite clear, from the course which the debate had taken, that the Irish Vote for the same purpose would be objected to as well as the Scotch Vote. The hon. Baronet the Member for Finsbury (Sir Andrew Lusk) had spoken a great deal of his constituency paying for the Irish and Scotch Plates; but he expected that a great many more people from Finsbury attended races than did people in Ireland and Scotland. It was not correct to say that the Irish and Scotch did not contribute to the amusement of the English people. The people of both those countries certainly did contribute in this respect, and the constituents of the hon. Baronet received good value for the money so paid. The hon. Baronet had said that he did not wish to pay for the races in Scotland and Ireland; but he remembered him also on one occasion to have said that the public money should be spent on a particular side of one of the parks, which was, of course, the side which belonged to his constituency. Under these circumstances, he thought it was rather selfish on the part of the hon. Member to say that his constituency would not pay for the Irish and Scotch Plates. A great deal of the public 704 money contributed by Ireland and Scotland was spent in the Metropolis. In the case of the British Museum, for instance, the sum of £100,000 was contributed in this way; and he was quite sure that the constituents of the hon. Baronet derived more advantage from that institution than the people who found the money. He thought that the races in Ireland ought to be protected, and that the policy of hon. Members should be to continue this payment to Scotland.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, it would be in the recollection of some hon. Members that prosecutions frequently took place against betting men; and it was, therefore, obvious that encouragement ought not to be given by grants of public money for the purpose of horse racing. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) had very properly said that the breed of horses resulting from these races was worthless.
§ MAJOR O'BEIRNE
said, he should vote for the money being given for Queen's Plates in Scotland, although he disapproved of the manner in which it was given. He objected to the Vote being given in small sums. If it were made in large sums, much greater encouragement would be given.
§ An hon. MEMBER said, he contended that this money was very properly applied for the benefit of a class of very poor people who had scarcely any other amusements than what they got from those races. They belonged to a class unfriended and unrepresented in the House of Commons, who, it was true, did not go to church for the reason that they were not sufficiently educated. He thought the Committee could not do better than vote the money to benefit this class of people.
said, he observed that in this Vote, and in that portion affected by the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Sir Andrew Lusk), there was the sum of £20 designated as a prize to be shot for by the Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's Body Guard in Scotland, which was composed of 500 members, and included almost all the landed gentry of Scotland. The only money which they received from the country was this Vote of £20, to provide a prize to be shot for annually; and it was the fact that the man fortunate enough to gain the prize had to 705 make a large addition to the sum voted in order to show something which was worthy of Her Majesty. He himself had had the honour of gaining this prize. The money voted was a mere bagatelle to the members of the Queen's Body Guard; but it was esteemed, because it was a recognition by the county of a venerable Scottish institution. He therefore suggested that the sum in question should be separated from the proposed reduction of the hon. Member for Finsbury, and would move an Amendment to that effect.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
said, he should have much pleasure in acceding to the request of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Dick-Peddie) by reducing the proposed reduction to the sum of £198.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
Motion made, and Question put,
That the Item of £198, for the Queen's Plates, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Sir Andrew Lush.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 126: Majority 76.——(Div. List, No. 11.)
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he thought that he should now be in Order in drawing attention to the whole Vote. He knew that he could not formally move to omit any of the items; but he thought he should be justified in asking for some explanation with regard to them. The first item to which he wished to call attention was that of £500 a-year to the Lyon King at Arms. He supposed that was some gentleman connected with heraldry, or something of that sort; but he was rather inclined to think that people who wished to have a coat of arms could bear the expense out of their own pockets, and that a Vote of public money should not be required for that purpose. Then with regard to the item for the Bible Board. Now, the Scotch were said to be a very religious people, and he supposed they were; but he could not help thinking that this Bible Board was rather a job. It was a swindle, in point of fact. The best explanation of its functions which had been given to him was, that it was for the purpose of 706 preparing the manuscript of the different editions of the Bible. If a writer on a newspaper were paid at the same rate as the officials on the Bible Board, he would earn something extraordinary in the way of salary, because it was impossible to produce more than a very few editions of the Bible which was published in Scotland.
said, that it was not in Order to raise the question as a debate. He thought that the hon. Member was going to put a question.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that up to 1867 the office of the Lyon King at Arms was paid by fees; but in that year an Act was passed by which the fees were altered to a salary which was charged upon the Vote. With respect to the duties of the Bible Board, he understood that the Secretary was responsible for the accuracy of the Bibles published in Scotland.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
requested an explanation of the item of £97 a-year for Her Majesty's limner—that was, what the limner did for the money.
said, that as regarded the Secretary to the Bible Board, he should like to state that in Scotland there was free trade in the publication of Bibles; but they all had to pass the Board. There were very numerous publications of the Bible in Scotland; and it was not a monopoly as in England.
§ MR. MACDONALD
asked how long the item of £184 a-year for the histriographer was to continue? It was another of those cases that should be dealt with at once by lopping off the charge. He noticed that that gentleman was in receipt of a compensation allowance of £466 13s. 4d. He understood, some years ago, that the office was only to continue for a time, while certain manuscripts were being manipulated by Mr. Hill-Burton, and that it was likely soon to terminate; but it appeared now that it was interminable.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
stated, that in 1830, on the recommendation of a Select Committee, these charges were transferred to the Civil Service.
