§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
said, he wished to ask the Speaker, on a point of Order, whether it would be competent for the House to review the ruling of the Chairman when the House was in Committee yesterday, in 1011 consequence of which an essential part of the Bill had not passed through the Committee stage?
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, the essential part of the Bill that did not pass through the Committee stage was that portion immediately preceding Clause 1. The Chairman began the proceedings in Committee by putting Clause 1 and the succeeding clauses and Schedules; but he did not put that portion of the Bill immediately preceding the clauses, although requested to do so. What he (Mr. Caldwell) submitted to the House was that this preceding portion contained a reason for the Bill, which it would be perfectly in Order for the House to amend if it thought fit. For instance, it said—Towards mating good the Supply which we have cheerfully granted to Your Majesty in this Session of Parliament have resolved to grant unto Your Majesty the sums hereinafter mentioned.He submitted that it would have been perfectly competent on his part to move to leave out the word "cheerfully." He desired to know whether it was not competent in Committee to make such a Motion?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I may as well answer this question at once, although I might properly refuse to answer it, as it is in the nature of an appeal from the Chairman of Committee to the Speaker, which is quite unusual. There is no such thing as an appeal from the Chairman of Committee to the Speaker; but, as a matter of courtesy to the hon. Member, I may say that the proper course was followed. These words are not a Preamble in the strict or even ordinary sense of the term, and the practice is that in money Bills and Bills of this nature the Preamble is never put.
§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)
said, he desired to draw the attention of the House to a very important question. It would be recollected that a few days before the Adjournment for the Autumn Recess he called attention to the fact that the general rules and regulations relating to the Post Office Savings Bank had been laid on the Table, and that during the Recess those rules and regulations would become law. Since then it had 1012 been discovered that some very serious inconveniences were likely to arise in regard to the alterations which were made in the rules and regulations in respect to the withdrawal of deposits of friendly societies. Formerly the money could be withdrawn on the signature of two of the trustees, but now all the trustees must sign. This would cause great inconvenience to Trades Unions and friendly societies. He might instance the case of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. They had five trustees, and three signatures were necessary for withdrawals. But it might frequently happen that one or two of the five would be abroad, and so no money could be obtained for sick pay. &c., when it was required. He thought the whole question should have been submitted to the Registrar of Friendly Societies, whose duty it was to look after the interests of all friendly societies. If this official was not consulted the Secretary to the Treasury had scarcely done his duty; and if, on the other hand, he had been consulted, and had assented to the alterations made in the rules and regulations, he it was who was guilty of dereliction of duty in this matter. He trusted that the Treasury and the Post Office would be able to take immediate steps to enable the old regulations to remain in force, and to allow two or three trustees, as the case might be, to withdraw money from the Savings Bank.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, he could answer the hon Member at once upon this point. It had been found that these new regulations required in some respects to be revised; and certainly for a fortnight past the question had been engaging the attention of the Post Office, the Treasury, and their solicitors with a view of meeting the difficulty referred to by the hon. Member. He trusted that in a very short time the revised edition—if he might use the term—of the regulations would be circulated, and that these might meet the points raised.
§ MR. HOWELL
asked, whether anything could be done to obviate the difficulties which might arise in the mean time—that was to say, before the Treasury arrived at a conclusion in the matter?
§ MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
asked, whether the reply of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would apply equally to Trustee Savings Banks as to the Post Office Savings Banks? He pointed out that in some respects the rules of Trustee Savings Banks gave less facilities for withdrawals to depositors than the rules of the Post Office Savings Banks, particularly in the case of the withdrawal of money belonging to deceased depositors.
§ MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanark, N.W.)
said, that at this time of general rejoicing, of fat turkeys and plum pudding, and holly, and merry Christmases, he regretted, and he was sure many hon. Members shared his regret, that they were going to separate again without discussing the question of the unemployed and the distress existing among the population, and without any opportunity being afforded to hon. Members of discussing any specific cases of distress, one of which he intended to bring before the House. He disclaimed any intention of making Party capital out of what he considered to be the wrongs of the poor. He did not care from which side relief came. The Liberal Party were at least as much to blame as the Conservative; in fact, the latter Party had made no parade as to what they intended to do for the poor when they came into Office. What did they find, however, was the attitude of the Liberal Party? Why, when the distress in the East of London was referred to, gentlemen calling themselves Liberal leaders had gone into distant parts of the Metropolis, and had pointed out as a panacea for the prevailing distress the taxation of ground-rents. They might just as well talk of relieving distress by taxing polo ponies or pug dogs. At this Christmas time, when hon. Members were so happy, when the poor were starving so comfortably around them, and the dock labourers were enduring pitiable suffering, more drastic legislation was wanted than the taxation of ground-rents, which was entirely a bourgeois and middle-class question. He hoped some assurance would be given by the Government, or 1014 some pledge from the Front Opposition Bench, of legislation in the future for shortening the hours of labour, or home colonization, or some scheme for taking away the scandal of people walking about the streets wishing to work and finding no work. One hundred thousand paupers a-week were relieved in this Metropolis. Then, as a specific case, he would refer to what might be called "miserable England," and was generally known as the Black Country, whose wretchedness even religion was impotent to console, and which was deprived of everything which made life worth living; a district not 15 miles from the constituency represented by the noble Lord the Member for West Birmingham—he begged pardon, but, "coming events cast their shadows before,"—represented by that smug statesman—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I must remind the hon. Gentleman that although I was most unwilling to interfere, especially upon such a question, I understood he was going to ask a question. I do not think a general disquisition on the state of the poor in any district would be relevant to the Appropriation Bill. If the hon. Member can attach his remarks to any particular Minister or Department he may be in Order.
§ MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM
said, that he wished to call the attention of the President of the Local Government Board to the condition of the Darlaston gun-lock filers.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that if the hon. Gentleman could allege that there had been any neglect of duty on any Minister's part with reference to this particular class of workmen, he would be in Order; but it would not be relevant to discuss generally the condition of the poor or to allude to future legislation.
§ MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM
said, that he desired to call attention to the infrequency of the visits of the sanitary inspectors both at Darlaston and Cradley Heath, and the unsanitary condition of the workshops. Owing to the unsanitary condition of the district the workpeople of Darlaston were suffering from an attack of enteric fever. This district he could say, from personal experience, was the most miserable in "miserable England." He had himself seen men and women working in a 1015 workshop not 10 feet square with open drains running before their houses, and no attempt at sanitation under any circumstances, and, according to Mr. Burnett's report, "fumes of filth rising in the nostrils of these people whilst they are working, which renders their toil one which constituted a scandal." There was no adequate inspection whatever, and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board to give these workpeople a distinct pledge that there would be more factory inspectors appointed, and that something would be done to urge the Local Authorities to fulfil the obligations which they did not fulfil at present and bring about a state of things more consonant with our civilization. As he was not allowed to raise the question of the wages of these people, he would content himself by making the strongest appeal he could to Members on both sides of the House not to let this occasion slip of doing a little good. He would remind hon. Members that these unfortunate people looked to this House as their only resource in this matter, and he hoped that on both sides of the House there would be a disposition not to let the Eastern Question or the Irish Question stand in the way of applying a remedy to this crying evil. They blamed both Parties for allowing this state of things to go on and accumulate, because it had been known for the last 40 or 50 years, and Royal Commissions had sat and reported upon it, but no responsible statesman from either side of the House had thought fit to get up in his place and say something should be done for these poor people.
MR. STAVELEY HILL (Staffordshire, Kingswinford)
said, that as connected with the district specially referred to by the hon. Member, he was bound to say that the hon. Member mixed up the two places of Darlaston and Cradley Heath in a most extraordinary manner. These two places were in different Counties, and were not connected in any way, the trades carried on in each being totally distinct. In point of fact, the gun-lock filers were now getting better wages than they used formerly to receive. He could assure the hon. Member that he himself and others were at least as deeply interested in this question as the hon. Member, and were doing their best to improve matters. In regard to the 1016 Cradley Heath workpeople, it should be remembered that their labour was not carried on in factories, but in private shops, families working together, and it must naturally be supposed that it was difficult to institute a proper system of inspection with regard to these places. They resented interference. Things had improved; but the trade of the workers at Cradley Heath would, he feared, never improve, as the nailmakers were unable to compete with the cheap nails imported from abroad, and he was therefore in favour of their turning their attention to some other trade. There were persons in the neighbourhood—in particular the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. B. Robinson), whose energy it was impossible to overrate—who sympathized with these poor people quite as warmly as the hon. Member for Lanarkshire.
§ MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM
said, he was perfectly aware that Darlaston was eight miles distant from Cradley Heath, but he dissented from the statement of the hon. Member that these chainmakers refused to have their condition—
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
asked, if there was really a fever epidemic in Cradley Heath. He had seen the statement contradicted, and if it was true there was fever there the President of the Local Government Board ought to send down an Inspector to report to him on the subject.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
said, that no one could complain of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) for referring to the general question of the unemployed poor in London. It was one of vital importance. All hon. Members would go to their Christmas holidays with more pleasure if they felt they could do anything to alleviate the unsatisfactory condition in which a large number of their fellow-citizens were placed. The hon. Gentleman said that nothing had been done, but in this he was somewhat mistaken. The Government had consented to the appointment of two Committees, whose inquiries had considerable bearing on this matter; one on the sweating system, the other on the importation of foreign 1017 labour. Until those Committees reported it would be impossible for the Government to suggest any mode of proceeding for meeting any of the difficulties which it was alleged were connected with both those subjects. He was glad, indeed, to be able to think that, as the hon. Member himself had hinted, though there is a large amount of distress—as, indeed, there must always be in a great city like London—yet that there was less than there was last year. He thought it was a very satisfactory feature in the condition of the people of the Metropolis that they had now something like 2,000 or 3,000 less paupers here than they had at this time last year. The hon. Member pointed to legislation as a remedy for existing evils, but he did not venture to say on what particular points the legislation could be satisfactorily entered upon.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he did not desire to blame the hon. Member, but the question of legislation connected with these matters was one of the most difficult problems to solve. In these matters it was extremely difficult to know how to deal with the evils which they all desired to alleviate. It could easily be conceived that legislation such as some people suggest would be more likely to intensify the distress rather than to alleviate it. He ventured to think that if public works or matters of that kind had been started last year, such as were suggested in more than one quarter, instead of having to deal this year with a less amount of pauperism than last year, they would have had to deal with an increased amount of pauperism. He could assure the hon. Member that all matters connected with the people gave great anxiety to those who filled the post which he now had the honour to hold, and to Her Majesty's Government; and he did not think any political considerations would prevent either Party from doing their utmost to alleviate the unhappy amount of distress which they all alike acknowledged and deplored. Then the hon. Member went on to speak of the wages of the gun-lock filers. On this point he would only remark that the Home Secretary, and not the President of the Local Government Board, was responsible for the factory inspectors. There was, however, one question in 1018 connection with a portion of the hon. Member's observations relating to the general sanitary condition of Cradley Heath, which was a matter affecting the Department over which he presided. He was aware that a very considerable number of cases of fever had occurred in the neighbourhood, apart altogether from the general question of the sanitary condition of Cradley Heath, in consequence of the inhabitants having drunk water from a well which the Department had often urged should be disused. That well had now been closed, the handle of the pump had been removed, and a standpipe had been put up by a water company of the neighbourhood from which the people could now draw their water supply. They hoped that as a result of the change there would be a considerable improvement in the sanitary condition of the neighbourhood. He was bound to say, however, that he was by no means satisfied with the general sanitary condition of the neighbourhood. The Department had made more than one inquiry into the matter. They had again and again urged the Sanitary Authority to provide proper sewers for the neighbourhood, but, notwithstanding the urgency with which they had made representations to the authorities, no satisfactory arrangements had yet been made. But the Local Government Board had no power to compel Sanitary Authorities to do the duty which rested upon them unless the Board received proper representations from some of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. He stated a few days ago that even a representation by one inhabitant that certain clauses of the Public Health Act had not been put properly in force by the Local Authority would be sufficient to enable the Local Government Board to move in the matter. Unless they got some representation from those most interested in the matter, the Local Government Board could not move. He should imagine that there could be no difficulty whatever in obtaining such representations from the neighbourhood as would enable the Local Government Board to call upon the Sanitary Authorities to carry out the clauses of the Act; and if the authorities then refused to fulfil their obligations the Board could go to the High Court and obtain a mandamus to compel them. As far as the Govern- 1019 ment were concerned, they would do their utmost to secure a better condition of things.