§ (1.) £16,021, to complete the sum for the Land Commissioners for England.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, that understanding that this was a Vote for the Land Commission, he would venture to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House on a matter which he considered to be of some importance—namely, the enfranchisement of copyholds. Owing partly to promise of further legislation, the number of enfranchisements had been decreasing down to the present day. They had fallen from about 1,000 a-year to about 200 a-year. The present Vote included the Office which was instituted in regard to the enfranchisement of copyholds, and the sum taken for that purpose from the taxpayers of the country was £5,000 annually; so that for the enfranchisement of copyhold land the taxpayers of the country had to bear a very considerable burden. He would, therefore, appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give facilities for the passing of the Copyhold Enfranchisement Bill. It would not be in Order to refer at any length to that measure; but he might be allowed to say that the Bill was at that moment upon the Order Book, and that it stood in a very favourable position. Indeed, as a matter of fact, its position was more favourable now than it had ever occupied before, seeing that it had advanced one stage further than it had reached last year. The Copyhold Enfranchisement Bill had now got into Committee. It was a non-contentious measure; it had received the approval of the Land Commissioners of England, and of the Incorporated Law Society, and it was supported by Members on both sides of the House. Its object was to reduce the burdens borne by the people, and to contribute' towards the freedom of land. It certainly could not be regarded as a contentious Bill in any sense, because it had, in its various stages, received great support from both sides the House. He would earnestly 1713 appeal to the Government to accept the measure, and not to sanction any obstruction to its becoming law.
§ MR. PELL
also desired to add his appeal to the Government to give facilities for the discussion of the measure. The whole subject had already been very fully considered. The Bill was a non-political one. and it had reached a point at which the half-past 12 o'clock Rule did not apply. He thought the Government might favourably consider the matter.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH)
said, he could only say that his attention had not been particularly called to this subject before; but, looking at the Notice Paper, it seemed to him that the Bill stood in an exceptionally favourable position, seeing that those who were interested in it could proceed with it after half-past 12 o'clock. Under those circumstances, he thought it was rather hard that the Government should be asked to give facilities for the discussion of a Bill, so favourably placed, at the expense of other Business.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
wished to I remind the right hon. Baronet that the appeal was made on behalf of the taxpayers of the country, who had an interest in the passing of the Bill.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.)£361,254, to complete the sum for the Local Government Board.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he would like to say one or two words upon this Vote, especially in regard to the workhouse schools. That was a question which was generally brought every year before the Committee, and there was a very satisfactory statement made upon it last year by the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke). The right hon. Gentleman stated on that occasion that in the year 1883 there were 200 schools which had been given up as workhouse schools, and from which the children had been transferred to the ordinary schools of the various parishes. In 1884 that number was increased to 385, and he understood that there were 10 cases still under consideration. He wished to put a question on the subject to his right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. A. J. Balfour), 1714 whom he did not for the moment see in his place; but he had no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman would be there before the discussion closed. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he was able to give the Committee any information with reference to the extension of the system; and whether, up to the present time, the number of schools which had been given up as workhouse schools, and from which the children had been transferred to the local schools, had increased since last year? The number last year showed an increase of 185 over that in 1883; and ho wanted to know from his right hon. Friend whether he was in favour of this principle, and whether he was inclined to do all in his power to extend it as far as possible? He knew that there were some exceedingly well-managed schools, several of which were in peculiar circumstances, and in a different position from others. In his own county (West Sussex) there was a school which was absolutely and entirely distinct from the workhouse itself, and in which the children were not mixed up with the other paupers. His sole object in bringing the matter before the Committee was to provide, if possible, that these unfortunate children should have every opportunity afforded them of getting free from the taint of pauperism, and that they should be able hereafter to go out into the world without that stain upon them. He desired that they should never learn what it was to have been in that painful position, and that they should be able to earn a livelihood in the best way they could without being looked upon as having been brought up in workhouse schools. As to the boarding-out question, there had been an important meeting held recently in the immediate neighbourhood of the Houses of Parliament—namely, in the Jerusalem Chamber, Viscount Cran brook presided; and he had read the speech of that noble Viscount very carefully. It certainly pointed out most clearly the advantages of the boarding-out system. Last year the right hon. Gentleman who was then President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) said that while he was in favour, to a certain extent, of the boarding-out system he did not like to press it too far. But the opinions expressed at the meeting held 1715 the other day in the Jerusalem Chamber were in favour of pressing the system, provided it was carried out under proper supervision. He believed that the number of children who were boarded out last year was 835; and he should like to know if there had been any increase in that number, and whether the system was spreading and taking root more deeply than it had done before? There was another question he wished to put to his right hon. Friend, and it had reference to the extension of the cottage system, which had been so advantageously tried in Chelsea, Kensington, and Birmingham, and he also believed in one of the Unions of South Wales. In all those places he understood that the system had been found to work well. The children were placed out, without any stain of pauperism upon them, in comfortable lodgings where they were well cared for, had everything provided for them, and where they received an excellent education. One thing, however, he should like to know was, what was the cost? His great desire was that those children should be prevented from ever returning to pauperism; and it was because he believed that all those plans had worked advantageously that he desired to press the propriety of extending them upon the attention of the Local Government Board. It was because he believed that this Vote afforded a favourable opportunity for an expression of opinion on this all-important subject that he had brought the subject forward; and he ventured to hope the right hon. Gentleman, although young in Office at present, would be able to make some satisfactory statement to the Committee. He had no doubt that the views he had expressed would be corroborated by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), who had always taken great interest in the subject.
