(23.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £6,069, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888, for repaying to the Civil Contingencies Fund certain Miscellaneous Advances.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I have given Notice of an Amendment in reference to this Vote, and I do not think it will require many words to specify my object. First, I find an item of £2,769 4s. 8d. as equipage money for the Most Honourable the Marquess of Londonderry, on his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Now, I do not object to this because it is for the Marquess of Londonderry rather than the Earl of Aberdeen or any other noble Lord; what I object to is the expenditure of some £3,000 on occasions such as these. My contention is that when you appoint a wealthy Nobleman like the Marquess of Londonderry to a lucrative Office—I believe he gets £20,000 a-year as Lord Lieutenant—then I think he ought to pay his own equipage expenses. I object to all these subsidiary Supplementary Votes. If you appoint a public servant at this large salary, then it ought to cover all expenses. If £20,000 is not sufficient, make it £25,000 if you like. But I would remind the Committee that the President of the United 1494 States only gets £10,000; and why the Ruler, or rather mis-Ruler, of a little island like Ireland should require twice that amount passes my comprehension. But, whether that is a sufficient sum or not, our contention is that it ought to cover all these expenses of equipage. Until I know what it means, and why it should be made the subject of a Supplementary Vote over and above the salary paid, I shall continue my opposition on future occasions. But it is not enough that we should pay this sum for equipage money; I find another item of £200 for special packets for the conveyance of the Earl of Aberdeen from Kingstown to Holyhead, and the Marquess of Londonderry from Holyhead to Kingstown. I do not understand whether it is £100 each for the outgoing and the incoming Lord Lieutenant; but it seems to me an enormous sum. But I do not see why the Lord Lieutenant cannot travel in the same boat as other people; I do not see why he should be above travelling in the same packet as the Chief Secretary, for instance. We do not hear of the Chief Secretary, who is a much more important personage than the Marquess of Londonderry—we do not hear of him getting special money for passages to Ireland. If the Lord Lieutenant is too high a personage to travel in a common boat with common personages, why not get one of the Royal Yachts? We are paying £35,000 a-year for these Royal Yachts, and they practically do nothing at all; and I cannot see why they should not be employed for a useful purpose. But if you are paying £20,000 a-year to a person for undertaking the ornamental functions of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that £20,000 a-year ought to be sufficient for covering his travelling expenses; and I object to our being called upon in Supplementary Estimates to vote these trifling sums. They may be trifling or not, but they ought to be included in the enormous sums paid as salaries. The next and last item in this Vote is one to which I take a stronger objection than the objection I have just raised; it is the item for special sums paid for the conveyance of distinguished persons. I suppose the Marquess of Londonderry is not a distinguished person, as he is not included in it. We have to pay £480 on this account. Last year it was £614, and I recollect there was then a discussion 1495 upon this Vote; in fact, there has been a discussion upon it year after year, and I trust there always will be until we knock off such an outrageous demand on the pockets of the ratepayers; but I do not recollect that any satisfactory information was given by the Government. They gave us to understand it was the ordinary and usual custom; and though there is very little to be said in defence of it, yet practically the Ministers have not got the courage to go to the Royal Family and say that this sort of imposition on the people must be put an end to at once. We have some right to demand that the highly-paid functionaries, the highly-paid officers of State, such as the Lord Lieutenant and others, should pay their own expenses out of their own pockets; and the country has a right to demand that the Members of the Royal Family, their friends, and other distinguished personages, should pay their travelling expenses out of their own pockets. There may be some use in the Lord Lieutenant; he may perform some duties other than ornamental; but there are very few duties these distinguished personages perform that are not purely ornamental, connected with circumstances relating to the aristocracy and Royalty in this country. I think it is time we spoke frankly on this subject. I do not desire to say anything disrespectful of any Member of the Royal Family; but I say that it is not in the interests of the institution we call Royalty in this country that these miserable little payments should be continued. These things rankle in the minds of the people out-of-doors—[A laugh.] I dare say hon. Members on the opposite side of the House think they know everything: but I rather flatter myself we, on this side of the House, know more of the feeling with which these matters are regarded by the people out-of-doors than they do. All I can say is that the worst enemy of the institution of Royalty in this country could not desire anything more than that these payments should go on and be encouraged, for the reason that it is not