HC Deb 12 July 1888 vol 328 cc1185-202

Resolutions [1st June] reported.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)


MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)

said, he begged to rise to a point of Order. His Motion had been on the Paper for four weeks before that of the hon. Gentleman opposite, and he therefore appealed to the Chair for priority.


No doubt, the hon. Member is entitled to priority.


said, he begged to move that, before the House agreed with the Committee in paying the salary of the Colonial Secretary, the Vote be re- duced by the sum of £1,000, in order to call attention to the case of Sir John Pope Hennessy; but, before he entered into the merits of the case, he could not help referring to the attempt which had been made by the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) to push him (Mr. Baumann) out of his way. His Motion had stood upon the Paper for four weeks, and it had reference to the conduct of the Colonial Secretary and to a despatch which was laid upon the Table of the House a year ago. It appeared that since then Sir John Pope Hennessy had brought an action for libel against The Times, of which he (Mr. Baumann) knew nothing. He had not even read the reports in the papers relating to the case; but, because Sir John Pope Hennessy chose to bring an action against The Times, was he (Mr. Baumann) to be told, as a Member of Parliament, that he was to be precluded from commenting on the action of a Minister and on a State document—a despatch which had been before Parliament for 12 months? He must say that he had never heard such a cool attempt to jockey any Member out of a place he had held on the Notice Paper for four weeks. [Cries of Order!"] Well, he would withdraw the word "jockey," which had escaped him in the heat of the moment, and which was, perhaps, not Parliamentary.


said, as a matter of fact, the Notice of the hon. Member was put upon the Paper after he (Dr. Clark) had given Notice in the House at Question time that he would move to reduce the salary.