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, he noticed that some of the newspapers put down his conduct last night as that of Obstruction. He, therefore, thought it right to say, in view of that allegation, that while the Estimates were in Committee, at the suggestion of Members of the Government, he agreed to postpone a great many matters interesting to the people of Scotland so that the Estimates might be concluded. Indeed, on nearly every occasion he had voted for the closure with the view of promoting the dispatch of Business. Although he maintained his rights last night to be heard on a small point, his object in getting the opinion of the Committee upon it was because he desired to get to Scotland by the morning train. No one was probably more entitled to get relief from the duties of Parliament than he was, as not many had been more regular in attendance. Although, therefore, he had shown a little of Scottish pertinacity last night, he had a special reason for so doing. The point he desired to raise had reference to the appropriation of the different moneys between England, Scotland, and Ireland. Though he understood the Government were about to consider and make up the Estimates for next year, which were to be submitted at an early period of the Session, he apprehended this was the only opportunity he would have of asking the Government to reconsider the principle upon which those Grants in Aid were to be distributed between England, Scotland, and Ireland. It would be unfair, therefore, to lose the present opportunity of calling attention to the principle upon which the grants were disposed of in this Bill. There had already been passed the Probate Duty for England, Scotland, and Ireland, and that Bill dealt with the appropriation of Grants in Aid upon the principle of nationalities. In Scotland they did not object to the Grants in Aid being determined upon strictly national lines, nor according to population, as in the case of England and Ireland. What they did object to was the double principle which was in operation at the present moment. The principle of nationality had been established in distributing the Probate Duty; but, 1020 under the Appropriation Bill, England got a much larger share of money for local purposes than was given to Scotland in proportion to the population. He maintained that they ought to proceed on a definite principle—namely, the principle of nationality. But it was unfair to allow England to dip into the Imperial purse for what in Scotland had to be paid out of local taxation. For instance, in Scotland they might wish to have a considerable portion of the Grant in Aid given for free education. What was the contention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that point? The right hon. Gentleman said that would be unfair, as the people of England would also be wanting free education. But if Scotland paid for it out of the money given, what right had England to interfere? He thought they were fairly entitled to object to England appropriating out of the Imperial purse money out of all proportion to her population and to what she paid into the National Exchequer. The people of Scotland paid into the Imperial Exchequer, per head of the population, as much, if not more, than the people of England, and, in all fairness, they ought to get as much out of the Imperial grant according to population. Any denial of that principle would not be tolerated by the people of Scotland. The population of Scotland was about 4,000,000. The only way to give justice to nationalities was by a sub-division of the Grants in Aid according to the populations of the respective nationalities. He hoped that principle would be considered by the Government when they came to prepare their scheme of Estimates next year. There would be an almost unanimous opposition on the part of the Scottish Members to the continuance of the Estimates on the lines on which they were based this year. As the Home Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the President of the Local Government Board, all Members of the Scotch Education Department, were present, he would call attention to that Department. It was not often they had an opportunity of addressing its Members. Irish Members talked of Castle rule, but they had something of the same kind in Scotland. It was very curious that that Department should consist chiefly of Members of that House who were in no way con- 1021 nected with Scotland, and who knew nothing about the peculiarities of Scottish education. The result was that the whole of the education of Scotland was managed by a permanent official in London. The people of Scotland objected to that. He had put a Question as to the parish of Barvas, where the school rate was 5s. 4d. in the £1. Would it not occur to any Statesman that that was a case where the parish ought to pay for its own expenses? The situation of that parish made it a complete exception to any ordinary rule. He ventured to say there was never a grosser case of injustice and a more heartless case of cruelty than to make the Parochial Board pay 5s. 4d. of school rate alone, and they had poor rates and other rates in addition. It was conduct such as that which showed how the Government was proceeding, for the Government had done nothing, even although it was in their power, to remedy a case of this kind by bringing in special legislation. The object of the Government was to relieve people who required relief. In the adjoining parish to Barvas the people only paid 2d. in the £1 of school rate.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
What is the name of the parish?
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, that that parish was made up of shooting tenancies and large grazing farms.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked, if it was fair that a man in one parish should pay 5s. 4d., while a man in the adjoining parish should only pay 2d. The poorer the man was, the more he had to pay. It was the duty of the Government to consider the condition in which these people were living. They were living in a state of abject poverty. To show the heartlessness of the Scotch Education Department, he might state that the Department pointed out that if the children paid school fees the amount would be £280. The idea that £280 could be collected in school fees in that parish would occur to nobody but a Department sitting in London knowing nothing of the circumstances. In 1022 another parish the school-rate was 4s. 6d. and the rental was under 15s. per head of the population. That placed it in a similar condition to Barvas. These things had been going on for years. The people had been in rebellion before on account of their poverty. Did anyone wonder that there should be a rebellion among the people on account of their poverty? They were being charged rents which the Crofters Commission had within the last few days reduced by 42 per cent. That was the reason why they had disturbances in Lewis. The Government had seen this educational crisis going on, and they had done nothing to remove the cause of it. The Government ought to have interfered long ago. It was their duty, as an Imperial Government, to deal with exceptional distress in the United Kingdom, but they had abandoned their Imperial principles. They would not treat the matter as one involving responsibilities on the Imperial Government, but they wished to wait until they could treat it as a Scottish matter, until Scotland looked after her own poor. The Government were establishing the principle of nationalities in their mode of treatment. He wished the matter to be treated Imperially. If they were to have matters relegated to Scotland in that way, the people of Scotland should insist that the management of the educational interests of their country should also be relegated to them, and should not be left to be managed by a permanent official in London. There was no reason or principle why the Scottish Education Department should not be relegated to Scotland, instead of consisting of three Gentleman who sat on the Treasury Bench, and probably had very little interest in Scotland.
