§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Trevelyan.)
§ MR. MAYNE
said, that, in his opinion, the Tramway Clauses of the Bill would not be workable—the Grand Juries, on whom the responsibility of bringing them into operation would rest, not being the bodies to be entrusted with the working of such a measure. They did not enjoy the confidence of the public in Ireland, as was very well known; and although the construction of tramways, as provided by the Bill, might be all very well, and might be an essentially popular proceeding, the Grand Juries were certainly not the bodies to expect to carry out the work satisfactorily. The powers under the Bill were very extraordinary. The Grand Juries were to be entrusted with the appointment of certain persons on the Boards of Directors, whose power was apparently not to be limited in any way. They were to appoint as many Directors on the Boards of these Tramway Companies as appeared to them to be necessary; and he should like to know how many Companies would be likely to submit to an arrangement of that kind? In addition to having this extraordinary power of appointing as many Directors on the Boards as they chose, they were to have a still more extraordinary power—namely, the power of declaring what the salaries of the Directors 548 should be, and of fixing the salaries of all the officials of the Companies. It could not be seriously expected that these things would be bearable in the working of what, after all, must be commercial undertakings. In inviting Companies to undertake the construction of these tramways in Ireland, to hamper them with arrangements of this kind was surely not the way to bring about the construction of these works, notwithstanding the employment which such construction would give to the people. There was another portion of the Bill which fell very far short of what the necessities of the situation required. How was it proposed to deal with small towns? There were at present many small towns, from seven to 20 miles from a railway station, to which it did not pay to construct branch lines, and to which, probably, it would never pay to construct them; but yet to which, whether they were likely to pay or not, it would be an immense benefit to the people of the district to have communication with the nearest railway station. The inhabitants of these small towns, although their interests were so directly concerned, were to have no voice whatever in the promotion of these undertakings. He need only mention one of these places, one within his own constituency—namely, the town of Cashel, in Tipperary, which happened to be about seven miles from the nearest railway station. The town, at the present time, suffered immensely from the distance that intervened between it and the railway station. Well, if a Bill of this kind were to become the law of the land, so far as the inhabitants of Cashel were concerned, probably they would not allow a week to elapse before they made some stir to enable the town to avail itself of the provisions of the Act; but they would have no jurisdiction over the roads along which the tramways would run. That jurisdiction would rest with the Grand Jury, and the Grand Jury would certainly not second the efforts of the town of Cashel to make this very important communication. What position would these Grand Juries be in? Why, the provisions of the Bill would put them in a most advantageous position, and would also enable them to do the dog in the manger. If they did not choose to make these lines there was no arrangement by which the provisions of the Act could be availed of 549 in any other way. For those reasons, he certainly should be strongly inclined to oppose the second reading, unless the right hon. Gentlemen who were responsible for the measure gave the House some idea as to how they would meet the difficulties which certainly existed in the Bill as it stood at present.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, that, of course, this Tramway Bill could be met by several criticisms by those who objected to the present system of local government in Ireland. At present, the only constitution in Ireland was the Grand Juries; and if they were to have working bodies under the Bill they must look to these Grand Juries for them. He agreed with the criticism of the hon. Member for Tipperary as to the absence of any provision to enable the Bill to be put in motion in the event of the Grand Juries neglecting to do anything. There ought to be some provision of that kind. He must say that in the county he represented—Galway—they very much required something of the kind contemplated by the Bill. A Memorial had been lately sent up from there praying for light railways instead of tramways; but he would point out that the Government were offering tramways, and it would be a great mistake to throw obstacles in the way of the passing of the measure. Tramways were supposed to be constructed chiefly along the roads, and the general idea of them was gathered from what was seen in largo towns and cities. Tramways with their rails raised, such as were largely used in Italy, rougher ways requiring no pavement, and the construction of which was much cheaper than the ordinary tramway, were scarcely ever contemplated. Such tramways as these, which approached very closely to light railways, were what were required in the West of Ireland. If they introduced into the Bill provisions for increased speed on the road—to enable the Board of Trade to allow any rate of speed where the tramways did not run along the roads—they would be practically converting these steam tramways into light railways. In the neighbourhood of Oughterard, for instance, where the land alongside the road was practically valueless, there was no reason why the tramways should not run off the road, and in that way become practically light railways. He had once moved for a 550 Committee to inquire into the subject, and had brought in a Bill on the subject of tramways, his attention having been directed towards it by having served on a Tramway Committee, and by the fact that an improved means of communication was very much required in the county he represented. There was some doubt as to a broad gauge railway paying; and yet it was a great pity to see a whole district with no means of communication whatever, save the long cars which ran through it several times a day. He did not know whether the Government could not be persuaded to include in the Bill powers to enable the existing railway system to be supplemented wherever there was a gap—as between Mayo and Tuam, for instance—by a small connecting line. There was a large district in Loughrea left out of communication for want of a small line of this kind; and, no doubt, there were many districts of Ireland suffering similar inconvenience. He believed the Government could do what was required. They were prepared to guarantee a sum of money for tramways; and probably they thought that if they had included in the Bill powers for the construction of railways extensive lines would be made which would never pay. Surely, a danger of that kind could be avoided whilst they allowed these gaps to be filled up. He believed the Bill would be a great advantage to the West of Ireland. He had received several communications and Petitions from the districts he had mentioned; and, so far as he was concerned, he sincerely hoped that if any hon. Members objected to any parts of the Bill, they would not, in the interests of the county of Galway, attempt to unduly delay its progress. He saw an hon. Friend opposite smiling at this. He had often come into conflict with the hon. Gentleman; but that, he hoped, would be allowed to pass.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he quite agreed with his hon. and gallant Friend that unless all sections of the House agreed to make this Bill a non-contentious measure there was very little chance of its passing into law, this Session, at all events. But, at the same time, there were certain provisions at present in the Bill which rendered it very difficult for some of them to square their ideas with those of the Government in every particular. The matters of detail which his 551 hon. Friend (Mr. Mayne) brought before the House, he thought, were matters which were very well worthy of attention, and, conjoined with other points, might make the Bill of a more workable character. He had no doubt some arrangement might be come to in the discussion in Committee with regard to them. But the more important questions to which he wished more particularly to direct the attention of the House were of such a ragged character that it was difficult for them, off-hand, to see their way fairly to help the Government in the way or course in which it would be necessary for all sides of the House to approach the question, so as to insure that the Bill should pass into law this Session. Take up the first part of the Bill—the part dealing with tramways. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), in 1880, introduced certain clauses into the Belief of Distress Act for the purpose of enabling baronial authorities to give grants of money for the construction of tramways in certain scheduled districts of Ireland; and the right hon. Gentleman proposed in the measure that the rates in aid should he shared or divided between the owner and the occupier of the land. And yet, notwithstanding that provision, many of them had sometimes felt, in the absence of any Government assistance, that the clauses were extremely objectionable in the principle of giving to non-elective bodies, like the Grand Juries, the power of levying rates, and the right to say where tramways should or should not be constructed, that they offered a strenuous opposition to the passing of those clauses, although, as he had said on the Motion for leave to bring in the Bill, his objections to the powers which it was proposed by the Bill to give to Grand Juries were considerably removed by the offer of the Government to share one-half of the expenses. But he was not at that time aware that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to pass from the precedent which was set by his Predecessor in Office, and that he intended to impose the whole onus of paying the rates on the occupiers of the land. In other words, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman was this—he intended to give the Grand Juries, which were composed, as everybody knew, in Ireland of the owners of the land, power to levy 552 rates at their discretion, to be paid by the occupier; and, practically, the persons who had to pay the taxation would not have the slightest control over the expenditure of their money, or over the property, after it had been expended. In this respect the proposal with regard to tramways contained in the Bill appeared to him to be utterly illusory. They included, it was true, some ostensible control by the cesspayer; but, in reality, it simply amounted to this—that the Grand Jury nominated certain persons who were called "associated cesspayers." These persons were simply nominees of the Grand Jury, and in no sense could they be considered to represent the people who paid the rates. They could not, in fact, be said to represent anybody but themselves. He admitted there were difficulties