(15.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £19,055, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888, for the Salaries and Incidental Expenses of Temporary Commissions and Committees, including Special Inquiries.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
Mr. Courtney, upon this Vote I feel bound to refer to the action of the Endowed School Commissioners in reference to Hutcheson's Charity in Glasgow. I have no fault to find with the Commissioners personally, but only with the policy they have adopted. The other day I presented to this House a Petition signed by the Preceptor of the Royal Incorporation of Hutcheson's Hospital finding fault with the manner in which the scheme for that endowment has been framed and carried out. I need not go into the particulars of that Petition, as a copy of it was sent to every Scotch Member, and the Petition itself is before the House; but I will refer briefly to its terms. In 1641 the Hutchesons bequeathed a considerable sum of money, first of all, for the support of 12 indigent men who by misfortune had been reduced in circumstances; and, secondly, for the education and maintenance of 12 boys, sons of burgesses, who had either lost their parents, or whoso parents were unable to maintain them. The bequest has so increased in value that the annual income now derived by the Charity is upwards of £13,000. While the income of the Charity has thus largely increased from 1641, the population of the City of Glasgow has increased in equal ratio, and the result is the endowment is no greater in proportion to the population then it was in 1641. From time immemorial this Fund was divided into two parts; two-thirds were devoted to pensioners, and one-third to the purposes of education. In 1872 an Act of Parliament was passed regulating this endowment, and in that Act of Parliament it was prescribed that a sum not exceeding two-thirds should go to pensioners, and a sum not exceeding one-third should go to education. The Endowment Commissioners came into existence, and these Commissioners were anxious to secure as much as possible of this endowment for the purpose of education. Under a scheme which they framed three-fifths of the money goes for pensions, and two-fifths for educa- 1457 tional purposes. The effect of this change on the part of the Commissioners is that £900 which should go annually to pensioners is devoted to the purposes of education. Now, the pensions were to be given to a particular class of the community—a most deserving class of the community—namely-—To citizens of Glasgow, or persona who, in the estimation of the Patrons, might be considered needful and deserving of aid, and who should have carried on business or trade in Glasgow for some time, and, to some extent, on their own account, with credit and reputation, or who should have been in any way the means of promoting the prosperity of the city, who by misfortune have been reduced in circumstances, and to the widows and daughters of persons of the above description, whose circumstances the Patrons might consider called for such assistance.The Committee will observe that this class of pensions are a class very much neglected in this country. These people have seen better days; have been reduced in circumstances, and any money left for their benefit ought to be very jealously guarded. Then, again, the money applied to the purposes of education has been applied in a manner which certainly does not occur to many to be right. The Commissioners seem to have concluded that the bequest was principally intended for the middle classes, and they have acted accordingly. The result of their action is that there are on the South side of Glasgow, under this endowment, two first class schools, one for boys and another for girls. As regards the management of the schools I have nothing but the highest praise; but what I want to point out to the Committee is, that, as a matter of fact, these schools are practically a saving to the ratepayers of Glasgow. There are similar schools on the North side of Glasgow. In all these schools elementally and secondary education is given. The only difference between the schools is, that the schools on the North side of the City are provided at the expense of the local rates, and those on the South side are provided at the expense of funds that were bequeathed for the education and maintenance of boys who have either lost their parents, or whose parents are unable to maintain them. The objection that is taken to the present scheme is that a most deserving class of persons are deprived of £900 a-year. The interests of the pensioners conflict with 1458 the educational interests. The just demands of the pensioners cannot now be complied with, though on the 31st of December last the Commissioners had a balance of upwards of £1,000. Now, I want to impress upon the Committee the fact that these schools on the South side of Glasgow are an absolute necessity. They are required in the locality. This is self-evident because the Commissioners would not be warranted in establishing the schools in the locality if they were not required. If these schools are required in the locality their existence simply means a saving to the ratepayers. If these schools were not there the City of Glasgow would have to provide others of exactly the same description. These funds are being appropriated for the purpose of saving the ratepayers of the City of Glasgow who would otherwise be obliged to provide schools. The Imperial taxpayer is also saved something. Now, according to the Education Act of 1872 the Scotch Education Department are entitled to give grants of money to any school required in a locality. If the Department have come to the conclusion that these schools are required for the locality, there is no reason why they ought not to be maintained out of public money. What would be the amount of public money required? I suppose there are only about 2,000 scholars, so that between £1,500 and £2,000 a-year would be required. The sum in dispute between the pensioners on the one hand and the educational interests on the other, is £900 a year. There can be no reason whatever why funds granted for purely benevolent purposes should be entirely used for the purpose of serving local and Imperial taxpayers, and I do not, of course, expect that at this period of the Session and upon this Vote, the Lord Advocate (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald) can go into the merits of this matter, but I have brought it before his notice in the hope that during the Recess it will receive the serious attention of the Scotch Education Department. That funds bequeathed for the benefit of deserving poor and sons of burgesses, should be applied to the purposes of secondary education for the middle and upper classes, and for saving the pockets of the local and Imperial taxpayers, is a matter deserving of serious attention. There is great pressure on 1459 the Hutchesons Trust from those poor people who have seen bettor days and are in reduced circumstances. It would be a very great advantage if £900 more were available for them, and what they ask is that this sum should be again devoted to their relief.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