§ DR. CLARK
said, that the matter raised by the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow was a very serious one, and he hoped the Government would give it serious attention. The Island of Lewis was fast going back into a primitive condition of barbarism. Order and law would have to be put into a crucible, and they would have to re-constitute society there, unless something was done within the next few months. In the parishes of Barvas, Lochs, and Uig, the School Boards were resigning, because they could not get 1023 the money required to keep up the expensive schools they had been compelled to build. He did not think the Governmen knew that. In those parishes they had not only compelled the boards to build expensive schools, but to put a wall round the playgrounds, whereas for miles round the moor was a playground. By this policy they had many School Boards bankrupt, who had applied under the Act for the Parochial Boards to raise money. The Parochial Board had refused to impose a school-rate of 5s. 4d., and had offered 1s. Things were even worse than the hon. Member for St. Rollox had pointed out. A few days ago the Crofters Commission had issued some decisions by which they had reduced the rents by 53 per cent all over the district, and wiped off 91 per cent of arrears. That would prove beyond possibility of doubt that there had been rack-rents in Lewis, or else the Commission had been very unjust indeed. The Parochial Boards would not be able to raise sufficient money, and the next stage would be the resignation of the Parochial Boards as well as the School Boards. He warned the House that the whole of Lewis, Skye, some parts of Sutherland, and, indeed, a great part of the Western Highlands, was becoming a great pauper ward. They would have nine-tenths of the people paupers unless they gave them more land, and they would require to establish some Imperial system, because the Parochial Boards would all have resigned office. As the result of the present system, Lady Matheson, who was the owner of this vast Island of Lewis, was compelled to pay poor-rates greater than the amount she received in rent, and she had probably lost a couple of thousand pounds through her crofters instead of making money by the land. The Court of Session could do nothing to relieve her, and she was bound to pay rates on the reductions of rent and arrears—money she never received. Lady Matheson was a life-renter, and she had gone, and he did not believe they would succeed in getting anything of the poor-rates from her or her tenants. Then they would have the Parochial Boards resigning, because there was no money to be got. The only solution of the problem in Lewis, as far as he saw, was to break up the deer-forests and large grazing farms, and give more land 1024 to the crofters. Scotland had great cause of complaint in the matter of local rates. It was intolerable that Parliament should vote money for the Imperial Exchequer for purposes in England and Ireland which in Scotland were met entirely out of local rates. In those cases also in which Grants in Aid were made for the Exchequer for certain purposes, the proportionate allocation to Scotland was far less than to England and Ireland. With regard to Bechuanaland, he regretted to learn that more armed police were to be sent, while nothing was being done to promote, by means of education and in other ways, the elementary conditions of civilization.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
said, he wished to bring before the House certain allegations against the character of Captain Seagrave, the Resident Magistrate who was in charge of the Constabulary at Mitchelstown last year, when three lives were taken by the Forces of the Crown, who, as had been admitted, had fired to kill. Captain Seagrave had further distinguished himself by sending a clergyman to gaol for three months as a common criminal. He (Mr. Sexton) thought it his duty to bring the matter before the notice of the House, as his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner), in making an earnest effort to bring it under public notice yesterday, had brought himself in conflict with the Chair. His hon. Friend made allegations of the gravest kind against Mr. Seagrave, on his own responsibility, and upon information which he believed to be credible and conclusive. It appears that Captain Seagrave was in South Africa in 1882, in command of a detachment, and it was alleged that he embezzled the moneys of the canteen, the property of the detachment, and that in the result Colonel Cherry, the officer in charge, wrote for an explanation, threatening him with arrest, and ordered the adjutant to write to the Adjutant General for the compulsory retirement of the officer. The second allegation was that Captain Seagrave appropriated to his own use a sum of £5, the property of a soldier in his detachment, which had been given to him to forward to England. On being questioned by his superior officer, he made the false statement that he had obtained a Post Office Order for the amount on a certain post 1025 office, and had forwarded it to England; and on inquiry being made it was found that he had never obtained an order for that amount at the post office mentioned. The third allegation was the gravest of all. It was said that Captain Seagrave, having first exploited the funds of the canteen, in the second place exploited the money of a soldier intrusted to his charge—he then exploited the funds of the Government. It was alleged that he had embezzled the money intrusted to him to pay the men of his detachment. In consequence of this, telegrams were sent to the Standard Bank and all its branches in South Africa not to honour his cheques; an officer was sent to relieve him—as it was euphemistically called—of his detachment, and he was placed under arrest, Three officers, whose names were given, having been duly constituted a Court of Investigation, unanimously recommended the instant dismissal of Captain Seagrave, and their report was acted upon by the authorities. He (Mr. Sexton) was not aware whether these allegations were true; but, as the hon. Member for Mid Cork had been unable to bring the matter plainly and clearly under the notice of the House, he felt it his duty to do so. These allegations having now been brought under the notice of the Government, public opinion would not tolerate any evasion of the subject. He could not imagine the Government shirking an inquiry. If they did, the shame and the injury would fall on themselves. If the Government refused to institute an immediate inquiry into the matter, it would be the duty and the right of anyone in Ireland who was summoned to appear before this man to refuse to attend, whatever might be the consequences. It was the right of the Irish people, who had to submit to this man on the Bench—when, if what had been said was true, he should be in the dock—that an investigation should be at once instituted into the charges against Captain Seagrave.
MR. PHILIPPS (Lanark, Mid)
said, Cradley Heath had been described by Lord Beaconsfield in one of his novels as "The Hell Hole of England." That showed that its condition was not an affair of yesterday, and that nothing could be done by private agency. Public action ought now to be taken. After the legislation for Ireland, he failed to see 1026 how the Government could refuse to undertake public works in Cradley Heath for the amelioration of the condition of the people. The President of the Local Government Board had stated that it was difficult to get the people to sanction Government interference; but he was told that they were now ready to accept it; he wished to know whether the Government would promise to consider any scheme for bringing the people under the factory system, seeing that they had urged the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) to press forward their case for this interference?
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
said, he knew nothing about the charges against Captain Seagrave, but he had hopelessly failed in competition for the Army. Then he went out to South Africa, enlisted as a private, subsequently taking service under a Zulu Chief. On his return to Ireland, Captain Seagrave was appointed a Resident Magistrate. It did seem to him if the resident magistracy of Ireland was made up in that way, it was impossible the people could have any confidence in them. What he rose for principally, however, was to apologize to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to what passed yesterday as to the Soudan. The right hon. Gentleman took the high ground that the declarations of the Government had been so clear and explicit that it was almost an insult to question further as to any possible intention to advance into the Soudan. It should be remembered that that poor House was, after all, one of the bodies of the State, and it would be a great comfort to hon. Members if they could get some of the crumbs of comfort which fell from the rich man's table in another place. If he had known what declarations had been made in the House of Lords he should not have pressed his questions, because those declarations were most explicit and satisfactory. Nothing could be more proper than the policy indicated by the head of the Government on the previous night in "another place." He quite agreed that the Government could not possibly negotiate with the tribes for the reason that they had nothing to offer them; and he was delighted to know that the Government had no intention of taking charge of the Suakin district or any other district of 1027 the Soudan. It would have been well, however, if this declaration had been made in the House of Commons.
