§ 1. £28,083, to complete the sum for the Charity Commission.
§ (12.35.) MR. J. COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
I had intended to bring forward the policy adopted by the Charity Commissioners, but at a moment when everybody wants to get away from London, I shall briefly confine myself to one point, and it is with 823 great reluctance that I do that. I only do so in the fulfilment of a pledge to persons who are greatly interested in a scheme of the Charity Commissioners which is now hanging over their heads, and which they desire to see delayed or got rid of altogether. I allude to the ancient borough of Sutton Coldfield, which is now a very poor agricultural parish, with 8,000 or 9,000 inhabitants, and which possesses large charitable endowments. The bequest dates from the time of Henry VIII., and the words run "for the exoneration of the poor, and for other secular and pious uses." Whatever construction may be put upon these words, it cannot be doubted that the endowment was intended for the benefit of the poor, and under an order of the Court of Chancery in 1825, the purposes to which the fund should be devoted were set forth, including medical assistance, loans of clothing, assistance to poor women in confinement, loans of blankets, and also free education. This free education was provided for the poor of the parish up to 10 years ago, and as it was of a character acknowledged by all, including the Educational Department, to be of an effective character, it gained the highest amount of Government grant. With regard to the general administration of the fund, there is no allegation that anything wrong had been done. About 10 years ago, the Commissioners cast their eyes on this endowment, or they had their attention called to it. In pursuance of their policy of encouraging higher schools, which influenced them even more strongly at that time than now, they brought in a scheme to divert part of the fund to the support of an ancient grammar school which had existed for some hundreds of years at Sutton Coldfield. The scheme being sanctioned, the benefit which this charity conferred upon the poor of Sutton Coldfield was curtailed to the extent of £15,000, and from that time free education ceased and fees were charged. Indeed, so far as it affected the grammar school, it worked badly for the education of the poor, seeing that the fees were largely increased from the sum of 10s. a quarter; and when the Corporation had the right to pay £60, and send 10 or 20 scholars, fees were charged. Of course, there were a certain number of scholarships founded, 824 but these did not affect the poorer classes. It might be supposed that this spoliation of the poor of Sutton Cold-field had come to an end. But that is not so. There is now another scheme hanging over them, and with reference to that scheme I wish to be assured that there is no further danger of the spoliation of the money of the poorer classes. The scheme to which I refer is universally opposed in the parish. Under that scheme it is proposed to take from the Endowment Fund a further income of £350 a year, and a further capital of £5,000, being equal to an entire capital sum of £17,000, which, in addition to the £15,000 taken away ten years ago, will amount to £32,000 taken from the Endowment Fund in order to create high schools for boys and girls mainly of the better classes. I am in favour of high schools of all kinds, but I object to their being created in that particular way. I am aware that the system is in accordance with the traditional policy of the Charity Commissioners, and that hundreds of localities have suffered by it. I think it is time that that policy should be put an end to. All classes in the parish have taken up the cause of the poor, both Conservatives and Liberals, and, with the exception of the few persons who constitute the old Board, not a single communication has been received in favour of the scheme. There is a solicitor there who has given his services for the protection of the poorer classes, and there is a very prominent Conservative member of the new Corporation who has devoted his time, his money, and his attention to the Commissioners' scheme. Two or three years ago the Corporation was changed into a Municipal Corporation under the Corporations Act, and the elections turned on this scheme, but there was not a candidate who was in favour of it who got returned to the Council. I suppose we shall be told that there are scholarships and exhibitions, and that they are for the benefit of the poor. I do not agree with that, and I hope the House will not agree with it. The House will remember that if any gentleman founds a scholarship, he provides the money for it, but in this case the money is taken away from the less fortunate classes, and therefore it is a mistake to say that you give them 825 scholarships. What is actually done is this—you take the money first, and then you create the scholarships out of the money you have taken. That is not at all just, and the poorer classes do not benefit by these scholarships. Why, I would ask, in au elementary school, should we take away the privileges of 95 pupils in order that we may give them to the remaining five, so that they may take advantage of higher education? I maintain that these scholarships are not in any way compensation for the benefits that have been taken away. It has been said that giving such things as free education, medical relief, &c., to the poor has a demoralising effect. It is somewhat curious how it is always in the case of the poor that the demoralisation comes in. It may be said that you do not offer other people medical relief, but you do offer them free education, and in the form in which it is accepted it is as much in the nature of doles as anything else. I want the people of Sutton Coldfield to be assured that the scheme now hanging over them will be withdrawn. A few years hence it might have had a chance of being passed by this House, but I do not think in the present condition of things it has any chance whatever. I have studied the question of this policy from the first moment that I entered the House, knowing as I did many cases where the poor have suffered, I shall continue to raise it until the policy is altered. I achieved no success, I am bound to say, with the late Government. On a previous occasion when I brought that matter forward my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) accused me of wasting the time of the House, and in private he added, "You are an old Tory for going into these matters." Well, if "old Toryism" means the preserving of the rights and privileges of the poor, then I glory in the name, and I will tell the right hon. Member for Sheffield that his policy was a wrong one. I have some reason to believe that some attempt will be made to make out that this endowment does not belong to the poor. The evidence of Mr. Richmond before the Committee was no doubt very ingenious, and it was given with the object of showing that this endowment was not the property of the poor. Mr. Richmond is, 826 I believe, a very able man, but he was only carrying out what had been the traditions of his office—traditions which I hope this House will let the Charity Commissioners know are not in accordance with modern requirements, as far as the poorer classes are concerned. If Acts of Parliament in connection with these endowments are to be strained at all, they should be strained in favour of the poorer classes, but instead of that I am afraid there is a disposition—I am, in fact, sure there is—to divert these endowments to other purposes, purposes for which they were never intended. In conclusion, I wish to say that I have confined my remarks to one point instead of going into a great number of points as I had originally intended, and I hope, before the Debate on the Vote is closed, that the House will receive an assurance from the proper quarter that this second scheme to which I have referred will no longer be allowed to hang over the poor of Sutton Cold-field.
