HC Deb 12 August 1890 vol 348 cc729-819

1. Motion made and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £64,495, 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 in the 31st day" of March, 1891, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department and Subordinate Offices.

(5.55.) MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)

On this Vote I wish to draw attention to recent colliery explosions. There have recently been three explosions, involving the loss of 326 lives. I regret having to draw the attention of the House to this important subject in the present languid and attenuated condition of Parliament; but it is one of vast importance, and that is my reason for bringing it forward. I think I may say that the painful regularity with which these dreadful calamities occur is a matter of serious concern to Members on both sides of the House. Although in 1887 a Bill was passed with a view to minimising these catastrophes, it is noteworthy that within the last two years have occurred three of the worst colliery explosions we have ever had. This almost makes one despair of being able, by means of legislation, to avert these calamities. Certainly there is reason to believe that much loss of life is due to culpable negligence. I intend now to refer particularly to the gross mismanagement which is shown in the Report as to the Mossfield Colliery. I contend that no one who reads the evidence submitted at the inquiry can fail to come to the conclusion that the grossest mismanagement was apparent in connection with the working of that colliery, and yet the Government Commissioner (Mr. Harold Thomas) has failed, notwithstanding the verdict of the jury, to advise the Government to institute criminal proceedings in this case. I may quote from the Report of the Commissioner, showing the condition of the mine prior and up to the date of the explosion. According to that, it appeared that in the air courses of the mine the greatest possible obstruction to the ventilation was permitted to exist for weeks, and even for months, before the explosion occurred. For a fortnight also before the explosion took place there was an obstruction to one of the return airways, and it had not been travelled and inspected for 12 months. Such a state of things is scarcely creditable. Mr. Potts, the certificated manager of the colliery, admitted, when examined, that for a period of seven days at least before the explosion he had not entered the mine, although the law provides that a daily personal supervision of the mine shall take place, either by the manager or the accredited under manager. I acknowledge that Mr. Potts a short time before had met with an accident which prevented him, to some extent, from properly discharging his duty. But the manager admitted that at the time of the explosion he was sufficiently recovered to attend to his duties, and yet he never entered the mine to see that everything underground was in a right and proper condition. As has already been pointed out to the Committee, this was a fiery mine, for fires were again and again bursting out spontaneously. Notwithstanding the danger and risk incurred from this gas which was allowed to accumulate, no adequate effort was made to remove it. At the time that the explosion occurred it was known—I am quoting now Mr. Thomas—that a month prior to it drift No. 2 was full of gas. I would also call attention to the fact that when an attempt was made to clear away the gas during the shift, no report was ever entered of the accumulation of gas in the Official Report Book, although the Act of 1887 distinctly provides by Rule 4 that when any such obstructions or accumulations of gas are met with in the mine they are to be entered in the Report Book. The Act is clear and explicit enough as to what are the duties of the Inspector in this respect. We have it on the authority of the Government Commissioner that no such entry was made of the accumulation of gas. The Committee will see that the mine at the time of the explosion was in a most unsatisfactory condition. Practically, there was no management at the colliery whatever. They had the additional difficulty of fire in the mine. There were indications to the management that a fire was in process of breaking out in No. 5 air course. These air courses are not far apart; so that you have in drift No. 2 accumulations of gas which are close to the incipient fire in air course No. 5. Where such a condition of things exists, it is usual to take prompt and vigorous measures to shut off the current of fresh air circulating in that portion of the mine, and to isolate it from other portions, with a view to preventing the further progress of the fire. Changing the current of ventilation in a mine is at all times a very dangerous and critical operation. It was rendered much more difficult in this case by the presence of fire about to break out. Managers, when they have this operation to perform, usually take the most elaborate precautions against accidents, even under ordinary circumstances. But how much more are these precautions necessary where you have large accumulations of gas and actual fire. The law has fairly provided against such a contingency by Rule 7, which provides that where a part of the mine is rendered dangerous by the presence of inflammable gases, the workmen shall be withdrawn from the mine, or the part which is dangerous. Was there any attempt to withdraw the men in this instance, while this dangerous and critical operation was being performed? No. The manager himself, either from cowardice or some other cause, refused to go into the mine to superintend this critical operation, which was entrusted to others. In answer to Question 1724—"You are aware of gas having been reported for three days previous in No. 2. You were aware of the 'gob-stink' in No 5?" Mr. Potts, the manager, replied, "I was fully sensible of the critical nature of the operation." Yet, with all this knowledge before him, Mr. Potts did not direct that these men should be withdrawn. He is asked, after admitting that the circumstances of the mine brought him within Rule 7, "Did you inspect the place?" "No. … I expected a Report." Why did he expect a Report, when he knew very well that he had not authorised anybody to make one? "Did you tell anyone to remove the men?" That really is the crux of the whole question. In my opinion, Rule 7 is sufficiently clear on this point; it leaves the manager no discretionary power; it is peremptory that the men must be withdrawn. Yet, though Mr. Potts knew the danger existed, he neither by his own action, nor by instructions, took steps to have the men withdrawn. "Was it not your duty once you were within Rule 7 to have the men removed?" His answer was, "There was no danger." Sir, there was danger; and if the man had been worthy of his position, he ought at once to have ordered the men to be withdrawn until such time as the main was declared to be perfectly safe for renewing operations. This is the point to which I wish particularly to call the attention of the Committee. After all these admissions on the part of the manager, the Commissioner declared that there was simply an error of judgment on his part in not withdrawing his men. In my opinion, his offence was far more grave and serious than a simple error of judgment. It was a direct violation both of the spirit and letter of the law, both of the general and the special rule, the latter, if possible, being more clear and explicit than the general rule. Why in this case there should not have been a criminal prosecution I fail to understand. The explosion at Mossfield was m October, 1889, when the House was not in Session. Immediately the House met in February I called the attention of the Home Secretary to the verdict of the Coroner's Jury, and to the rider to that verdict, and I asked him what course the Government intended to pursue in view of the censure which the Coroner's Jury had passed upon the manager, Mr. Potts. The verdict, while exonerating Mr. Potts from culpable negligence, set forth that he was deserving of censure for not personally inspecting the mine for so long a time previous to the explosion. The answer which the Home Secretary gave to me was, that he had not received the Report of the counsel who attended on behalf of the Home Office, and that, therefore, he was not prepared to say what action the Government would take. I ask him now whether he does not think that some further steps should be taken in this matter, and whether he is satisfied with the state of things as existing at present? I may remind the Committee that workmen are again and again being brought before the Magistrates and being fined or imprisoned for trivial offences. I do not complain of that, because violations of the Mines Act, whether by workmen or manager, ought to be sternly dealt with. But when you have workmen being fined and imprisoned, and no steps are taken towards a criminal prosecution in circumstances such as I have described, such a state of things is apt to create in the minds of the workmen a contempt for law, and that is one of the last things which we ought to desire to see brought about in this country. Now that the right hon. Gentleman has had an opportunity of considering the whole of the evidence, I want to ask him what steps he is going to take? Will he order a prosecution? I am afraid things have gone a little too far. I am afraid, if the information that reaches me is correct, that the Government have permitted the guilty person to flee from justice. I am informed that Mr. Potts resigned almost at once, and has left the country, and it would now be impossible to get at him. I am informed that the owners have so far admitted their responsibility that rather than have proceedings entered against them for compensation under the Employers' Liability Act they have paid down the sum of £3,000 to be distributed amongst the relatives and friends of the deceased. That is a poor compensation for the loss of 64 lives. Had it been three times£3,000 I should have still considered it my duty to urge the necessity of instituting further proceedings, so that the matter might be sifted to the bottom, and that if there were criminal negligence it might be brought to the notice of justice. Now that this man has left the country, have any steps been taken to suspend his certificate and to prevent his occupying such a responsible position again? Again, is the Home Secretary still of opinion that there is a sufficient staff of Inspectors? I call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to page 26 of Mr. Atkinson's Report. Mr. Atkinson has only been 12 months an Inspector, yet he says that the collieries in this district cannot be said to have reached a high standard of management. If that is the case, there is reason to doubt whether there are sufficient Inspectors for the purpose of efficient inspection. There are 3,383 coal mines in the United Kingdom subject to inspection. We have 28 Inspectors and Assistant Inspectors. Now, if these gentlemen were at work three days in the week, it would only be two days for each mine in the course of the year. Such inspection, which consists of going to the bottom of the mine and consulting with the officers, is a farce and a sham. Assuming you have two days to each mine, you will only be able to cover two-thirds of the mines. But these Inspectors have 14 and 15 days clerical work to do, often sitting up to the early hours of the morning to overtake it. Under these circumstances, I should like to ask the Home Secretary whether he considers there is a sufficient staff of Inspectors. I am advised, Mr. Courtney, that if I move the reduction of the Vote it will permit of a continuous discussion on this subject. I move the reduction of the Vote by £100.


It is not necessary to move, and I would remind the hon. Member that if he does so it will prevent the discussion of previous items of the Vote.


The hon. Member has said truly that the law provides various precautions, yet somehow or other these precautions were neglected and an explosion occurred. The hon. Member will see that the three months which is the period during which proceedings can be taken for breach of the rules, had elapsed before the Coroner's inquest was commenced. The accident took place on the 16th of October. Any breach of the rules was, of course, committed before that date, and the inquest did not terminate till the 30th of January. This leads me to make the observation that one of the earliest Amendments of the Act needed is the prolongation of the period during which proceedings can be taken in the cases of complicated and involved accidents, where special difficulty is found in deciding where there has been guilt. But, besides breaches of the rules, other and graver charges may possibly arise, and I have instructed the Solicitor to the Treasury to institute prosecutions if he should think it right to do so. I will say, in passing, that I think very little of the omission to appoint an assistant manager in writing. I gather from the evidence that there was an under manager in fact, although, from some erroneous view of the Act, the managers supposed there could not be two under managers appointed in writing at the same time. Fletcher was at one pit, and there was another under manager, Holmes, at another. Fletcher was a certificated man, and, therefore, primâ facie a competent man. I am sure the hon. Member will agree that in face of the verdict of the jury and the findings of the extremely competent gentleman who conducted the inquiry for me, it would not have been expedient for me to have proceeded hastily to a prosecution. I do not wish to impugn the inferences the hon. Member has drawn from the evidence, nor do I wish to support them. It would not be becoming of me to suggest guilt while the matter is still in the hands of the Solicitor to the Treasury. If the law enables any prosecution to be brought with effect a prosecution will be brought. With reference to the question of inspection, it was impossible to isolate the shot-firing so as not to interfere with the ventilation of the mine, without the exercise of a great deal of skill. Can the hon. Member suggest that the Inspector should be responsible for such an operation as that? If so, he takes up a perfectly untenable position. It would be impossible for the Inspectors to take upon themselves the responsibility for such an operation without also taking on themselves the responsibility for the management of the mine. The Legislature has enacted, and I think wisely, that the managers of mines shall be capable and competent persons, whose competence is ascertained by proper tests. It has provided that a competent manager, or at least a competent under manager, should be daily on the spot. To carry out the hon. Member's suggestion it would require as many Inspectors as there are now managers. Therefore, largely as I sympathise with the kind of—I was going to say instinct—which prompts an hon. Member, when he hears of a bad accident, to declare at once that there should be more inspection, I say that it would not be expedient to transform the Inspectors into a vast army of managers. All we can hope for is, that the Inspectors shall from time to time give advice to the manager; that they shall, by surprise visits, find out whether the rules are observed; and that they shall criticise the special rules and see that they carry out the intention of the Legislature. All these things the Inspectors ought to do, and do, but it is impossible even to inaugurate a system of inspection by which the particular accident that occurred in this mine could have been prevented.


What about the manager?


He has resigned his post as manager. The question whether he ought to retain his certificate or not will certainly not be lost sight of.


The law provides for it now, but it is for the Home Secretary to set the law in motion.


Yes, I may make an inquiry if representations are made to me by an Inspector or otherwise that a manager, by reason of incompetence or gross negligence, is unfit to perform his duties. At present I have only before me the verdict of the jury acquitting the manager of anything like negligence or gross incompetence, and the Report of the Inspector stating that there was want of judgment. That is the only censure that I have before me at the present moment.


You have Inspector Atkinson's Report on page 28.


Yes; but I do not find that that amounts to a declaration of the unfitness of the manager to perform his duties. The question is not a practical one at present. I thought it desirable to see if any criminal action could be taken against anyone, and, if so, against whom. The facts have not yet been ascertained; but as soon as they are known, I promise that the case shall be considered.

(6.42.) MR. BURT (Morpeth)

I think that even at this period of the Session it will be admitted that the House is not losing time in devoting an hour to a discussion of this kind. With regard to the reply of the Home Secretary as to the special case dealt with by the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division, I think that, so far as it goes, it is satisfactory in regard to the prosecution of the manager. His answer, however, is far less satisfactory in regard to the question of the sufficiency or insufficiency of the number of Inspectors. But I will not dwell upon that, because I do not suppose that any amount of argument would bring the Home Secretary and myself and colleagues to an agreement on the matter. It is a remarkable thing that so soon after we have spent hours and weeks in passing such a measure as that of 1887, there should be such a series of disastrous explosions as those we have had last year and this year. The statistics for the first year, after the passing of the Act, showed uncommonly satisfactory results. There were only 49 lives lost by explosions in the United Kingdom—a smaller number than had been lost in any year since the passing of the Act of 1851. We find, also, that in 1873, the first year after the passing of the Act of 1872, there was a considerable diminution in the number of lives lost through explosions; and it will be found, in connection with the passing of nearly every Act, that immediately after its coming into operation, there has been a considerable diminution in the number of fatalities. Now, this must be something more than a coincidence. It must be due to the fact that, immediately after the passing of an Act, everybody is on the alert—both employers and workmen—so far as possible, to carry out the Act to the letter. My hon. Friend has referred to the Mossfield explosion. In the year 1889 we find that the number of lives lost had risen from 49 to 148, and during the first three months of this year we have had two explosions in which no fewer than 262 lives were lost. In the case of the Llanerch explosion, there were 176 lives lost, and it was stated in the public newspapers that this accident was due entirely to the absence of locked safety lamps. In the case of the Morfa explosion, which occurred less than six weeks afterwards, we find that they had locked safety lamps; and though there cannot be much said, I fear, for the management of the colliery, it can be said that they had provided the very best lamps that are known, and which have stood the severest tests, namely, the Marsawt lamps. But it is an entire illusion to suppose that it is a wise condition that the miners should be entirely dependent on the safety lamp. I do not want to discount the value of the safety lamps, but a great deal depends upon the kind of lamp that is provided. In the Mossfield colliery I find that they had mixed lamps. They had the Muesler and the Marsawt. It is said in the Report that the Muesler lamp is a safe one, and goes out in gas. It is put very dogmatically; but the Commission, of which I had the honour to be a member, went very thoroughly into this question, and found that there were numerous cases in which the Muesler lamp had exploded in a few seconds. I agree that it is desirable always to have safety lamps in use by way of additional protection—and in this case I think there is serious ground for investigation, the Inspector of Mines having urged that safety lamps should be introduced—but the responsibility for the safety of the men rests upon the owners and and manager of mines; and in cases where the men did not desire to have safety lamps introduced, their wishes ought not to be consulted. In the Morfa Mine there were all the elements of danger, and the Government Inspectors and others who investigated the cause of the explosion there, have not a shadow of a doubt that it was due to the firing of a shot. It was shown that the mine was a fiery one; that it contained a superabundance of coal dust, and that it was very dry; and though the evidence was not very conclusive as to the cause of the accident, all the most experienced men came to the conclusion I have stated. It was shown that the shot-firing generally took place during the day shift, when a large number of men were in the mine. The Report on this explosion contains the following passage:— No explosive but gunpowder was ever used. Water cartridges were never tried, and there was no attempt to water for the purpose of preventing the ignition of dust. The shot-firing always took place during the shifts, and generally during the day shift, when there was a large number of men in the mine. Here I wish to emphasise the fact that in connection with all the explosion, that have occurred in the present years there has been a gross violation of three or four of the chief rules laid down in the Mines Regulation Act. The first general rule makes it incumbent on the managers to see that an adequate amount of ventilation is provided, and that most important rule has, generally speaking, been violated. Then Rule 4 provides for the examination of the working places immediately before the commencement of a shift, and that rule was violated in one or more of these cases. The Home Secretary is aware how strongly we urged, when the Bill was in Committee, that long intervals should not be allowed to elapse between the examinations. The right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to accept an Amendment I moved; but he inserted an Amendment of his own, declaring that the inspection should take place "immediately before the commencement of work." In the special rules of the Mossfield Colliery it was enacted that the examination should be made at least an hour before the commencement of a shift, so that it might take place three or four hours previously. Everyone knows that gas accumulates very rapidly in mines, and it is most dangerous that a long interval should elapse between the examination and the commencement of a shift. General Rule 7 has also been grossly violated in the case of the Morfa Mine at least. Now, I admit that the Reports made on the explosions are ably and carefully compiled; but when it comes to a question of punishing the owners or managers, Coroners' Juries, as well as the compilers of these Reports, always find some excuse why prosecution should not take place. I am not one of those who advocate punishment of a criminal kind; but when hundreds of valuable lives are lost year after year, and when there is a gross and systematic violation of the best provisions of an Act of Parliament, it is, I contend, the duty of the Home Secretary to prosecute in order to let it be known that such violations of the law are not to be tolerated.

*(6.58.) COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S.W., Ince)

With regard to the subject of inspection, it is true that you must not relieve mine owners of their responsibility for carrying on the mines properly. You should not put the responsibility on the shoulders of the Inspectors; but, on the other hand, I think that if you have an inspection there should be Inspectors enough to inspect every mine once a year regularly, in addition to the occasional visits now made by Inspectors. That would not take away the responsibility of the managers and owners. In the Army every regiment is inspected every year by the General Officer, but that does not in the least absolve the Commander of a regiment from his responsibility. There are two reasons for the course I propose. In the first place, I think it is very necessary that the Inspector of a district should have a thorough knowledge of the district, so as to be aware of any waste of coal; and, in the second place, I think that such an inspection would periodically bring to the attention of managers the necessity of overhauling everything about their mines. I would strongly urge the necessity of an annual inspection of every mine.

