1. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £23,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1890, for Her Majesty's Foreign and other Secret Services.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
Since my Motion was placed on the Paper a Vote on account has been taken, and I therefore beg to move the reduction of the Vote, not by £30,000, but by £20,000. The only new feature of the Vote this year is that it is £5,000 less than it was the year before. I wish to urge, first, by way of repetition, the general objection I have taken to this Vote on other occasions, and next to deal with it by way of special objections in consequence of the answers by the 1824 Home Secretary to questions which have been put to him during the present Session. With regard to the general objection I would refer the Committee to the evidence given before the Public Accounts Committee by Sir William Dunbar in support of the doctrine that all payments of every character made out of the monies voted by this House ought to be audited by somebody. Although last year that argument was met by the statement that each Minister made upon his honour a declaration as to the disposal of the money, I think I shall be able to show the Committee as to the Home Office at any rate, and possibly at the Foreign Office and the Irish Office, that that declaration is utterly illusory. The Foreign Office has not expressed its opinion in any answer, but the answer of the Home Secretary has been so distinct as not to leave the possibility of any doubt. Sir William Dunbar says—The only reason hitherto brought forward in justification of departmental resistance to the law of Parliament is that if proofs of the application of Civil Service money were placed in the hands of the Controller and Auditor General such a course might admit him to the knowledge of some of the purposes, covered by that vote which, in the interests of the public service, should be kept undivulged. In my judgment the same trust which may be reposed in a subordinate officer should be extended to the Controller and Auditor General, who is a high Parliamentary functionary, holding one of the most responsible offices under the Crown, and therefore bound by every obligation of duty and honour to act with discretion. It may be safely assumed that so far from revealing anything that would compromise the interests of the State, the only items of the Secret Service accounts likely to be challenged publicly would be payments, if any should occur, applied to other than Secret Service purposes.Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Ryan have expressed a similar opinion. Now, it is quite clear from what has occurred in the case I am going to refer to specially, that disbursements of Secret Service money have been made by persons in no way under the control of a Minister at all. Therefore the declaration of the Minister of the Department in which Secret Service money is expended is a declaration of no real value and affords no protection, because in some cases it is abundantly manifest, and may be so in all cases, that the Minister does not know into whose hands the money passes, to what purpose it is ultimately applied, or 1825 whether or not it has been used for some purpose for which this House ought to have been called upon to vote it, and therefore have had an opportunity of expressing an opinion as to the desirability of the expenditure. The occasion I am going to refer to is the case on sworn evidence of the man Beach, who has been repeatedly spoken of in this House, and whom the Home Secretary describes by the alias he gave to himself of Major le Caron; le Caron is a person who had been employed and paid for many years, according to his own evidence; and, as far as I am aware, he has never been paid out of any money voted by this House other than the Secret Service money. He could only have been paid out of the money at the disposal of the Foreign Office, the Irish Office, or the Home Office. I am inclined to think from the evidence of Le Caron himself that he was not paid out of the Foreign Office money. It appears to be clear both from Le Caron's own statements and from a letter sent to the Times, and read by a Member of the Cabinet before it was sent to the Times, that he was paid by moneys which came solely from the Home Office. Therefore I am not inclined, in connection with this case, to make any attack upon the Foreign Office except the general objection that it is possible that there, too, there may be agents of a similar character—agents the office are not directly acquainted with, but into whose hands the money goes to be applied to purposes of which the Minister has no knowledge. Nor have I any evidence to connect this man, Le Caron, with the Irish Office, and it is solely with the Home Office that I feel justified in connecting him. Mr. Anderson appears to have an office at the Home Office, and Le Caron appears to have been specially connected with the Home Office in what he was doing, but absolutely nothing was known at the Home Office of him. The present and some time Home Secretary did not know his name; and two other ex-Home Secretaries in the House have never heard his name; and it is clear, therefore, that Le Caron has been employed and has received money out of the Secret Service Fund, and that he corresponded with no person responsible to this House, but with a gentleman who happened to be connected with the Home Office, and who happened to have access 1826 to the Secret Service money through the Minister, but who was left entirely uncontrolled in the disbursements he made to Le Caron, and was required to give no account of the reports of Le Caron whatever their nature may have been. So much was that so that these reports were kept together not as part of the archives of the Home Office, but as part of a private—I will not say friendly —correspondence between Mr. Anderson and Le Caron, and were absolutely regarded by the Home Secretary himself as being documents over which the Home Office itself had no control, but the private property of this person to be had by him when he pleased, and how he pleased, and to be done with what he pleased. I would suggest that when the present Home Secretary, following the example of his predecessor, made a declaration on his honour as to the application of the money disbursed by Mr. Anderson, he must have trusted blindly to Mr. Anderson. I do not suggest that Mr. Anderson is not a gentleman perfectly worthy of that trust, but what I do suggest is that a practice of this nature opens the door to the widest possible misuse of the public money. And what is true in the case of Le Caron will probably be equally true in the case of every other agent occupying a similar position to Le Caron. It is clear that even Mr. Anderson did not know what Le Caron did with the whole of the money, because Le Caron in his evidence, which was unchallenged, said that he made payments to people who were not named. Perhaps the whole of the £35,000 this year and the whole of the £40,000 of last year found its way into the hands of persons whom I will not describe, because no description could properly do justice to them. This is a system likely to lead to horrible crimes, for there is a tendency on the part of such men to get up the conspiracy for which they receive the most money—a tendency to manufacture crime. In 1833 there was an investigation by this House as to the application of moneys from the Home Office, and Mr. Richard Mayne, Assistant Commissioner of Police, afterwards Sir Richard Mayne, showed that the money paid out of this very fund was applied in England to paying men to buy pistols for the purpose of pretending that there was a conspiracy of physical force, for which allegation there 1827 was not one word of truth. I say that money of this kind becomes a temptation to manufacture crime, and it would be quite possible for the Home Secretary to say, as Sir Richard Mayne said in 1833,I know nothing of any irregularities committed by any of the agents of the Home Office.But when you employ scoundrels to do scoundrel-like things crime generally results from their employment. Therefore I ask the Committee to vote for the reduction of the Vote as a protest against the possibility of the manufacture of crime. I do not pretend that no Department should have the control of moneys not voted by this House; but the expenditure of such moneys should come under the supervision of the Comptroller and Auditor General. Of course, we now have the assurance of the Government that this money is not applied in payment of anything which the House could be asked to vote; but that has not always been so, and although the Government may answer for themselves and those with whom they deal directly, it is impossible for them to control other agents who may be employed indirectly. The moment a Minister parts with money to some one who does not account to him for it, all control over that money is necessarily lost. I have felt bound to make this protest, and I hope the House will divide on the question. I beg to move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £20,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £3,000, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Bradlaugh).