§ (12.55.) SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
I wish to express my approval of the observations made by the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division (Mr. Collings) in reference to this endowment, and I hope the Charity Commissioners will be induced to give heed to the representations of my hon. Friend. I am afraid that of late years there has been at work an academic influence in the direction of taking the charities intended for the poorer classes of the community and using them for the development of higher education, though I am willing to admit that of late years that tendency has been lessened a good deal by what has taken place both inside and outside the House. I think there is great danger of producing a considerable amount of angry feeling in the rural districts if the rights of the poor are not more tenderly dealt with by the Charity Commissioners than they have been hitherto; and I, therefore, have much pleasure in re-inforcing the appeal which has been made by the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division to the hon. Member for Penrith (Mr. J. W. Lowther), to check the tendency of the Charity Commissioners in the direction of taking away money from the poorer classes and devoting it to the education of the higher classes. The poorer classes 827 feel that they are not adequately represented on the bodies charged with the administration of these charities. This feeling strongly prevails in rural districts, and it is injurious not only to the Charity Commissioners themselves but to that loyal contentment which every public office should encourage. I trust, too, that the Charity Commissioners will take care that no charities are lost to the people. There are, for instance, many rent-charges which are uncollected, and therefore lost. It is the duty of the Commissioners to protect the property of the poor, and steps ought to be taken to see that rent-charges are recovered. I hope that in all cases brought under their notice the Charity Commissioners will exercise care in the operation of the Allotments Act. I am glad to say there has been a great improvement in this respect in the last two years. The Charity Commissioners have shown a desire to get the poor lands for the benefit of the poor, and I hope the generosity shown during the last two years will be still further extended. With reference to the general administration of the Department, I congratulate the hon. Member for Penrith on having to defend a Department which has been doing exceedingly good work during the last few years.
§ (1.2.) MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)
I have only a few questions to put to the hon. Member for Penrith. I am glad to see that in the case of several schemes in which I am personally interested the Commissioners have provided that certain Trustees shall be elected by vestries. I wish to know whether the Commissioners are going in future schemes to extend the policy of providing that the Trustees shall be elected by the vestries? I suggest it would be desirable generally to provide a larger number of elective Trustees than at present. In one case which I have in mind there are 12 Trustees, and only three have been chosen by the vestry. Again, there are many cases in which charities have failed to return accounts regularly to the Commissioners, and I should like to know whether the hon. Member can see his way to obtain more regular returns than are now obtained.
(1.5.) MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
I think that the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division will 828 hardly expect me to go into all the details of the Sutton Coldfield case. The hon. Member himself did not elaborate the case at any great length; he has done that on former occasions. He, of course, remembered perfectly that he brought the matter before the Endowed Schools Acts Committee, which sat for two years upstairs. He gave evidence on four or five occasions with regard to the Endowed Schools Act, and on several occasions with regard to the Sutton Coldfield scheme. Mr. Richmond, the Charity Commissioner in charge of the case, was heard on the other side, and the Committee, a very strong Committee, who considered the matter very carefully, reported that in regard to the large endowment given by Henry VIII. to the borough of Sutton Coldfield, it was shown that the original gift contemplated the benefit of all classes of the inhabitants, the hon. Member contends that it was only for the poor, but the Committee found it contemplated the benefit of all classes, and reported that while the scheme of the Charity Commissioners proposes to devote a limited share to the endowment and promotion of higher education, it appropriates the larger part for the support of elementary schools and otherwise for the express benefit of the poor. I do not wish to go behind that, because it is the deliberate finding of the Committee, who considered the matter very carefully. The exact state of the scheme at present is that it rests with the Education Department, and it is not in the power of the Charity Commissioners either to withdraw it, or to press it on. The hon. Member is a ware that schemes are submitted to the Education Department, and that it rests with that Department either to approve or reject them or to send them back to the Charity Commissioners for alteration. I am perfectly certain that everything which has fallen from the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division will be carefully considered by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council [Sir W. HART DYKE: Hear, hear!] before he either approves or rejects the scheme which is now under consideration. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is constantly receiving recommendations from those interested in the scheme, and therefore 829 the hon. Member may rest assured that his objections will be fully considered before the scheme becomes law. With regard to the remarks made by the hon. Member for Ilkeston (Sir W. Foster) and the hon. Member for the Rugby Division (Mr. Cobb), the Charity Commissioners have given a considerable proportion to the representative element in the appointment of Governors, and that policy is being continued and extended. In the case of very small charities it was very difficult to arrange for the election of Trustees ad hoc; it is an expensive thing besides, and accordingly, in those cases, the Commissioners take representative bodies, such as Local Boards, Vestries, or School Boards, and give them power to nominate Trustees on the Boards of Governors. In regard to the recovery of rent-charges, the Commissioners have certified to the Attorney General several cases in which they think there is sufficient evidence to enable him to recover. The point to be considered in each case, however, is whether the game is worth the candle. With regard to the accounts of charities, the hon. Member for Rugby is aware that the duty of returning the accounts rests with the Trustees of charities. The number of returns vary from time to time, but I think they are gradually increasing. It is the practice of the Commissioners to call for accounts as they may be wanted, to enable them to consider the circumstances of any particular charity, but there is no doubt that the action of County Councils will waken up Trustees of charities, and such pressure will be brought to bear upon them that they will be more regular in future in sending in their accounts to the office.
§ (1.14.) CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)
I should like the hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. W. Lowther) to tell the Committee whether he considers that in his Department there is a sufficient staff to perform the duties imposed upon them. It is my belief they have nothing approaching the staff that is necessary, and if that is so, the hon. Gentleman ought not to be afraid to tell the Committee so. In the first instance, the Charity Commissioners were appointed to protect the small charities for the benefit of the poor. From time to time we bring before the House cases of charities misapplied and misappropriated, but it is not our duty 830 to do this: it is the duty of the Charity Commissioners to find out these cases of misappropriation. Take the case of a charity at Edmonton. Two or three years ago it was discovered that some of the money was going to the payment of a curate and organist, and even the washing of surplices. It was the duty of the Charity Commissioners to have found that out. I could give a number of such instances, and I should like the hon. Gentleman to tell us if it is true that the Commissioners have not got a staff large enough to enable them to perform all the duties for which they were primarily appointed. In the matter of accounts, too, I know of charities in my own county the accounts of which have not been sent in for years. It is the duty of the Commissioners, if not to audit the accounts, at least to insist upon them being sent in.