(7.0.) MR.G.LEVESON-GOWER (Stoke-upon-Trent)

I rise for the purpose of supporting what has fallen from the hon. Member for Wansbeck. The Committee must feel, after hearing the able résume which the hon. Gentleman gave of the evidence adduced at the Coroner's inquest, that certainly a considerable, if not a culpable, amount of neglect took place in the management of the mine. I think the hon. Member's desire is not so much that there should be a vindictive prosecution as that there should be the means of enabling miners to feel that the Home Office is keeping an eye on whoever may be responsible for bringing danger into the mines, whether they be owners, managers, or miners, and that if ever cause be shown, punishment will be meted out. I do not suppose any Member will desire to insist, as the right hon. Gentleman suggests, that an Inspector should become practically manager of a mine. What I think my right hon. Friend desires is that the Inspectors and Assistant Inspectors now existing should do their work in such a way as to justify a general feeling of confidence in the minds of those who are working in the mines. I would also ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the practicability of appointing men who themselves have worked in the mines as Assistant Inspectors. I believe that that would create a very much greater feeling of confidence among the men. It is not that they feel any want of confidence in the Inspectors, but they think that a man who has been spending his life in a mine has almost an instinctive feeling when danger is threatened, and is able to point out when it may be guarded against. I believe the miners would be more ready to communicate with such an Assistant Inspector than with gentlemen drawn from other classes of society, and who have had no previous practical experience of mining, although they may have a great deal of knowledge in their profession.

(7.5.) MR. S. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

I wish to draw the attention of the Home Secretary more particularly to the Morfa explosion. I attended the inquiry myself on behalf of the men, and, therefore, am conversant with the facts. I wish to enforce the desirability of having more Inspectors of Mines than we have at present. I do not think the danger which the Home Secretary seems to anticipate from such a course would arise. What is wanted is periodical and more frequent inspections. The suggestion of inspections once a year is simply ludicrous. There was some difficulty in deciding what was the real cause of the Morfa accident, because it was impossible to get at the seat of it; but the conclusion arrived at by the Government Inspectors, and by the very able men who conducted the inquiry, was that it was caused by shot-firing. I wish to draw particular attention to the large amount of coal dust in this mine. The accident would not have been of so serious a nature but for this fact. There can be no doubt that there was a large quantity of dust present at the time of the accident, and, according to the evidence, the explosion carried a large quantity of dust through the headings and up the shaft. Mr. Jeffreys himself said that he had no doubt the explosion was considerably contributable to the presence of the coal dust. Disasters will no doubt occur in the best managed mines; but where they can be prevented, everything should be done to keep the mines as safe as possible. If there had been more Inspectors, I have not the least doubt that the danger attending the presence of this dust would have been pointed out; and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to re-consider his decision, and beg him to appoint as Inspectors working men having a knowledge of the district. There are numbers of working men who would fill the post well, in whom the men would have perfect confidence, and whose services could probably be got at less cost than those of the class of men at present engaged. There has been a difficulty in getting prosecutions under the Act, especially in cases of accidents of the character I have referred to. Coroner's Juries cannot agree to fix the blame upon individuals. This would not be the state of things if prosecutions for breaches of the rules were made at a time when there is no accident in the mine. Then we would have the attention of managers more closely directed to the necessity of being absolutely careful as to carrying out the Act. As the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt) has pointed out, there was not the same loss of life during the year after the last Coal Mines Regulation Act was passed. Why? Because the attention of those responsible for the safety of the mines was called to the necessity of observing the provisions of the Act. If working men were appointed, the miners would more readily open their complaints to them, and the number of these disasters would be very much diminished. I join in thanking the Home Secretary for his readiness to receive and answer complaints, and for the courtesy with which he invariably treats us.

(7.15.) MR. PICKARD (York, W. R., Normanton)

I wish to address myself to the question of inspection. As a practical miner, I have come to the conclusion that the inspection of mines is not all we could desire. I have not a word to say against the present Inspectors. They work very hard, sometimes their work is very dangerous, and, looking to the work they have to do above and below ground, no one can say they have an easy time of it. But I and many others consider that the inspection of mines pure and simple is a mere farce. We have heard of Inspectors going to certain places in mines and contenting themselves with simply questioning the workmen in that place. They make the most casual inspection; indeed, they really know nothing about the safety of the mines. This kind of inspection may satisfy the managers and the Inspectors, but it is not satisfactory to the miners or the public generally. If an Inspector did his duty, he would often spend eight days in examining a mine, and that is the sort of inspection that is required. If an Inspector does his duty, he will travel all round the workings and find out whether the law is observed in every respect. But with the present number of Inspectors this would be impossible. The number of mines is so great that this is a physical impossibility. I was glad to hear the suggestion that every mine should be inspected, at least, once a year, because I know that there are mines down which the Inspector has never been. A mine may be safe or what is called fiery, but, whether it is safe or fiery, the Inspector should visit it occasionally, if only to come in contact with the men and ask them whether any danger existed, and, if so, to take steps to remove it. Personally, I think it is practicable to have mines inspected once a month. Surely a country like this, especially in view of the enormous amount of money extracted from the working classes generally, can find the means to pay for the inspection of mines by persons who thoroughly understand the work, and who would do it not in the kid glove style in which it is now done. We want a different class of Inspectors. We want men taken from the mines; men who are thoroughly qualified to inspect a mine. We have to-day in the United Kingdom miners who have gone before the Board of Examiners, and who have certified as first-class certificated managers. We have others who have qualified as under-managers; and yet, whenever any of these miners have applied for inspectorships, they have never been called up to London in order that the Home Secretary might see whether they were fit persons to inspect mines. Under the present system mines are in the hands of deputies every day—in the hands of men who never passed any examination whatever. It is impossible to say we cannot find a sufficient number of practical men to appoint as Inspectors. What is really required is that there should be, say, ten men working under a chief, who shall direct and control them. Every mine ought to be inspected once a month, and matters should be so arranged that the managers should not know the day on which the Inspector would visit his mine. There should be no post-card sent in advance, but the Chief Inspector should so arrange the inspections that managers would be taken by surprise. There is one thing I should like to see, and that is, that the Inspector's Reports should contain some account of the results of casual inspectionns. An Inspector may visit a mine in the Barnsley district, and yet we never hear anything more of the visit. We often hear that wrong is being done, but we never hear of prosecutions being instituted. The Home Secretary speaks of privileged Reports, but we maintain that all Reports ought to be made public. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will do as the present Lord Cross did when he was Home Secretary. Certain statements were made to Lord Cross—similar statements to those we make now—and he instructed the Inspectors to do certain things. The mine managers assisted in preventing loss of life and serious injury. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will do something of the same sort, because I am sure, after what the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division (Mr. Fenwick) and the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt) have said, there are defects in the Act of 1887 which lead to great misconception. If such were not the case, I can hardly think we would have the condition of things we find now existing. There is at present an idea in the minds of managers and deputies that if they find gas in a mine, and they can for the moment remove it, there is no need to report the circumstance. There is every likelihood that this non-reporting the presence of gas results in serious explosions. I can only say I think the Home Secretary should send a Circular to Inspectors stating that in every unreported case of gas a prosecution shall be instituted, so that the law may run an even course, and we may have a safeguard against accumulations of gas that we have not had in the past. We have a case in Yorkshire, to which I can only briefly allude. We have not reported it to the Government Inspector, simply because we have found that, when this is done, a prosecution does not follow. But the case is this: A certain number of men on descending a mine, and within 60 yards of their work, found the place blocked with gas so that they could not proceed. The deputy manager had reported the mine safe, and day after day wanted to force the men to work. When this case was brought to our knowledge, we resolved to put the section of the Act in force, as we thought this was a case of neglect coming within the section, by which the men can take the initiative. The case, no doubt, will go on. The owner has said if this had been brought to his notice, he would have done something in the matter. If these cases of non-reporting gases are allowed to pass unchecked, some unhappy day we shall have an explosion of accumulated gas in one of our large Yorkshire mines which will suddenly hurl a thousand men into eternity. Time is not misspent when we take the opportunity to draw the attention of the House and the Home Secretary to these matters in the hope of bringing about some safety in these mines. In the Llanerch explosion there was the old story—accumulations of gas neglected, until 176 persons lost their lives. Now, it is evident that in this case the accumulations must have been considerable, yet, take the Report of Mr. Green, you find him stating that no reports of gas accumulation were made, and, further, we find that the manager had two mines to manage. Now, that manager did not carry out Section 21, for I say it is impossible for a manager to discharge his responsibilities with this double duty, and that blame rests upon some one for the issue of the second certificate. We have it from Mr. Green that, although he finds that this manager did break General Rule 4 and special rules, yet he does not see how there is a case for prosecution, and tries to make out that he was under the impression that the men, the owners, and the manager, were satisfied the mine was safe. This is supposed to be the happy frame of mind with everybody, thinking that everything is quite right, until suddenly they find that everything is quite wrong. Yet, after all, no prosecution ensues. We had the Inspector's Report last week, and we find that on December 6th Mr. Martin advised the use of lamps, because a non-fatal explosion had occurred in the mine a few weeks previously. He was right, but it should have been a demand for the use of lamps. Yet the manager does not report the mine unsafe. I am strongly of opinion that in Coroners' Courts Inspectors should be witnesses, not prosecutors; and as showing the position they take, I may mention that, in a case not long ago, our lawyer inquired who was the gentleman—meaning the Inspector—who was assisting the defence of the owners. That is how the position strikes the ordinary legal mind accustomed to the action of Inspectors in Coroners' Courts. What I hope for—what I look for—is that the Home Secretary will take the matter in hand and do his best, as I have no reason to doubt that he will, to get our Inspectors to see that the law is carried out effectually.

(7.40.) MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N.W.)

I hope that the strong expressions of opinion in favour of an increase in the number of Inspectors from my hon. Friend the Member for Wans-beck and other hon. Members connected with mining constituencies will induce the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary to re-consider the position he has taken up. I have no hesitation in saying, and I do entreat the Home Secretary's attention to this—I speak not without experience—that inspection in the sense we understand it as applied to factories and workshops and to ships, is, in respect of mines, absolutely nonexistent. I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that there are most startling discrepancies in the percentage of accidents in different parts of the country. In South Wales, which is probably the worst-managed mining district in Great Britain, I find the average of fatal accidents is 1 in 503 men. In Durham, which ranks among the best-managed districts, it is 1 in 703; and in the Midlands, the average is only 1 in 1,005. Now, I have no doubt that a more effective supervision by Government Inspectors would tend to bring these figures to an approximate equality. Consider, for a moment, there are something like 46,000 people employed underground in the County of Durham, and for the supervision of the large area in which their industry is carried on there are one Inspector and two Sub-Inspectors. It is, I say, an absolute impossibility, let the Inspector be as energetic and industrious as man can be, that he can exercise proper supervision and inspection. What he does, when any complaint is made to him, is to come down and act as a sort of referee. He makes an investigation, and gives, I have no doubt, an honest independent judgment, and, if necessary, he sets the law in motion. But how widely different from the system of inspection of factories! Every proprietor in the district of a factory over which inspectorship exists is always on the look-out for a visit from the Inspector. Now, there are 33 Inspectors of Mines, and I suggest that it might be possible, leaving a wide margin, as undoubtedly there must be, in order not to trench upon the duty of managers, to add to the number of Inspectors by appointing experienced workmen. I quite understand the view the right hon. Gentleman holds; and I have heard him argue with great force that scientific knowledge is of vast importance, and so it is to an Inspector of Mines; yet there are many duties of an Inspector that could be efficiently performed by experienced workmen. I daresay the right hon. Gentleman will remind me that there is in the Mines Regulation Act a power given to workmen to inspect, but it is obvious that men who are dependent on the goodwill of the manager and owner of the colliery, cannot be expected to give a perfectly fair, impartial, and courageous opinion on the condition of the mine. By a decision of the Court of Queen's Bench it has been held that a check-weigher is not entitled under the Act to be an Inspector. If the right hon. Gentleman will not increase the number of Inspectors, I suggest he might bring in a Bill to enable a check-weigher, having practical knowledge, to be appointed as one of the persons who can go down on behalf of the workmen to inspect the mine. Such a provision would, in my opinion, considerably improve the machinery of one of the best Acts of Parliament that has ever been placed on the Statute Book.

(7.45.) MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid)

Supplementing what has been said by my hon. Friend, I quite agree that the Inspector must have an independent position, but I would urge the right hon. Gentleman to appoint Assistant Inspectors from among the practical miners. Now, on the last appointment of Assistant Inspectors there was among the last four names that of a working miner who had qualified himself by his own exertions for the appointment; and in such a case as that, what I would urge upon the right hon. Gentleman is that he would relax the rules slightly; and though a candidate in this position should display rather less finish in his educational qualifications, yet that the fact of his practical experience should be counted as a qualification, and that he should receive the appointment. Stress has been laid on the possession of attainments and qualifications that shall put the Inspector on an equality with the manager with whom he may be brought into collision; but let me point out that the function of an Assistant Inspector with his practical knowledge, so valuable for the purpose, is to go over the mine, and, if he finds any defects, to report these to the Chief Inspector, between whom and the manager a settlement would be arrived at. We must speak feelingly on this subject. Those of us who are practical miners have been among the explorers and have seen the havoc wrought by explosions; but though we speak, therefore, with great feeling, we have no desire to be vindictive, or to punish for the sake of punishing, our object rather being, by seeing that inspection and inquiry are made thoroughly effective, to prevent those catastrophes in future, to save life and property as well, and so to bring about benefit both to employers and employed. Though the Home Secretary might be non-suited on a technical point, I venture to say that a prosecution against a manager who has disregarded the provisions of the Mines Act would have a most salutary effect. I cannot but regret the constant use of the word "culpable negligence" in reference to those mining catastrophes. Surely if a manager with his responsibility for the lives of hundreds of men is negligent, his conduct must needs be culpable. In the Morfa explosion I cannot understand how any man who follows the evidence can say the explosion was due to accident. Rules and precautions laid down by the Act of 1887 were neglected. We who hare traced the source of explosions on the spot and just after they have occurred, are practical men, and do not claim scientific knowledge; but I say, as Jacob Dixon said in relation to the explosion at the Alltofts mine, that there is more danger in the dust men tread under their feet than in the gas over their heads. I could point to many instances of explosions having been caused by the use of gunpowder in dusty mines. All our regard is for the safety of human life in the mining industry. When we go down the mine we put our trust in the honesty of the manager. We have worked on in the belief that those whose duty it is are watching over our safety. All we ask of the right hon. Gentleman is that he shall enforce the law enacted for our protection, and ensure that all the precautions are applied that Parliament has provided.

*(8.0.) MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)

I may remind the Committee, in reference to the suggestion of the hon. Member for the County of Durham (Mr. Atherley Jones), that check-weighmen should be the persons to inspect the mine on behalf of the workmen, that this idea was thoroughly discussed at the time of the passing of the Act of 1887, and it was then urged on the part of proprietors, as it is urged now, that while they have not the least objection to the nomination of practical working miners to the duty of such inspection when they are properly qualified, they do not consider that the check-weighman is so qualified. He has not generally had any recent experience of underground workings; his work is hard and engrossing, and from this reason he is less qualified to acquire the necessary knowledge of the condition of a mine. A man who undertakes this kind of inspection ought to have recent acquaintance with the system of mining adopted and the mode of working in use in the mine and in the districts.

(8.2) MR. D. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

Speaking as a colliery owner, I think there would be advantages in practical men undertaking the work of inspection, and I know that men properly qualified for the work could be readily found in South Wales. But it is perfectly obvious to any man who has the slightest knowledge of the subject that the present staff of Inspectors is wholly inadequate for the area they have to cover, and their necessary office duties.

*(8.5.) MR. BROADHURST (Nottingham, W.)

The Government cannot find much fault with the occupation of time upon this subject, and I think my hon. Friends have spoken much to the point, and with great clearness. I have always supported the proposal that Inspectors should be appointed where such can be found properly qualified from the workmen themselves. This proposal is gaining support rapidly. There is a growing desire on the part of the public that greater precautions should be taken for the protection of life in mines, and I am satisfied that the taxpayers will not begrudge the additional sum necessary to secure an increase in the staff of Inspectors. Some four or five years ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, when Home Secretary, made a decided step in the direction of appointing practical men as Inspectors, and he brought down the examinations very considerably for the purpose, and to a point beyond which I believe Mining Associations thought it would not be safe to go. We seem to have advanced beyond that point now, and I am sure there will be no difficulty in finding plenty of capable men for the position. When travelling on an election tour in Durham recently, I remember a village near the collieries belonging to the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pease), in which there were a considerable number of young men all qualified to hold manager's certificates, all possessing considerable scientific acquirements as well as practical experience, and many of them giving scientific lectures in the local institute to their younger neighbours. Education has rapidly advanced in recent years, and any difficulties that may have limited the appointments of working-men Inspectors at the time I have alluded to, are now very much modified. When the hon. Member for Durham mentions the case of factory inspection as a system to follow, I am afraid he shows his want of practical acquaintance with the subject. There are thousands of workshops and factories an Inspector has never seen; nor is an Inspector likely to visit them under the present condition of things. Last year, in reply to my questions, the right hon. Gentleman said he was considering the circumstances with a view to an increase in the number of Factory Inspectors and an improvement of the Factory Acts, but he awaited till he saw the Report of the Sweating Committee. Well, the Report of the Sweating Committee has been presented for some months, and we have not heard more of the promised Factory and Workshops Amendment Bill. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give an assurance that this matter has not been lost sight of.

