(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,621,100, be granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the Charge for the following Civil Services and Revenue Departments for the year ending on the 31st day of March 1S83, viz.:—
|CLASS I.—PUBLIC WORKS AND BUILDINGS.|
|Royal Parks and Pleasure Grounds||17,000|
|Houses of Parliament||9,000|
|Furniture of Public Offices||3,000|
|Revenue Department Buildings||36,000|
|County Court Buildings||6,000|
|Metropolitan Police Courts||1,500|
|Sheriff Court Houses, Scotland||2,000|
|Surveys of the United Kingdom||45,000|
|Science and Art Department Buildings||3,000|
|British Museum Buildings||2,000|
|Harbours, &c. under Board of Trade||3,500|
|Rates on Government Property (Great Britain and Ireland)||80,000|
|Metropolitan Fire Brigade||2,500|
|Disturnpiked and Main Roads (England and Wales)||10,000|
|Disturnpiked Roads (Scotland)||5,000|
|Science and Art Buildings, Dublin||5,000|
|Diplomatic and Consular Buildings||6,000|
|CLASS II.—SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF CIVIL DEPARTMENTS.|
|House of Lords, Offices||6,000|
|House of Commons, Offices||6,000|
|Treasury, including Parliamentary Counsel||10,000|
|Home Office and Subordinate Departments||15,000|
|Privy Council Office and Subordinate Departments||7,000|
|Board of Trade and Subordinate Departments||20,000|
|Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade||100|
|Charity Commission (including Endowed Schools Department)||6,000|
|Civil Service Commission||8,000|
|Exchequer and Audit Department||9,000|
|Friendly Societies, Registry||1,500|
|Land Commission for England||4,000|
|Local Government Board||40,000|
|Mint (including Coinage)||20,000|
|National Debt Office||2,500|
|Paymaster General's Office||4,500|
|Public Works Loan Commission||1,500|
|Registrar General's Office||8,000|
|Stationery Office and Printing||90,000|
|Woods, Forests, &c. Office of||4,000|
|Works and Public Buildings, Office of||8,000|
|Mercantile Marine Fund, Grant in Aid||15,000|
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
The time has now come to make a serious appeal to Her Majesty's Government, and hon. Gentlemen opposite will, not be surprised to hear that my argument will be in the form of the Motion that you, Sir, report Progress. We have had a very interesting discussion on the Navy Estimates; we have prolonged that discussion until the early hours in the morning; yet we are now asked to vote a sum of £3,624,100 on account of the Civil Service Estimates. It must occur even to hon. Gentlemen opposite that this is not an hour at which such a Vote should be moved, and such a discussion as must follow upon it should take place. Under these circumstances, I do hope that the Government themselves will see that in common fairness to the House—not only to Members on this side, but also to those sitting behind Ministers—they should not press it. I am always anxious to pour oil on troubled waters, and I would therefore make a practical suggestion to Her Majesty's Government. They tell us that they must have some money tonight in any case. I would suggest that, instead of asking for a Supply sufficient for two months, they should take a sum to carry them over 10 days or a fortnight. During the fortnight surely the Government will be able to find some day to bring on the Estimates, and give an opportunity for their adequate discussion. Hon. Gentlemen from Ireland have so far been unable to discuss questions of moment to their countrymen, because some hon. Gentlemen opposite have pursued the somewhat remarkable course of putting on the Paper Motions which probably they never had the slightest intention to make. Therefore, this is the only opportunity left to my hon. Friends behind me to discuss these matters—at any rate for some months to come; and I think that, under these circumstances, the Government will accede to the request I have to make.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I am surprised at the proposition of the hon. Gentleman 1024 opposite, who says it is his occupation to pour oil on troubled waters. He can hardly have made his request, that we should take enough money for a fortnight only, seriously. Why, that period would arrive in the middle of what I hope will prove to us a period of some holiday and some rest, and it would only defer fur a short time the inconvenience we now wish to avoid. I am sorry to say that we must ask the Committee at this Sitting to give us the Vote which we ask.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I think there is another course open to the right hon. Gentleman, and though I cannot pledge English, Scotch, and Welsh Members definitely, I am in a position to speak for my Colleagues. There are in these Totes certain sums of money for services rendered in Ireland which are of great interest to my countrymen. The Irish Members are being unfairly and unjustly treated. An effort is being made, by means of a trick, to get through the House—to smuggle through the House—Votes which the Government must know we regard as highly contentious. I was silenced here one night while endeavouring to direct attention to the action of the Bankruptcy Court in Ireland, and I undoubtedly looked forward to this opportunity to bring under the notice of this House practices on the part of that Court the like of which has not existed for the last 25 years. Do the Government for one moment suppose that 60 or 70 Irish Members are going to be silent while money is voted away for the purposes of that Court? If they do, they have made a mistake. I am laying before this Committee reasons which compel us to criticize and oppose to the best of our ability some of these Votes. Certain questions are convulsing Ireland at this moment, and if money is to be voted to enable operations against which we wish to protest to be carried on we shall do our best to oppose the Vote. I can mention other Votes which are contentious if necessary. I think it is hardly decent on the part of the Government to endeavour to smuggle this Vote through at such an hour. They were ready enough to withdraw the Navy Vote, but that offer was made at an hour which did not appear to me to me fair, and therefore with my Colleagues I opposed it. The Government told us they would 1025 withdraw it in order to bring on the Civil Service Votes, but how could we hope to discuss them adequately at that time of night? One of the items is for the Irish Chief Secretary's Office. A man has recently gone to that country to govern it without knowing anything about it. His action threatens us day by day with bloodshed. Can the Government be serious in asking that this Committee, without discussing what he did in Dublin, should vote money to enable him to carry on his Office without criticism for several months? As long as we have power in this Committee, and so long as the Government denies us the right to discuss at such length as is reasonable and fair, Votes which are of the most vital, and it may be of the most deadly import to our constituencies—Votes which, if allowed to pass to-night, will deprive us of the power of criticizing the action of the Department for months to come—we will oppose them by every means in our power. Why, in these months events may occur which none of us can forecast, and we should be false to our duty if we, by our action, justified the action of the Government in imagining that they could get these Votes through without adequate discussion otherwise than by brute force. For myself, I am perfectly prepared now to enter on the discussion, and if, by exercising the Rule they passed only yesterday, they thrust down our throats Votes the discussion of which should occupy eight or ten hours, I am convinced that the public of this country will not approve of their action.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I desire to point out in very few words that this is a matter which concerns not merely Ireland, but the people of England and their Representatives in this House. It must be understood that this money comes from the pockets of the British taxpayer, who therefore has a right to carefully criticize how it is to be spent. I, for one, am not in the least disposed to forego my right and my privilege in this respect as the Representative of the people to criticize any detail which may suggest itself to me. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House expressed surprise that my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) should have proposed 1026 this Motion, and he seemed to treat the whole thing as a joke. I can assure him that if he chooses to play practical jokes we do not, and we are perfectly serious in making this Motion. Indeed, we shall be equally serious in making as many more as we consider necessary. He seems also to consider it an outrageous proposal, and he rests his objection to it on the ground that they must have money for the next two months. We have told them we are willing to give enough for a fortnight or three weeks. What I want to point out to the Government is this—if they are content to accept our compromise and take a Vote on Account—say, for a fortnight—it only requires that they should give up one day to us. They have every day at their disposal between this and the holidays. It is but a small thing to ask them to set apart one day for us to discuss the Vote, as all they have as an alternative is the introduction of a fresh Coercion Bill. For all I know we may sit here all day. I know hon. Members opposite have been burning for this for weeks; but we are bound to consider, if not our own, at least the health of other people—of the servants of this House. There are the attendants, the Clerks at the Table, and the policemen on duty outside; they cannot, like many hon. Members, make up for this long Sitting by taking extra sleep later on. Supposing this Sitting is to continue all day, will these men be relieved from their posts? If hon. Members are callous to their own suffering, I say it is monstrous and scandalous that we should tax the energies and sacrifice the health of our servants.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I am not surprised, Mr. Courtney, at the prospect held out in the brief speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. He has, I think, made an unprecedented proposal. I am old at this kind of thing, and I call it unprecedented to ask the Committee at half-past 5 in the morning to vote £3,500,000 for the purpose of carrying on the Public Service. We are surprised; but we are not disheartened at the action of the Government. I speak with some confidence, and after an experience of seven years, and I say the Irish Members hero, and some English Members too, both below and above the Gangway, are as ready, as willing, and as able as any 1027 hon. Members opposite to proceed to continue this Sitting until the time arrives for Mr. Speaker to take the Chair on the Sitting of Tuesday, the 22nd March. Now, Sir, the First Lord of the Treasury, in the exercise of what I suppose I am obliged to call his discretion, has thought fit to refuse his assent to the Motion of the hon. Member for Northampton. Well, I very respectfully and humbly, as befits imposition, venture to express a doubt that the right hon. Gentleman has acted wisely. I think he must have already perceived that the grossness of the mismanagement of the Business of this House in the present Sitting has not been equalled for many years. There were three courses open to the Government at the present Sitting for the furtherance of Public Business, and they took the least convenient. If they had placed the Vote on Account first on the Paper they might have obtained a Division upon it at the usual time for the closing of ordinary Sittings of this House. If, on the other hand, they had been content to take a Division on the Navy Vote at half-past 12 they could have had £1,250,000. But nothing satisfied them except to cram both Votes into one Sitting of the House, and I venture to hope they will find it impossible to do so.
§ MR. NOBLE (Hastings)
Mr. Courtney, I rise to Order. I wish to ask you whether the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) is in Order in saying that hon. Members on this side of the House are drunk?
§ CAPTAIN COTTON (Cheshire, Wirral)
I beg to say, Sir, that I heard the hon. Member for Mid Cork use those words.
§ CAPTAIN COTTON
I heard the hon. Member for Mid Cork say, Sir, that one Member on this side of the House was drunk.
Such an observation, if made by the hon. Member for Mid Cork, is most offensive and improper.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
But, Mr. Courtney, I must ask you—[Ministerial cries of "Withdraw!"] I am not 1028 going to withdraw, Sir. [Renewed cries of "Withdraw!"] If the hon. Member opposite will point out any person to whom I said it, I will withdraw.
It is most offensive and disorderly to say it of any Member of the House. I must now call on the hon. Member to withdraw the observation as he does not disavow it.
§ DR. TANNER
Mr. Courtney, I shall certainly, out of respect for you, withdraw anything you tell me to withdraw.
§ MR. SEXTON
I was saying, Mr. Courtney, when I was interrupted, that the Government ought to have granted us an opportunity for properly discussing the Vote on Account. They have pursued a course which is unfair and inconsiderate to the Members of this House, and which will be regarded as unfair by men of all political Parties. They put first on the Paper a Vote for the Navy, and they place second the Vote of over £3,000,000—a Vote involving the whole Public Service of Ireland. This course has been pursued by the Government in the hope that when we reached the Vote on Account at a late hour at night they might gag the Irish Members with regard to questions of vital importance and of manifest urgency. I turn now for a moment to the question of physical endurance. [Ministerial cries of "Question!"] Well, if there is anything more relevant to the present situation of the Committee than the question of physical endurance I should be glad to hoar what it is. We have been hero for 13 or 14 hours. Eleven hours hence, that is to say at about 5 o'clock to-day, we shall be called upon to discuss a question which the Government themselves regard as of such unequalled urgency that they intend to ask for the whole of the time of the House for the purpose of discussing it. Now, Sir, I ask is it fair, is it seemly, under such circumstances, to proceed with this Vote now? [An hon. MEMBER: Yes.] The hon. Gentleman opposite showed such extremely bad judgment, as well as bad taste, in a recent episode, that I do not think it necessary to reply to his interruption. I ask whether it is reasonable to go on, when Members have been here so many hours, and when we know that there is only time enough loft for us to get to our homes, obtain the necessary natural rest, and come back to 1029 the House before the Speaker takes the Chan for this evening's Sitting? Is it fair to ask us to approach the consideration of the question of precedence for the Irish Coercion Bill, which, I am told, contains novel and startling provisions—to approach the consideration of that question with our minds worn out, and with our bodies jaded? The Government want to go on with the Vote on Account. The Vote on Account includes a sum of money for the Office of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Where is the Chief Secretary fur Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour)? Where is the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes)? I believe that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland is wandering gloomily somewhere about the premises; but I think the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is at a distance from the House. The Attorney General for Ireland may be competent to deal with some legal questions, although some doubt has arisen on that point since the right hon. and learned Gentleman formulated his opinion respecting the Plan of Campaign; but, assuming that he is, is he to be allowed to be the mouthpiece of the Irish Executive on any large question of policy which may be raised? We intend to raise the question of the death, or, as some consider it, the murder, of the boy O'Hanlon, of Youghal, the question of Proclamations by the Lord Lieutenant, and the question of social order in Belfast, Will the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. U. Smith) contend that it is seemly or tolerable that we should be asked at this hour of the morning to bring forward questions of such urgency and gravity when the Minister of the Crown responsible for the affairs of Ireland is not hero to answer us? I think I am perfectly justified in pleading that we should not be called upon to do so. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant is else-whore taking his natural rest, or is preparing his mind for that masterly and memorable statement of policy which is expected from him this evening. Is it fair to allow the right hon. Gentleman that rest, and to reduce us, by continued attendance in the House, to such a condition of mind and body that when the evening comes we shall be unable to answer him? I wish to ask another 1030 question, Sir. Have the Government considered what will be the probable length of this Sitting? I think we ought to have some information on the subject before we proceed any further. Do the Government contemplate sitting all day? Do they mean to allow the Sitting of the 21st of March to merge in the Sitting of the 22nd? Hon. Gentlemen may find that the result may be confusing, because, if the two Sittings are merged, what will become of the Order of Business set down for the 22nd? The plan of the Government was that this evening the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, or the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, should move for precedence for the stages of the Bill it is intended to bring in to apply coercion to Ireland. If we continue sitting, I apprehend that the Business on the Paper for this overling will lapse, and that the only Business to be done to-day will be the Business of the Vote on Account. I ask Gentleman opposite who have a taste for mathematics to tot up the balance of advantages, and to see whether they are really gainingany time by the course they are now taking. I heard somewhere recently that Irishmen, compared with Englishmen, are taller men, stronger men, and men of greater endurance. The majority opposite are anxious for a compromise, and are crying out for conciliation. [Mr. DE LISLE. (Leicestershire, Mid): Oh, oh!] I am too well acquainted with the heroic nature of the hon. Member to think that he would ever do so. At all events, Gentlemen opposite may be anxious for a compromise at 4 o'clock this afternoon, when, perhaps, we shall be no longer in a melting mood. It may interest the House to know that a large batch of eloquent, and some of them, perhaps, prolix Members, are arriving from Ireland by a train which reaches Euston at half-past 6, having occupied Pullman cars on the journey. We have taken the precaution, Sir, to despatch a messenger to Euston to bring them to the House of Commons. On the whole, Sir, I think that, considering the amount of this Vote and the questions involved in it, there is no prospect of an early termination of this Sitting, and that the Sittings of the 21st and 22nd of March will be merged in one another, 1031 to the no small confusion of the Public Business. I can confidently say to the Committee that not only will the numerous questions in this Vote relating to Ireland be raised as long, Sir, as you consider that the rights of the minority entitle them to raise them; but they will none of them he discussed with any less fulness than if we were conducting a debate at half-past 5 in the evening. Now, I desire that fair progress should be made with the Public Business, and I would suggest to Members of the Government that the most sensible thing they can do, seeing that the Procedure Rules have been given Notice of for Thursday, and that the only urgent Rule of Procedure has been passed, is to alter the arrangements so far as to put down Procedure for another day, and to take this Vote on Account on Thursday. I think my Colleagues will bear me out when I say that we would undertake, notwithstanding the urgent and important character of the questions involved in this Vote, that the Division upon it should be taken at a reasonable time. Now, Sir, I think I have made the largest and most reasonable offer that could be made, and, if it is refused by the Government, there is nothing for it but to fight the question out. Of one thing I am sure, and that is, that when this battle is over, it is not the Irishmen in this House who will feel discomfited and defeated.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
Mr. Courtney, I did not vote against the majority in the last Division because I thought that there was some ground on which the Government might urge that full debate had taken place on the Navy Estimates. But I think the situation is altogether changed now. In my opinion, we are entitled to say that the Government are turning the Business of this House topsy-turvy. They are turning our days into nights, and they are driving us into a situation which I do not hesitate to say, Mr. Courtney, is becoming intolerable. No one, not even the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen), if he were here, or even the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith), could deny that hon. Members are within their rights, upon the Motion which, you, Sir, have put from the Chair, in discussing 1032 any item in the Civil Service Estimates. I will go further, and say that not only are Gentlemen within their rights in taking that course, but that it is their bounden duty, under the special circumstances into which we are thrown by the action of the Government, to raise any question in which they are interested, and to discuss it at length. The prospect before us is altogether uncertain. The Government are at this moment seeking to get Votes on Account, whereby they will be able to postpone any Vote in the Estimates for the period of a couple of months. The Government have been taking all the time of private Members, and if even there was an occasion when such Members were entitled to take the first opportunity of discussing matters in which they are interested, I think that time has arrived. No answer has been given from the Front Bench opposite to the appeal which has just been made that this Vote on Account might be taken up on Thursday, and discussed at a reasonable hour and in a fair way. On the Vote which we have just passed there was an absolute silence on the part of the Government, and I would, therefore, ask this question. Suppose we enter upon the discussion of this Vote on Account, is it the intention of the Government to deal with it in the same spirit as they dealt with the Vote for the Navy, and to observe an obstinate silence upon the important questions which are to be raised? The rig-lit hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland is not in his place, and I say that there is no one else who is able to speak for the Government on the points which will be discussed. I cannot imagine that it is intended by the Government to make it a sham discussion, because, if it be, I venture to say that there will be a complete breach of faith on the part of the Government. We have had an assurance that if that discussion is started, the infinite variety of subjects over which it will range will receive the consideration they deserve at the hands of the Government. I have not one particle of misgiving as to the duty that rests on me, and upon hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, to offer the strongest opposition to the course taken by the Government in seeking to dragoon the Committee into passing so large a Vote.
§ [Mr. RAIKES (Postmaster General took the Chair.] [5.45.]
