§ 1. £7,850, to complete the sum for Secretary for Scotland's Office,—
§ MR. T. R. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
desired to ask a question of the Lord Advocate with regard to the 1648 progress of the negotiations with Foreign Powers in the matter of the territorial fishery limit. In the month of December last the Secretary for Scotland, in a speech at Edinburgh, stated that he was taking steps to induce the Foreign Office to enter into negotiations with other Powers with a view to coming to some international agreement with regard to the extension of such territorial limit. He would like to know what progress had been made with the negotiations, and whether it was likely at an early date that a result would be arrived at. He would like to deal with a couple of the objections which might be urged on behalf of the Admiralty or authorities of that sort. It might be said that, if the territorial limit was extended for the one purpose, it would also have to be extended for the purpose of defence, which would involve them in national complications. He did not think that a substantial objection, as it was possible to alter the limit for fishery purposes without altering it for the purposes of defence. As to the question of reciprocity and the possibility that their interests might be damnified supposing that other Powers extended their territorial limit, he did not see any danger to their interests.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Sir C. PEARSON,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
was not in a position to make any definite pronouncement to the hon. Member on this topic further than to say that the matter had not gone beyond the departmental stage. The Act which brought the question into prominence only came into law in the course of last year. The questions raised by anything which touched the territorial limit were extremely grave. It was found that difficulties arose even between England and Scotland, and these were now under the careful consideration of the Scotch Office, together with the English Department. The other difficulties surrounding the matter had been very accurately summarised by the hon. Member. They were, in the first place, the difficulty of saying to what effect and purpose they were to negotiate with other Powers in reference to this most difficult question. In the second place, there was the difficulty as regarded the more limited use which might be put on the extended 1649 area. Such a negotiation on their part, would certainly open up claims, which it would be, very difficult to resist, for reciprocity in that matter. This was a question which affected largely the fishing industries both of England and of Scotland, in so far as it would close to their fishermen certain waters which were at present open to them, and as to which —he was not prepared to say aye or no—It would, at all events, be a question not easily determined off-hand whether their fishermen might not be greatly the losers.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, not all round, but on both sides. He had spoken of reciprocity. It would mean all round the North Sea or even something a little more extensive, and therefore, the moment they raised the question with other nations they raised the question as to what was best on the whole for their own fishermen. These questions had been, and were being, very carefully considered, and he was perfectly certain that his hon. Friend would be satisfied if he knew that the consideration had been most careful and favourable in order to do their utmost for their fishermen. He might add that he was not himself so impressed with the great importance of this limit as a matter of tactical protection for the fishermen. Provided only that they could get the regulations laid down and observed between their different classes of fishermen at home, he thought they had ample fishing grounds for all. The difficulties that had emerged during the past year were of a very different sort, and these, he hoped, were now practically at an end.
§ DR. CLARK
regretted to hear the condition of the negotiations. The Bill as to this subject had been so modified in another place that they could not control their own fishermen until these international negotiations had taken place, and other countries agreed not to fish in their waters. The Bill had thus became practically null and void, and would be so until these negotiations were carried out. The other Foreign Power's were in exactly the same position as themselves, and were finding that their fishing beds were being destroyed. They had passed legislation limiting the size of 1650 the mesh and the size of the fish that could be brought into the country and sold, and so far as the information given to the Committee on this subject went, it showed that foreign countries would gladly welcome something of this kind to prevent the great North Sea fisheries from being entirely destroyed. Even the great trawling industry, which was now becoming a non-paying kind of business, and which until the last four or five years was strongly opposed to anything of the kind, had now fallen into line, and were agreed that something should be done. As to the question of whether they might not lose by it, he did not think Parliament ought to consider that. The interests on the other side of the German Ocean could be looked after by those countries. They here wished to prevent their own beds from being destroyed, and he hoped that, as by the content of the Government the change was made in another place which prevented them applying the law to their own subjects until it was generally agreed upon, some steps would be taken to meet the difficulty that had thus arisen. So far as other Powers were concerned, they were all equally working on the same lines. It was very desirable that this should take place, and that their fishing beds should be preserved.
§ MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
asked the Lord Advocate whether he was now able to give them any definite answer with regard to the Inquiry which was promised by the late and by the present Government into the financial relations between England and Scotland. They had been informed previously that the Irish Inquiry so monopolised the attention of the Treasury officials that it was quite impossible at that time to appoint a Committee for i his suggested Inquiry. The Irish Inquiry was now practically complete, and probably the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give them some assurance that the Inquiry as to Scotland would at no distant date be ordered.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he could give no such assurance as that on the part of the Government. Until the Commission which was considering the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland had actually reported, and until there had been time to consider the Report, it seemed to him to be quite 1651 premature to make any declaration on the subject of the financial relations as between Scotland on the one hand and England and Ireland on the other hand. He did not think the deliberations of the Commission were so far advanced as the hon. Member seemed to think, and he thought it would be time enough to consider the matter, with a view to giving undertakings, when the Commission had finally reported to the House. When that was done, he had not the least doubt that the hon. Member and other Scottish Members on both sides of the House who felt an interest in this question would press the Government sufficiently to insure that it should not be lost sight of. Further than that he could not go.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said, the Lord Advocate's statement was a little step in a backward direction from the position taken up some time ago by the First Lord of the Treasury. That right hon. Gentleman, in answer to a question addressed to him from the other side of the House, he thought, said their position in this matter was precisely that of the previous Administration—that the officials were so occupied in the present Inquiry, which dealt practically with Ireland only, that they had not sufficient time to deal with the Scottish view of the question, and that, the moment the burden of that work was taken off their shoulders, the Scottish Committee or Commission would be appointed. It was not a question of waiting for the complete Report of the present Commission at all. It was a question of appointing a Commission at the earliest possible date, to make the Inquiry, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the promise he had given, and that he would at a future time be able to say that the Commission or Committee had been ordered. It was a very pressing matter.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
desired to know whether he was in order in asking the Lord Advocate what he was going to do with the Public Health Bill when it came down from another place—whether it was to be referred to a Committee of Scotch Members or to a Grand Committee.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
asked whether the Lord Advocate could give them any information as to what the programme of Scotch legislation was likely to be for the future?
§ *MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
said, the whole of the evidence had been completed by the Commission considering the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland. There was, therefore, no further work to be done for them by the Treasury officials, and they might commence as soon as possible the preliminary work there was to be done in connection with the forthcoming Scottish Inquiry. He hoped the Lord Advocate would undertake to see that that was done.
§ DR. CLARK
said, that when the present First Lord of the Admiralty brought in a Bill, under which certain moneys were to be given to England, Scotland, and Ireland, he gave a pledge that a Select Committee should be appointed to determine the proper proportion to be paid to each country and the proper proportion to be paid back again by each country. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer put down that Committee, but it was not appointed because Wales was not included in the scope of the Inquiry. A similar state of things occurred the year after, and in the following year was the General Election, so that nothing was done then. When the next Government came into power, they were pressed to appoint a Committee, but various excuses were made, and so matters had gone on for six years up to the present time without satisfactory arrangements being made. No Committee had been appointed, though both the late and the present Governments had given pledges that one should be appointed. Yet, for the third time, under this unsatisfactory state of things, fresh legislation was being proposed in Parliament closely affecting Scotland. He referred to the Local Rates Bill and the Education Bill, under which Measures a certain proportion of money would go to Scotland. That money would be paid under the same old lines of the Probate Duty, and therefore the arrangement could not be a satisfactory one. If the money was to be apportioned on those lines, it could 1653 only be fairly and accurately done after full and complete inquiry, and the necessary information to guide them could only be obtained by means of a Royal Commission or a Select Commit-tee. At present they did not know what was the exact sum which should be paid to Scotland. All they know was that Scotland received less than she ought to get. The amount that she ought to receive would depend upon several considerations and among them the quantity of Scotch whisky consumed in England. But at present they had no trustworthy information on the point. The Lord Advocate had told them that nothing was being done, and yet a pledge had been given that something should be done.