§ *(1.20.) MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)
Allow me to mention a matter which has been brought under my notice by a clergyman in the City of London, the Rev. Canon MacColl, of St. George's, Botolph Lane. He informs me that property which is applicable to the repair of that church has been appropriated by the Charity Commissioners, and that that being so there are no funds whatever that can be spent in maintaining the fabric. I should like to know from the hon. Member for Penrith if there is any rule which guides the Charity Commissioners in cases where funds applicable to the repair of churches have been appropriated.
*(1.22.) MR. J. W. LOWTHER
I am afraid I cannot offhand answer the question of the hon. Member for Rugby. We do not know exactly how many charities there are. The number of charities is added to day by day, and as fast as we discover charities we add them to our books. We can tell how many accounts are sent in every year, and we state the number in our Report. I think there is some misconception as to the exact state of the law with regard to accounts. The Act of Parliament says that the Trustees of charities shall send in their accounts 831 to the Charity Commissioners every year. The Act does not say that we must require them every year, but that if we want them we are entitled to get them. If the duties suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for North Bucks (Captain Verney) fall on the Commissioners, we would require a very large staff of clerks and inspectors. At present there is no staff to carry out the suggestions of the hon. and gallant Member. If my right hon. Friend (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) will look at the 7th Schedule of the scheme now laid on the Table of the House, dealing with the City Parochial Charities, he will find that the money appropriated for the annual maintenance, cleaning, and repair of the fabric, St. George's, Botolph Lane, is £41 a year, and the sum proposed to be allotted to the parish under the Scheme is £ 117 a year.
THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir W. HART DYKE, Kent, Dartford)
I promise the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division that I will look into the Sutton Coldfield Scheme.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 2. £5,087, to complete the sum for the Friendly Societies Registry.
§ *(1.25.) MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
If this Vote had been reached at anything like a reasonable period of the Session, it would have been my duty to have occupied the attention of the Committee for a very considerable time. Of course, that is now out of the question. Under the circumstances, I will confine myself to so much of the matter affecting the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies as comes within Section 30 of the Friendly Societies Act, 1875. These include 3,000,000 of members, of whom half are adults. I regret that as the Committee sat for two years no kind of legislative action was taken either to amend the law or to inquire into some of the matters we found ourselves unable to examine into. I do trust that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who I have reason to believe takes exceedingly great interest in this matter, will not allow the vacation again to pass without determining upon some action when next Session commences. As a Departmental Committee has been sitting and examining into the office of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, I also have to express my 832 regret that no communication has been made by the Government which might have rendered it unnecessary for me to make some of the comments I feel it my duty to make. As to the Registrar of Friendly Societies, I quite agree that in past times he has done much service to the Friendly Societies. I do not want in any way to detract from the great services he certainly rendered in old times, but I am afraid that since 1875, from what I believe to be a mistaken view of the sections of the Act, he has made some of its provisions utterly useless to the people whom Parliament intended to benefit; and in consequence of the line he has thought it his duty to pursue, large frauds have been perpetrated which might have been stopped at a very early period. Section 10, Sub-section 5 of the Act, gives the Central Office power to collect and circulate, either generally or in any particular district, such information respecting life statistics and the bearings thereof on the business of Friendly Societies, and other information extracted from or founded on the balance sheets and returns useful to members of Friendly Societies as the Chief Registrar shall from time to time think fit. I submit that if it came to the knowledge of the Chief Registrar that a society was utterly insolvent and that its conductors were carrying it on fraudulently, it was his duty to circulate among the members and amongst the persons living in the district, by advertisement or otherwise, such information as should prevent members going on blindly paying. In 1888, in answer to a question put by myself, the Registrar told me he thought the construction of the Act was doubtful. In answer to Question 934 the Chief Registrar admitted that in 1875 there was a society which showed in its accounts a deficiency of £55,520. This was brought to the knowledge of the Registrar, and yet he did not communicate with any of the members of the society in any fashion, and the society went on for another eight years collecting the money of the poorest of the people, until in the end these people lost all their contributions. It was a very grave case, indeed, and investigation showed that, besides fraud upon the contributors, there had been absolute theft of securities. 833 The facts were submitted to Mr. Mead, an eminent counsel, who advised a prosecution, and although the initiative rested with the Registrar, nothing was done. The people were defrauded, the scoundrels who defrauded them escaped, and all through the mistaken view of this gentleman, who did nothing to give effect to the intention of the Legislature. I am bound to say I cannot see the use of a Chief Registrar, who site in his office merely to receive his salary, and to ignore reports brought before him of serious frauds. If it were earlier in the Session I should feel it to be my duty to take a vote in the Committee on the subject. It was the duty of the Chief Registrar to consult the Treasury; they did not know, but he was constituted to receive information. I cannot help saying it is a disgrace to our administration that there should be an official entrusted with the duty of communicating his knowledge to these poor ignorant people, but who does not fulfil that duty because the gravity of it does not come home to him. This case, there is every reason to suppose, does not stand alone, but looking at the fact that we are at the close of the Session, and that the House is literally empty, I now content myself with asking for an assurance from the Government that the Registrar shall not be allowed to neglect his duties for 12 months longer. If that assurance is not given I shall feel it my duty to call the attention of the House to the matter in a most serious manner. I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, I know, takes an interest in matters affecting the promotion of habits of thrift among the people, to consider the advisabilty of providing a statutory inquiry in order that we may know how matters stand with other societies. I do not make the suggestion that many of them are fraudulent, but I do say that there is a class of these collecting societies whose procedure lends itself to fraud more than others—societies not conducted for the benefit of the members, but for the benefit of the few who make large incomes, often most unfairly. I know the difficulty when I ask the Government to introduce legislation, but remember this is a matter directly and indirectly affecting the interests of 14,000,000 of weekly payments 834 averaging 1½ made by the poorest classes among our people.