§ MR. D. M'LAREN
said, with regard to the compensation allowance, that it had only been in existence for two years, and was just in the same position as any other compensation given to any officer in England or Scotland.
said, the hon. Member was not in Order in discussing the general merits of an item previous to one upon which the Committee had come to a decision.
§ Original Question put. and agreed to.
§ (14.) £9,734, to complete the sum for the Fishery Board, Scotland.
§ DR. LYONS
said, that the Fishery interests of Ireland were just now in a very languishing condition, and he wished to point out some of the causes. There was one circumstance of great practical importance connected with the Fisheries on the West Coast of Scotland, and that was the maintenance of a Government cutter. There were now two Government boats on the coast; the Bittern and the Jackal. It was a matter of public notoriety that very efficient services had been rendered by the commander of the latter vessel and the crew under his command. It was not very easy to define exactly what their functions were; but he (Dr. Lyons) believed they exercised a sort of watchful care over the great fishing interests of the West Coast of Scotland. They were of great use in giving information to the men engaged in fishing, and in regulating and controlling a good many of the local disputes, which of necessity arose when a large number of independent persons were engaged in prosecuting one enterprize. They informed the fishermen as to the best periods of sailing, the state of the fishing grounds at sea, and they gave generally very efficient help to the fishing population. As he had said, the fishing interests of Ireland were in a very languishing condition; and he did not believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would find any more important duty to undertake than that of fostering and encouraging the great fishing industry of Ireland. He did not wish to oppose the Vote, unless it were necessary to put himself in Order by concluding with a Motion. It was a Vote that entirely met with his approval; and he could only hope that the noble Lord the Secretary to the Treasury would consider the possibility of instituting some similar service in Ireland, where he be- 708 lieved it would do most excellent work and would give a great stimulus to the coast fishing. It would be of great advantage to have one of Her Majesty's ships on the dangerous coasts of the West of Ireland, which at present were left unprotected. He was sure that hon. Members who represented counties bordering on the West Coast of Ireland would support what he said.
§ MR. DAWSON
said, he thought the remarks of the hon. Member for Dublin (Dr. Lyons) would be much fortified if he had referred, to the sum which was granted to Ireland on the same account. The sum for Scotland was £13,000, while for Ireland it was only £2,853. The Scotch Vote included encouragement of Fisheries, and repairs of piers along the coast, all of which were advantages which Ireland did not possess. Now, what did the Fishery Board of Ireland consist of? It consisted of an Inspector, a clerk, a messenger, and a housekeeper. It would really appear that the important matter of Irish Fisheries was wholly conducted in an office in Dublin which had nothing to do with the deep sea at all. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would be able to tell them that lie had some measure in hand to deal with this subject.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that hon. Members seemed to him to be very sanguine as to the results of the new Government in Ireland; but he would venture to say that if the Irish Fisheries were to be developed they would be done much more by the efforts of the people themselves than by Government assistance. There was one remark, however, which he wished to make. They, on that side, had come there as rigid professors of economy; but he confessed that his hopes would vanish if, every time that one of the three countries in the United Kingdom obtained a larger sum than the rest, the hon. Members who represented the others were to insist upon having an equally large sum. With regard to all of those questions, what they had to consider, first of all was, was the money really wanted, and not whether another part of the Kingdom obtained it. With regard to the sum for Scotland, a great part of it was in the nature of a loan from the Exchequer; and if hon. Members would refer to the Estimates they would find 709 that nearly half was repaid to the Exchequer in another form.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he ventured to support the statement of the hon. Member for Dublin (Dr. Lyons) with regard to the Irish Fisheries, and especially with respect to the advantage which the provision of vessels like those in Scotland would be in Ireland. In Bantry Bay, particularly, there had been a great deal of ill-feeling between the trawlers and other fishermen, and it had recently resulted in a fight in which life was nearly lost. If there had been any authority to settle the dispute between the two classes of fishermen that would not have occurred. Besides that, he must take exception to the statements of the noble Lord the Secretary to the Treasury—namely, that the Fisheries only required the energy and industry of the people to develop. That was not the case. In the first place, there were no piers on that part of the Irish Coast. There was hardly a pier on the Coast of Cork for a distance of 80 or 90 miles. He was himself, during the last few days, in a tract of country extending over 30 miles of coast where there was not a single pier. He, therefore, hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would consider that subject; and he might say that there was no surer way to relieve the distress on the West Coast of Ireland than, first, by making a grant in aid of the construction of piers, and then by placing a certain sum of money at the disposal of the Board of Works to lend to the fishermen.