§ SIR J. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)
I have always felt that it is necessary to provide a certain amount of Secret Servive money. No doubt, the employment of Secret Service money in past years has been very much abused and used for purposes that were never intended—sometimes for purposes which ought to have been voted by this House, and sometimes for a purpose—namely, to control elections—for which the House never would have voted it. The real question is whether we have now sufficient security that the money is properly applied. I think we have, and I notice also a gradual reduction in the amount 1828 of the Vote. So far as Le Caron is concerned, whether his employment was judicious or not, it is distinctly one of those cases in which Secret Service money must always be employed. If the Government are to defeat a Fenian or any other conspiracy, they must employ secret agents, and they must pay those agents. I think that after the declaration of the Government as to the future application of Secret Service money, the Committee ought not to be divided on the question of the employment of Le Caron, which is past and done with.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W)
The Home Secretary says that he never heard of Le Caron or of the documents which were sent over to him, but nevertheless Le Caron swore that he was in receipt of a fixed salary of so much a year. I heard Le Caron's evidence, and so far as the value of it is concerned, it was simply a lot of flimsy gossip which any ordinary newspaper correspondent could have supplied. The correspondence Le Caron sent to Anderson could not be said to belong to Anderson, and therefore in giving that correspondence to Houston a man who had swindled the Times) Anderson simply stole it. It was a correspondence which extended over some years, and Anderson never obtained permission from the Home Secretary to hand it over. It was supposed to be of great value, and ought to have been kept with great care. I think the Committee are indebted to the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) for bringing the matter forward. I think the Committee would do well to mark their sense of the indiscreet way in which these things are managed. If you want secret information, in the name of goodness pay for it; but do not keep it for years in the hands of an irresponsible person, and allow that irresponsible person to steal it without the fear of any punishment whatever.
§ MR. MATTHEWS
The subject raised by the hon. Member for Northampton is one upon which my lips are almost sealed, as the hon. Member must be perfectly well aware. The hon. Member's speech is an argument against having any Secret Service money at all. [Mr. BRADLAUGH: Hear, hear.] I do not propose to argue that question with the hon. Member. I confess that so far as my personal feelings are concerned, there is no part of the 1829 duties of my office more disagreeable than the disposal of Secret Service money; but so long as it exists it stands to reason that I must give no account of it, for if I did, it would cease to be Secret Service money, and therefore, I repeat, my lips are sealed. I can, therefore, only make a few general observations in reply to the hon. Member for Northampton. The hon. Member says there is a risk of Secret Service money getting into improper hands. I am afraid that this is inseparable from the necessary employment of sub-agents. That is a circumstance which imposes great caution and circumspection upon those who dispose of the money, but it is a circumstance which will not be met by the suggestion of the hon. Member that the Controller and Auditor General should audit the expenditure. We do not find that the persons to whom Secret Service money is necessarily dispensed are always trust-worthy. One remedy would be that there should be no Secret Service money at all, but that is not the point put by the hon. Member for Northampton. The hon. Member also says that Secret Service money leads to the employment of that hateful creature, happily unknown in this country, the agent provocateur. Since I have been responsible for the expenditure of Secret Service money I have spared no pains to prevent the employment of such persons as agents provocateurs. There was a system which for aught I know, may have prevailed before I took office—I do not profess to know anything of what happened in the time of my predecessors—and that is, to wait until a crime is what is called "ripe" before interfering. So far, however, as I am concerned, I have done all I can to discourage such a system. My instructions have always been that no dallying or trifling with a projected crime shall be allowed for a moment, for that mode of action is precisely what led to the existence of agents provocateurs. It has been said, and it is perfectly true, that some Secret Service money has gone of late to persons who were unknown to the Ministerresponsible for the distribution of the fund. There is nothing extraordinary in that. Information is constantly coming from persons whose names are only known to one agent of the public service, and that agent would be acting dishonourably if he were to reveal the names. Every 1830 criminal Department receives information from men whose names cannot be disclosed. Of course sometimes the information is not trustworthy, but at other times most valuable information is given by accomplices whose consciences have at last been touched. The real safeguard against a useless expenditure of money is for the Minister to take care that his principal assistant is a thoroughly capable man. Having said that, I cannot but take advantage of the opportunity to renew my strong and emphatic testimony to the capability of Mr. Anderson. As to Le Caron, his name, as I have already told the House, was unknown to me until a short time ago. I have nothing to subtract from the declaration which I made on a former occasion with reference to Le Caron, nor do I desire to amplify it. There are, it cannot be denied, obvious objections to any system of Secret Service money, but on the other hand great advantages accrue from it. The Committee will, perhaps, remember a prosecution successfully undertaken not long ago against two men whose design it certainly was to use dynamite in London, probably in this very House. In that case a great public danger was averted by the discovery of the intended crime, and that discovery would never have been made if there had been no Secret Service Fund. The amount of the fund is diminishing, and is smaller than it was a few years ago; and taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, I think the Committee will be doing wisely in continuing the Vote.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH
The amount of the fund may be less than it was a few years ago, but it certainly is far larger than it was 50 years ago, so that if it diminishes at the same rate in the next half century we shall not have gained very much. I quite feel that the right hon. Gentleman is within his right in refusing to answer my statements, but there was one fatal flaw in the reply he made. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Controller and Auditor General ought not to audit these payments, not because he would not be a proper person to audit them, but because the money has already been paid, and it would be too late. If that is so, the Controller and Auditor General would be a useless officer altogether, because his audit only comes after the money 1831 has been applied. But I remember a case in which the Controller and Auditor General drew attention to an item of several thousand pounds. A correspondence took place in regard to it, which extended over several years, and although the money was never given back, the effect of the discussion was to prevent the occurrence of a similar item in future. The right hon. Gentleman says that it is very often necessary to pay secretly for information about crimes. In connection with that point I may remind the right hon. Gentleman that in one of the worst scandals that has ever been disclosed in our Detective Department men were implicated who stood high in the Department, and who were relied on specially as efficient distributors of Secret Service money.
§ * MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
There can be no misconception as to the position which the Controller and Auditor General occupies, and the controversy which has been raised on various occasions as to what the duties of the Controller and Auditor General are in reference to this Vote. The House of Commons came to a definite decision upon that point. The House of Commons vote annually £30,000 or £40,000 for Secret Service. That very expression implies that no one is to know to what special purposes the money is devoted, and, therefore, if the Controller and Auditor General were to seek to ascertain how the fund is expended he would be exceeding his powers. This money is practically dispensed by the Cabinet, and no Minister outside the Cabinet knows anything about its appropriation. In the Cabinet itself special precaution is taken to prevent any misappropriation of the money, for every Minister concerned in its expenditure has to sign the following declaration:—I hereby certify that the amount actually expended by me or under my direction for Secret Service in the year ending March 1, 18—was so much, and that the balance in my hands was so much; and I further solemnly declare that the whole sum so expended has been paid for purposes to which, in my belief, Parliament intended that Secret Service money may be allowed, and that no part of the sum has been paid for any service which has been or could properly have been provided for by an ordinary public department.Every Minister who spends one penny of the Secret Service money has 1832 to make that declaration, and if the 12 or 15 gentlemen who form the Cabinet can be entrusted with the management of the domestic and foreign policy of the British Empire, surely they can be entrusted with the expenditure of £30,000 or £40,000. That the money may be spent foolishly is possible, but you must trust to the Home Secretary, and if he is not fit to be trusted to that extent, then he is not fit to be Home Secretary at all. On a former occasion a Chancellor of the Exchequer said—I wish to point out that if Secret Service money be granted at all it must be granted so that Parliament cannot trace it. It is a vote granted to Ministers for a public purpose as to which Parliament trusts absolutely to the discretion of Ministers on the condition and understanding that the employment of the money shall be absolutely secret.The hon. Member has referred to certain evidence given before the Special Commission, I submit to the House that the time has not arrived for us to review those proceedings. When that Commission closes its investigation, it will be not only our right, but our duty to examine the proceedings from beginning to end in all its details. The present proposal, however, would by a side-wind condemn that which is, I think, a very necessary part of our constitutional system—namely the trusting of Ministers with moderate sums of money for Secret Services. Under these circumstances, while recognizing the consistency of the course, my hon. Friend, the Member for Northampton, has taken in this matter, whatever Government has been in power, I think that if, after his speech he takes a division to-day, it will be capable of being misunderstood, because it will appear that one issue is being put before the country, whereas the House itself is voting on another issue. We cannot accept his Amendment without voting against the principle of Secret Service, and I do not think that a large number of Gentlemen on either side of the House are prepared to abolish Secret Service altogether.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH
May I say that with respect to the Parnell Commission I carefully refrained from making any reference to it except so far as the facts had been stated in this House in answer to questions put either to the Chief Secretary for Ireland or to the Home Secretary.
§ MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)
I wish to say one word in support of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton. I can quite understand hon. Members agreeing with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), but we have to remember that this Vote affects Ireland as well as England. I have no hesitation whatever in saying that, as far as England is concerned, any money spent under this Vote is spent in a legitimate way. With regard to Ireland, I think the case is wholly different, and I firmly believe that the fact that such a large sum of money is voted every year for Secret Service—for purposes which will never be explained in this House—really tends to the creation of crime in Ireland. You must remember that the country is filled with informers, and it has been proved over and over again that informers in Ireland have themselves got up crimes. The case of the informer Cullinane is a case in point. I have no hesitation in saying that the policeman, Whelahan, would not have lost his life and the raid very likely would not have taken place, but for the work of that informer. What led the informer to engage in the matter at all? It was the hope of being paid by the Government out of the Secret Service Fund. I am positive that there are numbers of men in Ireland who make it their business to endeavour to get information of some kind or other implicating people in the commission of crime, solely and simply with the object of obtaining this money. I regard it as a most dangerous thing in a country like Ireland to hold out to men of the Cullinane type inducements to get up bogus informations in the hope of obtaining money from the Government. It would be an extremely interesting thing to ascertain how much of the large sum of money annually voted is spent in connection with Ireland. I am certain that a great proportion of it goes in keeping up this wretched, miserable class of informers in Ireland. With regard to the money Le Caron is alleged to have obtained from the Secret Service Fund, all I can say is that the Government did not get very good value for their money. I have great pleasure in supporting the Motion.
§ MR. BIGGAR
I should like to say a word or two in reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler.) He says that a complaint is made against Cabinet Ministers. The complaint, as far as I am concerned, is not against the Cabinet Ministers at all, but against the obscure persons to whom the Cabinet Ministers delegate their authority, and who would not have been known by name even now but for an accident. In Le Caron's case the money was paid through an obscure person who turned out to be a thief, and stole the papers he got from Le Caron. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary told us that Mr. Anderson was a man of high personal character.
The hon. Member is treating the name of a public servant with great freedom. His remarks are not relevant to the discussion.
§ MR. BIGGAR
Well, Sir, the money came through this particular person. I say that it may be perfectly right for a Cabinet Minister to have the distribution of this money, but that he ought not to hand it over to people who turn out to be exceedingly improper characters.
The Committee divided:—Ayes 43, Noes 141.—(Division List, No. 137.)
Original Question put, and agreed to.
2. Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £6,595, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum. necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Her Majesty's Secretary for Scotland and Subordinate Officers.
§ DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)
I rise to move a reduction of this Vote on the ground that the manner in which the citizens of Glasgow have been treated by the Scotch Office has involved them in great and needless expense in the matter of the Glasgow Boundaries Commission. The question of extending the municipal boundaries of Glasgow has again and again been brought before this House, in the shape of private Bills, but unsuccessfully. In 1886 there was a severe struggle on a private Bill between Glasgow and some of the adjoining burghs, in regard to annexation, and the Bill was ultimately thrown out.