§ MR. CAREW (Kildare, N.)
said, he was obliged to call attention to the brutal attack made by the police on the people of Naas on the 3rd of this month. There had been many attacks by the police in Ireland on meetings of the people in different parts of the country, but none more wanton and unprovoked than that to which he was about to refer. On the date in question there had been several prosecutions at Naas, and a number of the most respectable citizens were sentenced to imprisonment. Naturally there was some excitement, but popular feeling was kept well under control, and there was no disturbance and no riot. At the close of the day the band of the local branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association turned out and played some popular airs. After about 15 minutes they returned, and were in the act of playing the final tune opposite their bandroom before dispersing, when, without one word of warning, they were set upon by a party of police, who knocked down the leader of the band, pushed its other members about, and kicked their instruments about the street. This unjustifiable violence they followed up by at-tacking the crowd more savagely, sparing neither sex nor age, and inflicting very serious injury on several persons. Not content with dispersing the crowd in this fashion, they scoured the lanes and bye-streets for further victims, and, subsequently, procured reinforcements from the barracks to aid them in the work. In the meantime, Father Kinsella, a clergyman who had never mixed in politics, and who came down the street solely on a mission of peace and humanity, was seized by the throat by a ruffianly constable, who raised his baton at the same time as if to strike, but the policeman's hand was seized at that moment by a civilian who happened to be passing, and thus possibly a Coroner's inquest was averted. The Solicitor General for Ireland had stated that the disturbance was commenced by the stoning of the police, but he (Mr. Carew) had unimpeachable evidence to the contrary. He had on his side the evidence of Mr. Warmington, a bank manager of Naas, who was an Englishman and a Protestant, and, if anything, an anti-Nationalist. This gentleman, when 1028 questioned by a newspaper reporter as to what had actually occurred, said that the conduct of the people seemed to be more like that of school-children playing than anything else; that everything was of the most innocent character; that after the baton charge there was some disorder, and some stones were flung; and that if the police had been kept in their barracks and had not interfered, all unpleasantness would have been avoided and no disturbance would have occurred. They had also the evidence of the Coroner, who, in his medical capacity, had to attend several of the victims of the police violence, and who was so disgusted at the wantonness of the attack upon the people that evening, that he threw up his post of medical adviser to the police. Several other gentlemen, whose impartiality could not be questioned, also gave testimony that the attack by the police was perfectly unprovoked. These statements could only be fairly tested by a sworn inquiry into the conduct of the police. This brutal and savage assault by the police had caused a good deal of indignation amongst all classes of the community. A general meeting of the inhabitants of Naas, including all shades of politics, unanimously condemned the bâton charges by the police as unprovoked and without warning, and demanded a sworn inquiry into the conduct of the police officers who were in authority on the occasion. A similar resolution was passed by the Board of Guardians, which included amongst its members prominent members of the so-called loyal minority, like Baron de Robeck. He might mention that Head Constable M'Farlane, who was in command of the baton party, had been severely reprimanded by Judge Day at the Belfast Riots Commission for permitting plain clothes policemen under his control to attack inoffensive boys and girls on the Shankhill Road. The Government were bound to make fair and full investigation into this matter.
§ MR. WADDY (Lincolnshire, Brigg)
said, that during that Session almost scores of cases of complaint had been brought before the notice of the Members of the Irish Government in that House; but in hardly a single instance was a definite and categorical answer given by them. The hon. Member for North Kildare (Mr. Carew) had that day brought forward a charge, supported by 1029 credible and unbiased evidence, against the police; and no explanation had been afforded of the matter; no sworn inquiry had been made; and the only information they received was that a secret police inquiry had been held with nobody present to check the statements offered. With regard to the case of Captain Sea-grave, he would only say that, when an hon. Member made such charges in the House as had been made by the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), it was not enough to offer anything but the fullest inquiry. He had had some experience of the procedure of Resident Magistrates' Courts, and beyond saying that it was orderly and conducted with courtesy, nothing could be said in its favour. He had been present when the cases of the Vandeleur evictions had been tried. One of the incidents of the evictions had been the beating down of certain houses. It was suggested at the time that proper notices had not been served; but, whether that were so or not, the great mistake had been made of attacking the wrong house. The person whose house had been wrongfully attacked took out a summons against the Resident Magistrate (Colonel Turner), the Sheriff, and others involved; and the case had come before the very same Magistrates who had been convicting and sentencing the tenants. A solicitor, who said he was instructed by Dublin Castle, had objected to the case being gone into at all, but the Magistrates, deeming this an insufficient excuse, had sought for a better one. It was stated that the Magistrate who had signed the summons was one who usually did not sit in that particular Court, the fact being that application had been made to the proper Magistrate, Mr. Walsh, who had declined to sign the summons because he was involved with Colonel Turner in the case. The Magistrates had accordingly marked the summons "no rule," and had refused to state reasons for so doing. He would ask hon. and learned Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench whether they would justify such a proceeding, and whether they thought there was a Police Court in England in which the Magistrate would refuse to hear a case which it was his duty to adjudicate upon? Would the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland let them have in this matter an honest and independent inquiry?
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
said, it appeared to him, after the testimony which the hon. and learned Gentleman had borne to the demeanour of the Resident Magistrates in the Court over which they presided, and the testimony which the Courts of Appeal had also borne to the correctness of their decisions that the case in their defence was pretty complete. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that he was present at several cases heard by the Resident Magistrates, and that the proceedings were orderly and the demeanour of the magistrates was courteous, and yet he took it upon himself to assert that these gentlemen were biased up to the eyes. Did the hon. and learned Gentleman recognize the gravity of his statement, which was not one that should be lightly made? As to the case arising out of the Coolroe evictions, he could tell the House that there was no objection to entering upon it, because the correctness of the decision of the Resident Magistrates had been affirmed. The hon. and learned Member asked, wiih reference to the proceedings arising out of the Vandeleur evictions, whether he would defend the Magistrates for refusing to entertain a certain summons? To that he would reply that before pronouncing an opinion he must know all the circumstances of the case. The Magistrates either had jurisdiction or they had not. If they had no jurisdiction they were bound to refuse to entertain the summons.
§ MR. MADDEN
said, that this was the question in the case, and that if they had jurisdiction the remedy was simple—the person whose summons they refused to hear could have applied to the Superior Courts for a mandamus. He had also been asked by the Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. Sexton), supported by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had last spoken (Mr. Waddy), what the Government intended to do with regard to what he said about Captain Seagrave. That was a matter of a totally different character, and he would ask the House in all fairness to consider the facts which he now laid before it. The first he had heard of these alleged transactions was on Wednesday, when the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) read in his 1031 place in the House a letter which he had received, and which contained these scandalous charges. Now he thought, and in all common fairness, it should be remembered by any Member of that House, and by any member of the public who considered the matter, that these charges, whatever be the foundation for them, were brought against this gentleman on the very concluding days of the Session, when there would be no time for such an inquiry as would have enabled him to lay any facts there might be, if such there were, before the House in contradiction of the charge so brought, and, further, that the accusation was brought under circumstances which would prevent that gentleman, if unjustly assailed, from vindicating his character by proceedings in a Court of Law. He, therefore, thought the House and the public would do well to suspend their judgment in a case of this kind, having regard to the circumstances under which these charges were brought forward.