§ MR. CROPPER
wished, before the right hon. Gentleman rose to reply, to put another question upon the same subject. He desired to know whether the right hon. Gentleman was of opinion that it was desirable, in the inspection of workhouse schools, to do away with the practice of: having them examined by gentlemen appointed specially for the purpose of workhouse school examination He had, on previous occasions, strongly urged that those schools should be placed under 1716 the ordinary Government inspection of schools, and many hon. Gentlemen who had watched the different kinds of inspection that went on agreed with him. Those who had looked at the question of the inspection of workhouse schools would be aware that a great deal of advantage which was always made manifest in the inspection of National and Board Schools was altogether wanting in regard to workhouse schools. He believed it was felt to be an evil by the Inspectors themselves that they should always be confined to the inspection of pauper children, and that it had a tendency to lower the standard of education, and the vigour with which the schools were conducted. He was strongly of opinion that the inspection in regard to workhouse schools should be of precisely the same character as that which was carried out in reference to outside schools. The present system was not only injurious to the Inspectors themselves, but also disadvantageous to the children. What they all wanted was to get rid of what was commonly called the "taint of pauperism." Short of placing the children in schools that were altogether outside the walls of the workhouse, lie thought there could be nothing better than bringing into them those Inspectors who were engaged in the examination of the outside schools; and his own opinion was that it was desirable the workhouse schools should be inspected by the ordinary Government Inspectors either on the same day or the day after the other schools were visited. He believed that the view he had expressed met with entire concurrence from the gentlemen who now held the honourable position of School Inspectors. He had had the honour of being present at the meeting in the Jerusalem Chamber, and he was able to corroborate everything the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had said as to what took place on that occasion. The opinion expressed was altogether in favour of the boarding out of those children in England. The most expensive way of bringing up children was to continue them in the schools that were now kept up at great expense by the rates in many of the large centres of the country. It was said that the expense of each child amounted to from £35 to £38 per annum, and Viscount 1717 Cran brook added that in some cases he had known the expense run up to £80; while, on the other hand, a child could be comfortably boarded out for £12 a-year. Therefore, a great advantage would accrue to the ratepayers if a general system of boarding out like that which was practised in Scotland were adopted. Then, again, the advantages to the children themselves would be far greater; they would learn better when separated from the pauper taint that hung around them. Their knowledge of the world would be necessarily increased, and they would be better able, ultimately, to enter into the ordinary avocations of life than children who were brought up in the workhouse schools. One lady visitor who knew a great deal about district schools said that she could trace three generations of pauperism in the children who were now attending those schools. Nothing could be more grievous, when all of them desired to improve every class of the people, than to find that by the systems they adopted, ostensibly for the purposes of education, they were perpetuating the very evils they were so anxious to get rid of. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he was of opinion that it was desirable to assimilate the inspection of workhouse schools to that of the ordinary Government schools outside? He also wished to know whether there was any intention of adding a lady Inspector in the interests of the female pauper children. If such an appointment were made, a lady placed in that position would be able to visit the schools all over the country, and see that the female children in the workhouses had all the advantages provided for them which they were entitled to.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR)
said, his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had called attention again this year, as on previous occasions, to the question of the education of pauper children in schools associated with the workhouses. His hon. and gallant Friend felt—and he thought the Committee, in discussing the question, "would also feel—that great advantage was attained by separating as far as possible the pauper children 1718 from pauper surroundings. He could assure his hon. and gallant Friend that, as far as the Government were concerned, the Local Government Board were with him, and thoroughly concurred with the general spirit of his suggestion. It must, however, be recollected that in many instances Boards of Guardians had spent very large sums of money out of the rates in providing expensive and costly schools, and it could not be expected that they would always acquiesce in throwing this money away. Moreover, it must be remembered that some, at all events, of the advantages which would be obtained by educating pauper children in the public elementary schools would be lost unless proper arrangements were made for their supervision out of school hours, and for withdrawing them from their pauper surroundings. Therefore, if the Guardians were called upon to provide for the education of those children outside the limits of the workhouse, and to dismiss the workhouse schoolmaster, they must provide an efficient substitute for the existing supervision. Unless such arrangements could be made, he was afraid that the system of educating pauper children in the public elementary schools would do more harm than good. His hon. and gallant Friend, and. hon. Members generally, would be glad to learn that the system of educating pauper children outside the limits of the workhouse was on the increase. There was an increase last year, and that increase was still going on. He had an impression that his hon. and gallant Friend had not stated the figures correctly. He believed that the number of cases in which the system had been applied last year was 235; and there were 10 cases then under consideration. The number of cases had since increased, and the schools to which the system had been applied now numbered 260. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Cropper) had alluded to the question of the inspection of pauper schools. The hon. Member appeared to think that not only did pauper children suffer from being educated in pauper schools, but that the Inspectors of pauper schools suffered from having the sphere of their operations limited to schools of that kind. He was not sure that that was so. The Local Government Board took 1719 care that the rules and regulations laid down by the Board of Education in regard to their Inspectors were carried out in regard to those schools; and the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Cropper) would find that, so short a time ago as 1884, a Committee inquired into this question, and reported distinctly and categorically against having the inspection of the two classes of schools performed and carried out by the same Inspectors. Moreover, the Boards of Guardians objected to being placed under another Department. They were already subjected to two Departments for certain purposes, and they objected to be placed under a third; and he did not think that any object would be gained by mixing up together in the same category different classes of schools. The hon. Member for Kendal asked whether it was the intention of the Government to appoint lady Inspectors. For his own part, he was far from entertaining any objection, either in practice or theory, to the appointment of lady Inspectors. In fact, he thought that for certain purposes lady Inspectors would be more efficient than Inspectors of the opposite sex. In connection with that subject, however, he had to consider the kind of work required to be done; because if the work were of such a nature that it would require arduous and continuous labour, and travelling in all seasons and all times of the year, his objection to the appointment of ladies to discharge the duties of Inspectors of Schools would depend on their special physical capacity rather than on their intellectual or moral qualifications. I le would now turn to the question of boarding out. Allusion had been made by both of the speakers who had preceded him to the conference which was held recently in the Jerusalem Chamber. He could assure both hon. Gentlemen and the Committee that he shared with his Predecessor in Office the strong sympathy which existed in regard to the boarding out of pauper children. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had quoted his Predecessor in Office as saying that they had nearly approached already the limits to which a system of boarding out could be advantageously carried. As far as he (Mr. Balfour) was aware, he did not think that that was the opinion of the right hon. Member 1720 for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke); though, as the right hon. Gentleman was not present, he did not like to commit himself definitely on the point. As far as he (Mr. Balfour) was concerned, he should view with great pleasure any extension of the system as far as it could be efficiently carried forward. His hon. and gallant Friend spoke of the difficulty of finding suitable abodes for the children intended to be boarded out. He thought that fact, combined with the necessity of finding a committee of supervision over the children when they wore boarded out, represented the two chief elements in the consideration of the question. As long as proper homes could be found, and they could rely on a committee for superintending the children when boarded out, so long they would be safe in extending the system; but otherwise it might become more injurious than beneficial. To turn to the statistics of the subject. Whereas, in 1883, the number of children boarded out was between 600 and 700, in July the right hon. Gentleman who preceded him in Office had informed the House the number was 83o, and now he (Mr. Balfour) was able to state that it amounted to no less than 1,134. Therefore the Committee would perceive that the number was not only increasing, but that the ratio of increase was in itself increasing, and, therefore, afforded a good augury for the future development of the system. The only other point noticed by the lion, and gallant Member for West Sussex was the extension of the cottage system. lie believed that that system had succeeded very well, both in the case of Birmingham and Chelsea. The chief objection to it was that it was a more expensive system than the ordinary one. His hon. and gallant Friend appeared to think that children were removed from the taint of pauperism if they were removed from contact with other children. That was not, however, the case. The cottage system was merely a workhouse for children, erected on a different plan to other workhouses. So far as education was concerned, it did not differ essentially from other workhouses; and, seeing that the children remained in contact with other pauper children, it could not be said that the system possessed the particular advantage ascribed to it by his hon. and gallant Friend. He thought 1721 he had now answered all questions which had been put to him.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £10,725, to complete the sum for the Lunacy Commission, England.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