§ Mr. Caldwell,
one of the bailies of Glasgow, in his evidence before the Committee on private Bill legislation last year, gave a history of the matter. He said that in 1886 a Bill for the extension of the Glasgow boundaries went before a Committee of the House of Commons, and eventually was sent to the House of Lords. The proceedings were then interrupted by a dissolution, but, by an order of the House, they were carried over to the new Parliament. At the conclusion of the proceedings, Mr. Caldwell said, everybody was struck with amazement to learn that the Bill had been thrown out. Well, there was so much dissatisfaction at the result, that the Marquess of Lothian, on being appealed to, at once saw the necessity of having a Commission to inquire into the subject on the spot. It was arranged that the whole expenses of the Commission should be saddled on Glasgow. The Town Clerk of Glasgow gave evidence to the effect that the total expenses occasioned to Glasgow were over £5,600. The expense caused to the suburban burghs must have been of an equal amount. The result was not only to cause this expense, but to engender the bad feeling usually created when the conflicting claims of various districts are asserted. The inquiry was granted for the purpose of doing away with further applications to Parliament for the extension of those boundaries, the Chairman being the predecessor of the present Lord Advocate (Mr. Macdonald). The authorities in Glasgow never had the smallest doubt that they were virtually promised by the then Lord Advocate that a public Bill should be brought in for the purpose of giving effect to the recommendations of that Commission. I asked a number of questions of the Lord Advocate as to when the Bill would be brought in, using language which distinctly implied that a promise had been given—and never once was that promise repudiated. Last year, when the present Lord Advocate had succeeded to his present position, I asked him whether the Government would not bring in a Bill to give effect to the promise of his predecessor, and he answered the question without any repudiation of the promise. Again, on one occasion, the whole of the seven Members for Glasgow waited on the Secretary for Scotland 1836 (Lord Lothian) for the purpose of urging him to bring in a Bill to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission, and although all the arguments used were based on the assumption that a pledge had been given, not a single word was said by the noble Lord in repudiation of the existence of such a pledge. This year, when the Scotch Local Government Bill was coming before the House, the crisis became more acute, and it was regarded as a matter of the utmost necessity that these boundary questions should be settled at once and without delay, so as to enable the different Local Authorities concerned to understand their financial position under the new arrangement. Deputations came up, and after trying to get some answer from the Secretary for Scotland, they proceeded to the Prime Minister. The result was that the matter apparently came before the Cabinet. At all events, the authorities in Glasgow received a letter from Lord Salisbury's Secretary stating that the Government had given careful consideration to the proposal that they should introduce a Bill to Parliament relating to the boundaries of Glasgow, but it did not appear to them that sufficient cause had been shown for so great a departure from the ordinary rule by which Bills of this nature were usually governed, and they were unable to accede to the suggestion that it should be introduced as a Government measure instead of a private Bill. The result was that the authorities in Glasgow attempted to bring forward the subject as a private Bill, but they were too late to comply with the Standing Orders, and the Bill was thrown out on the Standing Orders. I am not going to contest the principle that the proper way is to proceed by private Bill in a case of this kind; but if so, why did Lord Lothian grant a Commission? I must say that the citizens of Glasgow have great reason to complain of what has been done. They have done their best to obtain a fulfilment of the promise made on behalf of the Government, and on several occasions their treatment has strongly resembled what is vulgarly known as a snub. On one accasion they applied for an audience of Lord Salisbury, and the only satisfaction they could get from him was the letter I have read. There can be no question that Lord Lothian was mainly responsi- 1837 ble for the issue of the Commission, and that the directions to the Commissioners were issued in his name. I want to know whether he was authorized by the Cabinet to grant that Commission; because if he was, on what ground can the Government now repudiate his action? My colleagues who were present at the interview with Lord Lothian will bear me out that his Lordship offered no word of dissent to the assumption that the Government were pledged to deal with the recommendations of the Commissioners by public Bill. There could have been no object in issuing the Commission if such had not been the intention. There is another ground on which I protest against the action of the Government. What, I ask, is the use of a Secretary for Scotland if he is not allowed to deal with such a question? I do not say that Lord Lothian was right in issuing the Commission, but I say that having done so and saddled Glasgow with the expense, he was morally bound to see that the Government carried out the promise he had given. I asked the Lord Advocate a question which I put on the paper in reference to the "promised legislation," and it was then for the first time that the Lord Advocate said he had found no trace or indication of such a promise having been given. I know that the people of Glasgow have no doubt on this point; they have again and again stated that such a promise was given; and although they may not have proved very wise in this matter, I do not think they are such absolute fools as to have incurred all the expense of this Commission without having the promise of some quid pro quo which was to arise out of it. The whole thing lies in a nutshell: the Secretary for Scotland was solely responsible for the issue of the Boundaries Commission which induced the people of Glasgow, under what seemed to be a promise of legislation by means of a public Bill, to share the expense of that Commission with the neighbouring authorities, at a cost to Glasgow of over £5,000, and to the surrounding burghs of at least as great a sum. He allowed the assumption of this promise to remain uncontradicted for over twelve months, but at the end of that time when he is again approached he assumes a sort of non possumus, and when an appeal 1838 is made to the Prime Minister he informs them by his secretary that although he has put them to this expense and has set neighbours by the ears over the matter, he does not think this is a case for doing what they have all along thought he was going to do; and he tells them to have recourse to a proceeding which they could have thought of for themselves without his advice had the Government refused to issue the Commission at all. The result is all this needless expense and the deferment for two or three years of the settlement of the boundary question, which ought to have been arranged before the passage of the Local Government Bill. I now beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £500 from the salary of the Secretary for Scotland.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A, Salaries, &c., be reduced by £500, part of the Salary of the Lord Advocate."—(Dr. Cameron.)
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON, Bute)
I regret exceedingly that the constituents of the right hon. Gentleman should entertain a feeling of disappointment at the decision come to by the Government. The hon. Gentleman has conceded with great frankness that he does not dispute the propriety of the Government abstaining from initiating legislation in this matter, and that is an important admission. It is unquestionably the case that the question of settling the boundaries as between one Local Authority and another is not a question which is ordinarily taken up by the Government; but the hon. Gentleman complains that false hopes have been aroused in Glasgow to the effect that the Government would undertake this duty. He has not, however, specified when and where or by whom any such promise was made, and in behalf of my noble Friend the Secretary for Scotland and the right hon. and learned gentleman my predecessor, I have to say that neither of those officials made any promise that the Government would introduce legislation on the subject. I think the case of the hon. Gentleman does not consist of explicit statements, but resolves itself into the proposition that the issue of the Commission by the Government must be taken to imply that the Government 1839 intended to propose legislation on the subject. But what are the facts? This question it seems had gone on smouldering in various stages of activity for a long time, and there was a moot point as to whether it would be of advantage to the community around Glasgow that this boundary question should be settled. That question had broken out in various shapes. It was, under these circumstances, strongly put before the Government that it would be desirable to appoint a Commission which would bring the parties together and enable them to come to some agreement as to the proposal for annexation. Had such a result been brought about it would have been productive of great public advantage, and would have placed the matter in a very different position from that which it then held, as one which was in dispute among the different communities. But that hope was disappointed, and it was found that the harmony anticipated did not commend itself to the different parties, on the contrary, there was a considerable protest from dissentients who believed they would suffer from annexation, and the question the Government had to face was whether it was proper to force on that annexation. They decided that it was not. I would point out that Glasgow is in no way damaged by this, nor are her interests affected or prejudiced. On the contrary, the result has been to focus public opinion on the merits of the question, and to bring together accurately and precisely the results of the inquiry. The hon. Gentleman has made further charges against the Government of different kinds. He complains of the conduct of the Government towards the officials of Glasgow. So far as the protest against Lord Salisbury not having given an audience to the Glasgow deputation, the reason was that it was not asked for.