I should like to be permitted to offer a few observations in reply to the speech of my hon. Friend (Mr. Caldwell). I have the honour to be one of the Commissioners whose work he has been assailing. In answering him, I wish to acknowledge most thoroughly that the Hutcheson Charity has done a very great amount of good, and I have no fault whatever to find with, what is called the pension part of that institution. It is an evidence also that this great endowment has been in careful hands, that as the hon. Gentlemen (Mr. Caldwell) has shown, the endowment has grown from a sum of about £4,000 in the middle of the 17th century to a sum yielding £13,500 per annum at this moment. The Educational Endowments Commissioners have had to deal with this as with other endowments affecting education. The allegations or charges that are made against the Commissioners in this case, as stated in the Petition from the patrons of Hutchesons' Hospital, or the trustees or managers of the charity part of this endowment, are three in number. The first is, that the Commissioners have made an unfair apportionment of the endowment between charity and education; secondly, that the share they have given to education has been proved to be excessive; and, thirdly, that the education they have given is a misapplication of the endowment. These, I think, are the three charges brought against the Commissioners. Now, Mr. Courtney, I have to explain that the duties of the Educational Endowments Commissioners were set forth in the Act of Parliament which appointed the Commission. The Commissioners were appointed with three objects. One was to extend the usefulness of the educational endowments; the second was to carry out more fully the spirit of the founders' intentions in these endowments; and the third was to make these endowments, as far as possible, available for higher education of a suitable kind. Now, there was a special provision in the Act 1460 regarding what are called mixed endowments—that is, endowments which are not wholly educational. With regard to these the Commissioners were empowered to fix the proportion to be applied to education subject to certain directions in the Act, and also subject to a certain check. The directions which were given them were that they were to consider what had been the practice in the conduct of the endowment, but not necessarily to be guided by that practice. They had to look beyond the practice to what was stated in the original foundation. Now, my hon. Friend (Mr. Caldwell) has referred to an Act of Parliament of 1872, regulating the Hutcheson Trust. That was a private Act, under which the Governors applied at least one third of their income to education, and the remainder to charity. But the Educational Endowments Commissioners had to go beyond this private Act; they had to consider the proportion which ought to have been appropriated and applied to education according to the express directions of the original foundation. Now, when we look back to the original foundation, what do we find? We find that the Hutchesons originally gave for charity £2,295, and for education £1,722, making in all just over £4,000; 43 per cent, therefore, of the total was, by the original bequest, appropriated to education. Now, the Act of Parliament, which was founded upon what had been the practice of the trust for some time, applied at least one third to education, which was 33⅓ per cent, instead of 43 per cent, which was the original proportion. But, in giving evidence before the Commissioners as to the proportion which had been devoted to education, the Chairman of the Trustees—who is called the Preceptor—stated, and he spoke for the managers of the charity, that the endowment gave rather more than 7/12 for charity, and rather leas than 5/12 for education. Now, taking his statement we find that the original endowment gave 41⅔ per cent for education. The Commissioners, looking into the whole case, came to the conclusion that the proper proportion to give wag two-fifths for education—that is, 40 per cent, a little less than the trustees of the charity had acknowledged was the proportion originally. The trustees themselves, through their chairman, stated 1461 that two-thirds for education was a shade too little. It is said in the Petition that, although they have given only one-third for education, they have spent a capital sum of from £35,000 to £38,000 on school buildings. But it appears that that sum would not do more than make up—it would not as much as make up— for the shortcomings in the apportionment to education during the many yean before their Act of Parliament was obtained. The Commissioners then, after hearing the evidence of the trustees, arrived at the conclusion that a fair apportionment would be two-fifths to education and three-fifths to charity. Now, it is stated in the Petition that the Commissioners exceeded their powers; but I have said that the Act of Parliament under which the Commissioners proceed gives them not only directions what to do in the case of a mixed endowment, but prescribes a check upon them if they go wrong. The check is that those who feel aggrieved may go to the Court of Session with their complaint. If the Commissioners have done wrong in this case, why did not the managers of the charity apply to the Court of Session? It is an open secret that they took counsel's opinion. They applied for the opinion of counsel as to whether they had a case to go with to the Court of Session. What answer they got I do not know; but the fact is that they did not go to the Court of Session, and this scheme came into operation two years ago. The time for making a complaint was when the scheme was published. The second complaint made against the Commissioners is that the proportion they have given is shown to be excessive because there is a considerable balance on hand. Why, Mr. Courtney, is there a balance on hand? I may say it is a matter with which the Commissioners have nothing to do. If there is any complaint it should be brought against the governing body who are now in charge of the educational part of the endowment. It is no part of my duty to explain or defend the existence of that balance, but the defence is not difficult. The balance arises from the fact that, although the scheme has been in operation for two years, it is not yet in full operation in the sense of having all its bursaries allocated. This is a scheme which, besides maintaining two schools, has an elaborate system of 1462 bursaries and scholarships. There are 200 foundationships, and there are 218 bursaries and scholarships. These are tenable for two or three years, and the governing body have done wisely in not awarding all of them the first year. Because the whole of the bursaries and scholarships have not been given there is a balance in hand. It is of importance for the governing body to have a balance in hand at the beginning of a work of this kind. They have no capital fund or reserve fund to fall back upon in case of any extra expenditure, and the saving they have been enabled to make in the first two years of their existence from the bursaries and scholarships not being all taken up provides them with a moderate reserve fund, which will be of essential use to them in carrying on these two large schools. Now, it remains for me to notice the third complaint, which is that the quality of education given in these two schools is not suitable; that, in the words of the Petition, a great part of the money is expended on education of a higher class than the founders intended. My hon. Friend (Mr. Caldwell) has spoken of the founders having given their money for the benefit of the poor, but there are poor and poor. There are different classes of poor, and the poor the founders had in view were the sons of burgesses. Now, the burgesses of the 17th century were not paupers. A burgess was understood to be a man in a position to be in business for himself, and it was for the benefit of the sons of poor burgesses, or decayed burgesses, that this money was left. What is the kind of education that is given? One would imagine, from the expressions in the Petition, that it is a very expensive education, but the fees in the Grammar Schools under this Trust range from 22s. 6d. to 40s. a-quarter. Such are the fees which are drawn from the day scholars who attend these schools. The complaint that is made would lead one to suppose that those who make the complaint had themselves, when they had charge of the money, aimed at something entirely different. Now, the original prospectus of the jovernors—those who make this complaint—contains a sentence to the effect that—This Educational Institution is intended to reproduce in its best form the old Grammar 1463 School, where, in former days, a superior education was to be had at a moderate fee; where the children of country gentlemen, professional men, tradesmen, and artizans were educated side by side, and prepared either for the University or commercial life.That was the aim which the Directors of this Charity had when they started this school 12 years ago; and now, when the school is carried on by a new governing body, with the same object in view, the old trustees complain that an education is being given of an entirely different kind from what was intended by the founders. I hope the Committee will have no hesitation in declining to be moved by the representations of my hon. Friend.