§ DR. CLARK
Then all we can do is to prevent legislation, and to prevent England getting any money until we have some definite understanding. He could only hope the Government would carry out the pledges which had been repeatedly given during the last six years—bv the last Parliament and by the, First Lord of the Treasury in the present Parliament.
§ MR. J. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
said, he shared the feeling which had been expressed that the distribution of the money between the various parts of the United Kingdom was unsatisfactory, and he was sorry that the Lord Advocate had been unable to give a more favourable reply in regard to the matter. it was desirable, in view of the legislation affecting Scotland before the House, that that question of the financial relations between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom should be put on a permanent basis. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would earnestly address himself to the matter, and would shortly i be able to make a definite announcement in respect to it. With regard to the territorial limit for trawling, a question which had been raised by the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire, he hoped that those who were responsible for dealing with the matter would give, it the most careful consideration, for it was one which required a great deal of circumspection. There were difficulties 1654 surrounding it, and it had never been thoroughly investigated. As to the suggested extension of the three-mile limit, he would point out that England being the strongest maritime power in the world, it was more important to her than to any other country that the territorial limit should be as small as possible. If, therefore, any proposal was entertained for extending the three-mile territorial limit, they would be embarking on a policy which would have no general advantage for this country. He hoped the Lord Advocate would not fail to give the question close and serious consideration. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
said, that he hoped Her Majesty's Government would not appoint another Commission until the one now sitting had reported, and there had been an opportunity of considering both the results and the principles on which such an Inquiry could be carried out. The hon. Member for Caithness assumed that Scotland would have a right to receive grants in proportion to the amount she contributed for whisky and other similar taxes. He entirely failed to see any connection between the two. Why should the proportion of Probate Duties received by Scotland depend upon the amount of intoxicating liquors and tobacco consumed? Moreover, he doubted whether it was possible to arrive at any exact figures. it was important that the taxes should be the same for the whole kingdom, and then the amount contributed would depend upon the consumption. Moreover, if they entered on such an Inquiry for Scotland, why not for Wales, and why not for parts of England? The great object should be to weld both countries into one whole, and to have one system of taxation fair to the inhabitants of both countries as a whole.
§ SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
said, he would impress on the, Government the importance of having this question speedily settled. It had been before the House a very long time something like six years, and they had had repeated declarations from Ministers that the Inquiry should be brought about. But they had not had a settlement yet, and, as had teen pointed out by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, there 1655 were pressing and important questions coming before the House affecting Scotland, and therefore it was necessary that it should be decided what proportion of money was really due to Scotland. The matter was one which the Scottish Members thought should be settled, and quickly too, on grounds of justice. ["Hear, hear!"] He trusted therefore, that the Lord Advocate would take steps to bring about an immediate Inquiry. ['' Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
was glad the First Lord of the Treasury, who had been absent during the Debate up to this point, had now returned to the House, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would understand the great importance of this question. The approaching Report of the Irish Commission made it very much more necessary they should know how Scotland stood in this matter. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give the Committee some assurance, carrying a little further the assurance he gave last Session, which would satisfy hon. Members on this point.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
said, he had not intended to intervene in the Debate, but he understood the right hon. Gentleman desired to have the opinion of the Government as to the propriety of appointing a Commission to inquire into the financial relations between England and Scotland. As such a Commission had been granted in the case of Ireland, he did not see how a Commission could be denied in the case of Scotland, but he thought they ought to see the method of working of the Irish Commission before they finally decided to appoint one for Scotland. He would like to know on what principles the Irish Commission had proceeded and what results they had arrived at before he, on behalf of the Government, made any general statement on the question.
§ SIR HENRY CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
said, that had not the First Lord of the Treasury been absent during the earlier part of the Debate, he would have known that the particular reason given for delaying the appointment of a Scotch Commission was that the amount of work that such an Inquiry would entail on the Treasury could not possibly be undertaken at a 1656 time when a similar Inquiry was proceeding in the case of Ireland. The point was not that there should be a Commission appointed immediately, but that no time should be lost in the matter; but it was quite possible that, although, of course, the Irish Report might not be received for some time, yet all the preliminary part of the Inquiry in regard to Scotland might now be conducted by the Treasury officials who were released from the work in connection with the Irish Commission.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
thought it would be better to wait for the Report of the Irish Commission. It was just conceivable—he did not say it was likely—that principles might be laid down in that Report which would be generally accepted and make it hardly necessary to appoint a Commission to investigate the financial relations between Scotland and England. If they waited for the Report of the Irish Commissioners they would be able to approach the consideration of a delicate question with a great fund of useful information.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
said, he rose to call attention to the following Motion standing in his name:—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty's praying Her to withhold Her assent to the Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland, dated the 27th day of March 1896, providing for the Distribution of the sum available for Secondary Education, under Section 2 (1) (b) of the Education and Local Taxation Account (Scotland Act, 1892.He had placed the Motion on the Paper in the belief that it was one of those Motions which might be discussed and divided upon after 12 o'clock at night, but he found it would be impossible to take a Division on the Motion after 12 o'clock. The Motion was necessarily one which would be opposed, and as it did not, as he understood, come within the rules of exemption, it could not be discussed after midnight. He thought 1657 he would be in order in raising the question now. He had moved in the matter at the instance of the School Boards of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, and Leith, and he believed the parish of Govan had joined in the opposition. Those districts were dealt with exceptionally under the Minute of the Scottish Education Department, a Minute which was issued for the purpose of calling into existence a new Committee under the Education and Local Taxation Account (Scotland) Act, 1892. There was to be a Committee for each county, consisting of such members as should be elected by the County Council and certain members of the School Board, together with representatives of certain specified local educational trusts in the locality. He gathered from the instructions sent to him that the main point to which the School Boards of the important districts he had named objected was the association with the elected representatives of the ratepayers of persons representing private educational bodies. They believed that the introduction of those bodies, winch they regarded as alien bodies, weakened the power of the representatives of the ratepayers on the Committee. Further, they took this objection, that whereas in the counties and in all burghs falling within the counties the rule prevailed that local committees should consist partly of representatives of the School Boards and the County Councils without any admixture of this foreign element, that rule did not apply to their districts. His second point related to Article 13 of the Minute. After the subsidy had been paid to each school, the remainder of the money was to be distributed in such proportion as the Department might determine, having regard to the population of the districts. The Government School Boards, on whose behalf he spoke, objected that this provision gave to the Education Department almost complete control over the distribution of the local grant; and he understood that they would prefer a reversion to the capitation system of some years ago. In the secondary school of the Dundee School Board, for example, there were 262 pupils who did not belong to Dundee or to the county at all. Dundee received no corresponding share of the grant on account of those pupils, while they were 1658 reckoned to the credit of other counties. He hoped that some consideration would be shown to the representations of such important bodies as those to which he had referred, though certainly they had allowed the matter to slide till the last moment. But he believed that no Parliamentary action was necessary, and that the Department could meet the difficulty. He suggested that the operation of the Minute should be postponed as long as possible, in order that the members of the protesting school hoards might have an opportunity of laying the case in person before the Scotch Office. Of course, if the Minute could be withdrawn for alterations in the points of which he had spoken, he should be better pleased.