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
Mr. Raikes, your appearance in the Chair reminds me of several All-night Sittings which were held a great many years ago, and I would just ask the "old Parliamentary hands" on the other side of the House to point out to their Friends and Colleagues that it was very seldom that any good came of them. We all got tired and weary and excited, and the excitement spread to people out-of-doors, and a great deal of harm was done by the attempts made by the Government of the day to force Business on in those All-night Sittings. I think, Sir, that in regard to some of those Sittings, over which you, Mr. Raikes, presided—and as far as your presidency went, Sir, no complaint could be made—things would have been much better if they had never taken place. I would now suggest to the Government that they should assent to the Motion for reporting Progress, and I would urge on them several reasons for doing so. I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) that we ought not to plead for a little rest. I always feel fatigued at those Sittings. I have been present during all the All-night Sittings in this House, except for four or five hours of one of them. But I have always felt fatigued. I do so now, and I know that other Members cannot boar the fatigue any more than I can. I must, perhaps, make an exception in the case of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division of Lincolnshire) (Mr. Chaplin), who came down, I think, as late as about 5 o'clock in the morning, and who looks very fresh. Well, we are now supposed to enter upon serious Business, expecting a Vote on Account amounting to £3,600,000. I should like to ask you, Mr. Raikes, whether you would like, in the conduct of the Business of the Post Office, to have to consider a question involving an expenditure of £3,600,000 after having been sitting in this House all night? I do not think, Sir, that you would be in a proper condition to do so. At all events, I would rather have your opinion upon any subject when you have not been sitting up all night than when you have. I should like to put it to you, Sir, whe- 1034 ther it is prudent for a Committee of the House of Commons to take a course which would not be considered wise in an individual. I quite acknowledge that if it was absolutely necessary that this Business should be done at once, we should have to do it. But no such necessity exists. It is a mere question of obstinacy on the part of the Government. The Government may, of course, say that they are merely firm, and that it is we who are obstinate, but I contend that the reverse is the case. Would it not be better that we should adjourn and consider this question at a reasonable hour? This sum of £3,624,100 is really not wanted by the Government. I would put this question to Ministers. Does an Appropriation Bill take more than eight days to pass? If it does not, it is not necessary to force this Vote through the Committee now, and I would ask the Government whether they really intend to cause such a scandal as would be involved in making us vote this largo sum, when they know that the immense majority of Members must be so tired and fagged that, not only are they unfit to deal with the money of the country, but they are unfit to take part in an ordinary game at whist. The taxpayers, I have always found, are very jealous about the action of their Representatives in regard to voting money, and rightly so. But can we, at this time, give reasonable attention to voting Supply? What is the Government programme? Do they want us to surrender all right of discussion and simply pass this Vote? We want to come hero after a few hours' interval to discuss this matter properly. Will they give us a fair opportunity of doing so? We are not in a position to do it now, and soon we shall have excited London pouring into the House, not much helping towards a calm dispassionate discussion of some of those Irish subjects that are called burning questions. There is another reason for not plunging into this discussion at once, and why the Government might make some temporary arrangement, even if they allow an adjournment for a couple of hours only. Besides the personal advantages of a rest for that time, we should, on resuming, have representatives of the Press here in proper force, if not in numbers above the usual average. It is a matter of consequence that the pith of the re- 1035 marks in reference to this large sum, one of the most important Votes of the year, should he made public. The Civil Service Estimates open up the whole field of Civil administration. The late Mr. Isaac Butt, a great authority on matters of Parliamentary Procedure, declared it most un-Constitutional to habitually take these largo sums on account. You take a Vote for two months, then for another two months, and then, at the end of the Session, when we are all heated, tired, and jaded, and want to get away, these Votes are brought on with a rush. First and last, these Estimates do not get properly considered, and evil consequences result. The Departments will not pare off abuses in expenditure if this expenditure is voted without protest; it is only pressure from this House that will induce them to do so. Then the constituents, too, seeing that the Estimates are not properly discussed, are apt to think the expenditure is more extravagant than it really is; and thus we are susceptible to sudden bursts of frugality that may be detrimental to the true interests of the Public Service. Passing a Vote on Account like this without proper discussion loads to these evils, and it is mere idleness to say there can be a proper discussion at the end of the year; there will be no more than a discussion of a few foremost items. I am unwilling to take up time in elaborating my argument; but I urge the Government to take into account our anxiety to discuss the Vote, not item by item, but by five or six Irish questions and eight or nine English subjects; and my hon. Friend (Mr. Sexton) has given a pledge that, so far as Irish Members are concerned, these discussions shall terminate on Thursday. This extraordinary attitude of the Government was quite unexpected, or a largo number of Members would have been here to increase our minority; and, oven as it is, we have English Liberal Members hero to aid us in our protest against the action of the Government—Members whom you do not often find taking part in an All-night Sitting. They have done so on this occasion, for they feel that in this contest on this question of Supply they have their constituents with them.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
The proceedings of to-night will have an effect in the country. I am 1036 quite sure that nothing will more endanger the position of the Government, bringing it into collision with the feelings of the taxpayers, than the attempt to force on a large Vote at this hour. I may urge this view on Members of the Government—that the effect, when these things become known outside, will be disastrous to them, loading the people to believe, what I am afraid they will have considerable ground for believing, that we vote away money without due consideration. For their own interest, I would advise the Government to take the Vote at a time more opportune for discussion.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
Throughout this discussion it appears to me to have been forgotten that there is another part of the United Kingdom besides Ireland having grievances felt acutely, which desires to have those grievances discussed, and has sent 72 Members for that purpose. May I call attention to the fact that, of those 72 Representatives, only three are present—or, say four, though we do not usually count the Lord Advocate as a Scotch Member. Sixty-eight Scotch Members are certainly absent. I have waited hero all night for the purpose of performing my duty as a Scotch Member, knowing that there are different grievances which our constituents expect us to discuss at the very earliest moment. I have waited for the simple reason that, of all the Nationalities re-presented here, the Scotch nation has the most difficulty in obtaining a hearing. We are constantly on the watch to get in a word upon Scotch affairs, because our difficulty is that, while the Irish are hated, we are despised, and contempt is far more difficult to overcome. Hatred stimulates resistance from the hated, contempt crushes and paralyzes the organ of combativeness. We are, on this very account, the more eager to discuss our grievances at those moments permitted by the spirit of the Constitution. It is a new doctrine to me—and, though not an old Member, I have been a student of the subject—that grievances are to be postponed for Supply; I always thought they preceded it. It is astonishing to me that a professed Conservative Government should resist by physical force one of the oldest traditions of the Constitution of the country. I might remind the Government of some of the 1037 Scotch questions that naturally arise in consideration of the Vote. There are items that have connection with the proceedings that have taken place in Skye——
§ THE CHAIRMAN (Mr. RAIKES)
I must remind the hon. Member it would not be in Order to discuss the items of the Vote on a Motion to report Progress.
§ MR. WALLACE
I had no intention of doing so. I was merely about to point out, as reasons for having Progress reported now, that there were items of a certain character that would require to be discussed, when discussion of these particulars became orderly. These, I was about to say, were so complicated, so numerous, and so important, that they must needs give rise to consider-able debate; and, therefore, in view of the amount of work before the Committee, it would be well to report Progress, and resume under more favourable circumstances. One of the items we, as Scotch Members, would be called upon to discuss would be the Crofter Question, never sufficiently ventilated in this House. When occasion seemed to offer itself, I had myself prepared an elaborate speech on the subject; but, if I might use a colloquialism, that speech was burked by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It would be a serious undertaking to bring out all the arguments, facts, and illustrations I had prepared—a serious undertaking for me, and possibly for the House too. There would be many questions, abstract and particular, arising in connection with the Vote for Law and Justice in Scotland, the Crofter prosecutions in particular. Again, there is the Education item to be considered. Members not now present have an engrossing interest in educational matters, and have various grievances to ventilate. Not only so; but there is the Fisheries Question, which presents many points of absorbing interest. If I were to mention the herring brand, for instance, it would, if it did not exactly produce excitement, excite most diversified interest in the minds of Scotch Members——
§ THE CHAIRMAN (Mr. RAIKES)
Order, order! I have already pointed out it would be entirely out of Order to attempt to discuss items of the proposed Vote on a Motion to report Progress. I must request the hon. Mem- 1038 ber to confine his observations to that Motion.
§ MR. WALLACE
I shall avoid that subject, Sir. Not that I was intending to disregard your ruling in any way, or to depart from Order by discussing the item; I was about to point out the difficulties of attempting discussion at this unusual hour. There will be Scotch Members desirous of considering the question of the appointment of the Secretary of State for Scotland; but, passing away from the special aspect of the Vote as affecting the grievances of Scotland, I think, as an individual, I have a right to appeal to Her Majesty's Government on the question of the physical resources of hon. Members present. I think they are mistaken if they enter into this contest regarding it as a question that must be settled by plurality of numbers; it is rather a case of Thermopylæ than a battle on Salisbury Plain—a few only are necessary to stop a pass against a host incalculably more numerous than the defenders. We shall be able to keep up a sufficient supply of strong, fresh Members, able to do what is necessary to oppose the arguments, or the mere official presence of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I feel myself, I will not say brighter, that would be arrogating too much to myself, but not more dull than I was 12 hours ago, and I do not think it is possible for me to be more dull 12 hours hence. Still, I would appeal to Her Majesty's Government to accept the reasonable compromise that has been held out to them more than once. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) offered a reasonable compromise when he suggested the Government should take a Vote on Account sufficient for a fortnight; but I think the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) offered a still more reasonable compromise, when he consented, on behalf of those for whom he was entitled to speak, if the Vote were sot down for Thursday that it should be considered fairly, with no attempt to resist it beyond that day. But it is a very difficult thing to restore peace when war is raised by challenge and attack from the other side. There is much that might be said in regard to the mind of the country not being sufficiently informed in regard to the Vote owing to the absence of the Press. 1039 Naturally, the country takes an interest in the expenditure of the money raised by its taxation: and if we discuss an important Vote like this behind the backs of those who are to pay it, I am perfectly sure a feeling of resentment will be provoked. I might add many other reasons; but I desire only to participate in the debate to a reasonable extent, and I think I have said enough to make good the position I occupy in support of the Motion before us.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
The speech of the hon. Member makes us recognize the cleverness of the nation to which he belongs. He tells us the Scotch Representatives have all gone to bed; and I am quite sure he will be glad to follow their example. There is nothing in what we are asking the Committee to do to prevent him. We ask, in order that the law may be complied with, for a Vote on Account of the Civil Service. We are asking a thing that has been asked every Session for years past, and such a Vote has been passed Session after Session with little or no discussion. When the hon. Member talks about the necessity for discussing item after item, he will forgive me for saying he hardly understands the nature of a Vote on Account. It is not possible for the affairs of the country to be carried on if there is to be such a discussion of items. The Committee will have ample opportunity of considering every item, and of attacking any to which objection is taken when in ordinary course the Votes come on. We are told it is an easy matter to adjourn the Committee to Thursday and finish the Vote then, but we should not be able to comply with the law if we did anything of the kind. Hon. Members must credit us with having paid some attention to the Rules of Order, and this matter, in which we are specially interested, we have carefully considered. Hence the statement that we cannot comply with the law unless we obtain the Vote we now ask for, and which has been granted in several Sessions. The sooner we get it, the sooner shall we got to bed.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid.)
The right hon. Gentleman speaks the usual clap-trap of officialism. We have heard that speech from the Treasury 1040 Bench times out of mind. The right hon. Gentleman says it is absolutely necessary to carry on the work of the nation, that the Vote should be taken, but we have equally good authority that it is not absolutely necessary. If the Government want money to comply with the requirements of the law, they should come here in time and propose their Votes—at such a time as will enable us to discuss grievances without being met with this stale Tory cry, the exigencies of time, the usual plea from that Bench. We have a right to claim that at the beginning of the Session—at the earliest possible moment, to insure the passing of the Appropriation Bill within the required period—the Government should submit their Estimates for consideration. Otherwise we stand in the position that we are entitled to refuse the money, seeing that we have not the opportunity of bringing forward our grievances in accordance with the time-honoured Constitutional doctrine that grievances precede Supply. So far as I can see, Sir, the practice in Parliament diverges altogether from the procedure laid down in books. The practice of Parliament seems to be that the Ministers of the Crown come down to the House at the end of every six weeks with a Vote of Supply, and expect to get the money, and the discussion on the details comes on after the Ministers have got the money. Then the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) comes here and says that the money has already been voted, uttering the usual clap-trap of officialism. It is a very strange sort of procedure which allows the money to be voted, and then when Motions for reducing the Votes are made, hon. Members find that they are of no use, because they are barred by the very effective argument that the money is already voted. I always thought that the Constitutional doctrine was that grievances came before Supply; but the practice of this House is very different. There is another fact which illustrates the odd character of the practice of Parliament. To-night we have had a precedent created of the application of the closure, which no doubt will be in time fully felt in practice by hon. Gentlemen opposite Members on this side of the House had no indication that the Government were going 1041 to pursue the policy which they have entered upon, or that they intended to persevere or apply the closure on a question of Supply. This is a precedent which before long will be used with great effect upon hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, and very reasonably because when their Leaders set an example they should be prepared to understand that such bad examples are likely to be followed, which one would think ought to make them very chary in setting them. The Government may carry forward these Totes to-night by the repeated application of the closure with a mechanical majority at their back. But if they should do that they will be countenancing an un-Constitutional thing, for since it is in their power to apply the closure on the discussion of each Vote which comes up for consideration, they will, if they do this, be making at-tempts at silencing Members in a legitimate debate on a question of a Vote on Account. It certainly does appear to me that the Government are proceeding very unwisely. Votes in Supply have been free from the operations of the closure in the past, but now that there is a precedent it is hard to say how far the power will extend in the future. There is no guarantee that the power will not be used in Committee of Supply, and consequently the whole principle of Representative Government is reduced to an absurdity.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I just want, Sir, to point out a contrast between the statement on a certain point of the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson), and a statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope). The Financial Secretary admitted earlier in the evening that the law could be complied with if this Tote were taken on Thursday. On the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State has declared that the reason why the Government requested that the Vote should be taken was, that the law demanded that it should be passed tonight, at the present Sitting. Now, I am anxious to know if the Government are willing that their case should stand or fall by the assertion of their Secretary of State for War. The case of the Government is that one of its Members 1042 makes a statement absolutely contradictory to the assertion of another of its Members in a previous part of the same evening. I am glad the Secretary of State for War has put his contention that the law positively requires that this Tote should be passed to-night; but I have to say that the law does not require this, and that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury was quite correct when he stated that the Totes could be taken on Thursday and yet the law would be completely complied with. ["No!"] Well, in other words, he did not deny that the law would be complied with if the Vote wore taken on Thursday, and I suppose he can if he chooses. And this diametrical opposition is the cause of the trouble and a scandal of this All-night Sitting. It was agreed that if the Tote was put down for Thursday the debate would be extended to Friday, and the law could not in that way be complied with; but hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House have answered that by saying that the Vote would be allowed to pass on Thursday; and thus the whole objection falls to the ground at once, and no danger of a breach of law is incurred. I only hope that the observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War will reach the Press, that the public may be able to judge of the intelligence and ability of some Members of the Government. Sir, I am informed on high authority that if this Vote was carried on Thursday, the 24th of March, it could be reported on Friday, the 25th of March, and this would be three days before the time upon which it was reported in a previous year. It is simply monstrous to consent to the passing of over £3,000,000 of the public money without any discussion. We are desired to pass the Estimates referring to the Home Department in the absence of the Home Secretary; those of the Public Works Department in the absence of the Chief Commissioner of Public Works; those for the Law Department in the absence of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General; and, finally, the most important, solemn, and contentious Votes of all those of the Irish Department in the absence of the Chief Secretary. We are quite willing that the way in which the taxes are spent should go forth for the judgment of the country, and I again repeat that 1043 it is mainly owing to the gross, palpable, and immense contradiction between two Members of the Government that we have the scandal and trouble of this All-night Sitting. I say again, Sir, that if the Votes are put down for Thursday, hon. Members on this side of the House will undertake that the discussion will close on that day, and probably hon. Members above the Gangway would assent to this arrangement or accept the suggestion as a reasonable promise.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) asks whether, if this Vote were put down for Thursday, it would be in accordance with the law? I pointed out, I think, that it required eight days for the Appriation Bill, and Thursday is the 24th of March. Hence the hon. Member will see that Thursday would be too late a day for passing the Vote if the law was to be fully complied with. The Supplementary Votes are to meet expenditure for the current year, and they re-quire to go through exactly the same processes as the Vote on Account to make them available for the Services of the country. Hon. Members must see that in order to make the money service-able within the current financial year—that is to say, shortly before the 31st of March—it is absolutely necessary that we should have this Vote now passed. I am quite sure that the hon. Members of this House do not want to put the Government into the unpleasant position of being driven, at the last moment, to the inability of carrying out the Services of the country. The Government are quite willing to meet the suggestions of hon. Members; but I have to say distinctly that Thursday would be too late, and that it is necessary to get this Vote in order to make matters regular.
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I wish to ask, Sir, whether, seeing that Thursday is too late, it would be possible to regularize—if I may use the word—the situation by holding a Sitting on Saturday. Mr. Raikes, I have sat in the House, and often heard that grievance comes before Supply; but I find in practice that there is far too much of a feeling in the House now that the principal and first object of the House is to legislate, whilst high authorities on the House 1044 impress on us that the ventilation of grievances is a most important point to observe and follow. We, on this side of the House, have no desire indefinitely to prolong the debate on these Estimates; but we certainly do feel that it was a very mistaken proceeding to so arrange matters that the Civil Service Estimates should be discussed at the late hour which the Government thought proper to provide. It will be remembered that at an early period of this Session I suggested myself that we should require to discuss the Estimates on a side Vote, because I foresaw and feared this awkward situation. I may venture to say that the cause of many of us remaining in this House during the discussion of these Estimates was in order to secure to hon. Members below the Gangway an opportunity of ventilating certain grievances connected with the Government of Ireland—grievances which there were no other means or facilities of making known. I would point out to the Committee that the position of affairs in this matter in the present year are peculiar, and therefore it is not right to compare past years with the present year, because during the present year hon. Members have been deprived—and prospectively are to be deprived—of almost every opportunity which private Members are supposed to possess, in order to bring forward the grievances which naturally would have been brought forward had there been a chance of doing so. Besides, not only is the time of private Members taken, and to be taken by the Government for a lengthened period, but that new method of procedure whereby we find subjects really pass out of discussion because of bogus Motions several days or weeks in advance, has come into existence; and private Members have to seize every available opportunity in order to endeavour to secure a chance of discussing matters of grievance. Therefore, on those Estimates hon. Members on this side of the House have really got the desire to get such an opportunity of informing the House and calling the attention of the country to abuses which require reform. I hope that right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench will take into consideration whether they can see their way by some less violent tactics and method than passing a Vote without discrimination or discussion of its important 1045 contents—especially the Irish items—to regularize the situation. Hon. Members have been in attendance for about 15 hours; and I would again suggest, in the absence of other alternative, to the Government that Saturday could be introduced for a Sitting for the purpose of accomplishing the passing and consideration of this Vote, and especially that the House may discuss questions of great interest and importance concerning the safety and security of Ireland. No better course could be followed; and it is surely preferable to this Sitting in excitement, and under circumstances which prevent the utterances of hon. Gentlemen being properly recorded in the public Press.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
I think the whole fault, Sir, of this scandalous Sitting is to be blamed upon the Government. We have heard from the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) and the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) that it was absolutely necessary that these Estimates should be passed to-night. And the Government knew that fact before to-night—that they wanted over £3,000,000, and with that knowledge in their minds they come down to the House and bring on the Estimates just before midnight. I ask the Government, are they not ashamed to acknowledge that they knew it was necessary to pass this enormous sum of money to-night, and yet they did not introduce the Estimate for consideration until midnight? It was not the custom to discuss the items upon this Vote, it was said. I took the trouble to look what happened last year, and what do I find? That a Member of the present Government itself discussed these Votes. If hon. Members will look at the Estimates, they will find that we are now called upon to discuss, as a part of this Vote, the grant of some £100,000 for the Post Office; and I would call attention to the fact that the Government have put the Chief of the Department the Postmaster General (Mr. Raikes) in the Chair while the matter is under discussion. I venture to say that never in the history of this Parliament has there been a single precedent of the discussion of an Estimate in Committee with the Minister who is responsible for that Estimate occupying the Chair. I can hardly realize myself that what I have stated is the case. Now, what would be the procedure when we come to the 1046 Post Office Vote? It would be that you, Mr. Chairman, would leave the Chair, and the Government would select another Chairman from the Treasury Bench, or that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Raikes), in charge of a Department, would find himself in the Chair whilst the Estimates of his Colleagues were being passed, and not knowing what Vote may come next—it might be the Estimates of his own Department—he would stand up and ask the acceptance of his own. Vote with the Committee discussing Estimates of a right hon. Gentleman in the Chair. I desire to repeat that this is what the Government has reduced us to this evening. I am able to speak deliberately and with some knowledge. The position we are in is this. The Government declare in this House that they are bound to get the money represented by this Vote to-night. They knew that, and that by law they must get the money. And yet they bring in a Vote for this money at midnight. Then, when the proper Chairman leaves the Chair, the Government put the Chief of one of their own Departments whose Estimates are under discussion, in the Chair. I challenge the Chairman (Mr. Raikes) and the Clerks at the Table to show the Committee a solitary instance of a similar character, and I call attention to the fact that the permission of this is pre-judicial to our Parliamentary usage.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
When hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench are as still as statues, we cannot expect them to accept the invitation of my hon. Friend (Mr. Molloy); and, besides, not oven the ingenuous mind of the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) can find an answer. I respectfully submit to you, Mr. Raikes, that the point which my hon. Friend (Mr. Molloy) has made, is one so cogent, that either you, Sir, as Postmaster General, should be out of the Chair, or the Sitting should come to a termination. The challenge of my hon. Friend has not been answered; and I say, for my part, that during my seven years in Parliament I have never known such a case to arise as that to which our attention has been called. In regard to the observation made by my hon. Friend, that it would be necessary for you, Mr. Raikes, to leave the Chair when the Vote for your Department comes on, it seems to me that from the moment 1047 that you put the Question of the Vote on Account from your Chair—from that moment you will be in the position of presiding over the deliberations of the Committee upon the Estimates of your own Department. I think the House will agree with me that it is impossible, under these circumstances, for the debate to proceed. We are told that it is necessary for the public interests that this Vote should be taken at the present Sitting; but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton has told us it is not necessary. When doctors disagree, how shall we decide?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
Since the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton made the statement that once the Vote was taken on March 24, I have discovered that it was interposed in Committee, but that it was actually taken on March 19.
§ MR. SEXTON
I have not had the advantage of looking at Hansard. Are we to understand that the proposal for a Saturday Sitting is rejected?
§ MR. JACKSON
A Saturday Sitting will not help us. It is a question of beginning. We must take the early stage.