said, that he could only repeat that he had put his Notice on the Paper a month ago—that was a matter of fact; and he would now proceed to deal with the subject of his Motion, merely adding that his irritation seemed to him to be very pardonable. A year ago, Sir Henry Holland, now Lord Knutsford, wrote a despatch which he (Mr. Baumann) was sorry to be obliged to say must always remain in the archives of the Colonial Office as a monument of inconsistency. He did not propose to enter into the subject-matter of the main body of that despatch. He did not propose to enter into the differences which had arisen between Sir John Pope Hennessy, the Governor of the Mauritius, and certain persons in the Island. He only proposed to read one or two paragraphs from that despatch. In Paragraph 21, Lord Knutsford said— The conclusion in respect of these charges at which I have arrived after studying the evidence, of which the general character is well described by Sir Hercules Robinson in the 95th and 97th paragraphs of his Report, is that the Governors in carrying out his policy, which was highly approved of by part of the inhabitants, but viewed with suspicion by another part, including the English and official element, identified himself too much with the party that supported his view and became a partisan rather than an impartial Governor holding the balance evenly between all parties. This conduct has intensified the opposition and caused much bitterness of feeling; it has created, as the evidence shows, a general want of confidence in the Governor and a disbelief in his fairness; and it has placed Sir John Pope Hennessy on a most unfortunate footing with some of the officials with whom he has to work; and thus has materially affected the peace and good government of the colony. In Paragraph 24 the Colonial Secretary said— Having now briefly dealt with the leading points in this case, I have only to add that, after careful and anxious consideration of the evidence, I have not felt it my duty to advise Her Majesty to remove Sir John Pope Hennessy from his Governorship, and the suspension of his Commission will accordingly cease from the day of the date of this despatch. He was sorry to say that the concluding paragraph was wholly unmeaning. He put it to any hon. Gentleman whether the impression produced in his mind was not that the Secretary to the Colonies intended Sir John Pope Hennessy to return to the government of Mauritius. In fact, it was stated specifically in Paragraph 24 that the suspension of his commission would accordingly cease from the day of the date of that despatch. The date of the despatch was the 12th of July, 1887, and it was now by a very curious coincidence the 12th of July, 1888. From that day to this Sir John Pope Hennessy had never journeyed one mile or one yard towards the Colony which he had been appointed to govern. He did not know whether Sir John Pope Hennessy was now in London; he was a short time ago. Why had he not gone back? The Under Secretary told him a short time since that Sir John Pope Hennessy was absent on leave. Was he sick? He was well enough to perambulate the Lobbies of that House, to embark in a vigorous litigation with The Times, and to dine with the Colonial Secretary at the State banquet on Her Majesty's birthday. But, if Sir John Pope Hennessy was sick, why did he not resign his place and let some one be appointed in his stead. Was it not a scandal to see this Colonial Governor living in London and drawing £3,000 a-year out of a poor little island in the Indian Ocean, while some secretary on the spot did the work and braved the climate? He did not believe it was the work or the climate that Sir John Pope Hennessy was so much afraid of; it was the people of the Colony whom he dared not face with the terrible indictment of the Colonial Secretary round his neck. The Secretary for the Colonies had made what was already a difficult position impossible. If he intended to re-instate Sir John Pope Hennessy in his Governorship he should have whitewashed him, instead of painting him black from head to foot and then ordering him to return. Sir John Pope Hennessy was suspended in December, 1886, and from that month to July, 1887, he was on half-pay. When, however, he was reinstated by the Secretary of State, he was paid upon the full scale, so that for the six months he drew £3,000. From July, 1887, to July, 1888, he had been living in this country drawing half his salary; and the Mauritius, whose population was just over 300,000, and whose total revenue was just over £700,000 a-year, had paid to Sir John Pope Hennessy £6,000 in the last 18 months as salary for doing nothing at all. He saw in some paper the other day that Sir John Pope Hennessy had bought an estate in Ireland. He did not believe that he had the smallest intention of going back to the Mauritius, or that the Government intended that he should go back. The fact was, the Colonial Office thought it necessary that he should somewhere make up the time, after which he could retire on his pension; and as he had embroiled and misgoverned every Colony in which he had set his foot, the brilliant idea of re-appointing him to the Colony he had misgoverned the most, and of allowing the colonists to pay him half his salary not to go back to them, suggested itself to the Colonial Office. The result was that the people of the Mauritius were in agony lest he should return, Lord Knutsford was in agony lest he should return, and Sir John Pope Hennessy was in agony lest some one should ask why he did not return. He had been told that the Mauritians would willingly pay twice £3,000 to keep him out of the Island; but he failed to see why the colonists should be called upon to pay blackmail to Sir John Pope Hennessy to the tune of £3,000 a-year because the Secretary of State for the Colonies had not the courage to deal with him as he deserved to be dealt with, and as he would have been dealt with had he been anybody else or in any other Department of the Public Service. If he had committed one-tenth part of the indiscretions and misconduct referred to in the despatch in the Army or Navy or the Indian Civil Service, he would have been cashiered a long time ago. If Sir John Pope Hennessy was fit to govern the Mauritius let him go back, and do his duty and earn his pay: if not, let him be suspended, and let his successor be appointed. But to allow a Colonial Governor to live in London and to draw half his official salary upon the condition that he never set foot in the Island to which he had been solemnly re-appointed was a scandal not to be endured, and not to be passed over. What a premium upon misconduct among Colonial Governors. "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle at Cathay." Better £3,000 a-year in Pall Mall than £6,000 a-year at Port Louis! £3,000 a-year in London than £6,000 in Port Louis, coupled with the discharge of very arduous duties. Every Colonial Governor would say to himself in future, that if he could only set his Colony by the ears, a Commission of Inquiry would be appointed and he would be suspended. He would draw his full salary and would then be re-instated; and if he could only make himself sufficiently obnoxious to the Colonial Office, he would be allowed to remain in London and draw half his official salary, until he could retire upon a pension. He protested against such a system of administration for our Colonies as this. It was a scandal to the Public Service, and it was only a part of a much larger system under which a man appointed to an office considered that he had a vested interest in that office to the day of his death. Was that the way to inspire our Colonies with respect for the representatives of the Queen? In order that the House might mark its sense of the transaction, which he believed could not but be pre- judicial to the Colonial Service, he would move that the Vote be reduced by £1,000.

Amendment proposed, to leave out "£27,968," and insert "£26,968."—(Mr. Baumann.)