§ MR. MADDEN
said, the hon. Member must be aware that since the matter was first brought before the House there was not time to investigate it. But this he would say—if either the hon. Member who had received the letter, or the writer, or any person who attached credence to it, chose to bring the matter before the authorities, of course there would be an investigation. He, however, strongly deprecated the House or the public forming a judgment with regard to the conduct of this gentleman upon statements made in a way which afforded him no opportunity of vindicating his character in a Court of Justice, and brought forward in the manner which he had mentioned.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he did not ask any person to form a judgment; he only asked that means should be given to form an accurate judgment.
§ MR. MADDEN
said, he admitted that the hon. and learned Member suspended his judgment, and he hoped every Member of the House would follow his example. As to the matter which occurred at Naas, the circumstances as related to him differed materially from what had been stated by the hon. Member for North Kildare (Mr. Carew). On that very day, some hours before the attack was made upon the police, a speech was delivered in the town by the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner), in which the police were denounced in violent terms. According to the information before him, shortly after that speech an attack with stones was made upon the police in the public street, and it was in consequence of that attack that the police took what would be acknowledged to be the proper step in such circumstances by clearing the streets. No person appeared to have been seriously injured. The hon. Member for North Kildare read a statement from a local paper which he thought contradictory of that which he laid before the House. But, according to Mr. Warmington's own statement, he was not in the street at the time, but in the office of the bank of which he was manager; and he was not in a position to see what was going on, because at a certain point of the transaction he turned off the gas so that he might be able to see what was occurring. All that Mr. Warmington's statement amounted to was that from the position he occupied he saw no stones thrown. The police appeared to have done their duty without unnecessary violence, and no one was seriously injured.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR) (Tipperary, S.
said, the speech of the Solicitor General for Ireland showed it was the special province of the Law Officers of the Crown in the House to uphold the Resident Magistrates in Ireland, no matter what they did; but the statement that the Magistrates of Ireland and all those connected with the administration of the law in that country were above the law had not been contradicted. That was the lesson that was taught the people of Ireland, and he was surprised that it had not borno more bitter fruit. The charge against Captain Seagrave was made on Wednesday, and up till then he had not denied it. 1033 They had been asked by the Government whether there was any truth in the charge. Some kind of inquiry had been promised, but would Captain Sea-grave be suspended in the meantime? The charge had been made by an hon. Member of that House, and, although that hon. Member was at present under the censure of the Chair, that did not take his position from him, nor did it detract from the gravity of the charge. It was not respectful to Members of the House that the hon. and learned Gentleman should belittle the manner in which the charge was made. He had seen Captain Seagrave present at meetings which were suppressed, and asserted that he was a hard and cruel magistrate, and quite unfit to have the liberties of Her Majesty's subjects in his hands. The Government which maintained that man in office was not calculated to inspire confidence in the minds of the people. What sort of inquiry was to be made? One set on foot by the Castle would not satisfy that House. The charge made by the hon. Member for North Kildare had been dismissed by the Solicitor General in a very light manner. To suppress meetings appeared to be a sure means of obtaining promotion from the Government. The fact was that the magistracy and the police force of Ireland was simply nothing but organized and armed ruffianism. The published report of an interview between a reporter and a Dr. Smith showed that the attack of the police was unprovoked. The statement of that witness was not open to the objections taken by the Solicitor General for Ireland to the evidence of Mr. Warmington, as Dr. Smith was in the street and between the crowd and the police before the attack took place. The fact was they suffered very much from the conduct of the police and the Magistrates in Ireland. And he was not surprised that a man of the excitable temperament of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) had got into conflict with the Chairman yesterday when referring to the case of Captain Seagrave. Many hon. Members opposite who cheered at the suspension of his hon. Friend—
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB (Tower Hamlets, Bow, &c.)
rose to Order, and asked whether the hon. Member was in Order in referring to the suspension of the hon. Member for Mid Cork?
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
said, that taking into consideration the conduct of the organized ruffianism of the police and the decisions of the Magistrates and the defence of their illegal and wanton proceedings by the Front Bench, he wondered, indeed, that more occasions were not taken for private vengeance on those Magistrates and police. The Chief Secretary had defended men of bad character and tyrants in Ireland day after day in a way that would have aroused resentment and retaliation in any country of the world but Ireland. That retaliation had not occurred was due to the fact that Irish Members did all in their power to restrain the people. He hoped there would be such amendment in this matter on the part of the Executive that they would not witness the recurrence of deeds they might have to regret in Ireland.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
said, he wished to refer briefly to what he might call the crying evil of the want of University education in Ireland. The British Parliament voted large sums for University education in Ireland, but they got extremely little for their money, because that money was administered against the whole wishes and spirit of the people. The people of the country would not go to the Universities in sufficient numbers unless those Colleges were in consonance with their religious belief. He was not against the Protestant Colleges at all, but he objected to the money all going to one Protestant and three Secular Colleges, while three-fourths of the population were Catholics, who were anxious to get the benefits of their religion in conjunction with the University system. He would propose that the Colleges of Gal way and Cork should be made Catholic, and that the endowments of Trinity College should be re-distributed so as to be more in accordance with the wants of the present day. If the Government by such a policy could divert the attention of the country into other channels they would find that the Vote for the Constabulary would rapidly diminish, and that the time of the House would not be so constantly occupied with questions of law and order.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
said, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway (Colonel Nolan), on the subject of University education in Ireland, certainly found a most sympathetic listener in him. Long before the hon. and gallant Gentleman was in Parliament he (Mr. Goschen) took a great interest in the question, and many of those who were now denounced as enemies of the Irish race did their best to secure benefits in that direction to the Irish people. He held the hon. and gallant Gentleman to his word, that if the Government took steps to improve education in Ireland, and also to deal with public works, they would find there was not so much need for the police. [Colonel NOLAN: Hear, hear!] He acknowledged the hon. and gallant Gentleman's solitary cheer, but it would have been more satisfactory if it had been echoed by his friends. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. John O'Connor) spoke, if not in a violent, at all events in a very forcible manner, and he told the House that he and his friends were doing their best to restrain the people of Ireland. Well, if it was by speeches such as that which they had listened to from him this afternoon that he endeavoured to restrain the people, he could not expect a satisfactory result from his oratory. He presumed that speech was meant not so much for the House, but was delivered rather for the purpose of being printed and published in Ireland. In that speech the hon. Gentleman palliated and excused private vengeance on the police. That speech was to be reprinted in Ireland, and then the hon. Member told them his object was to restrain the people in Ireland, and that he and his friends did their best to accomplish that object. The hon. Member was very eloquent and energetic on the point that there would be a close inquiry into the charges against Captain Seagrave, and that no publicity would be given to the matter; and he censured the Solicitor General for Ireland because he said the hon. and learned Gentleman had belittled the accusation, which was repeated by the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