§ (1.36.) A LORD OF THE TREASURY (Sir HERBERT MAXWELL, Wigton)
I am glad the hon. Member began his speech with an acknowledgment of the services performed by that public servant against whom the latter part of his speech was directed. No one who knows the history of the Registry of Friendly Societies, of its origin, and the many ambiguities which had to be interpreted before the Act of 1875 could be administered, but must endorse what was said by the hon. Member for Northampton in the earlier part of his speech. The hon. Member went on to express his regret that there has been no legislative result to the Report of the Committee of last year. But the Committee did not report until the end of a very late Session. That Report has been carefully considered, and a Bill has been drafted involving more difficulties in the framing than was perhaps present to the minds of Members of the Select Committee when they made their recommendations. Owing to the pressure of business that Bill never left the limbo of good intentions. But it is not lost sight of, and I trust another Session will not pass without legislative action being taken. The hon. Member has referred to the fact of the Report of the Departmental Committee not having been presented to the House, but it was never intended that it should be presented. The object of that Committee was to enable the Department to carry out such of the recommendations of the Select Committee as referred to the internal re-organisation of the Registry of Friendly Societies. Action has been taken on that portion of the recommendations. Considerable reforms have taken place within the Department. It is now organised in three branches, one under the immediate attention of the Assistant Registrar, another under the Actuary, and the third under the Chief Clerk. These changes involved various alterations, including structural additions to the building, with which I need not trouble the Committee now. I can assure the hon. Member that, although the Report of the Departmental Committee is confidential in character, it has been the means of carrying out some of the suggestions of 835 the Select Committee. The latter part of the hon. Member's speech included an attack upon Mr. Ludlow, and the hon. Member intended it as a very formidable indictment. But it resolves itself into this, that the interpretation put by the Registrar on a Sub-section of a Section of the Act of 1875 (an important Sub-section, I admit), differs from the interpretation put upon it by the hon. Member, and by a majority of the Members of the Select Committee. I agree that in my view, which is not worth much, for I am not a lawyer, the expressions in the Sub-section would bear, and seem to imply, the construction put upon the Sub-section by the hon. Member for Northampton. But that is not the view taken by every one. I have consulted Legal Authorities, and they are of opinion that the view of the Chief Registrar is perfectly consistent with the terms of statute. I admit that there exists in the public mind an impression that the Registry of Friendly Societies exists for the purpose of performing more paternal functions than has hitherto been the case, but I ask the Committee to remember this, that there is danger in assuming too much in a Department of this kind. If you teach the public to rely solely on warnings issued from time to time from the office of the Chief Registrar you teach them a dangerous lesson indeed. The vast amount of returns that have to be collected and gone over annually involves considerable delay before any warning can be issued, and during that delay are not members of Friendly Societies to be taught to think and act for themselves? Every Friendly Society has self-government more or less efficient.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
If the hon. Gentleman will permit me, I think the Committee were aware that the element of self-government does not exist in collecting societies, or there are such huge difficulties in the way of it being exercised that practically it is non-existent.
§ SIR H. MAXWELL
Yes; but the Chief Registrar encourages members of Societies to improve their supervision. I admit at once the very serious nature of the case the hon. Member has cited. But 10 years ago the majority of the Friendly Societies in the country might have been returned as in an insolvent condition, 836 but owing partly to the conduct of the Chief Registrar, and partly to the action of the Societies themselves, this financial condition has been greatly improved. The Chief Registrar, in consequence of the re-organisation of his office, is now better able than, in the past to afford assistance to the members of these Societies, and he is certainly not a man to neglect to perform his duty.
§ *(1.43.) MR. BRADLAUGH
I quite feel the difficulty of the Government. But let me say at once the interpretation of the words of the Act (which permit the Chief Registrar, if they do no more, to circulate information from time to time) the interpretation which prevented the Chief Registrar from circulating the information led to the people continuing for eight years to subscribe to a society which showed a deficiency of £55,000. Although I quite agree that it is far better for the members of a society to be taught to be self-reliant, here is the difficulty that an Act of Parliament passed in 1875 has done exactly the opposite, and has taught the people to rely on information to be communicated to them, and there is nothing here that restricts the Chief Registrar except the approval of the Treasury. I regret very much that a question affecting the interests of many millions of poor arouses so little interest in the Committee that only a few Members think fit to be present. I ask the First Lord of the Treasury to consider during the Recess whether it may not be possible to issue a small Statutory Commission—a Royal Commission is of no use—next year to inquire into the circumstances of several Societies into whose affairs the Committee that was appointed did not think itself entitled to inquire, but in connection with which there were grave allegations of fraud.
§ *(1.45.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH, Strand, Westminster)
I will take care that this is very carefully considered.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 3. £109,747, to complete the sum for the Local Government Board.
§ 4. £10,507, to complete the sum for the Lunacy Commission, England.
§ 5. £25,000, to complete the sum for the Mercantile Marine Fund (Grant in Aid).837
6. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £45,711, 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 Mint, including the Expenses of Coinage.
§ (1.47.) MR. MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)
I do not like to pass from this Vote without taking the opportunity of making an appeal to the Government in favour of the adoption of a system of decimal coinage. I want an undertaking from the Government that a Select Committee or Royal Commission shall be appointed next Session to inquire whether the time has not at last arrived for establishing a decimal system of money, weights, and measures. I have spoken to the Chancellor of the Exchequer privately upon the subject, but the right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to grant this reasonable request; and I now wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, since the interview, he has consulted his colleagues as to whether he can grant a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject?
I must remind the hon. Member that I told him a year ago that the policy of decimal coinage is regulated by Statute.
§ MR. MONTAGU
I desire to point out that I have spoken of decimal coinage upon this Vote: I only ask the Government to issue certain coins from the Mint to complete the decimal system initiated by the florin, and I think, with all due submission, as I seldom trouble the House or the Committee, that I am in order in discussing the question; and if I am allowed to do so, I shall deal with the question very briefly.
§ THE CHAIRMAN indicated his assent.