Question proposed, "That '£27,968' stand part of the Question."


said, that the amount of feeling which the hon. Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell (Mr. Baumann) had shown on this subject, with which he did not appear to have any special connection, suggested the idea that the hon. Member had been inspired by some of the merchants or proprietors of the Island. ["Oh!"]


said, there was absolutely no foundation for that statement.


said, he accepted the hon. Member's assurance. For his own part, he (Colonel Nolan) did not know Sir John Pope Hennessy, and had only seen him once, and he was opposed to him in politics; but after the speech of the hon. Member, he felt bound to say a few words in his defence. The hon. Member said that he had misgoverned every Colony to which he had been sent. That was not the case. He had been an excellent Governor, and his only fault had been that he had in more than one of those Colonies found the Native population much oppressed, and had endeavoured to get them a modicum of fair play. With regard to Mauritius, the hon. Member did not mention a single point in which Sir John Pope Hennessy misgoverned that Island. The hon. Gentleman had quoted passages from Sir Hercules Robinson's Report which were unfavourable to Sir John Pope Hennessy, but had studiously omitted to quote those which were favourable. If the hon. Member was ready to rely on the report of Sir Hercules Robinson, he ought to accept Sir Hercules Robinson's final verdict in the case, which was favourable to Sir John Pope Hennessy. But the hon. Member approached this matter in no judicial frame of mind. The explanation of the occurrences in Mauritius was very simple. What had taken place was due to the fact that a man was sent out as Lieutenant Governor who could never agree with anyone wherever he went. The man in question, Mr. Clifford Lloyd, while in Ireland, quarrelled with everyone—when in Galway he was hated by the people, and not even liked by the landlords, owing to his haughty spirit. Then he was sent to Egypt, but that did not improve him. He quarrelled with every one there, and he was then sent out to Mauritius. Here he immediately proceeded to quarrel with the Governor, and practically to raise up a mutiny against him. In that he was to some extent successful, and it had been found necessary to send Sir Hercules Robinson to investigate the condition of affairs, whose verdict, however, it was that he should remain Governor of the Colony. The hon. Member had referred to the absence of Sir John Pope Hennessy from his duties; but a years' leave of absence was not so very unusual—Governors constantly received six months' and nine months' leave. Sir John Pope Hennessy had shown himself to be an honest and fearless administrator, and his only crime had been his endeavour to do justice between the different classes in the Colony. He had thus excited the resentment of the ruling caste, with whom he (Colonel Nolan) could not help thinking the hon. Member must be in some way or other connected.