§ MR. MACDONALD
said, that none would more willingly assist the Irish Members in regard to the Fisheries than himself; but they must remember that the subject before them was the Scotch Fishery, and as the Scotch Fishery they must deal with it. He wished to call attention to a matter he had referred to on a former occasion. The Secretary of the Board received an additional £800 a-year as Curator to the National Gallery of Scotland. Now, it appeared to him that there was no office but had barnacles and parasites of that kind, acting in and holding two offices and drawing two salaries. He should like to know whether there was any person in the City of London who would have, in his office, a person who drew his pay, and then went away to fill another office 710 in another part of the City? and yet that was what was done in every office connected with the Government. There was also pay and duty pay, all or both cunningly devised to fleece the taxpayer, and make him feel happy in being robbed. He had a thought to divide the Committee on the subject, because there were by far too many persons who, by favour or some other reason, were able to get two situations; while others were not able to get even one. He should certainly set his face strongly against it, with the view of getting not only the House, but the country to deal with the matter.
§ MR. D. M'LAREN
said, there seemed to be an impression that Scotland was very lavishly dealt with. He wished to point out that, so far as regarded the Fishery grants, Scotland got nothing at all. The fees which came in for branding amounted to £400 more than the expenses, so that Scotland made the Exchequer a present of about that amount. With regard to the employment of Government vessels, it was found that when a large number of boats were gathered to one fishing ground a great amount of confusion ensued, and it was necessary to have two small vessels to keep peace among them. They were the police of the sea, and the cost of maintaining them could in no sense be held to be a grant to the Scotch Fisheries.
agreed with the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Macdonald) as to the undesirability of one person holding two offices, but pointed out the exceptional nature of the position of the Secretary to the Fishery Board. That gentleman was also Curator of the National Gallery of Scotland. That was a situation which occupied a large amount of his time, and he know from his personal knowledge that that gentleman exercised a great deal of care in the performance of his duties. It would, in his opinion, be very wrong to cut down the Vote on account of his holding two offices.
An hon. MEMBER said, that the last time he was on the West Coast of Ireland shoals of herrings appeared off the coast, and on asking the peasantry why they did not go out to catch them, they said that it was because they had neither boats nor nets. Now, coming as he did from the East Coast of England, where the same thing occurred, he wished to 711 point out that the people of Yarmouth and Lowestoff never came to the Government to ask to be supplied with fishing material. He could not help thinking that the people on the West Coast of Ireland would do well to imitate their example.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, he regretted that the right hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) was absent from the Committee, as he would probably have proposed a reduction of the Vote, on the ground that the grant did nothing whatever to help the people to whom it was made. He came from the extreme West Coast of England, which was celebrated, amongst other things, for the catching of fish. The Cornish fishermen not only fished off the coast of Cornwall, but also in Irish waters, as well as off the Coast of Scotland, where they competed with the Scotch fishermen, and he defied his hon. Friend to find one single Vote directly or indirectly in their aid. His hon. Friend had said that the Vote for Harbours and Piers was in favour of the Cornish fishermen. But they had no such Vote, for the harbours on the Coast of Cornwall were built by associations of Cornish men, who advanced their own money for the purpose. He disputed the value of the Vote as being in any way of use to the Scotch Fisheries.
§ MR. MARE STEWART
said, that the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) had informed the Committee that he came from the West Coast of England; but he had not, at the same time, informed them of the great difference which existed between the West Coast of England and some parts of the Scotch Coast. There existed among the fishermen of different nationalities a natural jealousy and rivalry, and it was for that reason absolutely necessary that Her Majesty's cutters should go there to preserve order, and to that purpose a considerable portion of the present Vote was due, which, in his opinion, could certainly not be considered to be misappropriated. He thought that before his hon. Friend complained of the proposal in aid of Scotch fishermen he should make himself master of the situation. If he would look at the Vote he would see that it was in respect of one of the most dangerous parts of the Coast of Scotland that the money was asked for.
§ Mr. E. COLLINS
said, he could not allow some of the observations which had been addressed to the Committee to pass without reply from him. His hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) had referred to the important fisheries in Cornwall, which, as he said, although they were not supported by State aid, were both extensive and flourishing. But there were important Fisheries in Ireland which had been developed by Irish industry as well as by Irish intelligence and money. For instance, the mackerel fishery at Kinsale had obtained a prominence which caused it to be regarded as one of the most important industries in the country; but the reason why the Fisheries of Kinsale had obtained that importance within the last 10 years was that facilities existed there in the way of shelter for the boats, that did not exist in other parts of the country. He believed that if provision were made for harbours and piers on various parts of the coast, which stood very much in need of them, the same amount of industry would be stimulated there as had been said to exist among the Cornish fishermen. Under these circumstances, he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in the hope that he would take some step in the direction of developing that particular industry.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
said, he wished to point out that the question before the Committee related to the Scotch Fisheries, and that a certain amount of money was asked to be devoted to that purpose. He agreed that the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) had clearly shown that the Scotch Fisheries paid their own cost in this respect. The cutters referred to in the Estimates were actually the police of the sea, in those parts to which they were sent, where they also were employed for Revenue purposes; and it would be just as reasonable on the part of hon. Members to object to vote a sum required for the Coastguard as to object to the money required for these vessels.