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I did not so understand it. I need hardly say that with regard to Glasgow there has always been a desire, not merely to show the respect due to that city, but also to show consideration for the large interests of the Glasgow people. I have stated the circumstances under which this Commission was granted. It 1840 was for the double purpose of ascertaining the facts, and also, if possible, to promote an agreement. The result of the Commission has been not to retard but to advance the general interests in so far as they can be served by accurate ascertainment of the facts.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question whether this Commission was granted with the authority of the Government, or whether Lord Lothian appointed this Commission on his own responsibility. If Lord Lothian acted on his own responsibility then I venture to say he was deceiving the people of Glasgow, who believed that this Commission was issued with the full weight and authority of the Government. They believed that this Commission was appointed not merely to ascertain the facts but also with a view to special legislation. But the result has been that Glasgow has not been able to move for the last three years in connection with this boundary question, owing to the promise held out by the Government that they were likely to deal with the subject as a Government measure. Under the Local Government Bill these districts outside Glasgow will be formed, and I want to know how they could afterwards be taken from the County Government and handed to the burgh. If the Government did not mean to legislate, they had no right to appoint a Commission, and I maintain that the fact of their appointing a Commission was an indication that they meant to legislate. Not merely has Glasgow been prejudiced, but it has been put to all the expense. The Lord Advocate said that harmony might possibly be the result of bringing the parties together. But I do not believe that anyone connected with the City of Glasgow had the remotest hope that harmony would be brought about by the Commission. The contention as to these boundaries has continued for years; it was the subject of discussion in Committee upstairs, and there was no prospect of agreement between the parties. The issuing of a Commission of this kind was not a mere Departmental act, but it was an act of such a nature that it required the authority of the Cabinet to deal with it, and Lord Lothian certainly acted in a manner 1841 which justifies the proposed reduction of his salary. Not only has the matter cost Glasgow £5,000, but her position is even worse, because these districts will be dealt with by the Local Government Bill, and I wish to know how you could proceed by Private Bill next year for the purpose of retaking those districts, and remodelling your whole county arrangements? If Lord Lothian had the authority of the Government in appointing the Commission, then the Government ought honourably to carry out the real purpose for which the Commission was appointed. With regard to the audience granted in London last year, it was for the purpose of getting the Government to say whether they were prepared to go on with the Bill. It was not a question of whether or not the Government would introduce a Bill. The only question was whether the Bill was to be introduced by the Government last Session, or whether it would be more prudent to introduce it this Session. From first to last there was no doubt that the Government were going to bring in a Bill, and that they were going to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners. The Government is certainly placed in a very awkward position with regard to Glasgow. The entire community of Glasgow, irrespective of politics, feel they have been prejudiced. The Local Government Bill is likely to stultify and upset this action in getting the burghs united, and it would be in the interests of Glasgow if this Local Government Bill could be shelved for the present year in order that they might have an opportunity of bringing forward their Boundaries Bill, and pass it before the boundaries could be decided under the Local Government Bill.
§ DR. CAMERON
The right hon. Gentleman has said that there has been no indication of a promise on the part of the Government that legislation should follow the issue of this Commission. Here are the terms in which his predecessor wrote to Lord Lothian:—My Lord, I have to inform you that I have determined to appoint a Commission to inquire and report with reference to future legislation, &c.What could be more definite than that? When the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate took office, he answered a question of mine on the 13th November last. I asked— 1842Whether he proposes before the end of this Session (the Autumn Session) to produce the promised Bill for carrying out the recommendations of the Glasgow Boundaries Commission?The Lord Advocate replied:—The recommendations of the Commission are still under the consideration of the Government, and I am, therefore, not in a position to give a definite answer to that question.It is clear that the Government contemplated the introduction of a Bill. It was not a question of whether or not they would introduce it, but whether they would introduce it speedily. If it was not the intention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to introduce a Bill, all I can say is that the language he used in this House in reply to various questions successfully concealed his thoughts. The deputation waited upon the noble Lord for the purpose of urging him to bring in his Bill; but now the Lord Provos of Glasgow is informed by Lord Salisbury's Secretary that it is not a question to be dealt with by a public Bill at all, but a question which should go before a Committee upstairs. Why did not the Government think of that before they issued their Commission and before they put Glasgow to expense? The right hon. Gentleman says that Glasgow has not been damnified. The citizens of Glasgow are deeply damnified by the matter. They have been damnified by the answer of the right hon. Gentleman himself; for, had he told us last year that this subject was a proper matter for decision by a Committee upstairs, then, Sir, Glasgow would at least have been in a position to give the requisite notice required by law, and the scheme would have come before Parliament in the ordinary way. As it is, they have acted in the delusive hope that the Government would carry out its implied promise. I do not know whether it might be possible to get the matter dealt with by a public Bill this year; if so, it would have been desirable that the Government should come to some decision at once.
§ * MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
I have listened very carefully to the debate, which opens up a question of considerable importance, as to which a few words were dropped by the Lord Advocate, but I do not think that he struck the key-note at all. What I 1843 understood the Lord Advocate to say was that there was no obligation on the part of the Government to bring in a Bill to carry out the recommendations of the Commission. Now, Sir, I think the precedents are all the other way. If an inquiry is conducted by a Commission appointed by the Crown, with power to take evidence—and I am told that this Commission had power to take evidence on oath—it is customary to follow it up by a public Act, and not to leave it to private persons to pursue the matter through the machinery of a private Bill. I do not myself remember any case, during my thirty years' experience of Parliamentary life, of a Commission being appointed with power to take evidence on oath, and of a failure to follow up its recommendations by a public Act. There are a good many instances in which the Government have brought in Bills based on the recommendations of their Commission, and I think we are entitled to a distinct explanation from the Lord Advocate, or some other Member of the Government, as to the precedents, if there are any, for the course pursued.
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir M. HICKS BEACH, Bristol, W.)