said, that as his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (Baron Henry de Worms) was detained by public duty elsewhere, and as he himself happened to have some special acquaintance with this matter, he desired to say a few words with regard to it. He regretted that the hon. and gallant Gentleman below the Gangway opposite (Colonel Nolan) had made an attack on his hon. Friend the Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell (Mr. Baumann), for the circumstances of the case were such as to fully justify his hon. Friend in calling the attention of the House to it. Upon full acquaintance with the facts, his hon. Friend would probably feel, however, that there was very unsubstantial ground for some of the observations he had made. His (Mr. J. P. B. Robertson's) acquaintance with the case arose from the fact that he had been invited by Lord Knutsford to sit along with him at the investigation which had been held at the Colonial Office, especially with regard to the judicial side of the question. Part of the question depended on the consideration of a very large and multifarious mass of evidence; and the decision at which the Colonial Secretary had arrived was that it was impossible to acquit Sir John of lack of judgment in the carrying out of a policy which, possibly, in the main was sound; but that, at the same time, the accusations brought against him, being specific accusations of serious misconduct in individual cases, and of want of duty to the State in questions of large policy, had failed. The case was one of great anxiety, and the Colonial Office were not unacquainted with the circumstances that had rendered Sir John Pope Hennessy's conduct on previous occasions open to criticism. Therefore, as he had said, the conclusion at which Lord Knutsford arrived was that while Sir John Pope Hennessy was free from blame on the specific points of misconduct alleged against him, at the same time it would convey an erroneous impression to the Mauritians and to the Public Service if some recognition were not taken on the part of the Colonial Secretary of the defects which had characterized his administration. The hon. Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell had, he thought, begged the whole question in assuming that the condemnation contained in the despatch constituted the whole despatch. The hon. Member had even gone the length—which he (Mr. J. P. B. Robertson) thought on further reflection he would regret—of having alleged that the acquittal on the part of the Colonial Office was insincere. He thought that, on further consideration, the hon. Member would not adhere to that view, but would describe by a less rough attribute the discrimination between the censure passed on a want of discretion on the part of the Governor and the consideration of his conduct in the cases in which specific charges had been brought against him. Very grave interests were concerned in this decision. It had appeared that it was impossible that the Colonial Secretary should either, on the one hand, recall a Governor who, though guilty of mistakes, was at the same time innocent in the main of the charges brought against him, or, on the other hand, should send him back to his administration without notifying that the Colonial Office did not sympathize with the defects of his administration. Sir John Pope Hennessy had rather rashly, and with a want of nice adjustment of conduct to circumstances, advocated the policy of Mauritius for the Mauritians, and in order to carry out that policy he had irritated the feelings of some who considered that they had claims for promotion. In such a case, two objects had to be looked at; in the first place, the Colonial Office had to see that nothing was done which would countenance a wrong policy in the Colony or defeat a right one; and, in the second place, that nothing was done to suggest that anyone should be condemned merely because he was the victim of a cry and had given rise to suspicions which might be ill-founded. He would, therefore, deprecate entirely the course which the hon. Member for the Peckham Division of Camberwell had taken in first assuming that, in a matter of this kind, there was only one aspect of the question, and then proceeding to say that it was a mere sham and a farce to retain the Governor in office and at the same time to keep him in Pall Mall. Had the hon. Member acquainted himself with the rights of Sir John Pope Hennessy to the allowance which he was drawing? There was nothing exceptional in the length of time during which he had been absent from his Colony, looking at his long period of service. Sir John Pope Hennessy, though his career in other places might have been the subject of observation, was a public servant who had occupied many distinguished positions under various Governments, and, according to the usages of the Colonial Office, he had a right to a long period of residence in this country. It was less than worthy of the hon. Member (Mr. Baumann) to speak about drawing a salary from the poor people out in Mauritius; it was merely the ordinary regulation as to a Colonial Governor, and Sir John Pope Hennessy had been drawing the half-pay of his office during a period which was in no way excessive. The despatch of the Colonial Secretary must be read as a whole; it was most unfair to select passages without looking at the general result of it; and he thought that on a closer examination than the hon. Mem- ber was apparently willing to give to it, he would see that his suspicions as to the course of policy pursued by the Colonial Office were unfounded. For his own part, he regretted that this somewhat stale matter had been brought up again. The decision of the Colonial Office had only been arrived at after long and careful consideration, and he trusted that the House would see no reason for refusing to agree to the Report.

MR. E. W. BECKETT (York, N.R., Whitby)