said, that the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) was in the position of a man who had dined heartily at another person's expense, and who felt that he was entirely independent of any further assistance, and that he could face the evils of the world with confidence. But in Scotland and Ireland 713 the people had not the same advantage. The hon. Member for Liskeard had said that it was to the spirited independence and industry of the Cornish fishermen that their advantageous position was due. Now, if the hon. Member would go round the South Coast of England and count the number of piers and harbours that had been formed by State assistance, he would see the enormous disproportion which existed as regarded the condition of the South Coast of England and the Scotch Coast as compared with the West Coast of Ireland. The hon. Member must also bear in mind that the Cornish fishermen carried on their trade in, comparatively speaking, inland waters, where they had not to face the Atlantic rollers as did the Irish fishermen. Of course, they were not entitled to discuss the state of the Irish Fisheries upon a Scotch Vote; but if the hon. Member only knew what injustice he was doing to the Irish fishermen, he (Mr. Parnell) was sure that he would be one of the first to wish unsaid what he had uttered. It had been pointed out that his constituents were doing their best to develop the fishery on the West Coast of Ireland, where a number of boatowners were taking advantage of the only harbour which existed along that coast for affording shelter to the boats. It was exceedingly probable that a somewhat similar state of affairs existed with regard to Scotland. There was a saying in that House that the Scotch had been very much petted, and that their Members had always been able to get as much money as they required for their own purposes from the Imperial Exchequer. That might be so or not; but it was not likely that the people of Scotland had received the same amount of assistance for their fisheries as had been received by the people of England. If the Irish people had the control of their own resources over their land and water, and over their own county affairs, they would never come to this country for a single penny. They would be then able to do that which the Government now refused to do for them, and which they also refused to allow them to do for themselves. He thought it unfair for the hon. Member for Liskeard, as one who had opposed a centralized system of industries which had crushed trade in Ireland, and had materially injured Scotland, to draw comparisons of this kind, and to exhibit 714 the fishermen of Ireland and Scotland in so disadvantageous a light.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he thought it would be of advantage to the Committee if the discussion of the Vote were confined to its object—namely, the sum in aid of the Scotch Fisheries. His reason for hoping they would be allowed to discuss the Vote upon its real merits was, that he did not wish to prejudice, prejudge, or anticipate the discussion which must come on when the Vote in aid of the Irish Fisheries was reached. His hon. Friend had said that a Supplementary Vote would be required in the course of a year for that purpose; and in order that it should be made use of as speedily as possible, it would be his duty to introduce a clause into the Bill which was about to be brought forward. He could not, therefore, help feeling that a discussion of the kind which was taking place with regard to the Irish Fisheries, without having the actual Vote before them, was more likely to do harm than good to the passing of the Bill.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) had imputed to him opinions which he did not hold, and had charged him with leaving out of sight two facts—first, that Cornish fishermen were not exposed to the Atlantic rollers; and, secondly, that they were possessed of harbours or piers constructed with public money. With regard to the first statement, he should like to see the hon. Member in a mackerel boat off the Land's End.
§ MR. CALLAN
rose to Order. A few moments ago the hon. Member for Kin-sale (Mr. Collins) had been called to Order for discussing Irish Fisheries upon this Vote; he begged to ask whether the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) was in Order in discussing Atlantic rollers breaking on the shores of Cornwall?
said, he had already drawn attention to the fact that the discussion had travelled considerably beyond the Vote before the Committee, to which he requested hon. Members to confine themselves.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, he had endeavoured to prove that the Vote for the Scotch Fisheries was totally unnecessary, on the ground that the English Fisheries flourished without any similar assistance. There was no single harbour in Cornwall constructed with public 715 money; while the harbour of Plymouth was constructed for the use of Her Majesty's Navy.
said, what he had stated was, that a large number of harbours on the South Coast of England had been constructed with public money. He had not said that there were any harbours in Cornwall constructed in the same way; but it was obvious that a fisherman who put out from a bad harbour, knowing that he had a good one to run into, was in a different position to the fisherman on the Scotch Coast, who knew that he had no such harbour to make use of.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, he wished to pin the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) to the last words he had made use of—namely, "petted Cornwall."
§ MR. WILLIAMSON
regretted that so much time had been wasted by Irish and English Members who did not appear to understand the question of Scotch Fisheries. The sum in question was for expenses connected with the branding of herrings, the catching of which was the principal element in the Scotch Fisheries. On the other band, the Fisheries of Cornwall were almost confined to the catching of pilchards. If the expenses connected with the Revenue cutters were taken into account, hon. Members would see that, practically, the Scotch Fisheries had no assistance from the English Treasury.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he did not think that any Scotch Member had sufficiently repudiated the idea that the Scotch people wanted, or would accept, any fostering or coddling from the British Treasury. It had been clearly shown that the branding of the herrings did not cost the country a single farthing. He was sure that the South Coast of Cornwall as well as the South and East Coast of England were protected by Her Majesty's ships just as much as any part of the Scotch Coast. It was, therefore, not a special advantage given to Scotland in this respect. The sum of £3,000 referred to had been for many years expended on two harbours of refuge—namely, Wick and Anstruther, and were for the purpose of saving life, and, consequently, strictly analogous to the harbours of Holyhead, Devonport, and Plymouth.
