|Superannuation and Retired Allowances||100,000|
|Merchant Seamen's Fund Pensions, &c.||6,000|
|Relief of Distressed British Seamen Abroad||2,000|
|Pauper Lunatics, England||1,000|
|Pauper Lunatics, Scotland||1,000|
|Pauper Lunatics, Ireland||10,000|
|Hospitals and Infirmaries, Ireland||1,500|
|Friendly Societies Deficiency|
|Miscellaneous Charitable and other Allowances, Great Britain||500|
|Miscellaneous Charitable and other Allowances, Ireland||500|
|Total for Civil Services||£1,961,300|
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
asked if it was intended to take Supply before the Land Bill was finally disposed of, or was it intended to suspend Supply while the Land Bill was before the House? He was anxious to know what the condition of the House was. So far, they had taken very few Votes in Supply.
said, it was very difficult for the Government to judge what time the Land Bill would take in Committee. Indeed, it was extremely difficult; and, therefore, he was unable to give any authoritative answer in reference to Supply. He certainly did not expect to make any great progress in Supply until the Land Bill was got rid of; and after that was done Supply would be regularly proceeded with.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
wished to put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister in reference to the order of Business. There were several Bills put down constantly which he did not believe the Government had any intention of bringing on; but the fact that they were down on the Paper gave a great deal of trouble to hon. Members. For instance, there were the Parliamentary Elections Bill and the Parliamentary Oaths Bill. He did not think the Government ought to put down Bills of such importance unless they intended to bring them on. Night after night he saw the Parliamentary Oaths Bill on the Paper. There was no necessity for this, as there could be very little intention on the part of the Government of proceeding with it at once, and ho was certain the right hon. Gentleman had no wish to carry it forward in an underhand way.
Questions relating to the Orders of the Day can only be asked in the House, and not in Committee of Supply.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
would, under these circumstances, move to report Progress, so that he might be able to put this Question.
That would still be an irregular course. The Question which the hon. Member proposes to ask can only be put in the House with the Speaker in the Chair.
MR. T. COLLIN
said, they could not have the Speaker in the Chair unless they reported Progress; and as it was desirable that they should report Progress, in order to have the Speaker in the Chair, he would second the Motion for reporting Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Sir H. Drummond Wolff.)
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, he did not understand one of the phrases made use of by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman said that Supply would be taken when "the bulk of our work on the Land Bill was concluded;" but he had not made it clear whether he referred to the work in Committee, or to the work which the House would have to do on the third reading.
said, in some cases work strictly analagous to work in Com- 1742 mittee went over to the Report. If that were so in the present case, he should include the stage of Report in the expression he had used.
asked if the Prime Minister could give the House any prospect of a discussion on the state of affairs in the Transvaal? A great deal of reticence had been exercised in connection with this subject in order not to cause the Government embarrassment in the position in which they were placed; but the right hon. Gentleman would be conscious that the state of affairs in the Transvaal were extremely serious, and that many hon. Members who desired to see the undertakings of the Government carried out were very anxious with regard to the Transvaal question. He trusted the Government would appoint an early day for the discussion of the Motion which stood upon the Paper.
said, the answer he had given to the right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was that Her Majesty's Government could not appoint a day for discussion on his Motion until the labours of the Commission were completed. A telegram had been received that day, stating that the work of the Commission had begun, and he presumed, when it was completed, the right hon. Baronet would renew his application to the Government. The answer to that application would depend on one consideration. The desire of Her Majesty's Government was that the discussion should be taken as soon as it could be proceeded with without detriment to the Public Service; but their decision must be founded on the actual progress of the Commission in its work.
understood that the Estimates would be postponed to the end of the Session, when most hon. Members were out of town. He had given a great deal of attention to the various items of Supply last year, and had frequently addressed the Committee when scarcely 40 Members were present in the House, owing to the Estimates having been introduced at so late a period of the Session. There could be no doubt that the postponement of Supply to the last days of the Session was most injurious to the interests of the Public Service.
§ EARL PERCY
said, as Supply was the special work of the House of Commons, it was very important that the 1743 Votes should be fully discussed. Although it was disagreeable to those who had no right to speak with authority on the course of Business to mention the subject, yet he thought hon. Members had a right to know whether, in the opinion of the occupants of both Front Benches, the course proposed to be followed in the case of the Civil Service Estimates was for the interest of the country. Was it for the interest of the Public Service that a second Vote should be taken on account, and that all consideration of the Estimates should be relegated to a period when there could be no possible opportunity for full discussion?