in connection with this matter; and he thought the Irish Members showed a very great desire to meet the Government, in urging them to go back to the provisions of the Belief of Distress Act adopted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, and to share the rates between the owner and the occupier. In consideration of the partial guarantee by the Government, and of the great difficulties in the absence of any representative system of local self-government in Ireland, he thought that would be a fair compromise to adopt with reference to this very much discussed question. Of course, if they had County Boards in Ireland, this matter would be quite easy, for the ratepayers would be able to elect their representatives, and they would have none but themselves to blame if those representatives put charges upon them of which they disapproved. But, as matters stood, it was exceedingly hard of the Government to ask them to throw the whole of this annual burden of £40,000 entirely upon the occupiers of the land, leaving, as they did, the direction of the expenditure of the money, the appointment of the officials, and, in some cases, the management of the works themselves, to the bodies which at present undertook the duties of local authorities in Ireland. He had no doubt many valuable suggestions would be made from different quarters, and that there would be co-operation and goodwill on the part of all sections of both English and Irish Members in making this scheme a practicable and workable 553 scheme, and in insuring that it should be carried on with as little jobbery as possible, and that the money would be used in such a way as to make those lines which were most to the advantage of the country, and most likely to be remunerative. It was not to the advantage of Ireland that this Bill should prove a dead letter, or be used for the purpose of private jobbery; and he was sure that everybody in the House, and all the Irishmen of every section, would approach the subject with a desire to do that which was just and right, and to secure that the intentions of the Government might have such a shape given to them as would lead to lasting benefit, or to the interest of those communities where it was proposed to make these tramways. He now came to another portion of the Bill, on which he desired to offer a very few brief remarks—he meant the portion in which it was proposed to make a grant of £100,000 for the purpose of emigration. He had promised, on the introduction of the measure, to prove certain statements which he then took the liberty of making with reference to the results of the emigration attempts which had been made in Ireland during the last 12 months; and if he did not go too minutely into details—in fact, if he rather glided over this causus belli at present—he must not be understood as departing in any sense from the attitude he then took up, nor as departing from the statements he then made. But it was obvious that at that time of the Session, and at that hour of the night, it was not possible to go into lengthy remarks on these matters. He believed, however, and he felt convinced, that if permitted on the present occasion, it would be possible for him to show to hon. Gentlemen opposite, who had taken such a great interest in, and who had devoted such true energy, ability, and patience to this question of emigration, that in many respects their attempts, although they had been attended with as beneficial and as remarkable results as would have been expected under the circumstances, yet had not been attended with such results as would justify them in persevering in a course of what they considered to be the forcible emigration of the Irish people. He had said he would be able to show that in many parts of the country the farmers, as a 554 rule, were not taking advantage of the emigration facilities conferred by the Arrears Act; and since then he had, in reply to a request he had made, received a letter from the Most Rev. Dr. M'Cormack, Bishop of Achonry, whoso diocese embraced one of the most congested districts of Ireland, containing a population of nearly 120,000 people in places such as Swineford and Ballaghadreen, including, amongst other estates, that of Lord Dillon—which probably presented the best example of a congested estate in the whole of the West of Ireland. The Bishop, in his letter, referring to a belief entertained by some of the members of Mr. Tuke's Committee that the effect of their scheme was the consolidation of holdings and the removal of congestion in the districts, said that after having communicated with all the priests in his diocese, and obtained detailed information from them, he found that out of the 120,000 population, only 40 occupiers of land—of any kind whatever, small or great—were emigrated; and that, so far from being consolidated, their holdings were mostly in the hands of friends. Some of the people, indeed, had gone away, locking the doors of their houses, and retaining the keys, evidently intending to come back again. The hope, therefore, of Mr. Tuke's Committee, so far as consolidation was concerned, had not been realized. He did not mean to say that this had been the case in every instance; for he found, on referring to a pamphlet which had been issued by Mr. Tuke's Committee, that in some districts, for instance, on the sea coast, a considerable number of occupiers of land had been emigrated. But he noticed that fully a third of the occupiers of land who were pointed to as favourable examples of the successful effect of voluntary emigration were, in reality, forced emigrants, since they were evicted tenants, and had no other resources before them but emigration. However, be that as it might, the Irish Members were willing to put this matter to the test of practical experiment; and they said that since the Government insisted upon devoting a sum of money to purposes of emigration, would they not give them the opportunity of proving what he believed they would have no difficulty in proving, even during the next few months, that it was possible to emigrate and re-settle families for the 555 congested districts in such a way as to enable them to live and thrive at home at least equally as well as they were likely to do in America under the Emigration Clauses? The sum of about £100,000 was proposed to be allocated to the purpose of emigration. He did not know anything which had excited so much feeling against the Government as this question of emigration in Ireland. It was believed by many people that the Government either did not wish or did not intend to give a fair trial to the people at home—that their policy was a policy of emigration, at all events at present, and little or nothing besides; and that they would not adopt the reasonable propositions or suggestions which had been made with a view of practically proving that it was possible for these people to live and to get on well, and become prosperous subjects of the Queen in their own country. After fully considering the Bill, and more particularly the Purchase Clauses, he was inclined to agree to a considerable extent with the remarks which were made on the evening of the introduction of the Bill by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson). The right hon. and learned Gentleman, with that extraordinary acuteness and ability which had so distinguished him in that House—with almost preternatural acuteness—at once saw that the Purchase Clauses contained in Part II of the measure might be made use of for the purpose of testing the proposal to re-settle the tenants for the congested districts at home. He (Mr. Parnell) certainly agreed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman to a considerable extent, inasmuch as he thought the Purchase Clauses, with some Amendments, might be made the basis of a proposal for the re-settlement of some of these families in question. The clauses provided that Companies might be formed, and that the Land Commission might advance to them the purchase money of estates—subject, of course, to the consent and the supervision of that Commission, and subject, also, to the further provision that the holdings of occupying tenants should be re-sold to those tenants, where they were willing to buy, under such conditions as the Land Commission might approve. It so happened that on almost every estate in the West of Ire- 556 land now in the market, there was a quantity of light land which was not adapted for grazing purposes, and which was not in the occupation of tenants. This land, as a rule, was let to grazing tenants in six monthly periods or 12 monthly periods, the tenants changing almost every year. The tenures were not such as came within the provisions of the Land Act in any way. As to this land in the county of Mayo, speaking from an agricultural point of view, it was undoubtedly ill-suited to grazing purposes. It was not of that rich and fattening description that one found in Roscommon, Meath, Louth, and County Dublin. It was of a light, warm character, admirably suited for tillage purposes, and to be left in grass for a short time. Having been laid down for the 30 years which had elapsed since the Famine, it was rapidly running back into a state of waste and wilderness. He did not wish to enlarge upon this matter, which was one closely connected with practical agriculture; but he was informed, by those well acquainted with these matters, that what he had stated was the fact—that there were estates in Mayo to be purchased in the open market at present on which small tenants were living with holdings which were too small, estates on which there was plenty of land for the re-settlement of those tenants living on congested portions of the same estates. What he would suggest was that the Government should see their way to devoting a portion of the emigration money to grants in aid of emigration, for instance to the Company or Companies that might be formed under Part II. of the Bill for the purchase of estates. The Government should consider the desirability of inserting clauses in the Bill to enable the Land Commissioners to grant to any such Company so much per family, just in the same way as money was granted for emigration purposes, in order that each family might be suitably re-settled on a holding of sufficient size, and to the satisfaction of the Commissioners. This would enable them to carry to a practical test this much-vexed question of migration versus emigration, and would enable them to decide, to the satisfaction of the Irish and English public, whether a scheme of re-settlement or migration was possible, and would remove much—very much—of the feeling which now 557 existed, that the Government did not wish to give a fair chance to the people at home. He did not know whether he had made his points sufficiently clear; but what he would propose to do when the Bill reached the Committee stage would be to place certain Amendments on the Paper having regard to the provisions of Part II., which could be worked in connection with those provisions, so as to provide a plan for resettlement of tenants from congested districts, such as would serve as a conclusive test of the practicability of the system. He did not think they made in this any very unreasonable request. The money, after all, was Irish money. It might be argued that the sum to be devoted to the purposes of emigration was not a very large one, and would scarcely bear division; but, after all, whether £100,000 or £50,000 were devoted to emigration could not make very much practical difference. He believed the gentlemen on Mr. Tuke's Committee had devoted very great pains and time and trouble to their scheme of emigration, and also believed that so far as it was possible out of the materials at their disposal for them to satisfactorily settle the emigrants in America they had done so; but, after all that had been said and done, emigration had not been attended with results such as to entitle them to support any proposal for emigration in Ireland. However, as the Session was late, and as the Irish Members did not desire to offer any factious opposition to the emigration proposal of the Government, he would only ask that the money should be shared between the two ideas. Some part of it for the purposes of migration ought to be given to a Company, the directorate of which would be composed of men of ail sections of politics, and other parties in England and Ireland, and the Government ought to carry out these views to the limited extent he had suggested.