§ MR. SEXTON
remarked, that the difference in the treatment of Ireland and 716 Scotland in this matter was not exceptional; but it was a type of what had invariably happened since this Assembly first took upon itself the paternal care of the affairs of Ireland.
The hon. Gentleman's remarks have no connection with the object of the Vote. The Question before the Committee is—That a sum, not exceeding £9,734, 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 1881, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Fishery Board, Scotland.The hon. Member must confine his remarks to the Question before the Committee.
§ MR. SEXTON
asked if he would be in Order in concluding his remarks in regard to the Scotch Fisheries?
If the hon. Gentleman has any remark to make upon the subject-matter of this Vote the Committee will be glad to hear him.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the Scotch Fisheries had received, since the Union, from Imperial grants a sum that was £1,250,000 in excess of the sum received by the Irish Fisheries. It appeared from the Reports of the hon. Member who now represented the County of Waterford (Mr. Blake), and who was formerly Inspector of Irish Fisheries. But the Inspectors had, again and again, appealed in vain to the Government to save the Irish Fisheries from decay—
The hon. Gentleman is not in Order in discussing the Irish Fisheries on a Scotch Vote. I must again remind him that the Question before the Committee is—That a sum, not exceeding £9,734,he 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 1881, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Fishery Board, Scotland.
§ Vote agreed to.
(15.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £4,391, 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 1881, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
wished to point out to the Committee that they 717 were under a considerable disadvantage in discussing these Estimates from the fact that the Committee of Public Accounts had not reported upon the accounts that year. Generally, by that period of the Session, the 1st Report of the Public Accounts Committee, at any rate, was in the hands of hon. Members; but this year, in consequence, he presumed, of the Dissolution, the only Report which had been furnished to hon. Members by the Public Accounts Committee was one which stated in lump sums the amounts which were intended to be included in the Estimates. The Committee had no other Report before them whatever, and the consequence was that they were not able to estimate in any way the reasonableness of the demands now made upon them, and were really left very much in doubt as to the proper course they ought to take. Under these circumstances, he would move that the Chairman report Progress and ask leave to sit again, in order that the Committee, before continuing the consideration of the Estimates, might be furnished with a further Report from the Public Accounts Committee.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Arthur O'Connor.)
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
quite agreed with the hon. Member that it would be more convenient if the Report of the Public Accounts Committee were presented before Supply was taken; but if the hon. Member proposed that no more Votes in Supply should be taken until the Committee on Public Accounts had reported, the Committee must be prepared to wait until the end of the year. He hoped, therefore, that the hon. Member would not persist in his Motion to report Progress. He (Lord Frederick Cavendish) intended to move to report Progress himself before long; but it would be much more convenient to the Committee if, before doing so, they were able to finish the Scotch Votes.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked, if the Committee was to understand that the Government did not propose to take anything beyond the Scotch Votes in Class II. that night?
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
intimated that in that case he would not press the Motion for reporting Progress.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (16.) £4,694, to complete the sum for the Registrar General's Office, Scotland.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, he did not see in connection with this Vote any item for the expenses of the Census in Scotland. He thought the Vote ought to include that item. It would be most undesirable to have Supplementary Votes brought in hereafter for expenses which could be as well foreseen now as at any other time, and which, in his opinion, ought to be included in the Vote. He wished also to be informed when it was probable that the Census Bill would be introduced?
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
explained, that no provision was made in the present Vote for the expenses of taking the Census, because, in the opinion of the Registrar General for Scotland, no portion of the expenditure would be necessary in the present year. The expense of the Census would be included in the Estimates for the year 1881. He believed that the Census Bills were being prepared as quickly as possible.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £14,048, 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 1881, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Supervision for Belief of the Poor and for Expenses under the Public Health and Vaccination Acts, including certain Grants in Aid of Local Taxation in Scotland.