§ MR. MONTAGU
I wish, in the first place, to remind the Committee that all foreign countries and several of our colonies have adopted this system of decimal coinage, and in no case has any one of these countries retraced its steps or regretted its change, while this country remains high and dry attached to the old system. I wish to ask why we should continue to enforce upon children in Board schools a complex arithmetical system which can be rendered 838 unnecessary by the introduction of a decimal system? When we waited upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to press upon the right hon. Gentleman the advisability of adopting this system, or of giving it a trial, his answer was, he wanted a "popular cry." Well, there is a popular cry, and universal wherever the subject of decimal coinage is discussed. In fact, there is practical unanimity upon the subject. We have recently re-established a Decimal Association, and meetings have been held in England and Scotland with great success, there being no opposition to the system. On April the 9th, I would remind the Committee, the National Union of Teachers' Conference discussed the question, and they passed the following resolution:-—Mr. Wright moved that the time had arrived when the interests of commerce and education demanded that a decimal system of money weights and measures should be introduced into this country. Mr. Wild seconded, and the matter was carried nem. Con.I scarcely know what the right hon. Gentleman calls a popular cry. The system has been adopted in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, because it was found that the decimal system was an improvement, and in Ceylon, where the "public cry " was against the proposal, the system of decimal coinage was introduced notwithstanding, and after a little experience it was found to be a satisfactory change. Will the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer please say what kind of a "cry" he wants? Does not the right hon. Gentleman's own conscience cry out and tell him that it is a grievous wrong to inflict this complex system of calculation upon young minds when it could be so easily changed and so adequately remedied? I would remind the Committee that the Chambers of Commerce were to be found in favour of the change; that School Boards will, I think, approve of the proposal, and I believe that the majority of Members in this House would vote in favour of its adoption. I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make an experiment and issue tenths and twentieths of a florin, and I believe the result would be found to be satisfactory, and the bankers, with other associations, would voluntarily adopt the decimal system. At all events, I believe a case has been made out 839 of an inquiry into the matter; and considering that compulsory education has advanced to such a degree, and the duty we owe to the working classes, I think that the matter deserves the serious attention of the Government. I would also wish to ask if the Chancellor of the Exchequer has inquired from Foreign Mints as to the greater durability of their gold coin? Our experiments were made some six or seven years ago, but the test applied was not a good one, as the friction applied in revolving boxes has not the same effect as regular circulation. It is necessary for us to have as durable a metal as any other country in the world. The experiments prove that Germany, France, and the United States have a far more durable coinage than ours. I have had a letter from a former Treasurer of State in the United States, in which he said upon this subject—If you will take, Say, 20,000 pieces, selected by years, you will, in my opinion, find that the English silver loses very much more through abrasion than the American silver coin, or, in fact, than any other silver coin 900 fine. Silver coin 900 fine seems to be of the exact fineness best adapted for their use as coin, and I think the French and German experiences will bear me out in this assertion. Your silver is too fine and too soft. It makes a more beautiful piece, but it certainly does not wear as well as the coin 900 fine. I believe you can prove this statement fully by an examination of 20,000, because I found in the course of my experiments that the 20,000 pieces furnished with greater exactness the same average as a larger number.''The Report of the French Mint last year upon this subject was far more reliable, as the experiments were conducted on a rectangular table making nine oscillations in a minute, the table being covered with sheet brass, zinc, sheet iron, marble, sprinkled with sand, and powdered pumice stone, &c. Some interesting and important facts relating to the wear of gold coin were ascertained by these experiments. One result was that they did not establish the fact that the half sovereign is, as the noble Lord the Member for Paddington called it, a costly and extravagant coin. The latter criticism was founded on the insufficient ground that working men were more easily tempted to change a half sovereign in a public house, as if they could not change it with equal ease at the baker's, the butcher's, or the grocer's. Yet another ground of objection is the costliness 840 of the coin; and if that could be disproved, then I think that the whole substantial objection falls to the ground. I notice from the Report of the Mint hat no half sovereigns have been coined for several years. I ask the Government not to run short of this very useful coin. I should also like to say a word or two about the silver coins. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that last year we made £700,000 or £800,000 by coining silver. He has been very lucky in obtaining a very large quantity of silver below the present market prices. I think he has now an abundant and even an excessive supply. I do not think, however, we ought to make a profit on our gold and silver coinage. The coins should be honest coins, and should only bear the exact cost of the mintage. I believe that in November next the Chancellor of the Exchequer contemplates renewing a considerable portion of the gold coinage, and I think this will afford us an excellent opportunity of considering the advisability of adopting decimal coinage, and also of seeing whether our coins cannot be made more durable. From the Report of the French Mint this year I gather that the cost of rehabilitating the French gold in circulation is estimated at from 1,300,000 frs. to 1,400,000 frs. per milliard, or from £52,000 to £56,000 per £40,000,000. That is about 1⅜ per mille, whereas the cost of restoring our gold circulation to a good condition is estimated at over 1 per cent., or about eight times the proportionate cost of restoring to a good condition the French gold circulation. This means a difference of over £500,000, and that outlay would not occur but for the faulty type and composition of our coins. I am afraid that our coins are badly made, and that the milled edges cause greater friction than is desirable. I have made these remarks in no hostile spirit. I trust the Government will grant an inquiry into this matter, and that it does not intend to perpetuate a system which entails the waste of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
§ *(2.4.) THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON, Leeds, N.)
I am sorry my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is detained elsewhere by pressing business, for I am sure he would have been glad 841 to listen to the hon. Member's interesting speech—a speech in the course of which he has touched upon several questions which it will not be necessary for me to reply to in detail. Of course, I will convey what he has said to the right hon. Gentleman. I am not sure that the French estimates of which the hon. Member has spoken, as to the cost of renewing their gold coin, may not prove to be inaccurate. The hon. Member spoke about foreign coin being more durable than ours. I know that this question has been constantly before the Mint Authorities; I have had myself several conversations with them upon the subject. They have been making experiments, and they have come to the conclusion that our coin is as durable as the coin of foreign countries. I think we should be guided by those who are competent to make these tests. The hon. Gentleman has spoken of the supply of silver. Well, there was a large circulation of silver last year, and this year, too, a considerable amount has been circulated; while that is the case, of course the Mint must meet the demand so far as they can. In reference to the decimal coinage, I do not think I should be justified in entering upon the subject, and I hope the hon. Member will be satisfied with having drawn attention to the matter, and rest assured that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be informed of his remarks.