I am not sufficiently acquainted with the circumstances of the particular matter under discussion by the Committee to express a definite opinion upon it, but with respect to the question asked by the right hon. Gentleman, I can refer him to a similar case in which a Commission, ten years ago, was appointed to investigate boundaries of certain boroughs in Ireland, and notably of the City of Dublin. It was appointed by the Government and was much of the same character as that to which allusion is now being made. No Government, however, since then has brought in a Bill to carry out the recommendation of that Committee, and therefore the present is not the only case of non-interference on the part of the Government.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)
I wish to vote for the reduction of the salary of the Secretary for Scotland on broader and wider grounds than those which have been advanced by the preceding speakers, and I must begin by protesting, as I do in the strongest possible terms, that the Scotch Members are being infamously used in the way in which Scotch Estimates are 1844 being forced on during the afternoon of the last day before the recess, when a great majority of the Scotch Members are absent from town, and the few who do remain are being coerced into rushing Votes through without proper discussion, because unless they consent to do that they will have to bear the odium of. depriving the House of a considerable prolongation of the holidays. I think we have been very badly treated in this way, and, in regard to the particular Vote under discussion, I think it is most unbecoming that an attempt should be made to rush it through. Remember that the administration of Scotland is in a kind of transition state. You have a Secretary for Scotland, but the machinery of administration has not been adapted to the new state of things. We have still a responsible Board in Edinburgh who are not represented in Parliament, and I think it would be a good thing to get rid of this Board, and have them concentrated in the Office of Secretary for Scotland. It is impossible to discuss this question in the absence of the great majority of Scotch Members. I want to know why we are treated differently to the Irish Members. The Government tell the Irish Members that their convenience shall be consulted, that on no account shall Irish Votes be taken either immediately before or immediately after the holidays. I am afraid that we shall have to show our teeth and make ourselves disagreeable, for it is because the Irish Members have always been. ready to cause the Government inconvenience that they are now treated with the utmost civility. In the presence of the First Lord of the Treasury I repeat that we have been very badly treated in this respect, and as regards the Vote of the Secretary for Scotland I assert that our machinery requires revision. We have three highly paid officers, the Secretary for Scotland, the permanent Under Secretary, and the assistant Under Secretary, all having high salaries, and we have six clerks under them. I could never make out what work is done in the Scotch Office at Dover House. Whenever I go there the officials tell me that they are overwhelmed with work, but my constituents can never find out that they are in contact with the rest of the world. I believe the truth is that you have too much head and too little tail in that department, with the result 1845 that highly paid officers are doing petty clerks' works. Now another ground on which I shall vote for the reduction of this salary is that the Secretary for Scotland ought to have a seat in this House. Once or twice, at long intervals, we have had a Scotch Secretary in the House of Commons, but it is the practice to fill the post with a Peer; and although the present Secretary for Scotland is no doubt well versed in the affairs of Scotland, I hope the time may not he long distant when the Upper House of Parliament will cease to exist, and I shall be delighted then to see the present Secretary for Scotland on the Front Bench opposite, should the Conservative Party at that time be in power. I think it a matter of vital importance that the Secretary for Scotland should have a seat in this House.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I wish to press for an answer from the Government to my question: Was it, or was it not, with the consent of the Government that Lord Lothian issued his Commission? This question is one of far more importance than the Government imagine, because when the census takes place it will be found that the City of Glasgow, instead of coming out as the second city of the Empire, as it ought, and as it would do if this Boundaries Bill were carried, will occupy a very different position. It is all very well for the Government to treat this matter lightly in this House. It is not treated lightly in the City of Glasgow, and I do not think the Government will find that they can afford to put it aside. I again ask, did the Lord Advocate have the authority of the Government in appointing that Committee?
The Committee divided:—Ayes, 64; Noes, 155.—(Div. List, No. 138.)
Original Question again proposed.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
Before this Vote is taken, I should like to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, or in his absence, the First Lord of the Treasury, how it is that the senior clerk in the Scotch Office at Dover House is only paid a salary beginning at £450, and rising by an annual increment of £20 to £600 per annum, when the senior clerks in all the other Government Departments begin with a salary of £700, which rises up to £800? Why are the Scotch senior 1846 clerks paid less than senior clerks in the other Departments?
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I am not in a position to give the hon. Gentleman the information he desires. It is the duty of the Government to see that their officials are amply paid for the duties which they perform, and I have every reason to believe that the salaries fixed for the Scotch Department are fixed with due regard to the capacities of the officers and the ability they have with which to discharge their duties.
Question put, and agreed to.
3. Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £4,726, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer in Exchequer, Scotland, of certain Officers in Scotland, and other Charges formerly on the hereditary Revenue.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
This is another Vote which illustrates the inconvenience of taking Scotch business in the absence of Scotch Members. I know there are several matters on which many of my hon. Friends desire information, especially in regard to this Bible Board, and also as to the salary of the Queen's Commissioner, who gets paid a salary, but does not produce any paintings for money. I will therefore move the reduction of the Vote by £500.
Motion made, and Question, "That a sum, not exceeding £4,226, be granted for the said Service," put, and negatived.—(Sir George Campbell.)
Original Question again proposed.
§ A LORD OF THE TREASURY (Sir H. MAXWELL, Wigton)
The Treasury have been in constant communication with the office in Edinburgh on the subject referred to by the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) and since this Vote was under discussion before, I myself have written several 1847 letters urging that a speedy decision may be come to. I hope in a very short time a decision will be arrived at.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
No doubt we shall be obliged to deal with this question on Report again, but I would ask the hon. Gentleman to tell us what the £20 for the Queen's Plate is for?
§ SIR H. MAXWELL
It is a recognition of, and I suppose an encouragement to, the ancient and honourable body of Archers.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
Is it a plate for which they shoot, and do they actually practice with bows and arrows?
§ SIR H. MAXWELL
I have never seen the plate, but I believe the hon. Gentleman has correctly described it.
Question put, and agreed to.
4. £4,036, to complete the sum for Lunacy Commission, Scotland.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON, Leeds, N.)
That question was raised last year on a somewhat kindred subject, and I am not prepared to admit that we are paying in Scotland less than we ought to pay. It may be that we are paying too much in England, and I think the question ought to be examined rather from that point of view than from the point of view suggested by the hon. Member.
Vote agreed to.
5. £4,497, to complete the sum for Registrar General's Office, Scotland.
§ DR. CLARK
The whole of the charge of registration in Scotland is defrayed by the people, whereas in England a portion of it is paid by this House. I think that is a question which the Government should consider, so as to obtain uniformity, and have all the charges defrayed locally, and not partly by Votes from Parliament and partly by local charges.
Vote agreed to.
6. Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £25,464, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum 1848 necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Supervision for Relief of the Poor, and for Expenses under the Public Health and Vaccination Acts, including certain grants in aid of local taxation in Scotland.
§ DR. CAMERON)
While I am willing to allow these Votes to pass without repeating the usual objections year by year, I think we must enter a strong protest against this one. At the present moment the Board of Supervision is about to be invested with the most extraordinary and wide reaching new powers. It is to have a very large share in framing the scheme of Local Government in Scotland. I protest against anything of the sort. The Board of Supervision is a body altogether out of accord with our notions of what a Board should be. It is not elected. It consists of a paid chairman, and seven sheriffs who are members ex officio, but whose duty consists in advising the Board and Parochial Authorities on disputed points of parochial law, and two more ex officio Members,—namely, the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow,—most amiable and estimable gentlemen generally, but having no special knowledge as Poor Law officers. Why, then, they should have been appointed ex officio members of the Board, it is very difficult to imagine. Well, Sir, to a body thus constituted it is proposed to give all sorts of duties under the new Local Government Bill. If I remember aright they are to regulate the number of Councillors to be appointed in certain instances; they are to settle questions of boundary, and they are to frame to a large extent this scheme of Local Government. Under these circumstances it becomes imperative for us, to protest against their continuance, and not to allow this Vote to pass in silence, in case we might be thought in any degree to concur in the fitness of this body for the duties to be imposed upon it. It has none of the powers or responsibilities or functions of the Local Government Board. The Local Government Board is a Ministry of Health. It is represented by an important Member of the Government who is very generally in the Cabinet. It is directly responsible to the House for all its actions, but the Board of Supervision of Scotland is a hole-and-corner affair, consisting of paid 1849 officials and irresponsible. I believe the Solicitor General for Scotland is one of the ex officio members of the Board. On a former occasion I challenged the Lord Advocate as to whether, when he was Solicitor General, he was ever present at the Board's deliberations, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman was obliged to confess that he had not been so present, or at least he had been present at remarkably few meetings.