§ MR. SEXTON
Will Thursday do? I have another suggestion to make. The Government have proposed this day to ask for precedence for the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill. It is obviously inconvenient, to say the least, that we should proceed to the discussion of that. Will the Government consider the expediency of winding up this Sitting, and putting down this Vote for the first Order this evening? If they are disposed to do that, I think my hon. Friends will agree with me that, having taken a substantial and full discussion of two or three questions of gravity, the debate on the question of precedence for the Criminal Law Amendment Bill might be taken after the dinner hour. What more can you expect than that? Suppose we go on sitting till noon to-day, and the Vote is got by the application of the closure, so as to secure precedence being taken at half-past 5 this evening——
§ MR. SEXTON
Am I not at liberty to make suggestions on a Motion to re- 1048 port Progress? Instead of proceeding with this Sitting now, let the Government adjourn this debate, on our undertaking to close it to-night in time to give the Leader of the House an opportunity to move the Resolution of which he has given Notice, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) an opportunity to reply. I see the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is here. I do not doubt his ability at any time to appreciate promptly and accurately the importance of any point that may be suggested. Let this Vote precede the precedence Resolution to-night; the latter will go on all night under any circumstances. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see that this suggestion is prompted by a serious desire for the harmony of the House, and to avoid ill-temper arising from extreme courses.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I regret exceedingly the Government do not avail themselves of those chances. I, for my part, cannot help feeling that the Government have an object in view. [Laughter.] I, too, have an object in view, and I should recommend hon. Members opposite not to laugh at it, if humanity form any portion of their composition. I firmly believe—and whether I am right or wrong will be for my countrymen to judge—that Her Majesty's Government are trying this on at the present moment in order to excite the people of Ireland to bloodshed. Mr. Raikes, they simply want to promote murder and assassination in Ireland.
§ THE CHAIRMAN (Mr. RAIKES)
The hon. Gentleman must be aware that it is entirely contrary to the Rules of this House to impute motives to hon. Members, and especially motives such as murder and assassination. he must withdraw the statement.
§ DR. TANNER
I dare say, Sir. But what I said, Sir, was I feared the policy of the Government—the policy which the Government were promoting at this Sitting—was one which would lead to assassination and murder.
§ THE CHAIRMAN (Mr. RAIKES)
The hon. Member stated, in the hearing of the Committee, that he believed the Government had an object in view, and that was to promote assassination and murder. I call upon the hon. Member explicitly to withdraw that statement.
§ DR. TANNER
I will certainly withdraw that, Sir; but I say again I believe that this policy will load to assassination and murder. [Cries of "Withdraw!"] Of course I withdraw what the right hon. Gentleman told me. He is a Member of the Government, and I withdraw. It is all very fine; but I maintain that my hon. Friend is justified in calling attention to these very important matters. Why, Sir, at the present time we are called upon to discuss the Post Office system, when we know that the papers are teeming with accounts of the extraordinary dealings with the Post Office by officials, of whom the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman is at the head. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is in his place; he is practically the prop and the crutch of the Government, and I should hope that he would deal with this matter properly and decently. And, accordingly, I charge the Government with doing what I believe will load to murder and assassination in Ireland. Lot them answer that if they can.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I am only going to say one or two words to the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson). We have received no answer to the appeal made by my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton). I wish to add to that appeal that, as far as I am concerned, if the Government will accept the compromise, I shall be willing to waive my right to speak on these Estimates. If they do not, I shall certainly raise a question, and go to a Division.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
It has been asked, more than once, whether it is the intention of the Government that if a discussion is raised on any of these items it will receive the attention it deserves. Is it desired to vote money wholesale, without any discussion? Not long since the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War pointed out that if discussions were raised on these occasions it would be impossible for the Business of the House to go on. But that is not an answer to the question. Whenever money is demanded, every individual Member of 1050 this House is entitled to raise any grievance in his mind, or that may be felt by his constituents; and if, as a result, Votes on Account should be abandoned, it would not be a matter for regret. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is the intention of the Government to enter upon the Vote and fully explain all points raised on this side of the House. Are we to have a reply to any questions we may raise?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I can assure the hon. Member that even if the discussion on the Estimates had been taken hours ago, he would have found Members of the Government perfectly prepared to give such explanations as are necessary, and all questions will be answered.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am answering the question, I trust, in good humour; but I wish to point out to the hon. Member for West Belfast, in regard to the com-promise he has suggested, that I have hoard the Scotch Members and others declare that they wish to discuss certain points connected with these Estimates; and, therefore, he is not in a position to make the compromise bind them. I would suggest to the hon. Member to do now what he might have done hours ago—to discuss the points which he wishes to have discussed. He may expect a courteous answer from any Members of the Government to whom he may appeal. With regard to Post Office questions, if it is wished to discuss any particular Vote affecting the Post Office, another hon. Member can relieve the Postmaster General in the duty of Chairman. I hope the Motion will be withdrawn, and that we may now begin to make some progress. Will the hon. Member state the points on which he wishes information?
§ MR. SEXTON
At no time while this discussion has been going on has the Chief Secretary for Ireland been in his place; I believe he left the House before midnight.
§ An hon. MEMBER: What do they know?1051
§ MR. SEXTON
I am thankful to know that he will be sent for. It will be necessary for him to hear our complaints. We cannot accept the replies of the Law Officers. We are not at liberty to receive from them replies on grave questions arising outside their Office. Why does not the Chancellor of the Exchequer accept my offer? Is it merely to gratify the ill-temper which seems to prevail among hon. Members below the Gangway opposite? I think you are making a great mistake in refusing it. Hon. Members on this side of the House are unanimous in support of my proposition, and I believe none of our Friends now absent will interfere with the arrangement.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I think Her Majesty's Government would be well advised to accept the compromise offered by the hon. Member for West Belfast. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was pleased to say that if grievances were stated by hon. Members, the Government were perfectly prepared to answer them. He knows, however, perfectly well that hon. Members who have grievances to state, never expected to be called on to state them at such an hour. It is all very well to say that the Government are prepared to answer at a time when he knows perfectly well hon. Members are not present to make their statements. As the only Scotch Member now present, I will state that, as far as I am concerned, I am in harmony with the offer made by the hon. Member for West Belfast.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
When the hon. Member for West Belfast made his offer, I heard hon. Members opposite cry out, "No compromise!" Sir, I understand the spirit of those words; but I scarcely understand the meaning. What do they mean? Do they mean that the minority have no rights at all that are worth consideration? The time may come—and it may not be very far hence—when they will be in a minority themselves, and they then will not like to hear "No compromise" called out under similar circumstances. We are asked to vote £3,500,000 on a Resolution brought in after midnight, and I think it is in the highest degree un- 1052 gracious to reproach us with anything improper. The Government have the matter in their own hands; they can, whenever a discussion is allowed to take place, apply the clôture. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. H. Smith) has told us Votes on Account have been repeatedly taken before with little discussion. It is true; but then it was not at a time when a feeling of uneasiness pervaded the country. There is now a profound feeling of uneasiness as to what use is to be made of the money the Government are asking us to vote. Therefore it is only fair that the minority should be allowed to bring forward their grievances. The arguments used by the other side might have been proper in the time of Charles L, when they used to say—"Give us the money and trust us to do the best we can with it. Leave yourselves in our hands." But that is not the case to-day, and I trust that the temper of the House of Commons will not tolerate treatment of that kind. I hope the reasonable arrangement proposed will be agreed to.
§ Mr. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
We are perfectly ready to go on with the discussion. We have no right to waive the privilege to discuss the Estimates. We will be able to show, after a discussion of a few hours between the Irish Members and the Government, from their different standpoints, that the position of Ireland is somewhat critical. Really it scorns to be reasonable, therefore, that some arrangement should be made by which the Irish Members may be enabled to discuss for a few hours the points they wish to raise. It is really absurd for us to sit all night. ["Hear, hear!"] Hon. Gentlemen say "Hear, hear!" Do they mean to say that the Irish Members have not a right to discuss these Estimates? All the Irish Members ask for is that they should be given a few hours in which to do so. The Government must admit that it is a concession on the part of the Scotch and the English Members to say that, as far as they are concerned, they will waive any sort of Amendment or discussion which they might legitimately move or raise upon it. They do that in order to facilitate the action of the Government in making a concession to the Irish Members. Of course, the Government would not think of asking for the clôture 1053 on the Vote, because, if we were to begin discussing it now, no one could say we were exceeding our legitimate rights if we were to divide on every single item. Supposing we were to discuss each English and Scotch item of the Vote for half-an-hour. That would take a very long time, and then we should have to deal with the Irish portion of the Vote. It could hardly he said that the Irish Members were exceeding their rights if they discussed the points in which they are interested for three, or four, or five hours. I ask hon. Gentlemen whether a fair and reasonable proposal has not been made? Do you mean that the discussion shall go on now? [Ministerial cries of"Yes!"] Then for how long? [An hon. MEMBER: Days.] An hon. Gentleman says it ought to last for days. Well, we do not take such exaggerated views of these things. We speak of hours, and not of days. The Government declare that they have a heavy task before them in reference to their Coercion Bill this evening. If the Government will say that they will allow this Vote on Account to come on at half-past 4 this evening, the discussion of their demand of the time of the House for coercion can be taken later. Or, perhaps, the Government will suggest some other plan by which these Estimates can be discussed.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
In reference to the compromise which has been proposed, I wish to point out that the Government could not carry it out, because they have only obtained precedence for Procedure, and if the Procedure Rules are not taken, private Members will resume their rights. For my own part, I am quite willing to go on with the right; but I would suggest another compromise which may meet the views of the Committee. I would propose that Government Business should be taken at 5 o'clock to-day; but that the debate should be stopped at 10, or half-past 10, and that this Vote should then be taken and discussed until the close of the sitting. I do not throw out this suggestion with any idea of urging the Government to surrender their right to have this Vote. It has struck me all through that what hon. Members below the Gangway on this side of the House are contending for is that they shall be allowed to have a dis- 1054 cussion relevant to the items of the Estimates; but not relevant to the first Vote on Account. I think, however, that if my suggestion were carried out, we might close this discussion, which is not creditable to Parliament.
§ MR. SEXTON
I would point out to the Committee that the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) curiously lost sight, at the end of his speech, of the point which he raised at the beginning of it. The same argument would apply at half-past 10, as at 5 o'clock; and, if the hon. Gentleman is right on his point of Order, it would be just as impossible for us to take the discussion on the Vote on Account at half-past 10 as it would at the earlier hour. I would further point out that the point of Order is altogether wrong. What is to prevent the Government, if they put down the Order of "Supply (Vote on Account)" to-day from making and carrying a Motion after Question time, that the Orders of the Day be postponed until after that Order had been disposed of? Therefore, the hon. Member's point of Order is absurd.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 57; Noes 141: Majority 84.—(Div. List, No. 74.) [7.40 A.M.]
§ Sir JOHN GORST (Under Secretary of State for India) took the Chair. [7.45 A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
The rapid changes of Chairmen show how wrong it is, Sir John Gorst, to keep us hero. But it must not be supposed that we are not perfectly fresh. We have now reached an hour (10 minutes to 8) at which reasonable persons can discuss Business. It is somewhat an early one; but I believe that in former days the House was in the habit of meeting at 8 o'clock. We shall now go through the Estimates in precisely the same way, if not more severely than as if we had not been sitting up all night. I find that the first portion of the Vote relates to the Royal Palaces, which last year cost £31,000. This year the Estimate amounts to £35,000, or about £4,000 more. We are asked, on this Vote on Account, to contribute £6,000. Now, I think the Committee will hardly 1055 assent to that, and I shall conclude with a Motion to reduce the Vote in respect of that item by the sum of £5,000. I have several reasons to urge in favour of the reduction. In the first place, Sir. I object entirely to these heavy Votes on Account. I have already several times suggested that we should give the Government enough money to tide them over a fortnight, as they seem to have got into a mass by not bringing forward the Estimates at a reasonable time. I estimate that the £1,000 I am willing to let them have in respect of the Royal Palaces would last them for rather more than two weeks, as they ask for £0,000 to carry them over two months. I may point out that if the Government persist in the course they are taking, we shall not have any time except at the end of the Session to discuss this question; and, as the Government cannot accept our terms, we must go into the various items thoroughly and exhaustively. This Vote includes an item of £1,200 for the maintenance and repair of the royal mows at Pimlico, and one of £500 for new works and alterations. These sums are excessive. The whole palace, apparently, costs £2,281 for maintenance, repairs and alterations, and the stables cost £1,865. I am not aware of the number of horses kept in these stables; but I should think that generally there are very few. Her Majesty is not often in London, and these stables are kept up for the benefit of those parasites who always exist about a Court. Then we come to palaces partly in the occupation of Her Majesty. These include St. James's Palace, of which the cost amounts to a great deal. I will allow that, however, to pass. Then we got to palaces not in the occupation of Her Majesty. There are a considerable number of houses tenanted by persons to whom Her Majesty has lent them. You will find, Sir, that these persons insist upon the houses so lent being kept up at the public expense for their benefit. Now, I say that the pensioners who are put into these houses ought to be called upon to pay for their maintenance. I find here items for Pembroke Lodge, Thatched House, and East Sheen Cottage, Richmond Park. Of course, I know who lives in Pembroke Lodge; but I do not know who occupies the other two, or where they are. I should like the right hon. Gentleman the First 1056 Commissioner of Works (Mr. Plunket) to tell us who lives in them, and also what the occupants have done in any way beneficial to the country as a reason for their having houses rent free. Then we have "Bushey House, gardens and stables," and another house, which, I believe, has been lent to one of the Orleans Princes. Now, these Orleans Princes are rich, "beyond the dreams of avarice," and yet they come sponging upon the British taxpayer, and asking him to house them. We have, therefore, to pay money every year for the maintenance of the house of an Orleans Prince. Why, I should like to ask, are we to pay for housing a Prince who has been turned out of his own country for the misdeeds of former members of his family? There are several places in Bushey Park which are mentioned in the Vote, and I should like to know who lives in each of thorn and why he is allowed to do so. There is another item to which I have frequently called attention in this House. It is the Hampton Court Stud-house. I believe it is tenanted by some person; but all I know about it is that, although I have asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury again and again what becomes of our foals which are bred there, I never see any deduction made in the Vote for the price which those foals fetch. The foals must go to someone; but there is no item in respect of them. Someone gets hold of our foals, and yet we have to pay every charge in connection with them. Well, Sir, I think I have made out a case in favour of the reduction I propose. I have shown that in this Vote there are items which need explanation, and of which no legitimate explanation can be given. This is not the first time I have asked for an explanation; but I have never been able to get one. I beg to move that this Vote be reduced by the sum of £5,000 in respect of the first item.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Item of £6,000, for Royal Palaces, be reduced by the sum of £5,000."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET) (Dublin University)
The criticisms from the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Lubouchere) are substantially the same as those he has made regularly each year 1057 for the last two or three years, and therefore the answer I have to give will he substantially that which has been given before and accepted by the House. But I may say, as regards these particular Estimates for which I am responsible, that there is a reduction on the total sum of about £90,000, or 9 per cent on the whole. What we are non-asking the Committee to do to-day is to provide a small portion of the required sum, such an amount as will unable us to carry on the necessary repairs and maintenance in connection with the various items specified in the Vote. If it would be any satisfaction to hon. Members, I might say that I would undertake not to spend any of the larger sums which are included in the Vote until the Estimates are taken in their entirety, and the completion of the sums submitted. The main part of the expenditure is for the ordinary and regular keeping up of the different Palaces, parks, and public buildings enumerated. There would have been on this Vote for Royal Palaces a considerable reduction this year, were it not for the items in connection with Hampton Court, rendered necessary by the fire that unfortunately occurred there recently, and which, as the Committee will be aware, caused considerable damage. Were it not for this item which the Committee will agree it is impossible to forego, there would have been a considerable reduction under the head of Royal Palaces. As to the particular criticisms made just now, some of the buildings are kept up for the occupation of Her Majesty, some are in partial occupation, as, for instance, St. James's, others again are not in occupation, but all this forms part of the arrangements entered into with the Crown at the beginning of the reign when the Civil List was settled. The money we are asking for is to keep up these Palaces according to the bargain made at that time, and as to who in habits these Palaces by the gracious favour of the Sovereign it is not my business to know or to inquire; my duty is confined to asking the House for the money that maintains these Palaces, fulfilling the obligation we have incurred.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I am not at all satisfied with this Vote; but I do not want to complicate matters by opening another Amendment. I only wish my hon. 1058 Friend had taken my suggestion to move the omission of the Vote altogether. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that some of these items are unnecessary, though he commenced this long Sitting many hours ago with the statement that it was necessary to take the Vote now. It is now said that the whole are not necessary, and by a process of exhaustion—such as has been going on all night—we may arrive at the conclusion that none of the Vote is absolutely necessary to be taken now. First, I may say, in reference to the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, that most of us were not in existence 50 years ago when this absurd bargain was made, and I am inclined to think that the taxpayers will think it is quite time that a revised version of this bargain should be issued. This Jubilee year offers an admirable occasion for Her Majesty to do something for her loyal subjects, though I have not heard there is any intention of the kind. May I offer one or two suggestions? I should like to know if many of these Royal, noble, or great personages inhabiting these buildings are German paupers? [Cries of"Order!"] I am surprised to find hon. Gentlemen ignorant of the fundamental principle of our law, that people who live at other people's expense are paupers. Now I should like to know if these people pay any rent at all for their lodgings? We do not live rent free in our houses or chambers; and I cannot see—even if it is part of the Royal Prerogative to fill these Royal Palaces with these aristocratic paupers—why they should not be asked to pay a moderate rent, drawing, as many of them do, substantial salaries or allowances from the pockets of the taxpayers. It would be reasonable that they should pay sufficient to meet the cost of repairs, and to that extent relieve the suffering people who have to pay taxes to support these aristocratic paupers. I would suggest that Her Majesty's Advisers should put this in a plain common-sense way before Her Majesty. We all know that Her Majesty is an exceedingly kind-hearted woman, with great common sense and great respect for the Constitution, and I am sure she would be delighted to assist her suffering subjects to the extent of the value of the rent of these lodgings she not lets, but gives away, to foreigners and 1059 others who dwell in them. We are this year celebrating the Jubilee of Her Majesty's accession to the Throne, and during the past half-century we have been paying annually to Her Majesty £385,000, or something more—last year we voted £410,000. When the proper time comes we shall ask why it is we should pay so much more than we consented to pay? Some £800,000 a-year is the cost of the Royal Family. During these 50 years the Royal Family have absorbed from the taxation of the country something like £23,210,000, or probably a great deal more by this time. Have we not, then, substantial grounds for asking that some relief should be given where it is so much needed to the overburdened taxpayers at the expense of those we consider are overpaid? So I make my request that the Government will place these matters in a common-sense light before Her Majesty, that she should make her lodgers in their Royal Palaces pay rent, seeing that we have been paying the rent for these people in the long past; that we are now overtaxed, many of us starving; and that it would be a graceful act to afford her suffering people this relief. Next I would ask to whom do these places really belong—to us, or to Her Majesty? When we come to Maryborough. House a similar question will arise. I have studied all the Acts of Parliament bearing upon the subject, and I can find nothing about these Royal Palaces; in fact, the Acts of Parliament relating to Her Majesty and her belongings are so wrapped up as to evade the closest scrutiny. What is the logical position? If we are the owners, we are responsible for the repairs; or do the Royal Family hold these Palaces on repairing leases? We have a right to know the position. It is all very well for the Commissioners of Works to put us off, as the House has been put off in past years. The nation is of opinion that the Royal Family costs the country a great deal too much, and when they reflect upon the comparison with the cost in the United States——
§ MR. CONYBEARE
It was merely a casual illustration. I will confine myself to the point. We have a right to demand the excision of these unnecessary 1060 items of expenditure—first, on the ground that we are sent here to do so by our constituents, who look very closely at these items; secondly, on the ground that the people are overtaxed for the purpose of maintaining pauperized aristocrats, who are living in these Palaces; and, chiefly and lastly, that this being the Jubilee year, it is reasonable to ask for some relief to the taxpayer, and this is a reasonable way of granting it.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 53; Noes 121: Majority 68.—(Div. List. No. 75.) [8.15 A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
At this stage it might be convenient if some Member of the Government would inform us when the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland is likely to be in his place?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W.H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
said, a message had been sent to his right hon. Friend.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
AS we must not waste time while the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is being found, the next item upon which we have to ask for a reduction of a trifling amount is £500 for Marlborough House. I find among the items £150 for the construction of a drying closet; and then I find a charge for the substitution of embossed for plain glass. These are matters of luxury for which I do not think we should be called upon to pay. I think His Royal Highness might undertake that. Then we have £300 for drains, £205 for other alterations, water rate £10, and ordinary maintenance £1,455. What I wish to remark is this—that if, as I intimated just now, we are the landlords of this Palace, we may fairly be called upon to pay for repairs and so forth; but then I have a right to ask whether His Royal Highness pays any rent, or on what terms he occupies the Palace? I would suggest that if we give him this Palace to live in, we should ask him to pay the rent of it, and also to pay the water rate. Those Royal personages like us to pay for all these things; but I object to it, and do so in the interests of the Royal Family itself, whose popularity is rapidly waning—
§ THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must speak respectfully of the Royal Family in debate. The Royal Family have nothing to do with the present Vote; it is a Vote for Marlborough House.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I was saying, Sir, I advocated this curtailment of expense on behalf of the Royal Family, for whom I entertain, of course, the greatest respect. I was trying to make my meaning clear, that the taxpayers feel very strongly on the question of this expenditure. I did not wish to convey anything disrespectful to the Royal Family—far from it——
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I must ask the hon. Member to respect my ruling; he is repeating the very words I said were not in Order.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I will not repeat them; I only desire to make it clear that the people of this country watch this expenditure with the closest scrutiny. It is, to my mind, strictly in the interest of Monarchical institutions that we should take every means to reduce this expenditure. At any rate, what I want to know in respect to Marlborough House is exactly what is our relation to it—does it belong to the nation, or to the Royal Family? If to the nation, under what terms is it occupied by His Royal Highness? I would not trouble the right hon. Gentleman with this question, except that I have made the most assiduous efforts to find out an answer for myself; but I cannot find, in any Act of Parliament, anything bearing on the question. It is in order that people outside may be enlightened, that I bring this before the Committee on a Motion to reduce the item on account of Marl-borough House by £500.