said, that he had been in Mauritius, and there could be no question that the feelings of the people there were immensely exasperated. During his stay in the Island, it was impossible to avoid noticing the intense indignation which existed throughout the length and breadth of the Island at the conduct which Sir John Pope Hennessy had pursued since he first set foot in it. His conduct seemed designed not to set classes against masses, but to set onehalf the island against the other. The feeling was such that the Island was in a state that might be described as social civil war. The French part of the population would have no dealings with the English; they would not even travel together in the same railway carriage; and he was assured by many men in all walks of life that the reappearance of Sir John Pope Hennessy at Mauritius would be the signal for an outbreak of the fiercest dissension that might possibly end in bloodshed. That being so, he could not help thinking that the charges against him had some substantial foundation. The hon. and learned Solicitor General for Scotland had studied the evidence, no doubt; but there was something stronger than evidence, and when one came in contact with the feelings of a whole population it was impossible to make a mistake. If the Solicitor General for Scotland had been at Mauritius, he would not have said that Sir John Pope Hennessy had pursued a policy which was "in the main sound." A policy which was in the main sound would hardly set one part of the Island against another. No greater misfortune could happen to Mauritius than the return of Sir John Pope Hennessy. The inhabitants were ready to pay £3,000 many times over rather than see him again. He admitted that the appoint- ment of Mr. Clifford Lloyd was a most unfortunate one; but the divisions in the Island were commenced by the policy of Sir John Pope Hennessy. To return to the despatch of Lord Knutsford, nothing, he contended, had arisen to show that the peace and good order of the Colony would be promoted by Sir John Pope Hennessy's return. His statement that Mauritius, like Ireland, had felt the heavy hand of England, whether right or wrong, was a grossly improper statement for a Governor to make. It meant that the Government should be taken out of the hands of the English and placed in the hands of the Creoles, the result of which would be that the prosperity of Mauritius, already declining, would very soon be a thing of the past. Within 100 miles of Mauritius there was the Island of Réunion, which was entirely in the hands of Creoles, and the contrast between the two Islands was most striking. Although Mauritius had, of course, suffered from the depression in the sugar industry, business was in the main thriving in several parts of the Island, whereas Réunion presented an aspect of desolate decay. The policy of Sir John Pope Hennessy meant that Mauritius would be reduced to a similar state of decay. Sir John Pope Hennessy had done all he could to eliminate from the Island all the influence that worked against him, and if he returned to the Mauritius, the last state of that Island would be worse than the first. He could only say that if the Colonial Secretary sent him back, he would show himself deficient in sympathy with the people of Mauritius and lacking in some of the most important qualities that a Colonial Secretary ought to possess.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

said, that the charge against Sir John Pope Hennessy was this—that because he had dared to stand between the exclusive spirit of the ascendency class in Mauritius and the people, he had incurred the resentment of the English colonists and their friends. The fact was that the celebrated Mr. Clifford Lloyd was the fons et origo of all the disturbances in the Mauritius. Until Mr. Clifford Lloyd was sent there from Egypt, no disturbances took place. He thought it would be very unwise for the House to go behind the Report placed before it, seeing that the Report went exhaustively into every matter, and if it erred at all it erred on the side of not giving Sir John Pope Hennessy justice.


said, he had had the honour of knowing Sir John Pope Hennessy for the last 20 years and had watched his career. The House knew that he had been in a good many Colonies, and no man who had been so long in public life could help making some mistakes. He believed, however, that Sir John Pope Hennessy's mistakes had always arisen from his desire to do justice to the Native population. Any Colonial Governor who was placed over a large Native population and endeavoured to govern them justly deserved the respect of the House, even though he might have made mistakes. He hoped the House would support the Government.

MR. P. STANHOPE (Wednesbury)

said, that the hon. Member for the Whitby Division (Mr. E. W. Beckett) had evidently informed himself of the local feeling in the Mauritius by taking the extremely suitable and expeditious course of questioning the waiter in his hotel. The hon. Member appeared to assume that the whole population of the Mauritius was English, and that if there were any French residents, they had no claim to consideration. He hoped the House would reject the Motion, and in doing so uphold this great principle—namely, that the English Governors of Colonies in which there were different races should hold an oven and free hand with regard to those different races, and should not consider that it was to the interest of the English that the other races should be subjected to any indignity whatever.


said, he wished to ask for the indulgence of the House to make a personal explanation. His Motion was placed upon the Paper on June 4, and except for three days it had remained on the Paper until now. During that interval of three days, the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) had given Notice of his Motion. In the circumstances, he wished again to express to the hon. Memher his regret that he should have attributed to him any desire to take an undue advantage. Before the House proceeded to a Division, they ought to hear from the Government whether Sir John Pope Hen- nessy was going back to the Mauritius or not. Would the Government answer that question?


being about to put the Question—


rose and asked whether the Government had any objection to answer the question put by the hon. Member with reference to the return of Sir John Pope Hennessy?

[No reply.]

The House divided:—Ayes 247; Noes 30: Majority 217.—(Div. List, No. 210.)

Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."


asked the First Lord of the Treasury to consent to an adjournment of the debate in view of the importance of the subject he had to raise, and the time it would require for discussion.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

said, he did not think it would be convenient to adjourn the debate, and having regard to the state of Business, he really did not know when the debate could be resumed. The previous Business in which the House was engaged had been interrupted, and the 12 o'clock Rule had been suspended in order that discussion on Report of Supply might be taken, and he hoped it would now be proceeded with.

MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

said, more than an hour had been occupied upon another question, a perfectly proper one; but it was not the fault of hon. Members who desired to draw attention to the state of affairs in Zululand. It was quite understood in the earlier part of the evening that the debate upon Zululand should begin at 11 o'clock. It was a subject of great importance, and he thought the House would be gravely wanting in the sense of Imperial duty if it were to proceed with the subject so full of menace to the peace of the Empire at such an hour.

MR. DILLWYN (Swansea Town)

supported the proposition for adjournment, to which he hoped the Government would consent. He begged to make a Motion to that effect.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—Dillwyn.)

MR. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, E.)

said, he sincerely hoped the Government would not insist upon proceeding at a time when, under the ordinary Rules, the question would not be debated at all. Certainly, he was under the impression that the debate upon Zululand would have been entered upon at 11 o'clock, and in view of the importance of the subject and the strong feeling manifested, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. H. Smith) would consent to adjourning the discussion to a more convenient hour.

SIR JOHN SWINBURNE (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

also hoped the adjournment would be agreed to in deference to the wish of the hon. Member (Dr. Clark), whose knowledge of Zululand gave him every claim for consideration. Following upon this Vote came another, an agricultural question, upon which he should have something to say.

MR. W. A. M'ARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid., St. Austell)

also joined in the request for adjournment. It would be a monstrous thing if the House, after devoting the greater part of the sitting to discussing the position of County Aldermen, should give but the fragment of an hour or so to a subject of such Imperial importance as the critical state of affairs in South Africa. If Her Majesty's Government did not consent to giving reasonable opportunity to discuss questions so vitally affecting our great Colonies, it would be adding one more to the long score of slights and he might almost say insults heaped on English Colonial subjects by Governments from either side of the House.


said, as he gathered that there were a large number of Members desirous that there should be an adjourned debate, he assented, and would ask the House to proceed with the Report of other Votes to which there was no opposition.

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

said, he was glad to hear that proposal, which he was about to make himself. [Laughter.] He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman had slipped away after pronouncing his ipse dixit. If the right hon. Gentleman thought that the House was to be bound by what fell from him as to when Colonial matters should be discussed, he must be convinced of his mistake.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.