§ MR. J. B. BALFOUR (Clackmannan and Kinross)
said, that this Minute affected an important institution in his constituency. It contained no provision for any representation of the Dollar Institution, or of similar institutions not situated in urban localities, on the Committee. Another point arose under Article 13 of the Minute. The provision allocated a grant of £200 to each Committee which provided a higher class school "as defined in the Act of 1872." Now, the Dollar Institution would not answer to that description. In the analogous article of the Minute of 1892 a greater latitude was given, by demanding a higher class school such as the Department might recognise. As to the grant, at one time there the proposal was made that reference should only be made to the question of population; but it was found that this would bear hardly on the smaller counties. But perhaps this point had been provided for.
§ MR. C. B. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)
said, there was no doubt whatever that if county and burghal authorities could be induced to act together in order to secure joint expenditure in schemes connected with secondary and technical education, it would tend very much to promote economy and produce better results. In the Minute, provision was made by which additional representation was given to county and burghal authorities in the event of either of them, or both, agreeing with the county to devote the money which comes to them under the 1659 Acts already referred to for the purpose of educational schemes, but there were certain difficulties in the matter. In the latter part of Sub-section D, it was provided that where these additional members are given, they are to be elected by the County Council, or the local authorities, or may be determined by the Scotch Education Department, but there was no provision in the sub-section for the method by which these burghal authorities are to appoint their representatives. How could they induce the burghs to agree together unless they adopted some means by which representatives of the burghs could be brought together, and then choose the persons who should represent their interests on the Committee?
§ *SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
rose to support the appeal of his hon. colleague (Mr. Robertson), and said that both his hon. colleague and himself were surprised to find that the Minute in question was only laid before Parliament for its information, and not, as was usually the case, for revision by this House. Therefore they were very much at the mercy of the Lord Advocate and the Department in this matter. It was quite probable that the right hon. Gentleman would vindicate the action of the Department by saying that he was proceeding on the lines laid down by the former Secretary for Scotland, but he would venture to point out that there was strong exception taken to this scheme. The School Boards of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Dundee, had strongly protested against it. On the 29th of March of last year, when the plan came before them at a conference held in Edinburgh, the School Boards of these large cities unanimously resolved that the proposals were unjust and inequitable, and their proposition was that one half the members of each burgh committee should be elected by the School Board of each burgh. What they complained of was that quite a different mode of treatment had been adopted with regard to the burghs to that which was laid down for the counties. In the counties the burghs would have one-half the representation on the committee, but in the great cities, where the School Boards were specially elected for dealing with education, they were practically 1660 to be swamped by having a considerable majority not returned from the School Board. He could not believe that there was any intention on the part of the Department to depreciate the School Boards in the large cities in this matter; and if the right hon. Gentleman could possibly delay bringing into action the Minute now before the Committee, he would give great satisfaction to those whom he represented.
§ MR. BRYCE
joined in the appeal made to the Lord Advocate that the operation of the Minute should be delayed for a short time in order to allow School Boards interested in its provisions to make representations to the Department, especially on the point of giving them larger representation on the county committee. Aberdeen School Board also asked that the time of election should be so fixed as not to clash with the School Board elections, and to make it possible that persons returned to the School Board might also serve as elected members of the committee.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he would look further into the last point and see whether there was any ground, though he did not think there was, for dealing in the Minute with the day of the election. With reference to the request of the right hon. Gentleman, he regretted that he could not consent to postpone action under the Minute, because the Department, as in duty bound, had made all their preparations for bringing it into practical immediate effect. He was quite sure, however, that any representations made to the Department from the School Boards in question would be carefully considered. With regard to the complaint about the representation of different bodies upon the committees, what did the case come to? Equal representation was given to the county or burgh and a similar number of representatives from the School Board, and then in the case of the larger burghs, Dundee being one, additional representatives were allowed to go on the committee in respect of two or three great institutions of a distinctly municipal class which were found within that burgh. It would be a very difficult thing to exclude these institutions from representation. It was altogether a different thing in the counties, because 1661 where they got an important school like Dollar Institution in a non-urban district, apart altogether from any municipal management, then he agreed that the representation of such an isolated institution would tend to weaken the committee. The question was, were they to give the municipal side a preponderance over the purely educational side represented by the School Board? Those municipalites were themselves contributing to the money which Parliament had intrusted to their distribution, and could anyone expect a body in the position either of a county or burgh to consent to contribute that money to education instead of relieving the rates with out stipulating that they should get a large representation for so doing. The School Boards said that they were entitled to equal representation. But the discussion on this part of the question turned on the point of municipalities as being interested in education versus the School Board, as the, purely educational authority. There was no case at all for the School Board maintaining that they were entitled either to a preponderating or equal share on the committee along with the municipality on the mere argument that they ought not to be in the minority. As to the question of distribution, he said that the original proposal was that it should be something in the nature of a capitation grant. Instead of the basis of the present Minute following the original in that respect, there had been a reversion to the original payment of 1893. He was in favour of that mode of distributing the grant. After it was embodied in a Minute, the Minute was withdrawn after communication with the local body, and another Minute was tabled. Both hon. Members for Dundee supported the right hon. Member for Bridgeton on that occasion, though now they said that they were wrong then and that they would like to revert to the original state, of matters. Whatever view might be taken of the propriety of the original basis on which the Minute was founded, he submitted that it had been right in adhering to the main lines, and in recognising the value in such matters of continuity of policy.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN
thought that time had justified the manner in which this question was dealt with by the late Government, with full 1662 concurrence of the House. The county committees had worked extremely well. Out of 39 county and burgh committees, in no case had any objection been taken to their constitution, except in the case of five great urban communities, in which objection had been taken by the School Board. That was a large measure of success, and he was bound to recognise the manner in which the present Government had continued the system, and to say that they had acted wisely and in a public spirited manner by so doing. The only exception he took to what they had done was whether they were right in the addition to the members of the municipality in cases where the money which they had at their command was made over for the purposes of secondary education to be used by the committee. Some observations were made two or three years ago about the tentative manner in which the Government and the House of Commons proceeded. In such a matter as this it was necessary to proceed tentatively, and he thought that the success had been considerable; and he should be sorry to discourage the Government in working it out in a continuous manner. He was not certain also, whether they had not been hard on some of the counties. The plan which pleased the House was that each county and burgh should have £200 to begin with, and after that the division of the money in proportion to the numbers should begin. In this Minute the Government had introduced what appeared to be a condition. He should be sorry if the poor and thinly-populated counties suffered from this condition. He hoped, however, that the plan for giving additional representation to municipalities and county councils would be carefully considered in the light of its practical working during the coming year.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
wished to make it quite clear that he did not represent any feeling of opposition between the School Boards and the councils. The complaint of the School Boards was that they were not treated in the great urban communities as they were in the counties. They did not complain specifically that county councils were to receive a larger share of representation, and he had no authority to object to that arrangement. With reference to 1663 the Minute, they had all been misled by its terms. One paragraph of it said, "no action shall be taken in this Minute until it was laid on the Tables of both Houses for at least one month." But now they were informed that practical action had been taken upon the Minute before the month had expired, and the Lord Advocate had told them that the Board of Education had all arrangements ready for an election in May under this Minute. Having regard to the misunderstanding as to the terms of the Minute, he thought the right hon. Gentleman should have provided a locus pœnitentiœ, and he still hoped that he would not meet all the representations of School Boards with the argument that the action of the Government was determined by what had already been done. He was strongly of opinion that great discontent would be felt in Scotland tomorrow when the right hon. Gentleman's answer to the representations which had been made to him became known.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
wished to draw attention to the position, status, and pay of the police force in Scotland. Under a recent Act no policeman could get a pension until he reached the age of 55 years, or 60 years if he held a higher position. This rule insured men to remain in the service until they had arrived at a comparatively advanced period of life. Under the same Act a man must serve 34 years before he could obtain a pension, and the result was that a man was generally 59 or 64 years of age before he became entitled to his pension. Now, 34 years was too long a time to ask a policeman to serve before giving him a pension. In the police force, men who were physically strong were wanted, and a man 64 years of age was, therefore, not the best constable from the point of view of the public safety.