§ (2.7.) SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
In regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets upon decimal coinage, if it had not been for the action of the invincible Chinaman in taking the existing multiple we should not have had all this trouble. But while I do not wish to deal with that portion of the subject, I desire to call the attention of the House to the practice of putting the English emblem of St. George and the Dragon upon sovereigns. In regard to this matter, I have already called attention to it; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give me no satisfaction at all. This emblem does not represent an English tradition; it is not a Scotch tradition; nor is it an Irish tradition. At all events, whatever may be the tradition, the coins are common to the three countries, and should not bear such a device. As long as the memory of man goes back, there has 842 been no such emblem upon gold coins; at any rate not for the last 50 years, nor, I believe, for the last 150 years. In the days of George III. there was something like it, but not exactly the same. I hold it to be fictitious, unnecessary, and uncalled for. I also want to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he is going to put upon the half sovereign. I understand that the half sovereign is not now being coined, so we have no opportunity of seeing what it is going to be like. I notice that the Secretary to the Treasury shakes his head, but I assure the Committee that the stoppage of the half sovereign would be a great grievance to Scotland; I very much prefer that coin; indeed, Scotchmen do like half sovereigns very much. I wish to know from the First Lord of the Treasury if the Government are going to put this insulting emblem of St. George and the Dragon upon the half sovereign as well as upon the sovereign? I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That £45,611 be granted for the said Service."—(Sir George Campbell. )
§ *(2.11.) MR. W. H. SMITH
The hon. Gentleman has got his remedy. It is a very serious indictment which he has brought against the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Let him exhibit the articles of impeachment against my right hon. Friend in order that Parliament may fully consider the serious gravity of the charge which the hon. Member has made.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I will not press the matter about the sovereign if I can get an answer about the half sovereign.
§ *(2.12.) MR. W. H. SMITH
The hon. Gentleman has been informed that the coinage of half sovereigns will be continued. I cannot tell him whether St. George and the Dragon is to be put on the gold coins.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I hope my suggestion will be favourably considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Why not put the value on the coin, instead of this insulting emblem?
§ SIR W. LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
May I suggest as a compromise that, instead of St. George and the Dragon, we should put on "Sir George and the Dragon."
§ *(2.13.) SIR R. FOWLER (London)
I give the hon. Member for Whitechapel notice that if he raises the question of decimal coinage next year I shall vote against him.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
As the question of what shall appear on the half sovereign is not finally decided, I beg leave to withdraw my Motion for a reduction.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 7. £9,231, to complete the sum for the National Debt Office.
§ 8. £6,494, to complete the sum for the Public Works Loan Commission.
§ 9. £14,636, to complete the sum for the Record Office.
§ (2.15.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I just want to call attention to one or two points. First, as to the historical records. We are told that the first volume is now out of print. Surely it is absurd, seeing that these works have cost so much money, that one should be now unable to buy the complete set of eight volumes. I hope this matter will be looked into. Another point to which I wish to call attention is that of the Venetian archives, which have been prepared under the editorship of the late Mr. Rawdon Brown. I understand that it has been arranged that another Mr. Brown shall continue this work at Venice. But I believe that Mr. Rawdon Brown has handed over a large number of transcripts, and that many of the archives are in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Whitehaven. I think that there should be some understanding with Mr. Brown that a list should be furnished to him of the copies which are in this country, so that he may not waste time in sending over duplicates.
§ (2.17.) MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)
I know nothing about the appointment of any new editor at Venice to carry out the work of my lamented friend Mr. Rawdon Brown. I have only heard the report with regard to the question of transcripts. Mr. Rawdon Brown during the many years that he held the office of editor of the Venetian archives received annually a sum of money for purchasing transcripts for the Record 844 Office. A very large number of these have not yet been calendared, and still remain in the hands of the authorities. But besides those documents which have been paid for out of public money, Mr. Brown, who has made me his literary executor, left me a large number of transcripts which do not belong to the State. The volume of which I have been requested by the Master of the Rolls to take charge brings the archives down to the year 1580, and the next volume will go down, perhaps, 20 years later. I really do not know what policy the Master of the Rolls and his assistants have determined to carry out with regard to future volumes of the work, but I would suggest that there is no necessity whatever for going to any large expenditure in employing an editor in Venice to make abstracts of those transcripts which are now in England. I shall be glad, on conditions, to hand over the transcripts which belong to me personally to the Record Office, and all that it will be necessary to do at Venice will be to see that the transcribers have made no omission. I may point out what I consider to be a great disadvantage in this particular work, namely, that the abstracts are far too voluminous, and I will suggest that a new system may be adopted by which they may be shortened. The transcripts will appear in the original language, and at a much less cost the abstracts might briefly point out to any inquirer where the particular information can be obtained. If that system is adopted the public will be able to obtain much more accurate information in the original language than under the present system.
§ (2.22.) MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)
I hope that Members of Parliament will not be deprived of the opportunity of having copies of the records which they require in the ordinary way.
§ (2.23.) MR. JACKSON
My attention has not been called to that point, but I will make inquiries. With reference to the question of the hon. Member for Northampton, I will make inquiries at the Record Office as to the volumes of the historical manuscripts. As to the transcripts, I understand that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Whitehaven is quite willing to facilitate the future work, and that, I 845 think, answers the question of the hon. Member.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 10. £34,118, to complete the sum for the Registrar General's Office, England.
§ 11. £355,182, to complete the sum for Stationery and Printing.
§ 12. £17,875, to complete the sum for the Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, &c. Office.