§ MR. CALDWELL
In answer to what has been stated by the hon. Member for the Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Mr. J. A. Campbell), I must point out that he has not taken into sufficient consideration the important fact that there was expended on the new buildings the sum of £35,000. That money, at 4 per cent interest, would have yielded about £1,400 a-year. It is all very well to go back to the year 1641 to try and discover what was the proportion for education, and now ask the pensioners of the present day to recoup all that has been expended between then and now. Why should the present pensioners be called upon to refund sums of money that have been expended upon pensions for the last 200 years? Was there ever such a thing done in this country before? To say that the pensioners of the present day should be punished because the pensioners of a former period received too much money is absurd. These buildings are modern buildings—the girls' school is an entirely modern building—and they cost £35,000. The Commissioners say they must take into consideration the fact that £35,000 has been spent on the buildings. Supposing the Commissioners had taken that into consideration, two-thirds and one-third would have been nearer the mark. Then, with regard to education at a grammar school. I pointed out that Mr. Hutcheson had given the money that the boys might be educated at the Grammar School at Glasgow—not in order to provide a school. Now, I say that the school board schools at Glasgow would be quite sufficient for the persons referred to in the instrument governing 1464 this foundation. These children do not require special school accommodation for them; and the directions of the school deed would be sufficiently provided for and carried out if they were educated in the school board schools of Glasgow.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
In this Vote we find the details of the expenses of a number of Commissions, indicated by various letters of the alphabet, down to the letter J. Then, under the letter K, we have a Vote of £7,000 "for Commissions not specifically provided for." Now, I object to vote this sum for Commissions that we know nothing of, and as to the objects of which we have no information. I do not think that £7,000 should be voted without some more definite statement of the purpose to which it is to be applied. Then there are two or three Commissions, the expenditure on which is provided for by this Vote, on which I should like to say a few words. There is a sum taken for the Dublin Hospitals Commission. Now, that Commission lapsed in 1886–7; and, therefore, I fail to see why any expenditure on account of it should appear in this Vote. I observe that the Commissioners on the Educational Endowments (Ireland) Commission are paid salaries of £700 a-year each, while the three Commissioners on the Irish Public Works Commission receive 10 guineas per day. I do not know why there should be this disparity in the remuneration of the members of the two Commissions. I know that the members of the Educational Endowments Commission are persons of the greatest eminence in Ireland; and I cannot understand why they should be paid only £700 a-year each, while so much higher a remuneration is given to the members of the other Commission; unless, indeed, the explanation be that the members of the latter Commission are Englishmen and the members of the former are only Irishmen. Then I find that the Secretary of the Educational Endowments Commission is paid £500 a-year, while the Secretary of the Public Works Commission is only paid £300 a-year. Why should the low paid Commission have a highly paid Secretary, while the highly paid Commissioners have a Secretary with a salary of only £300 a-year? Then there is an expense of £700 for shorthand writing in connection with, one Commission and 1465 for £800 in connection with the other. How and where are the shorthand writers procured? Do the Government nominate them, or are they taken out of the newspaper offices; and, if so, out of what office? I hope we shall not find that shorthand writing in Ireland is made a matter of Party or political favour or patronage. I should certainly be glad to find that shorthand writers are taken fairly from different newspapers of different politics, and were not taken from newspapers of only one colour. Then there is another point. I see that only £400 a-year is taken for the travelling expenses of the Educational Endowments Commission while the travelling expenses of the Irish Public Works Commission, who were only appointed last autumn, are put down at £2,000. Why should travelling expenses cost five times as much for one Commission as for the other? The Educational Endowments Commission will expire by Statute on the 1st December, 1888. Is there any prospect that they will complete their work by that time? How many schemes have been drawn up and how many have taken effect? The Public Works Commission have three heads of inquiry— first, Deep Sea Fishing and the harbours and communications needed for; secondly, Arterial Drainage, especially in the districts of the Shannon, the Barrow, and the Bann; and, thirdly, Railways, the management of existing lines and the provision of extensions. Well, they have reported on arterial drainage, but they have yet to report on deep sea fishing and on harbours; and they have also to report on railways. Now the existing railway rates in Ireland are a crying grievance, and one of the greatest sources of embarrassment to the industry of that country, while the neglect of deep sea fishing accounts for a great deal of the misery and the social disorganization which exists round our coasts. When may we expect the Reports of the Public Works Commission on Deep Sea Fishing and Harbours and also on Railways? I see that the Treasury estimated that the Commission might conclude its labours by the 30th of this month, and that in that case its cost might be about £12,000. If the Commission is to conclude its labours on the 30th of this month, how is it that we have not yet 1466 heard anything of its Reports on Deep Sea Fishing and on Railways? As to the statement that the cost of the Commission may be put at £12,000 if its labours are completed by the 30th of September, how is that reconcilable with the fact that in these Estimates £6,000 are taken for the cost of the Commission up to March 31st next? The statement and the estimate taken together do not seem to me to be clear or intelligible, and I would invite the Secretary to the Treasury to address himself to the points I have raised.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
First, as to the £7,000 to which the hon. Member for West Belfast called attention as the amount set down for Commissions that might be appointed during the financial year, and for the expenditure in connection with them. The Committee will understand that this Estimate was framed at some time about December or January last. It was then quite impossible for us to say exactly what Commissions might be appointed during the year or what the Commissioners might spend in the course of the year. And although the expression "Commissions not specifically provided for "may be a rather clumsy one, it sufficiently indicates the nature of the Vote, which may be said to be that of a sum to provide for the contingencies which may arise during the year in connection with the Commissions appointed during that period. It is an approximate sum based on experience and on the information we had at the time it was framed. Of course, if the money or any part of it is not required it will not be expended. Then, as to the sum set down for the Dublin Hospital Commission. There is nothing in that Vote for this year. There was an item last year, and it is customary in that case to put down the expenditure in the Votes of this year as a means of comparison and as a guidance to the Committee in regard to the relative amount of the Votes taken, and under the head to which it belongs this year and last year. The hon. Member will see that there is no amount stated in the column for this year.