§ Motion made and Question put, "That the Item of £5 00, for Marl borough House, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Conybeare.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 49; Noes 115: Majority 66.—(Div. List, No. 76.) [8.30. A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
The next item I find is the Royal Parks 1062 and their grounds, and we are asked to contribute £17,000 for the purpose. I must do the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Plunket) the justice to congratulate him for the lower Estimate this year than last. There are some very serious things, I believe, in these Votes which require explanation, and I protest strongly against anything of the sort being concealed from the public view. I shall, therefore, move that this £17,000 be reduced by £14,000. Before I examine the detailed items, I would like to learn why the London Parks appear in this list, while the other Parks, like Victoria, Hyde Park, and Battersea, are not to be found? I think that the right hon. Gentleman is bound by the promise on this subject made by the right hon. Gentleman the then Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Guilders). Last year we obtained a majority, and it was agreed that the Vote should be taken upon Report without discussion, on condition that a Bill should at once be brought in, transferring and vesting in the Metropolitan Board of Works the possession of and the duty of looking after these London Parks. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Plunket) since then has announced the Bill, and it is to be hoped that it will be speedily passed in this House. I will give an instance, Sir, of some of the absurdities in this Vote. Many Gentlemen, especially country Gentlemen opposite, are fond of field sports, and have gamekeepers. Well, this is how some gamekeepers are paid out of this Vote—and I wonder is there any country Gentleman opposite who pays in the same generous way. The head gamekeeper of Bushey Park gets £100 per annum and £10 in addition; the keeper at Greenwich Park gets £100 per annum, and I do not know what game he keeps in that Park. The Hampton Court gamekeeper receives £150; but the man who gets the most is the fortunate gamekeeper of Richmond Park, who receives £358, and the under-keeper £150. I ask any hon. Gentleman who is acquainted with these matters, whether they can find any people to give these sums to their gamekeepers, or more than £60, £70, or £80 at the most a-year? There is, besides, a very great complaint in the neighbourhood of Richmond Park, which is kept up for the benefit of the Ranger, the Duke of Cambridge. The complaint is that the property of neigh- 1063 bouring persons gets destroyed, and really, a part altogether from this damage, I see no reason, if a man wants partridges and pheasants and such like in a park so near London, he should not pay for that himself. Then, there is no game in Greenwich Park, and the gamekeeper has no game to keep. It is preposterous, Sir, that these charges should be year after year in the Estimates, and that there should be protests every year from Radicals, who are the sound political economists, and yet all the Chief Commissioner of Works will do is to produce a book, an official book—and he is nowhere without it—which comes to him from his Predecessors, whoso excuses he repeats without imagination, but slavishly reads his lesson from the book. I cannot understand how it is those men, who have nothing to do—who are gamekeepers without game—are paid these large salaries every year. We want to make it clear to every Government that if they hope to get through the Estimates easily they will do well not to bring in Votes on Account. It is on account of my objection to these, among other things, that I move these reductions, and in this case from £17,000 to £14,000, which will still leave a margin to enable the Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench to get on for a fortnight.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Item of £17,000, for Royal Parks and Pleasure Grounds, be reduced by the sum of £14,000."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I wish, Sir, to draw attention to one fact. We are asked to pay salaries for Rangers and Deputy Rangers to Richmond, Hyde, and other Parks. The Ranger, I think, is somebody called George. I do not know him. However, Rangers and Superintendents are, it appears, military officers in the receipt of high pay from Army funds. we have to complain against these persons being put into these sinecures. If they are paid as Hangers they should not be paid as officers. The two offices are totally inconsistent with each other. It is supposed that their military duties, for which they are paid, take up their time; but if they choose to become Rangers they should got nothing in addition to their salaries as officers. Apparently those positions are simply a sort of jobbing, often established by the wisdom 1064 of our ancestors, or in fulfilment of musty contracts. And there is no need for them. In the face of the depression of trade and condition of the people, a rearrangement of these matters should be introduced, and these sinecures done away with. It is quite clear that if military officers are appointed as Rangers they should give up their highly paid offices in the Army. Besides, I cannot see why those people of substantial wealth should receive so many thousands from the pockets of the taxpayer, and they should be made to pay for their own lodgings when they are installed in these berths. Questions like these greatly affect the welfare of the people, and the Government should re-cognize the necessity there is for them to make some determined effort to got rid of these anomalies.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET) (Dublin University)
If, Sir, the hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) insists on going through all the items in this Vote I cannot hope quite to follow; but those of his questions which were distinctly asked I shall endeavour to answer. In the first place, the hon. Gentleman has asked me about the fact that last year an arrangement was arrived at for the purpose of transferring certain Parks to the Representatives of the ratepayers of the Metropolis, whilst certain of the Royal Parks were still to be retained on the Estimates. As a matter of fact, a Bill for this purpose has already been introduced and read a first time, and is on the Paper for second reading; but, unfortunately, owing to the circumstance that it has been blocked by an hon. Member opposite, I have not yet been able to bring it on any further. How-ever, I am prepared to say, if the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton will undertake to got that block removed, I, for my part, will promise to proceed with the Bill on the first possible occasion; and if the Bill be passed this Session it will be in operation in six months. In regard to the objection that the neighbourhood of the Parks where the game is preserved is dangerous, so far as my memory serves me, I do not know of any incident which has occurred that has manifested those dangers. There was a point in the hon. Gentleman's remarks about the expense of maintaining the Royal Parks and the 1065 gamekeepers. But there were no gamekeepers to preserve the game for the use of any person in these Parks. The keepers there are paid for by the Rangers; but the keepers who appear in this Vote are those who look alter the Parks and the ornamental deer only.
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch. Hoxton)
The circumstances under which this Vote is now brought forward are very disadvantageous for a proper discussion, especially considering that it is 9 o'clock in the morning, when the body is wearied and the mind jaded. On the last occasion that this Vote was discussed the House was fairly full, and we obtained the publication of the proceedings and some reduction of the items. But now, as the condition of the House is, the likelihood of getting any reduction of the items is not much, and anything we do can only be of the nature of protest. It is very necessary for those who object to this Vote to keep hammering away from year to year at these abuses. It is only by keeping these matters prominently before the notice of the public that attention is attracted to the multiplicity of small items upon which public money is wasted or badly spent for the benefit, to a large extent, of a certain number of select individuals. It is better to move the reduction of a Vote by some definite sum, pointing out that that sum is definitely applicable to some definite purpose; and I am sorry that we are obliged to postpone the moving of the reduction of this Vote by a definite sum; but I hope, when the time comes to discuss the Estimates as a whole, we shall be able to move some definite reduction. When we call the attention of Parliament to these salaries the absurdity of the expenditure of many of these Votes appears. They furnish a great many pickings to persons who are well enough off without them. A great many people are better contented when the items of these Votes are better looked into, and for these reasons I support the reduction.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
I wish to call attention to the fact in regard to Richmond Park that the carriage way of a certain private road is always closed, although the passenger gate is open. Will the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Plunket) undertake to see if it is possible to get the drive open?
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
It was my intention sometime ago to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, when this Vote came before the Committee, to a point in connection with Kew Gardens. There is a portion of the grounds at the further end not properly laid down as horticultural ground, and from time to time many requests have appeared in the public Press, that citizens who go there should be allowed to partake of any light refreshment they had with them. Hitherto there has been an express prohibition placed on anybody entering the grounds against their doing so, and they have been obliged to leave their sandwiches and oranges at the gate, Kew is a source of pleasure and delight to anyone who goes there, and not merely to those who are interested in botanical studies. It is placed there for public instruction and observation; there can be had exercise and pleasure combined with pure air and instruction. I frequently go there, and there is one thing I have noticed; there is an obvious tendency in connection with the higher class plants to have too many of the same class; and nothing seems to be done to multiply varieties, as I think ought to be attempted. Further, I wish to say our public Parks and Gardens are not so open to the public on Sundays as one would imagine or wish, and, indeed, as on other days, there are too many rules and restrictions, interfering with the enjoyment of the public. But, returning to Kew, I wish to point out how convenient it would be to allow the public to take with them, into the portion I have referred to, something in the shape of light refreshment. I intend to stand up for the poor people of England as well as of Ireland; and I believe it would be a gracious act on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works to do away with these restrictions.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
As a Scotch Member who has taken some part in what I will venture to call this carnival of obstinacy and folly on the part of the Government, I intend to support what is put to the First Commissioner of Works in this matter. It may be said that Kew Gardens are of little interest to Scotland. My reply is that there is a very large Scotch population in London—probably more Scotchmen are to be found here than either in 1067 Edinburgh or Glasgow; and they have a deep interest in the freedom of the people to enjoy these Gardens. Many of the restrictions imposed are not necessary for the exigencies of science, while they are inconvenient to the people. I admit that great credit is due to the Government in many respects for the arrangements they have made for the convenience of the public. But the official mind is naturally and constitutionally opposed to public freedom; and I think the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works might do a great deal more for the public if he were to resist the tendency to officialdom in these Gardens. I do trust that, as a result of the representations made, something will be done in this matter.
§ MR. PLUNKET
As to what the hon. Member has said relative to the proceedings of the past night, I must state that as far as my experience goes, and as far as the information given me by competent authorities goes, this examination in detail of a Vote on Account is unparalleled in the House of Commons; and it would be quite impossible to find any precedent for it. But so long as the House chooses to tolerate these proceedings, it is my duty to answer any questions put; and, therefore, I will reply to the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner). I can only say that since I have been First Commissioner I have tried to make the public Parks and Gardens as free as is possible, consistently with their proper care and treatment. I have not seen the newspaper criticisms to which he has referred; but if he will send them to me I will consider the matter raised.
§ DR. TANNER
My request is that more freedom should be allowed in the portion of the Gardens not devoted to horticultural specimens.
§ MR. PLUNKET
I will go into it as soon as I have the matter before me. As regards the other matter, I will do my best; but I see great difficulty before me.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works has said it is unprecedented that these matters should be discussed now in detail. I will remind him that the conditions under which the discussion is taking place are remarkable and peculiar.
THE CHAIRMAN (Sir JOHN GOEST)
Order, order! I do not think the hon. 1068 Gentleman is in Order in discussing the question as to whether items may or may not be dismissed now.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
We are obliged to the First Commissioner of Works for the answer he is always willing to give with so much courtesy. But I must tell him the responsibility for what he calls an unparalleled discussion rests with the Government for deliberately attempting to carry a Vote of £3,500,000 after midnight on the last day on which it can be legally taken.
§ MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)
When I come to look at the items comprised in this Vote I find a sum of £57 for munitions. Anyone versed in these matters knows that represents an expenditure of at least 4,000 cartridges, or 6,000 shots. Are all these shots used to kill a few deer? If they are, I do not envy the recipients of the carcasses of the animals. We are told there is little firing done, but I have known Richmond Park literally obscured by smoke caused by the butchery which is carried on four or five times every season. This is evidence that there is a considerable head of game, and I suppose we have to pay money for men to tend this game. A considerable portion of Richmond Park is railed off for the purpose of pro-serving game. I note, too, that a part of Kew Gardens is railed off. Is it for the same purpose? I did not know there was any game there. It is a bad policy to restrict the enjoyment of the people, especially as we are paying large sums yearly for the maintenance of the Gardens. I see one gentleman has £300 a-year as Ranger in one Park. I would suggest to the Committee that it would be reasonable to dispense with his services, and instead to employ five or six men, at a salary of £1 a-week, to pick up any litter visitors may leave behind.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
Complaint is made of our discussing the items in the Estimates. I can only hope that future Parliaments will emulate our example in this matter.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 54; Noes 144: Majority 90.—(Div. List, No. 77.) [9.20 A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
As it is important that we should be enabled to decide whether we should now proceed with the discussion of the Irish 1069 items in the Vote, it would be convenient if the Government would inform us whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) has yet arrived at the House, and, if not, how soon we may expect him?
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
Mr. Chairman, I think I must ask for leave to report Progress, in order to get an answer to the question just put by my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton). An hon. Member below the Gangway opposite says that no engagement was made. That hon. Gentleman, however, was not in the House at the time, and an engagement was made.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. T. P. O'Connor.)
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
Sir John Gorst, as I was present when my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) made the statement to which the hon. Member has referred, I may state that what my right hon. Friend said was simply this—that if there seemed to be a prospect of an important Irish debate coming on, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) would be sent for. After the statement which the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) has made, I will send for my right hon. Friend.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I am surprised at what the right hon. Gentleman says. My voice is worn out with continually stating that I am anxious to bring forward the Irish Question. At about C o'clock the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he would send for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. We intimated that we were anxious to see the right hon. Gentleman, and we have been waiting for him ever since. If there is a prospect of the right hon. Gentleman turning up soon, we will ask the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) not to proceed further with his Amendments.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I may say that the reason why the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not 1070 send for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary at C o'clock was, that there was continual obstruction, and no attempt was being made to got on with Business.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
I strongly protest against the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, that there has been anything like obstruction in this matter. I hold, Sir, that there has been no speech made, no act done, no question addressed to the Government which could be styled obstructive
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I do not think it is in Order for the hon. Member to discuss whether there has been obstruction or not.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
Well, Sir, who initiated that discussion? I did not. I only wished to repudiate the charge. On the Motion to report Progress, I have to say that I fully understood that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was to be sent for in order that he might be in his place when the Irish debate came on, and an hon. Member left the House apparently with the object of fetching him.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
As I have obtained an answer, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion to report Progress.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
Nobody can say we are obstructing now, Sir John Gorst, any more than it can truly be said that we have been obstructing hitherto. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) has been good enough to toll us that somebody has sent for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant for Ireland, and we must now go on, whether we wish it or not, until the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary turns up. I am, therefore, obliged to proceed with the discussion of these items. With regard to Vote 6, which relates to public buildings, I find that the number of houses taken by the various Members of the Government is perpetually on the increase I find hero an item relating to the "residence of the First Naval Lord," 34, Queen Anne's Gate, Westminster. I assume that the "First Naval Lord" means the noble Lord (Lord George 1071 Hamilton) on the Treasury Bench. [Cries of "No!"] No! Then it is all the worse. You have a First Naval Lord, who receives a salary of £1,200 per annum, which is regarded as the value of his services. I suppose there were one or two rooms at some time in the Admiralty in which he managed to establish himself. The Admiralty is to be altered, and so a Gentleman whose salary is £1.200 a-year has a house taken for him at a rent of £700 per annum. I ask whether anything can be more monstrous than that? As the house happens to be near where I live, I have had my eye on it, and have observed plate-glass windows being put in and ornamentation going on there. No doubt I shall find the cost of it all in the Estimates. Now, I ask whether we ought not to put a stop to a system under which we give to Gentlemen houses which cost the country more than half of their salary? At any rate, we ought to have some explanation on the subject.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET) (Dublin University)
The First Naval Lord is not the same person as my noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord George Hamilton), and it is necessary that the First Naval Lord should by provided with a house.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Well, I will pass to Vote No. 10, which relates to Metropolitan Police Courts. We are now asked to Vote £1,500) in respect of the maintenance of these Courts. There is no town in the country, besides London, which has the cost of its Police Courts thrown on the general taxpayer. In all other instances the expense is borne by the ratepayers, and I really do not see why the taxpayers should be called upon to meet it in regard to London. Why in the world the inhabitants of Northampton, for instance, should be asked to pay not only for their own Police Court, but also for the Police Courts of the richest town on the face of the earth, I really cannot conceive. I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £1,500.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Item of £1,500, for the Metropolitan Police Courts, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Labourchere.)1072
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I wish to know, Sir, how we are to understand the silence of the Government? There is no Member present who is responsible for this expenditure.
§ Mr. COURTNEY here resumed the Chair. [9.35 A.M.]
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
Mr. Courtney, we are in this extraordinary position, that, as far as I understand, there is no one present to speak for the Government in reference to this Vote. I am told that the Vote comes within the Department of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Plunket.). Of course, if that be so, I withdraw the observation.
§ MR. PLUNKET
I must repeat, Mr. Courtney, what I said a short time ago—namely, that this process of discussing at length the items in the Estimates on a Vote on Account is most unusual and extremely inconvenient, and I believe that, with one single exception, there is no precedent for dealing with a Vote on Account in such a way. The Vote is only asked for to enable the Government to carry on the Business of the country until the Estimates can be brought forward in the ordinary way. Having made that protest, I must say again that, as long as the Committee chooses to allow that proceeding to continue, it is my duty to answer hon. Gentlemen. In reply to the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) I can assure the Committee that the question he has referred to has been raised over and over again. The Metropolitan Police Courts continue to be provided by the taxpayers on the same principle as the County Courts are paid for by the taxpayers. My hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) reminds me that all the fees and fines gathered in the Police Courts are paid into the Treasury, and I have no doubt, therefore, that if an account were taken it would be found that, on the whole, the taxpayers lose nothing by the present system.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
The right hon. Gentleman's argument hardly holds good, because there are County Courts as well as Police Courts in the Metropolis. I have often wondered whore the receipts from the Police Court fines and fees go to. The right hon. Gentleman says they are paid into the Treasury, 1073 and that they exceed the cost of the Courts. If so, why do we not have it stated in the Votes that the Police Courts support themselves? The right hon. Gentleman complains that we are going through the Accounts item by item. I can only say that if the right hon. Gentleman and the Government did not wish us to do this, they have greatly wasted the public money in having the Estimates printed and circulated amongst Members. We have had these printed Estimates given to us for our guidance, and we are told that we are doing a monstrous thing if we venture to discuss any of the items. We protest against the action of the Government, and still more against the action of the Ministers who preceded them, in getting the House into the habit of voting large sums of money on Account. I think that the couse we have followed to-day will tend to induce Governments not to take away henceforward all the time of private Members up to the 21st of March, then to bring forward a Vote on Account, and to complain because the items in that Vote are discussed. The Government will find that we are now establishing a precedent, and I trust that on all future occasions when Votes on Account are asked for, Parliament will follow the excellent example we are setting.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 51; Noes 18G: Majority 135.—(Div. List. No. 78.) [9.40 A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I am sure we are all anxious to bring these proceedings to a close as speedily as we can, consistently with the proper discharge of our duty. I, therefore, propose to pass over a large number of items in Class II., and come to Class III., in order to come to the Vote for the salaries of the officials of the House of Lords and the salaries of Cabinet Ministers. Indeed, so anxious am I to simplify matters, that I will ask the Committee to consent to an Amendment for the reduction of two separate items by putting the two items together. So far as the officials of the House of Lords are concerned, I was anxious to do away with the whole expenditure; but I pro- 1074 pose to confine the Motion to a simple reduction. It is well known that the clerks of the House of Lords and other employés there are paid on a higher scale than similar officers in this House. The second item I move to reduce is that which provides the salaries of Ministers I have already placed on the Paper, an Amendment upon the main Estimate, to reduce the salaries of the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Those two Gentlemen are both very rich Gentlemen, so that they can scarcely conceive I have any personal intentions in the matter. But I do not think that, considering the number of Ministers we have who do their work well and efficiently for the sum of £2,000 a-year, we ought not to give more than £2,000 to any other Minister sitting on that Bench. It would be most regrettable that there should be a desire for Office for the mere sake of the emoluments of Office. I am afraid that there is a greater desire than there used to be to obtain Office on that account; but I doubt whether, if the salaries were considerably reduced, we should have Gentlemen so very anxious for the mere honour of the thing to sit on that Bench night after night and perform Administrative duties. It may be said that they work hard; but we work hard too, and right hon. Gentlemen are not paid for the work they do in this House, but for being Members of the Administration. I do not believe in the appointment of Ministers because they are men of genius. On the contrary, I believe that men who know something about business would make the best Ministers. Of course, there must be some head to direct the whole machine; but, as a rule, a few partners selected from flourishing concerns would make just as good Ministers as the ordinary article which we got, and I am perfectly convinced that there are very few clerks in any bank in the City who would not make as good officials as the small fry who sit on that Bench. I may add that in every other country in the civilized world, the salaries of Ministers are considerably less than they are hero, and certainly they are not more than you would pay if you reduce the present salaries to £2,000 per annum. I am strongly of opinion that it is most desirable to 1075 reduce these enormous salaries from £5,000 per annum to £2,000. It may be said that there are heavy expenses connected with the position of a Minister. Now, I have looked into that matter, and I have very grave doubts about it. Perhaps the Foreign Minister may have large expenses; but, certainly, not the First Lord of the Treasury, nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I take it that all they have to do is to give a few dinners to their private friends. If they were not in the Ministry, perhaps they might not give the official soirées and routs which are now-a-days given by a Cabinet Minister to "the classes," but what I object to is that "the classes" should be entertained at the expense of the taxpayers. If a Minister desires to entertain "the classes" and the aristocracy, let him entertain them out of his own pocket. I bog to move the reduction of £4,000 in the item for the salaries of officers of the House of Lords, and of £6,000 in that for salaries of the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the total amounting to a sum of £10,000 in classes one and two.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
It would be necessary in that case to move the reduction of £10,000 in the whole Vote.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,614,100, be granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the Charge for the Civil Services and Revenue Departments for the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888."—(Mr. Labouchere).