§ MR. SEXTON
If you want to know exactly what the Lord Mayor of Dublin 1036 did, he repeated the statements made by the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) two days ago on information supplied by a correspondent.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he did not know how far the hon. Member for Mid Cork endorsed them. All they knew was that a correspondent, whose name was not made known to the House, had communicated these charges to the hon. Member for Mid Cork. He thought the indignation of tone assumed by the hon. Member for Tipperary should have been reserved until he came to know more with regard to the truth of these accusations. Of course they must be inquired into, and would be inquired into. They would be inquired into in the manner which the Government believed best calculated to elicit the truth. But hon. Members called for the suspension of this magistrate in the interval, and they did so on the strength of a letter, the name of the writer of which they did not even know at present. He reserved his judgment as entirely as any Member, but he protested against the doctrine that any public officer was to be suspended because of a letter written to a Member of that House, the very author of which was unknown, to the House. He was sure hon. Members opposite themselves must see that it would be impossible to suspend a public officer on such information. Hon. Members said they did not expect to be satisfied with a Government inquiry. How had this information been brought before the public? It had been put before the public under the privilege of that House, and if hon. Members distrusted the Government in regard to eliciting the truth and arriving at the bottom of these accusations, their course was open to them. Let them publish the letter in such a manner that the party accused might be able to defend and vindicate himself in a Court of Law, and in that case they would have every satisfaction, if they should not be satisfied with the inquiry to be made by the Government. With regard to the remarks of one of the Members for Lanarkshire as to the application of the Factory 1037 Acts to the Cradley Heath district, and as to the industry there being willing to place itself under Government inspection, that was a matter which, of course, the Home Secretary would consider. The inclination of the Government would certainly be to bring under the Factory Acts every trade to which they could fairly be applied, and to bring to an end those deplorable conditions under which this industry was conducted. A suggestion was made, which he thought was extraordinary, considering that the hon. Member who made it belonged to a Party most anxious for the breaking up of great estates and multiplying the number of peasant proprietors.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that land offered a security, but he did not see what security was offered with regard to the industry in the Cradley Heath district. Public funds ought never to be loaned except where there was security, and some certainty that actual good would result. The suggestion was that there should be relief works. It was thought that the refusal of Government to intervene was due to motives of hard-hearted-ness or carelessness; but it was rather because the proposal would do more harm than good to the very persons in whose behalf it was put forward. The hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) had pressed the Government to state why they were increasing the police in Bechuanaland, and protested against devoting money to that object. Well, he should like to say, in all courtesy to the hon. Gentleman, that he did not think the hon. Member was quite the man in that House to ask that particular question, because, while he was undoubtedly exercising his right as a Member of that House, he was also the official Representative of the Transvaal Republic, with an exequatur from the Republic; and therefore, in African policy, he thought they might deal with him as they would with the Representative of a friendly and neighbouring State, and should decline to discuss with him the situation of an adjoining country.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that no word of his had suggested that the hon. Member had been acting otherwise than in the most honourable manner.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that in that case he must have been misinformed, because he had been told at the Foreign Office that the hon. Member received an exequatur from the Transvaal Republic which accredited him to this country.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he had never heard that the exequatur had been withdrawn, and he understood it was not long granted. In saying this, however, the hon. Member would recognize that he did so only as showing that the hon. Member stood in an official position to the Transvaal Republic, and that his relations disqualified the Government from accepting him as an authority on the position of affairs in Bechuanaland. With regard to the strengthening of the police, the reason was that bands of filibustered, coming occasionally, he thought, from the Transvaal Republic, had at times threatened Bechuanaland, or that part of it which was under the British Protectorate; and, that being so, we were under the regrettable necessity of having to increase the police. The hon. Member also joined with the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell) in discussing the situation of Scotland as regarded the distribution of the Probate Duty grant, and especially as regarded the position of some parishes in the Lews. The hon. Member for St. Rollox was, he thought, more eloquent than he had ever heard him. He worked himself up into bursts of oratory; but while he was defending the cause of Scotland he really forgot that he was a Scotsman, for he said that the people of Scotland would endorse what he said. He (Mr. Goschen) believed the people of Scotland would repudiate the hon. Member, because they, above everything, liked a logical man; and never was there a greater want of logic than in the speech of his hon. Friend. He first argued as if Scotch education ought to be settled by 1039 Scottish authorities alone; but then he went on to contend that when there was a poor district where education had to be assisted there ought to be an Imperial grant for that particular district, so that Scotch education was to be a purely Scotch affair as regards its control, but an Imperial affair as regards the pecuniary responsibility. The hon. Member was not right in his facts any more than in his logic. He spoke of a certain number of Gentlemen on the Front Ministerial Bench as being responsible for Scottish education. He omitted the fact that Lord Lothian, Lord Watson, and Sir Francis Sandford were on the Scotch Education Board, and they were as high authorities as the hon. Gentleman himself.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked the right hon. Gentleman how many meetings of the Department Lord Watson had attended?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he could only say that Lord Lothian and Sir Francis Sandford had given great attention to these matters. But he could tell the hon. Gentleman that, poor ignorant Saxon as he (Mr. Goschen) was, he believed he knew more about the particular parishes of which the hon. Gentleman had spoken to-day than the hon. Member himself; and why? Because he had gone thoroughly into the matter with men who had come from the spot, with Inspectors and others. The particulars of very rate and salary had been examined. They had gone most thoroughly into every part of the business, knowing its extreme importance, and the difficulty of the deadlock which had occurred with regard to certain schools in the Lews. But, before saying a few words about those schools, he would like first to reply to the statement of the hon. Gentleman, that Scotland was badly treated as regarded Imperial grants. They had had a calculation made, and it appeared that per head of the population in England the rate of contribution was 4s. 10.3d., while in Scotland it was 5s. 4.5d. Therefore, what hon. Members did was this: they selected certain cases in which Scotland seemed to be at a disadvantage as compared with England, while they left out all the other cases where Scotland received more. It was obviously impossible for him to enter at large upon that very important