§ MR. JACKSON
It is a misprint. In regard to the comparison which the hon. Member drew between the expense of the Irish Educational Commission and the Irish Public Works Commission, I would point out that, in reference to the Irish Public Works Commission — for the whole argument turns on that—the comparatively high remuneration which is paid to the members of that Commission is, in a great measure, accounted for by the fact that at the time that Commission was appointed it was not known how long the work would occupy. It was thought to be extremely desirable that a work of this importance, and one upon which so much might depend, should be entrusted to men of the highest professional ability which money could command. I think I can remember the names of the Commissioners, or some of them. Sir James Allport was the Chairman. Mr. Abernethy, the engineer, was one member; Mr. Barry, the engineer, was another. Mr. Pym was also a member, but he was an unpaid Commissioner. The other men are paid Commissioners, for they were asked to take up this work, which would seriously interfere with their professional duties; and I do not think that anyone, taking into account the eminent position these men occupy in their professions, would think them overpaid at 10 guineas per day. As to the secretary, the explanation of the lower rate for the payment to the Secretary of the Public Works Commission, as compared with the secretary to the Educational Endowments Commission, is this—Mr. Spring Rice, one of the clerks in the Treasury, is Secretary to the Irish Public Works Commission. When he was asked to take the position of secretary to that Commission by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Bristol (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), then Irish Secretary, Mr. Spring Rice was acting as my secretary, and I cannot speak with too much praise of the ability and assiduity with which he does his work. It was entirely due to his position at the Treasury that the right hon. Member for Bristol asked him to take the secretaryship of the Irish Public Works Commission. As to the travelling expenses of the Irish Public Works Commission, the hon. Member for West Belfast will recognize the fact that a Commission charged with such duties must almost of necessity be 1468 travelling about almost all the time they are engaged in their work; and, therefore, the travelling expenses of the Commission, and of the witnesses they had occasion to call, must be considerable. With reference to the other question to which the hon. Gentleman has properly called attention—the difference in the Estimates of the cost of the Irish Public Works Commission—he gave an extract from a letter written by the Secretary of the Commission, in which £12,000 was put down as an outside figure for the expense which this Commission would involve. When this estimate was made it was impossible to forecast the length of time the work would occupy. The figure in the Estimates which the Committee is now asked to vote was given by the Secretary of the Commission, after some experience of the work, and when some more approximate idea had been gained of the time the work would occupy. But even that figure must be taken only as an approximate one. When the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) appointed that Commission in the first instance, it was expected at the Treasury that four, or at the outside, six months would be ample time in which to conclude its labours.
§ MR. SEXTON
The point to which I addressed myself was that the letter which I read stated that if the Commission closed its work on the 30th of this month the cost would be about £12,000. But the Estimate before us gives the cost up to next March as only £6,000. How do you reconcile these two Estimates?
§ MR. JACKSON
The amount of £12,000 was given as an outside figure for the total cost of the Commission assuming that the Commission concluded its labours by the 30th of this month. But when this Estimate now before the Committee was framed, it was anticipated that the work would be done in a much less time than now seems probable. Therefore, I apprehend that when next February comes, and the time arrives for making up the accounts for the current year, a Supplementary Estimate will have to be laid before the House. As to the shorthand writers, they are appointed by the Chief Commissioner, and are paid according to a scale sanctioned by the Treasury. We have no control over them. I do not think the 1469 patronage involved in their appointment has been used for private, personal, or Party objects.
§ MR. SEXTON
The hon. Gentleman has abstained from replying to the most important points that I have raised. As to the £7,000 for Commissions not specifically provided for, he explained that in a very curious fashion. Although, no doubt, on the 18th February, when this Estimate was drawn up, it might have been impracticable to define the work of the Commissions which might be appointed for the year, we are now on the 6th September. The Session is on the point of closing. The Government know what Commissions they have appointed, or are likely to appoint before next year. It is not usual to appoint Commissions in the Recess unless Parliament has sanctioned their appointment before the close of the Session. Commissions are either appointed during the Session or during the Recess, after information given to Parliament during the Session. The Government ought, therefore, to tell us what Commissions are to be paid for out of this £7,000. If they are extant, what are they? Full information on this point must now be in the possession of the Government, although it might not have been in February when the Estimates were drawn up. I do not think the Secretary to the Treasury apprehended the point I made about the two Estimates of £12,000 and £6,000 for the cost of the Irish Public Works Commission. What the official in Ireland says is this—that if the Public Works Commission complete its labours by the end of this month, its total cost will be £12,000. Well, there was an Estimate taken last year. The Estimate now before us, and which we are asked to vote, is an Estimate of the cost of the Commission up to March, 1888. And according to this, we find that the total sum estimated by the Treasury is £6,000. So that according to the Treasury, if the Commission lasts to the end of March, 1888, it will cost £6,000; while, according to the letter of the Secretary of the Commission itself, it was to cost £12,000 if it completed its labours on the 30th of the present month. How can that be? As to the travelling expenses of the Commission, the hon. Gentleman said that they were necessarily large, because the Commission would be travelling nearly 1470 the whole time they were engaged in their labours. How then is it that only 100 days are put down in respect of which salary or remuneration is charged?