§ MR. ONSLOW
asked, whether the Prime Minister would appoint a Morning Sitting on an early day for the consideration of the Indian Budget? He also wished to know whether the Parliamentary Oaths Bill was intended to be postponed until after the third reading, or when the Report of the Irish Land Bill was taken?
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
hoped the Prime Minister would give a satisfactory answer as to the course of Public Business to hon. Members who had just spoken above the Gangway. He considered the conduct of the Government with regard to Supply was deserving of severe animadversion. On Friday night last, the Government waited until 1 o'clock in the morning, and then, having two Notices on the Paper with regard to Supply—namely, the 1st and 2nd Classes of the Civil Service Estimates and the 10th Vote of the Army Estimates—the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury intimated that it was a great deal too late to agree to the Civil Service Estimates at that hour. Now, these two classes, in their entirety, did not amount to so large a sum as the single Army Vote, which was for £3 500,000. This latter sum was voted when there were scarcely 40 Members present, although it seemed to provide for almost all the Military Administration, and amounted to nearly one-third of the total Effective Vote for the Army Service. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War told the Committee that it was absolutely necessary that the sum should be voted at once. But it must be palpable to anyone acquainted with the facts of the case that such a representation was ab- 1744 surd—that before two months of the financial year had expired the War Office could require nearly one-half of the whole amount of the Military Estimates for the year. Yet, upon that representation of the right hon. Gentleman, the Committee was induced to vote a sum which made up a total of nearly £8,000,000 on account of the Army Estimates. He (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) and one or two hon. Members opposed this Vote upon the principle that it was unfair to the country and the House of Commons to bring forward as matters of urgency Votes on Account which at that time of the financial year could not possibly be required. He should to the utmost of his power always oppose the voting of public money in this manner. On the present occasion, therefore, he should ask Her Majesty's Government to give the House an assurance that they would not do what had so often been done before—namely, put off the Committee of Supply to the end of the, Session, when nothing like serious discussion or examination of the Estimates would be practicable. He remembered the Prime Minister admitting, in his place, that he would be very glad to see the Estimates thoroughly canvassed, and that he did not think they hard always received the attention which they deserved. It was perfectly useless to make observations of that kind if he so managed the Public Business that these Votes should not be brought before the House until the Session was nearly at an end. For these reasons, he joined the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone (Captain Aylmer) in the representations he had made.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
said, the Prime Minister stated, at the beginning of the Session, that he proposed to take a Vote on Account for three months; but, upon his offering opposition to the Motion, the right hon. Gentleman consented to reduce the amount asked for to two months' Supply. At the same lime, the right hon. Gentleman stated that in consequence of the pressure of Business, owing to the long debates on the Protection of Person and Property (Ireland) Bill and the Arms Bill, he would very likely have to ask the House to give another Vote on Account before he went into Committee of Supply. This Vote of two months' Supply was readily granted, and it was also understood that, under peculiar cir- 1745 cumstances, the House would not object to the further demand which was now made. But he (Sir R. Assheton Cross) hoped it was clear that there would be no further Vote on Account after the present, and that the Government would, in the course of the next six weeks, bring forward the Estimates from time to time. He could not help thinking that it the Government put a little pressure upon their Friends on Friday evenings there would be no difficulty in making a satisfactory arrangement. The late Government had often been obliged to take that course. Again, it was very unsatisfactory that the Estimates should be brought on at so late an hour. It would be remembered that when the Army Estimates were proposed the Vote was granted on the understanding that the money was absolutely necessary for the Public Service, and that there would be an opportunity given for discussing the particular points which hon. Members had to raise, but which they did not then raise, upon the Vote. The late Secretary of State for War (Colonel Stanley) sat up to 5 o'clock in the morning, and, together with other Members of the late Government, assisted to pass the Vote. When the Vote came forward for discussion he trusted it would be brought on at an earlier time than on the last occasion, for it was almost needless to say that 5 o'clock in the morning was not a suitable hour to discuss Votes in Supply.