Order, order! That question cannot be raised upon this Vote. It is a matter of legislation. The question of superannuation allowances for the police in Scotland depends upon legislation and not upon any administrative act of the Secretary of State, and therefore it cannot be raised upon this Vote.
§ MR. A. CROSS
That may be so; but there is no other opportunity, as far 1664 as I know, when attention can be called to the question.
The hon. Member must find an opportunity himself. My only duty is to say that the discussion is not in order upon this Vote.
§ MR. A. CROSS
The administration of this money is in the hands of the Scotch Secretary, and we are discussing that official's salary.
No; I am informed that the administration of this money does not rest with the Secretary for Scotland in any way, and that it depends upon legislation.
§ MR. CALDWELL
observed that the Secretary for Scotland was the official responsible for the administration of and supervision over justice matters in Scotland.
§ *MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
said, that he was disappointed because the Lord Advocate had sent no message of hope to the Scotch line fishermen. He urged the right hon. Gentleman to look into the future more closely. More attention ought to be given to the negotiations with Foreign Powers as to the 13-mile limit in connection with trawling. The subject had been under discussion for months, but no progress appeared to have been made. It was a serious matter for the line fishermen of Scotland. He also wanted to know how matters stood with respect to the Garve and Ullapool Railway scheme, and what harbour works were to be proceeded with. The people of Scotland were rapidly getting tired of having the questions in which they were interested perpetually shunted.
§ SIR. W. WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
said, he wished to ask the Government what steps, whether administrative or otherwise, they propose to take to deal with some very serious and admitted grievances which affected the agricultural population in the north of Scotland. He did not know exactly what the powers of the Secretary for Scotland were in these matters, but he must look to him to deal, as far as his powers went, with these grievances. The two particular matters he wished to inquire about were the housing of farm servants and the protection of the improvements 1665 made by small tenants. The houses of the farm labourers in his constituency and in many others of the north-east of Scotland were in a very insanitary condition. When a medical sanitary officer examined those houses, he found in a large number of cases that they were quite unfit to live in; but if he took action things were made worse, because the result was that they were pulled down and the occupants were left without any houses to live in. Figures had been supplied by the sanitary officer in East Aberdeenshire. He stated that he had made objection to 115 houses, 31 of which were renewed or repaired according to plans of the local authority, 36 were found to be altogether uninhabitable, and 37 insanitary owing to structural defects. The result of all this was that the medical officer was afraid to take measures because the landlords could not be compelled to improve them. It might be said that they were not able in some places to do the necessary repairs, but probably money might be lent to them on easy terms. The condemnation of houses in thickly populated towns looked very well, because if an owner was compelled to pull his house down, he was also compelled to build another in its place or lose his site; whereas in the country it was actually an advantage to the owner to get rid of these houses. With regard to the protection of tenants' improvements, he was glad to say that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House had already admitted that as a great grievance, and even spoke of the use of public funds in connection with it. Indeed, the, right hon. Gentleman rebuked the late Government because the late Secretary for Scotland had not proposed that public funds should be used in this direction.
Order, order! That would have to be done by legislation of some sort, and possible legislation cannot be discussed on this Vote. Criticism on administration may be made, but no discussion can take place-on Bills which may be introduced.
§ SIR W. WEDDERBURN
I was asking, Sir, what were the measures, administrative or otherwise, the Government proposed to take to deal with this question.
My ruling was that it would require legislation to deal 1666 with the matter raised by the hon. Member, and that such legislation could not be discussed on this Vote.
§ MR. CALDWELL
On a point of order, Sir, may I point out that in the year 1888, a most ample discussion went on for a whole evening with regard to the question of legislation by the Secretary for Scotland. It seems to have been held then and on all previous occasions that the Secretary for Scotland receives his salary first in respect of his administrative duties, and secondly in respect of the duty imposed upon him of bringing in Bills in the interest of Scotland. Discussion has been repeatedly allowed in connection with complaints against the Secretary for Scotland and the Government for not legislating in the interests of Scotland. That has been the whole tenour of Parliament up to the present moment, and we are a little anxious now to have the point determined, because it will make a very considerable modification in the rights of Members in discussing the policy of the Government.
The policy of the Government in carrying out its administrative duties, is open to discussion; but the question whether the Government should or should not bring in some Bill which hon. Members may consider in the interests of Scotland cannot be discussed. It is a well established rule in Committee of Supply that the administrative action or any failure in administration by Members of the Government is open to discussion. The hon. Member will see that if the discussion of possible legislative proposals were allowed, any subject might be opened up—Home Rule for Scotland, for instance, or any matter of that sort.
*MR. CALDWELL, who was received with cries of ''Order!" again rose and said: May I point out that in 1888, in the discussion on the Salary of the Secretary for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow said:—
It was quite impossible that any Minister could keep himself an courant with the feeling of the country which he was supposed to govern unless he was in constant daily and friendly intercourse with the representatives of that country in the House of Commons.
Another point is that during the same discussion my hon. Friend the Member
for Aberdeen was interrupted by the Chairman who said he must point out to the hon. Member that he could not discuss the details of a Bill. Of course we did not do that, but we discussed the general tenour and position in the House of the University Bill and other Bills then before the House. I may also refer to the speech of the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs, on the same occasion, as showing the latitude taken with regard to criticism of legislation and the demand to introduce legislation. I am only referring to the fact that those opportunities were afforded to us on all previous occasions during the last 10 years, and that this is the first time such an objection has been taken. ["Order, order!"]
I hope the hon. Member will not persist in disputing my ruling. It has been repeatedly laid down by my predecessors that only administrative action is open to discussion. It is perfectly obvious that legislation cannot be discussed.