wished, before the Vote passed, to put a question to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in reference to lunacy inspection. He had tried to obtain the information he was about to ask privately, but had not yet succeeded in getting it. There were six Commissioners of Lunacy, and, although not absolutely stated in the Votes, it was well known that three of them were medical men, and three of them lawyers. He could quite understand the medical part of the Commission of Lunacy, and he could appreciate the advantage of having lunatics inspected by medical men, who would more readily be able to see whether a patient was mad or not than any other person, and who would act accordingly. But he found that the three Medical Commissioners were accompanied by three Legal Commissioners, and that they appeared to hunt in couples. What he wished to know was what precise functions were performed by the lawyers, who would naturally know nothing of the subjects they were appointed to investigate, and who could not be chosen on account of the knowledge they possessed, or because they had made insanity a special study? Those appointments could have nothing to do with any special complicated legal question which might spring up in respect of the administration of the law, because such matters were referred afterwards to the Masters in Lunacy who sat in certain centres. Were those lawyers placed on the Commission in order to check any irregularities on the part of the doctors? Was there any danger of the doctors hanging together and keeping patients in confinement who were not mad? If that were so, the object of appointing Legal Commissioners would be intelligible enough. In Scotland, as his hon. Friend the Member for Buteshire (Mr. Dalrymple), who he was glad to see enjoying a seat upon the Treasury Bench, well knew, nothing of the sort occurred, although there were no Legal Commissioners, and it was only doctors who went round doing the work of inspection. Of course, there were Legal 1722 Boards before whom the Medical Commissioners could place any question of difficulty connected with law. A good deal had been said of late about the administration of the Lunacy Laws. He confessed that he did not share the fears which had been growing up in the public mind as to the administration of those laws; but he thought, at the same time, that the best way of allaying such fears would be by having a better system of examination and inspection by the Lunacy Commission. He found that in England three Medical Inspectors inspected 140 asylums containing 15,000 lunatics, whereas in Scotland two Commissioners inspected 6,500. What he should like to see was that the three Legal Commissioners should be got rid of altogether, and that in their place three Medical Commissioners should be appointed, raising the number of Medical Commissioners to six. He would even like to see the number increased to eight, and then those medical men might go round to some extent together. He did not propose to move any reduction of the Vote on the present occasion, although he, perhaps, might do so on another occasion when more notice could be given of his intention. He would only add that he awaited with some curiosity the information which the Secretary to the Treasury would be able to supply as to the special advantage of having three lawyers associated with the Medical Commissioners in the work of inspection.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, the hon. Member who had just spoken had called attention to the fact that there were 140 lunatic asylums in this country containing 15,000 patients, and that six Commissioners were appointed to inspect them. He would be glad to learn how many visits had been paid to those asylums in the course of the year? In the first place, did all the Inspectors go about together, or did they make their visits in levies of three?
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he should like to know, then, how many visits were paid to each asylum in the course of a year? In the second place, he would like to know whether those visitors possessed any special knowledge in connection with private lunatic asylums, and he would further like to know how many visits of 1723 inspection were paid to private lunatic asylums in the course of the year? There was another point upon which he also desired information. He wanted to know whether, when an asylum was intended to be inspected, any notice of the visit was given to the proprietor of the asylum, or whether the proprietor had any means of becoming acquainted beforehand with the intention of the Commissioners to visit his institution? He put this question because, at the present moment, there existed some doubt upon the matter. He should be sorry to make an accusation against the proprietor of any lunatic asylum in this country; but there could be no doubt that measures had constantly been taken to prepare for the visits of the Commissioners. All the private lunatic asylums were required to be certified, and he believed that it was an undoubted fact that a few days before the Inspectors arrived measures were taken by the proprietors of a private lunatic asylum to put the patients into a proper state for receiving the visit of inspection, and patients who a few days before were in a perfectly good state of health were often found, on the arrival of the Visiting Commissioners, to be in a dangerous state of lunacy. He was sorry to make a statement of that nature, but there were instances in which those facts had been certified. And they knew very well from what had occurred in the past that there was abundant evidence to show that the private lunatic asylums of the country bad been conducted in a manner that was not beneficial to the patients. One proof of the assertion that the same advantageous treatment was not provided in a private asylum as in a public institution would be found in the statistics of the death rate in the public and private asylums. He did not wish to trouble the Committee with the figures, because they were given last year; but the only conclusion to be drawn from them and from other figures was certainly a most painful one—namely, that it was clearly to the advantage of the proprietor of a private lunatic asylum, if he studied his own interests, to keep a patient as long as he could. If they would, compare the statistics of public asylums with those of private asylums it would be found that a much larger number of cures were effected in the former than in the latter. 1724 In a public asylum those in charge of the institution had no pecuniary interest in the detention of the patients; and, therefore, they were free from all temptation to retard their progress towards recovery. Then, again, the public asylums were subjected to a strong public opinion. Those who went to them were, to a large extent, visited by their friends; and they were sent there, not for the purpose of getting rid of them, but for the purpose of securing that they should obtain such medical treatment as would best conduce towards their recovery. It would be found in the public asylums that there was a thorough public inspection, not only by the Lunacy Commissioners, but an inspection which resulted from public opinion being brought to bear upon them. Owing to those important considerations, and to the further fact that the persons in charge of the public asylums had no possible interest in retaining an unfortunate patient for any length of time, it would be found that a very large number of cures were effected, and that there was a very favourable state of circumstances in regard to the death rates, if they compared the death rates in a public asylum with those in a private asylum, where there were interests which did not exist in the public asylum for the purpose of securing the payment of the money charged for the detention of the patients. In some cases it was known that as large a sum as £1,000 a-year had been paid, when probably the actual cost did not amount to £150 a-year. He was, therefore, entitled to say that there was a strong temptation, even in the case of a conscientious proprietor, to keep the patients in a state of lunacy, and not allow them to be perfectly cured. So far as the inspection which took place in those private asylums was concerned, he had stated before, and he would state it again, that it amounted to an absolute farce. No doubt, the Inspectors went down; but probably two or three days before they went to a private asylum the proprietor became perfectly well aware that the inspection was about to take place. He would take the case of a patient who was only partially insane, and capable of making a rational complaint of the treatment applied to him. It was quite clear that in such cases the proprietors could, and that they really 1725 did, as a matter of fact, prepare the patients for the visit about to be made to them. Then, again, preparation to a large extent was made for the inspection by improving the surroundings of the institution by placing out flowers and providing amusements for the inmates. An inspection under such circumstances amounted to nothing, and was absolutely useless. The Inspectors were formally supposed to go down as the enemies of those proprietors, in order to criticize the treatment, and to discover the actual state of the patients. They now went down in a sort of perfunctory manner as Government officials receiving large salaries. They went down with very little knowledge of the habits of the persons they had to inspect, and certainly in many cases they could have no special knowledge on the subject of lunacy at all. Most of the appointments were made from political motives, and influence on the part of those with whom the appointments rested, and the previous training of some of the Inspectors rendered it impossible for them to have made the question of lunacy a special study. Their own Reports, published annually, he believed were Reports which showed the utter inefficiency of the present system of inspection; and the articles in those Reports proved—and, indeed, had been admitted by the late Government to prove—that the whole system of inspection in regard to lunatic asylums was nothing more than a simple farce. They were promised last year that a Bill would be introduced for the purpose of dealing with those private lunatic asylums. He did not know what the stage of that Bill was; but he hoped that it was the intention of the present Government to take steps for going on with it. He trusted, at any rate in the next Parliament, they would be prepared to give effect to the intentions of the late Government, and to pass a strong and adequate measure for bringing those private asylums under the full force of public opinion in a similar manner to the public asylums of the country.