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 49; Noes 204: Majority 155.—(Div. List, No. 79.) [10.10 A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
If necessary I shall conclude with a Motion; but I think it is desirable, at tills stage, that the Committee and also the country should understand the manner in which hon. Members, and especially the Irish Members, are being dealt with by Her Majesty's Government, and by the right hon. Gentleman who now holds the Office of Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. This Vote was first put from the 1076 Chair at 5 o'clock this morning. For several hours before that time—I think as early as 2 o'clock—upon several occasions the Irish Members intimated that they were prepared to raise upon the Vote certain questions of the very gravest importance to their country. Now, this Vote includes, among its numerous items, the salary of the Chief Secretary who has recently accepted that Office; but during the course of this prolonged Sitting the right hon. Gentleman has not honoured us with his presence. Four hours ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having been strongly informed of our desire to proceed with Irish Questions, said that a message would be sent requesting the attendance of the right hon. Gentleman. We hoped that that message would be speedily followed by his bodily presence. However, whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer repented of his courtesy, or the messenger proved incompetent to discharge the duty entrusted to him, I am unable to say; but the promise has not yet had any substantial result. A second time we applied for the presence of the Chief Secretary, and a second time a Cabinet Minister, in this case the Secretary of State for War, informed us that a messenger would be sent to procure his attendance. Now, I am stating a fact which can be tested by the visual power of every hon. Member, when I say that the Chief Secretary for Ireland has not yet appeared in his place. Many questions of great magnitude require to be discussed on these Votes. There have already been mentioned the murder of the man Hanlon at Youghal, the repeated suppression of public meetings in Ireland without cause, and the protracted delay in dealing with the favourable recommendations of the Royal Commissioners in regard to the Catholic minority in the town of Belfast. What can be the meaning of asking us to go through the form of a debate in the absence of the Minister who, by the position he holds, is responsible, and who is required to give an answer to our complaints? We have remained here all night in the discharge of our duty to our constituents. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, who enjoys a high dignity and great emolument, has all the time been quietly and comfortably 1077 in bed. If he should now arrive here, after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, it would certainly be a very unequal debate between him and myself. I have been 19 hours in continuous attendance upon the Business of this House, and for 14 hours I have been without food. [A laugh.] Hon. Members may well laugh; they have taught us how to do without food in Ireland. The question I wish to ask is this—Is the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland coming down to this House at all? Have these repeated messengers who have gone forth from the ark brought back any answer? If he is coming down, how soon may we expect him? If he is not coming down, do the Government intend to press to a Division the Irish items of this Vote? If he is not coming down, I ask, in the name of common sense and in the name of humanity, that we, who have been 19 hours in constant attendance in the House engaged in the fatiguing exercise of debating those Votes, should be released?
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
Mr. Courtney, I wish to know from you, Sir, whether it is in Order for an hon. Member opposite to say that if he catches me outside he will black my eyes?
§ MR. SEXTON
I am in the unfortunate position of having been repeatedly interrupted by calls to Order for riot and imaginary offences. The question I have risen to call the attention of the Committee to is the inability of the Irish Members to discuss certain items of expenditure in the absence of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I want to know whether the right hon. Gentleman is coming down at all this morning to perform his public duties? If he is coming, when will he be here, and are we expected to engage in debate with him after the exhausting Sitting we have already had?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
The hon. Member appeals, I presume, to me. I must remind 1078 the Committee that at 11 o'clock last night we offered to withdraw the Navy Vote, in order that progress might be made with the debate which is now going on. That offer, however, was refused, and until 5 o'clock in the morning the debate on the Navy Vote was kept up, against the wish of the Government, who desired to withdraw the Vote in order to allow the present debate to be brought on. In the view of the Government, it is necessary, in the public interests, that this Vote should be taken at this Sitting. It is most unusual—in fact, I believe it is contrary to the practice of Parliament—to debate items in a Vote on Account. [Cries of "No!"] Hon. Gentlemen who say "No!" may have their own views on the matter, but I am entitled to state mine with the full sense of the responsibility which belongs to any statement I may make. I repeat that it is contrary to the practice of Parliament to debate items in a Vote on Account; and it has been so held by the highest authorities, and especially by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). Let me remind hon. Gentlemen that if they are to claim on every item in a Vote on Account, the right and privilege of debate in Supply in the House of Commons must break down altogether, It is utterly impossible for this Committee to debate item after item in a Vote on Account, and to maintain the privileges of the House, and discharge their duty as guardians of the public purse. The right to debate an item arises only when that special item is put from the Chair. Each item must be put from the Chair before it is finally passed. The charge for a particular Service cannot be voted by Parliament in any other way; and, therefore, I appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite to permit the usual practice of Parliament to be observed on the present occasion—to allow Parliament to discharge its proper duties, and to allow this Vote to be taken according to the usage and practice of Parliament, and the best interests of the country we are here to serve. The hon. Member has made an appeal to me with regard to the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I am informed that both my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave an intimation that he would be sent for. 1079 [An hon. MEMBER: Then produce him.] Without further detaining the Committee, I must enter a protest against debating the items of a Vote on Account as opposed to the best interests of Parliament.
§ MR. SEXTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman permit me respectfully to ask him one question? We do not desire to discuss items, but to raise upon this Vote on Account certain questions of policy. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will not deny that we are entitled to raise questions of policy, and that it has been the uniform practice of Parliament to raise questions of policy on Votes on Account. Although the right hon. Gentleman asserts that we have no Constitutional right to debate items; does he deny our right to raise questions of public policy, or does he say that we are not entitled to decline to proceed with the discussion of questions of policy relating to Ireland in the absence of the Chief Secretary?
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I will not dispute with the First Lord of the Treasury the exact hour at which he made the offer to withdraw the Navy Vote, he may have been within an hour of the actual time But assuming the statement to be perfectly correct, I and other Irish Members were desirous of debating the Naval Vote. After he offered to withdraw it, at 11 o'clock, two hours of solid debate occurred on English Votes; and when 1 o'clock is readied, everybody knows that the Reporters' Gallery is clear, or very nearly so, and it would have been of very little use for us to debate very important Irish questions when the speeches of the Irish Members could not have been reported. If we had accepted the offer of the First Lord of the Treasury, we should have been launched into a very important debate at an altogether unusual hour, and a debate would have taken place which could not, by any possibility, have been reported at any length. Therefore, I think the Irish Members were perfectly justified in declining the offer of the First Lord of the Treasury. That was one point in the speech of the First Lord; and as he has given the view of the Treasury Bench, I think it is just as well that the country should know what the views of the Irish Members are in regard to what occurred last night. It was after half-past 11 when this offer on 1080 the part of the Government was made, and I have described what subsequently occurred. There is another point in the statement of the First Lord to which I must refer. He has declared, categorically and emphatically, that it is wrong—I do not think he went so far as to say that it was wicked—to debate the items of a Vote on Account. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman is a Minister, and he looks at the question exclusively from an official stand-point; but I think there are high authorities who may be set against him. I recollect the late Mr. Butt declaring, in emphatic terms, that it was wrong to give Votes on Account at all. I must say that, high as the authority of the First Lord of the Treasury is on Parliamentary practice, Mr. Butt's authority as to Constitutional usage and practice was at least as high. I think he will find that the old practice was not to introduce Votes on Account at all, and that it is quite a novel practice. [Mr. W. H. SMITH dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head; but that was the opinion expressed by Mr. Butt; and Mr. Butt, who was always received as a high authority, was in this House before many hon. Members opposite were born. I consider that our conduct has not only been justified, but that we should have fallen far short of our duty if we had adopted any other course By holding on during the night, we have reached an hour when we can expect to be reported, and we can show the country that we have been here to defend the public purse, and to discuss these items properly. Where the Government were wrong was this—they should have agreed to take the Naval Vote at 1 o'clock in the morning, and then have postponed the consideration of the Vote on Account. Is it reasonable to suppose that a sum of £3,600,000 should be voted without any discussion at all? We offered to take Wednesday or Thursday for the debate; indeed, we made every offer we could to conciliate the Government. We were most anxious to avoid the scandal of this All-night Sitting, and the excitement which it has produced; but we were not prepared to give the Government a sum of £3,600,000 without debate. I think the country will be of opinion that we were right.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
As one who has been present throughout the whole of the Sitting, I desire to 1081 speak upon a question of fact; because there has been an unconscious divergence of statement between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Treasury. At 7 o'clock this morning the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he was prepared to hear a statement of grievances upon every item contained in the Vote on Account. We offered him a compromise on the matter; but he would not accept it. But now, after four and a-half hours' further debate, a number of hon. Gentlemen have come in who have not heard a word of what passed, and they cheer and support the First Lord of the Treasury when he goes entirely against the statement that was made by the Representative of the Government at the time the right hon. Gentleman himself was probably asleep. Now, how is it possible to carry on a proper discussion on terms of that description? I claim, as one who was attending to my duty, while others were absent, the fulfilment of the promise which was made by the Representative of the Government between 6 and 7 this morning. I have always understood that a first contract should stand until a second contract has been accepted by both parties to the first. I therefore must distinctly claim that the discussion should be allowed to go on on the lines laid down to us, and definitely laid down to us, by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in opposition to our offers of compromise. I desire to add my humble voice to what has been stated by the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), that we are now entitled by the offer made to us by the Government to debate the items contained in this Vote, and we are further entitled to ask that those Members of the Government who are responsible for the items should be present to answer any questions that may be raised. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant would be sent for. That promise was made four hours ago. How long does it take to send for the right hon. Gentleman, and how long does it take to awake him? I am not prepared to say that there may not be reasons why he should not always be wide awake; but I think he might be made tolerably wide awake in the course of four hours. I think he ought to be 1082 here on the simple ground of the contract made between the Government and the Irish Members.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
I have not ventured to offer a single word upon this Vote on Account, and therefore I cannot be accused of any improper motive in rising to take part in the present discussion. No doubt I did take part in the previous debate. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) has imputed to us, as a matter of blame, that when the Government wished to withdraw the Navy Tote, the proposition to withdraw it was opposed from these Benches. I maintain that it was rightfully resisted, and the resistance had this result that, instead of having the whole evening wasted, the Navy Vote was finally disposed of, and the Sitting was not, so far, lost. For the fact that it was not lost the House is not indebted to the Government, but to those who refused their consent to the withdrawal of the Vote. The Navy Vote involved a sum of nearly £1,000,000, and already on this Vote on Account we have agreed to items that make up a considerable amount—probably amounting to another £333,000. If we had passed the whole of the Vote on Account we should have been voting away the money of the country for several hours at the rate of £10,000 a-minute. I think that is scarcely the way in which the money of the country should be dealt with. We have passed Class I., and in the remaining items I contend there are matters which ought to receive the attention of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury says—and he told us he made the statement with all the responsibility which attaches to a statement from him in his place on the Treasury Bench—that it is altogether against the practice of Parliament to discuss the items of a Vote on Account. Now we have no desire to discuss all the items in this Vote on Account; but if we did want to discuss them, we are entitled to do so, and the statement of the right hon. Gentleman is altogether wrong. We have had these Votes on Account brought before us during the last five or six years, and the right hon. Gentleman will find that in each of those years the items contained in the Votes wore discussed. Among those who have been most ener- 1083 getic in their opposition to Votes on Account have been the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) and several of his associates of the Fourth Party who are now on the Government Bench. Now with regard to Class II.—that Class contains the Vote for the Board of Trade; and in reference to the Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade there is a question connected with a certain surplus, which, in my opinion, ought to secure the attention of a Committee of this House at the earliest possible moment; because while we are voting money for the Board of Trade, the Board is practically plundering the creditors of bankrupt estates by exacting fees altogether disproportionate and unreasonable. The Board is making up a fund from those fees and placing it practically under the control of the Treasury. The Treasury itself is proposing to draw on the fund in a way which was not contemplated when the Bankruptcy Act of 1883 was passed; and in order to make up for the depreciation of that fund, all the creditors and others who have bankruptcy business to transact are being charged rates of fees that were never anticipated, and a great deal higher than wore contemplated in connection with bankruptcy proceedings. Then, again, with regard to the Mint coinage, it is within my own knowledge that an hon. Gentleman sitting above the Gangway has sat hero night after night, for many hours, for the purpose of bringing forward at the first opportunity a debate in connection with the depreciation of the coinage of this country. Then, again, year alter year money has been voted on account, and there has been no regular Estimate presented for the Patent Office. Not only has the money not been wanted for the purpose for which it has ostensibly been drawn, but year after year, systematically and deliberately, the money has been diverted from that purpose, and appropriated to a different purpose. One of the items in the present Estimates includes a sum of £900 for the salary of an individual who is actually an imaginary officer of the Patent Office. The last officer died, and his place has not been filled up for a period of nearly three years, and yet this Vote is presented without any statement to the effect that the sum drawn for the Super- 1084 intendent of Indexing is not required for that purpose. I think it ought to be recognized that the primary duty of those who are in charge of the Patent Office is to see that the arrears of work in connection with patents should be at once taken in hand, and pressed forward with the utmost possible despatch. The work, as a matter of fact, has been systematically neglected, and yet money has been obtained from the Committee of Supply under a deliberate false pretence. I contend that these are matters which ought to be discussed, even at this stage, upon Votes on Account. Will any reasonable man say that it is not a proper thing for a Member who is acquainted with the facts to bring them forward? I say that it is the clear duty of every Member, on every occasion when these items are open to discussion, to lay such facts before the Committee. Therefore, I protest altogether against the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. If the time of the Committee has been wasted, it is not our fault, but his; and there would have been a greater waste of time if we had consented to the preposterous proposition that, after the Navy Vote had been discussed for sis or seven hours, it should then be withdrawn, and the whole of the discussion which had taken place upon it be rendered useless, and have to be renewed again.