§ SIR W. WEDDERBURN (continuing)
said, he was not proposing any legislation. He was only asking what the Government proposed to do if they did not accept the legislation proposed from his side of the House. He supposed they had their remedy, because the Leader of the House informed him that he fully sympathised with his desire to give protection to the improvements of tenants. The right hon. Gentleman said it did not need to be discussed because it was so completely admitted. Assuming that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues meant to deal with the subject, he asked them to be so good as to state how they meant to meet the grievance.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, that the first grievance mentioned by his hon. Friend prevailed particularly in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire. The figures quoted by his hon. Friend only referred to one district in Aberdeenshire, the district of Elton; but what was true of that district was true of most of the other districts of Aberdeenshire. The condition of things was this. If the sanitary inspector condemned all the houses which in his opinion were unfit for habitation, the occupiers of those houses, who only held from year to year, as soon as the houses were condemned received 1668 notice to quit from the landlord or his factor. That was a substantial grievance, and, meanwhile, the Sanitary Regulations Act could not be properly carried out. He, therefore, wanted to know what steps the Government proposed to take to see that the law was properly carried out. He hoped that by the administrative action of the Department, and by legislation if that were necessary, this grievance would be done away with. In Harris and in Inverness-shire similar conditions prevailed.
*MR. J. MCLEOD (Sutherland)
called attention to the subject of the promised Inquiry with regard to the small leaseholders in the Highlands of Scotland. That there was a considerable grievance in their case there could be no doubt. Every single candidate for Parliament in the north of Scotland at the last General Election had pledged himself to endeavour to get the Government to act in this matter, and it had given great satisfaction to the people in those counties that the Secretary for Scotland had addressed himself to getting information as to their condition. He hoped that the Secretary for Scotland had now concluded his Inquiry, and that the Lord Advocate would be able to announce that night what the Government proposed to do. He feared that if action were not taken soon in the matter the Lord Advocate might shortly be called upon in another capacity to exercise powers which they should regret to see exercised.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said that he was afraid that he could do no more upon that occasion than refer the hon. Member who had last addressed the House to the answer he gave him to a question on the subject the other night. It was a subject which the Secretary for Scotland could not touch through any of his administrative functions. It was impossible to enter upon it on any other footing than by legislation. The same answer must be given to one of the points raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Banffshire. By no administrative action could the Secretary for Scotland do anything further than had been done for the protection of the tenants in their improvements. With regard to farm servants that subject fell under administration only in so far as it affected the existing law of 1669 Public Health, and he did not gather from hon. Members who had spoken, that they found any fault with the law or the statement made in which it was administered. On the contrary, he gathered that these laws were a little too stringent, and that they required the pulling down of houses. He would not go further into the matter lest he should transgress the ruling of the Chair.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
rose to Order. He did not understand the Chairman's; ruling to imply that they were unable to discuss grievances to remedy which might possibly entail legislation.
I do not want to repeat my ruling. It is open to any hon. Gentlemen to introduce a Bill to remedy grievances. A Minister cannot by simply introducing a Bill make it become an Act. An Act is an Act of Parliament and not of a Minister and hon. Members cannot criticise the action of a Minister because he introduces or does not introduce a Bill. There are other opportunities of doing that. The opportunities of Supply were never meant to be used for that purpose except in order to bring home to the Department the failure to administer an Act of Parliament.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
resuming, said that he was disappointed that an hon. Member opposite had thought that there had been a failure of interest on the part of the Scotch Office with regard to the line fishermen. That was a matter not of legislation against either the line or the trawl fishing industry, and he need only point out the causes from which the difficulty arose. It arose in connection with the Moray Firth, and the action which was taken was properly taken and resulted in a vindication of the bye-laws which had been challenged; given loyalty on the part of the trawlers in the observance of the law, he did not believe they7 would have much more difficulty in that direction. With regard to the Ullapool Railway, it was not vet a realised fact. The Government had chosen one line, and a Resolution regarding it was only the other day on the Order Paper. The line to Mallaig was likely, he hoped, to prove a great advantage and boon to the district it served. He did not say 1670 that there were not advantages in forming lines in other parts of the country, and it might be that light railways might be constructed in some of the districts which the hon. Member had in his mind, but he would be a little too sanguine if he thought that the Treasury would, immediately after passing a substantial amount for one of the best Highland lines, proceed to undertake another railway equally important. As to the harbour of Portnagool, that subject had been raised without notice, but he would undertake to specially look after the matter.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
said that, with regard to trawling, the answer of the right hon. Gentleman had not been quite satisfactory. He did not gather from the right hon. Gentleman whether the negotiations with Foreign Powers regarding a 13 -mile limit were to be undertaken at all.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON
said, that he had expected that these negotiations would have been undertaken and vigorously pursued; if not, he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would press on the Scotch Office the desirability of considering an alternative system, because in the, case of the Moray Firth there would be stringent dosing of the area. An alternative system was proposed in a Bill introduced in another place by Lord Tweedmouth; but Lord Salisbury carried an Amendment, by which the Bill was considerably modified, on the direct ground that negotiations were necessary with Foreign Powers before a larger limit could be adopted; and it was understood from that that those negotiations would be undertaken. The trawling question might be the question in Aberdeen and one or two other centres; but undoubtedly the great question in Scotland was the line-fishing question, and those who followed the industry would be disappointed by the statement of the Lord Advocate.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
said the question of house accommodation was a very serious, and might become a very threatening, question. He represented a part of Aberdeenshire in which the houses 1671 were very bad, and in which the people suffered in consequence. But, in justice to the landlords—a class to which he belonged—he should say that they were placed in a position of great difficulty, and were not altogether to blame. The sanitary inspectors, too, were doing their work with skill and energy and resource; but he thought that it would be impossible to get the unsanitary houses into a proper state through the agency of the local authorities. The local authorities were doing good work gradually, and they were resisting the temptation— which was a great one, indeed—of running the small crofts into large holdings, and thus abolishing the small holdings of which they were so proud in the North of Scotland. He thought that if some financial assistance could be given to the landlords—who were really trying to do their best to put their houses in order—a great difficulty would be removed.
§ MR. JAMES DALY (Monaghan, S.)
drew attention to the deportation of paupers from Scotland to Ireland. He thought it was a monstrous thing that paupers, after spending 40 or 50 years in Scotland, should be deported to Ireland, to end their days in Irish workhouses, a burden on ratepayers to whom they had never been of any assistance.