admitted that it was most unsatisfactory that Supply should be taken either at too late an hour of the night or at too late a period of the Session; but what were the Government to do? Two hours or more of every Government night were consumed by the Questions put to Ministers. Those Questions were, to a great extent, no doubt, a consequence of the extreme strain put upon private. Members of late. But if the condition of private Members was bad, that of the Government was still worse. He could only say they would do the best they could under difficult circumstances; and he hoped that hon. Members opposite would call them to account if they did not make a judicious use of the limited resources at their disposal.
reminded the Prime Minister that in the early part of the Session two hours, at least, were wasted 1746 on each of three successive nights becaues sufficient Votes in Committee of Supply were not on the Paper, and Progress was reported very early.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that on the occasion referred to Progress was not reported till close on 12 o'clock, and then only because some of the Irish Votes had to be postponed, as they were likely to give rise to a lengthy discussion. It was often complained that Supply was taken at too late an hour.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
pointed out that if time was wasted in putting Questions, time was also wasted by the ridiculous answers to those Questions.
§ MR. PARNELL
asked the Prime Minister if he could not agree to leave the Vote for the Irish Constabulary out of the Votes, and so rescue those Irish Members who thought as he did from an exceedingly disagreeable position? His hon. Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) had a Motion on the Paper, amounting to a Vote of Want of Confidence in the Administration of the Irish Executive. There were questions of a very vital and grave character in reference to that Motion which he desired to bring before the House, questions connected with the administration of the money which they were asked to vote to-night. He supposed he should be told, if he objected to the granting of this £220,000 with which to buy buckshot for the Irish Constabulary, to be used in shooting down women, and children, and men in the West of Ireland, who were unable to pay the excessive rents required of them—he supposed he should be told he was obstructing the Land Bill. They could not give this money to the Irish Government without a protest, and he was convinced that public opinion in Ireland would cheerfully give up a day or part of a day from the Land Bill to finish the discussion on the Motion of his hon. Friend. It must be remembered that the Land Bill could not be passed for a considerable time. There were 1,500 Amendments on the Paper, and they had taken two whole days in discussing two of them. It would not require a very difficult calculation to ascertain, if two Amendments took two whole days, how many days 1,500 Amendments would take. Assuming that the Amendments remaining on the Paper 1747 were only to take a fraction of the time occupied by the two Amendments already disposed of, the Committee would admit that they must sit, in all probability, for two months before they could pass the Bill. In the meantime, time Irish people were to be exposed to all the horrors of what was very little short of martial law. The Prime Minister told them they dare not take a division on the Motion of the hon. Member for Longford; he did not think the right hon. Gentleman thought so now, and he did not think many hon. Members thought so. They had never shown any fear to take the opinion of the House when it was necessary or desirable. He believed every line of the speech the Chief Secretary made the other day could be answered. A friend, who had seen time hon. Member for Tipperary in prison, wired him as follows:—Mr. Dillon Wrote by last night's post to the Speaker complaining of being forcibly prevented from representing his constituents, and demanding an opportunity of repudiating time report of speech made by Forster about him. If possible, get Dillon's letter read to the House.Now, consider what their position was. They maintained that the charges which had been made by the Irish Government against the 110 men who were now confined in gaol were libellous and calumnious, and this they could prove to the satisfaction of the House. They could prove that the class of men that the Chief Secretary said his Act was intended to arrest had not been arrested, and that all the persons who had been arrested were men of stainless character; they could prove that the class of men who had been arrested by the Government, so far from being village scoundrels and ruffians, were men of the highest respectability. What had been done in reference to his friend, Father Sheehy? The Chief Secretary did not scruple to suggest that Father Sheehy, an esteemed clergyman, against whom nothing had ever been brought, had been guilty of an act for which, had he really been guilty, he would have been unfrocked by the discipline of his Church. The Chief Secretary suggested that Father Sheehy had taken part in a violent and secret agitation, that he had induced an unlawful assembly, and had, therefore, become amenable to the law.
The hon. Gentleman is referring to a previous debate, 1748 and the next Order of the Day is one on which he could legitimately discuss this matter. I think he is not regular in discussing the question upon a proposal for a reduction of this Vote.