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that, in his opinion, it was impossible for any Irishman, possessing the ordinary views which every man might be supposed to possess in regard to his own country, to approach this subject without the intention, in some part or other of his mind, of supporting the Bill. It was next to impossible for a man not to see that when he was offered, in substance, £2,000,000 from the Imperial funds it 558 required an effort of terrific virtue not to receive the proposal in a spirit of modified resignation. He (Mr. Gibson) felt like an Irishman on this point, and should find tremendous difficulty, even if the Government proposed to double the operation, in summoning up even a spark of that virtue necessary to resist it. It might therefore, he thought, be expected that, in the present and future stages of the Bill, whatever form the protest might take, and whatever suggestion might be made as to the modification of the clauses, the main and essential proposals of the Bill would be accepted with substantial unanimity by the Irish Members. He did not himself at all understand the time and circumstances under which these proposals were made. There was no suggestion of urgency on the subject; and why the Bill was not brought in months ago, even if it was not proceeded with, he could not understand. It was not a Distress Bill, or an Emergency Bill, to meet a position of a pressing character that the experience of the last couple of months had developed; but it was a considered effort of statesmanship on the part of the Executive charged with the administration of the country without the slightest thing to indicate that this was the special time at which it was desirable to bring it in, so that he was at a loss to understand why in this month of August they were, for the first time, asked to consider the very remarkable proposals connected with this measure—for they were remarkable proposals. Irish Members, as he had already pointed out, would readily—though with, of course, the usual protests—accept the great offers which were made to them; but from the point of view of English and Scotch Members it must challenge a certain amount of observation to find that proposals which had never yet been made to England or Scotland—namely, to assist them with a guarantee of this kind, were made to Ireland, and that without the suggestion of the excuse of the relief of distress. The proposals were without any geographical limitation whatever within the limits of Ireland; and it might very well be that the richest counties, and those with exceptional advantages, owing to population, and labour, and capital, would be those which would get the lion's share of this money. Of course, 559 that was a matter which it was not for him to object to. He would, however, make one objection in passing, or allude to one objection, without discussing it, for he was positive it might, if not looked to, lead to a great deal of discussion hereafter, and would modify, if not shipwreck, the Bill. In the observations he had made at half-past 3 o'clock on the morning the Bill was introduced he had expressed a hope that it would be found that no clause in the Bill would run counter to the settled and vested interests of Railway and other Companies, which had already spent largo sums of money on the faith of Parliamentary powers. He did not belong to what was called the Railway interest of the country. He had some Railway shares, but was not a Railway Director, or anything of that kind, and, therefore, took an independent view of the matter. He was confident, from communications he had received from persons of high authority on the matter, that if Sub-section 1 of the clause dealing with this matter were retained, all sections of the House would not be prepared to do that which the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) said was necessary to the passing of the Bill—namely, agree not to make it contentious. If this sub-section, which was dangerous to the existence of the Railway interest, was retained in its present shape, it was plain that either the clause was introduced for committing the suicide of the Bill, or else it would have to be abandoned or modified. He would not do more than point out one matter. The hon. Member for the City of Cork, in the course of his very short speech, had pointed out the circumstances under which the rate would have to be raised. Of course, everything connected with rating and with a rate which was to carry out a particular object was always of importance, and in no place more than in Ireland. It was worthy of note that the hon. Member had pointed out—he was not very dogmatic on the subject, but he had pointed out—a precedent which the Government might follow in providing for the relief of distress. The rate was to be levied rather as a poor rate than as a county cess. He strongly suspected that the Government had adopted, on the whole, a wise view in reference to this measure. The hon. Member for the City of Cork knew 560 what the incidence of this county cess was in Ireland. In holdings held up to 1870 the rates were paid by the occupier, and after 1870 they were paid, he believed, as a poor rate.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
interrupted the right hon. and learned Gentleman with an observation which was imperfectly heard.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that if he were wrong he should look into the matter. The point was one which had been considered by the Government with care; and he was disposed to think, from conversations he had had upon it with persons well acquainted with the subject, that the Government would again very carefully consider it before they made any change which was calculated to excite considerable criticism. Having regard to the fact that the Government had proposed to give £2,000,000 for emigration, this £100,000 was paltry. Bearing in mind the way in which the question was regarded by many people who had an anxious desire to do what was best, and to consider how they best could give the poorer people a chance of starting in the New World, surrounded by their families and sometimes attended by their priests on the journey, he thought the House must look on the emigration proposals without any hostility and without any prejudice. He would take the case of the Tuke Fund. He had never seen, and had no acquaintance with, Mr. Tuke. He was only dealing with him as a public man, and he had perfect confidence in him. However Irish Members might differ from him, he was prepared to believe that Mr. Tuke was as high-minded and honourable a gentleman as was ever known, and that his motives were of the worthiest kind. Every fair and rational man would admit that the Tuke Fund, and Mr. Tuke's efforts, were entitled to be placed in the highest possible position. ["No, no!"] In saying that, he believed he was expressing public opinion in Ireland as well as in England; and he ventured to think that he had as good means of knowing what the public opinion in Ireland was as any hon. Member had. [An Irish MEMBER: Of Anglo-Ireland.] The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had said that the policy of emigration was the policy of the Government, and was to be deplored. He himself was not in favour of a 561 policy of mere emigration; but it was one thing to say that, and another thing to say that they would not, under sound conditions, give facilities for emigration to those who desired to emigrate. The hon. Member for the City of Cork had been very moderate in pressing his views on this subject; but really the amount was so small, and the effort made by the Government was so utterly petty, that the idea of dividing £100,000 into two parts, for migration and for emigration, was not dealing with the matter in a worthy way. Emigration by £100,000 taken from the Church Fund was a very little thing to got, unless the proposal was to be made a mere sham. If there was anything in migration, which was a big proposal, it should be submitted on broad lines as a great practical question. It was so broad a question that the idea of working it with £50,000 was pre-eminently absurd; and he would, therefore, suggest to those who had their own strong views in reference to emigration, if they were prepared to accept the £50,000, that it was not a worthy way of approaching it, as was too often done in regard to Irish affairs, by splitting the difference. As to migration, however, this was not the time to discuss it. There had been an interesting debate early in the Session on a Motion by the hon. and learned Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power), and probably there would be another next Session; but what was wanted in regard to migration was some soundly-formulated practical proposal. It would not do to throw down the word "migration," and to talk about people living in Ireland, and to say there were moans not fully utilized. Those were mere platitudes, and not practical legislation. What was needed were practical proposals, calmly and soberly submitted to Parliament; and he was sure that if they were so submitted they would be carefully weighed. He did not think it necessary to occupy more time in reference to the Bill. He was as anxious as any Irishman that the Bill should not meet with any opposition which would imperil it; and, of course, it was desirable that all points of friction should, as far as possible, be put aside. He hoped that when the Committee stage was reached the Bill would not be overwhelmed with Amendments; because it was obvious if everybody put 562 down his own particular crotchet and panacea, this being the 14th of August, there would not be time to discuss them, as there might be early in the Session. He did not intend, so far as he knew at present, to put down any Amendment of a substantial character; but he hoped the Government would consider the important matter he had mentioned in connection with railways in Ireland, because that was one of the things which, if not attended to, would excite an agitation which would wreck the Bill.