§ MR. HIBBERT
said, that before his right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board answered the questions which had been put to him, he should like to know whether it was intended to proceed with the Lunacy Bill which was introduced into the other House by the late Lord Tenterden? He 1726 believed that the Bill had received great consideration in the House of Lords, and, in the course of that consideration, various and desirable Amendments had been made. His right hon. Friend must be aware that there was a strong feeling in the country in favour of the amendment of the Lunacy Laws; and he, therefore, trusted that if it were possible the Government would see their way to carrying through the Bill which had been introduced. It was not a contentious Bill and not a Party Bill, but a measure which both sides of the House concurred in desiring to carry through. He, therefore, hoped that, considering the strong feeling entertained throughout the country on the subject, not a day would be lost in pushing it forward, and that, if possible, it would be passed into law during the present Session.
§ MR. D. GRANT
said, he concurred with the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken that many of the conditions under which private lunatic asylums were now conducted distinctly required improvement. The initial difficulty still remained, and it was this—that under the existing law two medical men had power to incarcerate an individual under conditions which had been proved in more than one case to be entirely wrong. He might allude to the case of Mrs. Weldon, which had so often been brought before the public; and he thought he had a right to ask that in any Bill which dealt with the question power should not be given to any two medical men under any condition whatever to imprison a British subject in the manner in which that power was now exercised. He thought that in any future legislation there should be this additional provision—that before any person could be put in a private lunatic asylum he should be brought into open Court and his insanity thoroughly demonstrated. If that were done many of the evils which now existed would at once cease of themselves. He was afraid it was a fact that in many instances it had been proved that private lunatic asylums were in reality mere prison houses put into operation for the distinct purpose of carrying out private malice or private gain. No doubt, many of them were conducted properly and legitimately; but there were others which assumed a very different complexion, and it ought 1727 to be the duty of the Government to provide that such institutions should no longer be capable of being carried on. No one ought to be confined in a private asylum unless he was first taken before a magistrate.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir HENRY HOLLAND)
expressed a hope that the hon. Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy) would not think that because the observations he was about to make on this subject were few, he was not fully alive, and that the Government were not fully alive, to the importance of the question; a question that was not now for the first time brought before the House. He referred especially to the point which the hon. Member had himself urged with so much force, the necessity of an investigation and inspection of private asylums. This must be manifest to anyone who had considered the subject. He was not prepared to admit, as far as his information went, that when a Lunacy Commissioner was about to inspect a private lunatic asylum he gave notice of his intention.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he had not said that the Commissioners had done so; but it was almost invariably a fact that the date of the inspection became known beforehand.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
said, he was informed that even that was not the case, although, perhaps, the intended visit might become known in some cases. So far as his own individual opinion was concerned—and he believed it was shared by many hon. Members on that side of the House—be entirely agreed with the hon. Member that the inspection of a private lunatic asylum should be a sudden inspection, which should not be known beforehand by the Directors of the asylums. If the hon. Member desired, he would have much pleasure in bringing this point under consideration of the proper authorities. The opinion, however, must only be regarded as his own personal opinion, and as one largely shared by hon. Members on that side of the House. As regarded the detention of patients in private lunatic asylums longer than they ought to be detained on the ground of the pecuniary interest of the proprietors of the asylums in which they were confined, that question had been gone into at some length before a Com- 1728 mittee which sat some years ago, of which the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) was a Member, As far as he remembered, the assertions then made were not altogether corroborated by the evidence given before the Committee. At the same time, there could be no question that in the case of private asylums patients had been detained longer than they ought to have been detained. He was not aware whether that point was dealt with in the Lunacy Bill to which the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hibbert) had referred, but he felt that it was one which deserved consideration; and if that Bill was to be continued, and it was felt necessary or desirable to introduce a clause into it upon that matter in order to check the abuse complained of, he was quite satisfied that it would be introduced. At the same time, the hon. Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy) must know that there was very great difficulty in dealing with that case, and that there was a very strong opinion among many persons that the best way of meeting it was not by putting an end to those private asylums, which could not be done without the payment of a considerable amount of money in the way of compensation, but by attaching to the public asylums wards in which private paying patients might be placed. He believed that that would be found to be the best way of meeting this question. As regarded the observations of the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. D. Grant), there could be no doubt that there had lately been a strong feeling in the country that the mode of incarcerating persons who were alleged to be lunatics was not satisfactory; and he believed that that matter was, to a certain extent, dealt with by the Bill introduced into the House of Lords by the late Lord Chancellor (the Earl of Selborne). There were various questions arising in respect of it as to which opinion was not altogether united. There was a general feeling that the mode of incarceration was not satisfactory. But as to whether cases should at once be brought before the magistrates there was a considerable difference of opinion. It would, he thought, be found in the evidence given before the Committee, and by a debate in "another place," that the Earl of Shaftesbury, who had shown untiring zeal in the matter, and who possessed, perhaps 1729 more experience upon it than any other person in this country was strongly of opinion that it was not desirable to bring every case at once before a magistrate. It was pointed out that it would be dangerous to delay the detention of dangerous lunatics by bringing them before a Court. The difficulty was in giving immediate notice and getting a Commissioner at once to go and examine the case. Again, if it were made necessary to take every lunatic at once before a magistrate, many persons who belonged to the middle and upper classes would feel inclined not to bring cases of lunacy before the public at all, but to deal with them in their own houses, thereby lessening the chances of their recovery. Those were cases which must receive consideration by the Committee to which he had referred. In regard to the number of Commissioners, it was true that there were six paid Commissioners; but there were 10 Commissioners in all. No doubt three of them were lawyers, and personally he would be glad to support the interests of a Profession to which he had the honour to belong with all his heart; but he had no special reasons to allege for Legal as distinguished from Medical Commissioners. At the same time, he would observe that lawyers had sat upon the Commission as far back as the Statute 8 & 9 Vict., c. 100, and that there were cases constantly arising in which a knowledge of the law was essential. He was informed that legal questions were constantly brought before the Legal Commissioners, and that in many instances it was necessary that those questions of law should be dealt with at once, and without the unnecessary delay which would take place if a case were required to be referred by the Medical Commissioners to a Legal Department of the State. Another answer to the complaint in regard to the appointments of Legal Commissioners was that their presence on the Commission tended to lessen any doubt which might arise in the public mind that anything illegal might be going on as to the treatment of lunatics. His observations in reply to the speeches which had been made upon the subject were necessarily somewhat short; but he trusted that it would not be inferred, in consequence, that he entertained any doubt as to the importance of the subject.