§ *(2.27.) SIR G. CAMPBELL
I have to protest against the action of Mr. Culley, the Commissioner of this office, with regard to the way in which he has made away with the rights of the Crown in Scotland in respect to salmon fishing, to the detriment of the public and the advantage of landed proprietors. I think that an exhaustive inquiry should always be made in connection with these matters. The Commission did not go North to inquire into cases affecting fisheries on the North-East Coast.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
Well, no evidence was taken on the spot. Formerly, if a man fishing off the coast happened to catch a salmon, he esteemed it a good piece of luck; but now all sorts of claims are made upon him. I do not think the answers given by Mr. Culley to the Commission on the points on which I had made complaints against him were at all satisfactory; indeed, they seemed to imply that he would do the same thing again. Mr. Culley has endeavoured to justify his action, and there is every reason to suppose that if he had the chance he would repeat it. This is what I complain of. I say that the Crown rights and the foreshores should not be made away with without consulting the interests of the local and general public, and I say that those rights and the way in which they are to be administered was not sufficiently considered by the Commission. Again, the Committee of this House undoubtedly made an excellent Report as to the management of farms and so forth; but the main question is, as to whether the rights of the Crown should be administered as public rights in the interests of the community or whether they should be 846 administered as if they were the interests of private property. The question of foreshore is a very important one. Up to the time the Commissioners had control of the Scotch foreshores, namely, 1886, I find that they made away wholesale with the public rights in the interests of the landlords. But within the last few years the rights have been conferred on the Board of Trade. Mr. Culley is, I believe, still impenitent, and I trust that means will be taken to prevent these rights being made away with in the future. I shall now content myself with the protest I have made.
*(2.33.) MR. PRITCHARD MORGAN (Merthyr Tydvil)
I desire to call attention to the gold mining industry in Wales, with which I am particularly connected. It is within the know ledge of the House that for two or three years endeavours have been made to promote what promised to be an exceedingly important mining industry, the facts regarding which I will endeavour briefly to put before the Committee. It was not until a large sum of money had been expended in this industry that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests took any action in the matter. It was then that they made a claim which has since been established in the Court of Chancery, whose decision was in favour of the rights of the Crown to a percentage of the products of the mines which are being worked on the freehold lands of Her Majesty's subjects. Those lands have been so held for generations, and no claim to enter upon or work them has been made by the Crown, and were it not that this claim on the part of the Crown is one which absolutely stifles the industry, I should not trouble the Committee. It is well known that the precious metals are difficult to obtain; indeed, were this not so, they would no longer be precious. As it is, £1 out of every £5 which is expended in working the mines is lost; but of late years the advance of science has enabled a class of low grade ores to be worked at a profit, provided miners are not hampered by unjust claims. Take the case of the Australian Colonies, where gold is produced in large quantities. We find there that the Governments of the respective colonies foster and encourage the gold mining industry in every way, the great wealth 847 of these colonies being almost solely dependent on their mineral productions. In Victoria, where gold is obtained in large quantities, an attempt was made some years ago on the part of the Government to impose a royalty of 1s. 6d. per oz. The effect of that claim was to shut up one-half of the mines, and serious disturbances were occasioned as between the Authorities and the mining community, which resulted, I am sorry to say, in the loss of a great number of lives. The consequence was that the tax imposed by the Crown was abandoned. We now find that the colony of New South Wales regularly subscribes £20,000 per annum to assist prospectors in the discovery of the precious metals, and when they are found the prospectors are allowed to dig for them to their own profit, but, of course, at their own expense, no royalty whatever being charged. In Victoria £80,000 a year is allowed for prospecting purposes in exactly the same way. In none of the colonies is there any claim for royalty, because it is felt that any such claim would stifle the industry. If we were to take any business carried on in the United Kingdom, the result of any claim for a portion of the product would be to shut up one-half of those industries. What has been the result of the claim of 3frac13; per cent. insisted on by the Crown on the products of the Welsh mines? Why, that whereas five or six years ago 600 men were employed in this industry now not a single man is so employed. The Crown right was exercised as far back as the time of Elizabeth with similar results, and, indeed, the industry has always been stopped whenever the royalty has been insisted upon. Never has that industry had the same chance of success as it has now. Large sums have been expended on the erection of machinery and the purchase of plant, and we say that any charge made by the Government should be made on the profits and not on the products of the mines. I have endeavoured to induce the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to make this change, but they refuse. If you take £100 as a basis you will find it will employ 100 men for a week, at the end of which £103 worth of gold is produced, leaving a profit of 3 per cent. on the weekly turnover, but if 3frac13; per cent. is taken by the Government 848 the product is necessarily obtained at a loss, without reckoning the capital employed in plant and machinery. It is sufficient to have to pay heavy rents to the landlords, and even then we are heavily handicapped as compared with other industries. The Government know that I take great interest in this matter, and have been compelled to go into the Court of Chancery to obtain a decision on this subject. I appeal to the Government to consider this matter in the interest of the country generally, remembering that the establishment of the gold mining industry would give employment and fair wages to a considerable number of working men. In the colony of Queensland alone we have the means of producing £1,500,000 per annum from the Crown lands, and though the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General may think that we ought not to take a lesson from those young countries, I contend that our gold-producing colonies afford an example we should follow if we are desirous of developing the industry of gold mining in this country. In New South Wales we have the same state of things in regard to silver. There is a mine there which has paid £1,250,000 dividend on the silver obtained. In this country we find that for many years no less than £50,000 or £60,000 has been obtained on the silver produced, but no claim whatever has been made by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to royalty upon that production. Silver, however, is as much a royalty-bearing mineral as gold, and I cannot understand the reason why it should escape when royalty is charged on the other metal. The Government need not be afraid that we shall make enormous profits out of the concessions we ask for. For many years we have not made 2frac12; per cent. on our outlay, and therefore the industry is not one that ought to be specially taxed. I would ask the Committee to bear in mind that some of us have embarked every shilling we have in the world in developing the gold-mining industry in Wales, and all we now ask is that the Government should consider this matter in a fair and liberal spirit, and abandon the royalty charged on products and transfer it to profits. I do not wish to dictate what proportion of profits they should take, but I do ask 849 them to make the change I have suggested. Under the circumstances that would be a graceful act on the part of the Government, and would be taken as an acknowledgment of their desire to assist in developing an industry that would give the means of employment to a considerable number of people.