the amount but the meanness of the thing, asking us to pay the travelling expenses of these people, who are, for the most part, lodged and fed at the expense of the ratepayers—lodged and fed and doing nothing; it is that that rankles in the minds of the people. If hon. Members opposite value—and they do value 1496 it more than I do—the institution of Royalty, they will see to it, and by their votes ought to leave a standing record that they mean to insist that these supplementary payments on behalf of Royalty shall be put an end to. It will not be long hence before we shall have to overhaul all the questions of expense connected with the institution of Royalty.But, whether that may come sooner or later, in the meantime we have a right to insist that these payments which are not connected with our own people, but payments for their German and other foreign brothers, cousins, other relatives and their friends, we have a right to insist we should not be called on to pay these travelling expenses which they are perfectly competent to pay for themselves. I repeat again, it is the meanest thing I know of that they should come to us, considering the sums we pay for their maintenance, their board and lodging amongst us, and ask us to pay these supplementary sums; and I would make an earnest appeal to the Government to take the bull by the horns at once, and cut off this Vote altogether. Why should they jeopardize their reputation and bring themselves into unpopularity with their constituencies, and continue to bring, not only ridicule, but contempt on the Royal Family itself— [" Oh, oh ! "] I am speaking of what I know, and, as I said before, I am not wanting for myself to say a single word disrespectful to Royalty; but the result of insisting on these payments is that you are bringing ridicule and contempt upon that institution you deem most sacred, I will not say on this occasion what I have it on my mind to say in connection with other Votes for the Royal Family; but I say the sooner you put an end to these ridiculous payments, which the people consider it a fraud and imposition upon them to be called upon to pay, the sooner you will be doing something to render the institution of the Royal Family in our midst more lasting than it is otherwise likely to be.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £2,620, be granted for the said Services."—(Mr. Conybeare.)
I think this sum of £200 for the conveyance of the Lord Lieutenant to Ireland might be saved, 1497 and I think the Committee ought to give their assistance in this direction. I want to know if it is a fee given when the Lord Lieutenant goes over first to Ireland, because I know that he does not charge this £200? I went over in the same boat with Lord Spencer when he went to Ireland first, and he did not have a special boat. There is no idea about his safety, and therefore no good is got out of this charge; and I would, therefore, ask why it should be done, and what is the object of it?
§ DR. TANNER
I would also point out that the distance between Holyhead and Dublin is only GO miles, and the distance between Boulogne and Folkestone about 30 miles—I may be a couple of miles short; but I see here it costs £40 for carrying the Prince of Wales from Boulogne to Folkestone, while it costs £100 to carry the Marquess of Londonderry to Ireland, a sum which I strongly object to. I have crossed to Ireland on several occasions with the Lord Lieutenant upon the same boat; he had his own compartment certainly; but he got across as well as if the whole steamer was dedicated to his sacred person. I think the time has come when this sort of nonsense should be put an end to. Another point I cannot help noticing is in connection with the conveyance of distinguished persons to this country. There is an item for the conveyance of the Crown Princess of Germany from Calais to Dover. She is a very distinguished personage; she is the daughter of the Queen, and the future Empress of Germany, and I admit that every possible distinction should be paid to her; but my objection is that the line is not properly drawn. Here is the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg—who is she, and what is she? She may be some relative of the Royal Family—I do not know about that; but, if so, she is certainly not a person of the same rank as these other Royal personages who have been carried across the waters of the Channel. Then there is another peculiar fact I noticed, and that is this—that here you have the Crown Princess of Germany and the Duchess of Edinburgh crossing the Channel, and only on one occasion the Princess of Wales—she does not seem to tax the country in the same way other Royal personages do. There is another item I want some explanation of. It is a noteworthy fact that when a 1498 General is going to take command of a Station in India he gets his passage money paid. I find an item here for the quarter ending 31st December, 1886," The Duke and Duchess of Connaught to Calais from Dover, £140." If the country paid his passage money from England to India, are we to be called on here to pay a supplementary sum for his transit from Dover to Calais? If so, it is most extraordinary; and I hope some explanation will be given. I cannot help calling attention to it, because we all know the Duke of Connaught has been in India, and that we had to pass a Bill to bring him home from India to attend the Jubilee. I cannot see what purpose this item is for, except it is for part and portion of his voyage to India. I hope I shall receive some explanation of this and the other points I have raised.