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he thought there was much force in the suggestion of the hon. Baronet, that the best way of getting rid of private lunatic asylums would be to attach private wards to the public asylums. He had recently visited a large and important lunatic asylum in this country, and he had had a conversation with the Medical Inspector of the institution, who had pointed out to him that one great difficulty which had to be met was the necessity of raising money by loan for the purpose of dealing with the question of buildings. The cost fell upon the local rates, and in many instances there was no power of raising money for purposes of that sort. At the same time he admitted that that was a difficulty which ought to be got over. The gentleman to whom he referred was the Medical Superintendent of the asylum, and he was informed by that gentleman that one great cause of confirmed lunacy was the adoption of the silent system, or a system of imprisonment in which the lunatics were kept entirely away from companionship. That gentleman told him that that was one of the most pregnant causes of confirmed lunacy in. the cases which had come under his notice. He (Mr. Biggar) therefore hoped that the Government, in dealing with the matter, would not omit to consider that point; and he would add that the gentleman from whom he received his information was altogether impartial, and had no private or political reason for expressing that opinion. The asylum he had visited was in Lancashire, and he must say that everybody connected with the institution—both officials and patients—seemed to him to be exceedingly good-natured. The lunatics worked in batches in the gardens attached to the asylum without any form of restraint; the gates of the establishment were wide open, and there was nothing in the shape of personal restraint experienced by these unhappy people. The whole treatment of them was altogether different from what he had witnessed some years ago in a private lunatic asylum in London, where the patients or their friends paid very highly for their board and the treatment they received. In that case the patients had access only to a garden a quarter of an acre in extent, and they were worse off, as far as the liberty of their action 1731 was concerned, than pauper lunatics living at the expense of the ratepayers. He certainly thought that the subject was one of very great importance, and that the Government, if they really intended to do anything in the matter, should do so as speedily as possible. He had not the slightest doubt that the treatment of lunatics in many cases was highly improper, and that they were confined in places which were entirely unfit for their detention. Unless the asylums were large establishments, and thoroughly well organized and superintended, it was impossible for the patients to get the treatment they required, and the companionship which was necessary to give them a prospect of recovery.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he had listened with some satisfaction to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Henry Holland), and especially to that part of the hon. Gentleman's speech in which he gave the Committee reason to believe that the Government intended to give their best support to the Bill which was now before Parliament. He believed that that measure had received the support of both Parties in the House of Lords; and he trusted that, if possible, it would be passed into law in the course of the present Session.
§ THE UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOE THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTLEY)
said, he had only one word to say as to the views of his own Department in reference to the Lunacy Bill introduced by the late Lord Chancellor (Earl Cairns). He believed he was justified in stating that the Department was favourable to that part of the measure which went in the direction of gradually extinguishing asylums kept for private gain. He was of opinion that many of the points which had been raised in the course of the discussion would be among those with which legislation would probably have to deal. He would not say more at present in regard to a subject which was likely to come more formally before the House before the Session closed.
§ Vote agreed to.1732
§ (4.) £44,333, to complete the sum for the Mint, including Coinage.
§ (5.) £9,200, to complete the sum for the National Debt Office.
§ (6.) £31,997, to complete the sum for the Patent Office, &c.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he had on a former occasion asked the authorities a question relating to the position of the Patent Office; and he would be glad to find that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Trade (Baron Henry de Worms) was now in a position to give the information asked for. The amount of the Vote was £45,997; but he understood that the receipts of the Office were very largely in excess of any payments which appeared on the Estimate, and he asked what was the amount of the profits of the Office? His object was, of course, to bring about a reduction of the amount of patent fees, which were still very, heavy, and continued to operate injuriously in respect of the inventive powers of mechanics. It was on that ground that he asked the hon. Gentleman for this information.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Baron HENRY DE WORMS)
said, the total estimated receipts from patents in the year ending on the 31st of March, 1886, was £79,400, or £9,900 less than in the previous financial year. That was arrived at as follows:—First, there was a loss upon fees paid under the Act of 1852–that was to say, the fees paid in the year 1884 in respect of applications made in 1883, which payments ceased about July 1884; that loss amounted to £14,900. Secondly, there was a loss of £26,400 due to deferred payment upon fees of £100, owing to the substitution of annual payments, spread over a term of years for payment of £100 in a lump sum; those two amounts made a total loss of £41,300, and after deducting from that £31,400 for increased receipts in 1885–6 from various sources under the new Act there remained the net estimated loss of £9,900 referred to. Against the receipts there was, of course, to be placed the expenditure of the Department, and the Committee would observe that there was an increase of 20 in the number of Assistant Examiners (Indexing and Abridging Clerks), and a corresponding increase in the amount of salaries for the staff required. It had been esti- 1733 mated that there would be about 9,000 applications; but the number actually received was 17,110; hence the increased examining staff and the increased amount of the Estimate. Again, owing to the greater amount of work done in the Office, it had been found necessary to increase the number of Lower Division Clerks by 12; and, further, it had been necessary to employ a large number of shorthand writers to record the ruling of the Judges in cases which were brought before the Courts of Law.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he gathered from the statement of the hon. Gentleman that there was no profit on the working of the Patent Office.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE
There is no profit at all; on the contrary, an estimated less of £9,900 for the present financial year.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £17,774, to complete the sum for the Paymaster General's Office.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he had no intention of discussing this Vote. But he would submit for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government whether it would not be easy, and whether it was not desirable, to abolish the Office of Paymaster General? He believed it would be easy to contrive a totally different system tinder which much of the unnecessary work and much of the unnecessary expenditure due to the system which now obtained in the Paymaster General's Office might be got rid of; but as this was a subject with respect to which he had given no Notice, and which would probably come upon the present Financial Secretary somewhat suddenly, he would not pursue it then, although, if he had a seat in that House next year, it would be his duty to state his views upon it more fully.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
said, he was glad that the hon. Member had called attention to this subject, because it would be satisfactory to him to hear that it had received some consideration at the hands of the late Government; that a Committee had been appointed, of which the present Secretary of State for War (Mr. W. H. Smith) was Chairman; and that a Report had been presented by them and recommendations made, which, as he was informed, were to the effect that this Department should be 1734 largely reduced. As the Committee would be aware, two classes of payments were made, effective and non-effective; and certainly, with regard to the effective class, without going fully into the matter, he believed that the proposed change would lessen the work of the Department, and effect in the end a very considerable saving to the country. He did not think he could properly say more than that at the present time.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) £6,747, to complete the sum for the Public Works Loan Commission.
