HC Deb 23 November 1888 vol 331 cc24-6
SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, with regard to the Motion for the appointment of a Committee to inquire into schemes of emigration which he had moved last night, and which stood seventh on the Orders for this evening, Whether he would consent to enlarge the reference so far as to authorize the Committee, in considering the question of colonization, not to confine themselves solely to British Colonies?

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

I must remind the hon. Gentleman and hon. Members that I explained last night, as well as I could, the immediate objects which the Government had in view. The House will be asked to vote a Supplementary Estimate with reference to a certain tentative colonization experiment which has been made from the Western Islands of Scotland. We desire to get as much information as we can with reference to this experiment before the House is called upon to proceed any further with it; and we thought that it was only carrying out the pledges into which we had entered with the House that this Court should sit during the Autumn Session, make their inquiry, and report their opinion to the House with reference to this particular question, in order to guide the House in the present necessity. I am fully aware of the desire of hon. Gentlemen that the inquiry should be a large one into the whole question of colonization, and that it should not be restricted either to Scottish crofters or to any part of the United Kingdom. That large question must be entered into next Session; but if the House is of opinion that this Committee, which we desire should sit to advise the House, and to collect information with regard to this particular question, should not be appointed during the Autumn Session, we should have no alternative but to forego the Motion on the Paper. I should greatly regret that; because I think that, without reference to opinions and prejudices which hon. Gentlemen may entertain on the question, valuable information may be placed at the disposal of the House, which might guide them in coming to a decision as to the Vote, and as to the question whether or not colonization should be entered upon.


gave Notice that when the Motion came on for consideration he would move that the scope of the inquiry be enlarged, so as to consider the question of colonization, not confined solely to British Colonies.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

asked whether the First Lord of the Treasury would not exempt the Order for the appointment of this Committee from the operation of the 12 o'clock Rule?


I think it would be a mistake to enter upon a prolonged discussion of such a matter, probably at a late hour this evening. It is one on which I hope to arrive at practical agreement with hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, as well as my hon. Friends behind me. If I cannot arrive at such an agreement, I am afraid I will not be able to press for the Committee. It is obvious that the appointment of a Committee, even on a question of this important character, is not a matter on which the Government, at this period of the Session, can enter into a prolonged dispute with any Member of this House.