§ MR. RATHBONE
said, he agreed with the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) that the rate should be divided between the owner and the occupier. It was decided unanimously, he believed, by the Irish Committee which sat last Parliament, consisting half of landlords and half of tenants, that that ought to be done; and certainly the effect of the Bill would be largely to the advantage of the landlords. He would take a single case. He believed there were plantations made in the West of Ireland in 1847 which would now be available for good timber; but there were no means of using it at a moderate cost. To open out country like the West of Ireland by supplying good roads would be to confer an inestimable benefit upon landlords as well as upon tenants. With regard to the proposal of the hon. Member, that the Government should devote a considerable sum to what was commonly called migration—in other words, to the reclamation of certain lands—he could not say that he had sufficient knowledge to speak with any confidence; but when practical men like the hon. Member for South Shropshire (Sir Baldwyn Leighton) stated that he had carried out such improvements by means of the Celtic tenants of mountain land similar to that in Ireland, he certainly thought the experiment ought to be made, whether successfully or not, so that the question should be settled. He could not quite agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University (Mr. Gibson) as to this amount being petty, for it must be remembered that in all these matters there must be a beginning, and it was not always these things which were begun upon a large scale that were successful. What was very important was that the experiment should be tried on a real and well-considered and well-devised plan, with practical 563 men at the back of it—men who, above all things, believed in the ultimate success of the experiment. It must be in the knowledge of all that experiments very often failed when they were made in a half-hearted way; and that the only chance was that they should be made by those who really believed in them. He would not now attempt a defence of the operations under Mr. Tuke; but he knew that a triumphant answer would be given by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Sydney Buxton) as to those operations. He had merely risen to say that he and those agreeing with him were no mere specialists. They did not believe in emigration as the sole cure. They believed that in certain limited districts emigration was one of those cures which were necessary to lift the people from the depths of distress, and that there were a number of men who would not be available for migration, but must be placed in happier circumstances, and in circumstances which would prevent them from feeling that hopelessness that now prevented success. But they would all be delighted to find that men could be provided for suitably in the country itself, for they had no wish to see a man or a woman sent out of Ireland who could be placed in circumstances that would enable them to live in comfort and respectability. There had been no stronger advocates of these tramways than Mr. Tuke and his Committee, for they had pressed it on the Government vigorously; and he now wished to urge the Government to give every advantage to any well-conceived scheme for the reclamation of land.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, there were one or two remarkable points in connection with this matter. The Bill, as a whole, had his most hearty support; and if he found fault with it, or disagreed with any sentiments here or there enunciated by hon. Members, that was only a matter of detail, and not an objection to the general principle of the Bill. He could not but join issue with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Rath-bone) as to the division of the rate, and he joined issue on the grounds advanced by the hon. Member. The hon. Member said the landlords would be the persons benefited if the country was opened up by means of tramways. If the hon. Member had said that four or 564 five years ago he should have agreed with him; but, the Land Act of 1881 having been passed, it was impossible that the landlords should be benefited. The landlords could no longer raise their rents. Some people might say—"So much the better;" but he merely stated that as a fact. The landlords could not raise their rents through the country being opened up; and if any were benefited they must be the occupiers. Therefore, the persons who were to be benefited, and who should be therefore responsible for any loss, should be the occupiers. He did not object to the occupiers being benefited; but he did object to the owners, who could not be benefited, being made responsible. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) was not, he thought, so accurate as usual in one of his remarks. The hon. Member drew attention to the clause which safeguarded cesspayers against the presumed vice or virtue of the Grand Juries—over-liberality of the Grand Juries by the Proviso which permitted six cesspayers to lodge an objection to a Provisional Order. He had understood the hon. Member to touch upon the point of cesspayers, and then to call attention to the fact that the cesspayers were elected by the Grand Juries, called associated cesspayers, and to bring this matter before the House in a way to lead to the supposition that the cesspayers provided for in the Act would be associated cesspayers. That was his impression of what the hon. Member had said, and he thought that would be the impression of other Members, and that he was justified in pointing out that the hon. Member was wrong if he said that the cesspayers by whose protest the interest of the cesspayers would be guarded would not probably be associated cesspayers, but any persons paying cess in the district. He thought it would be a perfect safeguard if, when wild schemes were proposed by Gentlemen who were known to have highly philanthropic views, the protest of six cesspayers would be sufficient to bring the matter before a tribunal competent to weigh the project, and to decide whether the road or the tramway proposed would be a benefit, and would be likely to pay or not. With regard to migration, he had very carefully, and to the utmost of his ability, thought over that subject for the last two or 565 three years. He had had many conversations with men who had made that question the subject of study; and he had earnestly wished that if it were possible some scheme of that nature should be carried out. He had heard many schemes propounded by many Gentlemen; but on putting those schemes to the test of sober conversation for two or three years, and after asking the promotors of those schemes to put their ideas fairly down in figures, and to specify particular localities, he was bound to say that he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that migration was not possible in Ireland. He had come to that conclusion with the greatest regret, for no man in Ireland would be more glad to be proved wrong than he would upon this point; and he should not have opposed the proposal of the hon. Member for the City of Cork if the Government had seen their way to deal with the small sum—the very small sum—set apart for emigration, and to devote it to migration in the way suggested by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. The hon. Member had specified certain counties and localities, and had said—and he trusted the hon. Member was right—that there were certain localities in Mayo which were better suited for tillage than for grazing purposes, to which they were at present adapted, because they were now getting back to their normal state before the Famine. If the hon. Gentleman had really carefully considered this, as he, no doubt, had, and if there really were such lands, and a number of people could be taken from the congested districts and settled upon those lands, and if the experiment could be made for so paltry a sum as £50,000, in Heaven's name let it be tried! If it failed, they would be no worse off; on the contrary, they would be better off, for they would have set the question at rest. If it succeeded, a great panacea for many of Ireland's evils would have been found. He was alluding to special lands which the hon. Member had specified; to lands which the hon. Member said were not now in the occupation of particular individuals, and not of lands elsewhere. He was entirely with the hon. Member on the proposition the hon. Member had made that evening; and he should be exceedingly glad if the Government could, to the moderate extent which had been proposed, try the ex- 566 periment. He must, however, warn hon. Gentlemen opposite that even that might not, perhaps, be so easy as they imagined, because his experience of the Irish peasant was that he was not only exceedingly attached to his country, but was attached to his home, and he had himself had great difficulty in persuading his tenants to move from their small holdings to better holdings in the same townland, and not 500 yards off. Although they at first accepted his offer, though doubtfully, when it came to moving from under the old roof-tree they felt such a strong objection that they would not go.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