*(8.20.) MR. MATTHEWS

I will answer that question at once. Not only do I contemplate the introduction of the Bill the hon. Member refers to, but it is actually in draft. As to the various suggestions made by hon. Members, I am sure hon. Members will not expect me to enter into them now, but I will give them all careful consideration. I confess it does appear to me it would be a hazardous thing to appoint as Inspectors of Mines men without scientific knowledge. Practical knowledge I admit the value of, and to working miners—qua miners—there is not the slightest objection, but I do not allow that experience can compensate for want of scientific knowledge. As to the suggestion that there shall be a class of Assistant Inspectors whose duty it shall be to discover errors and report to the Chief Inspectors, I am bound to say the Inspectors whom I have consulted set their face strongly against such a proposal. I will, however, not be altogether put off from the idea, but will give further consideration to it, and take such advice as is at my disposal. But it must be borne in mind that appointments to the posts of Assistant Inspectors have been made after test of scientific acquirements, which it would not be just to the present occupants of the offices to dispense with in making new appointments. As to the appointments of working men to be Inspectors by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, I think the term in those cases was a little strained. The present staff of Mine Inspectors is, I am assured, sufficient to meet any case of complaint made, and to anonymous complaints the most attention is given. I do not say there should not be an increase to some extent; but if supervision is to be substituted for inspection, the staff would have to be increased tenfold. I confess, with reference to the Morfa explosion; I find it difficult to come to the same conclusion as the jury; but as to the Llanerch explosion, I do not see that any foresight or inspection would have prevented the calamity. I hope it is not out of place if I mention here that it was the South Wales mining interest that prevented the retention of the provision in the original draft of the Bill to prevent the use of gunpowder in these mines. In any case, however, it would be useless to appoint additional Inspectors unless the men will consent to take precautions to secure their own safety. Thus in some coal mines the owners, the managers, and the men have determinedly refused to use safety lamps, although they have been pressed to do so by the Inspectors. If these are to be the conditions under which this great industry is to be carried on, 1 do not think that the appointment of a workingman Inspector here and there would prevent the deplorable accidents that have recently occurred. (8.30.)

*(9.0.) MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

I hope I shall have an early opportunity of appealing to the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to one or two matters which will not occupy the time of the Committee to any considerable extent, and on which I trust he will be able to give me an answer. Last year I alleged that some of the Inspectors of Factories were too old for the work which they had to do. I have some reason to believe that there has been a change effected since last year, but I wish to know precisely whether any changes have been made in the ranks of the Inspectors. With reference to the enforcement of the Truck Act, while I do not desire to complain of the Home Office or of the Solicitor to the Treasury this year, there are one or two questions to which I shall have to draw attention next year, unless something is done in the matter. Trucking is dying away, but there are several parts of the country where it still prevails, and, I am sorry to say, prevails with the connivance of the Magistrates. The Truck Act provides certain fines. Under General Acts, the Magistrates have the right to reduce the fines below the amount specified by the Legislature; and this applies, I believe, not only to the Truck Acts, but also to every case of summary conviction. There are some districts where the fines adjudged are so ridiculously small that the Truck Acts are not properly enforced. I will not give particulars, because I am quite sure the Solicitor to the Treasury can supply the Home Office with full information, and I do not think there will be found to be much difference between myself and the Law Advisers of the Home Office on the point. A very serious aspect of the matter is that where the law is broken it is broken deliberately for the purpose of making huge profits; and in view of the object with which the law is broken, the Legislature provided that the penalty for a second offence should be more severe than that for a first offence, and that a third offence should be indictable. In the matter of a first and second offence, the Magistrates can deal with the cases summarily. It is almost impossible to get convictions for second and third offences, every offence, however often it may occur, being made a first offence, owing to a technical difficulty which arises in the way of proving second and third offences to have taken place within a certain period of time. I would ask the Home Office to direct its attention to some possible modification of the law. I cannot undertake a second edition of amending the Truck Act. If one is unfortunate enough to be a successful legislator one makes enemies all round, owing to the Amendments one is obliged to refuse. I would prefer that the Government should undertake the task that was distasteful to me at the time, and has been so unpleasant ever since. There is a much more serious point that has arisen in consequence of the decision of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice.


I do not think it relevant to this Vote to examine the Truck Act and its deficiencies. It can only be dealt with so far as its administration by the Home Office is concerned.


I will accept the slightest intimation from you, Sir, but I would remind you that the Truck Act is to be enforced by the Inspector of Mines and Factories. The case I desire to refer to is one in which the Inspector of Mines sought to enforce the Act, but had a difficulty put in his way owing to the construction of the Act.


The Inspector did his duty.


I will not press the matter unduly, more especially as I think the Inspectors of Factories and the Inspectors of Mines have given the best help they can to the enforcement of the law. I will, therefore, only ask the Home Secretary to be good enough to look at the Judgment in the case of "Redgrave v.Kelly," and see if any better enforcement of the Act can be undertaken in view of the decision of the Court. I do not think it will be necessary for me to press the matter any further for the moment. I would only ask the Under Secretary if he can give me any information.


The hon. Member does them no more than justice when he says that the Inspectors of Factories are as energetic as they can be in the enforcement of the Act. It is true that an important decision was given as to the interpretation of the Truck Act, and, having due regard to your ruling, Sir, I may say that that decision is occupying the serious attention of the Home Secretary. The hon. Member asks at the same time what changes have been made in the ranks of the Inspectors since last year. Changes that I think he will consider important have been made. Two of the Inspectors to whom he alluded last year have been retired on the ground of age, and another has been retired on the ground of illhealth. These officials have been replaced by men in the prime of life.

*(9.11.) MR.PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I desire to call attention to the conduct of the Home Secretary in connection with capital cases, and I submit that the right hon. Gentleman has not always acted in accordance with constitutional usage. The first case which I shall mention is that which is known as the Crewe murder. This case aroused public feeling to a considerable extent, as was shown by the fact that Petitions, signed by no fewer than 150,000 persons, were received by the Home Secretary, besides 1,000 letters and 2,000 telegrams. The extraordinary proposition has been laid down in high places that these manifestations of public feeling in favour of the extension of the mercy of the Crown constituted "illegitimate pressure" put on the Home Secretary. That assertion was made by no less a personage than the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who, in a speech on Primrose Day, threw his very powerful protection round the body of his colleague. I cannot but think that the Irish Secretary confused two functions which are united in the office of the Home Secretary. It is true he is sometimes called upon to fulfil the functions of a Court of Appeal, but he is also at other times required to advise the Crown in granting or withholding the Royal clemency, and the analogy the Irish Secretary desired to establish between the office of the Home Secretary and that of an ordinary Judge was singularly inappropriate in the Crewe case, because the application there was not to the Home Secretary as a Court of Appeal. No one has ever doubted the guilt of the prisoners, or that their lives were forfeited to the law. An appeal was made to the right hon. Gentleman as the Minister charged to advise the Crown in the exercise of the Royal clemency, and I, for one, protest against the monstrous doctrine that when the citizens of this country approach either the Crown or the Minister who advises the Crown with a plea for the exercise of the Royal clemency, they are bringing illegitimate pressure to bear. If this House had been sitting at the time I should certainly have moved the adjournment the day before the execution in order to draw attention to the case—a course which was adopted by Mr. John Bright in 1855, and by Mr. Fawcett in the case of the Manchester Fenians convicted of the murder of Sergeant Brett. The communications which were sent to the Home Secretary in the Crewe case were treated by him with indifference, not to say contempt, and when questioned in this House he refused, contrary to constitutional usage, to give full information. He declared that discussions are out of place in regard to the administration of Criminal Law, and that it was without precedent to answer questions in the House on these matters. Well, as to precedents I would refer him first to the case of Samuel Wright, as to which Sir George Grey—then Home Secretary—in 1864, on a Memorial from the Visiting Justices of Horsemonger Lane Gaol, stated fully the grounds on which he had proceeded. I would refer him also to the case of George Hall, in which Sir George Grey took a similar course at the instance of the Mayor of Birmingham. Then there is the case of George Townley, also in 1864. That is an extraordinary case, because the late respected Earl of Carnarvon placed on the Notice Paper of the House of Lords a Motion to call attention to the circumstances under which the Crown had been advised to commute the punishment of the prisoner, who was convicted of murder at the Derbyshire Assizes. It is true Lord Carnarvon did not proceed with that Motion. He did not do so because Sir George Grey anticipated him by making a full statement in this House. Sir George gave the House a full and detailed statement, including his correspondence with the late Baron Martin. No doubt these are old cases, but I presume the strength of a precedent is not weakened because of its age. But there is a recent case—the Maam-trasna case. The Archbishop of Tuam sent a Memorial to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland respecting the execution of the convict Myles Joyce, and the case of the other prisoners then in penal servitude. Lord Spencer replied in a long and circumstantial Memorandum, setting forth the reasons on which he declined to extend the clemency of the Crown to the prisoner. Well, these examples are sufficient to establish the right of the public to receive full information in capital cases. I come now to the reason given by the Home Secretary for distinguishing between the cases of the two lads in what is known as the Crewe murder. We have been expressly told that George Davies was spared on the ground of his youth. Why was not the same plea applicable to his brother? When you are dealing with lads the elder of whom is only 19, it is ridiculous to split hairs. As a make-weight the right hon. Gentleman threw in the statement that "Richard Davies initiated the plot, and took the principal part in its execution." That was directly contrary to the finding of the jury. It may be said that the Home Secretary has to look at all the facts. And that is generally true. But when the jury have found a particular issue in favour of the prisoner, the Home Secretary strains the prerogative if (as here) he decides that very issue against the prisoner, and then alleges that decision as a ground for refusing mercy. Before I sit down I desire to say a few words respecting the Maybrick case. The verdict was either well-founded, or ill-founded. If the former, Mrs. Maybrick ought to have been hanged; if the latter, she ought to have been pardoned. The Home Secretary neither hanged Mrs. Maybrick nor did he pardon her. He took the middle course, which, for some minds, has an irresistible attraction, and commuted the sentence to penal servitude. In some quarters the proposition has been put forward that there may be, in some cases, a degree of doubt which renders it desirable that the capital penalty should not be inflicted, but which does not justify a pardon. That, I say, is not in accordance with the constitutional practice of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors. In the Richmond poisoning case, which occurred about 30 years ago, a Dr. Smethurst was convicted of murder. Afterwards a doubt arose, and he was pardoned on the ground that there "was not absolute and complete evidence of his guilt." Now, I ask, on what ground has the Home Secretary rested his advice to the Crown in the case of Mrs. Maybrick. Presumably, the right hon. Gentleman thought that Mrs. Maybrick intended to administer poison to her husband. [Mr. MATTHEWS: Attempted.] Well, attempted to do so, with the intention of murdering him. It may he taken that as the result in the opinion of the Home Secretary the husband did not die of the attempt, or his action would not have been what it was. If that was so, then the right hon. Gentleman was bound to advise the Crown to pardon the prisoner, so far as the conviction for murder was concerned, and he might afterwards have instituted a prosecution for the attempt to murder, as was done under analogous circumstances in the Saffron Hill case. In that case, which occurred about a quarter of a century ago, and in which Mr. Negretti put himself to great trouble to save an innocent man, an Italian named Pellizzioni was convicted of murdering a man on Saffron Hill. While Pellizzioni was actually lying under sentence of death, the Home Secretary of the day took steps to have him indicted at the Old Bailey for feloniously stabbing another man who had been wounded at the same time and place, as part and parcel of the same transaction. Pellizzioni was acquitted of that charge, and he was then pardoned for the other offence. Why did not the Home Secretary take a similar course in this case? As it is, Mrs. Maybrick remains in prison, I will not say contrary to law, because of course the right hon. Gentleman is able to shelter himself behind the Royal prerogative, but I do say contrary to the spirit of our constitutional practice. She remains a convict because the right hon. Gentleman thinks she has committed the crime of attempting to murder, for which she has never been put on her trial. That may be formally regular, as it cannot be impugned in a Court of Law, but it is really a gross irregularity which cannot possibly stand, and I have no doubt that in a year or two Mrs. Maybrick will be quietly smuggled out of prison. Now, Sir, I admit there may be some inconvenience attaching to a popular discussion of judicial decisions, but I think every man must feel that the public benefit far transcends any disadvantages which such a discussion may produce. At any rate, I am sure that as long as the spirit of citizenship survives in this country so long will such discussions continue. For my part I shall, as far as I can, endeavour to extend the public interest in the Criminal Law, so that that interest may not be confined, as I am sorry to admit it is now too much confined, to sensational cases, but may constitute a steady, regular, and persistent force. I think I have not said anything to which the right hon. Gentleman can fairly take exception. The gist of my complaint is simply that the right hon. Gentleman does not appear to appreciate the wisdom of a rule laid down by one of the greatest of his predecessors, which was so to administer the law that public opinion might go along with its enforcement.

*(9.38.) MR. M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)

I wish also to draw attention to the painful trial of the two lads Davies. I desire to express my approval of what my hon. Friend has said with regard to the refusal of the Home Secretary to give his full reasons for the decision he arrived at. The Home Secretary no doubt is responsible for that decision, but he is also responsible to Parliament, and if he refuses to give Parliament the reasons for his decision in so plain a case as this, and one which excited so vast an amount of public interest, then Parliament is deprived of one of the means of reviewing his conduct and pronouncing a decision upon it. This is not a tribunal, I admit, which is well fitted for reviewing decisions, but in a case of this peculiar sort where there are such very great reasons to believe that the clemency of the Crown ought to have been exercised in favour of both the lads, I think the Home Secretary ought to have given us the reasons for his decision. Local feeling was strongly in favour of the recommendation of the jury being given effect to. The Home Secretary received a communication from the solicitor to the boys, giving personal details, and assurances, based on conversation with them, that they were equally guilty, and that, if anything, the younger was the more guilty of the two. Certainly, there was no adequate ground for supposing that the elder brother egged the younger boy on. I do not want to say anything which would make the younger boy's position worse than it is, but it is not fair to the elder brother to say that there is strong ground for supposing that he was the instigator of the crime, and that it was also he who struck the fatal blow. Now, the difference in age between them was so small that they were equally well able to judge of the heinousness of their offence. The jury made no distinction between them, but recommended them both to mercy, and that was one of the reasons why the public in Cheshire and elsewhere felt very strongly about the Home Secretary's decision. They held, and I hold, although it may not be technically the case, that in a clear case of murder, as this was, where the verdict must be either to acquit the accused or to find them guilty, such a recommendation to mercy was part of the verdict, and ought to have been carried out by the Home Secretary. But I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman, in his decision, was not influenced by the merits of the case, but rather commuted, as a concession to public sympathy, the sentence on the younger boy, letting the elder brother be executed. This was a most unfortunate decision, and gave public opinion a very serious shock, at the same time creating a strong public feeling in favour of the abolition of capital punishment altogether. That, of course, was not the intention of the Home Secretary. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman felt that the boys ought to have been executed, because it was the murder of a father, but there were strong extenuating circumstances which were well-known to the Home Secretary. They received the very utmost provocation; they, in fact, committed this murder in defence of their mother. They were exasperated by the brutality of their father. That fact, I think, should have had weight with the Home Secretary. I now desire to express the hope that at some early time the remaining boy will have his sentence commuted, and be let out on good behaviour. I believe that result would meet with general approval, and it is partly to press that view on the Home Secretary that I have ventured to trouble the Committee with these remarks.

(9.45.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I shall have later on a little case to submit to the Home Secretary, but, at this point, I am bound to state that I do not agree with the strictures of my two hon. Friends in regard to the cases they have cited On the contrary, I think that the decision of the Home Secretary met with the general approval of the country. In the Maybrick case, it was, perhaps, possible that the woman did not actually kill the man; but there was no sort of doubt that she did administer poison to him. As to the Crewe case, my hon. Friend (Mr. M'Laren) is unable to see the distinction between the two boys who perpetrated this monstrous and hideous crime. It is said they were induced to commit this murder in defence of their mother. If an attack bad been made by the father on the mother, and they were actually defending their mother from violence when they committed the murder, I could have understood it would be regarded as a palliation of their conduct. But that was not the case. These boys constituted themselves the judges of their father's conduct towards their mother, and killed him. We cannot allow children to be the judges of their parents' conduct, and, in cases where they disapprove the act of the father, to slay him. I hope that the younger brother will not be let out on good behaviour. For my own part, I think it is doubtful policy to hang a boy of 16. I think that at the age of 18 a boy ought to be liable to this punishment, and I believe the majority of the inhabitants of this country are of opinion that the Home Secretary acted perfectly right in both the Maybrick and the Crewe cases.

(9.48.) MR. MATTHEWS

I cannot help feeling some difficulty in following the discussion. Though I do not say that the House of Commons has no right to interfere in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, I cannot refrain from saying that in these, as in other cases that have happened, the interference of the House is calculated to be very mischievous. It is a constitutional doctrine that the prerogative of mercy in the Crown is independent of Parliament. In 1839 Lord Brougham carried in the House of Lords a certain number of Resolutions, by which he purported to govern and to lay down the principle that ought to guide the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister of that day—a man who was not unmindful of the popular rights—protested in the strongest way against being bound by any such Resolutions, and he declared they were utterly inconsistent with the practice previously in force. He laid down emphatically that the prerogative was exercised, and wisely ought to be exercised, independently of the interference of Parliament. The reason of that was obvious. The prerogative, as it is now exercised, enables the Home Secretary to take into account circumstances which, as far as I know, no tribunal in the country can consider. Sources of information are open to him which cannot be accessible to any other Court of appeal or tribunal. In the first place, he receives confidential Reports from the Judges, from the police in the district where the crime was committed, and from other quarters, both public and otherwise. He is able to test and sift cases in a variety of ways and by a variety of means not open to any Court, and thus to arrive at a conclusion, I will not say always absolutely true, but which is as satisfactory as human means will allow. All these sources of information are, of course, confidential; they cannot be laid open to the House of Commons or made public, and I can only say that persons often criticise the decision of a public official in such circumstances when they cannot know anything of the material on which that decision is based. With reference to the two cases in which my action has just been criticised, if I were to act consistently I should decline to enter into any discussion on the matter, especially on the invitation of the hon. Member for Crewe (Mr. M'Laren), who thought fit, in the midst of the excitement and anxiety of the Crewe case, to go down to his constituents and make an electioneering speech, and thought it decent and proper to try and make political capital among them out of the murder—who tried to ingratiate himself with the electors by making use of this dreadful crime as the topic of a speech.