§ MR. PARNELL,
said he was endeavouring to urge upon the Committee and time Government the propriety of postponing this Vote until they had had an opportunity of finishing the debate and taking the judgment of the House upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Longford. No one would really begrudge the short time necessary for the purpose of finishing the debate; it could not have any appreciable effect upon the Land Bill, for it could not delay the passing of the Bill for more than a few hours. He feared, unless something was done in time way of relief much more quickly than was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, trouble might come which might shake the whole of Christianity; they might fear a serious collision between police and people. At the present time counsels were being given which he had never given, and which he had from the commencement refused to sanction, and those counsels were that the people should refuse the payment of all rent. But if aggravation was to be piled upon aggravation, if the Government insisted upon tuning a deaf ear to the complaints of an unfortunate people, if the Government compelled them to wait for several long and dreary months before the Land Bill could possibly become law, could they be surprised if the people listened to men who were more advanced, and if they sought protection in the only possible way open to them, and that was by starving out the landlands by refusing payment of all rents? He entreated the Prime Minister to relieve the Irish Members of the difficulty, and not to insist upon the Vote for the Irish Constabulary until an opportunity was afforded them of putting their case properly before the country, and this they would have on the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. Justin M'Carthy).
§ Question put, "That the Vote be agreed to."
§ MR. T. COLLINS
rose to Order. A Motion had been made to report Progress, and had not yet been withdrawn.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
said, he would be willing to withdraw the 1749 Motion if he obtained a satisfactory answer from the Government upon the point he had raised.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, of late the practice had grown up of reading to the House Notices of Questions. Questions, he thought, might very well be handed in to the Clerk at the Table. His chief object, however, in rising was to suggest that Questions, except on special occasions, should not be put on Government nights. Time was of comparatively little importance on Tuesdays and Fridays, and might be spent in Questions.
§ MR. T. COLLINS
disapproved of the latter suggestion. It appeared to him that, inasmuch as the Government had deprived private Members of nearly all the time understood to be at their disposal, Questions ought to be put on Government nights only.
could not understand how it was said that the Government appropriated the greater part of the time of the House, for not only now, but for a long time past, three times as many Questions as formerly were put to Ministers, necessarily occupying a considerable time. The Vote now under discussion was simply to enable the Government to fulfil the obligations of the State in the shape of the payment of the servants of the State. When a Vote was required to cover the financial year, the whole subject could be discussed.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
could not reconcile the statement of the Prime Minister with the fact that of the total cost of £915,000 for the County and Borough Police in Great Britain the Government only proposed to take £2,000, or 1-450th part; while besides £220,000 already granted for the Irish Constabulary, they now wished another £220,000, or more than one-fourth of the total Vote of £1,192,000.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
explained that the smallness of the English Vote was owing to the fact that a large proportion of the cost of the English Police was paid out of the rates. The payments in England from the Exchequer were made provisionally; but the whole cost of the Irish Constabulary was paid by the Exchequer, and at once.
§ MR. HICKS
wished to know why so many Orders were placed on the Paper? and referred to the great inconvenience private Members were put to by not 1750 knowing what Business would come before the House. As an instance, he mentioned that the Parliamentary Oaths Bill, which had been off the Paper, had now been put on again; and he asked what use it was for the Government to put down Notices which they had no intention of taking?
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
expressed his willingness, after the explanation of the Prime Minister, to withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a further sum, not exceeding £2,321,300 be granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the charge for the following Civil Services and Revenue Departments for the year ending on the 31st day of March 1882."—(Mr Parnell.)
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
rose to a point of Order, and asked, whether, if the Vote was now taken, it would be competent to any Member to reduce it by the amount for Secret Service?
It would be competent to an hon, Member to reduce the sum by a substantial amount for a particular purpose. It would not be competent to reduce an item. I do not see that this comes under the Prisons Vote.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
wished to know whether it was necessary to vote this money then in the interests of the Public Service? If so, he could not understand the way in which the Government managed their Business. They brought on their Votes at a time when there could be no discussion, and insisted that they must be passed. Was it fair that the Irish Members should be asked to Vote £220,000 for a matter they had, over and over again, tried to get discussed? He did not wish to enter into a contest with the Government if he 1751 could possibly avoid it; but he must ask the Prime Minister to answer a question he had put earlier in the evening. The Vote of £220,000 raised the question of the policy of the Government in continuing to lend the Constabulary and the Military to assist in evictions; and he wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman would, before the Whitsuntide Holidays, give the Irish Members an opportunity of discussing this question. If not, he was afraid they must continue the discussion.