I do not think that question can be raised on this Vote. It would be more in order on the Vote for the Poor Law Board of Scotland.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said it was difficult to find any grievance which might not be said to be removable by legislation, and therefore not entitled to be discussed in Committee of Supply. But he thought he would be in order in discussing the inconvenience caused to Scotch Members in not having the Secretary for Scotland in the House of Commons. The duties of the Secretary for Scotland were not merely to administer the public Departments of Scotland of which he was the head, but also to introduce in Parliament and steer through Parliament the whole of the legislation required for Scotland; 1672 and, as it often happened during the consideration of Bills that points arose on which it might be necessary to make compromises, the absence of the Secretary for Scotland from the House of Commons rendered it impossible for Scotch Members to bring the influence of their arguments to bear upon him. The other night the House had an illustration of the advantage of having such a Member of the Government in the House of Commons. A Bill of an Irish Member, which came on after 12 o'clock, was blocked by a Member on the other side of the House; but the Chief Secretary for Ireland advised that the block should be withdrawn, and, as a consequence, the Bill was allowed to be passed. He had introduced the Law Agents (Scotland) Bill, which had received the assent of the late Government and the present Government, and the assent of every Scotch Member in the House; and yet it could not pass through the House because an English Member chose to block it, and the Secretary for Scotland was not in the House to ask his Friend not to proceed with his opposition. Then there was the question of the right of fishermen to use the foreshore. Fishermen had the right, not only by Common Law, but by the Statute, to the use of one hundred yards of the foreshore for mending their nets and other work of the kind, and it was the duty of the Secretary for Scotland to see that the right was not interfered with by the landed proprietors. The question of the tenure by which some fishermen held their houses also came under the purview of the Secretary for Scotland. These men built their houses, but they had no title to them, and were liable to be evicted. He had also to complain of the method by which the police of Scotland were being turned more and more every year into a military force. What was wanted in the case of a police force was not a military force, but a civilian force —men who were known to the people, who would be able to act for the protection of the people, and who would have the people at their backs in a time of riot. It was impossible for the police force of the country to act effectively if it had not the public feeling at its back. There was a great difference between the police force in Scotland and that in London, and the reason was that in London the 1673 police did not act towards the public as if they were military, but as civilians. Consequently in London the police were looked upon as the protectors of the people's rights. In Scotland, the system of military drill which was in vogue was being pushed on so that the police were becoming similar in their methods to the Irish constabulary. The police should be a civilian force, and should be kept in touch with public sentiment. It was pointed out that sheriff officers were employed in criminal prosecutions of the police in a number of instances, instead of the detective officers properly attached to the Department. Another matter referred to in the Report was the desirability of a Police Gazette for the information of the police in Scotland, which was necessary for the efficiency of the police administration. It was of no use for the Chief Constable to make recommendations in his report to the Secretary for Scotland if nothing was to take place, and therefore it was their duty to ask the Government what they intended to do in regard to these matters. The establishment of a Police Gazette was not a matter which required legislation, it was a matter between the Secretary for Scotland and the Treasury. Another point was the question of receipt stamps. It seemed that in the case of some counties the policemen had to give a receipt for their salaries, and had to provide the stamps for those receipts. It might be thought that it was a small matter, but surely, if the receipts were required, the stamps might be supplied by the Treasury. Another point was the stoppage of the pay of the police when on sick leave. The policemen were practically engaged for their whole lifetime, until they got a superannuation allowance, and this deduction therefore ought not, he thought, to be made. He contended that the allowance should be given, not for an inordinate period of sick leave, but for a reasonable time when the case was certified by the surgeon. When a man was sick he had extra expenses, and therefore needed the money more than when he was in health. They wanted discretionary powers to be given to the Chief Constable to allow pay where he thought the circumstances demanded it. In the case of some of the police on night duty they were only given anew uniform once 1674 every second year, and the result was that when they were brought on day duty their appearance was not all that could be desired. The contention was that the men should have a new uniform every year, and that no force should be certified as efficient which did not give uniform and clothing at least once a year. He thought it was of great importance that the police force should all be trained to a proper ambulance drill. This was especially necessary in the case of country districts, and every facility ought to be given for this purpose. He had no doubt the men themselves would willingly undergo the requisite study and examination to enable them to acquire so useful a qualification. In these days of telegraphs and telephones the police system of communication ought to be thoroughly efficient. In Glasgow there were a number of signal cabins connected with the central office, so that communications might be made almost instantaneous from every part of Glasgow and from the outskirts. In the large districts these stations should be spread as much as possible. It had also been pointed out that where the men had a considerable distance to go to their beats they ought to be taken there by vans. Another thing that was recommended was that the men should be instructed as regarded their duties, and that there should be a practical examination now and again to see how far each man understood the duties appertaining to a policeman. Another point was in regard to the closing of public-houses in Scotland. That was a matter which could hardly fail to be of considerable interest to the Government The hour for closing public-houses in Scotland was 11 o'clock, but a discretionary power to close earlier was given to the authorities except in the five larger boroughs. This discretionary power had been exercised in some instances with such beneficial results in the diminution of crime and the improved behaviour of the people, that it became a question whether the Government would extend those discretionary powers. There were a few policemen who were employed and paid by coal and mineral owners, and complaints were made that they were employed in extraneous duties, such as factoring the property they were supposed to guard. 1675 Another allegation was that these officers were used to serve ejectment notices and the like.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he had answered a question on the subject, and had been waiting for the hon. Member to furnish him with particulars.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, there was a misunderstanding, for he had been waiting for the Lord Advocate to get the particulars. At any rate, it was felt that these private policemen, although under the Chief Constable, were not as free to act impartially, only they were independent members of the constabulary. They occupied a dubious position, and were sometimes tempted to be overawed by those in whose private interests they were acting. When a Chief Constable went to the trouble of making an elaborate report on a matter of this kind it ought to receive attention. Such a report was made in 1885, and there had been time for the Government to obtain and consider the facts. He should be glad to know to what extent they had done so.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he would notice one or two of the more important matters the hon. Member had mentioned in the many administrative details he had gone into. He did not know how far certain remarks of the hon. Member were intended to reflect on the whole body of police, or how far they were limited to the police of one locality; but, as regarded the forces with which he had been brought into contact, the imputations were absolutely unfounded.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, he had made the statements in an address which he had delivered to constables in Glasgow.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that the hon. Member's remarks really meant that the police were being drilled and organised until they were becoming military and uncivil, and that, in fact, they were being too well drilled and organised. It might be that there were faults, but complaints of this kind would not have the smallest weight with the Committee. He would not discuss the question raised as to the military or civil character of the force, but it had always been the desire of successive Governments to keep the police force strictly to civil duties, and there was not the smallest foundation for the fears the hon. Member professed to entertain. 1676 He had not heard of one instance of a sheriffs officer being employed in criminal investigation, and if a case was laid before him in which it was alleged there had been any excess or lack of zeal, he should be happy to investigate it. He was entitled to something more than a statement that a complaint had been made in the report of a Chief Constable. As to the complaint that the pay of the police was stopped for sickness or absence for a certain period, this really was due to obviate the distressful alternative of dismissal; otherwise the pension funds would be in an insolvent condition. The employment of police by coal owners was authorised by express statutory provisions; and any complaints should be made to the local authority, the Joint Standing Committee. The hon. Member had raised two difficulties. One he had dealt with; the other, owing, apparently, to some misunderstanding, he had not had an opportunity of investigating, but if the hon. Member would supply him now with information as to these particular police acting as house factors, he would see whether there was anything in the circumstances which called for the interference of the Department.
§ SIR MARK STEWART
said, the hon. Member had referred to the clothing not being renewed every year. There was an inspection every year and it was the duty of the County Council to see that what was right was done. He had never heard of an instance of a grumble of this sort. The men generally presented a smart appearance. He must protest against the assumption that the police in Scotland were not all that they should be in the way of civility. He had a long experience, and he knew that many would bear him out in this with regard to the policemen of the whole of Scotland, excepting Lanarkshire and Glasgow, for which he could not speak. ["Hear, hear!"] Of course, he could not speak for their perfect civility.
