§ Clause 11 (Emigration).
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, he had placed two Amendments upon the Paper, and he did not imagine that after the debate which took place on the second reading of the Bill either of those two Amendments would be opposed. They were as follows:—The clause proposed that—In the twentieth section of the Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, enabling grants to be made in aid of emigration, the sum of two hundred thousand pounds shall be substituted for the sum of one hundred thousand pounds.He proposed, after the word "pounds," to insert—and the sum of eight pounds shall be substituted for the sum of five pounds, in any case in which the Lord Lieutenant shall so direct,He then proposed to add this Proviso—Provided that, to an extent not exceeding fifty thousand pounds, the moneys to be hereafter granted by the Commissioners of Public "Works under the said section may be applied for the purpose of paying for or assisting in the removal of persons or families from districts or places within the unions referred to in the said section to other places in Ireland, whether within such unions or not, and their settlement 1017 there, or for other purposes incidental to such removal and settlement. Such grants shall only he made on the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant, and on such terms as he may approve.He thought they were all agreed that if a scheme of migration was adopted by the House, the Lord Lieutenant, in those cases where poor people wished to go further inland, should be able to secure that they should go there in a decent and comfortable manner. The second paragraph of the clause had been carefully considered in substance by himself, and also in its drafting by his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland. Its object was to carry out the concession or agreement which the Government had arrived at in obedience to the general wish of the House as expressed in several, if not in all, quarters. He begged now to move the first Amendment.
In page 1, line 21, after "pounds," insert "and the sum of eight pounds shall he substituted for the sum of five pounds in any case in which the Lord lieutenant shall so direct."—(Mr. Trerelyan.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the clause was widely drawn; and he thought, on the whole, there were advantages in providing that a clause of this kind, dealing with a subject which had not been tried under these conditions, should be widely drawn. The proposal of the right hon. Gentleman required that the experiment should be conducted under the supervision of the Irish Executive. He looked upon that proposal as a reasonable and prudent one. It was not desirable that such a provision should be used in any way for purposes of jobbery; and, especially for his hon. Friends and himself, he might say that they were desirous that every possible safeguard should be inserted in the Bill so as to prevent any abuse or any evasion of the intentions of Parliament. He had placed on the Paper some small and trifling Amendments to the Purchase Clause of the Bill, which, in his opinion, would tend to make the clause a workable one, and ensure that there should be no failure in carrying out the scheme. He did not propose to persevere with these Amendments at the present 1018 moment; but he hoped that, at the proper time, the right hon. Gentleman might be able to accept them, so as to make the Irish Members feel confidence that they were not committing them-seves to what would be a failure.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he was glad to hear the remarks which had fallen from the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); but he desired to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that this was the first time the Government had made any proposal of this kind; that hitherto they had studiously avoided making such a proposal; and that they had over and over again pointed out the danger of such a course. They had introduced into the present Bill a proposal to give £100,000 expressly for emigration, which was exactly the sum which was cut out of the Bill last year; because, if he recollected rightly, the sum of £200,000 proposed in the Bill of last year was reduced to £100,000. The Government, after mature consideration, named a sum of £100,000 in the Bill, believing that it would effect the object they had in view—namely, the relief of the chronic distress which had existed from generation to generation in certain districts in Ireland. But now, all in a moment, with what view he would not pause to inquire, the right hon. Gentleman turned round upon the proposal he had made before, and, deliberately abandoning his original plan, proposed that £.50,000 should be spent in migration instead of emigration. He desired to call the attention of the Committee to that fact, because, in his opinion, it was an important deviation from the ordinary scheme of Her Majesty's Government, and some explanation of the new departure was required at the hands of Her Majesty's Ministers.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, that, in regard to the arrangement which the hon. and gallant Gentleman believed to underlie this concession of the Government, if it was a political arrangement it was one of the most sensible he had ever heard of. Certainly, an arrangement which met with the approval of such different sections of the House represented by the hon. Member for Carnarvonshire (Mr. Rathbone), of the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. S. Buxton), and the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. 1019 Parnell), must be satisfactory to the strongest Government that ever existed. It was quite true that on a former occasion he had argued with great earnestness against any scheme which might commit the Government to a very indefinite enterprize in the direction of migration. It was, however, a very different thing to commit the nation to the proposal of immense loans which would would never be repaid, and to give, once for all, a very small definite sum out of the Irish Church Surplus in order to try an experiment with regard to which Irishmen, and a good many Englishmen interested in Ireland, would never be satisfied until it had been tried. That was the exact state of matters. He did not retract one single word which he had uttered on economical subjects during the Session; and he must remind the Committee of the terrible attacks the Government had endured upon that question. He would only say that, in the main, his opinion had not in the least degree changed.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had introduced controversial matters into the observations he had just made, and he (Mr. O'Connor Power) was exceedingly sorry that time did not permit him to answer them. They were giving, under this proposal, the widest possible discretion to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He would only express a hope that the arrangement connected with the expenditure of this sum of £50,000 which was to be devoted to the scheme of migration would be entrusted to men whose action would be likely to bring about good results. At present they were giving the widest possible discretion to the Irish Executive, who did not believe in the efficacy of the proposed plan. He hoped that they would entrust the actual work to those who did believe in it.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, he was of opinion that migration would not succeed unless it were accompanied by an extension of agricultural education. Under the scheme persons would be removed who at present did not know how to cultivate their holdings to other parts of Ireland. He was afraid that the success of the scheme would not be very great, and it certainly was a proposal which had never been contemplated 1020 by those who took an interest in reclamation, which was the proper thing to be combined with migration and agricultural teaching. To transfer ignorant peasants from bad land to good land would do little good unless they were, at the same time, taught agriculture, and how to work their holdings.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
In page 7, insert—"Provided, That, to an extent not exceeding fifty thousand pounds, the moneys to be hereafter granted by the Commissioners of Public Works under the said section may be appied for the purpose of paying for or assisting in the removal of persons or families from districts or places within the unions referred to in the said section to other places in Ireland, whether within such unions or not, and their settlement there, or for other purposes incidental to such removal and settlement. Such grants shall only be made on the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant, and on such terms as he may approve."—(Mr. Trevelyan.)
§ Question "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD moved to add a Proviso to the Amendment of the Chief Secretary, just agreed to.
In page 7, to add at the end of Clause—"Provided, also, that the liability of the Consolidated Fund contained in the twentieth section of the Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act in respect to grants in aid of emigration shall not apply to this Act."—(Mr. Arthur Arnold.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to, and ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ It being ten minutes before Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to report Progress; Committee to sit again this day.