MR. MARJOR IBANKS
said, upon this Vote he wished to call the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the question of loans for harbours. The Committee on which he had the honour to preside had made certain recommendations on this subject; those recommendations, as he know, had received the attention of the late Government, and he would like to know how far the present Government were prepared to carry out the pledges winch their Predecessors had given on the subject in that House? He pointed out that one of the strongest recommendations of the Committee was that the duty of deciding on the policy of harbours to be constructed by means of loans of public money should be taken out of the hands of the Public Works Loan Commissioners and given to a Department of the Government. Now, in reply to a Question put by him at an earlier period of the Session to the late President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain), the right hon. Gentleman informed him that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to carry that recommendation into effect. He (Mr. Marjoribanks) wished to know whether anything bad been done with regard to that recommendation of the Committee—whether the hon. Gentleman who represented the Deparment had found since he had assumed Office that any steps had been taken to carry out the pledge given to him by the late President of the Board of Trade; and, if not, what was the intention of Her Majesty's Government with regard to this question? Then there was another point to which he desired to call the attention of the Committee. As hon. Members would be aware, a Treasury Minute had been 1735 issued reducing the interest on loans by one-half per cent on satisfactory collateral security being given; and although ho could not say that was all that they expected or all they wished, it was, at any rate, a step in the right direction. He would be glad to know whether Her Majesty's Government intended to carry out the decision of their Predecessors; did they intend to give effect to the Treasury Minute which had been issued? Then he would ask the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Treasury how far the Treasury Minute referred to would apply to loans recently granted? As an illustration of the point, he would refer to a small fishing port of his own constituency. Last year the Local Authorities obtained a loan of £25,000: they gave as collateral security the borough rates; and this was the first instance in which such security had been given for such loans by any town or borough. Now, the question he wished to have answered was this—"A part only of the money having been advanced, will the Treasury Minute apply to the whole loan, or to that portion of it which has been issued?" If some arrangement were not made by which this small place would get the benefit of the reduction of interest, he said it would be a very hard case, and one which it would be very difficult to justify to the community. Another recommendation of the Committee was that Harbour Boards having debts should be enabled to apply to the Public Works Loan Commissioners for loans on favourable terms to consolidate their debt, and get the benefit of the low rate of interest charged for harbour loans. He asked the hon. Baronet whether that subject had received any consideration at the Treasury? He was aware that he could hardly, perhaps, expect a very full answer from the hon. Baronet opposite; yet the subject had been so long before the House, and it was one that should have been so fully considered by the Department, that he could not but think the Committee were entitled to receive from the hon. Baronet a statement of the intentions of Her Majesty's Government with regard to it.
§ MR. W. H. JAMES
said, he rose to call the attention of the Committee to the correspondence which had taken place between the Education Department and the Treasury on a subject put 1736 forward by a deputation which he had had the honour of introducing, on the 11th of July, 1884, to the Vice President of the Committee of Council. He referred to the subject of loans advanced to school boards by the Public Loan Commissioners, the charges in connection with which in many localities were a most serious burden on the people, and in particular localities constituted a hindrance to public education. As far back as August last year, the Vice President said, in a letter to the Secretary to the Treasury, that he was satisfied that nothing caused more discontent, or more effectually retarded the work of school boards, than the large rates required to meet the annual charge for school buildings; that this discontent was greatly aggravated by the fact that the rate of interest which was originally fixed by the Elementary Education Acts of 1870 and 1873 had been materially increased by the Act of 1879, and that the expectations held out in 187 0 that the rate would not exceed 3d. in the pound had been disappointed. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that it was not for the Education Department to determine which of the remedies suggested by the various Memorialists should be adopted, but that he was strongly of opinion that something should be done to restore the school boards to the position which they occupied before the Act of 1879 was passed, and he trusted that the Lords of the Treasury would see their way to adopt that view. The towns which felt most acutely this severe strain on their resources were especially those of rapid growth, or those largely inhabited by the industrial classes—Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Dewsbury, Hedworth, Monkton, and Jarrow, Middles borough, Ipswich, Swansea, Aston, and the borough of Gateshead, which he had the honour to represent. Those towns, with some others, had memorialized the Department for an alteration of the charges now made upon school boards in respect of loans. With the exception of Dewsbury, all the boards were unanimous in asking for a reduction of the rate of interest, so that it might never exceed the rate fixed by the Elementary Education Act of 1870, Section 57, and the Elementary Education Act of 1876, Section 10—namely, 3½ per cent. They also asked for permission to repay all loans by way of 1737 annuity—that was to say, by equal annual instalments, including principal and interest, and for an extension of the period of repayment. Now, this matter having been for some time before the Treasury, the late (Secretary to that Department (Mr. Hibbert), in the early part of the year, addressed a letter to the late Vice President of the Council on Education, stating the terms on which new loans might be issued, and the grounds on which he thought that some slight concessions might be granted to the towns, many of which were poor, and where the demands for public education, so far from diminishing, were likely, during ensuing years, largely to increase. He regretted that the hon. Gentleman the late Financial Secretary was not at that moment in his place, that he might in his presence take exception to the letter he had written. But the hon. Gentleman seemed to think that by far the greater portion of the money advanced for school buildings since the passing of the Act of 1870 was advanced at a lower rate of interest, and that the more onerous terms prescribed under the Act of 1879 applied, in the main, to the moderate amount required to meet the demand resulting from the increase of population. The hon. Gentleman stated that the loans advanced for educational purposes in Great Britain by the Public Loan Commissioners, from the passing of the Education Act to the 31st of March, 1880, amounted to £12,369,000; while in the interval between the 31st of March, 1880, and the 31st of March, 1884, a further sum of only £3,185,000 had been advanced for the like purposes, and that it was evident that the enhanced rates imposed by this Minute of 1879 applied only to a small proportion of the loans under the Education Act, and that the charge on the school boards generally had not been increased to any great degree by the action of those enhanced rates. But why did that appear to be so? The true reason was that so many school boards had gone into the public market, and instead of borrowing from the Public Works Loan Commissioners they had borrowed from private sources. It appeared, and he was assured by competent authorities with whom he had consulted on this subject that between the months of September, 1879, and September, 1883, £4,340,000 had been raised by the 1738 school boards of the country, with the consent of the Education Department, for the erection of buildings; that in some places the education rate amounted to Is., and even to 1s. 2d. and 1s. 3d. in the pound, and that a very considerable portion of the charge was due to the rate of interest rather than to the specific character of the teaching and apparatus connected with it. Certainly he thought that a case had been made out for further assistance from the State in these cases, unless as he trusted it was not the intention or desire of the Government, by starving public