Mr. M'LAREN rose, but——


I will not give way. The hon. Member has thought fit more than once to criticise me, and this is the first opportunity I have had of replying. The last criticism to which I would sacrifice one tittle or jot of my judgment is that of an hon. Member who can use a criminal case for electioneering purposes. I think the hon. Member has given little consideration to the subject. I do not know whether the hon. Member has taken the trouble to read the evidence. I do not know whether the hon. Member has studied, for instance, the diagram of the wounds on the murdered man which was drawn by the medical witnesses. The position of those wounds upon the head of the man gave most significant, and, to my mind, conclusive testimony as to the position in which the striker must have stood. There were parallel perpendicular wounds above the right temple of the man, such as could not have been struck by a boy such as George was, standing in a trap on the left hand side of his father. They could only have been struck by a powerful youth, such as Richard was, striking with an axe at his father's head. These circumstances, I have no doubt, were deliberately weighed by the hon. Member before he made his electioneering speech. I dare say the hon. Member took the trouble to refer to the Judge before arriving at his hasty, crude conclusion. If not, his criticisms weigh with me very little. I weighed every word of the evidence over and over again, and with deliberate care and anxiety. I sought information from every source from which I could possibly obtain it. The conclusion I deliberately came to, and which I advised Her Majesty to act upon, was that the youth who should be hanged was the one who struck the blow, and about whom there was clear evidence that he had managed, contrived, and suggested the murder. I did my best. I took pains which, judging from his speech, the hon. Member has not taken; indeed, he has shown an utter want of appreciation of the material points in the evidence. Now, whether I met the popular view or not, I know not, and care not. I trust the day will never come when a responsible Minister of the Crown will advise Her Majesty in the exercise of the highest prerogative in order to suit some popular outcry.

DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

How about Dungarvan?


I do not know who the vulgar interrupter is.


I rise to a point of order, Sir. Everybody knows about the Home Secretary and his Dungarvan experiences.


The hon. Member has risen to a point of order. He must address himself to that point of order.


I rise with indignation, Mr. Courtney. I rise to repudiate the charge the Home Secretary has made against me. I wish to ask you, Sir, whether the right hon. Gentleman has any right to call an hon. Member, though, he be a Nationalist Member on this side of the House, a vulgar interrupter?


Order, order! The hon. Gentleman has not raised a point of order at all.


I wish to ask you, Mr. Courtney, whether the right hon. Gentleman is in order in applying the word "vulgar" to any interruption that is made by a Member on this side of the House.


I am afraid that the epithet is certainly not outside Parliamentary usage, and sometimes not without Parliamentary justice.


I say the right hon. Gentleman is one of the basest and meanest skunks that ever sat upon that Bench. He has called me a vulgarian of the worst type. I say it is an outrage.


Order, order! The hon. Member has failed to obey my order, and he must instantly apologise to the House for the language he has used, or I shall have to proceed to further measures.


I have been called a vulgarian by the right hon. Gentleman, and I say this much, that unless the right hon. Gentleman apologises—[Cries of "Order" and "Name him."] I appeal to your fairness, Mr. Courtney. What have I done to apologise for? I have been called a vulgarian.


Order, order! I have called upon the hon. Gentleman to take a definite course, and if he is not prepared to take that course I shall have to take further steps. I ask him whether he is prepared to take that course.


Of course, I always bow to your order in the most implicit and obedient way, but I do appeal to the Chair on this occasion to protect me from such utterances as have been used by the right hon. Gentleman, who called me a vulgarian.


There is no excuse for what the hon. Gentleman has done. The hon. Gentleman has not done what I desired him to do—namely, to apologise to the House for his conduct.


What have I done? If there is anything that I have done in an undue way, I shall certainly obey. [Cries of "Order!"] I am not going to be cowed by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I shall certainly follow your ruling, Mr. Courtney, and anything you tell me to do I shall do without hesitation.


Order, order! I have already directed the hon. Gentleman to apologise for the violence of his language and his conduct. If he will do that I shall be glad to hear him.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

Will you allow me, Mr. Courtney, to intervene? I would advise my hon. Friend, by the ties of long comradeship in this House, to withdraw, at your dictation, the expression he has used; and when he has withdrawn that expression, I hope you will see that the interruption of "Dungarvan," although it may be irrelevant, did not entitle the Home Secretary to use the term "vulgar."


I shall implicitly and without hesitation follow the advice of my hon. Friend. If I have in any way offended, which, unfortunately, I fail to see, I shall of course express my due contrition for having offended. But at the same time, Sir, I must really say this, that I think the expression vulgar was a word that was uncalled for on the part of the right hon. Gentleman.


Order, order! Mr. Secretary Matthews.


I shall always submit to the censure of the House of Commons if I have made a mistake, and still more if I have acted corruptly or carelessly. What I do protest against is the discussion in this House of the grounds of the decision in the two cases referred to. It is not possible to place before the House of Commons the sources of all the information on which a Minister most painfully and laboriously comes to a conclusion in regard to the exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy.

*(10.10.) MR. M'LAREN

I am perfectly ready to submit my conduct and remarks to criticism, even with that display of feeling which the right hon. Gentleman has introduced, but as he has given an incorrect representation of what took place it is due to him and to myself—for I do not suppose he desires to do me an injustice—that I should be allowed a word or two of explanation. The right hon. Gentleman has charged me with going down and making an electioneering speech amid the excitement of the case. The speech I made was after the case was over. I addressed my constituents at a meeting which had been fixed a considerable time before, and had no connection with the case. The meeting was held, I believe, the evening after the execution. Naturally the case having excited the deepest interest throughout the whole country was foremost in the minds and conversation of the people of Cheshire. After I had finished my speech dealing with the ordinary topics of the day, I, in deference to a general feeling, expressed the great regret I felt at the decision the Home Secretary had come to. I spoke for five or ten minutes, and with extreme moderation. I expressly disclaimed any attempt or desire to make political capital out of the event. I may mention that my political opponent in the constituency, who is a London solicitor, made a speech there two days afterwards, and, repeating all I said, said he agreed with everything I had said. So that there was no attempt to make political capital. I read the evidence, certainly. Of course, I did not consult the Judge. It was no business of mine to do so, and I do not suppose the Judge would have answered me if I had. All the means of investigation in my power I availed myself of. I consulted the prisoners' solicitor, which the right hon. Gentleman did not do. The solicitor offered to come up to the Home Office, but the right hon. Gentleman would not ask him to do so. One means of information, then, I used which the right hon. Gentleman refused. In short, I have merely supported the verdict of the jury in advising mercy. I will not carry the discussion further. I only wish to defend myself from the charge of making political capital out of an execution, and I do not think the Committee believe that that charge can be established against me.

(11.12.) MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E)

I wish to say a word or two upon an entirely different matter. The Home Secretary has not taken any action yet, so far as I know, in the spirit of the recommendations and suggestions of the Committee which sat last year, and was presided over by Lord Aberdare, to consider reforms in the rules for the treatment of prisoners in England and Scotland. I wish to call attention to this matter in the interest of a certain number of persons——


That is a matter that comes under the Prisons Vote.


I cannot quite admit that the Home Secretary exercises the prerogative of the Crown in far smaller matters than that of life and death in a manner entirely free from political bias. I have a case to mention in which I think it is shown that the right hon. Gentleman was influenced by political bias. I believe I am president or some such thing of a Liberal Association at Weymouth, and the Association have asked me to bring this case before the House. On June 18 last there was what was called an anti-compensation meeting held at Weymouth. The meeting was attended by the Liberals of the town; it was presided over by an Archdeacon, and altogether was of a highly respectable character. The publicans, Tories, and others, determined to break up this meeting, and paid their myrmidons to attend it, A riot ensued, and several respectable persons were seriously injured, not so much physically as morally. Seven men were fined before the Magistrates next day, and the money was paid from the Tory agent's office. One man, named Frank Mundy, against whom there were nine previous convictions, and who had been seven times in prison, was sent to prison for 28 days, with hard labour, for an assault upon a venerable old gentleman of 70. In this case a Petition was sent up to the Home Secretary, asking that this man should be let out of prison. The Petition was signed by no cleryman, officer of the Army, or medical man. The Home Secretary rightly sent the Petition down to the Magistrates and asked them to express their views upon it, which they did. They analysed the Petition, and out of 227 signatures 12 were those of respectable tradesmen or inhabitants, some of whom had taken an active part in the anti-temperance agitation; 10 of inhabitants strongly opposed to the objects of the meeting; 50 of men in the employ of two large brewers, and obtained mostly at the masters' demand; 20 of hotel or public-house keepers; 20 of men in the employment of people who had organised roughs to disturb the meeting; 34 quay loafers and others whose signatures were obtained in public-houses; four of convicted thieves; 16 of persons who had been convicted before the Borough Magistrates of various offences; 10 of boys; 10 of friends of the prisoner; two of men of no credit in the town, bankrupts or insolvent; one who was fined for being drunk and disorderly after being ejected from the meeting; 10 were strangers, 10 were women of the labouring classes, four were men who were fined for taking part in the riot. Well, the Magistrates, having replied and given the Home Secretary this analysis of the signatures of the Petition, showing that it was signed by convicted thieves, Tories, and other discredited persons in the town, one might have supposed the Home Secretary would have been satisfied, if uninfluenced by political bias, that it was not an occasion for the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, and would have written to the; Magistrates expressing regret for having given them so much trouble. But the Home Secretary was in the difficulty that this meeting had been disturbed by the Tories. After sarcastically thanking the Magistrates for their trouble, he told them that upon a review of the whole circumstances he had felt justified in advising Her Majesty to remit the remainder of the sentence. Looking at what has taken place in Ireland and in London, I would ask whether that is even-handed justice as between man and man. Here we have a respectable public meeting, an Archdeacon at the head of it, interrupted by a band of roughs subsidized by Tories, and the man who especially distinguished himself by; violence towards an old gentleman of 70 years of age was sentenced by a Bench of five Magistrates, only one of whom differed from the decision and thought a fine would be sufficient, to 28 days' imprisonment, and upon a Petition of the character I have described, the Home Secretary intervenes and liberates the person. I think I need say no more. I have done my duty in bringing this case under notice.

*(10.25.) MR. MATTHEWS

I can assure the hon. Member that the Petition had no weight with me, but I read the evidence, and it appears that this fishmonger, aged 70, was "bonnetted" by this man Mundy at a political meeting in a playful manner. He said that his hat had not been hurt, but that his dignity had been hurt, and that it was not a very serious assault. I had the curiosity to make some inquiry about the composition of this Bench of Magistrates. One was a promoter of this anti-compensation meeting, and another was the proprietor of the hall in which the meeting was held. One Magistrate said that this was only a little manifestation of horse play at a political meeting, and that a fine would meet the case; but the others, who were active members of the teetotal party, imposed this extravagant sentence of 28 days' imprisonment with hard labour. If Mundy had not been of my own side in politics, I should have had no hesitation in releasing him. Mundy had already suffered 10 days' imprisonment, with hard labour, for bonneting this ancient but respectable fishmonger, with whom, for my own part, I entirely sympathised. I do not defend the action of Mundy, but I do not think that he deserved more than 10 days with hard labour. The Mayor, in giving the sentence, said that he had not taken into consideration the previous misfortunes of Mr. Mundy.

*(10.27.) MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I am sure that hon. Members from Ireland were interested to hear the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, and must have contrasted his line of conduct with the sentences of four, five, and six months' imprisonment inflicted for similar exhibitions of horseplay in Ireland. I do not wish to prolong this Debate, but there are one or two things to which I wish to call attention. I think that one impression that will be left on the minds of the whole Committee will be one of the absolute necessity, and the supreme importance, of establishing a Court of Criminal Appeal. Nobody, whatever his side of politics, can for a moment contend that the House of Commons is a proper body to re-try criminal cases. Under the present system the House of Commons has a right to interfere, and no one can complain if it does. I wish to enter a protest against what the Home Secretary said in reference to the House of Commons interfering with the prerogative of the Crown. With all deference to the right hon. Gentleman, I think his words convey a misconception of the position of this House in interfering with the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. The Crown acts on the advice of a responsible Minister, and that Minister is responsible to Parliament for all the advice he gives to the Crown. There is no prerogative which the Crown has to exercise on the advice of a responsible Minister, which cannot be challenged in The House of Commons. Whether it be wise or prudent so to do is not the question. Nor is it any justification for a Minister to say he is in the possession of information which the House itself does not generally possess. Such a doctrine might be used with enormous force by the Foreign Minister, on almost every occasion on which his policy was challenged. The House of Commons has an undoubted right to question the manner in which the Crown exercises its prerogative of mercy, and the Home Secretary is as responsible for the advice he gives, as is the Foreign or Colonial Secretary, or any other Minister of the Crown. I do not for a moment question the purity of the motives of the right hon. Gentleman. Nobody would impute to him anything of a corrupt character, or say he does not give the best attention to the cases on which he has to come to a decision. No one would contend that he does not apply his highly trained intellect in the endeavour to arrive at a right conclusion in this matter. But what the right hon. Gentleman said was this, that in giving this advice to the Crown, he acted on information which he himself calls anonymous information. There was, therefore, what was practically a second trial, in which there was no publicity and the evidence at which was subjected to no satisfactory test, although it was a question of life or death. This, I submit, is not a satisfactory mode of working a Court of Criminal Appeal, sitting openly and before the world, and coming to its decision on legal and not on anonymous evidence. I am sure we shall never have a satisfactory administration of criminal justice until we have such a Court of Criminal Appeal, and to establish such a Court both sides of the House are pledged. The Home Secretary shakes his head, but I know that three or four years ago the present Attorney General brought in a Bill——


Order, order! The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly in order in criticising the way in which the Home Secretary exercises his functions, but he cannot go into a matter such as the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal.


I apologise for having departed from the subject of the Vote. I did not, however, wish to criticise the manner in which the Home Secretary has exercised this most important and responsible duty, but I wanted to enter a caveat against his suggestion that he, as Home Secretary, occupied a different position from the rest of his Colleagues, and that the House of Commons have not the same right to criticise his action as they have to criticise the action of other Members. I also wanted to point out the present unsatisfactory mode of administering the Court of Final Appeal.

(10.36.) MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

At the risk of being charged with irrelevancy I wish to re-call the attention of the Committee to the question of the management of coal and metalliferous mines. I had hoped to be able to speak on this subject earlier in the evening, but was unsuccessful in my attempt to secure an opportunity. The point I desire first to deal with is one seriously affecting the miners of Cornwall, and that is the question of the excessive mortality amongst these men, to which I have more than once drawn attention by questions in this House. I am not going to complain of the action that the local Inspector, Mr. Pinching, has taken in regard to this question, because I quite understood that, from the answers I received from the Home Secretary, Mr. Pinching was justified, or, at least, had reasonable grounds, for making the remarks which he did make, and to which I took exception. I regret, however, that up to this moment I have not received the Report which the Home Secretary promised me, and, in any case, I regret that a misunderstanding should have arisen upon the subject-matter of the Report to the Home Office, through the Inspector having made some premature observations upon it. I should like to thoroughly endorse what has been said this evening in connection with the question of an increase in the number of Inspectors. My own experience and the strong feeling among the miners of Cornwall amply justify the appeal that has been urged for an increased number of Inspectors of Mines throughout the country. The Inspector for Devon and Cornwall has under his control one of the largest districts in England, and I believe that it is absolutely impossible for one man, however energetic, to properly regulate and control the mines extending over this large area. Here I may say, in reply to the Home Secretary, that I do not ask for any constant supervision in the sense of a daily supervision, which the right hon. Gentleman has said, and rightly said, would be impossible, but I do ask that the area of an Inspector should not be so extended, and should not contain so many mines, as to make it impossible for him to visit each of them at least once a year. It must be remembered that the Inspector, in addition to the duty of inspecting mines, has to attend Petty Sessions for purposes of prosecutions, and also coroner's inquests in cases of fatality. He has also a large correspondence dealing with details of Acts of Parliament relating to mines, and has to compile statistics relating to the outputs of mines, &c. In my opinion it is a physical impossibility for any one man to do all this, in addition to visiting each mine in his district in the course of the year. With respect to the scientific training of the Inspectors of Mines, I quite agree that Inspectors should have a scientific training. It is obviously necessary in the case of the Inspectors of Coal Mines, who have to deal with inflammable gases, but it is quite as necessary in the case of Mine Inspectors in Devon and Cornwall. I do not believe in rule-of-thumb men as Inspectors, but in Devon and Cornwall there are a number of men with a scientific training who are also practical miners, and who would make thoroughly competent Inspectors. The School of Mines is by no means as efficient as it might be, and compares very badly with the Schools of Mines in Germany. There are, no doubt, good schools in different parts of the country, and in Camborne we have a very efficient School of Mines, although its resources are limited. Gentlemen come down there to work as practical miners underground, and at the present time the son of a Member of this House is working in Dolcombe Mine in order to learn the business. I wish to draw the Home Secretary's attention to one or two points in Mr. Pinching's Report. In the last paragraph it is stated that there is appended a list of the mines he has visited in the district, and I want to know why that list is not published? I have looked for it in vain. If such a list were published we should be able to ascertain exactly what amount of control the Inspector is able to exercise as far as the personal examination of mines is concerned. This question of personal examination enables me to raise the question of the mortality among the miners of Devon and Cornwall. This matter has been brought prominently before the public by an article in the Lancet, in which it is proved that the mortality of Cornish miners is in excess, not only of the coal miners, who have to run the risk of explosions, but of every other class of persons engaged in the mining operations of this country. I believe that the Report of the Registrar General shows that it is six to one, or something of that kind. This is a state of things which requires not only searching inquiry, but also that some speedy remedy should be applied. So great is this mortality among Cornish miners that Friendly Societies in the county refuse to take miners as members, and I think these facts are sufficient to justify me in urging upon the Homo Secretary that something should be done. The authorities place the average age of miners at 45 years, but I have heard it put at a lower age. Mr. Pinching states in his Report that great improvements have taken place in the condition of the mines, and that the excessive mortality is, to a great extent, due to the carelessness of the men themselves. I take exception to this statement, at least so far as laying the blame upon the men is concerned. I do not mean to say that the men are not careless in many ways, but, taking all things into consideration, it must be admitted that the men have no power to secure for themselves those sanitary conditions which are necessary for the purpose of securing themselves from death. They cannot dictate to the adventurers or lessees how many shafts shall be sunk and what machinery shall be used. I readily admit that a great many evils have been remedied by the use of boring and other machinery, but a very great deal remains to be done. Lessees often have not got it in their power to do as much as they wish to do for the men, owing to the large amount of royalties and dues to be paid. In regard to the accommodation for the men, I may say that in some of the smaller mines it is very bad indeed. Men, in the winter time, when a biting frost prevails, often have to come directly out of the heated underground atmosphere, streaming with perspiration, into the cold air, and walk some distance to the place where they have to change their clothes. As a consequence phthisis speedily develops. I urge the Home Secretary to give us an opportunity of placing all the facts before him. The public demand it, and the right hon. Gentleman will make a mistake if he does not accede to that demand. The Home Secretary has given assurances that a Bill dealing with metalliferous mines has been framed and will be brought in next Session. But I want to know on what grounds the right hon. Gentleman bases the provisions applying to Devon and Cornwall. We have a right to know on what evidence the Bill has been based. A reference has been made by the Home Secretary to a Report alleged to have been presented in the year 1888, and I have to ask what that Report was. I have searched the Reports of the Inspector of Devon and Cornwall, but cannot find such a Report. I contend that there has been no inquiry, and I am anxious that such an inquiry should take place, for I am confident that the right hon. Gentleman has nothing to fear from it. But such an inquiry would put us all in a better position to assist the right hon. Gentleman, and I, for my own part, shall be most happy to do all in my power to assist the promotion of a useful and efficient measure. Another point to which I wish to call the attention of the Home Secretary is that of the inspection of boilers. Many boilers in the Cornish mines have been in use a great many years, and are very unsafe. Attention was called to this matter in the Inspector's Report of 1888, and it was recommended that the examination of boilers by practical boiler makers, once or twice a year, should be made compulsory, and that no boiler should be allowed to be worked unless it had a clean bill from such a competent person. Now, I ask, has any attention been paid to that recommendation? There was a serious boiler explosion at Redruth at the beginning of this year, and when one of the adventurers, who held a large number of shares in the mine, brought the matter before his fellow adventurers, he was subjected to a most insulting attack by the mine manager. This fact in itself shows the imperative necessity of further protection in this matter, especially as it is well known that many boilers are bricked up in such a way as to make inspection almost impossible. I believe that some mine owners do not insure their boilers, simply because the Insurance Companies are in the habit of sending an Inspector round once or twice every year, and they do not like the prospect of such visits.