§ MR. A. M. SULLIVAN
regretted that this Vote had been taken in the absence of the Chief Secretary, for it could not fairly be discussed in his absence. He would, however, ask the Attorney General for Ireland what the Government intended to do with those policemen who had scandalously abused the confidence and secrecy of the Census papers? Was the Committee to reward those policemen by giving this Vote? A police officer had admitted, in open Court, that, having got a correct Census paper, he took another paper to the man's house, under the pretence that the other was erroneously filled up; and so, on that lying pretence, obtained the man's signature to the second paper, in order to give evidence against the man in one of those miserable prosecutions now current in Ireland. He had told the Prime Minister that this was one of the things that would be done by Irish policemen more zealous than conscientious; and he wished to see whether there was an Englishman in the House who would defend such trickery, chicanery, and falsehood. What was to be done with the policemen who had acted in that way? What censure had been passed upon them?
§ MR. HEALY
wished to put a question to the Attorney General for Ireland upon the arrest of the man named Murray. He was told that that man was a thorough scoundrel, and he believed that everyone would approve of the arrest. He was a bailiff, and he was popularly supposed to have shot his employer, with whom he had had a dispute. The man was clearing out of the country in September or October, but he was arrested at Queenstown. What good did his arrest do? He was leaving his country for his country's good, and he could not see the advantage of keeping the man in prison for 18 months. The Go- 1752 vernment had not been able to get any evidence against this man, who was charged with attempting to murder his employer, Mr. Wheeler; and he was not arrested under the Coercion Acts. It was a good job for the Government that the Chief Secretary was absent. In dealing with the Attorney General for Ireland, Irish Members knew that they were dealing with a Gentleman in whom they had some confidence. If the Chief Secretary had been in his place they would have offered much more resistance to the Government. Before the Easter Recess, he had brought before the House the case of a man named Downey, who was arrested under the Coercion Acts, but who proved his innocence, and had to be released, after being kept in prison for three months. Why was that man arrested; and why did the Government, instead of making some inquiries, trust to the local police, and only set the man free when his case was brought before, the House? If it was right to release him, it was wrong to arrest him; if it was right to arrest him, then it was wrong to let him out.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
asked when the House would have an opportunity of continuing the discussion on the Motion of the hon. Member for the county of Longford? There was no time to discuss the matter on this, Vote, and, in order to give the Government time to consider when they could give an opportunity of resuming the debate, he would move to report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. T. P. O' Connor.)
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. LAW)
said, that even assuming, for the purpose of argument, that one or two policemen in Ireland lead done wrong, surely that was no reason for refusing the money for the maintenance of the whole force
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
was sorry to see the difference there was between the County Constabulary of Ireland and the Borough and County Police of England. It was said that this Vote on Account was for sir weeks, and if they went into a calculation of the totals for the year they would find that the sum required was £150,000; but in this Vote on Account they were asked to give £220,000. 1753 This was considerably more than they ought to vote, and he desired some explanation from the Government with regard to it.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, that although the Vote was only for six weeks, it included two monthly payments; therefore, it was one-sixth of the total amount that was now asked for.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, the Government had made no answer as to the resumption of the debate on his Motion. It was difficult to discuss the whole question of the Irish Police on these Estimates, and, as they had a distinct Motion on the matter before the House, they asked whether the Government would enable them to resume its discussion? If the Government did not afford them the opportunity they desired, they would be compelled to avail themselves of any irregular chance that might present itself for discussing the subject, or leave it undiscussed altogether. They could not possibly allow the Government Vote with regard to the Irish Police to go unchallenged, and they did not intend to.