§ MR. JACKSON
I am afraid I can hardly hope to convert either of the hon. Gentlemen who have addressed the Committee upon this particular question, because their minds are pretty well made up, and anything I could say would not alter their convictions. With regard to what the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan) said about the £200 for the Lord Lieutenant, I think it is worthy of consideration. I understand £100 is paid, on the occasion of the Lord Lieutenant crossing, to the owners of the vessel, and not to the Lord Lieutenant; but I will make inquiries into the matter. With regard to the item of £480, referred to by the hon. Member for the Camborne Division (Mr. Conybeare), I am one of those who think it is not a very large sum; and I cannot agree that it is either fair or reasonable to speak of these persons as being lodged and fed at the expense of the ratepayers, for it is nothing of the kind. But I will not follow the hon. Member into a discussion as to which I am sure we should not agree; and I would rather appeal to what I venture to call the sense of the Committee. With regard to the larger item of equipage money, to which the hon. Member for the Camborne Division called attention, I have to say that is according to an old arrangement which, I admit, looks rather an odd one. This item represents £3,000 of Irish money; but whether that is another injustice to Ireland I cannot say; it is a sum that has always been paid, 1499 and that is the only explanation I have of it. Provision for carrying out the duties of the Office have to be made at very great cost, and I should be very much surprised if any Lord Lieutenant ever came back the richer for holding the Office.
§ MR. JACKSON
He would get his salary for the time he is in Office; and, whether that is long or short, the outlay upon his taking Office is the same.
§ MR. JACKSON
Yes; and if you have a Lord Lieutenant you would wish him to support his position in a manner that would give satisfaction to the people of Ireland. I should be very much surprised, as I have said, if any Lord Lieutenant came from Ireland richer than he went.
§ DR. TANNER
The hon. Gentleman asks, "Is this another injustice to Ireland?" This equipage money is an injustice to Ireland, and I think I shall be able to show the hon. Gentleman why that is so. I asked him what this money was for, and he said "carriages and horses." Well, everyone knows that in Ireland we have got very good carriage manufacturers, and men who can build as good a carriage as any in the City of London. Then we also know that Ireland is a country where horses are bred; and even Members who sit on the other side of the House constantly come over to buy horses in Ireland. What is done with this equipage money? What has the present Lord Lieutenant done? He goes to a contractor here in the City of London, and pays this money away in the City of London instead of spending it in Ireland. If there is money to be paid by Parliament into the pockets of the Lord Lieutenant, at any rate let Parliament give him a chance of spending the money in Ireland. The hon. Gentleman does not understand the way in which this money has been spent. I can assure him that I learnt it from an official source a few years ago, when I knew some gentlemen connected with the Viceregal Court in Dublin. What the Lord Lieutenant did then, and I am assured since, 1500 was to go to one of these large contractors in London and order his carriage and horses here and send them across. I think, perhaps, that some of the hon. Members who do not agree with us on some of the other points, on this particular point will agree with me that this is a standing injustice to Ireland, and ought not to be allowed to continue.
§ MR. DILLWYN
A great portion of the reply of the Secretary to the Treasury in justification of the expenditure was that it was what had been done before. That is a very Conservative mode of reasoning; but there is one point that deserves consideration, and that is the point which my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) called attention to—namely, the item for the passage of the Duke of Connaught from Dover to Calais. I remember I demurred to the Bill for bringing the Duke of Connaught over here, and we were told on that occasion that the expense would not be charged to the public funds. This is a matter, therefore, that requires some explanation. There is only one question I would ask before we come to the vote. I would like to know upon what principle these Supplementary Votes are drawn up? As I understand it, the Supplementary Votes ought to be Votes for some expenses incurred since the original Estimate was drawn up. Many of these items ought and must have been seen before the Estimates were drawn up; and therefore I should like to know upon what principle they are drawn up?
§ MR. JACKSON
The Supplementary Vote is certainly a Vote which is supplementary to the ordinary Vote; and it is further supplementary in this sense— that its service either could not be foreseen, or the amount of it could not be known when the original Estimate was prepared. The hon. Member for Swansea is an old Member of this House, and he knows there is at the disposal of the Treasury an item called the Civil Contingency Fund, used for matters not otherwise provided for in the Vote, and a Vote has to be taken in order to repay the Civil Contingency Fund for the advances made from it. He asks me a question in regard to the passage of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. If the hon. Member will be good enough to look at the Estimates he will see these 1501 sums are made up to the 31st March last; and therefore these special items have nothing to do with the ordinary Estimates.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
I cannot help thinking this Vote deserves censure. One-thirtieth of our population are paupers, and I think we incur great responsibility in voting money away for such a foolish thing as the equipage of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Here we are voting £3,000 for the Lord Lieutenant and £320 for the Prince of Wales crossing the Channel eight times last year. I must say I think we endanger loyalty in this country by these small sums coming up in this offensive way time after time.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I wish to say one word with respect to the way in which I propose to proceed in respect of the Motion I have made. I would rather not take a Division on the first item respecting the Lord Lieutenant, but on the two last items connected with the special payment; and that for the reason that my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast desires to bring before the Committee some matters in respect of municipal charges. I would like to say this to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury with respect to the equipage money. His reasoning was not convincing, the ground put forward being that because these things were done in the past they should be done in the future. If his argument is worth anything—namely, that the Lord Lieutenant is put to a great preliminary expense, and therefore ought to have this subsidiary and equipment money, I would point out that as these occasions do not very frequently arise the proper mode of proceeding would be to come and ask for a Supplementary Vote when they are put to this necessary expense, and do not get their salary for more than a very short period. To make up a constant charge, instead of a mere temporary and exceptional charge, is what we have a very great right to protest against. However, as I sympathize with the grievance of our friends in Ireland, I will not object to this money being granted, provided it is spent in Ireland; and if we have such an assurance I will not press that item.