said, the reception which had been given to the Bill must be very gratifying to the Chief Secretary. According to the information he had received from the North of Ireland, the passing of the Bill was awaited with the deepest anxiety; and already extensive preparations were being made to take full advantage of the Bill when it had become law. But he wished to point out that if it was to be a success, and the success which the right hon. Gentleman intended and hoped, there must, in his opinion, be several alterations and Amendments; and his object in rising was to point out what, in his view, were the defects of the measure. In the first place, it did not empower Railway Companies to subscribe to the capital for tramways. He knew of several cases in which Railway Companies had subscribed; and if powers were given to enable them to subscribe, the burden on the ratepayers would be lightened to a considerable extent. He was surprised to hear the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) pointing out that the Railway Companies of Ireland would be jealous of an extension of the tramways. He hoped and believed that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's fears were groundless, because he regarded tramways as most important feeders to the general railway system of Ireland; and he had no other expectation than that, when the matter came to be discussed, the Railway Companies, instead of being jealous, would give all the assistance in their power by subscribing capital, if they were allowed to do so, first getting the sanction of their shareholders. A further 567 suggestion he wished to make was that the powers of the Railway Commission should extend to the tramways, in order that any difference between the tramways and the railways might be settled by them. There was one very important point upon which he had received numerous communications. It was urged that under the Provisional Orders to be issued by the Privy Council there should be compulsory powers for taking land; and he wished to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether this Bill provided for taking land compulsorily? Under the old Tramways Act of 1860 the limits of deviation were 30 feet from the road. This Bill provided for an increase of speed up to 12 miles an hour; but there were no compulsory powers provided for taking land, so as to avoid bad gradients which it might be impossible to work.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is going into details which are only appropriate to the Committee stage of the Bill.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
said, his apology for mentioning this point was that it was a matter of vital importance, and he wished to direct the attention of the Attorney General for Ireland to it. There was another point which he thought should be provided for, and that was that the Tramway Acts which had been passed this Session should be brought within the scope of the Bill. Already the Royal Assent had been given to one Tramway Act in connection with his own county. The barony had subscribed £15,000, at 5 per cent. for 35 years; and he thought it would be hard if the Bill did not include Tramway Acts passed this Session. These tramways, to be successful, must go through the country, in order to avoid the difficulties he had pointed out; and they would, therefore, really become railways. To prevent any misunderstanding or disappointment, he strongly advised that narrow-gauge railways should be included in the provisions of the Bill. In Donegal, he was quite satisfied that there would be the greatest disappointment if narrow-gauge railways were excluded from the Bill. On the question of migration, he agreed with the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) that now was the time to try a scheme of migration; and he agreed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for 568 the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) that there was little use in commencing such a scheme with £50,000. Why should not £100,000 be given for the purpose of emigration, and another £100,000 be devoted to testing a scheme of migration? He had no faith in emigration as a permanent cure for the ills of Ireland. He looked at it as a mere temporary expedient, and one which should only be applied to districts exposed to poverty. He should very much like to see a scheme of migration tried upon a broad and comprehensive scale. The Grand Juries formed a most unsatisfactory tribunal for dealing with such matters; and it was now evident the advantage which would be reaped in Ireland from a system of County Boards. If they introduced into the Bill an Amendment providing that the landlords of Ireland were to subscribe half the county cess, did the House think that the Grand Juries would pass tramway schemes? They would do nothing of the kind. He was extremely anxious that the Bill should be a great success, because he believed that it would do more towards developing the resources of Ireland than any measure which had been passed during the present Parliament.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, he did not think that any discussion on this stage of the Bill would be likely to lead to any practical result, and therefore his observations would be very few indeed. He thought that, with the Amendments which had been suggested from various quarters of the House, the measure was one which ought to be warmly supported by Irish Members; and, as far as he was concerned, he should be glad to give it his support. With reference, however, to the provisions for the formation of tramways in Ireland, he regretted to find that the poorer and the richer districts were to be put on an equal footing. He believed the effect of this would be, if it were persisted in throughout the various stages of the Bill, to render the measure inoperative in most of the districts that stood most in need of railway and tramway communication. Since the Bill was printed he had had communications from various parts of the county he represented, and this view was very much pressed on his attention. Districts like those of Newport, Belmullet, and Swineford were 569 willing to give even a modified guarantee of 2 per cent on the capital of the Company; and he should hope that, on further consideration of this part of the Bill, the Government would see their way to make a Schedule of what might be called the permanently distressed districts of the West of Ireland, and to provide that in the case of all baronies included in that Schedule the Treasury should itself guarantee a dividend of 4 per cent; and that the baronies in the more prosperous parts of Ireland should be called upon to guarantee a dividend of 2 per cent. The Purchase Clauses under this Act were to be extended through the agency of public Companies; and he thought that would, to some extent, promote the object which had found support in all quarters of the House—namely, the creation of a peasant proprietary in Ireland. He did not know why the view which hon. Members took on the subject of migration should bear any relation at all to the sum of £100,000, which the Bill proposed to expend on emigration. He was sure that it could not be seriously contended for a moment that a sum of £50,000 would demonstrate successfully the advantages of any scheme of migration. Such a sum would be entirely inadequate. He would be disposed to leave that sum as it stood, for two reasons—first of all, because no portion of it would be sufficient to give a scheme of migration a fair chance; and, secondly, because he believed that if the sum of £100,000, which it was proposed to spend on emigration, were diminished, the only effect would be that the assistance afforded to families to emigrate would be much less than if the larger amount were sanctioned. He believed that the operations of Mr. Tuke's Committee had been very much fettered and restrained by the fact that the amount at their disposal was of so limited a character; and his opinion was that if Parliament assisted people to emigrate at all they ought to assist them well. Therefore, it was better that, if they were reluctantly obliged to carry out a scheme of emigration at all, they should have ample means of doing so. He should think that under the Purchase Clauses a scheme of migration might be very fairly tried, and for the reason that the money advanced under the Purchase Clauses was of no specified amount. The 570 Land Act said that the Treasury should be empowered to advance money in aid of the purchase of farms by tenants, provided that the sum should not exceed the amount annually voted by Parliament for that purpose. If they tried to develop a migration scheme under these clauses, the matter would work in this manner. It would be done either under the authority of the Commissioners of Public Works, or under the authority of the Land Commission; and the money would be advanced from time to time without any necessity whatever for subsequent legislation, assuming that the experiment in the first instance proved successful. If in this Bill, or in any other Bill, they limited or specified the exact amount of money to be devoted to the carrying out of the scheme in any one year, it would be necessary to have further legislation, even although the scheme proved successful. He desired to call attention to these points, not at all in the hope that they could be adequately discussed, but rather with the object of indicating the line which he proposed himself to take with the view of amending this Bill when it reached the Committee stage. Just one word with regard to the operations of Mr. Tuke's Committee in reference to emigration. When he had occasion to occupy the time of the House on this subject before, he complained that Mr. Tuke and those connected with him had not given them any data on which to form a judgment as to the value of their operations in the West of Ireland; and he particularly asked for some evidence to show that the evil of congested populations had been remedied, not merely by transferring a certain number of people from their homes to emigrant ships, and ultimately to the other side of the Atlantic, but that something had been done to consolidate the holdings where they had been found to be too small to enable any tenant to gain a decent livelihood on them. Recently the Committee had prepared a Report on this subject, and that Report had been to him a very agreeable surprise. If the