said, the attention of the Committee last evening was directed to this Vote; and it was then suggested that full information would be given in reference to it at a later stage, when the Estimate came regularly before the Committee. The sum which had been paid for many years for medical relief in Scotland was £10,000 per annum; and the Scotch Representatives had complained on more than one occasion that that sum was quite inadequate compared with the sums voted for similar purposes in England. The mode in which he 719 understood that the grant was allocated in England was that the Local Government Board, having control over the whole Administration, should pay one half of the expenses or salaries of every medical officer appointed; but the sole control was continued as to the number of officers to be appointed in connection with the several Unions. The Local Government Board also retained the power of approving of each medical officer appointed, and of preventing his dismissal without their consent. The same course was not followed in Scotland. The system in Scotland was that this sum of £10,000 was distributed among the several parishes in Scotland by the Board of Supervision, much in the same way as the sums were allocated in this country, but not in the same proportion. The sums received by the parishes in Scotland were very small indeed compared with the sums voted to the Boards of Guardians in England. No doubt, the circumstances of Scotland were dissimilar from those of England, and it would be impossible to apply the same practice to both countries. Many of the parishes in Scotland exceeded in area the great majority of the Unions in England. In England there were 15,000 parishes, although the population of the country was only six or seven times as large as that of Scotland. There were only about 900 parishes altogether in Scotland. Many of the Scotch parishes exceeded the area of the majority of Unions in England; and to apply the same rule to every single parish as was applied to the English Unions would lead to an amount of centralization of power in the Board of Supervision that the people of Scotland would dislike very much, and which, he thought, would be highly inexpedient, unless it was desired by this Government to centralize the whole working of the Poor Law system and deprive the people of Scotland of everything they now enjoyed in the shape of local self-government. Even if this should be the will of Parliament, he should be sorry to see local self-government wholly superseded by the central Government. Yet it was now sought that this grant should be dependent upon the acceptance by Scotland of some regulations which might be suitable in England, but which were certainly not suitable to the circum- 720 stances of Scotland. Seeing that the money granted was not given to any parish that did not conform to the regulations laid down by the Board of Supervision, and that no parish would get a share of the £10,000 which did not comply with them, it appeared to him that it would be quite sufficient, to secure the Treasury against imposition, or against the wrong and improper application of any part of the grant, that they should lay down definite rules for the distribution of the money, and that those rules should be adhered to. If a parish declined to adhere to the regulations, then it should be required to withdraw the grant in the same way that a withdrawal was now made from a school board in consequence of non-compliance with the regulations of the Department. In that case, wherever there was a failure to comply with the regulations, the grant would be at once withdrawn. He thought the Scotch Members were entitled to expect that the noble Lord below him the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Frederick Cavendish), or some one of Her Majesty's Ministers, would be prepared to state that if not on the present occasion, at any rate on an early day, the claims of Scotland to a further grant in aid of the local taxation for the relief of the poor should be conceded to them. He did not consider it necessary that he should detain the Committee with many remarks; he did not approve of these grants himself, and he should be quite content to see them do away altogether with all grants in aid of any local purposes whatever; because he believed that local supervision was much superior to centralization, and that it would be far better for the Scotch Members to secure local administration and independence from central control than to have State aid and centralized administration. He was satisfied that the evils would be far less than the evils which would arise from an attempt to centralize the local government of the country in the hands of any State Department. He, therefore, trusted that the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, or some other Member of Her Majesty's Government, would be able to give the Committee an assurance that the claims of Scotland to which he had referred, or the propriety of doing away with 721 these grants altogether, would he taken into serious consideration before the Committee was again asked to vote this particular sum. He had nothing whatever to say against the administration of the Board of Supervision. The people of Scotland were satisfied with their administration. They carried out the law in a judicious manner; but there was a natural desire on the part of all officials in every Department to increase the power and influence of the Department, and to deprecate anything in the nature of local self-government, no matter how much better the welfare of a particular district would be secured by the administration of persons who were better able to judge of the wants and necessities of a locality than any set of officials.
§ MR. MARK STEWART
said, he did not propose to follow the hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay), who had just addressed the Committee, in the statements he had made. He did not think there was any advantage to be obtained in going again over all the arguments in favour of increasing the medical grant and of local self-government, because they had already been repeated so often; but if he might make, a suggestion to his noble Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, he would say this:—"Let us vote the proposed sum of £10,000 to-night towards the medical relief of Scotland, and leave the question of what is necessary to be done further for consideration hereafter in the Supplementary Estimates." It was agreed on all hands that the sum the Committee were asked to vote was wholly inadequate to meet the existing wants of Scotland, although Scotland was as much entitled to assistance in regard to medical relief as any other part of the country. What he would suggest was that they should take the Vote to-night as an instalment, and that the Government should bring in a Bill towards the end of the Session dealing with the whole question. He hoped the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury would be able to give the Committee some assurance that the question would be dealt with in the way in which all the Scotch Members wished, and that in the Supplementary Estimates a further sum would be voted towards the medical relief of Scotland.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said that, so far as he understood the complaint of the hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay), it was that the Scotch people did not receive a fair share of the grant made by Parliament in aid of the local rates. The hon. Member wished either for an increased grant, or for an alteration of the system by getting rid of these grants altogether. Now, the question of local taxation both in England and Scotland was a very wide one, that would require careful and mature consideration. It was quite evident that it could not be dealt with in the present year. The only promise he was able to make at present was that, before the Estimates were brought forward next year, this subject should receive careful consideration with a view to placing it on a proper footing.