§ MR. SEXTON
As the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland has now, at 11 o'clock in the morning, returned to his place, I shall proceed at once to raise the question which I desired to raise when this Vote was first put from the Chair at 5 o'clock this morning, and which I was anxious to raise the moment the right hon. Gentleman was in his place. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is possible to ascertain from him what provision the Government have made or intend to make for the better security of social order in the City of Belfast? This is a question upon which I am personally charged with a heavy responsibility, and a question which I could not delay bringing before the Committee without transgressing my public duty. It may be my good or ill fortune, but at present I have the honour to represent in this House the Division of Belfast which is described in the Report 1085 of the Royal Commission as the main theatre of the recent riots. My Catholic constituents—the poor artizans and labourers of that Division of Belfast—are those who, as often as rioting occurs in that unfortunate town, have their district invaded, their houses broken into, their property plundered, and their lives put in danger and sometimes taken. That being the state of affairs, I think I am entitled and that I am bound to protest against any delay on the part of the Government in applying such measures as may be found necessary for the preventing any new disorder arising in Belfast. The Catholic Committee of Belfast—a body of gentlemen who are highly representative of the Catholic community of the town—have felt themselves obliged, by the scandalous inactivity of the Government, to hold a meeting, and to pass resolutions, in which they strongly and solemnly protest against the neglect of the Government to give effect to the recommendations contained in the Report of the Belfast Commissioners. Everywhere in Ireland except in Belfast the policy of the Government is thorough. It is expressed in brief apophthegms, such as "Deal summarily," "Do not hesitate;" but in Belfast they refuse to deal summarily; and although they do not hesitate elsewhere, but even kill, in regard to Belfast they agree to kill nothing but time. The Catholic Committee complain of the delay that has occurred. Lot me show the scandalous character of that delay. The riots occurred in the months of Juno, July, and August last year. They involved the taking of 30 lives at least, the wrecking of 60 houses, the looting of 30 others, and the destruction of property to the value of £90,000. A force of police and military, amounting to 6,000, was sent to Belfast in consequence of the riots which wore carried on intermittently for three months, and the whole of the town was placed in a state of the utmost confusion. What did the Government do? They appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the origin and circumstances of the riots; they nominated three of the Commissioners in August, and completed the nomination in September. The Commissioners were—Mr. Justice Day—an English Judge—Major General E. J. Bulwer, Mr. R. Adams, and Mr. Frederick Le Poer Trench, 1086 barristers, and Commander Wallace M. Hardy, R. N. They opened their inquiry at Belfast, in the Court House of the County of Antrim, on the 4th of October, and continued it uninterruptedly until the 25th of the same month. Nevertheless, it was not until January that they presented their Report, and even then it was only signed by four out of the five Commissioners. But although the Report was presented two months ago to the Government, up to this moment, although the Constitutional Representative and protector of these unfortunate people, my repeated applications to Her Majesty's Government have been utterly fruitless in obtaining from them what the conclusion is which they have drawn from the Report of the Commissioners, and what proposals they are prepared to make. And let the Committee consider what has happened in those two months which have elapsed since the Report was laid before the Government. Other desperate riots have broken out in Belfast. There is one sentence in the Report which ought to receive the serious attention of the Government unless they are altogether callous and careless of the consequences. It is that in which the Commissioners describe Belfast as a place where, as its history shows, riots of the most formidable kind may at any time break out. Yet the Government have remained criminally supine, although disorder has four times broken out in Belfast. What was the conduct of the Government on the 31st of January, when there was a dangerous riot, which, fortunately, however, proved to be of a transitory character, although the Government are not to be thanked for the fact, seeing that they had applied no remedial or suppressive measure. On the 31st of January a number of men were arrested for a violent attack upon the police. What happened when the men were brought up in Court? The District Inspector, who acted as prosecutor on the occasion, said that he had been directed, by desire of the Government, to ask for an adjournment, in order to await the presence of the Crown Solicitor. An adjournment accordingly took place. Now, nobody is entitled to instruct the Crown Solicitor except the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland; and hero was a statement made by an officer of 1087 the police with regard to a body of desperate rioters, that the case should be adjourned in order to procure the attendance of the Crown Solicitor. Two adjournments were procured on that plea, and in the end, when the case was adjudicated upon, what happened? There was no Crown Solicitor in attendance at all; but a minor agent of the Crown came forward and said that the Crown Solicitor had received no instructions from the Attorney General. The trials therefore proceeded, and the rioters were sot free on fines of 10s. and 20s. a-piece—fines which, so far from exercising any repressive effect on the elements of blackguard faction and brutal disorder in Belfast, distinctly held out a premium to the continuance of disorder. For the fourth time, only on Saturday last, disorder again broke out in Belfast since the presentation of the Commissioners' Report. It appears that a private of Dragoons was wandering through the streets and used language of a most offensive character to Catholics. He was cheered by a Protestant mob, and when the police arrested him the Protestant mob endeavoured to effect a rescue. The baton was resorted to. The baton is held to be a sufficiently effective weapon, in Belfast, for quelling disorder, although elsewhere than in the sacred region of Belfast a weapon somewhat more deadly than the baton is to be employed. I do not make an exaggerated statement when I complain that the Government have four times, in the course of two months, allowed rioting to take place in Belfast, which might at any moment in that magazine of gunpowder have produced an explosion that would have been fatal to life. They have allowed this length of time to elapse without having taken a single step to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners. I have already pointed out who the Commissioners were. They were gentlemen the solitary opinion of each of whom is entitled to respect, while the united opinion of the whole of them is entitled to every attention on the part of the Government. Only four of the Commissioners have signed the Report—Mr. Justice Day, an English Judge, General Bulwer, an English Major-General, and two Irish barristers, one of whom is certainly an Irish Conservative, while the other is not particularly attached to any 1088 Party except himself. These four gentlemen have signed the Report. The fifth Commissioner has not done so, nor has he sent in a separate Report of his own. Why has he not done so? The inquiry was closed five months ago, but Commander Wallace M'Hardy is still persistently silent. Why have not the Government either induced or compelled him to speak? At the time of the nomination of the Commission, I was strongly opposed to the appointment of this gentleman, because I knew him to be a bigot, and as having used his position as a Scotch police officer to prosecute Irish Catholics. But I did not think that oven Mr. Wallace M'Hardy would be guilty of the indecency of accepting an appointment upon the Commission on such a question as this, and then declining to perform the functions which the duties of his office imposed upon him. Why has he refused to sign the Report? I am inclined to think that a letter from the Home Secretary to Mr. Wallace M'Hardy, as Police Commissioner of the County of Lanark, would have a great effect in inducing him to sign it. If he was satisfied with the inquiry which took place in Belfast, and with the evidence taken before the Court, why has he, on two occasions, gone back to Belfast, like a thief in the night, and held secret and stealthy interviews with the people who are accused of having incited the people of Belfast to riot? I await an explanation of that act of indecency. I will now pass from the absence of Mr. Wallace M'Hardy's signature from the Report in order to consider the recommendations contained in the Report which bears the signatures of the other four Commissioners. The Commissioners were directed to—Inquire into the origin and circumstances of the riots and disturbances, the cause of their continuance, the existing local arrangements for the preservation of the peace of the town of Belfast, the magisterial jurisdiction exercised within it, the amount and constitution and efficiency of the police force usually available there, the proceedings undertaken by the magistrates, stipendary and local, and other authorities, and the police force, on the occasion of the said riots and disturbances; whether these authorities and the existing police force are adequate to the future maintenance of order and tranquillity within the town; whether any and what steps ought to be taken; and whether any and what changes ought to be made in the local, magisterial, and police jurisdiction arrangements and establishment, with a view to the better preser- 1089 vation of the public peace, and the prevention or prompt suppression of riot and disorder.I beg the Committee to attend to one brief extract from the Report of the Commissioners which in a graphic picture lays bare, in a piercing light, the real nature of the provocative cause of these disturbances in Belfast. "What do the Commissioners say? They say—The evidence leads us to believe that the riots, at a very early period, and certainly from and after the 8th June assumed, to a great extent, the aspect of a determined attack by the Protestant mobs upon the police, and upon the places of business of Catholics residing in Protestant quarters of the town. Of the cause of this we shall come to speak when we have to deal with other matters into which your Excellency's Warrant directs us to inquire. But in this instance of Hassan's public-house, and in several others to which we have drawn attention, the attack was undoubtedly made by Protestant mobs against the property of Catholic traders. Of course there were retaliation and faults on both sides, but so far as we can judge from the evidence twenty-eight public-houses owned by Catholics were assailed and looted during the course of the riots, and only one or two public-houses owned by Protestants.They might have added that 29 private houses were also wrecked. The Report proceeds—This state of affairs may to a considerable extent be Recounted for by the fact that the vast majority of the public-houses in Belfast are owned by Catholics, and that when once rioting begins those engaged in the pursuit are but too prone to attack any house in which intoxicating drinks can be procured. But at the same time these incidents seemed to show, and we have arrived at the opinion, that for a considerable period, at all events, from the 8th of Juno to the 19th of September, the principal actors in the rioting were what is known as the Protestant mob. Mr. Cullen informed us that up to this date, the 19th September, the Catholic Party behaved remarkably well, and Mr. M'Clelland, a Protestant magistrate, stated to us that the endurance and patience of the Catholics during the riots was simply wonderful. We are of opinion that the comparative good conduct of the Catholics must be largely attributed to the zealous exertions of the Catholic Bishop and clergy, who, during the riots, laboured persistently in the cause of peace, and who exercised over their people a great and most beneficial influence.It is on behalf of that Catholic minority in Belfast, so certified to be patient and enduring, that I now appeal to the Chair and the Committee to support me in obtaining from the Government an immediate declaration of the policy they intend to pursue in order to secure the future preservation of order. The Commissioners say— 1090We attribute the extraordinary persistence of the riots largely to the intensity of feeling in Belfast during the period covered by them, a fact admitted upon all sides. The weakness of parleying with, and yielding to the mob did much harm. Had the police not been withdrawn on the 9th of June the tumult of the night would, in our opinion, have been suppressed with comparative case, and the heavy loss of life which caused so much exasperation, would have been avoided. Unquestionably, however, a main cause of the prolonged continuance of the disturbances was the wild and unreasoning hostility exhibited by a large section of the Protestants of Belfast against the police.The Commissioners state further—We are sorry to add that certain persons having great influence in Belfast, thought proper, at various periods during the riots to indulge in language, written and spoken, well calculated to maintain excitement at a time when all men of influence should have tried to assuage it." "Another cause," say the Commissioners—" of the continuance of the riots was the unhappy sympathy with which, at certain stages, the well-to-do classes of Protestants regarded the proceedings of the rioters.Further on they say—A most important cause of the continuance of the disturbances were certain serious defects in the magisterial and police arrangements of the town.They define this as follows—The magistrates do not possess any special powers of any kind, and are therefore unable to deal summarily with such offences as riot, persons charged with which can only be sent for trial before a jury. During the riots the ordinary magistracy of Belfast was largely reinforced by resident magistrates drafted in from various parts of the country, and at one time at least twenty of these gentleman were in the town. Again, while on the one hand there was no evidence before us to prove that the borough magistrates acted with partiality, unquestionably, in the atmosphere of Belfast, they are regarded by the rival parties with suspicion, which enormously militates against the weight of any decisions they may give. Further, public inconvenience is caused by their fluctuating attendances on the bench; and during the riots this was most unfortunate, as the varying character of the tribunal rendered punishments unequal, at a time when it was most desirable that they should be, at once, equal and severe. Passing from the administration of justice in the courts to the action of the magistrates in the streets, we wish, in the first place, to say a word as to the resident magistrates. These gentlemen were brought up to Belfast in great numbers during the outbreak. They behaved, undoubtedly, very well, but hero also we notice the absence of headship which helped so much to prolong the riots. Each resident magistrate appears to enjoy an equal amount of authority with his fellows, and this tends to produce that absence of an intelligible, consistent, and determined plan of action which is to be observed in the course taken to suppress the disturbances. 1091 When to the fifteen or twenty resident magistrates we add the borough magistrates, all with equal authority, it will he seen that the police of Belfast had, during the riots, some hundred masters, and it is not strange that such an arrangement did not work well. At a time when action was all important it is to be feared that too much time was lost in discussion.I may say that one of the local magistrates, in the midst of the riot, released a prisoner at the dictation of the mob, and it was proved that another caused a disastrous withdrawal of the police from the barracks at Bowers' Hill, which had the result of producing in the mob a feeling that they were in the ascendancy. These having been the cause of the riots and the continuance of them, what do the Commissioners recommend? I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland to tell us before this Vote is taken, what action the Government are prepared to take upon the recommendation of the Commissioners. They recommend, in the first place, that the Chief Officer of Police for the town of Belfast should be entirely independent of all Police Authority, save and except that of the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary. They say—We recommend that such officer should have absolute control of the police force of the town, and the sole responsibility of maintaining the peace, free from any magisterial or other control, save that of the Executive Government and the Inspector General.They desire, in other words, that the Chief Officer of Police in Belfast should be set free from the control of that Local Authority which in the past has been proved to be paralyzing in its effect, so far as the preservation of order is concerned. Now, I consider that the appointment of this future Chief Officer of Police is a matter of great and vital importance, and upon the fitness of the individual selected for the office will very much, in my opinion, depend the prospect of preserving peace. I have heard it assorted that a certain Inspector—Mr. Cameron—a gentleman of some notoriety, is to be appointed; and I am prepared to toll the Government in advance, that if they select that gentleman to be the Chief Officer of the Belfast Police they will have struck a vital blow against the maintenance of the public peace. Why was this Commission appointed at all? Why are we debating the question now, except that the Cutho- 1092 lic minority in Belfast requires protection? Do you not conceive that the opinion of the Member who represents that Catholic minority and of the Catholic priests of Belfast should have any value? Do you think that in selecting the Chief Officer of the Belfast Police you ought not to select some officer who by the way in which he has discharged his duties hitherto would not be influenced by any partizan feeling? That is all I ask, and I agree with the Commissioners that—Power should he vested in the Chief Officer of Police of Belfast to forbid processions, bands, and the erection of arches, when, in his opinion, they are calculated to lead to a breach of the peace. That the Chief Police Officer of Belfast shall have full power, from time to time, to transfer to the Head Quarters of the Royal Irish Constabulary all such officers and constables as may, in his judgment, prove unfitted for the discharge of urban duties as required in Belfast; that no officers or men should be otherwise removable, except with their consent; that the Chief Police Officer shall have sole control of promotion among the constables under his command; and that the promotion of the officers shall, as far as may be, be dependent upon his recommendation.The Commissioners further recommend that the number of the normal police force of the town shall be increased to such extent as the Executive Government shall determine—So as to render the force as far as possible complete in itself, and competent to deal with rioting, without any assistance from outside police forces; and that the military garrison of Belfast should be maintained at such strength as will render recourse to police aid from outside Belfast unnecessary at any time.I ask the Government to accept that principle, and whether they intend to adopt it? I want to know if it is true, as it has been reported to me, that an alteration has already been made in the balance of creeds in the police force of Belfast since the mouth of October last? At that time Protestant constables were in a slight majority—280 to 250. It is far from me to suggest that a Protestant constable would not discharge his duty equally with a Catholic constable; but it must be remembered that the conflicts in Belfast have continually arose upon questions founded upon creed, and upon stringent proceedings arising out of imperfect understanding of the nature of some particular question. When disorder arises in such a case it is not only desirable but necessary that the minority, as well as the majority, should have 1093 confidence in the force that has to preserve the public peace, and the object: should be to give confidence to the Catholic minority. The proportion of the Catholic members of the police has certainly not been increased since October; but I am told that a steady process of intrigue has been going on, by which the number of Protestant constables has been steadily increased, while that of the Catholic Constabulary has been decreased. The fact that the Catholic Constabulary is being withdrawn from those districts, and the preservation of the peace left to the Protestant police, is certainly open to the suspicion that in a time of disorder they might be found fraternizing with citizens of the Protestant faith. I am told that in some of the barracks in Belfast the number of Catholic Constabulary are now so few that they are exposed, at the hands of their comrades, to disagreeable experiences. I do not propose to go into details now; but it may be my duty to expose this matter to the notice of the Committee and of the country hereafter. In the Report of the Commissioners some important recommendations are made with respect to the administration of justice. The four members of the Commission who have signed the Report—Mr. Justice Day, General Bulwer, Mr. F. Le Poer Trench, and Mr. Adams—have arrived at the conclusion that the borough magistrates should be withdrawn from all connection with the administration of justice in Belfast. The Catholic Committee have confided to me a resolution, in which they say that no stop will be of any avail in placing the peace of Belfast on a satisfactory footing unless the Government, without delay, deprive the borough magistrates of all criminal jurisdiction; that this is the only remedy for the evils under which Belfast is suffering; the only step that will engender a fear of the majesty of the law, and secure confidence and respect in its due administration. Have, then, the Government arrived at the conclusion to support the recommendation of the Royal Commissioners? I am afraid that not only have they not done so, but that they have removed two of the most experienced and able magistrates from the Bench. When I asked the question, I was told that this had been done in pursuance of the recommendation of the Commissioners. It has 1094 been done in pursuance of nothing of the kind. What the Commissioners recommended was that—The Borough Magistrates should be relieved of the duty of attending the Petty Sessions Court of Belfast. The sole jurisdiction at the Putty Sessions should be conferred upon two paid Magistrates, who should either be Barristers of a certain standing, or selected for this duty from the general body of Resident Magistrates. If Resident Magistrates are appointed, their sole duties should be judicial, and they should not interfere actively against rioters in. the streets. Special jurisdiction should he given to the Belfast Petty Sessions to deal summarily with cases of riot, unlawful assembly, and affray; and in our opinion that jurisdiction should provide for the punishment of offenders convicted of such crimes, or any crime against order in the town, by substantial and serious punishment.The object of the Commissioners is evidently to withdraw the Resident Magistrates from any duty in the streets, so that magistrates engaged in arresting rioters to-day should not be engaged in trying them to-morrow. But the Government have inverted the recommendations of the Commissioners. While the Commissioners have enlarged on the importance of local knowledge to deal with the rioters of Belfast, the Government, after a visit from the Mayor or Town Clerk of Belfast at Dublin Castle—the two chief mouthpieces of the faction of disorder in that town—have taken the first step, not towards the establishment, but towards the uprooting of order by removing the two functionaries whose impartiality, whoso activity, and whose courage in the administration of their judicial duties was the only redeeming feature during those three dreadful months of rioting and partizanship. I allude to Colonel Forbes and Mr. Macarthy. I do not know their creed, and I do not care. I believe that Colonel Forbes is a Protestant, and I have heard that Mr. Macarthy is a Catholic. Colonel Forbes was obliged more than once in the course of these riots to threaten to retire from the Bench of Belfast in consequence of the expressed and earnest determination of the local Justices to stand by their fellow partizans in the dock. It was only by the exorcise of that threat that Colonel Forbes, who has now been removed from Belfast, was able to preserve in the Petty Sessional Court of the district any semblance of regard for the due administration of justice. It 1095 has been sworn before the Commissioners that an intrigue existed among the more corrupt Justices for the removal of that official. One gentleman came forward and said he heard one local magistrate say to another, "We shall never be easy until Forbes is driven out of Belfast." Colonel Forbes was the stumbling-block in the way. As a public official he had the inconceivable obstinacy to endeavour to discharge his duty. Accordingly he was to be driven out of Belfast, and now the Government have inverted the recommendation of the Commissioners, and have driven out the only two officials who had shown a distinct regard for the interests of public peace, and in replacing them they have struck a criminal blow against the interests of order and have conceded the demands of the faction of disorder. Who is to replace these gentlemen? Is it true that Mr. Rich, an Inspector of Constabulary, who was formerly quartered there, and Mr. Lister, a close connection of his, are to replace Colonel Forbes and Mr. Macarthy? If so, I am afraid that a more calamitous appointment could not be made. Mr. Lister is no lawyer. He is nominally a barrister, but he never had any practice. He is not a barrister of a certain standing, or of any standing, but he is a barrister of no standing whatever—merely a colourable barrister. The Commissioners recommended that the two paid magistrates who are to be appointed should have summary jurisdiction in cases of riot and unlawful assembly and affray. Now, I think that is an important recommendation, and one well worth the attention of the Government. I hold that the public peace will never be secured in Belfast so long as a long interval of time is allowed to elapse between the arrest of offenders and their punishment, Punishment would most certainly produce a more powerful effect if immediately applied. I may remind the Committee that since the murder of Private Hughes and Constable Gardner, in July last, the murderers have not yet been brought to justice. I think that; punishment should more speedily follow crime, and I hope that the Government will see their way to invest the local Bench with an enlarged jurisdiction in regard to offences in the nature of riot. I hope to receive an assurance that the Government will, in accordance with the 1096 united recommendation of four of the Royal Commissioners, withdraw the Borough Justices, who are condemned in this Report, from any share in the administration of justice; and that they will appoint men who are not merely lawyers in name, but barristers in spirit and fact, as paid magistrates. There is still another point in regard to the law as to property. The Town Council of Belfast have smuggled a clause into a Local Act by which the town of Belfast is at the present moment governed, which will probably startle hon. Members of this House who are lawyers. It is a clause which places Belfast in a different position in regard to the question of compensation for injury to the person and damage to property from all other parts of Ireland. In every part of Ireland, except in Belfast, a man is able to obtain compensation from the Grand Jury for personal injury; but in Belfast he cannot obtain a single penny of compensation. Is that state of the law about to be continued, or will the Government take away from Belfast this exceptional privilege and place that town in exactly the same position as the rest of Ireland? Then, again, as to damage to property. The people injured in this case were Catholics. It was the houses of Catholics which were wrecked and looted, and yet the victims are required to go before a Town Council composed of 40 members, on which there is not a single Catholic. If the Town Council award any compensation whatever; if, for a claim of £100, they award £1, or oven only 6d., there is no appeal. The Commissioners recommend that Belfast should be placed on a level with the rest of Ireland, both in regard to injury to the person and damage to property; and, further, that, in regard to those matters, the jurisdiction should be transferred from the Town Council of Belfast to an independent tribunal, such as a Government or some other arbitration, and that the applicant should have a right of appeal to the going Judge of Assize. They make one additional recommendation—namely—That it would be advisable to give this tribunal, so suggested by us, power, if they thought it advisable, to applot the amount of compensation over a more limited area than the municipal boundary of Belfast.I presume the object of making that recommendation is to confine the amount 1097 of compensation to that part of the municipal district which may have supplied the riot. These are the recommendations of two Englishmen and two Irishmen—all of them of eminent judicial position—one an English Judge, another a distinguished military officer, and two others Irish barristers. I want to know whether these recommendations, which appear to me to have been honestly conceived and carefully thought out, will be adopted by the Government? There is one final recommendation in reference to the search for arms. The Commissioners say—We are also of opinion that the law as at present existing enabling the police authorities to search for arms in the possession of persons unauthorized to possess them is wholly inadequate, and practically useless, and that the authorities should he armed with adequate powers for this purpose.They propose that this power should be repealed, and that some more stringent regulations should be substituted. All I know is that hitherto, when the Government have instituted a search for arms in Belfast, they have searched houses where everybody has been convinced no arms could possibly be found; while they have refrained from searching other places where there was a reasonable suspicion that they would be found. I have now gone over the three classes of recommendations made by the Commissioners—the recommendations in regard to the police officers, in regard to the administration of justice, and in regard to the amendment of the law for compensation for injury. I shall feel it my duty, unless the Government give some satisfactory and rational assurance, to press this question still further on the Report. I have mainly spoken to-day in the interest of the Catholic minority, which I chiefly represent in Belfast; but I think I may claim with some confidence that I also speak in favour of all who desire some rational provision for the preservation of social order in that afflicted town—afflicted by the unscrupulous conduct of the educated and by the passions of the uneducated. In calling attention to the subject, I have spoken not only for Catholics, but for persons of every class in Belfast—persons of every creed who desire the prosperity of that town, and who further desire to see that social peace and that settled good order with- 1098 out which material prosperity cannot possibly exist.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down began his remarks by levelling a reproach at me for not having been in my place when the hon. Member wanted to bring this matter forward.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
As a matter of fact, I did not leave the House until a quarter to 4 o'clock this morning, and, as far as I was aware from what had gone on for the four hours preceding that time, the Committee was not engaged in a discussion of a valuable or instructive kind; and, moreover, the hon. Member had had an ample opportunity before then, if he desired, for bringing the whole Question before the Committee. The hon. Gentleman has complained, first, of the delay of the presentation of the Report of the Commission; but he must be aware that the Executive Government had no control whatever over the Commissioners as a body, or over any individual member of the Commission. It was not for the Executive Government to interfere with their arrangements. Therefore, whoever may be responsible for the delay in the production of the Report, it is neither I nor my right hon. Friend (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), who preceded me in Office. The hon. Member says that after the Report was presented a further culpable delay took place; but I must remind him that even now we have not got the full Report of the Commissioners.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
We have only received the Report of four members of the Commission, and the minority Report of Mr. M'Hardy will not be received in London for two or three days.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Report of Mr. M'Hardy will, I believe, be received on the 26th instant. The hon. Member seems to suppose that the delay on the part of Mr. M'Hardy is a very culpable neglect of duty. Now, I regret the delay, but I cannot blame Mr. M'Hardy, because that gentleman has had very grave responsibility thrown upon him outside Ireland. He is a very 1099 distinguished and a very hard-worked public officer, and the fact that other and imperative duties have been imposed upon him has interfered to delay the sending in of his final Report. Certainly the Government are not to blame, and, as far as I am acquainted with the facts of the case, Mr. M'Hardy is not to blame either. The delay, however, has occurred, whether we regret it or not; and can the Government be expected to arrived at a final and complete decision on this very difficult question until they have in their possession the Report, not only of the consenting majority of the Commission, but also the Report of the one member of the Commission who formed the dissentient minority? I think it would be a wholly improper course for the Government to make up their minds, finally, upon all the details of the matter before they are in full possession of Mr. M'Hardy's views. At the same time, I think I am able to say something—I will not say to satisfy the hon. Gentleman—but to meet his views. Some of the questions he has asked I can answer. He asks whether the relative number of the Catholic and Protestant members of the Belfast Police Force has not been altered in the course of the last two months.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have no knowledge upon that subject, nor does it in any way fall within the purview of the duties of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It is a question which is entirely left to the chief of the Constabulary, with whom I certainly do not think it my duty to interfere. If the hon. Gentleman wants to know what the facts of the matter are, I will make the necessary inquiries and give him an answer either in the House or in private on a future day. And so also with regard to other details upon which the hon. Gentleman desires to have further information. The hon. Gentleman has gone through the various recommendations of the majority of the Commission. Those recommendations may be divided into two parts—namely, those which are of an administrative character, and those which require legislative action to effect them. The hon. Member is aware that I have had but a short tenure of the Office of Secretary for Ireland, and during that short tenure questions of great difficulty and 1100 perplexity have come before me. I do not pretend that I have had time to consider specially and carefully the question of Belfast; but as far as I have made myself acquainted with the recommendations of the Commissioners, who deal with a variety of details of administration, speaking broadly, it appears to me that they may be regarded as effective, and as indicating the lines on which the Government should proceed.