figures set forth were correct—and he had no doubt they were—he was bound to say that the operations of Mr. Tuke's Committee in reference to that scheme of emigration had been more successful than he had hitherto had reason to believe. He was glad to find 571 that great progress had been made in what he might call the opinion of the House, both on the subject of emigration and on that of migration, since they talked of this matter before. It seemed now to be admitted on both sides of the House that emigration was not a panacea for the misery of Ireland, but only a temporary expedient. ["No!"] Well, the admission had come from those who had advocated emigration; and, therefore, he was inclined to regard it as a very satisfactory admission, while, in his own judgment, it was a very fair expression of the state of the case. There was some progress of opinion on the subject of migration also. It was the fate of every new proposal that it should be for a long time misunderstood, and that in some quarters it should be misrepresented. After a while, however, men of sense were apt to say—"Well, we will give the new proposal a trial." The Government were now prepared to try migration; and the House was entitled to infer, with all its experience of public matters, that a scheme of migration was consequently in a fair way of succeeding, because men would never think of subjecting it to a serious experiment if they had not some faith in the probability of its success. He should conclude by congratulating the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and those who had brought in this Bill, on having made so decided a step towards carrying out recommendations which had been made by Irish Members. He believed that if the Government would agree to some of the recommendations and suggestions which had been thrown out in the course of the debate, the Bill would become one which would be received by the people of Ireland with great satisfaction.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, that every hon. Member who had addressed the House had, he thought, without exception, expressed some satisfaction at the substantial unanimity of the debate up to that point. He was glad to hear it acknowledged that the Bill was brought forward with a genuine desire to do something for the prosperity of Ireland. As to the remarks which had been made on this subject, he would merely pass in review the points of the speakers who had preceded him. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Mayne), in opening the debate, objected to the Grand Juries 572 as the means of setting the Bill in motion. He (Mr. Trevelyan) did not know that the hon. Member objected to the Grand Juries with any hope of the Government being able, with any reasonable prospect of success, to substitute another system; but the hon. Gentleman hoped that some means would be found to make Grand Juries do their duty. On the other hand, he (Mr. Trevelyan) found that other Members had remarked upon the great danger there was lest the Grand Juries should do their duty only too actively, and should embark the credit of the ratepayers in schemes which the ratepayers, if they were more popularly represented, would not engage in. He could not but think that the Government, who on this point had expended a great deal of care and attention, had positively hit upon something like the mean between meeting the ratepayers' interests on the one hand, and the prosperity of the country on the other. The hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan) suggested that ratepayers should be able to oppose in Parliament the construction of one of these tramways. Now, in ail other respects, the Government had followed the lines of the existing Tramways Act; but this proposal would involve a new provision. In the case of the present Tramways Act the only persons who had a locus standi against a Tramways Bill were the owners or occupiers of land which was going to be taken away, and rival Companies who were likely to have their interests damaged by the construction of another line of tramways. In this case the promoters of the Bill would be quite willing to encourage the principle which the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Nolan) had given expression to; because they considered that the ratepayers should, in some way or other, have the power of making representations against any scheme which they deemed likely to endanger their interests. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) made a proposal, perhaps, of a somewhat wider nature. The hon. Member referred to the Bill for making tramways put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) at a time when various schemes were being suggested for the relief of distress in Ireland; and he (Mr. Parnell) said that in that Bill the lia- 573 bility to pay cess was placed half upon the owner and half on the occupier. But it was pointed out—and he (Mr. Trevelyan) thought with great force—that this was done some years ago, before the rents were in many cases fixed judicially, and at a time when the landlord, if he found that half the cess was an unexpected burden upon him, had the power to raise the rent. That power had now been taken from the landlord; and if any re-arrangement of cess was undertaken, they might find themselves under the necessity of engaging in the very complicated operation of interfering with the judicial rents. He did not see that it was a convincing reason in favour of the hon. Gentleman's proposal that there was at present no representative self-government in Ireland. It seemed to him (Mr. Trevelyan) that the question of distributing local burdens could not be treated incidentally in a Tramways Bill. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) spoke with great animation and heartiness in welcoming what he regarded as a grant of £2,000,000 from the Imperial finances. Now, he (Mr. Trevelyan) was extremely anxious, both with regard to those who gave and those who received, not to make themselves out more generous than they were. The utmost responsibility which the Exchequer took upon itself, in case circumstances occurred which could not possibly happen, would be to guarantee the interest, not upon £2,000,000, but upon £1,000,000; but the effect of this Bill, as they hoped and believed, would be to raise £2,000,000 to be expended for the benefit of Ireland. On this £2,000,000 the Government only undertook to guarantee 2 per cent. He trusted that the provisions of the Bill were so framed that very little, indeed, of this guarantee would ultimately have to be paid. He owned that tramways which did not pay their way were extremely doubtful elements in the prosperity of a country. He owned, also, that Parliament had lately, both in England and in Ireland, gone far too deeply into the system of State loans; and one reason why he had considerable satisfaction in introducing this Bill was that it encouraged a principle which he considered to be, at any rate, as an alternative principle, a very satisfactory one—the principle under 574 which not a single penny of public money would be laid out on any undertaking upon which the local authorities were not willing to expend an equal amount of their own money. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) wondered why the Bill was not brought in mouths ago, and said he did not understand what the occasion for it was now. The occasion for it was that, some months ago, a large body of the Members of the House—the most respectable Members, who thoroughly understood Ireland—made representations to the Government to have something done to further the prosperity of Ireland; and, as he explained in introducing the measure, the Government came to the conclusion that something had better be done with the object of improving the means of communication. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Bill was brought forward without the excuse of the relief of distress. This was, however, in his (Mr. Trevelyan's) opinion, a desirable feature of the measure. The Government had, over and over again, expressed through his mouth their disbelief in the efficiency of relief works. What they wanted to do was something for the permanent benefit of Ireland, and something that was not mixed up with the temporary relief of distress. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) started an idea which was taken up very warmly in all quarters of the House. There was only one hon. Gentleman who had addressed the House who did not, at any rate, sympathize with the hon. Member's proposal. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Parnell), speaking of the proposed Vote for emigration, paid a just compliment to the operations of, and the motives which actuated Mr. Tuke; and he appealed to the Government to let something be done, out of what he described as Irish money, in a direction which, as he (Mr. Parnell) said, Irishmen would welcome more cordially than they did the system of emigration. On the question of emigration, he (Mr. Trevelyan) had expressed his opinions pretty often, and he would not repeat them now. His own belief was that facilities for emigration were very deeply valued by a class of people who had not the opportunity, and who were not in the habit, of 575 making their voices heard. Those people who did very ill in Ireland, the very poorest people, had, for the most part, no votes in the counties; and, moreover, they were people who were not accustomed to make their voices heard by politicians; but whenever they had an opportunity of emigrating to countries where they might live under happier circumstances, they showed themselves very eager to take advantage of such opportunity. The hon. Member for the City of Cork incidentally said that in many cases assistance for emigration had been extended to people who were not the proper objects of it. He (Mr. Trevelyan) would not attempt at any length to refute that statement of the hon. Member, because at this moment it was not very much to his purpose to do so; but one statement he would make which was to his purpose—namely, that, as far as he could gather, where these cases had occurred—and there might be a certain number, and he dared say that in some districts there were a good many—they occurred in instances where the emigration was left to Boards of Guardians. The temptation to Boards of Guardians to send away the people who would eventually come to the workhouse, he had no doubt, in some eases, proved irresistible; but he maintained that such was not the case with the voluntary labours of the gentlemen attached to what was generally called Mr. Tuke's Committee. The hon. Member for the City of Cork quoted the Union of Swineford, which was a Union presided over by a Board of Guardians. He (Mr. Trevelyan) had a Return from Belmullet Union, in which the emigration operations were conducted by Mr. Tuke's Committee through the agency of his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. S. Buxton). He was informed that the people who were emigrated were very small holders, and that, out of 293 holdings vacated, 149 were taken over by the neighbours of the emigrants, so that the holdings of the neighbours were increased. Only 20 were taken over by new tenants, and 106 reverted to the landlords, while the small balance was for the present laying waste. The result was that out of the 293 holdings a little more than 1–20th had been disposed of in such a manner as to carry on the system of congestion which existed before. Now, the hon. Member's 576 proposal was to divide the sum which the Government proposed to allot for emigration, and that proposal seemed to meet with a pretty warm approval on all sides. One hon. Gentleman who had supported it was a prominent and active member of Mr. Tuke's Committee. That hon. Member—the Member for Carnarvonshire (Mr. Rathbone)—had not gone into the operations of Mr. Tuke's Committee, or given statistics in support of his view; but he (Mr. Trevelyan) had found it his duty to examine very carefully what those operations were, and had come to the conclusion that £50,000 would go very far indeed, if spent in the manner in which money had been spent by Mr. Tuke's Committee hitherto. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), who was not now present, being, no doubt, engaged on business of a more agreeable character, had asked for information as to the manner in which the money had been spent. On making inquiries, he (Mr. Trevelyan) had found that £26,400 was what had been spent in the course of the year by Mr. Tuke's Committee; and that, he took it, was the very outside sum which these gentlemen could possibly spend in any given year. Well, a matter of some £80,000 had been granted to the Unions. He observed, on looking through the list of Unions, that the districts from which people were emigrated by means of the agency of those Unions were the districts from which emigration had gone on steadily for a long time; while, as a rule, the districts from which people were emigrated by Mr. Tuke's Committee were those districts which were so poor that the emigration which had been normal in the rest of Ireland had hardly been going on since the Government took the matter in hand. If this assistance were given, it should be given to assist those comparatively few districts which were quite unable to assist themselves. Therefore, under these circumstances, after consulting very carefully with the members of the Committee, he could not doubt that the £50,000 would go a long way if properly spent. The hon. and learned Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) told them that if emigration were done at all it should be done well. Well, after consulting with Lord Spencer and his advisers, he had come to the conclusion to make this amendment of the Arrears Act—namely, to raise the 577 sum which, under certain circumstances, could be given per head to emigrants from £5 to £8. He did not imagine that this sum would very often be drawn upon. They found that people could be emigrated to New York, Boston, or Toronto, for £5 per head, and for such other aid as Mr. Tuke's Committee, for instance, was perfectly able and willing to afford; but that was not the case when they came to send people to Manitoba and more distant places, where they could settle down as agriculturists. In these cases the fares alone came to to £4 per head. But, of course, as the larger number of the emigrants consisted of children, the extra £3 which would be granted in those cases in which the Lord Lieutenant was satisfied the money was wanted, and would be well spent, would be sufficient to make a great advance in the distance which could be covered, and in the comfort in which the poor people could travel. Before he left this subject, which was the last he should touch on, he might say that from first to last there had been no one more earnest or urgent in pressing on the Government the desirability of doing something to open up Ireland by means of tramways than Mr. Tuke. He was inclined to think that the matter was one which Mr. Tuke had quite as much at heart as emigration. He was perfectly aware that the hon. Member for Mayo seemed to have some doubt as to the desirability of dealing with emigration in the manner which it had been suggested they should adopt. The hon. Member thought it might be dealt with more largely and liberally by means of the Purchase Clauses. He (Mr. Trevelyan) almost doubted whether that was the case. Under the Purchase Clauses the money would be lent for the purpose of buying the laud, and the margin that would be left to borrow from—and he would not outer too deeply into that—in some cases would be certainly very meagre. Money would be wanted for the purpose of stocking and fencing the land; and as this money was to be given a great deal by way of experiment, he should be glad if the grants could be made in sufficiently large proportions to give that experiment every chance of success. He did not think they had any right to take these poor people from one part of Ireland and put them down in another without giving them the very fairest possible chance of 578 being able to make a livelihood. The theory of emigration was that they should send people to places where it had been ascertained they would be likely to thrive, and there leave them. It was obvious, however, that in the matter of migration they must do more than that—that they must follow the people up a little further, and make more certain of their condition in their new homes. For that reason he would far rather himself see this £50,000 spent on a small number of families in such sums as would give them a real chance, than spent on a more ambitious scheme which, through stinting the individuals, could only fail. He earnestly hoped and trusted that some good would come of these Land Clauses. Speaking on a Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton) some time ago, he had said that there were two things the Government were determined on in arranging for the purchase of land by tenants. They were determined to stick to two principles—namely, that a substantial part of the purchase money should be paid down, and that the instalments should be paid over in a comparatively limited period, so that the person who bought the property might feel, as years went on, that he was really becoming the proprietor, and could go forward in the knowledge that his liability was decreasing year by year. Those principles had been adhered to in the Purchase Clauses. Whatever was done would all be in a healthy direction. He confidently hoped that the effect of the clauses would be, to some extent, to transfer laud from people who felt it was not to their interest to let it to people who were only anxious to get hold of it, and thus extend the landlord system in Ireland without bringing about that alarming drain on the country, and those political difficulties, which a wholesale system of State landlordism would entail. The suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. A. Dickson), who had taken such deep interest in this question from the very first, would be most carefully considered by Her Majesty's Government. He could assure his hon. Friend that the Bill did provide for taking land compulsorily. If it did not do so—if any hon. Member doubted that the provision proposed at the end of the Bill referring to the 48th section of the Tramways Act would not secure that 579 object, he trusted he would communicate with him or his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland on the subject as early as possible. He would not enter further upon the details of the Bill. He could only reiterate the appeal of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), that hon. Members would think twice and thrice before putting down Amendments which would have the effect of starting some question which they felt of interest at this moment—would think whether the Amendments they put down were certain to secure the object at which they aimed. He felt sure, from the spirit which had been exhibited on the second reading, that the Bill had now a very fair prospect of meeting with success.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he wished to make one remark as to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. A. Dickson), because it was of great importance to the county of Cork—the suggestion, namely, that Railway Companies should have power to undertake the promotion of these tramways. There were several districts in which the people who would be the most natural to construct the tramways would be the Railway Companies. The works, if carried out by them, would be, probably, no expense to the ratepayers. He hoped, therefore, the Government would consider the suggestion.