(11.7.) MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)

There is one question which I desire to ask the Home Secretary, and for which I have the mandate of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby. It is with reference to the police buildings recently erected on the Embankment. I have no intention to discuss the architectural merits of these buildings; that would be foreign to my object. When, some time ago I asked a question on the subject, the right hon. Gentleman said that the buildings had been erected entirely on his own responsibility. I wish now to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, when he decided on the design, he did it entirely of his own motion, or whether he consulted some authority on architecture. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the buildings have been viewed with great disfavour by some authorities in the country. It seems rather extraordinary that the control of these great public buildings should not be vested in one Department, and that while some buildings paid for by public money are under the control of the First Commissioner of Works and other authorities, these buildings should be subject to the control of the Home Secretary. I wish also to know what amount of money has been spent upon them.

*(11.9.) MR. MATTHEWS

The site was purchased by my predecessor and I had to cover it as best I could. I took the advice of high architectural and artistic authorities in London, persons who are at the head of art in this country. I asked them the name of the best architect to employ, and accepting their advice, I commissioned that gentleman to put up the best building he could for the money. The building cost £96,000.

*(11.10.) CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)

I have to ask the right hon. Gentleman to give an assurance that he will deal with a Petition which has been for a long time before the Home Office from, the borough of Buckingham? A Petition was sent on May 6, 1889, to the Home Office, asking that the Court of Quarter Sessions might be abolished in that borough.


It has been abolished.


Then it must have been abolished within the last few hours, as I had a telegram from the Town Clerk on the subject only three hours ago. During a period of 10 years the Recorder has only been required to hold a Court there six times, and only on one occasion has there been more than one prisoner for trial. It is necessary, however, to summon 60 persons to attend on the Grand and Petty Juries. There is no gaol in the borough, and the prisoners have to be brought from Aylesbury. I complain of the delay on the part of the Home Office in acknowledging and dealing with the Petition. One letter remained unanswered from November 19, 1889, until the 24th April last.


An explanation was then given of the delay.


And when the answer came to hand we were told by the Home Office that if the office of Recorder were abolished the salary of £50 must continue to be paid as heretofore, although the learned Gentleman had only held the office six years. The Town Council objected to this, and, in order to arrive at some private arrangement with the Recorder, a deputation waited on him to ask whether he would accept a smaller sum than his full pay. The Recorder refused to come to any terms with the deputation. The Town Council offered to pay £20 a year to the Recorder for the remainder of his life. I ask the Home Secretary whether, under the authority vested in him, he will interfere to compel this Recorder, who is taking advantage of his position in order to suck the last farthing he can get out of a small borough, to send in his resignation. I beg to move the reduction of the Vote.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salary of the Secretary of State), be reduced by £50."—(Captain Verney.)

(11.20.) DR. TANNER

I wish to endorse the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newhaven as to the new police building. I think nothing could possibly so thoroughly represent the constructive ideas of the right hon. Gentleman. It is in its essence and in its conception a vulgar interruption of the Embankment.

(11.21.) MR. PRITCHARD MORGAN (Merthyr Tydvil)

I should like to call attention to the fact that the number of Inspectors of Mines is anything but adequate for visiting the collieries of the country even once a year. The Home Secretary has too much to do, and the Government ought to do what is done in every other country—namely, appoint a Minister of Mines, the duties of which might be tagged on to those of the Minister of Agriculture.


Order, Order! That is travelling outside the scope of the subject of this vote.

*(11.25.) SIR W. C. PLOWDEN (Wolverhampton, W.)

I have a Notice on the Paper which relates to the Vote for Vivisection. Now the Act regulating Vivisection was the result of the Report of a Royal Commission which went thoroughly into the question of Vivisection, and in the proposals they made they stated it was essential that the Secretary of State should have complete power of efficient inspection, and of obtaining full Returns and accurate records of all experiments made. Two clauses in the Act, namely, Clauses 9 and 10, gave the Secretary of State these full and adequate powers, and my complaint is that the Secretary has not exercised the full powers he possesses, and that the inspection, which this Report stated ought to be thoroughly efficient, is neither complete nor satisfactory. I think it is easy to show that this is the case. In the first place, what is the number of Inspectors that we have? For 12 years there was but one Inspector, but last year an addition was made, and an Assistant Inspector was appointed who did a certain amount of work. I understand that again this year there is but one Inspector, the Assistant Inspector having been appointed Chief Inspector, and there being now no Assistant Inspector.




Well, all I can say is that I don't think the work of inspection can be satisfactorily performed with the present staff. What is the state of things? First we find that the buildings licensed for the purpose of these experiments number 54 in England and Scotland, and that they are situated in 30 different localities. Ten of the buildings are in London, and the rest are in the provinces; distributed all over the country, at places such as Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Nottingham, Plymouth, Aldershot, Netley, and elsewhere. In the first year's operation of the Act the number of experiments in regard to which application was made was very limited. I have here a Return which shows that in 1878 (the first year) the number of experiments was 481. The latest return shows no fewer than 1,417 experiments. And there is another curious feature in connection with these experiments, which are conducted under five different classes of certificates. One of these classes enables experimenters to do without anæsthetics. In 1878 the number of experiments without anæsthetics was only 87 out of 481, or about 18 per cent. But then the experiments without anæsthetics are really the most important, and I think that the Inspectors should look particularly after them. The number of such experiments has largely increased during the last few years, and in the last year for which we have a Report no fewer than 644 out of 1,417 experiments were made without anæsthetics; that is to say, that 55 out of every 100 experiments were conducted with anæsthetics, and 45 without. Now I say that it is impossible to exercise a proper inspection of these experiments with the staff which we have at present, and that fact is borne out by the last Report of the Inspector. There are 13 localities which have not been examined at all, and virtually the Inspector only had an opportunity of looking at one-sixth per cent. of the experiments without anæsthetics. The Act provides that the Home Secretary, with the sanction of the Treasury, can appoint any number of Inspectors he chooses. I hope the Home Secretary will look seriously into this question, and see whether the inspection has been satsfactory. If it has not satisfied him. I hope he will get Parliament's assent to the proposal we make that the number of Inspectors shall be increased. I think it would be of very great advantage if he would allow the various societies and individuals who take an interest in the matter the power of examining these Reports. It would be of great service to those who think the inspection is not of a sufficiently careful character.


I move the reduction of the salary of the Home Secretary by £100 in order to get an answer with reference to that greedy, grasping lawyer Mr. Bullock, who is trying to squeeze all he can get out of the Buckingham Town Council.


It is quits unnecessary to move that reduction in order to get an answer.

(11.33.) MR. MATTHEWS

The town of Buckingham appointed a Recorder at a salary fixed by itself of £50 a year. The Recorder holds his office as a freehold, and although the Court of Quarter Sessions is done away with, neither the Queen nor anyone else can deprive the Coroner of his freehold office without loss. The Town Council now grudges the £50, and wishes to reduce it. My duty, under the Local Government Act, is to protect existing privileges. I suggested to the Town Council that if they could arrange with the Recorder to accept something short of the salary paid to him before his retirement I would sanction the agreement. The Town Council, as I understand, have failed to come to any agreement with the Recorder. I propose to see the Recorder on the subject. My difficulty is to see how I am to protect the existing interests of the Recorder by anything except the payment of his full salary, which the Town Council grudge him, although it is by their act he has ceased to render them the services for which the salary was promised him. The only difficulty is the reluctance of the Town Council of Buckingham to pay the money they are bound to pay for life to the person who was Recorder, Besides this great question of Imperial importance respecting the Recorder of Buckingham, there is the question raised by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last. It seems to me that one of the most unsatisfactory symptoms of the present day is the craving for incessant inspection in every function of life. It is quite unnecessary that the Inspectors should be present at all the experiments, and it is impossible that they should be. The hon. Gentleman has called attention to the great increase in the number of experiments performed without anæsthetics. That arises from the great increase in the number of experiments in regard to inoculation in cases of diseases like pleuro-pnenmonia and anthrax. A vast number of experiments have been conducted of late years, and they are necessarily conducted without anæsthetics. That is the whole reason for the increase. I require of all experimenters in matters of vivisection, except those who hold certificate C, that they should furnish me at the close of the year, or from time to time, with records of their experiments. If I thought there was any general feeling on the subject I should have no objection to making these Reports public. As far as I am able to observe, the late Inspector did, and the present Inspector, Dr. Moore, does, his duty admirably. I have appointed an Assistant Inspector.

(11.37.) SIR W. PLOWDEN

Even now I do not understand the position of the right hon. Gentleman. Can those interested in the matter see the Reports that come to the Home Office?

[Mr. MATTHEWS'S reply did not reach the Reporters' Gallery.]

MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

I merely wish to say I hope it will not be thought we accept the idea that the Recorder of Buckingham is entitled, after six years' service, to a pension for life equal to the amount of his original salary.

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

I hope I may appeal to the Committee to come now to a decision on the Vote. We have discussed it for six hours.


On a point of order, Mr. Courtney, I moved the reduction of the Vote because I am determined to have this matter settled. I will take a Division if necessary. The Home Secretary says he has no power to deal with the question. Here are his own words:— The Law Officers are of opinion that the Secretary of State has power to advise Her Majesty to insert in the order of revocation a provision that the borough shall continue to pay the Recorder such salary as the Secretary of State shall consider to be proper. Yet he now shelters himself by saying that he cannot interfere with it because it is a freehold. That is a contemptible subterfuge, because, according to his own words, his officers advised him he had power. It is quite true that the pension of the former Recorder of Buckingham is a small matter as compared with Imperial interests. I shall certainly insist that the question of the small borough of Buckingham—[Cries of "Divide, divide!"] Hon. Gentlemen say "Divide, divide!" If they will not hear me, I will not press my point. They seem to be anxious for a Division.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question again proposed.


A short time ago a letter appeared in the Timesnewspaper from Le Caron, in which Le Caron stated, in confirmation of certain things he had said before the Special Commission in regard to an interview he had had with the Member for Cork, that a Report had been made by a detective to the Home Office respecting that interview, and that he had himself seen this Report. There are three questions I wish to ask. In the first place, is it true that at that time the detectives who were about these buildings for the protection of Members sent Reports to the Home Office with respect to interviews that Members had with persons who called upon them here, and stating the time occupied by the interview? In the second place, is it true that Le Caron did see these Reports at the Home Office? It certainly seems to me an astonishing thing that this man, who was in no way in the service of the Government, should have had the right, assuming the Reports were made, to go to the Home Office and read them. I do not suppose hon. Members would be allowed to do so. The third question is, supposing it was the fact that at that time these Reports were made to the Home Office, are we to understand that they are being made now?

*(11.43.) MR. MATTHEWS

Since I have been at the Home Office I have never had any Report on anything that passed in the Lobby as to Members of this House. What took place in the time of my predecessor the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby I will not undertake to answer for; and perhaps the hon. Gentleman will address his questions to him. I am not aware of any Report furnished during my time.


This statement of Le Caron, I think, was during the tenure of office of the right hon. Gentleman.




Then I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon.

Question put, and agreed to.

2. Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £27,663, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in coarse of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1891, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, including certain Expenses connected with Emigration.

(11.44.) MR. BAUMANN

I wish to make some criticisms on the recent Convention with the Transvaal which has been concluded by Lord Knutsford with respect to the settlement of Swaziland. ["Oh!"] I am sorry the subject is wearisome to hon. Members on my left, but if we approach the subject at some disadvantage it is entirely the fault of the Colonial Office. There is no Department so copiously and regularly supplied with information as the Colonial Office, and no Department supplies so little information to the House of Commons. Ever since the beginning of the Session I have been endeavouring to get some Papers with regard to Swaziland. I am always told that negotiations are proceeding, and that Papers cannot be produced. But now, when negotiations are concluded and the Convention settled, we have no Papers, nor have we Sir Francis de Winton's Report. That Report was in the hands of the Government at the end of January in the present year, yet it has been studiously withheld from the House of Commons. If Lord Knutsford has erred in this matter it is certainly not from want of deliberation, because in May, 1889, President Krüger telegraphed to him asking him to make some settlement with regard to Swaziland, and after 15 months the Secretary of State has taken to make up his mind he produces a compromise which is intended to please all parties, but which, I am afraid, will share the fate of most compromises and will please none. Lord Knutsford sent out Sir Francis de Winton to Swaziland on a special Mission to inquire into the best way of settling the government of that country. Sir Francis de Winton is a man of the greatest experience of native questions and of the government of natives. He came back to this country and presented a Report to the Colonial Office, in which he advised unequivocally that the Transvaal should be allowed to annex Swaziland, and in which he condemned without reserve any proposal to form a joint Government or a joint protectorate over Swaziland. Will anybody impugn the patriotism of Sir Francis de Winton, or will anybody deny his competence to form a judgment upon this question? But Lord Knutsford has thought right to absolutely set aside the Report of the man he sent out, and that very policy which Sir Francis de Winton condemned as unworkable has been adopted by the Secretary of State. There are five possible policies with regard to Swaziland; we might have annexation by England, annexation by the Transvaal, an English protectorate, a Dutch protectorate, or a joint protectorate by England and the Transvaal. But the Secretary of State has devised a scheme which is neither of these five, and which, for my own part, I confess I am at a loss to understand, and which I hope the Under Secretary for the Colonies will explain to-night. Lord Knutsford calls it a Joint Government; the Under Secretary calls it a Joint Administration. But he admits that it has no jurisdiction under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, and, therefore, it is no Government; and yet it is planted down in the kingdom of an independent Swazi Sovereign. This Government consists of three elements—the Imperial, the Colonial, and the Boer; there is a Court of Justice from which there is no appeal, and we have not been told whether the Judge will be an Englishman or a Dutchman, or in fact whether there will be one, two, or three Judges. I will ask what would happen in a dispute between a white man and a black, or where an injury was done by a black man to a white. Supposing a black man killed a white man, who would try the black man? The Under Secretary says the new Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over the Swazis, but has only jurisdiction, or power of administration, over the white men. Therefore, I hope the Under Secretary will explain, in the case I have supposed, before what tribunal the black man would be brought, and what jurisdiction he would be subject to. Then I want to know also whether this triple Government is to suppress the customs of barbarism which we know go on in Swaziland? I would ask also whether it is not a farce to talk about the independence of Swaziland when we have set up this triple control? Does anyone suppose that this compromise can last? The result will be the usual interval of friction, chaos, and ill-will, and then the annexation of Swaziland by the Transvaal, not on our terms, but on theirs. I do not think that Lord Knutsford believes in his own policy, but regards it as a temporary expedient and a stop-gap, brought about by the ignorant clamour of a very small section in this country, which persists in treating the Boers as enemies, and mainly mindful of the beating the Boers gave us at Majuba Hill is jealous of Dutch supremacy, and opposed to the Boers getting anything at all in Africa. I confess I cannot understand this jealousy of Dutch aggrandisement in this country. Why, the Transvaal is mainly British, and in course of time it will become a British State. When President Krüger was over here the other day, and was asked who would be the next President of the Transvaal, he said he believed it would be Mr. Robinson, but that certainly it would be an Englishman. Therefore, what is the meaning of this jealousy of a State which must become British as much as the Cape Colony? We have given the Transvaal a seaport by the Convention which we have just made, though this section object to the Transvaal having a seaport. As a matter of fact, the acquisition of a seaport necessitates naval protection, and means a return to the British flag. It is absurd to talk about putting down the Dutch. We have to live with the Dutch in South Africa. The Dutch are masters of the Cape Government, and if we wish the development of South Africa to be steady and peaceful we must work with them and be friends with them. The real question of danger in South Africa is not between Englishmen and Dutchmen, but between white men and black men, and it is against that common enemy—["Oh!"]—well, if we have an invasion of the black tribes from the interior of Africa the blacks will then be our enemies—it is against that common enemy that we have to provide. If the English and Dutch are set by the ears by the counsels of timidity and ignorance it is impossible to say how long the federation of the different States in South Africa will be postponed. The only thing that can be said for tbe compromise which Lord Knutsford has adopted is that it is a temporary one and intended as a preparation for some final and statesmanlike settlement of Swaziland by the only means which I believe possible, namely, the annexation of that country by one or other of the real governing Powers in South Africa.