§ MR. SEXTON
That means that they are engaged when they are travelling. It seems then that although the matters referred to there are urgent, the Commission, out of 500 days which will have elapsed between their appointment and March next, only charge salary for 100 days. That is a very leisurely way of proceeding. Indeed, to work on only 100 days out of 500 is the easiest way of working I ever heard of on the part o f a Royal Commission. I do not think that the Treasury can escape all responsibility with respect to the shorthand writing for the two Commissions to which I have called attention; £1,500 is, a, large sum for shorthand writing, and the Treasury have a right to take cognizance of the way in which this work is done. It appears from the statement of the Secretary for the Treasury that Sir James Allport and the other Commissioners can exercise their discretion as to the appointment of shorthand writers. They may if they like give this shorthand writing to The Dublin Express and The Irish Times, and thus distribute several hundreds of pounds as remuneration for shorthand writing to these Tory papers without giving a shilling to the popular side. I must really ask the Secretary to the Treasury to communicate with the Commissioners and find out from what newspaper offices, if from any, they have taken their shorthand writing staff. Then, I have asked the hon. gentleman how far the work of the two Commissioners to which I have referred has proceeded. We had Estimates in respect of them amounting to several thousand pounds, and yet although one has been at work for two years and the other since October last, we have not heard a word about the way in which they have performed their functions. The Irish Public Works Commission were appointed to report, but have not yet reported on railway rates and deep sea fishing. We are waiting for those Reports in order to get the Government to say what legislation they intend to propose. They have hitherto staved off the inquiry by saying "Oh, we must wait for the Report of 1471 the Commission." But although the Commission have reported on arterial drainage, the Government have done nothing in respect to that matter. How soon will the Commission report on the other matters? Will they close their inquiries next month or when, and when shall we have their Reports? When we meet in February what chance is there that we shall have any legislation? Then as to the Educational Endowments Commission, I wish to know how many schemes have been framed and how many have been carried into effect? When Commissioners receive a salary of £700 per annum there is a temptation to dawdle and draw out their labours, and I am anxious to know whether the Educational endowments which fall within the scope of the Commission are likely to be dealt with in the time limited by their act.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
As to the time that the Public Works Commission are likely to report, I am afraid that they will go on as long as we pay them 10 guineas a-day. The Commission was very slow in reporting on the arterial drainage, and I am very anxious to see their Reports on deep sea fishing and on railway rates. I am afraid that they will delay their report on deep sea fishing and harbours until they have reported on the subject of railway rates; but, at any rate, we should know when they are likely to report. They went round Ireland in July, and since then they cannot have had much travelling to do. I certainly think that their Report on deep sea fishing should not be much longer delayed. If we do not have this Report printed in October the Cabinet will have an excuse for not going into the question in November. In fact, we ought to have this Report now for the Commissioners have now enormous experience of Ireland, and it is not a case for putting off. It is a question on which we should have an early Report certainly in another month.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) () St. George's, Hanover Square
I shall leave the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) to reply to the points of detail that have been raised in this discussion. But I am desirous to say as regards this Commission on Irish public works that the Government are anxious to press forward the Reports on other branches of the 1472 inquiry besides that on which the Commission have already reported. I have looked into the Report they have presented, and conversed with some of the Commissioners upon it. I have no hesitation in saying that they have brought the greatest energy and ability to the work on which they are engaged, and I have seldom been more impressed than I am with the desire of the Commissioners to make good progress and do good work. They are gentlemen of the greatest eminence, and they are not anxious to prolong the inquiry; nor are they likely, as has been suggested, to prolong it for the purpose of securing the remuneration they receive. The remuneration which Mr. Abernethy and Mr. Barry receive is not, I may say, high, considering their standing in their profession, and the ordinary scale of remuneration in that profession. Every effort shall be made to push forward these Reports. The Government have already given an earnest of their desire in this matter. I cannot say how soon the Deep Sea Fishery Report will be given; but the work of the Commission has been very laborious, and has required very considerable study. I will, however, communicate with the Commissioners and let the hon. and gallant gentleman know what the prospects of obtaining the Report are.
§ MR. SEXTON
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government intend to follow up the Report of the Commission by any proposals respecting arterial drainage?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
It would be impossible to spend more money on the arterial drainage of Ireland this year, because of the legal difficulties there are in the way of interfering with vested rights in the rivers. Any attempt to do it would only lead to litigation. During the Recess, however, a Bill will be prepared, and schemes will be brought forward for proceeding energetically with the works on the Bann, the Shannon, and other rivers.
§ MR. JACKSON
I am afraid that in what I said just now I did not make my explanation quite clear. The hon. Member has called attention to the item of £7,000. I would point out that the sum, which is here stated at £6.300, is the amount which will come in course of payment during the current year—that is to say, from the 31st March last to 1473 the 31st of March next; but there was an expenditure prior to the 31st of March last, which was met out of the Vote taken in the preceding year for the Commissioners. I have not the exact figures here; but the difference between the Estimate of the £12,000 in the one case and the figures in the other ease, plus any Supplementary Estimate which may be found necessary, will about balance. With regard to the shorthand writers, I will endeavour to ascertain exactly how they are obtained, and let him know.
§ MR. JACKSON
I understand that in view of the progress which has been made by the Educational Commission there is no reason at present to anticipate that the original estimate that the Commission would complete its labours, I think, not later than the 31st of De-comber, 1888, will be exceeded.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) that I did not question the ability of these Commissioners, nor did I wish to convey the idea that they are more anxious for salaries than anyone else is. But I suppose there is a certain amount of human nature even about Commissioners who are inquiring into the subject of deep sea fishing or arterial drainage. The points we have raised have not at all been answered. The first was as to the date of the Report. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not know, and that there is, consequently, no good in trying to get it. The second point was that the Deep Sea Fishery Report should not wait until the Commissioners have gone into the railway question, and I want to get an assurance from the Government to that effect.