said, the subject was one on which they had received that kind of satisfactory assurance so often that they were beginning to lose all faith in it. He thought the most practical way of dealing with the question would be to postpone the Vote until the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury might have an opportunity of making himself acquainted with the real bearings of the case. He did not care two straws whether they did away with the system of grants in aid altogether, or whether they equalized them in different parts of the Kingdom; but he did protest against having a high grant in aid in England, while they received only one half, or even much less in proportion, in Scotland. This medical relief grant had, in point of fact, been held forth to the people of Scotland year after year as a bribe, in order to induce them to accept an unsatisfactory Poor Law Amendment Bill. Year after year Bills were introduced embodying this principle, which was nothing more than a bribe by which it was hoped to induce the House to accept the measure. He must say that he did not altogether agree with the hon. Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay). Last year he (Dr. Cameron) suggested to Her Majesty's Government that they might fairly meet the question by introducing a short measure offering to Scotland a grant in aid on equal terms with England, or rather on precisely the same terms accorded in England. The Government met that 723 proposition fairly, and introduced a Bill; but some hon. Members opposed it, and the consequence was that the measure fell through. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Falkirk Burghs had now expressed his views upon the matter. His hon. Friend objected to the principle of centralization, and to the central control which the Government proposition of last year involved. He (Dr. Cameron) had no doubt that if the Government would allow the people of Scotland to have what they were entitled to, they would be able to convince the Government that the money was applied in the most advantageous manner. Of course, that proposition could not be gone into that evening upon the present Vote; and he would, therefore, suggest that the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury should postpone the Vote.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
must really ask his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) to consider whether the proposal he made was at all a practicable way of dealing with the question. The suggestion now made, so far as he understood it, was that Scotland should be placed on the same footing as England; that they should receive an additional grant for medical relief, on the condition that all the appointments were approved by the Board of Supervision, due regard being had to the nature and extent of each district. Did his hon. Friend think that a large measure of that sort could receive due care and consideration at the hands of the Government in the short remaining period of the present Session? Another suggestion was made that the Government should put an end to the system of grants in aid altogether, He thought the Committee would see that it was impossible to deal with these questions in the present year; and, therefore, if he were to consent to postpone the Vote on the understanding that he hoped to be able to deal with the question, he would only be misleading the Committee. He thought that he had done all that he could be expected to do by promising that the subject should receive the fullest and most careful consideration before the Estimates were brought forward next year.
§ MR. D. M'LAREN
could not at present altogether accept the principle laid down that grants in aid of every kind should be done away with altogether. He 724 preferred, for the present discussion, the alternative that the grants should be equalized. What Scotland desired was equal justice with England. She asked for no kind of favour whatever. There were enormous discrepancies in the present system of administering these grants. He was not going to discuss the question in its entirety; but he simply wished to point out that the Committee would see in the Estimates for England grants in aid which amounted, on the whole, to £338,000, while Scotland received £10,000 only. Yet Scotland paid a seventh part of the Revenue paid by England. Why, then, should England, paying only seven times as much, get 33 times more than Scotland in the shape of grants in aid of its local taxes? Very fair promises had been made to the people of Scotland for several years past. About four years ago a large deputation waited upon the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, who distinctly promised to consider the question, and to afford relief. He thought the time for repeating such promises had now passed, and the people of Scotland were entitled to expect at the hands of Her Majesty's Government something in the shape of a performance of promises.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
was very much afraid that his hon. Friend the Member for the Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Ramsay) was only dragging a red flag in the path of the Committee in suggesting that grants in aid should be done away with altogether. The noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury was right in saying that that was not a question within the range of practical politics at present; but he (Sir George Campbell) did not see that there could be any practical difficulty in carrying out now that which had been promised for many years—namely, the giving of grants to Scotland on the same scale as those which were given to England. Personally, he did not see why the administrative question should be mixed up with the financial question as had been the case. He agreed with the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) that there was no reason why the Scotch Members should not insist upon having justice done to Scotland in regard to this question. He must say that he was much pained by the way in which Scotland was invariably treated, whichever Government happened to be in power. 725 The treatment of Scotland formed a painful contrast to the treatment of other parts of the Kingdom. When, the other night, the question was discussed, perhaps a little prematurely, there did appear to him to be a painful contrast. The Scotch Members not only failed to get a fair amount of hope or promise in the matter, but they hardly received a civil answer to their complaints. No Member of Her Majesty's Government seemed to know anything about the Scotch Vote, although this was a very important question, one in which intense interest existed in Scotland, and one which had been pressed on the House year after year. But when an hon. Member from Ireland, now sitting on the opposite side of the House, rose to raise a much less important question in regard to Ireland, and upon which less local feeling existed, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was profuse in promises. The right hon. Gentleman distinctly promised that the Irish grievance should be fully and amply considered in the present Session of Parliament and that if there was the injustice complained of it should be remedied. When that was the case, it did seem to him monstrous that the same amount of justice should not be done to Scotland in the present Session of Parliament. He could not help feeling that the people of Scotland were not fairly treated in the matter; and the treatment they met with certainly did suggest the necessity of having some Member of the Government in the House of Commons who should especially represent Scotland. He would not go the length of saying that the Representative of Scotland should be a Secretary of State; but he was strongly of opinion that there ought to be some Member of Her Majesty's Government who should make himself responsible for Scotch affairs, and should be capable of answering the complaints of the Scotch Members. He fully agreed with the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) that the Vote should be postponed; and he therefore begged leave to move that it be postponed, in order to afford Her Majesty's Government an opportunity of fully considering the subject.
