HC Deb 23 February 1882 vol 266 cc1488-91

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £4,145. be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1882, for certain Miscellaneous Expenses.


said, he was afraid they could not allow this Vote to pass.


said, that, if there was any objection, according to the understanding that had been arrived at, he would not take the Vote.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

(31.) £1,000, Compensation to Edmund Galley.


said he had not a very distinct recollection of this case. If he was correctly informed, Galley was an Englishman, who had been found guilty of some criminal offence and sent to penal servitude, and whilst he was suffering penal servitude his innocence was discovered. It was a fact that a great many Irishmen who were equally innocent were sent to prison, and no compensation was awarded them. He should like to hear something in explanation of the Vote before he, for one, could consent to it.


said, the case had been very fully discussed in the House on more than one occasion, and every statement that could be made about it had been made. It was the wish of the House itself that compensation should be made, and a decision was only arrived at after everyone had had an opportunity of expressing Ms view with regard to it. If a similar case to that of Mr. Galley were presented from Ireland, he was sure that it would receive the same amount of attention.


said, he quite endorsed what the hon. and learned Gentleman stated.

Vote agreed to.

(35.) £22,000, Customs.


said, he was sorry to he obliged to rise so often. This was a Vote which touched a class of servants of the Crown who had been very hardly dealt with. A reform of the system of administration in the Customs was about to be carried out; and a great number of men in the Outdoor Warehouse Department, who had hitherto been at work in the Office, and were accustomed to sedentary occupations, and not suited to exposure to inclement weather, were threatened with employment out-of-doors. This kind of employment would injure their efficiency and shorten their lives. He had a Notice on the Paper respecting the intentions of the Government with regard to these officials, and perhaps the noble Lord would give him the information he sought before the Vote was taken. The question was a serious one to the servants on whom was about to be put this quasi-outdoor occupation.


said, he had already answered one question very like this. Considerable alarm had been felt by a class of officials that they would have outdoor duties imposed on them. Though, nominally, these servants would belong to the outdoor system, their duties would continue to belong to the clerical system. It was the special request of many of the gentlemen themselves that, as far as possible, they should be employed in the Outdoor Warehouse Department.


said, he would remind the noble Lord of a Committee that had sat to consider the case of the out port officers. Did any sum come under this Vote in consequence of increased salaries paid to these officials, or did the noble Lord intend to give them increased salaries?


said, he did not wish to object to any portion of this Vote; but he desired to make one observation with regard to smuggling. There was a large amount spent annually on making seizures and checking smuggling. Of that he did not complain—indeed, he should not object if it were more; but he could not help thinking that there was sometimes not that amount of sharpness and alacrity exhibited by the officers of the Government that there should be. His remarks did not apply to all ports. In Bristol, for example, the Customs had shown the greatest watchfulness in detecting smuggling, and every protection was afforded to traders. Again, only a few months ago it happened that a large steam boiler was being conveyed through the streets of London. An accident occurred whilst it was in transit, and it was found impossible to remove it for some time; and whilst it was lying in the street it was found to contain some thousands of pounds' weight of tobacco. It was a source of satisfaction, of course, to think that the tobacco was discovered through the accident, as was supposed at the time; but in this case he was glad to know the Customs deserved every praise, for they had watched the tobacco from the time it was shipped at Rotterdam until it was seized in the street; and but for the breakdown they would have probably captured the receivers. The matter, however, was of such moment that he hoped that still increased protection would be given in connection with an important branch of the trade of the country.

Vote agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £80,000, be grunted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1882, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Post Office Services, the Expenses of Post Office Savings Banks, and Government Annuities and Insurances, and the Collection of the Post Office Revenue.


said, he found considerable difference between the salaries paid to Postmasters in England and Scotland, and those paid to similar officials in Ireland.


objected to the Vote being taken to-night. The amount involved was too large to be dealt with at 2 o'clock in the morning. An explanation from the Postmaster General would be required on several points; and perhaps, after hearing the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Schreiber) might find it his duty to oppose the Vote. He hoped, therefore, that the noble Lord would agree to class this among the "contentious" Votes, which. would not be pressed that night on the Committee.


said, this was not a very considerable sum to ask for; but he should not think of pressing on the Vote if it was objected to.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


said, that, as he understood it, the sums of money not taken to-night would be required during the week. For to-morrow there was an important Notice in the name of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Harcourt) that would probably occupy the whole of the Sitting; and it was therefore to be presumed that the Government would ask them to-morrow to meet on Saturday. It would be convenient that they should know at once whether there would be a Saturday Sitting.


said, it was necessary to have a great, portion of the money without delay; therefore he hoped the Committee would be content to sit late to-morrow.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;

Committee to sit again To-morrow.