§ MR. SAMUEL SMITH
said, that, as a Member representing a constituency (Liverpool) containing a large number of Irish inhabitants, he wished to say a word or two on the second reading of the Bill. He would express to the Government his thanks for their important Tramway and Emigration scheme, which was drawn upon lines similar to those he had advocated on previous occasions; and he would express a hope that the action of the Government in taking this new departure would be attended with most valuable consequences for the benefit of the Sister Island. There was no possible hope of being able to develop the resources of the South-West of Ireland save by Government aid in a measure such as this. There was no hope of private enterprize carrying on the works which were so much to be desired. If the present scheme turned out the success he trusted it would be, it would be the herald of future and larger experiments in the same direction; but, whe- 580 ther it was a success or not, he hoped this Bill would be regarded as evidencing the sincere interest taken in the welfare of Ireland by the richer and stronger Island. He was very desirous—and he was sure many others who sat on those (the Ministerial) Benches were desirous—of convincing the Irish people that they were their true friends. At any rate, he was expressing the feelings of his own heart in what he said, and he hoped, also, he was expressing the feelings of a great many people. Many of them were ready to take a great deal of pains, and incur a great deal of expense, in order to make Ireland a more prosperous country, and he hoped that this Bill would be viewed in that light by the people of Ireland. He would urge Irish Members, when addressing their constituents, to speak of this as a sincere attempt on the part of the British Parliament to make Ireland a more prosperous country, for he was sure if such a view were taken of it it would pave the way for much more legislation of a beneficial kind. And, besides that, in this way the encouragement of a better feeling between the two countries would lead to the formation of closer relations, and the investment of a larger portion of the capital of Great Britain in the Sister Country. The annual savings of Great Britain amounted to an enormous sum. Much of this was spent upon developing foreign countries; and there was no reason why, at any rate for a time, some of that golden stream could not be diverted into Ireland, so as to lead to the development of its resources and the great benefit of its inhabitants. Looking forward, as he did, to a more happy future for Ireland, which had given us so much annoyance and anxiety of late, he hailed this Bill with hope. He was glad the Government had seen their way to a conjoint scheme of emigration and migration, as he felt they ought to consult the feelings of the Irish people in matters of this kind as far as possible. If the Government conceded a good scheme of migration, such was the love of the Irish people for their native soil, that he had good hope the scheme would prove a success. At all events, he thought they ought to try it, to show the people of Ireland that the British Parliament was anxious to meet them in every possible way to make their country more prosperous and 581 happy. He trusted this Bill would be looked upon in some sense as a peace offering from England to Ireland—at all events, he wished to look on it in that way himself. He could not resume his seat without heartily wishing the scheme success, and without thanking the Government for a scheme which he believed would conduce to the welfare of Ireland.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
said, he was bound to say he did not think the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had at all improved the tone of the debate by his speech. The patronizing air which the hon. Member had assumed was certainly not calculated to win for him any expression of gratitude from him (Mr. Harrington), and he should hardly think it would win expressions of gratitude from hon. Gentlemen near him. A stranger who was not familiar with the facts of the case, hearing the hon. Member's speech, would suppose that some real boon was being conferred on Ireland, for which Ireland had a right to be grateful; whereas, as a matter of fact, all that was given was a miserable measure of three parts, two of which, on the admission of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, were unworkable, and the third of which would merely develop a process at present in operation for the transportation of the people of Ireland from their native country. The Government in this Bill were only giving them the right to spend their own fund, and to refer to that in a patronizing manner was most objectionable—indeed, the tone of the hon. Member was insolent. He was not disposed to give the hon. Member credit for that sincerity for which he gave himself such elaborate credit. Whenever he (Mr. Harrington) saw an hon. Member get up and have to read his expression of sincerity from a paper before him, he at once doubted that sincerity. As one representing an Irish county, and as being to some extent mixed up with the Irish people, he could not allow the second reading of the Bill to pass without entering his protest against the miserable policy of emigration, to which Her Majesty's Government seemed so closely wedded, that even in this Bill granting a small concession to the poor, starved peasantry in Ireland, they still must introduce the subject. They had hoard a good deal from the Chief Secretary as to the happy 582 condition of the people who had been sent out of Ireland by the Emigration Committee; but it must be remembered that those people had not yet had experience of one of those severe winters which occurred in Manitoba. There had not yet been a fair opportunity of placing before the House statistics of the number the summer had killed in the South of America; and they could only speculate as to what he severe winter would do to those who were not accustomed to it, and who had been driven away by this miserable policy of the Government. Had the Government taken up the subject at the proper time, and extended to the people of the West of Ireland that outdoor relief which the public opinion of Ireland had pointed to as the only means of meeting the distress, they would not have to face the difficulties which were before them at this late period of the Session. In qualification of the policy of emigration, the cases of the emigrants sent out from the district of Belmullet had been cited. A number of figures relating to the families who had been emigrated had been given, and it had been shown that these people who had been the occupiers of very small holdings at home had had their condition improved, whilst the holdings they had left had been consolidated. Why, the right hon. Gentleman had given the most severe condemnation of the policy of the Emigration Committee which he had been endeavouring to defend. Everyone knew—except, perhaps, some young sprig of a politician who, from some motive of English patriotism, found himself in the West of Ireland for a few days' tour—that the people who were really suffering, and on whom the severity of the past few days had fallen most heavily, were not the men who had the smallest holdings, but those who held larger ones and were not able to pay for them—on whom the rent pressed so heavily that they were merely eking out a miserable existence. The men who had small holdings came over to England and Scotland, and were able to earn part of their livings in these countries. In regard to what the right hon. Gentleman had stated as to the difficulty of meeting the proposal of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) by throwing the incidence of taxation of these baronial guarantees on the landowners as well as upon the rated occupiers, he 583 failed to see how any difficulty whatever lay in the way of the adoption of that proposal. If the right hon. Gentleman, or those who had advised him in the preparation of this Bill, knew anything of the working of these baronial guarantees in Ireland, they would have known that at this moment baronial guarantees similar to those proposed by the hon. Member for the City of Court were in operation, and that the landlords had to bear the weight of several of the guarantees to railways now working. If that was the fact, and the owners of property had to pay half the baronial guarantees in the case of railways, why should they not do the same in the case of tramways? In his (Mr. Harrington's) view the principle which regulated the one should regulate the other. If the right hon. Gentleman left to the tenants the expense of these tramways, and left to the Grand Juries the opening up of these estates, he imposed upon the very people he said he was anxious to relieve an additional tax from which they would derive no benefit whatever. He did not wish to be understood as offering factious opposition to the Bill. He wished to say that he accepted it, because the trusted Leader of the Party to which he had the honour to belong had thought it wise to accept it; but even though the hon. Member for the City of Cork had accepted the principle of the measure, he (Mr. Harrington) could not, and would not, sit idle in the House when it was proposed to continue the miserable policy of counting out of Ireland its national population, when that population was brought down to 5,000,000, by fostering the wretched system of starving the people out.
§ MR. SMALL
said, this measure had received such an amount of qualified and unqualified approval that, perhaps, it would be presumptuous in him to speak on the subject. But, humble Member of the House as he was, he could not sit still on the occasion of the second reading of the Bill without saying a few words upon it. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Irish people ought to feel grateful because the Liberal Party were sacrificing so much of their economical principles in what they were doing for Ireland. That of itself would excite suspicion in the hearts of the Irish people. Why were the Government doing this? Because by it they were 584 enabled to carry out the principle of driving the population from Ireland. This Bill consisted of three parts; but only one part could be worked, as the others were surrounded with too many "safeguards." There were three processes to which the Tramway Clauses had to be subjected before they could be carried into effect; and every one of those processes was in the power of a body hostile to the people of Ireland. First of all, they had the Grand Jury, which was a body condemned by the opinion of the people and by that House—a body which was the stronghold of jobbery, and every principle hostile to the people. Then, they had the approval of the Privy Council, which meant the Lord Lieutenant and his Castle retainers; and it was not likely that they would be favourable to the people of Ireland. Then, the third process was in the hands of the Treasury. He did not think that when any project had passed the triple ordeal of the jobbery of the Grand Jury, the anti-popular instincts of the Privy Council, and the penuriousness of the Treasury, much good would come of it. Moreover, he could not view with complacency any Bill which contained a clause which would have the effect of helping to drive a single man from the already too diminished population of Ireland. He had read the Bill through very carefully, to see whether there was any substantial advantage offered sufficient to induce the people of Ireland to accept it; and he had come to the conclusion that they were offered nothing, and that they ought not to accept it.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.