§ MR. GOSCHEN
wished to ask a Question of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). The hon. Member had a Notice on the Paper to call attention to-night to the block in Irish Land Courts. The subject was discussed yesterday at some length; and now, if the hon. Member proceeded with his Motion, it would be again discussed. Many Members on both sides of the House were anxious to discuss the Navy Estimates; and he wished to ask the hon. Member whether, in order that that might be done, he would not proceed with his Motion in regard to the Land Courts?
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he was absent from the House yesterday; but he had noticed that a discussion had taken place on the subject to which he wished to call attention. He was not at all anxious to proceed with a further discussion now, because he thought that the subject had been already pretty well threshed out, and because the block in the Courts appeared to be universally admitted. He was, however, anxious 1027 that the definite sense of the House should be expressed on the subject, and was, therefore, desirous of moving the Resolution. As, however, there would be very little probability of a division being taken that evening were he to do so, he was willing to yield; and the Resolution would, therefore, not be brought forward. He did not wish to interfere with the discussion of the Navy Estimates, especially as so much time had already been consumed by the unusual length of the Ministerial replies to Questions.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
asked when the Easter Recess would commence, and what would be its probable duration?
said, that next week—probably on Monday—he hoped to be able to make a communication to the House on that subject.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
appealed to his noble Friend the Member for Chichester (Lord Henry Lennox) to postpone the Motion which stood in his name on the Paper. That Motion dealt with the subject of the strength and condition of Her Majesty's Navy; and it would be quite impossible to do justice to it that evening if the Estimates were to be brought forward subsequently, unless the latter were not to be adequately discussed.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, it was with very great regret he felt bound to relinquish that opportunity of bringing before the House a question of great interest to the country. He recognized, however, that, after all, his statement could only be a statement of a private Member, and could not forget that the country was looking forward to the Financial Statement of the Secretary to the Admiralty in hopes of learning what steps the Government intended to take in the present critical period of their Naval history. Taking these matters into consideration, and remembering that when he should bring his Motion forward he should have to occupy more time than he usually did in that House, and that the discussion would probably last many hours, he could not refuse to agree to the request of his right hon. Friend; and he would, therefore, postpone his Motion. He accompanied that renunciation with a special appeal to the Prime Minister for an assurance that an early day would be devoted to the discussion of the subject to which he had intended to call attention.
said, that, in the present condition of Public Business, it would be impossible for him to name a Government day for the discussion of the noble Lord's Resolution. He admitted that the subject was one which ought to be debated, and hoped that an early day for the discussion would be obtained by the usual methods at the command of private Members. If, however, a considerable portion of the Session should elapse and no day be obtained in the manner which he had indicated, it might be reasonable for the Government to make some proposal.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
asked the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Mac Iver) whether he intended to proceed with his Motion on the subject of the Treaty signed by Lord Lyons and M. de Freycinet continuing the existing state of things with regard to fisheries, trade-marks, and navigation? The Treaty was not yet in the possession of the Members of the House, because there were a few words which did not correspond in the English and French versions, but which were at present being put right by the two Governments concerned. Until they were so put right, the Treaty could not be placed before the House; and as it had not even appeared in the newspapers hon. Members must as yet be ignorant of its terms.
§ MR. H. SAMUELSON
wished to ask Mr. Speaker whether it was in Order for an hon. Member to call attention to a Treaty, which he declared had been signed, but which had not yet been laid on the Table, and of which, therefore, the House had no official cognizance?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The course proposed to be taken by the hon. Member is, no doubt, very unusual; and a Motion made under those circumstances would be very disadvantageous to his own interest. But if the hon. Member thinks it right to go on he is in Order.
§ In reply to Sir STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he hoped to be able to take the Report of Supply on the Army and Navy Estimates to-morrow evening. With regard to Report on the Supplementary Estimates, he should state to-morrow whether it would be taken as the first item of Business on Monday.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
asked the Prime Minister whether, if it was intended to proceed with the Rivers Conservancy and Floods Prevention Bill to-morrow, he would give an assurance it would not be gone on with after 9 o'clock?
said, the answer given by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Dodson) was that the Bill would not be gone on with after half-past 10; but with respect to to-morrow evening, he did not think there was any reasonable expectation of bringing it on at all.
§ MR. WARTON
replied, that the course which he should follow must depend upon the advice which he might receive from the Leader of his Party.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I would appeal to my hon. and learned Friend not to proceed with his Motion.
§ [No answer.]