*(11.59.) THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Baron H. de WORMS, Liverpool, East Toxteth)

I agree with the hon. Member for Peckham that a great deal of interest attaches to this question. The hon. Member began by finding fault with the Colonial Office, because he said though we receive a great deal of information we never part with any. I do not think that was deserved. Whenever information can be given Papers of general interest are always presented by the Colonial Office, just as they are by other Offices. He complains that no Papers are presented bearing on our negotiations with the Transvaal. I should have thought the hon. Gentleman would know it was absolutely impossible in view of the fact that the Convention was only agreed to quite recently.


I complained that since the negotiations no Papers had been produced.


The negotiations were concluded about ten days ago, and the heads of the Agreement have been communicated to the House. The hon. Member for Peckham complains of the Report of Sir Francis de Winton, with regard to previous negotiations, not being laid before the House. It was equally impossible to present that Report. It was not adopted by Her Majesty's Government, and it would have been impossible and improper to have presented what could only have been a garbled account before a definite conclusion was arrived at. The hon. Gentleman, although he has not seen the Report, appears to have been partially and imperfectly informed as to what was in it. He says the only thing recommended by Sir Francis de Winton was that England should agree to the annexation of Swaziland by the Transvaal.


I did not say the only thing.


The main thing.


That was the recommendation mentioned by Lord Knutsford in another place.


Probably the hon. Gentleman did not know there was more than one recommendation by Sir Francis de Winton. Sir Francis de Winton pointed out that there were three courses open to Her Majesty's Government. The first was to hand over the government of Swaziland to the Transvaal; the second was for Great Britain to assume the government; and the third was to establish a Joint Government. Certainly Sir Frances de Winton favoured the first course, but, at all events, in his Report he presented three alternatives to Her Majesty's Government. To decide whether Her Majesty's Government has acted wisely in the matter, it is necessary to remember the circumstances which have led to the Convention. In 1886 Mr. Theophilus Shepstone was appointed adviser to the King of Swaziland, and in July, 1887, a representative white Committee was formed for the government of the white settlers. That Committee was an absolute failure owing to their inexperience in administration and to the fact that they nearly all had private interests of their own, and it was dissolved in 1889. During that time the King of Swaziland had bartered away many of his rights and concessions in so reckless a manner that he had given away all his property, territory, and rights, and the concessions were often in conflict with others, and as this was a very dangerous state of affairs, the Transvaal Government suggested in March, 1889, that they should be allowed to annex Swaziland as the only solution of the difficulty. That was not the solution, which recommended itself to Her Majesty's Government, and it must be borne in mind that before we could allow the annexation by the Boers, or before we could annex it ourselves, we should have had to abrogate the Treaty of London of 1884, for by the 12th Article of that Treaty it was expressly laid down that the independence of the Swazis within the boundary line indicated in the 1st Article was fully recognised. In March, 1889, the views of the Swazi people on the question were not known, so a Joint Committee of Inquiry was appointed, Sir F. De Winton representing Great Britain. In June, 1889, Her Majesty's Government heard that disturbances were likely to occur in Swaziland, and that the South African Republic intended to send an officer there. Her Majesty's Government at once telegraphed that they could not allow independent action, and sentan English officer, Colonel Martin, to act in conjunction with the Transvaal officer. Since that time negotiations had been in progress, but Her Majesty's Government were not inclined to accept Sir F. De Winton's suggestion that the Transvaal should be allowed to annex Swaziland and govern the white population, although they recognised the great ability and judgment which he had shown in the matter. I believe that this will be the view of the majority of the people of England, for the bulk of the white population of Swaziland is composed of British subjects. It is not the fact that the Government are actuated by any desire to keep down the Dutch. That Her Majesty's Government desired to establish the most friendly relations with the Transvaal is proved by the present Convention. The hon. Member proceeded to criticise the Articles of the Convention. I do not suppose the Committee will wish me again to read through the whole of the Telegraphic Summary which I gave to the House a few days since; but in view of the general condemnation which the hon. Member has passed upon the Convention, I must recall one or two of its more important articles. In the first place, the independence of the Swazis, as recognised by the Convention of 1884, is re-affirmed and secured, and the control and management of the Swazi Government of all affairs in which natives are concerned remain unaffected. All eases, criminal or civil, between white settlers will be decided by a Court of Justice administering Roman-Dutch Law, which will also have the power of inquiring into the validity of disputed concessions. The South African Republic will enter into the existing Customs' Union Convention with the Cape, the Orange Free State, and Bechuanaland; and, failing their doing so within six months, the arrangement with regard to the port at Kosi Bay and the railway thereto will lapse, although the Joint Government of Swaziland will continue for three years certain, and will not be terminated after the expiration of the three years unless six months' previous notice be given by either Party. Perhaps the most important condition is one by which the South African Republic undertakes not to interfere with the territory to the north or north-west of the Republic, and to support by its influence the establishment of order and government by the British South African Company within the jurisdiction and under the powers granted to that company by their charter. The hon. Member for Peckham seems to have overlooked the bearing of this clause, or he would scarcely have criticised the Convention as he did. The question of the boundaries towards the north has never been settled to the satisfaction of the Transvaal Government, who have always held the opinion that they had rights in that direction, although they were limited to the east and west by Article II. of the Treaty of London, 1884; so much so, that they sent a representative, Mr. Grobler, into Khama's country, as may be remembered, some time since, the expedition ending in the death of that gentleman. The final settlement of this vexed boundary question is, therefore, of paramount importance, especially in view of the fact that the Portuguese difficulty is in process of amicable settlement, and the arrangements with Germany are already completed. I trust that after the explanations of the Treaty which I have given to the hon. Gentleman, he will modify his views as to the action of the Government thereon.

(12.19.) MR. BRADLAUGH

When I placed upon the Paper, early this Session, a notice of Motion for the reduction of the Vote for the Secretary of State's salary, I intimated to the Under Secretary that I intended to raise upon that Motion the whole question of our policy in relation to the Zulus. It would be absurd to attempt to do that at this period of the Session, in the present state of the House, and at this time of the night; but it is quite impossible that the matter can be passed without notice. In the few words I am about to say I shall speak with the concurrence of the hon. Member for Preston, who has put down a similar Motion, but who is prevented by illness from being present. There are now several of the Zulu Chiefs in custody at St. Helena under circumstances which I cannot help thinking are a disgrace to the English Government. I do not propose to go into even so much of the history as will enable the Committee to understand the case; but it is necessary to say that, in consequence of the Government permitting the Chief Usibepu to make raids upon those for whom I speak, to steal their property, and carry off their women, a state of affairs has been created in Zululand of which different views may be entertained. Because of this there were acts of violence and murder committed, which provoked retaliation. Several of the Zulus were arrested; some of them surrendered upon inducements being, held out to them by those in whom they placed confidence, and in the belief that they would get a fair trial. A Special Commission was appointed to try them, and the constitution of that Commision was remarkable. There was upon it one Judge, against whom I have nothing to say. He seemed a gentleman of legal ability, and in the Judgments he gave he seemed to endeavour to express notions of English law. But he had associated with him two gentlemen who were curiously enough called Resident Magistrates. Several persons were tried on charges of treason and murder. Some were tried without defence, and none had the opportunity of having their defence properly put before the Court, which would have been afforded to persons placed in peril of their lives in this country. I would point out that at the trials the two Resident Magistrates on questions of evidence over-ruled the Judge. The result was, that speeches made in the absence of the prisoner were allowed to be given in evidence against them. In permitting such evidence to be given the two Magistrates either acted in entire ignorance of the law or in defiance of it. If there had been any means of examining the proceedings of the Commission before any tribunal which would have dealt with it as our English Judges would do, it would have ruled, as Mr. Justice Wragg ruled, against the Resident Magistrates, and the trial would have been absolutely quashed. Alleging as I do that the Chief Usibepu appears from the Blue Books to have been guilty of murder, and that he has never been brought to trial, I would appeal to the Under Secretary for the Colonies to say that this Chief will not be allowed to make further raids amongst these unfortunate people, and to provoke more bloodshed until the House has an opportunity of coming to a decision upon the whole subject. I also ask that no more native indunas from Natal may be sent amongst the Zulus. Unfortunately, some of these native indunas hold the doctrine which was expressed in a phrase I heard with great regret from the hon. Member opposite, namely, that the blacks are our enemies, and they seem to consider that any methods may be used against those unfortunate men whose country we are gradually absorbing. I suppose appeals on the ground of humanity are not likely to be much listened to. Unfortunately, that is a kind of thing that we are—I was going to say—very hypocritical about in our speeches and actions; but I think I have a right to appeal to the Government that until the decision of Parliament is taken on the whole case, they should not allow anything to be done to make the state of things worse than it is at the present time. The story told in the notes of the trial shocks anyone who is used to any notion of justice. These unfortunate men, ignorant of our law and our language, had no defence possible to them except that which the charity of a lady, the daughter of Bishop Colenso, afforded them. That lady deserves honour, whether she was right or wrong, for her devotion to these unfortunate men, when in peril of their lives, when every technicality of the law was used against them, and when their witnesses were flogged and frightened so that they should be unable to give evidence. I see some Members shake their heads at that, but at the earliest moment I will fully substantiate from the Blue Books the statement I am making. I do not pretend that I am not presenting the view I have arrived at in consequence of the examination I have made, and it is quite possible that my presentment is not an impartial one. It is impossible to go into the case fully at the fag end of a Session, but I give notice that an early opportunity will be taken next Session to put the whole case before the House. I trust that in the meantime the Government will not allow anything to be done to make the state of things more deplorable than it is now.

*(12.22.) SIR.R FOWLER (London)

I wish to thank the hon. Member for Northampton for the statement he has made, and I would appeal to the Government to give facilities for bringing the matter forward early next Session. There may be points on which I do not commit myself to the views of the hon. Member; but the matter is most important, and worthy of more discussion than we can give to it now. With regard to Swaziland, although the conclusions arrived at may not entirely meet the views of myself and some other hon. Members, I think the Government deserve the thanks of the country and the House for what they have succeeded in doing, notwithstanding the difficulties that undoubtedly surround the question.

(12.25.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)

The only point I wish to bring forward relates to Dinizulu, the late King of the Zulus and the son of Cetewayo. After the troubles were over he was living in the Transvaal, and he was induced to go to Natal and surrender himself. My hon. Friend says that Usibepu has committed murder. He has killed his thousands or his tens of thousands but they do not look on that as murder when it is done in fair fight. Usibepu has been used for the purpose of doing a great deal of damage to his country. He has caused many of his countrymen to die in civil war and by famine; but he is a brave man, and he has not committed murder. As to the trial to which my hon. Friend has referred, the prisoners, instead of being tried before white men in Natal, under British law, were hustled illegally across the frontier and tried by a Special Commission. If the Government really wish to settle any of the South African questions fairly and in a manner to please both sections, they should have Usibepu tried as the other Chiefs have been, and then grant a pardon to the whole of them, place them on the land with Magistrates amongst them to control the people, and annex Zululand to Natal. Usibepu was sent there with the object of coercing the Zulus, who were supposed to be getting too powerful. It was known when he was sent there that there would just as certainly be war as night would follow day. There was war; and the result is, that you have handed over to the Boers a country that the Boers had no right to.1 trust the Government will consider these poor creatures, and will send them back to their people, take over the whole of Zululand, and govern it according to white law. Now a word on Swaziland. I congratulate the Government on having stopped the dog-in-the-manger policy which has hitherto prevailed. Swaziland has been handed over to anarchy during the last three years, and the Swazi people have been debauched and degraded in a fashion which even their worst enemies would not have desired. There are two things in the Convention with the Transvaal that are grossly unfair. The first is that, as usual, the natives have been sacrificed in order to please the Boers. Umbandine has made concessions of the whole of his land, and I ask, where are the 50,000 Swazi people to live? You cannot in justice recognise all these concessions. I was staying with Umbandine at the time he made many of these concessions. First, to Mr. Forbes he conceded the whole of the mineral rights, and that gentleman started a company to work his concession. This was followed up by various other concessions, and I do not hesitate to say that in nine cases out of 10 the concessions were obtained by fraud. I trust that upon this question the statement made by Lord Knutsford will be modified by the Under Secretary for the Colonies, and that we shall be told that sufficient land will be left for the Swazi people. In the next place, the South African Republic is to join the Cape Customs Union within six months. This clause will compel the Transvaal to enter into the Union; but Natal is not in the Union, and the consequence will be that the Natal trade with the Transvaal will be cut off and lost. I do not represent the one party or the other, but I do not see why, in this South African Question, the Imperial Government should take sides. The competition has been going on for some time, Natal going in for a low tariff of 6 per cent., and the Cape for a high tariff of 15 per cent. The Transvaal should be left the chance of joining Natal, and to compel that country to join the Cape will be to inflict great injury upon Natal, and Natal trade, in the development of which the Natal people have expended large capital on the harbour of Durban and £4,500,000 in railways, will be practically ruined. The course taken by the Government can be only a temporary solution, which cannot last long. I do not think the settlement is one which so poor a country can long bear. This little country cannot pay for the joint administration. Both Umbandine and his people have been debauched. In the Convention of Pretoria, when we took possession of the Transvaal in 1877, Swaziland was held to be a portion of the Transvaal; but at the retrocession of the Transvaal in 1881, it was considered advisable, and the idea was an admirable one, that the Swazis should have a chance of developing their own civilisation under British protection. But in a short time King Umbandine began giving away his land, and making all sorts of concessions to adventurers. Rum and gin, and even a white woman imported for the purpose, broke down the virtues of Umbandine, and he and his people became debauched below their former level. I regret the experiment has failed, and I think the wiser course would be to let the country fall back into the position of part of the Transvaal. I do not think the convention will do any good, or that any good will result from the concessions obtained in these circumstances, and which you are going to recognise. The Transvaal Government have agreed to this convention under a threat. There are no dangers to be apprehended from the blacks. The settlement can only be a temporary one, preceding a union of all the States in South Africa.


Last year I asked several questions as to whether we were going to grant charters in regard to Matabeleland and Makolololand. It will be in the recollection of the House that Lobengula granted some sort of concession to Mr. Rhodes. Later, it appeared that Lobengula himself did not understand that he was making concessions of these vast territories in Matabeleland, and in Makolololand it is very doubtful if Lobengula had the authority to make the concessions. We hoped that a charter would not be given; but just before the House broke up, the Under Secretary for the Colonies told the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy that the granting a charter in regard to these concessions was contemplated. The charter was given under the usual practice, and, after a notice in the Gazette which nobody sees, these charters are granted as in this case, Mr. Rhodes having associated his name with the Duke of Fife and the Duke of Abercorn, who have nothing to do with South Africa; but I presume Mr. Rhodes thought his application to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council would have a better chance if supported by the names of prominent Conservative or Unionist gentlemen. Well, the charter was given, and the particulars are to be found in one of the Blue Books. So far as I understand, it is based on the concessions made by Lobengula, and it is assumed that these concessions became the property of the Chartered Company. Now, the Committee knew perfectly well that there has been an extraordinary amount of financing in South Africa, and that millions have been lost there upon bogus mines and bogus companies and, therefore, it was desirable that the Government should well consider before granting a charter whether it was wise to give control of a country larger than France to a financial company, and having in mind the fact that for the Government to connect itself in any sort of way which a company gives that company a status it otherwise would not have, and which that company might exercise unfairly, and against the interests of the British public. Since the granting of the charter an expedition has been organised to proceed into Lobengula's country, and Sir Frederick Carrington, an employé of the British Government, and head of the Bechuanaland Police Force, has used his position for the purpose of obtaining recruits for this expedition. The expedition proceeded, after the usual flourish about spreading the blessings of Christianity and civilisation, upon what is really a search for alluvial gold, which, no doubt, is to be converted into property for the company, and through the company for the British public. As a matter of fact, the charter is based upon the concessions made by Lobengula. Last year a commany called the Central Search Company came into existence, with a capital of £120,000, to which £100,000 was added in December,1889, and, as I am informed, the assets of this company consist of half of the concessions granted by Lobengula, and which it was understood were the basis of the Chartered Company. On July 23rd, 1890, a few weeks ago, this company went into liquidation with the object of bringing its existence to a close, and selling itself, as it did sell itself, to another company, calling itself the Concessions Company. I hold in my hand a document which shows that the consideration for the transfer is to be £4,000,000. That is to say, that the assets of the company last year, half the concessions from Lobengula, and the subscribed capital—nothing having been done mean while—are disposed of for £4,000,000. This fact shows the kind of financing that is going on in South Africa, and the fault lies largely with Her Majesty's Government for having converted by their imprimatur the vague and flimsy concessions of Lobengula into a sort of chartered concession. It is a noteworthy fact that Mr. Rhodes, the Prime Minister of Cape Colony, is also a concessionnaire and the Managing Director of this huge Chartered Company, exercising sway over a territory larger than France and under the immediate protection of the British Government. I hope that the Colonial Government will thoroughly investigate the matter. I am opposed to the whole system of Chartered Companies, holding that in regard to these large territories the Government should have the courage of their opinions, and if they think there should be annexation, assume direct control. But I do not enter into that question now; I simply call the attention of the Colonial Office to this very remarkable financing which has taken place, and to the fact that Mr. Rhodes is Managing Director of the Concessions Company. Whatever happens, I trust the Government will keep free from the financing operations which have characterised these proceedings.

*(12.57) MR. WEBB (Waterford, W.)

