HC Deb 21 February 1883 vol 276 cc503-4

said, he wished to take advantage of the present opportunity to call the attention of the Government to the Seeds Advances (Scotland) Bill, which was on the Paper for second reading. He was not going to explain the principles of the Bill, or to enter into any discussion concerning it. It simply proposed to give assistance to the smaller tenants in Scotland, who were in a state of great destitution in many parts of the Highlands and Islands, and in a state of destitution which would certainly increase. Now, anything that could be done to remedy that state of matters obviously should be done at once; and he appealed to the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) as to whether he might not utilize the delay which must occur in consequence of the postponement of the Orders of the Day, by using his influence with his Colleagues in order that they might obtain official information as to the real state of matters in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The existence of distress there was a matter of notoriety. Every Scottish paper was full of reports on the subject. Subscriptions had been opened by the Chief Magistrates of Edinburgh and Glasgow for its relief, and he believed a similar movement had taken place in London, and yet he understood the Government was without any official information upon the subject. He did not wish to trespass on the time of the House in a matter of this kind; but in a case of such great urgency, it was very desirable that the Government should take immediate steps to obtain official information which would guide them as to their course of action.


I can only say, in reply to the hon. Member, that I will place myself in communication with my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, and with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I am not aware what information they have or have not; but I will communicate with them to see what it is possible to do, or whether it is possible to make any communication to the House or the hon. Gentleman upon the subject.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered, That the first four Orders of the Day be postponed until after the Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on an Amendment to the Address to Her Majesty.