§ *MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
said, he had frequent occasion to be in Glasgow, and he had always the pleasure of receiving great politeness from the police, when he made an inquiry.
§ MR. CALDWELL
denied that he had said anything about civility. What he had said was, that the military formation and discipline were detrimental to the police as a citizen force. He did not say that the police in Scotland were uncivil, but they were far more civil in London.
§ *MR. WEIR
was glad to think that the right hon. Gentleman had not broken down in health under the pressure of his work, seeing that he had not the assistance of the Secretary for Scotland. They ought to have the Secretary for Scotland there. They all knew what was the result with regard to the Under Secretary for War having his Chief elsewhere. He answered Questions as far as his knowledge went, but that did not amount to much.
§ *MR. WEIR
I was only pointing out that the Secretary for Scotland was not here. The Postmaster General is not here, and the Secretary for War is not here. The hon. Member complained that the miners had been brutally treated by the police and that his complaints were not attended to. He would next refer to roads in the Highlands.
said it was not necessary to move a reduction to ask the Question or to call attention to the matter.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, the hon. Member merely asked him why the Inspector of Constabulary received £800 a year. If a more specific question were put to him he would endeavour to answer it.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND
said the Inspector was a roving official, who reported to the Crown Office.
§ MR. CALDWELL
called attention to the salary of the clerk in charge of the accounts and statistics who began at £200 a year, and whose salary rose by annual increments to £600. At the present moment he was getting the maximum salary. The senior clerk who, presumably, was a man of a superior stamp, as he commenced at the higher salary of £450, only rose to the same salary—£000. The salary of the clerk in charge of accounts rose from £200 to £600 merely by lapse of time, and not because of any increase in the duties. This was not in the public interest. The office keeper had a minimum salary of £120, rising to £150. But this official received at that moment an amount equal to £280 a year. Although he did not live on the premises, he received £40 a year in lieu of a servant, and there were six charwomen and an extra porter. The whole cost of keeping Dover House clean was thrown on the Estimates. These expenses were out of all proportion to the services of the office keeper. £600 a year was put down for travelling expenses against £700 last year, but the appropriation accounts showed they were really £256 10s. 2d. less than last year. £150 were put down for special inquiries against £200 last year. He hoped he should receive an explanation of these matters.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said that he was not prepared to answer this question, but his impression was, that the 1679 travelling expenses were connected with the Scotch Office, which did not come under the head of the Inspector of Constabulary. With regard to the payments to the office keeper, reference to a note in the Estimates explained it. The amount of £600 for the salary of the clerk in charge of accounts, and the £150 for inquiries, were the estimates only, and any part of the money which was not wanted would fall into the Treasury Office. As to why a maximum of £600 should be fixed in the two cases, one clerk beginning at one minimum and the other at a different minimum, the explanation was, he believed, perfectly simple. The gentleman who got £450 as a minimum was a senior clerk, while the gentleman who got £250 as a minimum was a clerk in charge of the accounts. He appealed to the Committee to now allow the Vote to pass.
§ MR. CALDWELL
did not admit that the answer of the Lord Advocate was satisfactory, and if such a state of affairs continued when the Estimates came on in another year, and no better explanations were given, steps would be taken to move a reduction of the Vote.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made and Question proposed:—
That a sum not exceeding £16,666 he 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 1897, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Fishery Board in Scotland and for Grants in Aid of Piers or Quays.
§ *MR. BUCHANAN
remarked that he wished to say a few words upon this Vote, on the subjects of the Regulations affecting trawling, the sea police, and harbours. It had been stated in the course of the evening that there had been certain international negotiations with a view to a general extension of the territorial limit for fishery purposes. One hon. Member had suggested that it had not by any means been proved, or generally accepted, that trawling was detrimental to line-fishing and fishery in general. Against that he would quote the action of the trawlers themselves. A couple of months ago, when the Moray Firth was opened, the trawlers rushed in helter skelter from Aberdeen 1680 to secure the benefits which they believed to have arisen from the closing of that area for a number of years. He could cite a higher authority still—the Secretary for Scotland—who, in addressing a deputation of trawlers in Edinburgh two weeks ago, said that he himself had no doubt whatever from his own experience, that in-shore fisheries had thus been, in some cases at any rate, absolutely destroyed. No one, in fact, who had investigated the subject, could doubt that the continuous action of steam trawlers over certain areas was detrimental, if not destructive, to the fisheries. He wished to ask whether the present regulations laid down by the Fishery Board were sufficient, and in the second place whether the regulations that had been laid down were duly observed. With regard to the sufficiency of the regulations, he could only say that there was an increasing opinion among those interested in the question, that those restrictions and regulations were not sufficient. There was not merely a desire for an international extension of the territorial limit for fishing purposes, but a very strong desire was expressed by fishermen in Scotland, and also in England and abroad, that for fishery purposes, the Board, or whatever other department had authority in fishery matters, should have power over a wider limit than three miles, for the protection of fisheries. What they wanted to secure was that the in-shore waters should be properly protected for the prosecution of the line-fishing industry. The Lord Advocate, no doubt, had read the account of the deputation of fishermen at Edinburgh a fortnight ago, and he would there see that representations were made from all parts of the coasts of Scotland strongly urging on the Secretary of State and the Fishery Boards, not only the desirability, but the necessity of due protection of their interests; and of a considerable extension of the territorial limit for fishery purposes. Whether that limit was made 13 miles, six miles, or any other distance, above the present limit, there could be no doubt that the three mile limit was not sufficient. What they wanted to do was to secure that the line-fishermen, whose possibilities and powers of getting out to sea were more limited than those of the 1681 trawlers, should be protected in the inshore waters. With regard to the second point, as to whether the present provisions and regulations were enforced and observed, he might say that the Lord Advocate had himself admitted early in the evening that they were not adequately enforced. As to the way in which the regulations were enforced, the Secretary for Scotland told the deputation which waited upon him that during the past year there had come up 10 cases where trawlers had been convicted of going within the three mile limit without lights, and he drew the conclusion that if there had been 10 cases in which convictions had been obtained, there must have been many other cases. Hon. Gentlemen must know there were constant complaints of infringements of the regulations. There was no part of the United Kingdom which suffered more from this grievance than the east coast near Aberdeen. There were more infringements there of the Fishery Board's regulations than anywhere else. It had been constantly urged on Government after Government that the provision in this Vote for sea police was quite inadequate. In 1893 a Committee inquired into the question, and the present First Lord of the Admiralty strongly advocated the dispatch by the Admiralty of vessels to be put under the control of the Fishery Board or the Secretary for Scotland. The Committee reported in favour of such a plan. Nothing, however, had been done, and apparently there was very little prospect of anything being done. An extra vessel, the new Vigilant, was bought three years ago by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bridgeton (Sir G. Trevelyan) when he was Secretary for Scotland. She was a second-hand yacht, and did not steam fast enough to enable her to discharge efficiently police duties. She was still totally incapable of performing the duties required of her on the west coast. But what about the east coast, where the fisheries were much more valuable and important? There they had practically only got the old Jackal. She was not very seaworthy, and was totally inadequate for police duties. Time after time the Government had had impressed upon them the necessity of providing other ships, and from time to time the Admiralty had 1682 supplied other ships. They had had the Niger. She was a swift ship, and on occasions had done good work. But what had been the Niger' s performances lately? She was sent up to the east coast of Scotland in November last. She arrived in Aberdeen harbour on the 19th of that month, and started from there on the 25th. She returned on the 2nd of December, and spent 12 days in harbour. She went on duty again and returned on the 23rd. From the 23rd of December to the 21st of January she was in harbour. In all, of the 109 days she was detailed off for sea police duties on the north east of Scotland she had been 79 days in Aberdeen harbour, during 10 of which she was in dry dock. That was not an adequate discharge of sea police work, particularly at a time when feeling was greatly stirred owing to the opening of the Moray Firth. He did not blame the officers of the ship. He was aware they did not like the duties they had to perform. They did the duty to the best of their ability, but it was to them irksome work. What he now wished to impress on the Government was that it was their duty to see that the regulations passed under Statute by the Fishery Board were adequately enforced, and that the Board had proper means of enforcing their regulations. The question had been trifled with for so long that it was really time some proper and satisfactory solution was arrived at. Either the Admiralty should provide proper and quick vessels, or such vessels should be supplied by the Treasury. In this matter he particularly appealed to the present Government, as the present Secretary for Scotland had undoubtedly led the people to believe he was exceedingly anxious to see their grievances were remedied. There was only one other subject he desired to refer to—namely, that of harbours. Three thousand pounds was totally inadequate for the construction of fishery harbours only, let alone commercial harbours and harbours of refuge. On page 20 of the last Re-port of the Fishery Board, the Lord Advocate would see that the number of cases reserved for the consideration of the Board was 13, and that the total sum asked for was £52,000. The Board had cut down their demands to the very lowest point, so that it was perfectly clear that a grant of £3,000 was utterly 1683 inadequate. It was very necessary that the question of harbour construction should be put upon some substantial and permanent foundation. No real good was done by a frittering away of small sums of money on a scheme here and a scheme there. The Board ought to be able to embark on a practical and well-considered scheme that would meet the most necessitous circumstances on the coast of Scotland. That was what was wanted by the fishermen, and that would be the most economic and satisfactory way of settling the question.