§ (2.46.) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER, Isle of Wight)
I think it will be well if I rise at once to say what I have to state in answer to the hon. Member for Merthyr. The question he has raised is one of great importance, namely, as to whether it is possible to alter the basis on which royalties are charged on the products of the gold-mining industry. There is a good deal of misunderstanding on the question of royalties upon gold and silver. It is sometimes assumed that those royalties belong to Her Majesty in her own right; but that is not the case. The right has long been surrendered, and it is now a taxpayers' question, and not one as to the prerogative rights of the Queen herself. No doubt if some satisfactory basis could be arrived at for collecting the royalty on profits, that might be a solution of the question, but that involves other very large questions. For instance, it involves the necessity of a somewhat careful inquiry into the way in which the undertakings are carried on, and a kind of criticism and examination of the accounts of the promoters of these industries. That, of course, the promoters would be very unwilling to submit to. Consequently the question is by no means an easy and a simple one. It is only during the last few days that the hon. Member has communicated with me on the subject. I cannot give a pledge at the present time, but I understand that the hon. Member is willing to prepare a Memorandum stating his views upon this subject; and I can assure the hon. Member that any such Memorandum shall be most carefully considered by the Woods and Forests Department and also by myself. It is impossible, however, for the Government to go further at the present time. Their experience is that the system is not open to the objections to which the hon. Member has called attention. It may be owing to the peculiarities of the undertaking in which the hon. Member 850 is engaged that the result to him and to those associated with him has been unfortunate; but it seems to me that any such change as is suggested could only be brought about after an examination of all the circumstances, and after a conclusion has been arrived at that the taxpayers would not sustain any loss.
*(2.54.) MR. PRITCHARD MORGAN
I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for what he has just stated; but I would remind him that whereas only £17 2s. 11d. was taken as royalty from this industry during 22 years prior to my taking it up, it has since paid something like £2,000—a circumstance which in itself is deserving of careful consideration. There are 26,000 acres of Crown lands surrounding my works, and if I am successful I shall add immensely to the value of that property, so that the Crown will derive enormous benefit from the development of this industry. I have not given the hon. and learned Gentleman the Memorandum to which he has referred. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will grant me an interview I will lay before him all the facts of the case; and I think there need be no difficulty whatever in shifting the royalty from products to profits. At present royalties, in the shape of Income Tax, are charged on the profits of every industry in the country, and it is hardly likely that anyone would waste the profits to which he is entitled simply for the purpose of robbing the Government of their proportion.
§ (2.57.) MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon, &c.)
I wish to put a question in reference to the Gwylwyn Sett Quarry at Pistyll, in Carnarvonshire, as to which I have asked several questions already, and with regard to which I have placed on the Paper a notice of my intention to call attention to the way in which it is administered. If the Secretary to the Treasury can now make some statement on the subject, which will be of a satisfactory nature, I shall rest satisfied with having now mentioned the subject. I should like to know what is the present state of the negotiations with reference to that quarry?
§ MR. JACKSON
The hon. Member was good enough to give me notice that he would ask this question, and I have made inquiry on the subject at the Office 851 of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. I am informed that the negotiations have not yet been brought to an end, and therefore it is not possible for me to give him a complete answer on the present occasion. I understand that the object of the hon. Member is to secure, if possible, that that quarry shall not be let to somebody who will not work it, and I regard that as a perfectly reasonable object. The usual course is to insert a clause in the lease insisting that the quarry shall be worked. I understand that if the present negotiations are successful the quarry will be worked. I am obliged to the hon. Member for the information he has afforded me by letter.
§ (3.0.) MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
The fact that I have been down in the district alluded to by the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Pritchard Morgan) must be my excuse for saying to the Attorney General that I do not think his reply has been altogether satisfactory. I am not surprised that the hon. and learned Gentlemen should look at the matter from a different point of view from that of the hon. Member himself, but I cannot see how, if the hon. Member's proposal were adopted, the taxpayer would be involved in any speculation or any wastefulness. Nor can I see how there would be any greater difficulty in collecting a tax on produce in respect of mines than there is in collecting a tax on spirits or beer.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
Well, it is practically on profits. It appears that a tax on the product is a tax on labour. That has been proved to be practically the case, because since a tax on the product has been insisted on by the Crown the labour has ceased. It is undoubtedly a fact that this money has been invested, and the money remains sunk in the property. I am sure there is a desire in the minds of Members of this House that some way should be found out of the present difficulty. I have no doubt that if the Attorney General, acting on behalf of the taxpayer and the public, would meet the hon. Member, they would find a way out of it.
§ Vote agreed to.852
§ 13. £33,540, to complete the sum for the Works and Public Buildings Office.
§ (3.4.) SIR G. CAMPBELL
The Office of Works have succeeded in forming the outside of Westminster Hall into the semblance of a church sunk in a hole. The other day a reply was given which attributed the defects in the building not to the present Board of Works, but to a Board of Works of the time of William Rufus.
Any examination of the buildings undertaken or constructed by this Office must be confined to the Vote in Class I. This is a question of the personnel and organisation of the Office.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
My desire is to move a reduction of the salary of the First Commissioner on account of his not sufficiently looking after the work, and allowing bad work to be done. The outside of Westminster Hall is of the nature of a kind of confused backgammon board, with good stones and bad stones alternating.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 14. £20,000, to complete the sum for Secret Service.
§ (3.7.) MR. LABOUCHERE
This Vote is an instance of the great objection there is to taking Votes at the end of the Session, when it is impossible to discuss them. A considerable number of Members on this side of the House are opposed to any money being employed in this manner, but it is farcical to attempt to discuss the Estimates properly at this period of the Session. This is the only reason why I shall not go into the matter and ask the Committee to divide. But I think I ought to enter a protest, and to say that a considerable number of Members on this side of the House decidedly object to the Vote. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that in the case of Mr. Anderson it came out that he was an employé in one of the public Departments, that his salary was voted by the House, and that year after year a considerable sum out of the Secret Service money was given to him to augment his annual income. I thought there had been a full understanding 853 that whenever anyone whose salary was on the Estimates received anything in excess of that salary it should be stated in a foot-note. I may, therefore, legitimately ask whether there are any other gentlemen whose salaries are on the Estimates at present, and who receive a permanent increase of their incomes out of the Secret Service Fund?
§ MR. JACKSON
I can give the hon. Member an assurance that, as far as I know and believe, there is absolutely nothing of the kind.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 15. £124, Supplementary, for the Charitable Donations and Bequests Office, Ireland.