education, to render it unpopular. Now, the recommendation which the Treasury made to the Education Commissioners was that, subject to the Public Works Loan Commissioners increasing the rate of interest, if the price of money became higher that it was, the rate for loans repayable in 35 years should be 3½ per cent; for loans repayable in 40 years 3¾ per cent; and for those extending over a period of 50 years 4 per cent; and they further recommended that the Public Works Commissioners should accept repayment of loans up to 30 years in the form of a fixed annuity when such loans were required for new schools. But he wished to impress upon the Secretary to the Treasury that the desire of the school boards was to restore those loans to the position they were in before the passing of the Public Works Loans Act of 1879. That Act did not necessarily provide that interest should be charged at a higher rate than 3½ per cent, and it appeared to him that the action of the Treasury and of the Public Works Loans Commissioners was somewhat in the direction of overriding the intention of Parliament. He had a Motion upon that subject; but in the position of the House he did not think it expedient to call attention to it on the present occasion. However, he believed that a fair case had been made out for the consideration of the Government; and he trusted that this question, in which a great deal of interest was felt, would meet with a satisfactory settlement at their hands.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
said, he much regretted the temporary absence of the late Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Hibbert), because he knew that the hon. Gentleman specially desired 1739 to answer the objection that he believed would be made to the action of the late Government in respect of the rate of interest on loans for educational purposes charged by the Public Works Loan Commissioners. With regard to the points raised by the hon. Member for Berwickshire (Mr. Marjoribanks), the hon. Member asked that the duty of deciding upon the question as to what harbours should be constructed should be taken from the Public Works Loan Commissioners and given to a Department of the Government. But if the decision as to the site of any proposed works were to rest with the Board of Trade he should be wrong in saying that the Treasury would not always have a large influence in directing the action of that Department on this question. However able the Board might be to judge of the propriety of making a harbour at any place, the Treasury had to look at the question from the financial point of view. But he could assure the hon. Member that the point should be considered in order to see how far his views could be met. On that point, however, he was, of course, unable at the moment to say more. With regard to the rate of interest on loans, to which the hon. Member had called attention, he thought the Department which he had the honour to represent intended, and felt themselves bound, to adhere to the Minute of the 18th of June to which the hon. Gentleman had referred. It appeared that the Public Works Loans Act had worked very well up to a certain point; but there could be no questioning the fact that a great rush had been, or shortly would be, made on the Public Works Loan Commissioners, and while that had been made in one direction, another very powerful movement was being made in the direction of making the Treasury reduce the rate of interest. It was, under those circumstances, the duty of the Treasury to see that the country did not suffer between those two pressures; and, therefore, for the present, he was obliged to say that the Treasury must adhere to the Minute. With respect to the observations of the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. H. James), he was very far, and the Government was very far, from underrating the importance of the question referred to, and which was creating great interest throughout the country.
§ There was no doubt that the school board rate did excite very uncomfortable feelings in the minds of people, tending to lighten their pockets; but he was bound to say, in answer to the hon. Member, that the Treasury, at all events for the present, must adhere to the Minute.
§ MR. MARJORIBANKS
said, he wished to be clearly understood. He had not dreamed for a moment that the Department of the Government alluded to should have the power to grant loans. He urged that the decision as to the absolute policy of making a harbour at a particular place, for fishing purposes or for the good of the country generally, should not be in the power of the Public Works Loan Commissioners, because they were a body of gentlemen unacquainted with the particular requirements of the country in that respect. It was simply on the question of policy that ho wished the Government would step in, the question of security being left to the Commissioners.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
said, that, as far as his own opinion went, he imagined that the position indicated by the hon. Gentleman would be a fair one. He was only anxious to point out that there must always be in these cases many important points to be considered and conclusions arrived at from a financial point of view.
§ MR. STEVENSON
said, he and his hon. Friends on the Committee had strongly recommended that the selection of particular harbours to receive loans should rest with the Board of Trade, and that the Public Works Loan Commissioners should be restricted to the consideration of the question as to whether the security offered was sufficient. He also wished to impress upon, the attention of the noble Duke the President of the Board of Trade another recommendation which was made by the Committee; that recommendation relating to the extinction of debt on finished works. Where a harbour had been constructed, and its benefit and advantage to the trade of the district clearly ascertained, the debt incurred by the construction ought to be reduced or extinguished as rapidly as possible; and the Committee recommended that loans should be granted to harbour authorities with this object 1741 in view. In the case of a maritime country like this, the cheapening of their harbours were very essential. This was no question of Party policy or Party advantage, but one in which the community generally was interested; and if it was necessary he advised the Board of Trade, in the annual Bill for providing funds for public loans, to obtain an alteration of the law to enable loans to be granted for the purpose he (Mr. Stevenson) had stated.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) £15,288, to complete the sum for the Record Office.
§ (10.) £34,887, to complete the sum for the Registrar General's Office, England.
§ (11.) £422,097, to complete the sum for Stationery and Printing.
§ (12.) £16,852, to complete the sum for the Woods, Forests, &c. Office.
§ MR. RANKIN
asked whether it was within the functions of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to supply information with regard to the extent of woods and forests in the country? An interesting debate took place not long ago in reference to woods and forests; but the extent of woods and forests in the country did not seem to be known to anyone. As far as he knew, no Return had been made of the extent of woods and forests; and he should like to know whether it would come within the functions of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to supply the information?
§ MR. ACKERS
asked whether it was the intention of the present Government to appoint the Committee which was moved for some time ago by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) to inquire into the advisability of establishing a school of forestry in this country?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
said, it seemed a very reasonable and proper suggestion, or recommendation, that a Return should be made of the extent of woods and forests in the country, and he would inquire whether such a Return could be furnished? So far no steps had been taken towards the appointment of a Committee concerning Schools of Forestry; but he had no hesitation in saying that the matter would receive 1742 careful consideration—he thought he might go so far as to say favourable consideration. He had seen the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) upon the point, and from what the hon. Baronet had said he had no doubt of the importance of the question. It was possible, he (Sir Henry Holland) thought, that the school might be connected with the School of Engineers at Cooper's Hill, though he did not wish to tie himself down to that view. The matter should receive consideration.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (13.) £35,529, to complete the sum for the Works and Public Buildings Office.
§ (14.) £40,000, Mercantile Marine Fund (Grant in Aid).
§ (15.) £25,000, to complete the sum for Secret Service.
§ (16.) £4,800, to complete the sum for the Exchequer and other Offices, Scotland.
§ (17.) £18,095, to complete the sum for the Fishery Board, Scotland.