§ MR. T. COLLINS
would suggest that if the hon. Member wished to raise a discussion on this matter, the best thing he could do would be to put down his Motion for, to-morrow, and then move that the other Orders of the Day be postponed until that Motion was disposed of.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
complained that the course the hon. Member who had just sat down had recommended would be most irregular. As to the appeal of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy), what had fallen from his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) had shown that he was anxious that the debate should be continued, and that the sense of the House should be taken upon it; but, believing as they did in the paramount importance, especially to Ireland, of the discussion on the Land Law (Ireland) Bill, they could not hold out any hope that time would be afforded for the resumption of the debate at an early hour in the evening. It had been hoped that the debate might have been resumed to-day. The discussion on the Land Bill was adjourned at 12 o'clock, and if the present conversation had not been so prolonged some further progress might now have been made. An oppor- 1754 tunity had been afforded to hon. Members to make their charge against the Government, and the Government reply had been given. By that reply the Government were prepared to stand, and if hon. Gentlemen had desired to take the sense of the House upon it, they could have done so by complying with the request his right hon. Friend had made on Tuesday. Hon. Members, if they wished, might resume the discussion to-night, and, if they desired, they might take the sense of the House on the Motion. It was not at present in the power of the Government to name any convenient time for the resumption of the debate, and he really failed to see what useful end could be gained by involving the House in a conflict on the question of this Vote on Account.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, it would seem that the enormous number of Amendments to the Land Bill standing in the name of Liberal Members was a perfect godsend to Her Majesty's Government, because, at every point at which their policy was challenged, whether at home or abroad, they took their stand on the alleged necessity for giving time for the discussion of these Amendments. He could not help thinking that there was some connection between the multitude of Liberal Amendments and the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and, instead of addressing so many appeals to that side of the House to abstain from discussing the affairs of their own country, the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for India and other Members of the Government should address themselves to their own followers, and request them to be more saving of their breath and of the time of the House in the discussion of their own Amendments. As for the suggestion that the Irish Members ought to be satisfied with the opportunity already given to them of discussing the Motion of the hon. Member for Longford, he thought it required all the proverbial impassiveness of the Secretary of State for India to enable the Government to place such an astounding proposition before the House. The way the Government facilitated hon. Members from Ireland in this matter was by forcing the Mover of the Motion to open the charge against the Chief Secretary and his subordinates at 4 o'clock in the morning. Then, indeed, he must frankly admit the Government did give him 1755 (Mr. O'Donnell) an opportunity of contributing some observations to the elucidation of the Government case. Then came the Chief Secretary with a speech of two hours' duration, leaving about 30 minutes for exposing the monstrous tissue of misrepresentations which had been imposed upon that innocent and incredulous person. The Whips had issued their mandate, and the Government were prepared with their strong battalions. The bulk of the Liberal Party had only been present at the observations; but they were to snuff out the Irish debate by voting blindfold, in trust upon the observations of the Chief Secretary alone. Such a manner of treating Irish affairs was something like adding insult to injury. He would ask the noble Marquess to use some of his influence to induce a more economic use of time in the discussion of the Land Bill, so as to enable Irish Members to bring forward the very grave charges they had to bring forward against the Irish Administration. He was not aware what opportunity could be given for discussing the affairs of Ireland, if the noble Lord and those who acted with him persisted in encouraging their followers to take up the time of the House in unnecessary discussions on the Land Bill, to give the Government an excuse for shelving every discussion on every subject. There were a large number of Amendments, some of which were to the effect—
I must point out that the hon. Member is going beyond the Motion before the House. He is discussing the Amendment.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he was sorry he had been misled, but he understood the Secretary of State for India had introduced the necessity for discussing the Land Bill. He (Mr. O'Donnell) did not wish to mention the words of the Bill, but only to say that the Government should not bring forward the Land Bill as a convenient extinguisher of every matter that was proposed for discussion. Repressive measures were working as badly as possible for the Government, and he could assure them that this Motion would remain hanging over their heads, and that, in season or out of season, they must have an opportunity of showing that the Chief Secretary had been imposed upon by a monstrous set of fabrications. As yet nothing but 1756 that monstrous set of fabrications had been laid before the House; and to say that "the sense of the House" could be taken on that was a mere juggling with words and paltering with the intelligence of the House. The noble Marquess should be reminded that the people of Ireland were not to be treated by the noble Marquess as he treated the Natives of India.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