said, he would move that the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again. He took that course from no spirit of opposition. He was perfectly certain that the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury did not understand the question, or he would see that the Scotch Members were only raising a very fair claim, and that they were bound to make a firm stand in consequence of the hope deferred which had made their heart sick for many years. The noble Lord told them there was not time to pass a measure on the subject this Session. The whole of the matter was now before the Committee. The Bill he had already referred to was not introduced until a much later period of the Session last year; and although, owing to an unfortunate misunderstanding among the Scotch Members, it did not become law, it was certain if the matter was taken in hand now that a couple of weeks would suffice to dispose of it. At any rate, if that were not the case, and there should happen to be a disagreement among the Scotch Members as to the terms of the measure, the Government would then have the best excuse for doing nothing in the matter, and no one need be afraid that they would hesitate to avail themselves of that excuse. He thought that he might, without any lack of charity, say of the late Government that they were pleased to find that there was a disagreement among the Scotch Members, as it enabled them to keep the money in their pocket. For the purpose of giving to the Government an opportunity of re-considering the whole matter, he would move that the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Dr. Cameron.)
said, that his contention was that so long as these grants were given, it was only just that Scotland should be placed in the same position with regard to them as the other two divisions of the United Kingdom. He had no desire to protract the discussion, and if there were any prospect of the Government coming to a conclusion satisfactory to the Scotch Members he did not wish to press the matter. Other- 727 wise, he should feel it his duty to support the Motion to report Progress.
§ MR. HIBBERT
said, that he thought Scotch Members were somewhat to blame for the position in which this matter now stood. A great deal had been said with regard to the grants in aid of medical relief in England. It was well known that the grants in aid of medical relief in England were given on certain conditions, which were that the local authorities should submit the medical appointments and salaries to the approval of the Local Government Board. The Scottish people had never agreed to that condition; but if they really wanted the grant they must take it on the same conditions as those upon which it was accepted in England. It was unfair both to the late and the present Government to say that they had not treated Scotland in the same way as England. Scotland must see that she had no right to receive the money except on the same conditions as it was received in England and Ireland. When those conditions were accepted, Scotland would, no doubt, receive the grant.
§ MR. MARK STEWART
said, that the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury did not seem to understand the question. He thought that more time ought to be given the Government for considering the matter; and, therefore, he had great pleasure in supporting the Motion to report Progress.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, that he remembered with pleasure the many occasions on which Scotch Members had lent their assistance to Irishmen on Irish questions. He thought, therefore, that the legitimate grievances of Scotchmen should be treated in a like spirit by Irish Members. The question now in dispute was in regard to medical relief in Scotland, and it seemed to him that there could be no question which more affected the Scotch nation than this. The hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) had not convinced him that the proposition for adjournment made by Scotch Members was at all unreasonable; and he should, therefore, give it his support.
§ MR. D. M'LAREN
said, he was surprised that the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) should treat the question in the manner he had done. Scotch Members were willing to have 728 proper legislation on this question; but they objected to its being treated in the manner it had been. When a Bill was brought in by the late Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to that question, they were told by him that there was not time to discuss the Bill, and that they must either accept the measure proposed in its entirety, or have no Bill at all. The hon. Member for Oldham said that the Scotch people must accept this grant on the same terms as the English people. But he maintained that, under existing conditions, the terms were not the same, and could not be the same. In the case of England, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board and the Secretary held seats in that House, and it was open to any hon. Member to question them upon any matter that he might think fit. But in Scotland, instead of the Poor Law Board being represented in that House, they had a secret conclave called the Board of Supervision. It was merely a nominal Board, which, practically, consisted of one man, the Chairman, with a Secretary, and when any grievance arose there was no mode of obtaining an answer to it in that House. It was not right that the Scotch Poor Law Guardians should have taken away from them the power to remove an incompetent medical man without the consent of this Board of Supervision—that was, of one man sitting in Edinburgh, as was proposed by the Bill of last year. Then, again, it was probable that if placed under Government control the expenses would be much greater than they were now under local authority. In all probability, when part of the salaries were paid out of the Consolidated Fund, the expense to the ratepayers would be greater than at present, when the whole charge was defrayed from the rates. Government supervision led to extravagance, and the ultimate result to the ratepayers of the control being taken away from the local authorities would be increased expense. It was, therefore, impossible, under the present circumstances, to place Scotland under the same conditions as England.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, they were perfectly willing to accept the grant upon the same conditions as England with regard to the financial part of the matter, but not with regard to the administrative part. He thought that they 729 were right in asking for a postponement of the Vote, on the ground that no Member of the Government was sufficiently informed upon this subject. No occupant of the Treasury Bench seemed to be in a position to understand this matter; and he considered that the Vote should be postponed until Her Majesty's Government had informed themselves upon it. They only asked to be placed on an equality with England, and the matter could not be finally disposed of until some Member of Her Majesty's Government had fully considered it.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that he had no objection to the postponement of the Vote; but, by so doing, he must not be understood as yielding in any degree to the contention of the Scotch Members. Hon. Members who occupied seats in the last Parliament would remember that the hon. Baronet who lately occupied the position that he had the honour to hold (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) made his argument upon this matter as simple as possible. He simply said that the circumstances of English and Scotch people were alike, and that the same advances could not be made to Scotland, unless the conditions on which it received them were the same as those of England. It was said by hon. Members that the Board of Supervision in Scotland held a different position from the Local Government Board in England, That might, or might not, be the case; but it was obvious that this question was surrounded with difficulties. As hon. Members seemed to prefer it, he was willing to agree to a postponement of the Vote.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next;
§ Committee also report Progress, to sit again upon Monday next.