Before the discussion closes, I should like to say a few words on the question so well raised by my hon. Friend, who has sketched the main features, not going into those details of which he is master. What I wish to urge is that the native Zulus, whose independence is to be destroyed, should receive fair play. They number about 140,000, and I think that out of the somewhat complicated situation, and looking at the facts broadly and upon the authority of Miss Colenso, who has taken so great an interest in these people, they have been treated with gross injustice by the Home Government. It appears to me that in this matter of Zululand the old story is repeated of giving over a country to officials to do whatever they like with it. We have sufficient instances of this in the past. We know what harm has been done and how the claims of the natives have been, ignored. The people of Zululand stand somewhat in the same position as those of Madagascar. They are likely to live on and have a history, and that history will have a reflex effect on this country in the future. Therefore, it is infinitely the more necessary that we should consider their claims and do justice to them now. In some of our recent transactions with reference to the Zulus, I think we might have acted differently. From an answer to a question put by me in this House, it appears that during a period of great famine in that country, the only relief sent to them consisted of 23 tons partly seed and partly food. Surely that was a very small quantity to divide amongst so many starving thousands, but will it be believed that a great deal of the seed sent was kiln-dried, and therefore of no value for seed purposes? There is another matter which I think demands attention at the hands of the Government, and that is the prison accommodation at Etshoe. That accommodation is wretched and miserable. The cells are small, and, being inadequate in number, are crowded, and the whole place is a disgrace to the Government. Then I venture to urge that any further interference by Natal Chiefs in the affairs of the country ought not to be allowed. We are told in the papers this morning that those Chiefs who have been deported to St. Helena are happy and contented and well looked after. They may be well looked after, but I do not think it is possible they can be happy and contented when they have been taken away from their own country. Under all the circumstances of the case, I earnestly entreat the Government to give their attention to the position of affairs in Zululand.


One of my hon. Friends has made a very spirited attack on the subject of Chartered Companies; and if a case could possibly be made out against those companies, I do not think there is any man more capable of advocating it than the hon. and senior Member for Northampton. But I confess I do not think, in this particular instance, he has a strong case. I have not heard much in what he said with reference to the Chartered Companies which would lead me to suppose that their influence has been or will be an injurious one as affecting the future prosperity of South Africa. It may be perfectly true that some of the persons who have promoted financial movements in connection with Matabeleland have endeavoured to take in the British Representative, but still, on the whole, I think that the action of these companies is calculated to advance the prosperity of South Africa. On what ground, I ask, can the Royal Niger Company or the British East Africa Company be attacked, and yet it seems to me there is not very much difference between a Chartered Company and an ordinary company established by a party of private individuals as adventurers under the sanction of the legislation of this country. There is no doubt that the fact of a company being a Royal Charter Company makes it in the eyes of many persons of greater importance and influence, and gives it an appearance of greater stability. But assuming that the officers are determined to administer the affairs of the company honestly and in a fair and honourable spirit, I do not see why exception should be taken to it on the ground that it has the title of a Royal Charter Company. Of course, we all feel confident that the Government will not lend themselves to any shady financial transactions such as those which have been exposed by my hon. Friend. I should like to know what is the alternative to having these companies when you are opening up new districts. The information which my hon. Friend has given, to the Committee is not exaggerated. What has happened in connection with Swaziland has happened also in connection with Lobengula and Matabeleland. It is, in fact, the common history of every Native Chief. European adventurers come into this country; they stimulate the greed and avarice of the principal Chief with presents and arms and other articles likely to tempt the barbarian fancy. They ply him not only with rum and gin, but also with champagne, and I believe that one Chief was really killed through drinking too much champagne. The consequence of the system was that, so far as Swaziland was concerned, until Mr. Shepstone became financial adviser to the King, nothing but disorder prevailed. Now, the history of Swaziland is likely to be repeated in connection with Matabeleland and Mashonaland. What I wish to put to hon. Members is whether, on the whole, a most beneficial influence is not likely to be exerted by a powerful Corporation such as the British Chartered Company in the direction of maintaining order and preventing the King of the country from being ruthlessly pillaged by unprincipled adventurers coming and practically robbing him of the sovereignty of his country by getting all manner of absurd concessions. I wish to know whether the influence of such a Corporation is not likely to be more beneficial and more conducive to the prosperity of South Africa in the future than if you refuse to grant such authority and powers to such a company, and allow the unfortunate Native Chiefs to be robbed and plundered by reckless adventurers who undoubtedly swarm round them. That is the defence I am disposed to make in reply to the criticisms put forward against Corporations like the British Chartered Company. With respect to the policy which ought to be adopted by Ministers in respect of Zululand and Swaziland, I have to say but one word. I hope the Government have learned wisdom from the sad experience of the past. I trust they will turn over a new leaf, and no longer follow the criminal policy of their predecessors, amongst whom I am sorry and ashamed to acknowledge have been the chiefs of the party to which I have the honour to belong. I hope the Government will give up the idea of further persecuting and wronging the Zulu race, and that they will treat them with justice and generosity, because we know that the Zulus are tha finest race in South Africa, although we, by our policy in the past, have done our best to absolutely break them up. Nobody who has studied the history of Dinizulu and his companions can have any doubt that they have been most unfairly treated. It is admitted in the Despatches of our own officials that any acts of which they were guilty were provoked by our own policy, and to try these unfortunate Chiefs by the same standard as you would try an Englishmen for an ordinary crime in this country, is about as great an absurdity and injustice as one could possibly conceive. But Dinizulu and his companions have been relegated to St. Helena on the plea that they were guilty of high treason against the Government of this country. I do not suppose they had the slightest idea what high treason meant, and we know that they have protested most strongly, and there is plenty of evidence to show that, so far from wishing to take up arms against the authority of Great Britain, they are most anxious to take up the reverse attitude. I hope my hon. Friends will use their influence with the Government to induce them to set Dinizulu and his companions at liberty and to send them back to their own country. The Government policy has been in the past to foment civil war between the chiefs. That was the policy that Sir Garnet Wolseley inaugurated, and that has been the policy which the Government have since pursued; for, did they not send Zibepu into the country with full licence to plunder;he territory of Dinizulu? I do ask the Government to reverse their policy if they wish for the prosperity and contentment of Zululand, and the best thing they could possibly do would be to grant a free pardon to Dinizulu and his associates and send them back to Zululand, which should be taken under our direct protection and administration. I understand that the Government in their new Convention with the Transvaal Government propose to reserve a sufficient amount of territory for the Swazis to live upon; but I should like to point out that this race is an increasing race, and that what land might possibly be sufficient for them at the present time, would be totally inadequate 10 or 15 years hence, and, therefore, you must be careful as to the amount of land you reserve.

MR. LAFONE (Southwark, Bermondsey)

I beg to move that the Question be now put. The hon. Member has been repeating himself over and over again.


I do not propose to put that Motion, because there are other Members desirous of speaking on this Vote, but I must impress on the hon. Member for Camborne that he has repeated observations which have been made by other Members in a much more forcible manner.


By way of personal explanation, Sir, I should like to say that, having listened carefully to speeches on this subject by hon. Members for an hour and a half, I am not aware that I have been, in any way, unduly repeating what they said in my presence. I do not propose, however, after your intimation, to trespass further on the attention of the Committee, but I insist on my right as a Member of this House to speak when I think desirable and to put forward the views which I hold it my duty to enunciate on these questions. We have now reached the hour of half-past 1. Hon. Members opposite have shown by their clamour that they wish to get through their business and retire to their beds, and, therefore, to meet their convenience I beg to move that you do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.


Order, order! I refuse to put that Motion. The Minister has not yet replied.

(1.28.) MR. SYDNEY GEDGE (Stockport)

My name is down to propose a reduction of the salary of the right hon. Gentleman, in connection with a matter of grave importance, which I had intended to bring before the House, but as we have arrived at the fag end of the Session, and I am now addressing but a wearied remnant of the House, I think, perhaps, it would not be wise to enter on the matter. Still, if hon. Members standing behind the Speaker's Chair will persist in interrupting me when I am simply explaining my reasons for not commencing this fresh subject, I shall feel it my duty to enter upon it. I do hope, however, that early next Session I shall have an opportunity of bringing it on.

*(1.30.) BARON H. DE WORMS

I shall endeavour to answer the questions that have been put to me in the course of the discussion upon this Vote as briefly as possible. If, however, I am brief in what I have to say it must not be understood that I therefore assent in any particular to the views expressed by the hon. Member for Northampton as to the policy adopted with regard to Dinizulu and the other Zulu Chiefs, nor in the attack he made on the loyal Chief Usibepu. The hon. Member, with his usual courtesy, informed me that he did not intend, at this late period of the Session, to review in detail the circumstances connected with the trial and the imprisonment of Dinizulu and some of his followers, nor to investigate the action of Usibepu, which in his opinion was the main cause of Dinizulu's rebellious acts. The hon. Member has adhered to his promise and not gone into details, but he has distinctly endeavoured to throw the responsibility for the acts of the rebel Zulu Chiefs upon Usibepu, whom he accuses of murder, at the same time charging the Government with illegality with respect to the arrest, trial, and subsequent punishment of Dinizulu and those who supported him. I am content, at this late hour, not to weary the Committee by investigating minutely, as will be my duty if the question be fully discussed next Session, all the allegations he has made against the Colonial Office; but it must be clearly understood that I absolutely deny the accuracy of the statements, either as to the innocence of Dinizulu and his followers, the guilt of Usibepu, or the illegality of the constitution of the tribunal before which Dinizulu and his Chiefs were tried and sentenced. With regard to the question put to me by the hon. Member for Northampton as to the repatriation of Usibepu, I can only say that the Government will consider most carefully the statements which have been made this evening with the resolve to prevent injustice and to secure peace and order in Zululand. The statement of the hon. Member that the condition of Zululand is at present most unsatisfactory is in no way supported by facts; the country is now perfectly tranquil and the people contended, as the statistics which I will give to the Committee clearly prove. The revenue for the half-year 1890 was £34,225; the balance on the 1st of January was £8,175, making a total of £42,400. The expenditure for the half-year was £13,691, leaving a credit balance of £28,709. The half-year has thus been one of great prosperity. The Hut Tax has been paid in all parts cheerfully and satisfactorily and in coin. This is significant, as it is the first occasion on which no cattle have been tendered in lieu of cash. The tax has exceeded the estimate of £25,000, having realised £27,141. There has been no crime of a serious nature in any of the districts. The colony is out of debt. The hon. Member for Caithness has said in regard to the concessions given in Swaziland that there was no land left for the natives. The fact is, that the bulk of the concessions consists of mining areas, and where in those areas gold has not been found, the land has not been left unproductive, but has been re-occupied by the natives. The hon. Gentleman has asked me what is the position of Natal in regard to Customs Duties; I may tell him that goods passing from Natal will, unless that colony joins the Union, have to pay Union Tariff Duties on entering the South African Republic if the latter itself enters the Union. Natal goods have now to pay such duties on coming into the existing Union area. With regard to the charter granted to the East Africa Company, those to whom the concession was originally made formed a company, and no appointment in connection with that company was made by the Government. The Government,in view of the fact that this company was regarded as a very important one, which was doing a great deal to open up South Africa, Her Majesty's Government conceived that it was much better to grant a Royal Charter than allow a Limited Liability Company to undertake on their own account very serious responsibilities. The Government have nothing whatever to do either with the price or value of the company's shares, nor is there any clause in the charter they have granted enabling the Government to examine the accounts of the company. The only condition imposed in regard to the accounts is that they shall be audited by independent parties, the Government reserving to themselves the right of revoking the charter in the event of good reason being shown for the adoption of such a Course. This is exactly the position of the Government with regard to the South African Company, consequently they are unable to accept any responsibility as to the price of shares or the payments made in connection with the concessions. I have, I think, now answered all the questions put to me.

(1.36.) MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)

I have to ask the indulgence of the Committee for risking, at this late hour, to call attention to certain matters of considerable importance which I desire to bring before the Committee in reference to one of our Crown Colonies. I have, since February last, given specific notice as to the nature of the charges I am about to make, and the right hon. Gentleman knows that they are charges of a very grave nature; but, inasmuch as I have been in the House since 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and as I have to be here again at 12 o'clock to-day, I would suggest that my right hon. Friend would consent to a Motion to report Progress, so that I may have a fuller opportunity of bringing forward the charges I have to make against the Colonial Office. [Cries of "Go on!"] I do not think I should be asked, at 20 minutes to 2 o'clock, to go into these matters. [An hon. MEMBER: Next Session.] No, I cannot consent to postpone the matter until next Session. I have been trying to bring it forward again and again, and have frequently asked the First Lord of the Treasury to give me a day. I have been waiting in London, at great personal inconvenience, in order to call attention to the gross injustice done to some 15,000 people who have long been suffering under an awful sense of injury and wrong. I hope, under the circumstances, I may be permitted to move that you, Sir, report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Mac Neill.)

*(1.38.) BARON H. DE WORMS

I would appeal to the hon. Gentleman not to persist in moving to report Progress. I assure him that if he will make his statement now my answer will be extremely brief, and will dispose of every point he wishes to raise. As the charges are of a very serious nature, it would, perhaps, be more convenient that he should make his statement at Once, or give it me in writing, on the pledge I now make that the Government will make the fullest possible inquiry into the whole matter.


I camiot accede to the last proposal, because I have already informed the Colonial Office over and over again of the nature of these charges. They are such that they ought to be brought forward and dealt with publicly, and I think it will be seen that if such things can occur in a Crown Colony, the sooner Crown Colonies are abolished the better.

MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)

On the Motion to report Progress I must enter my protest against the manner in which these important Votes have been kept back to the fag end of a long Session. There is much to be said on topics like these which cannot be said at this late hour. The fact is that the Government are not anxious to listen to what we have to say. For my part I am quite willing to stay here and listen to what my hon. Friend has to state, and, therefore, I hope he will not press his Motion for Progress.


I desire to say that I have a very important subject to bring under the attention of the Committee, and I would respectfully submit that, after being here from 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and having to attend here again at 12 this morning, we have had a 'sufficiently long sitting, and it is time we were allowed to go home and obtain some rest. I hope the Motion for Progress will be agreed to.


I would suggest that the hon. Gentleman opposite should take the discussion he desires upon the Report.


Would it not be possible to postpone this Vote to go on with the Orders?


I fully sympathise with the position in which my hon. Friend (Mr. Mac Neill) is placed. I am aware that he has mentioned this subject several times aud that he is anxious to make a very important statement upon it, but, considering the present state of affairs, I should advise him, on condition that the House will afford him an attentive hearing, and that the Colonial Under Secretary will give him a categorical reply to the charges he has to make, not to proceed further with the Motion for Progress.


I am willing to accept my hon. Friend's suggestion, and, by leave of the Committee, will withdraw my Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

(1.45.) MR. MAC NEILL

I hops the Committee will bear with me while I endeavour, as briefly as possible, to bring before it the important matters which, I think, urgently demand its attention. I am actuated by no political motive, in fact, I do not know nor do I care what are the politics of those whose wrongs I am about to bring forward. I am sure, however, from the documents furnished to me that they are labouring under an awful sense of injustice. The Crown Colony, to which I have referred, is composed of the Falkland Islands. They are about 300 miles from the coast of Chili, and for many years past have had no political importance. We all know that there are two classes of colonies; those which have a responsible Government, and those which have not. Those which have responsible Governments are generally composed of European inhabitants, or, at any rate, of a large percentage of whites, while in the colonies which have no responsible Government, and are termed Crown Colonies, there is usually a vast, native population and very few Europeans. In the case of the Falkland Islands there is only a small population, numbering some1,800 inhabitants. These people are in reality of the same flesh and blood as ourselves, and yet we treat them with all the rigour and tyranny of irresponsible despotism. I have to bring against the Governor of these islands charges of gross speculation and also of forgery. He is a Mr. Ker, a gentleman of 71 years of age, who has been (and it is a most unusual thing in a Crown Colony) Governor of these islands for 11 years. Usually the Governor retains his post for not more than six years, but Mr. Ker has been retained because the colony is far away, and there is no one to denounce him unless it be an hon. Member who has to perform that task at two o'clock in the morning. Again, Colonial Governors are not retained beyond the age of 65. Mr. Ker was, however, re-appointed after reaching that age. And he is kept there simply to degrade and corrupt the people, probably because he knows some dark secret of administration which renders it useful for the Government to retain him at a salary of £1,200 a year. But Mr. Ker is not only Governor of the colony, but is actually Commander-in- Chief of the Forces there, and is also Chief Justice. Under him is Mr. Packington Dukes, who is the executive agent, and occupies the position of Police Magistrate and Postmaster. Mr. Ker, who has the lives of the 800 of our fellow subjects at his disposal, has never practised at the Bar, and neither he nor his assistant has had any legal experience. Well, how do these persons exercise the powers they posses? About1 15 months ago, I put to the Colonial Under Secretary the following question:— Whether frequent complaints have been received at the Colonial Office from inhabitants of the Falkland Islands with reference to certain specific grievances under which they labour; whether the Governor of these islands is also the Chief Justice, and is without any legal qualifications, and is often the prosecutor as well as the Judge of accused persons; whether the Colonial Secretary also holds the office of Police Magistrate, and is without any legal qualifications, and except in cases in which the persons brought before him are charged with drunkenness, consults with the Governor as to his decisions; whether the offices of Coroner and Postmaster are also held by the Colonial Secretary; whether all petitions presented to the Secretary of State for the Colonies by aggrieved persons must be sent to the Governor 15 days before the departure of the mail for England; and whether, in view of the fact that grave discontent prevails among the colonists, who are entirely unrepresented on the Executive or Legislative Council, the Secretary of State will take any, and if so, what, steps to investigate their grievances through some independent authority, and to consider their claims for some form of Representative Government? That question was put on the 14th May, 1889. I will not read the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, but I may say it was practically an admission of what I had stated. Two months after that, I asked the following question:— Whether Mr. James Smith, of Stanley, Falkland Islands, who forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies two Memorials, dated respectively the 1st May and 7th May, 1889, making grave and specific charges against Mr. Ker, the Governor of those Islands, has had opportunity of seeing the explanation forwarded by Mr. Ker to the Colonial Office in reference to those charges; has the Secretary of State for the Colonies been satisfied with an ex parte statement of the Governor in answer to charges which Mr. Smith has expressed himself ready and willing to prove, and for which, on behalf of the colonists, he demands a searching public investigation; and will the Secretary of State for the Colonies have any objection to lay upon the Table of the House Mr. Smith's Memorials and the answer of the Governor thereto, which have been forwarded to the Colonial Office? The charge here made is that the Governor had improperly appropriated £300, which was obtained from the Government for the improvement of the Government House. The answer which was given to that question I will not read to the House, but, as in the other case, it was practically an admission of what I had brought forward. The Governor came over here last August, and had an interview with the Colonial Authorities. Lord Knutsford must have been well aware of what the charges were against the Governor, because he had had the Memorial which had been sent by Mr. Smith, of Stanley. Nevertheless the Governor was sent back to this Colony in order to receive the £1,200 a year from the people whom he had been robbing and plundering, and among whom he had been prostituting justice. That gentleman is Public Prosecutor as well as Chief Justice, because, if he is not, nobody else is. An infamous attempt was made by him within six months to deprive the colonists of the only jury they have—the Coroner's Jury. He actually passed an ordinance abolishing trial by jury. It was so infamous that, on my suggestion, Lord Knutsford on the advice undoubtedly of the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary vetoed the ordinance. Mr. Cobb, the head of the colonists in the Falkland Islands, and an unofficial man of the Executive Council, sent a Memorial to the Government asking for the removal of this man for having violated Executive regulations. On the 25th of July, Mr. James Smith sent to the Colonial Secretary a letter containing specific charges against the Governor. He states that when £300 was granted for the extension of Government House, about £1,250 was expended on it, for the extra £950 was represented as having been expended on public works and buildings. Mr. Smith practically asks Mr. Brookes to lay these charges against the Governor before the Governor. The Governor does not dare to answer them, or to prosecute this man. It is a gross libel, but the worst of the libel is that it is true. On the 25th of Decembar, Mr. Smith wrote a letter to myself, and in that letter he accuses the Governor of having raised £300 by the fraudulent sale of the frontages of buildings in Stanley. The right hon. Gentleman has said that as Mr. James Smith did not demand an inquiry, he would not give one. Mr. Smith in his letter to me says that if he can do so, he demands an inquiry, and the first witness he would call would be Mr. Brookes, whilst he should also call every Government official. The man who makes these charges is at large. Either the Governor is everything he ought not to be, or Mr. Smith is everything he ought not to be. Here is a letter I have received from Mr. Smith, in which he shows the awful amount of peculation which is going on amongst Government officials. He says every letter that was registered before a certain date had 4d. paid on it, instead of the 2d. that ought to have been paid, and Smith alleges that the extra 2d. went into the pockets of the officials, or into those of the Governor. Here there comes a faint and feeble rejoinder from Mr. Brookes, who says the statements Mr. Smith makes concerning the Colonial Secretary" would appear to render you liable to proceedings, either by indictment or action at law for defamatory libel." Mr. Smith answers this letter at once. He his statements would certainly render him liable, but that the truth stood on as good authority as it did when reported to his Excellency by the Colonial Chaplain. This refers to a statement that Brookes and the Governor between them had opened his letters. There is another letter. I do not choose to publish the name of the writer, but he is a member both of the executive and legislative body of the colony. He brings six charges. The chief charge is one of embezzling .£900, that sum having been obtained for works and buildings, but never having been so spent, and the accounts having been falsified to conceal the fraud. According to Mr. Smith, there cannot be the slightest doubt as to the truth of these charges, and if an inquiry is granted, I think there will not be the slightest difficulty in proving them. I say that either these things are true, in which case Governor Ker and Mr. Brookes, instead of being in Government House, ought to be in the dock; or they are false, in which case Mr. Smith ought to be in the dock. I must say it seems strange that, while these charges are hanging over him, the Government should have sent Mr. Ker out again. I have shown, I think, that in these islands there exists a serious state of things, which ought not to be allowed to continue, and I have shown that the principal victims of this maladministration are our own kith and kin, many of them our own flesh and blood. This is a self-supporting colony, and I think the least we can do for it is to give it an efficient Government. Such charges as I have made ought not to be made without proof, and should be disproved if possible. I ask, therefore, that an Independent Commission should go out to the colony, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will reply with his usual courtesy to those who have asked me to bring this matter before the House.