§ MR. R. W. DUFF
said, that before the Vote was passed he should like to ask his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) a few questions. His first question had reference to the cruisers employed by the Fishery Board. Those vessels had been condemned by the Fishery Board, and also by the Trawling Commission in their Report; and he recently communicated with his hon. Friend the late Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir Thomas Brassey) upon the subject, and had received from him an assurance to the effect that the Admiralty were arranging for suitable cruisers to take the place of those now used, and it was hoped that in a short time the arrangements would be completed. The present cruisers were quite obsolete, and therefore he trusted the Government would carry out the intention of their Predecessors to provide more suitable vessels. Then he wished to ask his hon. Friend what the intentions of the Government were with regard to the Bill which had been introduced in "another place," and which was founded upon the recommendations of the Trawling Commission? He be- 1743 lieved that Bill had been read a second time in the other House; and as a great deal of feeling existed in Scotland on the subject of the Bill, he trusted the Government would be able to go on with the measure. It was important that the questions involved should be settled as soon as possible, and that additional powers should be given to the Fishery Board to carry out the recommendations of the Trawling Commission. There were in existence some obsolete statutes on the subject of herring barrels. There were certain regulations as to preventing the use of iron hoops for the barrels; but it was proposed by the Bill to which he had already referred to give power to the Fishery Board to make any regulations they thought right with regard to the herring barrels. This might seem a small question, but it was one to which a considerable amount of attention was given by the fish curers in the North, and he hoped it would not escape the attention of the Government. Then, in a recently issued Report, the Fishery Board called the attention of the Home Secretary to the subject which had been touched upon by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire (Mr. Mar-joribanks)—namely, the question of harbour loans. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) had said that these loans would be facilitated if collateral security could be given. Mr. Sheriff Guthrie Smith, a member of the Fishery Board, had sketched out a plan by which the fishermen's houses could be offered as security, and this plan he (Mr. Duff) commended to the consideration of the Government. He was glad to see that the expenditure for scientific investigation had proved so beneficial. Last year the late Government gave an additional sum of £1,500, and he hoped the present Government would do whatever they could to carry on those scientific investigations which had been productive of so much good to the fishermen. He had no further remark to make; but he should like to have some assurance that these matters, particularly the matter of the cruisers, would not be overlooked by the Government.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTLEY)
said, that with regard to the cruisers engaged in the service of 1744 the Fishery Board, he thought it was scarcely probable that there would be any sudden reversal of the policy of their Predecessors. The matter was not strictly in the jurisdiction of his Department. It rather concerned the Admiralty; but he was in a position to say that what had been recommended by the Fishery Board, and what the late Admiralty contemplated doing, would most probably be carried out by those who now had the care of such matters. The hon. Gentleman asked what was the intended fate of the Fisheries Bill now before the House of Lords. He (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) was, in speaking of this Bill, in the same difficulty as he was just now in speaking of another Bill; but he thought he might go so far as to say that a Bill founded upon the recommendations of a Commission which enjoyed so much respect as the Trawling Commission would naturally be given a very favourable place in the consideration of the Government. Of course, it was difficult to say much with regard to a Bill which was not before the House of Commons; but he thought he was in a position to say that the Fisheries Bill was not, at all events, in an abandoned condition. As to the proposed alteration of the regulations as to branding herring barrels, and the security for harbour loans, those matters were engaging the attention of the Government; and he might say that no great difference of opinion had yet developed itself upon them. He rejoiced that the hon. Gentleman should applaud what had been done with regard to scientific investigation. There was no doubt that demands on behalf of scientific investigation in this matter required to be regarded with a good deal of vigilance. Proposals were apt to grow at a somewhat alarming rate. At the same time, it had been found possible to grant the lump sum which appeared in the Estimates; and the Fishery Board had found the means of devising such an appropriation as seemed to them not to fall very far short of realizing the object with which this scientific investigation was set on foot.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (18.) £4,469, to complete the sum for the Lunacy Commission, Scotland. (19.) £4,893, to complete the sum for ' the Registrar General's Office, Scotland.1745
§ (20.)£24,959, to complete the sum for the Board of Supervision for Relief of the Poor, and for Public Health, Scotland.
(21.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,460,be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1886, for the Salaries of the Officers and Attendants of the Household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and other Expenses.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, that, on principle, the Irish Members must divide the Committee upon the Vote, as they had done annually for the last five years. They could not agree with the Vote on account of matters which were now within the public knowledge. The conduct of the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Earl Spencer) in regard to various matters had frequently been the subject of debate in the House; it was sufficient to compel the Irish Members to enter their protest against a Vote being taken for his Household. There was only one matter coming under the Vote which he (Mr. Molloy) wished to mention specially. He noticed an item of £50 set down "for insignia and banners of the Order of St. Patrick." He would like to know in respect of whom the sum was to be paid?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY
said, it could not be expected of him to enter into a discussion of the late Lord Lieutenant's conduct—it would be out of place in him to do so. The item of £50 to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded was charged in respect of the creation of two new Knights of St. Patrick.
§ MR. MOLLOY
asked who were the two Knights for whom this money had been paid. Why did they not pay it themselves? Surely the gentlemen should pay the expenses of the honours conferred upon them.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY
said, that he ought to have explained that these Knights did pay fees amounting to £300. Those fees came into the Ex- 1746 chequer, though they did not appear in this Vote.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 89; Noes 19: Majority 70.—(Div. List, No. 209.)
§ (22.) £32,382, to complete the sum for the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Offices.
§ Ms. BIGGAR
said, the Estimate was considerably larger this year than last. Was there any special reason for it? Personally, he could not imagine what the reason was.
THE CHIEF SECREARY
said, there was an increase in the Estimate to the extent of £326. There was a slight increase in salaries, and there were three now items in the Estimate—namely, a gratuity to the Chief Clerk of £100, a gratuity of £40 to the Assistant Clerk, and a gratuity of £80 to the Travelling Inspector.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (23.) £1,552, to complete the sum for I the Charitable Donations and Bequests Office, Ireland.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £119,978, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1886, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland, including various Grants in Aid of Local Taxation.
§ MR. PARNELL
suggested that this and the succeeding Vote should be postponed to another evening. These Votes had come on very unexpectedly, owing to the great progress which had been made that night.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
said, he had no doubt that these Votes had come on hon. Members with surprise, and therefore he could not offer any opposition to their postponement.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Sir William Hart Dyke) whether there was any reason for the great delay which had taken place in the Return, for which he (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) moved for a short time ago, showing the dietary scale in the different workhouses in Ireland? It was granted by the last Government as an unopposed Return, and sufficient 1747 time had now elapsed for its production. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman could state the reason of the delay.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £36,111, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1886, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Public Works in Ireland.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ (24.) £4,756, to complete the sum for the Record Office, Ireland.
§ (25.) £11,126, to complete the sum for the Registrar General's Office, Ireland.
§ (26.) £15,804, to complete the sum for the Valuation and Boundary Survey, Ireland.