We must allow the Commissioners a certain amount of discretion, and they must take the course they think best for arriving at a proper decision. They will be aware of the great desire there is that there should be an early Report on the subject of the deep sea fishery; but the determination of the question must be left to their discretion.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
Well, I must say that if they do not make the Report the whole conduct of the Government will 1474 not have been very straightforward since last year, when the Predecessor (Lord Randolph Churchill) of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) made a certain amount of capital out of the appointment of this Commission. There have been many delays in the production of the Report; and if its publication is put off until it will be of no use I must say that I think the Government have been trying to make capital out of promises which they do not fulfil. The reference to the Commission was of a very simple character, and all I want to secure is that the precedent of the Arterial Drainage Reports will be followed in regard to the deep sea fisheries. I believe we shall have to wait another year for the Railway Report.
§ MR. SEXTON
I would point out that the most competent witness respecting the labours of the Commission— namely, the Secretary—estimated in January last that the work of the Commission would finish on the 30th of this month. Now, I would ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) if he would ask the Commissioners, consistently, of course, with the due discharge of their functions, to do their best to report during the winter, so as to enable legislation on the subject to be proceeded with next Session?
§ Question put, and agreed to.
(16.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,804, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888, for certain Miscellaneous Expenses.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I am sorry that my hon. Friend the senior Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) is not here this evening, because recently he had a Notice of Motion upon this Vote; but as he is not present to take up the running, it is incumbent upon us to question the expenses that arise under the Vote, with reference to the cost of the robes and insignia for the Knights, Companions and Officers of the Orders of the Garter, the Bath, the Thistle, St. Michael and St. George, and so on. These expenses 1475 amount to £4,770. There is also an item of £210 for repairing the insignia of the several Orders, and other miscellaneous items. What I should, in the first place, like to call the attention of the Committee to is the extraordinary disproportion between the expenditure on what the hon. Baronet the Member for the Cockermouth Division of Cumberland (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) called "tomfoolery," or something equally disrespectful, and the next item, which relates to the Albert Medal for saving life, and which only amounts to a paltry £20. Then we come to another Distinguished Service Order, the cost of insignia for which is £500. Now, I have no objection at all to spending a good deal of money on such things as Albert Medals for saving life. That is what I may call a reward for something in the way of reproductive labour; at any rate, it is an expenditure which reflects some credit upon us as a nation. But what benefit is to be derived from the expenditure of thousands of pounds upon a lot of absurd, old-fashioned arrangements, such as an hon. Member has designated "tomfoolery," connected with the Lord Chamberlain's Department, I cannot understand. My contention is that if noble Lords and others desire to dress themselves up in robes and insignia they should pay for their own enjoyment, and not come upon the poor taxpayers of this country to pay for their equipment. I should like, Mr. Courtney, to ask the Government what repairing the insignia of the several Orders means? I am happy to say that I have no acquaintance with these Orders. I do not know whether the insignia of the Bath, for instance, is a bath, and whether the repairing of that particular insignia means the repairing of a bath in which these noble Knights and others occasionally wash themselves. It is impossible to treat these matters seriously. The whole thing is so utterly ridiculous, so utterly out of place in this 19th century, that it is really out of the question to attempt to deal with it in a serious fashion at all. And I tell you what, Mr. Courtney, the country is not disposed to treat it seriously. People outside ridicule all this. Perhaps a great many of them do not understand it. The only serious point with people outside who have to put their hands in 1476 their pockets and pay for these things is that they should have to pay at all. They look upon it as a very serious inconvenience and a great imposition, and there is a growing determination on the part of those who have to pay to put a stop to such things in the future. It is in order to emphasize this growing feeling in the country that we take advantage of every opportunity that is afforded to us of questioning these Votes. The second portion of the Vote, Item B, is part of the same business, but is, perhaps, a little more ridiculous than the first part. It is an allowance to the Marshal of the Ceremonies for attendance on Foreign Ministers. I should like to know who is the Marshal of the Ceremonies, and who are the Foreign Ministers on whom he attends? Then there is a periodical allowance for nine trumpeters. Who on earth wants trumpeters? [Ministerial laughter.] The laughter which proceeds from hon. Gentlemen opposite completely justifies the proceeding I am taking. It is impossible for hon. Members to look on the thing seriously at all. If they go into such roars of laughter over the nine trumpeters, what will they say to the one kettledrum? These different items mount up, in the aggregate, to a very considerable sum, and we have only yet got through some £5,880 worth of what we have to spend upon these absurdities. There is another item—namely, that of fees to heralds and others in respect of patents of creation. Now, there is a mystery about these fees. I think there was an article in one of the daily papers this morning on the subject; and, as far as I can gather—and I have been endeavouring to find some record of these matters—how the people who get these dignities and robes and insignia, and all that sort of thing, and who become Knights of the Garter and the Bath, and the rest of it, do not pay the fees themselves, but have them paid for them by the country. I should like to ask the Goverment whether this is so or not? Do they pay for the stamps, or how is it? There is, as I say, a mystery about these things, and I hare not been able to penetrate it. There is another item, F, which relates to the salary of the Receiver of Hereditary Revenue, £300, and an allowance to the Receiver for office expenses, amounting in all to £445. Who is the Re- 1477 ceiver of Hereditary Revenue? I hope he is not the same gentleman as the one we were considering the other day, when we were talking about woods and forests. If he is, that is an additional reason for questioning the Vote. I do not say, with reference to the Receiver of Hereditary Revenue, that his salary is not well earned by the work he has to do; but I cannot express any opinion on the subject, because no information is given to us about it. We are not told what the hereditary revenue is, and who gets it. The last item, G, is, to my mind, the most mysterious of all. It relates to the maintenance of some individual, I suppose; but I should not like to attempt to pronounce his name. The first part of it is spelt Lidge, which has almost a Cornish sound. For the cost, maintenance, and clothing of this person we have to pay £200. I should like to ask who this is. Is it a man or a woman? Is it a Prince, is it a Hottentot or a Chinese? Is it a thing? We ought to have some information. We cannot be reasonably asked to vote these hundreds of pounds in the dark, and without knowing what they are for. When the Government have satisfied us as to what this payment is, I should like them to tell us whether it is a permanent charge, and, if it is not, how long we are to be asked to pay it. There is a variety of topics in connection with these expenses to which we take the greatest objection; and I shall, therefore, move the reduction of the Vote. I do not want to do what the hon. Member behind me (Sir George Campbell) did just now—that is to say, move a reduction which exceeds the Vote itself; and I will, therefore, be content to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £5,500.