§ DR. CAMERON
In order to qualify, I suppose, for the salary which Parliament is asked to vote. But as a matter of fact the right hon. and learned Gentleman did tell us that important business is transacted without meetings being regularly called.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
What I said was that I had, while I was Solicitor General, attended some meetings, but that when questions of law arose involving matters of general importance, papers were sometimes sent to me for my opinion. The hon. Gentleman is mistaken in saying that any important business is done otherwise than at meetings; but it is true that the legal members of the Board have, upon Questions of law, papers sent regularly to them in order that they may give their opinions.
§ DR. CAMERON
That is so; otherwise why should we be asked to vote money for these gentlemen? But matters are disposed of without formal summonses to attend meetings being sent to all the members of the Board. I know that on one occasion, when some relief scheme was to be discussed, the Provost of Glasgow attended a meeting of the Board, and that that was the first meeting he had attended, although he had been long in office. I maintain that the Board of Supervision, constituted as it is, is an absolute anachronism, and that to entrust to that Board as is proposed under the Local Government scheme —
The hon. Member is entitled to discuss the constitution of the Board which is discharging the functions for which money is voted, but he is not entitled to discuss the Local Government Bill.
§ DR. CAMERON
What I contend is that the work discharged by the Board of Supervision might be infinitely better 1850 discharged by a Department of the Scotch Office. On that ground I beg to move the reduction of the Vote which stands in my name.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A, Salaries, &c., be reduced by £5,000."—(Dr. Cameron.)
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I believe there is no Vote amongst all the Votes presented to the House which requires more thorough discussion than this Vote. The Board of Supervision is an anachronism which the people of Scotland want to get rid of. The majority of the Scotch Members are absent, and we are obliged to pass these Votes. We can do nothing more than protest. I believe that all that has been said by my hon. Friend with regard to the constitution and functions of the Board of Supervision, and as to the feelings of the people of Scotland with regard to the Board, is perfectly correct. The functions of the present Board are functions which do not give satisfaction to the people of Scotland, and therefore I heartily join in the protest my hon. Friend has made.
§ MR. A. SUTHERLAND (Sutherland)
I also beg to join in the protest which has been made in regard to the Board of Supervision. It is truly an anachronism that a Board which possesses such powers as the Board of Supervision should be composed as this Board is. I do not know what qualifications Sheriffs have for the discharge of duties of the kind entrusted to them, but I think it improper that Sheriffs and Lord Provosts of cities should, in virtue of their positions, have seats on the Board of Supervision. I desire to point out that Mr. MacNeil, an official of the Board, seems to have had plenty of time to go over to Canada in the interest of private landowners and Canadian land companies, and to lay before the people of the Highlands schemes for the pecuniary benefit of the landowners. It must have occurred to others, as well as to myself, that a gentleman who can devote himself to private enterprises can very well have his services as an official of the Board of Supervision dispensed with.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
With regard to Mr. MacNeil, it is fair to say he went on the errand referred to at the 1851 express wish of the Secretary for Scotland. He did not go to promote the interests of any land company, but to carry out a scheme of emigration conducted by the Government. Mr. MacNeil is a very valuable public servant, and certainly no suggestion can with justice be made that he left his public duty in order to assist in business with which he had no official connection. Now, I hope the hon. Member for the College Division (Dr. Cameron) will excuse me if I do not follow him in what he has said as to the Board of Supervision. I know he entertains strong opinions on the subject, but I think he will admit the accuracy of my statement when I say that all the points he has raised to-day he raised last December. The present constitution of the Board of Supervision certainly conduces to economy, inasmuch as for a slight addition to their salaries the services of the Sheriffs are obtained on matters in which they are well qualified to act. The Board of Supervision has had accumulated upon itself ditties relating to the administration of the poor and the public health, and it has discharged its functions with discrimination and efficiency.
§ DR. CLARK
Of all the Boards in Scotland, the Board of Supervision is the worst. The members are a bad lot: they are irresponsible, and whenever we get Home Rule we will soon sweep them away, if this House does not do so before. It is as to the administration of the Public Health Act that I desire to say a word. Our Public Health Act in Scotland is very far behindhand, and our methods of carrying it out are also far behind. The expenses of the Board of Supervision are very reasonable; the salaries are very low—so low, in fact, that I think efficiency suffers. The Board is entrusted with the carrying out of the Public Health Act, and the entire money expended by them in causing inquiries to be made under that Act, and in paying their medical attendant, is £200, and for vaccination and all other similar services only £500 is spent. In England upon the same services there is spent £17,704. Instead of £400 in salaries, as in Scotland, £9,200 is spent here. In Ireland £5,360 is spent in salaries and expenses. I believe there are thousands of preventable deaths in consequence of the 1852 neglect in Scotland, and yet we cannot get from the Government a proper Public Health Act. Year after year we have tried to do so, but there has not been time for it to pass.
§ DR. MACDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)
I certainly think that if we are to get Local Government in Scotland, it is our duty to insist upon such a Local Government Board for Scotland as exists in England.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 57; Noes 162. (Division List, No. 139.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 7. £38,630, to complete the sum for Privy Council Office.
§ MR. HERBERT GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)
There is just one question I wish to ask in relation to this Vote, and which, I think, the Vice Chamberlain can answer. It will be remembered that last year we voted £5,000 for agricultural and dairy schools, and I should like to know how this sum has been allocated among the various agricultural districts in the country. I need not remind my noble Friend that this is a question of some interest to those who represent agricultural constituencies or are concerned in agricultural matters. When the question of this grant was before the House we were given to understand that this sum of £5,000 would not be the final amount the Government would demand for the purpose. If I remember rightly, the First Lord of the Treasury said distinctly, in replying to a question, that £5,000 did not represent the final sum the Government might think it necessary to ask for, and the President of the Council in another place said that this sum would be expended really in obtaining information as to the real needs of the country, and upon this information the Agricultural Department would take further action. I simply ask now how the money has been expended in the past year, and whether the Department are likely to recommend that the House should vote any further amount of money in this direction, whether they have discovered in allocating the sum granted whether the plan of so aiding Dairy Schools is one to be encouraged or otherwise. It is important we should have this information. Some of us take the deepest interest in Dairy Schools; and others 1853 have suspended their judgment in regard to the matter. An authoritative statement from the noble Lord may influence these last and assist in the formation of an opinion on the subject.