subject, but the Government had promised that they 1040 would deal with Scottish local finance as well as with Scottish local government in the coming Session, when the hon. Member and his Friends would have ample opportunity of examining all the figures; and he could assure the hon. Member that there would not be the slightest disposition to stint Scotland in any way. They were anxious that Scotland should have its full share in Imperial grants, and should not contribute more than it ought to contribute according to its population, wealth, and contributions to Imperial Revenue. To return to the districts where the schools were in difficulties, the hon. Member spoke as if the Government had neglected them. He thought he had said enough to show that the Government had given their personal attention to the matter, and he (Mr. Goschen) had himself gone as carefully into it as if he had been a Member of the School Board or of the Parochial Board of one of these parishes. It had been a very intricate question, and Lord Lothian and the permanent staff had examined it to the full; but the difficulties were enormous, and the Government were not content just to get over the immediate difficulty by inaugurating the principle that when School Boards became bankrupt the State was immediately to step in and relieve them from their anxieties, especially where, as in this case, there had been extremely lax administration, great extravagance, and where practically no fees at all had been collected. He acknowledged the poverty of many of the districts; but it was extraordinary that not more than £5 were collected in fees in four parishes in the Lews during three or four years. The neglect to make any attempt to collect fees was an important element in the case, and was one of the reasons why the Government considered that it was impossible for the State to step in and relieve the School Boards by the simple expedient of a grant. It would have been a most fearful precedent, and would have been holding out an encouragement to the School Boards in poor districts to run into hopeless debt, because then the public purse would be immediately open to them. He wished to point out—it was only right it should be pointed out—that while there was great poverty in the Lews, the rateable value had been 1041 enormously depreciated by the action of the population itself. Large properties—for instance, many sporting properties—that contributed largely to the rates had been entirely ruined. Anarchy had had its certain fatal effect in diminishing the total rateable value of the property in the parish. Wherever lawlessness prevailed, it affected the value of land and other property, and depreciation followed, and the land became, as he thought the hon. Member for Caithness had said, almost valueless. The hon. Member for St. Rollox, at the beginning of his statement—and that was another specimen of his Caledonian logic—pointed out that the heavy rates in those districts were wrung from the people. The hon. Member drew a terrible picture of the 5s. 4d. rate being wrung from a starving and suffering population. When the hon. Member made that remark, he said to a right hon. Colleague sitting beside him that if the Government contributed anything out of the Imperial funds for the relief of these very rates, it would be immediately said that it was not the population Government intended to relieve, but that their only object was to help the landlord out of his trouble. But little did he dream that the hon. Member himself would have said so before he came to the end of his speech. He left the Scottish readers of the hon. Member's eloquent speech to say how he could get out of the difficulty. Either the people paid the rates or the landlord did, or the people paid part and the landlord part. He did not think both paid the whole. The fact was, he believed, that neither paid in full. Lady Matheson, the proprietrix of the Lews, had been ruined. It had been shown that though she could not pay her rates in full, she yet actually paid more than the rents she received. No doubt the situation was most deplorable, and the Government were anxious to deal with the general situation by a scheme of emigration. The hon. Member for Caithness said more land ought to be given; but he likewise said, if the people had the land rent free, he did not believe they could exist on it. That being so, he presumed the hon. Member did not propose they should go elsewhere and take land from other landlords to supply the wants of these people. If the people could 1042 not exist, even though they got the land rent free, then emigration would be one of the best remedies, and the Government would earnestly entreat the House next Session to assist them in devising a scheme. On Monday next there would be published Minutes showing the whole history of the School Board difficulty referred to, and the measures the Government proposed to take to deal with the deadlock. The Government had no official information of the resignation of the School Boards; but, even if they had resigned, he did not know what evil effect it would have. But hon. Members would see from the Minutes what relief would be given. A Chief Inspector would be appointed to take the matter in hand, because if those parishes required special assistance, they must also put themselves under exceptional treatment as regarded the control of their finances. The Government had had before them educational budgets for each parish to show what relief was necessary. He trusted that their proposals, when they were known, would prove satisfactory. At all events, the hon. Member, who was perfectly justified in calling attention to the subject, would see that the Government were far from neglecting it, but that they had been giving it their constant and urgent attention. The hon. Member might not agree with the steps taken; but the Government had endeavoured to deal with what had been justly described as an extremely difficult and delicate matter, so as at once to give substantial help, and not to create a bad precedent. It was a Scottish Board, and not the Board in London, which determined the size of the schools, which he must say, from all he had heard, were ridiculously too large. There had been a monstrous extravagance in the erection of magnificent school buildings to contain twice the number of children ever likely to occupy them. It was a Board of Scotland which fixed the numbers, and their proposals had repeatedly been out down by the Education Board in London. It was only fair to state that when an attack had been made on the Education Board in London.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked whether it was not the fact that the London Board had supreme control over the Scottish Board?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Yes; but what would the hon. Member have said if the Saxon element had overruled the Scottish Board who cried for the education of their children? If the Scottish Board had asked for accommodation for 400 children in a particular parish, and then the Saxon element in London had said no, 200 would suffice, it would have formed the greatest Scottish grievance ever submitted to Parliament.
§ MR. NOLAN (Louth, N.)
pointed out that the right hon. Gentleman had made no answer to the several specific instances of the brutal and cowardly outrages perpetrated by the police on women and children in Ireland which had been brought before his notice.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, it would be impossible for him to deal specifically with those cases, as he had not the requisite information on the subject.
§ MR. SEXTON
asked, if the Government meant to continue the services of Captain Seagrave as a magistrate pending the inquiry promised?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
was understood to say that their present information would not warrant them in suspending Captain Seagrave.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
Sir, I understand that my absence from the House just now was made the subject of animadversion by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I wish to explain that I was simply called out by a visitor. I wish, as indignantly as I possibly can, to repudiate the insinuation of the right hon. Gentleman that my speech was intended to incite to outrage in Ireland. I have done more to put down crime and outrage in Ireland than the Chancellor of the Exchequer and all his Colleagues put together.
§ MR. SEXTON
What answer does the Chancellor of the Exchequer make as to continuing Captain Seagrave in his employment?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that question rested with the Department of the Chief Secretary. At present all he knew was that the accusations against Captain Seagrave were contained in a letter sent to the hon. Member for Mid Cork, the writer of which they did not know. That was not information on which they could suspend a magistrate.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.