The hon. Member has done precisely the same thing. The balance remaining is only £1,804.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £804, be granted for the said Services."—(Mr. Conybeare.)
§ MR. JACKSON
I think, Mr. Courtney, I had better take the items which the hon. Member has called attention to in the reverse order to that in which he took them. The hon. Member takes so much interest in this gentleman with 1478 the unpronounceable name that I think I may as well at once relieve his mind on that point. It is not a permanent charge, but is for the cost of the education and maintenance of a young Abyssinian Prince who was brought over here and has been educated here.
§ MR. JACKSON
I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that he was brought back from Abyssinia; that he has been educated at Cambridge; and that he has now gone out to, I believe, Jeddah. Therefore this charge, which was undertaken by the Government— I have no doubt for very good reasons—will come to an end. With regard to the Receiver of the Revenues, to whom the hon. Gentleman called attention, he has nothing whatever to do with the official about whom a question was raised the other day. With respect to the fees on patents of creation, I may say that, as is stated in the Estimates, the fees are now taken in stamps and are paid into the Exchequer, and I believe that the amount paid in last year was about £5,600. The £1,200 which appears in the Vote is the amount paid to these heralds for certain duties they perform. The fees exceed considerably the amount which is paid to them.
§ MR. JACKSON
They are, Sir. With regard to the Distinguished Service Order, to which the hon. Gentleman has called attention, that is a new Order which is, I believe, conferred upon soldiers who perform distinguished services in the field, and which has been very much appreciated in the Army generally. With regard to the larger item, as to cost of robes, and so on, I must point out that, as long as these Orders exist, so long will it be the duty of those who confer them to do so in the gracious and generous manner in which they are conferred at present, and to provide the robes and insignia. The robes and insignia are given, but on the death of the person are returned to those who gave them. I think I have now answered all the hon. Member's remarks.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
But if the old robes are turned over to the new-comers, 1479 surely we ought not to pay such large sums for them.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
I cannot imagine how the Government can propose to tax the poor of this country in order to provide for the various robes and insignia for these Orders. It seems to me to be one of those things which no one can understand. This expenditure seems to imply that money is no object; and I hope and trust that the Government will put an end to what, in my opinion, is a very profligate way of spending money, because I am quite sure that if they do not the result will be to wean the people from the Government and from the Throne.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
I do not object to this so much on principle, but I do protest against the extreme magnitude of the sum. You put down £4,770 for providing decorations for, perhaps, 200 or 300 persons. I do not think that the decorations ought to cost more than 10s. or 15s. a-piece. They would then be better than the soldiers' medals, and would certainly be quite good enough. Let the recipients spend more on them themselves if they like, but do not let the taxpayer be called upon to do so. You have not, I suppose, contracted for these robes, and I think that somebody is getting an order for supplying them, and charging the country about six times what he charges anybody else. I am sure that if you do not get all your coals at Woolwich by contract, you will not get these things by contract; and I think, therefore, you must be spending a great deal more than you need. People would be just as proud of these decorations if you paid 10s. for them as if they cost £10. As to the Abyssinian Prince, I should like to know who he is, because I never heard of more than one boy being brought from Abyssinia, and he is dead. I really think that when we vote £200 we are entitled to know whom it is for.
§ MR. JACKSON
I really think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman is most unreasonable. The hon. and gallant Member knows perfectly well that the Vote was in the Estimates last year.
§ MR. JACKSON
Well, the hon. and gallant Member would have known it if he had looked at the Estimates. I have really given the Committee all the in- 1480 formation I possess in regard to this individual. I have from time to time seen the account of the expenditure that goes to make up this Vote, and therefore I know that he was at Cambridge, and I am informed that he has just been sent out to a Consular appointment. I cannot give the hon. and gallant Gentleman any more information than that he was the son of an Abyssinian nobleman, that he was brought from Abyssinia under the direction of the Government, and that the Government are responsible for him.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I do not want to be unreasonable; but I should just like to ask, with reference to a very large sum in this Vote, whether it would be possible for any of us to see an account for these robes and insignia, so as to find out how many robes and insignia have been supplied for this enormous cost of £4,760? I think it is not an improper question to ask. We ought to be able to form an estimate of what those robes and insignia cost. Are they merely medals, or do the insignia really include the Garter, the Bath, the Thistle, and so on? These are matters —at least to the people who have to pay for them— of some interest. I hope the hon. Gentleman will not think me unreasonable in asking, at any rate, the number of robes and insignia that are provided out of this sum of money.
§ MR. JACKSON
If the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Conybeare) really desires to know the number of robes and insignia provided for out of this Vote, I shall be very happy to give him the information. I have not the particulars here, but I will let him see them. I am sorry the hon. Member's knowledge of robes and insignia should be so limited; but I will tell him all I can.
§ MR. DILLWYN (Swansea, Town)
We hear a great deal of denunciation of extravagance, and of the desire of hon. Members on both sides of the House to promote economy; but when we have a practical opportunity afforded us of showing our love for economy we do not exercise it by our votes. And here is a case in which we might clearly do something in the way of economy. I do not want to see the accounts for these robes; but I do not think any Member of this House will deny that the amount of this Vote is very excessive. Therefore, if the Committee are in earnest in 1481 their desire to promote economy, they ought, when they have such a chance as this, when a Vote is brought forward which clearly is not necessary, to give their vote for the reduction of this sum. My hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Nolan) has said that those charges for decorations are all unreasonable. At all events, there can be no doubt that the whole of the Vote might be cut down, and still you might keep on having these absurd decorations if people like them. If hon. Members are in earnest in their desire for economy they will support my hon. Friend (Mr. Conybeare) in the Division which hope he will insist upon.