There would be no difficulty about the hon. Member for West Belfast moving any Motion he 1502 desires. Does the hon. Member withdraw his Motion?
It is not necessary for the hon. Member to withdraw in order to accommodate the hon. Member for West Belfast.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £5,289, be granted for the said Services."—(Mr. Conybeare.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 21; Noes 118: Majority 97.—(Div. List, No. 458.) [2.30 A.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. SEXTON
This Vote contains several items for the expenses of Municipal Charter inquiries for 19 places in different parts of England. Among these I do not notice the name of Haslingden. I am aware that some time ago the occupiers and ratepayers of this place presented a Petition, signed by two-thirds of their number, praying for a Charter of Incorporation. I have looked through their statement of facts upon which their request is founded, and if it is well-founded I should be surprised if their Petition were refused. I cannot understand even why it should be delayed, for the place is far more populous than many municipal towns; it is growing rapidly; and, looking through the figures in relation to taxation, one can see that it is a thriving and important place. Seeing that so large a proportion as two-thirds of the rateable occupiers support the Petition, I should like to know on what grounds it is refused or delayed, when there is such a strong primâ facie case in its support? Another item of the Vote to which I wish to call attention is the sum of £47 17s. 10d. for the payment of medical expenses of officers injured during the Belfast riots. The Constabulary officers, incapacitated from duty 1503 by reason of injuries sustained, were few; but there were 400 men of the police force and the military injured on that occasion, and tended in the hospitals of Belfast. On consideration of this a grant of £800 in aid of these hospitals, which are supported by voluntary subscriptions, was promised by the late Chief Secretary; but I do not find that this has been carried out. Unless I ascertain that the Government have paid the expenses incurred in the hospitals on account of the wounded men of the military and civil force I shall move to expunge this item from the Vote, for I do not understand why this medical attendance should be paid for, and not that of the men who did all the fighting, and received most injury.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
This is a matter that has not come before me during my tenure of Office of Irish Secretary, and I am sorry to say I have not the information the hon. Gentleman desires. Certainly, nothing has been said or suggested to me with regard to payment to these hospitals; but I shall be glad to make inquiries, and give the hon. Member all the information I can.
§ MR. JACKSON
As to the other question the hon. Member has raised, I am not in a position to give the hon. Member information; but I will cause inquiry to be made. I could not know that the hon. Member was going to raise the question, inasmuch as it is not connected with any item in the Vote.
It is not a matter to discuss on the Vote; it is a matter of the policy of the Home Office and the Privy Council. This is merely a question of payments made.
§ MR. SEXTON
I do not wish to discuss it. Unless the Government tell me there will be an inquiry I will move to reduce the Vote.
§ MR. JACKSON
It is not possible for me to give an answer to the question, about which I know nothing. But I will inquire, and I think the hon. Gentleman might be satisfied with that assurance. It is not a matter in the Vote, and therefore I could not anticipate the question coming on. I say I will make inquiry and ascertain what has been done, and then I will inform the hon. Gentleman. If then he is not 1504 satisfied it rests with him to take what course he thinks best.
§ MR. SEXTON
The Petition from Haslingden has been presented among these others, and it seems a strong primâ facie case.
§ MR. SEXTON
This Petition was presented last year. I move to reduce the Vote by £200 in the absence of any satisfactory assurance in regard to this matter.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £5,869, be granted for the said Services."—(Mr. Sexton.)
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I do not wish to trouble the Committee with any remarks. I only want to say, as the Financial Secretary has promised, at the instance of the hon. Member for West Belfast, to make inquiries into a particular case, that I wish to ask him if he will also make inquiries in respect to Loughborough—an almost similar case? I have had the matter brought to my notice and have been asked to do something. I therefore ask the hon. Gentleman to make it the subject of inquiry.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 15; Noes 117: Majority 102.—(Div. List, No. 459.) [2.45 A.M.]
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.