*(2.15.) BARON H. DE WORMS

I have informed the hon. Member before, that the Secretary of State has inquired into the allegation made by Mr. Smith against the Governor, and the information which was placed before him, and upon which he acted, was to the effect that no charge of embezzlement had been made out against the Governor. Mr. Smith made a charge, amongst others, of falsification of an account, but the Governor conclusively answered it, and Mr. Smith is regarded as untrustworthy. The Falkland Islands accounts have been audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General at Somerset House, who could not fail to detect any irregularity. The charge is a very serious one to be made against one who is regarded as a most excellent trustworthy public servant, and ought not to be lightly made. If the hon. Gentleman can produce any further evidence beyond that which has been already inquired into, I give him the most positive assurance that the Secretary of State will investigate it to the best of his ability, and if the charge is in any way well founded justice will be done.


I would ask if the Government are likely at some period of time not far distant to consider the just demands of the people resident in Northern Queensland for separation? This colony is many times larger than England, and the seat of the Government is in the extreme south, so that the people in the northern portion——


It is beyond the scope of Committee of Supply to inquire into the domestic politics of a colony which is self-governing. That subject cannot be discussed on the Vote for the Colonial Secretary.


Perhaps I may be allowed to ask if it is not the fact that the whole of the representatives of the northern portion of the colony have petitioned the Home Government, who have held out to them hopes of having their prayers granted at no distant date? Have not representatives from Northern Queensland waited on Her Majesty's Government for that purpose, and cannot the Government promise that the matter will be considered?

*(2.19.) BARON H. DE WORMS

A Petition has been received from Queensland, and it is now receiving the most serious consideration of the Secretary of State, and if the hon. Member will call on me at the Colonial Office I shall be happy to show him the Papers.

Question put, and agreed to.

3. £10,707, to complete the sum for the Privy Council.


There are some matters connected with the Privy Council that I am desirous of bringing before the attention of hon. Members but it would be ridiculous to suppose that any good could be done by going into the details at this hour of the morning. I will not, therefore, attempt to go into them. I will reserve my right to bring on such discussion as I may think necessary, on this or any other Vote, in the November Sitting—if we consider Votes then; if not, until some later period.

Vote agreed to.

4. £108,544, to complete the sum for the Board of Trade.

(2.22.) DR. TANNER

There are several matters connected with the Board of Trade that I have periodically raised, and the principal one is the condition on board the emigrant ships of those poor people who are forced to leave their own country owing to their bad circumstances. I have a complaint to make in regard to the action of the medical officers—not that I think these gentlemen are themselves to blame, for I know they always try to act fairly, squarely, and above board, but because of the pressure put upon them by the Shipping Companies. The President of the Board of Trade is well acquainted with many of the complaints I have felt it my duty to make, and I would ask now, as I have asked on other occasions, that some examination should be made into the way in which these medical gentlemen are forced to waive their duty in connection with these unfortunate passengers. I have pointed out before, time after time, the absence of proper sanitary accommodation on board these passenger ships—which are only fixed up as passenger ships ad interim, being used on the return voyage to transport cattle. I have pointed out all these matters in detail, and I would now merely recapitulate a few of the items. By way of preface I would say to the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Trade that I have applied to some of my friends in America, and have been assured that if this matter is not dealt with by Her Majesty's Government it certainly will be taken up by the American Government. The emigrants, whether they be English, Irish, or Swedes, suffer equally. At times, under stress of weather, they are penned up like sheep, without sanitary conveniences, and under circumstances so filthy as to be against common justice and humanity. Is it a proper thing that there should only be one water tap to supply 1,000 people in summer weather? And as to hospital accommodation, I have this year—I was not here last year to make mention of the matter—received repeated assurances that the state of things will be improved, though I must say the right hon. Baronet has treated the matter lightly. Although the Board of Trade requires that the hospital accommodation on these vessels shall be kept intact, in many cases the brass plate has been removed from the door of the hospital which has been used for passenger accommodation to benefit the Steamship Company. It is really impossible to deal with this important subject at this hour, and all I would ask—recognising in the right hon. Baronet a Member of Her Majesty's Government who is capable of dealing with the matter in afair spirit—is that some inquiry should be made. These ship doctors cannot give any expression of opinion on these matters unless they are supported by Her Majesty's Government, because if they attempted to show what is radically wrong on board these ships, what would be the result? Why, they would lose their posts, which would mean to them the loss of their livelihood. I, therefore, say that some sort of inquiry ought to be instituted into the matter. Common humanity, I think, demands it. I only hope that the humane instincts of the right hon. Gentleman will lead him to try and promote some inquiry which will vindicate the wrongs of these poor emigrants so inhumanly treated in times gone by.

(2.30.) MR. SEXTON

I have already brought to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the peculiar circumstances under which repeated collisions have recently occurred in Belfast Lough between two passenger steamers trading between Belfast and Bangor. The collisions have been the subject of inquiry in the Police Court, and I believe one of the captains has been fined. The state of the case is such that public opinion in Belfast demands an inquiry by the Board of Trade. I understand notices have been issued by the Local Marine Board with a view to an inquiry, but I am in a position to say that, under the circumstances, such an inquiry would not be regarded with confidence. I, therefore, urge the right hon. Gentleman to direct an inquiry by the Board of Trade. No harm can result, and I think the right hon. Gentleman will scarcely hesitate to order such an inquiry when I tell him that the feeling in Belfast as to the impartiality of the Board of Trade is such that an inquiry by that authority would be received with public confidence.


The hon. Member for West Belfast was good enough to communicate with me as to the point he has raised, and I can assure him that if I could order a wreck inquiry, I should be very glad to do so. As a matter of fact, I have not the power. No lives were lost, and the ships were not severely injured, and the Board of Trade only possesses power to institute such an inquiry where there has been loss of life, or where wreck has occurred. The only inquiry I can order by law is an inquiry by the Local Marine Board. I am not quite sure that this is a case for inquiry at all, because one, if not both, of the captains have been convicted, and having been convicted, the Board of Trade would be empowered to cancel their certificates without an inquiry at all. I will, however, look further into the matter. The hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) brought the point he has raised before the House two years ago, and I then assured him that if he could only bring particular c ases of the kind he alludes to before me, I would do my best to have a thorough and searching inquiry. The hon. Member has never given me precise information on the subject. He speaks of cases where there was an insufficient water supply. If the hon. Member will give me particulars relative to particular ships, I will do my best in the interest of the emigrants to stop anything wrong. As it was, after the hon. Member made these charges, I sent down to Liverpool one of the principal officers of the Board of Trade, Mr. Thomas Grey, to inquire into the matter, and he was unable to detect anything of the kind to which the hon. Gentleman alluded.

(2.35.) DR. TANNER

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will pardon me. The state of things to which I refer is perfectly well known to the medical profession, and the matter has been ventilated in the medical papers. The doctors know that if they show up any of these grievances they will be instantly discharged from their positions. A series of letters on the subject, by Dr. Irvine, who is now in America, have appeared in the Medical Journal. The right hon. Gentleman asks me to supply him with instances. It must be borne in mind that a medical man signs articles for each voyage, so that if he laid bare the facts, the great probability is that he would not only not be employed by the same firm again, but would not be employed by any other Shipping Company. If the President of the Board of Trade would institute some fair and square inquiry into this matter, and protect men in case they come forward to give evidence, he would confer a great benefit on all the poor people who suffer so much on board these emigrant steamers. I have seen the hospitals altogether devoted to the engineers and stewards, to anything but the purpose for which they were intended. I shall raise this question again and again. [Cries of "Divide !"] I am only speaking in the cause general humanity, which I believe ere long will be taken up by the people across the Atlantic. I pity the right hon. Gentleman, because it is not the cause of humanity or the benefit of the poor that he is looking to in this matter, but simply the cause of the rich shipowners.

(2.40.) MR. COX (Clare, E.)

I desire from practical experience to endorse almost every word my hon. Friend has said. I have seen emigrants on their way to Australia, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to institute an independent inquiry; to send some Commissioner out in these emigrant ships without letting the shipowners know anything about it, and to report to him as to the conditions under which emigrants are obliged to travel to Australia and other places.

Vote agreed to.

5. £7, to complete the sum for the Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade.

6. Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £35,342, 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, 1891, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Agriculture, and to defray the repayable expenses to be incurred in matters of Inclosure and Land Improvement.

(2.40.) DR. TANNER

I beg to direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) stated that when this Vote was reached—[Mr. T. M. HEALY: Why is he not here?]—why is he not here at 20 minutes to 3 o'clock in the morning? He said. he had distinct charges to make against this Board, and the way in which the money is spent. It is not too much to ask that this Vote should be postponed, in order that it may meet with the discussion which I am perfectly sure the President of the Board of Agriculture desires. My hon. Friend (Mr. T. M. Healy) may oppose me in this matter, but, in common fairness, I think there should be a postponement of this Vote. This is the first time that this Board has applied for a Vote. ["No !"] Certainly it is, and I move that we now report Progress.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"—(Dr. Tanner,)—put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

(2.44.) MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)

I beg to move that you now report Progress. The next Vote, which is for the Charity Commissioners, is one which will take some time to discuss, and, therefore, ought to be taken at a reasonable hour.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Jesse Callings.)


Perhaps the .Committee will consent to the postponement of the Vote for the Charity Commissioners, and give us the two following Votes.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

7. £26,496, to complete the sum for Civil Service Commission.


On a point of order, did we not understand that this Vote was to be postponed, and that only non-contentious Votes were to be taken?


Order, order!

(2.48.) MR. KELLY (Camberwell, N.)

I wish to call attention to the Civil Service Commission, and I deeply regret that I should have to do it at this hour, but I have for a long time promised a considerable body of men that, as far as I could, I would bring their case before the House. If the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury will undertake that the case of the Civil Service Writers will be considered, or if he will grant a Committee of Inquiry into their case, I will say nothing further. If he is unable to do either of these things I am afraid I must go into the case at some length. There is considerable confusion in the minds of the public as to who the Civil Service Writers are. A short time ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer was speaking about those whose incomes were between £300 or £400 a year, and he included " writers " among them. In all the papers on the following morning, with the exception of the Times, it was stated that the right hon. Gentleman included not "writers" but "copyists." Writers and copyists are by no means the same class of men. There are at present close on a thousand writers. The weekly income is, I believe, something like 32s. or 35s. a week. At present they are without any possible chance, practically, of getting beyond the miserable stipend of l0d. an hour. They were created by an Order in Council in June, 1870, avowedly for employment in temporary and fluctuating work. A Committee of this House, called the Otway Committee, was appointed in consequence of the repeated complaints of the Civil Service Writers that they were doing the work of clerks on the establishment, while their pay was so small. Previous to 1873 the pay was better, and there were clerks in the Admiralty who got 9s. 6d. a day, and clerks in the War Office who got 8s. 6d. The Otway Committee reported that there were good grounds for the complaints made. In consequence of the Report of that Committee we had what is known as the Playfair Commission. A considerable number of writers were then promoted to the establishment, and some were induced to accept employment under different conditions. [Repeated cries of "Divide!"] I may tell hon. Gentleman that their interruptions will only prolong the discussion indefinitely. If they take no interest in the condition of the poorest of our public servants they must not expect that I shall be deterred from stating their case to the House. The Otway Committee reported in favour of a progressive rate of pay. Their recommendation was not accepted by the Government. The Playfair Commission recommended the discontinuance of the writer system altogether, and the giving of the writers a fixed position in the Public Service. That is one of the demands the writers have made. The Commission made a further recommendation, that the number of clerks in the higher divisions should be increased. That recommendation has not been adopted. So far as I am aware 15 writers received promotion under the Minute of 1886, but nothing else has been done for them; the remainder are simply paid 10d. an hour, without any assurance of a permanent position in the Service. After eight and a half years' service payment will rise to 11d. an hour, and for the Statistical Department the payment will be at the rate of a shilling. In a paragraph of their Report the Ridley Commission say that the writers do not complain of any actual grievance. But they looked upon the Minute of 1886 as an assurance of promotion to which they certainly have a strong moral claim.

(The hon. Member's further remarks were inaudible from persistent interruptions.)

(3.15.) MR. A. O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)

The writers are to be commiserated upon the circumstances under which their case has been brought forward. It is perfectly obvious that whatever the merits of their case may be, it is hopeless to attempt to get the House of Commons seriously to entertain it at this moment, but anyone who examines the case will, I am sure, appreciate the chivalrous effort the hon. Member has made. I, who have examined it, can bear testimony to the fact that the case of these men is hard, and ought to be considered. I appeal to the Secretary to the Treasury to tell the House that the last word has not been said, and that something will be done between this and next Session. It is useless to attempt to go into the matter now, but I hope that we may have an assurance that the position of these men, in which they suffer under a system not far removed from sweating, will receive consideration.


The Committee will excuse me, under the circumstances, if I do not answer at any length. I cannot admit that any injustice has been done to the writers. I desire to speak with every recognition of their services, and I am not going to say a word against them. I may be allowed to point out that the hon. Member for Camberwell appeared to me to have answered his own case when he cited the result of the inquiry by the Playfair Commission, and the paragraph in the Report of the Ridley Commission, in which the Commissioners say they do not find any grievance for which they can recommend a remedy.


I quoted the exact words, "any grievance which it is the duty of the State to remedy."


I apprehend if the Ridley Commission had thought there was a grievance they would have pointed it out. But I am not going to be led into saying a single word against the writers. If the hon. Member knows the whole facts of the case he has not stated them. He led the Committee to suppose that these men get lOd. an hour and no more.


I expressly said that in the Statistical Department they received a shilling.


Would the Committee understand from the statement of the hon. Member that some of these men receive £150 a year?


Yes, by overtime, and working 16 hours a day.


The hon. Member led the Committee to believe that the average pay was 35s. a week. Well, I will not pursue the controversy. I merely point out that the Treasury have endeavoured to give most careful consideration to the question, and it was on my instruction that the bonus has been given to these men, which, during the last three years, has amounted to £30,000. If I can do anything to improve their position without interfering with the rules and regulations of the Service I shall be very glad to do so. Of course, as trustees of the taxpayers' money we have a duty imposed upon us, but I have no desire to give more or less for the labour we employ than the fair market value. The hon. Member has referred to the long hours of work, and that is an inconvenience that attaches to the occupation of many of us in the Public Service. But there is a system under which the faster workers earn their income more promptly, and in proportion to speed of work are the hours they work. In considering improvements in their position it must be borne in mind that these men were admitted to their position without the examination to which men entering the Civil Service are subjected, and it is undesirable to lower the standard of qualification by admitting writers without examination to the permanent Civil Service.

Vote agreed to.

8. £37,612, to complete the sum for the Exchequer and Audit Department.

Resolutions to be reported to-morrow.

Committee to sit again to-morrow.