§ MR. JACKSON
The hon. Member who has just spoken, and who is so severe and rigid an economist, cannot ignore this fact—that if he puts the items paid into the Exchequer under this Vote side by side with the amount expended he will find that the whole cost is very nearly covered.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
These robes and insignia have been brought into requisition for a very large number of new Peers—Jubilee Peers-most of them very well off. I do not see why they could not provide for them out of their own pockets. On the other hand, if they did not care for the increased dignity, the clothes taken out of the old clothes department—for I see here an item for repairing insignia and for various repairs—might have done very well for the new Peers. I do not see why this insignia, like old wine, should not be the better for keeping, especially if they are maintained in decent repair. It is quite right and proper that those right hon. Gentlemen who got these great dignities conferred upon them should wear these gorgeous trappings when they are ennobled. [Cries of "Divide ! "] But hon. Members on that side who cry "Divide" will agree to this—that if there is to be a great show, a great splutter, and a great dash, these noblemen should pay for it out of their own pockets. So far as regards the Albert Medals, I really think that the Vote for them ought not to be refused, because, if there is any Order that is use- 1482 ful and truly noble, it is that which gives rewards for saving life by sea and by land. That is a decoration we should all stand up for. But here is an item, Sub-head B, "Marshals of Ceremonies and Trumpeters in attendance on Foreign Ministers." That has a fine mediaeval sound. I have to remark, in the first place, that if you want Marshals to attend on Foreign Ministers, those officials ought to be placed in a rather important position. Foreign Ministers would, I presume, require some superior person to attend on them. But what does he get? Only £80 a-year—less than right hon. Gentlemen oppose pay their footmen. Anybody who looks at this matter in a common-sense sort of way, in the light of pounds, shillings, and pence, must be clear that these men at £80 a-year are evidently not of the class or stamp or description that ought to attend on these Foreign Ministers, Get a man of higher rank, and pay a proper amount, and do not let this post be the sinecure it certainly seems to be. I say my hon. Friend (Mr. Conybeare) is quite right, not merely in bringing these matters forward, but in pressing his Motion to a Division. Then we have our friends the trumpeters and kettle-drummers turning up again. These menials of the State—these mediæval remnants—turn up on every page of the Votes; and certainly I think the time has come to do away with these useless items of expenditure. Then, again, Sir, as to these fees of patents on creation. These are fees to heralds and others. I want an explanation as to why these fees are not paid directly and not paid into the Treasury, and then paid again by the Treasury to the heralds. I think that is a very absurd thing, for if the heralds assist in conferring a peerage on these gentlemen I think they ought to be paid like other people, and directly by the noble Lords themselves. Then, as to the jewels in the Tower of London, I see by this Vote that the Keeper of the Jewels gets £300 a-year. This is another instance of a sinecure. These jewels—I have often seen them myself —are placed in the Beauchamp Tower, and we all take a pride and a pleasure in looking at them. But what do you want with a keeper? You have got all these beefeaters and soldiers, a receiver of fees, an exhibitor, a collector, wardens, &c.—surely, Sir, it does not 1483 require all these to keep the jewels? In the name of common sense I appeal to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Jackson) for an explanation. [cries of "Order ! "and "Divide ! "] I can only conclude from this, Sir, that hon. Members opposite have not common sense. I do not see why you should have such a sinecure as a Keeper of the Jewels, for the probability is that the Keeper of the Jewels never goes near them at all. Whenever anybody goes to the Tower there is a man who takes you round.
§ MR. BYRON REED (Bradford E.)
I rise to Order, Sir. I appeal to you whether, in your judgment, the hon. Member is not trifling with the Committee?
§ DR. TANNER
The hon. Member talks about trifling with the Committee. What I want to prevent is trifling with the public purse; and I say that unless we get an explanation about this Keeper of the Jewels I shall move the reduction of the Vote by this item. I wish to put it in the clearest manner; and I say that these different individuals who receive office in connection with this Jewel House in the Tower of London ought also to be looked into. There is money received at the gate for seeing these Crown Jewels. Now I pass on to another item, and that is the maintenance of this Abyssinian gentleman. Apparently nobody knows who he is or what he is. All we have hoard about him is that he comes from Abyssinia; and I think at a time like the present, when every item is examined into and receives a certain amount of attention at the hands of the general public, we ought not to pass Votes for any individuals, especially foreigners, without inspiration. This country supports too many foreigners already, and we ought not to vote any money for the support of any foreigner without knowing exactly who he is, and what are the services in respect of which the money is spent. I hope the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Jackson) will condescend to give me an answer.
§ MR. JACKSON
Certainly. I am always glad to give the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) any information in my power. As to the question of the officers of the Tower, he will see, if he looks at the figures, that the receipts from the visitors to the Tower are estimated this year at £2,200, which 1484 far exceeds any amount which appears on the Votes by way of expenditure for the custody of the jewels, &c. I think, therefore, that this explanation is about the most satisfactory one I could give to the hon. Member. With regard to the other matter, I have explained that this item will not occur again, because the education and maintenance of this young man is now at an end, as far as the Government is concerned. I am sure this, too, will be satisfactory to the hon. Member, and I hope the Committee will now allow the Vote to be passed.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Jackson) will answer my question now. How much of this £4,770 is paid to the officers of the Herald's College?
§ MR. JACKSON
I cannot say. I have not got the details. The fees, as the hon. Member will see, are put down at £1,200, a portion of which, I have no doubt, goes to the Herald's College, but how much I cannot say. I think we must face the fact—there is no denying it—that these robes and insignia are very expensive. I have no doubt they cost, some of them, as much as £600 or £700 each. As I have repeatedly said, as long as you have these Orders, I think what we have to do is to see that the Vote is in accordance with the law and custom. Of course, the question of the retention of these Orders is another matter, and that, if raised at all, ought to be raised in some other manner than on the officers' salaries.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 23; Noes 116: Majority 93.—(Div. List, No. 457.) [1.20 A.M.]
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (17.) £50, to complete the sum for the Adelaide Exhibition.