wished to know whether the Government were or were not going to give them an opportunity of discussing the affairs of Ireland? ["No, no!"] [Mr. FINIGAN: Hear, hear! Excellent Radicalism.] He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) heard replying to his question the voice of an hon. Member who had added little to his dignity by unseemly squabbling during the course of his election. He had put his question to the Government, and not to the hon. Member. Early in the evening he had informed the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister that they would not begin the discussion of the Motion of the hon. Member for Longford at 12 o'clock at night. They wanted an earlier discussion, and would have been perfectly prepared to go on with the debate at 10 o'clock if they had been allowed. The Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for India, and several other speakers on the Treasury Bench, had laid great stress on the decision of the House being given on this question. He might say, on his own behalf, and on behalf of several hon. Friends behind him, that they had very little regard for what the decision of the House might be. They were not so foolish as to suppose that their Motion of Censure against the Irish Executive would be carried in that House. They knew that, necessarily, they would be in a miserable minority; but what they wanted was a fair discussion, in which their side, as well as the Government side, of the question would be laid before the public of this country and the people of Ireland. What was the position of affairs at the present time? Why, the real speech which was before the country was that which the Chief Secretary delivered on Tuesday afternoon. The right hon. Gentleman ended his speech at 10 minutes or a quarter past 6 in the evening. The contested Business at these Morning Sittings had to be concluded at 10 minutes to 7, so that the Irish Members had only had 1757 from 10 minutes past 6 to 10 minutes to 7 to answer a speech of an hour and a-half in length. His hon. Friend then took up this question, which was entirely unconnected with the real question at issue, and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, carefully prepared, very ably put together, and characterized by his usual dexterity in putting his case, was allowed to go before the country without any reply on the part of Irish Members. The Government must understand that they would not be permitted to dismiss the House for the Whitsuntide Vacation until Irish Members had had an opportunity of giving a full reply to the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He did not wish to discuss this Vote at so late an hour if he could avoid it; but Irish Members could not allow it to pass without discussion, inasmuch as it raised the whole question of the Government policy in Ireland.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
renewed the suggestion made to the noble Marquess that he should consent to take the Land Bill up to 10 o'clock on Thursday night, and allow Irish Members to go on with this discussion at that hour. The two hours that would be thus given would not be much time to take from the discussion on the Land Bill; and if the opportunity were afforded, Irish Members would have the satisfaction of knowing that their case had gone before the country. He trusted that this proposal, which was made with the object of arriving at a convenient settlement of the difficulty, would be accepted by the noble Marquess.
§ MR. CALLAN
hoped the noble Marquess would not yield to the proposal of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy), inasmuch the Land Bill was of far more importance than any other subject at the present time. He suggested to the Government that instead of having Morning Sittings on Tuesdays and Fridays, they should, take the entire days until the Bill had been disposed of, and that the progress of the Bill should not be interfered with by the discussion of any other subject.
§ MR. HEALY
remarked that, notwithstanding the solicitude of the Government to pass a Land Bill for Ireland, they had occupied the time of the House for six or eight weeks in discussions on Coercion Bills, and that, after applying 1758 coercion to Ireland in the most brutal manner, they would not give Irish Members an hour for the purpose of discussing the Motion of his hon. Friend. It was clear that the Government did not wish the speech of the Chief Secretary to be replied to.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I entirely acknowledge the courteous tone in which the proposal of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) has been made; and if I thought it was possible to meet his wishes with regard to Thursday night, without seriously interfering with the further discussion of the Land Law (Ireland) Bill, I should be very happy to accede to a proposal so fairly made. But I wish to point out that the suggestion would, unfortunately, reduce the time which we should be able on Thursday to devote to the consideration of the Bill in Committee to perhaps two or three hours. It is too frequently the case now that we do not reach Committee until an advanced time in the evening; and if we are to adjourn the debate at 10 o'clock on Thursday, the day would be almost entirely lost for the purposes of the Bill. I must also point out that it would not be in the power of the Government to secure the object in view in that way. It frequently happens that when an important debate is proposed to be adjourned at an early hour, all sorts of opposition is raised to that Motion. Therefore, if we proposed to adjourn the debate at 10 o'clock on Thursday, it might be impossible to secure the opportunity desired by the hon. Member for Longford. If hon. Members from Ireland are really anxious that this debate should be renewed, I ask whether it would not be possible to renew it on Friday next? If so, Her Majesty's Government will do all in their power to induce Members, having Notices of Motion on going into Committee of Supply, to withdraw them, and would take measures for making and keeping a House in the evening.
§ MR. PARNELL
thought the Government had made the best proposal in their power, and for his own part was perfectly willing to accede to it.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 18; Noes 185: Majority 167.—(Div. List, No. 222.)1759
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock.
§ Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.