said, he hoped the Resolution would be postponed as one upon which discussion would arise. [Cries of "No, no!"] Then, what he had to bring to the notice of the House was the fact that while there was an expenditure of £12,000 a-year on a Department, and while they had in Professor Brown an officer at the head of his Profession, yet the valuable results of this gentleman's knowledge and experience contained in Reports to the Office were not circulated, and in fact, to all intents and purposes, so far as benefit to agriculture and the farmers was concerned, were utterly useless. He wished to impress upon Her Majesty's Government the importance of widely circulating these Reports. If an hon. Member called upon Professor Brown, that gentleman would, in the course of a few minutes, describe and illustrate by sketches the leading principles which lead to the propagation of disease among animals. Hon. Members who were interested in county business would be aware that many hundred pounds were annually spent in paying for cattle that had to be slaughtered because they had been in contact with other animals affected with pleuro-pneumonia. Taking the 52 English counties, the average loss on that account could not be less than £500, so that something like £26,000 a-year was spent in the endeavour to suppress pleuro-pneumonia. What he would impress on the Government was that they should issue the valuable Reports in relation to that disease and other matters at the different post offices throughout the country, not simply supplying them when ordered. Farmers would not read what they did not first see; but these Reports would probably have a wide circulation if copies were kept at every post office in agricultural districts, and the postmasters encouraged by the allowance of a liberal percentage to push the sale. If there was the slightest alteration in the postal service, publicity was given to it in the window of every post office. If the date of despatch or rate of postage on mails to Fiji or the Falkland Islands was varied, it was notified to the public, and the information might be useful, perhaps, to one in every 2,000 people who read the notice. Let equal publicity be given to these valuable Reports of the Agricultural Departments; let them be kept at every post office, so that the farmer going in might see them, and know the price. They might rest assured that the only way of stamping out this terrible disease was by appealing to the understanding and securing the assistance of the British farmer. But he had made inquiry, and he found that farmers had absolutely no knowledge of these Blue Books, and upon these Reports of Professor Brown their minds were a perfect blank. But let these Reports be exposed for sale, and they would be bought and read with interest, and the Department would secure the co-operation of all classes of the agricultural interest in stamping out disease. He hoped he might have the support of Members from Ireland, for it was well known that the City of Dublin had, for many years, been the hot-bed of this terrible disease, pleuropneumonia, which must be stamped out, as foot-and-mouth disease had been stamped out. Anybody who had anything to do with agricultural land in the North of England knew that growing corn was out of the question. It could not be grown at a profit, and, therefore, recourse had to be had to pasturage work, the breeding of cattle, for which there was, perhaps, no country in the world better adapted than Great Britain, except Ireland. But if a farmer were asked why he did not take to breeding cattle to diminish the depression that lay heavy on agricultural pursuits, he would say he was almost completely shut out from investing capital in that form of industry from fear of the ravages of disease. We had an Agricultural Department that cost, not merely the £12,000 a-year set down in the Estimates, but £2,000 for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who generally overlooked that Department, and whose salary, though it did not appear in the Estimates, came out of the pockets of the taxpayers. He hoped that the work of the Department and this expenditure would be made more useful by increasing the sale of the Reports. There should be a liberal allowance made to postmasters to encourage them to push the sale. Booksellers did not get enough profit out of the sale of Parliamentary publications, and did not care to sell them. Why should not post offices, which were made the means of encouraging recruiting and of circulating emigration proposals, be made the means of promulgating this most valuable information?


said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government were entirely in sympathy with him in his desire to give these publications the largest possible circulation throughout the country. The hon. Baronet had spoken in high terms of praise of Professor Brown, and he had done that gentleman no more than justice in saying that he was at the head of his Profession. As to the suggestion of the hon. Baronet, there was a practical difficulty in carrying it out. The hon. Baronet recommended that in every post office there should be a supply of these Reports of Professor Brown; but it need hardly be pointed out that if every post office, to the number of some 20,000, had a supply of these books, then as other Parliamentary Papers would be of interest in other localities, there would be an enormous increase in the cost and waste of Parliamentary Papers. The hon. Baronet himself pointed out that farmers would not buy the books unless they actually saw them first, and possibly that would apply to other classes than farmers, and it was to be feared that the business of the Post Office would be seriously interfered with, especially if, as the hon. Baronet contemplated, postmasters were paid for pushing the sale.


They should be allowed a percentage on the sales.


said, that in itself would lead to a considerable increase in expenditure, because every dealer in Blue Books would expect to have equally favourable terms. The hon. Baronet referred to the fact that the Post Office issued notices of the alterations in the Mail Service; but surely the exhibition of such notices was part of a postmaster's duty to provide information in relation to the Department. From time to time the Government had endeavoured to some extent, if not to the full extent, to meet the desire of the hon. Baronet by issuing gratuitous copies of Reports on this and other subjects. This was done recently with the Reports in reference to swine fever, and the Government were anxious that information of that kind should reach those who were practically interested; but there must be a limit to the gratuitous circulation, and Parliamentary Papers were issued at a price barely covering the cost of paper and printing. He had consulted with his right hon. Friend the Postmaster General, and his right hon. Friend pointed out that while there were practical difficulties in the way of supplying postmasters with Parliamentary Papers, the contractors, with whom was the right of sale, issued periodical lists, and those lists might be supplied to postmasters, and be obtainable by anyone who desired to know where and for what price any particular publication could be procured. That would not go the full length of the hon. Baronet's suggestion, but it would show that the Government were fully in sympathy with his object, though practical difficulties prevented the carrying out of his recommendation.

Resolution agreed to.