§ MR. SEXTON
Does the right hon. Gentleman speak only of the recommendations which relate to administrative matters?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes; and I may say that the Government intend to accept them. I refer to the recommendations in which the Commissioners say—We are of opinion that the Royal Irish Constabulary should be maintained as the police force of Belfast; that the Chief Officer of Police for the town of Belfast should he entirely independent of all police authority—save and except the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary; we recommend that such officer should have absolute control of the police force of the town, and the sole responsibility of maintaining the peace free from any magisterial or other control, save that of the Executive Government and the Inspector General. We recommend that a special Code be instituted for the police force of Belfast, having for its object the impression upon such force of a civic and urban character; and we further recommend that the changes in that force should be as few as consistent with the exigencies of the service. Power should be vested in the Chief Officer of Police of Belfast to forbid processions, bands, and the erection of arches, when, in his opinion, they are calculated to lead to a breach of the peace. That the Chief Police Officer of Belfast shall have full power, from time to time, to transfer to the headquarters of the Royal Irish Constabulary all such officers and constables as may, in his judgment, prove unfitted for the discharge of urban duties as required in Belfast; that no officers or men shall be otherwise removable except with their consent; that the Chief Police Officer shall have sole control of promotion among the constables under his command; and that the promotion of the officers shall, as far as may be, be dependent upon his recommendation. The object we propose hereby is to secure for the police force to be employed in Belfast thorough fitness and continuity of material, and unity of control and direction, subject to the intervention of the Inspector General and the Executive Government. The number of the normal police force of the town should be increased to such extent as the Executive Government shall determine, so as to render the force as far as possible complete in itself, and competent to deal with rioting, without any assistance from outside police forces; and the military garrison of Belfast should be 1101 maintained at such strength as will render recourse to police aid outside Belfast unnecessary at any time.I am speaking under correction; but I apprehend that these recommendations could be carried into effect without any legislative action on the part of this House. The next recommendation, however, could not be carried out without legislation—namely, the recommendation that—The borough magistrates should he relieved of the duty of attending the Petty Sessional Court of Belfast.I believe that it is the rule which now prevails in Dublin, and I should have no objection to see it carried into effect in Belfast, if it can be done; but, as the hon. Gentleman is aware, it would require legislative action on the part of Parliament before it can be effected. The next recommendation is—The sole jurisdiction at the Petty Sessions should be conferred upon two paid magistrates, who should either be barristers of a certain standing, or selected for this duty from the general body of Resident Magistrates. If Resident Magistrates are appointed, their solo duties should be judicial, and they should not interfere actively against rioters in the streets.Well, Sir, that recommendation cannot be fully carried out without legislation. One part of it can be carried out, and it has been carried out; and I was sorry to hear the hon. Gentleman criticize the action of the Government in having done their best, apart from the delay, to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners. They have already arranged that magistrates who are not barristers shall be transferred to other districts, and that barristers shall be employed.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No; I understand that the hon. Gentleman is mistaken in that matter; and I am informed that Mr. Lister was a barrister in practice for 10 years. The next recommendation is that—Special jurisdiction should be given to the Belfast Petty Sessions to deal summarily with cases of riot, unlawful assembly, and affray; and, in our opinion, that jurisdiction should provide for the punishment of offenders convicted of such crimes, or any crime against order in the town, by substantial and serious punishment.That is a provision which ought to be introduced into any Bill that may deal with the question of law and order in 1102 Ireland; and I hope, shortly, to lay a proposition before the House upon that matter. The next recommendation of the Commissioners is a long and a very elaborate one with regard to those who may be injured in Belfast in the event of a riot. My view of that recommendation, also, is that it cannot be carried into effect without legislation, and legislation of an elaborate kind. But, at the same time, I do not think that the town of Belfast should be in a different position from the rest of Ireland; and it will be the object of the Government to place the whole of Ireland under one law in regard to injuries sustained through rioting. The next recommendation is that the law, as it at present exists in regard to damage to property, should also be altered.
§ MR. SEXTON
The Commissioners recommend that there should be an independent tribunal to deal with questions of injury to property, instead of the Town Council, with the right of appeal to the Judge of Assize.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes; but the hon. Gentleman will perceive that that is part of a general scheme for dealing with the question of malicious injury, and the Government are perfectly prepared to consider the whole matter. The only remaining recommendation of the Commissioners deals with the question of the power of the Police Authorities to search for arms. That comes under the same category as the other recommendations in regard to special summary jurisdiction in the case of riot, and it is one with which we also propose to deal at an early date. I think I have now placed before the hon. Gentleman, as far as I am able, the general view of the Government as far as they have made up their minds on the subject. I hope that I have done something to satisfy him. At all events, I have done all that I can to satisfy him. I will assure him that the subject will receive the most careful consideration. The Report of the remaining Commissioner will be in my hands in the course of a few days. As well as the other Report, it will be carefully studied by me, and I trust to be able this Session to lay before the House such part of the recommendations of the Commissioners as we think ought to be carried into effect. In conclusion, let me congratulate the hon. Gentleman and the House 1103 on the earnest desire he has expressed that law and order shall be maintained in Ireland. I listened with great satisfaction to that part of his speech, and I hope that in every effort made by Her Majesty's Government to restore law and order in any and every part of the country, we shall have the earnest and zealous support of the hon. Gentleman and his friends.
§ MR. SEXTON
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I have only raised the question at this moment from a sense of duty. I think he has shown a reasonable desire to meet the objections I have raised; and, bearing in mind his brief tenure of Office, I will consider his reply in a fair spirit, and will, at a later stage, again raise the question of the Belfast riots.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
It is quite evident, Mr. Courtney, that, owing to the inconvenience of the course adopted by the Government in pressing forward this Vote, the physical condition of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) is not such as to enable him to carry on the discussion in a satisfactory manner. I think that, now we have all somewhat cooled down, nobody can doubt, after listening to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), that he has made out an unanswerable and overwhelming case for his justification in raising, not a question of detail, as he pointed out at an early hour last night, on this Vote on Account, but a question of public policy—a question of public policy which brooked of no delay; one of the most vital and imminent importance, and one there would have been no opportunity of discussing properly for some months to come if this opportunity had been allowed to slip. The First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), just before the Chief Secretary came into the House, complained bitterly of the course we have pursued during this Sitting, and he accused us of wishing to adopt the unusual course of discussing items on this Vote on Account. It is perfectly manifest that, by the course the Government have adopted, they desire to prevent us discussing, not only items on this Vote, but discussing at any reasonable length any question whatever on this Vote; and we cannot too strongly emphasize the fact that all the trouble 1104 of last night, this first All-night Sitting that has occurred for two Parliaments, has arisen from an attempt on the part of the First Lord of the Treasury to pass through Committee a Vote without any discussion—a Vote raising questions of the most vital importance to Ireland, and upon which we are bound to take every opportunity of raising a discussion. There is another point in our favour. I availed myself of an opportunity the other night of raising a discussion on a question of immense importance to Ireland at the present moment; and it will be within the recollection of Members of this Committee, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary may have learned from the facts that have since occurred a lesson of wisdom—it may be in the recollection of hon. Members what treatment I received from the responsible Governor of Ireland. I never received such scant courtesy in my life before. The right hon. Gentleman treated me with the most absolute and supreme contempt; and he did not deign to take notice, not to say answer, a single one of the questions I put to him; or to meet a single one of the charges I made against the Government. If we are accused of coming forward at inconvenient times and taking out-of-the-way opportunities—though I do not admit that this is an inconvenient opportunity of raising this question—I think we are entitled to show that we are driven to expedients of this kind by the reception we met from the responsible officers of the Government of Ireland. Because, when the right hon. Gentleman who has to govern a country in the condition of Ireland treats debates raised in this House with the supreme and studied contempt he treated us with the other night, he must be prepared for repeated attacks upon the same subject. Although I am aware the Chief Secretary is physically incapable of continuing this discussion—[Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: No, no; perfectly capable] I am exceedingly glad to hear that, because I shall now raise, at length, several points which are of great importance. The first point I wish to raise on this Vote has reference to the Office of the Chief Secretary in Dublin. It is quite clear that we could not raise such a point until the Chief Secretary was in his place. We have just heard a statement from our new Governor; his experience in the 1105 troublesome and responsible Office of Chief Secretary has been somewhat brief; and his visit to the country, his opportunity of attaining an acquaintance with the country he has undertaken to govern, has been exceedingly brief. I am bound to say, from all the information I have been able to collect, from all information which has reached me, that although the right hon. Gentleman's visit to Ireland was brief, it was important and ominous. He made good use of his time. Now, what did he do? he held a meeting in Dublin Castle, as I am informed, of all the District Magistrates or Divisional Magistrates in Ireland. All these gentlemen were summoned to meet him, and he addressed to them instructions of the most extraordinary character. The proceedings at that meeting are reported in the country in such a way that we are entitled to bring the matter under the notice of this Committee. We are informed—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I did meet them, and perhaps it would be convenient if I were briefly to state what happened. Among other gentlemen whom I desired to see were the Divisional Magistrates of Ireland. I asked them to come and see me. They came, and I discussed with each magistrate the condition of the district in which he had control.
§ MR. DILLON
That explanation, Mr. Courtney, is worth all the sitting up we have had to-night. I can assure you, Sir, that the belief in Ireland, that the popular report in Ireland, founded upon private information which came from one of the magistrates concerned—though, I admit, it reached me in a roundabout way—the popular report in Ireland is that the words used were that—"At evictions for the future, if the least obstruction is offered, do not hesitate to fire upon the people." At Ballindyne, in Mayo, two days after the visit of the right hon. Gentleman, a Divisional Magistrate of the name of Burn, who resides in Athlone, is reported in the papers to have addressed some individual 1106 of local influence in these words—"For God's sake, keep the peace, because if there is any resistance, I must fire immediately." Now, Sir, if the right hon. Gentleman will remove entirely the impression that any such instruction or advice was given, our discussion to-night will not have been a fruitless one. Notice how monstrous such an instruction would be. Within the last five or six years there have been evicted in, Ireland, I should think, no less than 25,000 families. ["Oh, oh!"] For the sake of argument, I will say 15,000 families—I am not particular as to numbers. [Laughter.] Well, the number is very great; but you will see that whether the number is 25,000 or 15,000 it does not affect my argument. At the majority of these evictions large crowds of people have assembled, and obstruction was offered in a great number of cases. What are the historical facts? Why, that during the whole course of these years not one single policeman was killed, maimed, or seriously injured. During these years, in which let us take it that 15,000 families have been evicted in Ireland; there was not as much damage done as was done recently in the streets of Belfast in one half-hour. In face of that fact, to issue instructions to the Irish police that, on the least obstruction being offered, they were not to hesitate to fire upon the people, would be one of the most terrible responsibilities any Official ever undertook. At these evictions it must be remembered that no civil magistrate is ever present, and the Riot Act is not read, and the precautions are not taken which are taken in England when any disturbance is apprehended. It appears from the information we have received that the police officers have been deprived of discretion; for the words reported to have been used at Ballindyne are—"For God's sake keep the peace, or I must fire immediately." Now, Sir, I have mentioned what happened at Ballindyne during the evictions to justify us in giving credence to the rumours which have been set afloat in Ireland. We all know now of the truth of the telegram which was sent to Youghal. That telegram was treated by the newspapers of this country as a bogus message; but when a Question was asked in this House concerning it, the Chief Secretary accepted full responsibility for it. What 1107 was the interpretation put upon that telegram by the police authorities at Youghal? It was that they were to use deadly weapons, whether they be bullets or bayonets, and that if necessary they wore to act without the presence of a civil magistrate. Not only did they act on the occasion of the recent disturbances without the presence of the civil magistrate, but they took the most elaborate precautions to secure that no civil magistrate should be present. We have had a most deplorable instance of the temper of police officers, who have the lives of a great number of people in Ireland at their mercy. We know that a police magistrate went into the police barracks at Youghal to protest against the conduct of the police, and to remonstrate with Mr. Somerville for his treatment of him as a magistrate, and for not asking him to be present when the extra police entered the town. Mr. Somerville, instead of expressing the slightest regret at the death of the poor man Hanlon, made use of the following words, which will never die out of the memory of the Irish people:—" I am sorry I did not fire on them." It is useless for the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) to tell us that we can raise these points hereafter, when the Civil Service Estimates are in Committee of Supply. Things have moved very fast in Ireland indeed, and we know very little of what may occur in that country during the next three months. It would therefore be preposterous for us to postpone or to neglect any opportunity of bringing forward these facts. Now, Sir, I am bound to take this opportunity of calling attention to a third point raised by this Estimate, and that is in regard to the Irish Constabulary Vote, which I regret to find is steadily assuming greater proportions. It is many years since I first called attention in this House to the monstrous character of the Irish Constabulary Vote. Members of the then Government admitted to the fullest extent the justification of my charge; but in spite of all that can be said, and in spite of the confession of the Government, the Irish Constabulary Vote has mounted year by year until its proportions has become a public scandal, because the larger the Vote grows, the worse the condition of the country becomes. I have prepared some figures of the most extraordinary character in relation to 1108 the Irish Constabulary Vote. The Estimate for that Vote for next year has reached the figure of £1,412,000. The expenditure last year was £1,397,000; therefore we are threatened now with an increase of something like £15,000; but that increase is only part of an arithmetical progression which has never ceased. It has gone on steadily, sometimes by great jumps and sometimes by slow progress. In the year 1871–2 the Vote for the Irish Constabulary was £918,000; in the year 1877–8 it was £1,000,000; in the year 1885 it was £1,380,000; in the year 1886 it was £1,397,000; and in the next year it is estimated to be £1,412,000. And, Sir, when we consider that, pari passu with this steady increase in the Vote for the Irish police, the population of Ireland has dwindled away, we have a condition of things the like of which I challenge anyone to point to in the whole civilized world. In Ireland, in 1871 it cost £918,000 to police 5,500,000 people. This year, it is to cost almost exactly 50 percent more to police 4,750,000 people. At the same rate of progress, and after you have brought in more of your Bills for Ireland, and brought down the population to 2,000,000, I suppose the cost of the police will amount to something like £3,000,000. What is the result of all this expenditure on the police? Why, we are told that while you have almost doubled in 15 years the Vote for the Irish police, government in Ireland is paralyzed. I sometimes wonder how it is that the Executive do not inquire whether it is paralyzed by having too many policemen in the country: the present condition of things has no parallel in the civilized world, and it is a positive disgrace to England. I have made a calculation that the increased expenditure from 1871 to 1887 on the Irish police—over and above what the expenditure would have been had it remained during these years at the same figure as it was in 1871—amounts to £2,500,000 sterling. Many an Irish problem would have been settled if that money had been spent on the people, instead of on the police, and in reducing the whole island to chaos. Finally, I will draw your attention to this fact—that in England and Wales you pay for your police 2s. 6d. per head of the population; while the police in Ireland cost this country 5s. 6d. 1109 per head of the population. Of course, it requires less, as a rule, to police country districts than town districts; but I have no hesitation in saying that, if we could work out this problem, it would be found that it costs to police the country parts of Ireland five times as much as it costs to police country districts of England. I have devoted a great deal of attention to this subject, and I cannot help being struck very forcibly by a fact recorded in the newspapers a few days ago—namely, that when Father Keller was arrested on Friday last, there was no disturbance. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary say that that was so; because, as it turns out, the police were on the occasion strictly confined to barracks and not allowed to go on the streets. That is a strange statement. It amounts to this, that when the police are on the streets, there is rioting; but when they are confined to barracks, there is no disturbance, no property is injured, no man is hurt. I really put it to you whether you are not wasting money in Ireland; whether you are not turning the country upside down by this enormous expenditure? What did Mr. Justice Lawson say at the Winter Assizes in the County Mayo? His words are characteristic of Irish history; he said—" Undoubtedly this county is remarkably free from crime." It is true that, with the exception of a drunken row or two, County Mayo, as regards crime, will compare favourably with any part of the civilized world. The Judge said—But, although that is true, although the country is remarkably free from all kinds of crime, I cannot say its condition is satisfactory; for the law is paralyzed.Such a statement from a Judge ought to make us reflect; because, from this statement, it would appear that when the law is paralyzed, there is no crime, and that when it is in force, crime breaks out. It is really a question for Englishmen whether it is worth while spending this £1,400,000 a-year for the purpose of enforcing law in Ireland. Now, I do not want to comment at present at any great length on the subject—which undoubtedly we shall hear a great deal more of in this House—except to say that as often as there is a single shilling voted for the Irish Constabulary I shall speak at considerable length. There is one other Vote I feel it my bounden 1110 duty to refer to before this Vote on Account is agreed to. I own I am astonished that the First Lord of the Treasury supposed for a moment that the Vote for the Irish Bankruptcy Court could pass through this House without discussion. It would be a remarkable thing if, in the present condition of Ireland, and in view of events which are happening in that country, and which have convulsed society in that country to an extent which few Englishmen are capable of believing, that we could allow a Vote for the Irish Bankruptcy Court to pass without comment. I endeavoured the other night to show that the Irish Bankruptcy Court has been turned from being a Court of Justice into being a political engine. I endeavoured to show that Judge Boyd, one of the Judges of that Court, has consulted with the men who belong to one side of politics, or to one party or faction in Ireland.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
Mr. Courtney, I rise to Order. I wish to ask you, Sir, whether it is in Order to impute to a Judge of a High Court that he has consulted with political partizans, and that his conduct, I apprehend, is influenced accordingly?
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I am sorry to say I did not hear, in the confusion of the Committee, all the words of the hon. Member. But it is undoubtedly out of Order to impugn the conduct of a Judge in Committee of Supply, when there is a definite and well-regulated mode of bringing the conduct of a Judge before the House.
§ MR. DILLON
I presume I shall be in Order, when we are voting money for the Bankruptcy Court, to criticize proceedings which have taken place in that Court; at all events, I shall endeavour to do so. The contention I make is this—that at the present moment a gentleman has been summoned to the Court of Bankruptcy in such a way as to convey to the whole population of Ireland—and I speak now of both sides in politics—the impression that that summons was not the result of a bonâ fide attempt to investigate a case of bankruptcy, but a de-liberate effort to beat down a political movement. I think I am entitled to lay down the grounds which have induced the entire public of Ireland to look upon this act as an attempt to intimidate and beat down a political movement to which one side is intensely hostile, and the 1111 other is passionately devoted. The Court of Bankruptcy was invited to extract from a tenant on the estate of Mr. Ponsonby certain moneys he owed to his landlord, and to have judgment entered against him. So far I have no complaint to make; but when a considerable period had elapsed, a summons was issued and served upon the parish priest of this tenant, and the priest of another parish. It is not alleged that these gentlemen were in the possession of funds collected with the estates. It is notorious in Ireland that they are not in possession of funds in connection with the estate; but, Sir, the very line of examination which was commenced in the Bankruptcy Court showed plainly what facts were sought to be ascertained from these priests; they were summoned to give information of a mooting held in a private room to which the police were not admitted. It is all very line to talk about the jurisdiction of a Court; but at the meeting there were 70 or 80 tenants on the Ponsonby estate. There wore many well-known Members of Parliament, and hundreds of laymen. Why select two priests? They could have taken any one of the laymen to give evidence, and to tell everything that the priests knew, unless it be the confidences reposed in the priests as Catholic clergymen? I do not know whether they expected to extract from Father Keller anything of a particularly private or confidential character; but what they were evidently aiming at was, that they should get him in the face of his congregation to turn informer on his own people, to reveal what had transpired at the mooting in question.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
As far as the hon. Gentleman has opened his case, he makes no case attaching to the Vote for the Court of Bankruptcy. He is impugning the conduct of some persons, who, he asserts, rightly or wrongly, have perverted the Court of Bankruptcy. If the persons who obtained the summons from the Court are provided for in the Estimates, he is in Order in discussing this subject; but he is not in Order in attempting to discuss what has happened under shelter of the Vote for the Court of Bankruptcy.
§ MR. DILLON
Your ruling, Sir, shows clearly that I am in Order, because the men whose conduct I am im- 1112 pugning are officers of the Court of Bankruptcy.