§ THE VICE-CHAMBERLAIN (Viscount LEWISHAM, Lewisham)
When it became known that the sum of £5,000 was to be granted, we had, as may well be understood, many applications from various parts of the country. The form of procedure adopted by the Privy Council was as follows:—Three temporary Inspectors were appointed, two for England and Wales, and one for Scotland, and as applications for assistance were received, one of these Inspectors was sent to the locality to conduct a personal investigation into all the circumstances. The Inspector prepared his Report, and this Report was submitted to the Agricultural Committee of the Council, which from time to time sat to consider these Reports, and whether any grant should be made and to what amount. Of the total sum voted, only £3,423 have been expended, but there is an additional sum of £5,000 asked for again this year, though of course the Privy Council knew nothing of this in the first instance. Without attempting to enumerate the places to which grants have been made, I may say that the grants have been pretty generally scattered throughout the country, in England, Scotland, and Wales.
§ MR. H. GARDNER
I do not gather whether the Government intend to ask for any further sum beyond £5,000.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I would ask the First Lord whether it is not expedient now to report Progress, seeing the amount and importance of the present Vote, upon which many matters may properly arise. The Scotch Votes have been disposed of in a very short space of time under circumstances to which I need not allude, and there is but a short interval left before the suspension of the sitting.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I am obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for the suggestion, but I would remind him that the understanding was that the whole of Class 2 should be disposed of with the exception of the Vote for the Scotch Fishery Board, and I must ask the Committee to carry out this under 1854 taking. I am not aware of any important question likely to arise in connection with the present Vote which should prevent us from going on with it. I think the Committee will agree that it is desirable the Vote should be taken. If there is any important matter in relation to administration that hon. Members desire to raise and do not find the opportunity on this Vote, I will go so far as to say that I will endeavour to secure them an opportunity in the discussion upon the Agricultural Department Bill.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I do not admit there was anything like the agreement mentioned arrived at; but, however, if we take the Vote now, the right hon. Gentleman must not be surprised if we seek an opportunity of raising questions in which we are interested upon the Report stage.
§ * DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
I will not detain the Committee at length with a subject I desire to raise upon this Vote. I have put down a notice for the reduction of the Vote in order to raise one or two points in relation to the administration of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act; and I will carry out my intention rather in the shape of putting queries than in making a formal speech. I will ask the noble Lord if anything has been done to carry out the recommendation of the Departmental Committee by placing the disease of tuberculosis among those in respect of which cattle are required to be slaughtered. This is a disease which, as evidence has shown, can not only be communicated from one animal to another, but from animals to mankind. I lay stress on the point, having in view the fact that evidence is not wanting to show that tuberculosis has been communicated to young children through milk from cows affected with this disease. That there is a considerable increase in acute tuberculosis among young children is admitted, and this, I think, is due to the fact of their being fed on milk from tuberculous cows, and this grows more alarming day by day as the season advances. I ask, therefore, is the Department going to carry out the recommendation of the Committee, and include this disease among those for what animals are slaughtered? Then, we have lost large sums in Scotland from 1855 the disease of pleuro-pneumonia. I am quite of opinion that in our present state of knowledge of this disease, the only remedy is the pole-axe—is to kill it out; but alongside this summary method we ought to carry out some scientific system of investigation for the collection of certain data in relation of the disease, its causes, period of incubation, and development. I noticed in an Aberdeen paper, recently, an account of an interesting series of experiments carried out in South America by a Commission appointed to investigate the subject. This Commission carried out a large number of experiments in inoculation, and came to the conclusion that in inoculation, carried out on the Pasteur system, there might be found a remedy for this, as yet, incurable disease. I will not detain the Committee by going further into the subject. I will only put this other question to my noble Friend, can he hold out any hope that the Government will give any encouragement, pecuniary or otherwise—pecuniary is preferable—to experiments for the purpose of discovering a remedy for this intricate, and, at the same time, dangerous disease, from which we in Scotland lose an enormous amount of money from time to time?
§ VISCOUNT LEWISHAM
I will convey the request of the hon. Member to the other Members of the Privy Council, but I may point out that dealing with tuberculosis is surrounded by all sorts of difficulties. As the hon. Member is, no doubt, well aware, chickens are a source from which the disease is carried as frequently as any other. As regards pleuro-pneumonia, the decision arrived at, so far as my recollection goes, by the Committee on the subject was, that there are three ways by which the disease may be dealt with—by isolation, inoculation and extirpation; and though inoculation has been found a great assistance, it has been found impossible to stamp out the disease by inoculation alone.
§ VISCOUNT LEWISHAM
No; nor did I say they do have the disease. The first of my remarks referred to the hon. Member's observations on tuberculosis.
§ * DR. FARQUHARSON
Children in arms are not in the habit of consuming many chickens; it is the milk from tuberculous cows that does the mischief.
§ * MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
I am not going to raise any formal objection; but as we may be going to set a precedent for the conduct of business, it is well to observe that on the Order Book for to-day Vote 7 in Class 2 does not appear among business to be taken. On the contrary, in the Order Book for future days there are two Amendments down to the Vote, and this is an intimation to the House that Vote 7 in Class 2 is not, intended to be taken to-day. If hon. Members will refer to the Orders, they will see that I am not misstating the position, and that it is a clear intimation that the Vote is not to be taken. We are now on Vote 7, and it is intended by the Government to proceed with it on the assumption that the words "the remaining Votes in Class 2" include a previous and postponed Vote. As I have said, I am not making a formal objection, but it is quite necessary that it should be clearly understood that we are not setting a precedent, and it would be well if the First Lord should give a distinct declaration to that effect; otherwise, in proceeding counter to the intimation conveyed by the Order Book, we may be setting an example that on some future occasion may be followed and attended by serious objection.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I entirely agree with the observations of the right hon. Gentleman. I am not responsible for the bringing forward of the notices on the Paper, but I accept fully the right hon. Gentleman's view of the situation, and if any hon. Member feels there is any substantial objection to the Vote being taken now, I will not go on with it. Certainly, it was my understanding to include this Vote in the remaining Votes of Class 2 which were to be taken to-day, and I think this particular Vote was postponed at the request of hon. Gentlemen opposite until after the Second Reading of the Agricultural Board Bill, and, having carried out that undertaking, I did not think there was any substantial objection to taking the Vote now.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
As a question of order that might be important at another time, as these notices 1857 appear on the Order Book among those Notices of Motion for which no days are fixed, and as they concern this Vote, is it competent for the Committee to take this Vote now?
No doubt it is competent for the Committee to take the Vote as included in the business to be taken technically; still, if any hon. Member objects, certainly the Vote ought not to be taken.
Vote agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday, June 17.
Committee to sit again upon Monday, June 17.