§ MR. DILLON
I think that if you will bear with me for a few moments, Mr. Courtney, I shall be able to show you that, under your own ruling, I am strictly in Order. When it came to the summoning of Father Keller, the landlord and the solicitors who set the Court of Bankruptcy in motion, withdrew from the case, and when they were asked on Saturday last whether the proceedings were taken with their authority, they replied that they wore not taken with their authority. When the case came into Court the solicitor for Father Keller brought under the notice of the Judge the fact that the landlord of the estate and his representative wore no parties to the proceedings. But what did the Judge say? Why, that "the matter" is now taken out of the power of the creditor, and is in the hands of the official assignees, and they will proceed in the matter in due course. Now, I am not sufficiently a lawyer, and I do not know whether you, Mr. Courtney, have sufficient technical knowledge, to know what the discretion of the official assignees is; but I want to point out that this extraordinary circumstance arose, that the creditor, having realized the fatal character of the step he was taking for his own future, wished to withdraw, and he is now in a vice and compelled to go on in a course which will inevitably wreck his estate and leave him a pauper. I think this contention, Sir, brings me completely in Order. I want to know what was the mysterious influence at work which led this man into a struggle which, if he continues in it, will leave him a beggar; and which, when he had realized the character of the step he was taking in getting a priest arrested, prevented him using his own discretion, and extracting the Government of Ireland from a most unpleasant position. If the official assignees are exercising their discretion, I venture to say that a more injurious act of discretion was never made in any country. In the long run, they will deprive this man of the money he would have got if he had acted reasonably; and they are landing the Irish Government in the most unpleasant 1113 position in which the Irish Government has ever been landed. I maintain that no regard ought to be had, in a case which comes before a Court, to the politics of the people concerned. Cases of this character have all been brought in the Junior Court, except one, in which it was attempted to adopt the same course, but in which Justice Miller promptly said—"I will hear nothing about the Plan of Campaign; I sit hero to administer law." The consequence of which dictum was that no "Plan of Campaign" cases wore ever brought in Justice Miller's Court again. I venture to say that, although he is a Conservative in politics——
§ MR. DILLON
I was trying to bring before the notice of the Committee the large expenditure which has been incurred in Ireland in recent years. I will content myself with moving to omit the sum of £1,500, being the amount asked for the Irish Bankruptcy Court.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the sum of £3,622,606 be granted to Her Majesty, for the said Services."—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Mr. Chairman, I repudiate absolutely the attack which has been made upon Judge Boyd by the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon). I consider it most intolerable that any Gentleman in this House should bring against a Judge the accusation that he has been influenced in his action by political motives. With this repudiation, I will leave this part of the hon. Gentleman's case, and proceed to refer to some other remarks of his. The hon. Gentleman begun his speech by saying that in consequence of the treatment he received on Friday night, he was compelled to bring this question before the Committee to-day. Let me say, at the onset, I meant no discourtesy to the hon. Gentleman, or to any other Member of the House. On Friday night the hon. Gentleman deliberately accused me of promoting murders in order to get a Coercion Bill passed through the House; 1114 but even such provocation as that would not have justified discourtesy, and no discourtesy was intended. The hon. Gentleman will recollect that the Motion he made on Friday night did not touch at all the question of the attitude assumed by the coroner at Youghal. I dealt with the whole extent of the Motion the hon. Gentleman made, and if I omitted to deal with one fragmentary part of his speech, not knowing the relevancy of it, he must forgive mo. The hon. Gentleman has, to-day, accused me of having gone to Dublin, called together the Divisional Magistrates, and given them instructions to shoot down the Irish people, whenever any obstruction was offered to any process of eviction. That is entirely baseless fiction, conjured up by the hon. Member himself. I went to Ireland, not for the purpose of giving specific directions to the Divisional Magistrates, but to hear what they had to say about the state of the country. If the hon. Gentleman asks me what views the Government hold on this question, I shall say I stated them adequately in answering a Question put to me with regard to the telegram sent by Captain Plunkett. To the terms of that answer I absolutely adhere. The hon. Gentleman has dealt at great length with a question which I think he has already brought before the House—namely, the growth of the Constabulary and of the Constabulary Vote. I admit it is greatly to be regretted that the Constabulary Vote is growing. I do not wish to introduce controversial matters in this debate; but I will ask the hon. Gentleman whether he does not think that others besides the Government are responsible for the growth of the Vote. I may remind the hon. Gentleman of an answer given by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), who preceded me in Office, in a debate on this subject. My right hon. Friend pointed out that the increase in the Constabulary Vote is partly due to the riots in Belfast, partly to the enormous amount of personal protection which has to be given to people who are in danger of their lives and property; and partly due to the fact that from motives of humanity, if from no other motives, it is absolutely necessary to have at any point, where disturbance is apprehended, a large and, if possible, an overwhelming force. These are the 1115 reasons, I admit the melancholy reasons, which have made it necessary to increase the Vote for the Constabulary. The hon. Gentleman says that in spite of the gigantic Constabulary Vote, Government is paralyzed.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, Government is paralyzed. But does the hon. Gentleman confound the Police Force with the whole machinery of Government? Does he not know that there are other parts of that machinery not less necessary to the healthy working of any Constitution? The Government of Ireland is paralyzed because the Courts of Law are paralyzed; and no one is more ready than I to admit that increase the Police Force as you may, pile up this Vote as you will, it will all be in vain if the Courts of Law, whom the police have to obey, are paralyzed in the fulfilment of their functions. I hope I have now dealt with the chief question which the hon. Gentleman has raised. Let me conclude by again assuring him that neither in my reply the other day, nor in the few words I have uttered now, nor in any reply I shall ever make in this House, do I intend any discourtesy either to the hon. Gentleman opposite or to any Gentleman in any part of the House.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) is, from the point of view of hon. Gentlemen on these Benches, a very unsatisfactory reply to the unanswerable indictment brought forward by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). The right hon. Gentleman stated that he did not hold such language with the Divisional Magistrates assembled in Dublin, as that my hon. friend attributed to him; but he left entirely unexplained, or unsatisfied, the action of the police in obedience to whatever commands or instructions he gave them in Dublin Castle. He did not deny that the police had been ordered to shoot down the people on the smallest provocation. The other day, I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he disputed the telegram of Captain Plunkett, ordering the police to shoot down the people without delay or hesitation. He objected to the interpretation I put upon the telegram of Captain Plunkett, but I 1116 maintain the words of the telegram bear the construction I put upon them, and are, in fact, incapable of bearing any other. The right hon. Gentleman says the Government are bound in the interests of humanity to send large forces of Constabulary to points where disturbance is apprehended. But to Youghal, they sent the small force of 24 men. The unhappy consequences which followed were the result of neglect to carry out what the right hon. Gentleman has just stated to be necessary. "Where do these disturbances take place? They take place at evictions carried on by the landlords with the assistance of the police. What are these evictions for? They are for the non-payment of unjust and impossible rents. [Colonel KING-HARMAN: No.] Did I understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman to say "No?" [Colonel KING-HARMAN: Yes.] I congratulate the hon. and gallant Gentleman on his courage, for he must know by this time that in stating that the rents of Ireland are possible, he stands alone almost amongst civilized men. He certainly stands in opposition to Lord Cowper, to Sir James Caird, to Mr. Knipe, I think to a large extent to Judge Flanagan, and to a large extent to Lord Milltown. I will not go into personal matters with reference to the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel King-Harman); but I am afraid his experience has rather prejudiced his judgment. If I were to go into the details of his own estate, I think I could show there is a large discrepancy between what is his opinion, of what is a fair and possible rent and the opinion of some of the Courts of Law; but I will return to the point-that the resistance to eviction is, in nearly every case, the resistance of men and women, and sometimes of children, to eviction for unjust and impossible rent, and I ask every Member of the Committee, as humane and Christian men, what are they to think of a system of Government which orders police officers to shoot down, without hesitation, men who are defending their homes against unjust and impossible rents. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary never made one allusion to that portion of the speech of my hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon). The right hon. Gentleman denied the statement of my hon. Friend—that he gave orders to the Dis- 1117 trict Inspectors to shoot the people down without hesitation; but he did not offer any defence or explanation of the telegram of Captain Plunkett. Compare the action of the authorities in this country with the action of the authorities in Ireland. Will anyone tell me that a Minister in this country who had given the order to English magistrates to shoot down English crowds without hesitation could survive for 24 hours? A Minister who had dared to give so savage and barbarous an order would be immediately swept from his seat in a cyclone of popular wrath and hate. What do you do here when there is a riot in a town? The Mayor is called in—the Civil Authority has all the initiative, and the Civil Authority, before he gives the order to the police, oven to use batons, much less rifles, uses all the resources of persuasion. The law is carried out in England and Ireland in an exactly converse manner. In England you have a superabundant hesitation before shooting down any rioters. In Ireland the police have orders to shoot the people down without hesitation. Now, objection seemed to be taken to my hon. Friend's (Mr. Dillon's) statement that in the last five or six years 15,000 Irish families have been evicted from their homes. Why, in two years alone there were 7,000 evictions.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I anticipated the question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, and, if it will be any satisfaction to him, I will read the figures from the Blue Book. What I wanted to point out was, that my hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) was talking of the number of people evicted. Whether the people were re-admitted as caretakers has really nothing to do with the question.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I will read the figures if you like; but I am afraid it would be a waste of the time of the Committee. [A laugh.] If hon. Gentlemen are careless with regard to the time of the Committee I do not share their feeling. Mr. Courtney, the point my hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) raised was this—that although there have been 1118 15,000 evictions in Ireland in the course of the last five or six years, no policeman has been killed or seriously injured at any one of them.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I said I would read the figures from the Blue Book, if the Committee desire that I should do so. I will place the figures at the hon. and gallant Gentleman's disposal.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
I rely upon the hon. Gentleman to fulfil his promise.
[Dr. TANNER walked across the floor of the House and offered the Blue Book to Colonel King-Harman.]
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I think I was right, Mr. Courtney, in resisting the attempt of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel King-Harman) to get me to deal with entirely irrelevant matter. I have pointed out that in two years there were 7,000 evictions, and therefore I think my hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) was quite justified in saying that in the last five or six years there have been 15,000 Irish families evicted from their homes. In spite of this terrible number of evictions in Ireland, there has not been one case of serious injury to a policeman; yet we have this extraordinary increase of police on one side, and this barbarous and savage order to the police on the other side. It seems that evictions can be carried out without any serious danger to life or limb, and yet we have directions given to the police to shoot down the people without hesitation. There is only one excuse for shooting down people without hesitation, and that is the imminence of great danger to human life. We are driven to this conclusion—that the reason of the recent order to the Irish police was not to save the lives of the police, but to strike terror into the hearts of the people. There was a time when massacre was the avowed policy of the English governors of Ireland; and I saw, not later than a week ago, that a newspaper with which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was once intimately associated, declared that the weak point in the policy of Mountjoy and 1119 Cromwell, and the general laws, was that they wore not carried out with sufficient force and continuance. We have now Gentlemen who wish to carry out a policy which differs very little from that of Mountjoy and Cromwell. When the English people understand that this is so they will raise a storm which no one can withstand. My hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) is quite justified in endeavouring to impress the English public with the full meaning of the extraordinary growth of the Irish Constabulary Vote—for what does it mean? It moans that the people of this country have not only the responsibility and the shame and the guilt of the misdeeds of the Irish police, but they have to pay for the misdeeds out of their own pockets. I shall be surprised if the result of bringing these facts before the people of England is not a crushing verdict against the Government.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
Perhaps I may be allowed to address a few words to the Committee with the view of expediting the issue which the Government, no doubt, desire. Thirteen hours ago we were willing that the Navy Vote should be taken, on condition that the Vote on Account was subjected to a debate of moderate length at a future Sitting of the House. The Government refused that offer, and I think it is apparent their then refusal has not resulted in an economy of public time. At an early hour this morning, I suggested to the Government, that if they would put the Vote on Account down as the first Business to-day, we would consent to a Division being taken at 10 o'clock to-night—that is, after a debate of about four hours—after which the Government might proceed with the other Business on the Paper. Since that offer was made eight hours have elapsed. We have, however, succeeded in obtaining the discussion which we claimed and sought. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), who, when he speaks, speaks with the assent and confidence of all the Members of the Irish Nationalist Party, has been enabled to place before the Committee and the country his case and ours upon the questions of the increase of the Constabulary Vote, the misuse of the Bankruptcy Court, and the sinister instructions given to the police. He has extorted a reply from the Government. I 1120 do not say it has been a satisfactory or an adequate reply; but, at any rate, it has been such a reply as the miserable pass to which the foolish policy of the Government has got enables them to make. I have had an opportunity of raising the question of social order in Belfast. I think if there was anything to justify the stand we have made it would be this—that the principles I stated in debate in this House last year, which have now been ratified by a Royal Commission, have been practically adopted by the Government, and that wo, by what I beg, without undue egotism, to call patriotic persistency, have placed social order in Belfast upon a basis more permanent and more safe than that upon which it has hitherto rested. We have held the field, and we have won. Our persistency has been vindicated by the result. The masterly statement of my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), the miserably weak reply of the Government, the valuable declaration which I myself have obtained with respect to social order in Belfast, are vindications of the course we have taken. There is not a man in the House who will now got up and, judging us by the declarations of the Government themselves, say that we do not stand justified before the House and before the country in what we have done. We do not wish to argue further with the majority of the House, but with the justice of the people—not of Ireland only, but of England and of Scotland—we leave the moral merit of this conflict between the Government and ourselves. Now, Sir, so far as we are concerned, the Vote on Account may be taken.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 80; Noes 255: Majority 175. [1.0 P.M.]1123
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Byrne, G. M.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Carew, J. L.|
|Blake, J. A.||Chance, P. A.|
|Blake, T.||Clancy, J. J.|
|Blanc, A.||Cobb, H. P.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Connolly, L.|
|Brown, A. L.||Conway, M.|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.||Morley, A.|
|Corbet, W. J.||Nolan, Colonel J. P.|
|Cossham, H.||Nolan, J.|
|Cremer, W. R.||O'Brien, J. F. X.|
|Deasy, J.||O'Brien, P.|
|Dillon, J.||O'Brien, P. J.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||O'Connor, J. (Tippry.)|
|Dodds, J.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Ellis, J. E.||O'Doherty, J. E.|
|Ellis, T. E.||O'Kelly, J.|
|Esslemont, P.||Pease, A. E.|
|Farquharson, Dr. R.||Pinkerton, J.|
|Fenwick, C.||Playfair, right hon. Sir L.|
|Fox, Dr. J. F.|
|Fuller, G. P.||Quinn, T.|
|Gill, T. P.||Rowlands, J.|
|Gourley, E. T.||Rowntree, J.|
|Harrington, E.||Russell, E. R.|
|Hayden, L. P.||Sexton, T.|
|Hayne, C. Seale.||Spencer, hon. C. R.|
|Hooper, J.||Stack, J.|
|Howell, G.||Stuart, J.|
|Illingworth, A.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Tanner, C. K.|
|Lalor, R.||Tuite, J.|
|Lane, W. J.||Wallace, R.|
|Leahy, J.||Watt, H.|
|Leake, R.||Wayman, T.|
|MacNeill, J. G. S.||Will, J. S.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Williams, A.|
|M'Carthy, J. H.||Wilson, H. J.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||TELLERS.|
|Molloy, B. C.||Labouchere, H.|
|Morgan, O. V.||Shell, E.|
|Addison, J. E. W.||Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Bristowe, T. L.|
|Ambrose, W.||Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.|
|Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L.||Brookfield, Col. A. M.|
|Brooks, Sir W. C.|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Bruce, Lord H.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.|
|Baden-Powell, G. S.|
|Baggallay, E.||Burghley, Lord|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Caine, W. S.|
|Baird, J. G. A.||Caldwell, J.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Campbell, Sir A.|
|Balfour, G. W.||Campbell, R. F. F.|
|Barry, A. H. Smith.||Chaplin, right hon. H.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Charrington, S.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Clarke, Sir E. G.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Coghill, D. H.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Collings, J.|
|Beadel, W. J.||Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.|
|Bective, Earl of||Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. C.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Corbett, A. C.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer||Corry, Sir J. P.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.|
|Bethell, Commander G. R.||Cozens-Hardy, H. H.|
|Bickford-Smith, W.||Crossman, Gen. Sir W.|
|Biddulph, M.||Cubitt, right hon. G.|
|Bigwood, J.||Curzon, Viscount|
|Birkbeck, Sir E.||Curzon, hon. G. N.|
|Blundell, Col. H. B. H.||Dalrymple, C.|
|Bond, G. H.||Davenport, H. T.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.||Davenport, W. B.|
|Boord, T. W.||Dawnay, Col. hn. L. P.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.||Howard, J. M.|
|Howorth, H. H.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Hozier, J. H. C.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Hubbard, rt. hn. J. G.|
|Dorington, Sir J. E.||Hubbard, E.|
|Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H.||Hughes, Colonel E.|
|Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.|
|Edwards-Moss, T. C.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Hunt, F. S.|
|Elliot, hon. A. R. D.||Hunter, Sir W. G.|
|Elliot, Sir G.||Isaacs, L. H.|
|Ellis, Sir J. W.||Isaacson, F. W.|
|Elton, C. I.||Jackson, W. L.|
|Ewart, W.||Jarvis, A. W.|
|Ewing, Sir A. O.||Johnston, W.|
|Eyre, Colonel H.||Kelly, J. R.|
|Feilden, Lieut.-Gen. R. J.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.|
|Fellowes, W. H.||Kerans, F. H.|
|Forgusson, right hon. Sir J.||Kimber, H.|
|King, H. S.|
|Field, Admiral E.||King-Harman, Colonel E. R.|
|Fisher, W. H.|
|Fitzgerald, R. U. P.||Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.|
|Fitz-Wygram, Gen. Sir F. W.|
|Folkestone, right hon. Viscount||Lafone, A.|
|Lawrance, J. C.|
|Forwood, A. B.||Lawrence, Sir J. J. T.|
|Fowler, Sir R. N.||Lawrence, W. F.|
|Fraser, General C. C.||Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.|
|Fry, L.||Lethbridge, Sir R.|
|Fulton, J. F.||Lowisham, right hon. Viscount|
|Gardner, R. Richardson.|
|Llewellyn, E. H.|
|Gedge, S.||Long, W. H.|
|Gent-Davis, R.||Low, M.|
|Gibson, J. G.||Lowther, J. W.|
|Gilliat, J. S.||Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Goldsworthy, Major General W. T.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Macartney, W. G. E.|
|Gorst, Sir J. E.||Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Gray, C. W.||MacInnes, M.|
|Green, Sir E.||Maclean, F. W.|
|Grotrian, F. B.||Maclean, J. M.|
|Grove, Sir T. F.||Maclure, J. W.|
|Gunter, Colonel R.||M'Calmont, Captain J.|
|Gurdon, R. T.||Makins, Colonel W. T.|
|Hall, C.||Malcolm, Col. J. W.|
|Halsey, T. F.||Mallock, R.|
|Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. J. R.|
|Hamilton, Lord E.||Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.|
|Hanbury, R. W.|
|Hardcastle, F.||Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.|
|Hartington, Marq. of||Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story.|
|Hastings, G. W.|
|Heath, A. R.||Matthews, rt. hon. H.|
|Heaton, J. H.||Maxwell, Sir H. E.|
|Hervey, Lord F.||Mayne, Admiral R. C.|
|Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.||Mills, hon. C. W.|
|More, R. J.|
|Hill, Colonel E. S.||Mount, W. G.|
|Hill, A. S.||Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.|
|Hobhouse, H.||Mowbray, R. G. C.|
|Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.||Muncaster, Lord|
|Muntz, P. A.|
|Holloway, G.||Noble, W.|
|Holmes, right hon. H.||Norris, E. S.|
|Houldsworth, W. H.||Northcote, hon. H. S.|
|Howard, J.||Norton, R.|
|O'Neill, hon. R. T.||Spencer, J. E.|
|Pagot, Sir R. H.||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Parker, hon. F.||Sykes, C.|
|Parker, C. S.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Paulton. J. M.||Tapling, T. K.|
|Pearce, W.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Pelly, Sir L.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Penton, Captain F. T.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Pitt-Lewis, G.||Tottenham, A. L.|
|Plunket, right hon. D. R.||Townsend, F.|
|Trotter, H. J.|
|Pomfret, W. P.||Tyler, Sir H. W.|
|Powell, F. S.||Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Price, Captain G. E.||Vincent, C. E. H.|
|Puleston, J. H.||Walsh, hon. A. H. J.|
|Quilter, W. C.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.||Webster, R. G.|
|Rankin, J.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Reed, H. B.||Wharton, J. L.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||White, J. B.|
|Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.||Whitley, E.|
|Robertson, J. P. B.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Rosa, A. H.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Round, J.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Royden, T. B.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Russell, Sir G.||Wood, N.|
|Russell, T. W.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart.|
|Saunderson, Col. E. J.||Wright, H. S.|
|Sellar, A. C.||Wroughton, P.|
|Seton-Karr, H.||Young, C. E. B.|
|Shaw-Stewart, M. H.|
|Sidebotham, J. W.||TELLERS.|
|Sidebottom, W.||Douglas, A. Akers.|
|Smith, rt. hon. W. H.||Walrond, Col. W. K.|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday, 19th April.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.