§ *MR. J. W. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
said, that the illegal trawling was admitted to be a public scandal. As to the inefficiency of the sea police, that was not exaggerated. The movements of the vessels were published in the newspapers, so that the trawlers knew exactly where the vessels would be at any time. The easiest solution of the question would be to shift the punishment from the owners to the master's of the trawlers; because the former willingly paid the fine for so profitable a business. The Scotch Fishery Board administered very badly the money in their hands. A great deal of it was frittered away, and many deserving places were neglected. It was utter waste to give money for a harbour not properly served by railways. Then the harbour ought to be made large enough to take the large boats required by modern fishing and the geographical situation was a most important point. A great many harbours had received grants where none of these conditions were fulfilled; and in one case at least—Stonehaven—not a penny had been spent, though all the conditions were fulfilled. Only a small sum was needed; the harbour was served by two railways, and the geographical position was so good, that the neighbouring fishing villages had actually petitioned the Fishery Board to give a grant to Stone-haven instead of to themselves.
§ SIR W. WEDDERBURN
said that the fishermen were extremely grateful for the promptitude, energy, and success which the Secretary for Scotland had dealt with the troublesome crisis in the Moray Firth. Further, the way in which the right hon. Gentleman had listened to the complaints of the fishermen's deputation to Edinburgh gave 1684 hope that their grievances would be dealt with. As to the sea police, the complaints were more against the system than the way in which the work was done. The remedy proposed was that instead of detailing ships of the Royal Navy for the work, there should be a regular police service. The boats should be built like trawlers, though swifter; they should be under the orders of the Fishery Board, and there should be on board of each a certain number of practical fishermen extensively interested in stopping these illegalities. The question of expense ought not to stand in the way of a proper enforcement of the law. The Secretary for Scotland had complained that the fishermen themselves did not exert themselves in helping to stop the trawling. But it was not wise to encourage these men to be too active or to take the law into their own hands. When the trawlers, on the strength of the supposed flaw in the Order, rushed helter-skelter into the Moray Firth, doing immense damage, the difficulty was to prevent the fishermen from interfering. As a matter of fact, they did remain absolutely quiet under great provocation. Of even greater importance was the question of harbour accommodation. The hon. Member for Kincardineshire had found fault with the method in which the present small grant had been administered. Of course, the Fishery Board could not please everybody, and he could only say for his own constituency that the Fishery Board and its chairman appeared to have done their best to meet the wishes of the people. But there was one important point as regarded the way in which the grant was applied. The opinion of the Fishery Board had been that the preservation of life and property, not the provision of fishery harbours of refuge, was a national duty, and ought to be done from the Treasury. They drew a distinction between commercial harbours and harbours to preserve life and property. But to construct real harbours of refuge with the large boats now used for fishery purposes was quite beyond the means of the fishermen themselves, and therefore they called on the Government to provide the money. The Lord Advocate appeared to be under a little mistake in thinking that the Select Committee of 1884 did 1685 not distinctly recognise this national obligation. Now, the Committee, in their Report, said:Your Committee believe that grants of public money may to a limited extent be made in aid of works which would provide purely refuge harbours chiefly for fishermen on certain portions of the coast to which a large number of the boats belong. … Your Committee have been much struck with the force of the evidence they received by the extraordinary number of dry-at-low-water fishing harbours that exist in certain parts of the coast and would really in the ease of boats belonging to them being caught in a storm become rather a some of danger than of safety, Your Committee believes that it falls entirely within the province of the Government to provide the much needed refuge in those districts, it being absolutely impossible that the fishermen themselves could raise sufficient funds for such works or find the security on which to borrow the money to carry them out.All that he asked was a sum of £20,000 to make a safe harbour for the Moray Firth. Another important point which tended to increase the danger was that the boats were much smaller, and if there was any risk of danger they could be beached. The need, therefore, was much greater, because the value of the property was much larger, and the number of boats was now greater. As long ago as 1848, Admiral Washington's Commission reported that £3,000 was quite inadequate. In 1857 a Special Commission, presided over by Mr. James Wilson, recommended that £9,300 should be given; and Admiral Washington's Commission £10,000. This point had been unceasingly pressed ever since by the Fishery Board and all those concerned with the industry. Every Government which failed to provide a remedy, incurred a very grave responsibility, because, when any storm arose, it invariably happened that a great disaster ensued, as well as loss of life. It was a very small amount which was asked for in order to give comparative safety to a large district. The, hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire referred to the great cost of Provisional Orders, even when unopposed, for building a harbour and carrying it through the House. He held in his hand an account numbering 14 folios of 6s. 4d.'s and 13s. 4d.'s from the Parliamentary agent, and another account from the local solicitor, amounting to £45 for carrying through purely formal business. 1686 There was no reason why there should not be printed forms and other assistance given to persons who wished a Provisional Order, so as to reduce the expenditure to something quite nominal. He had spoken to the Chairman of the Fishery Board on the subject, and he believed this Committee felt this waste of money very much. The sums were collected by the fishermen, with very great trouble, in sixpences and half-crowns, and he trusted that the Lord Advocate would give what assistance he could to the carrying through of a matter of this kind. It would be an encouragement to the fishermen in collecting their subscriptions if they knew that all the money collected would be employed in the improvement of the harbours.
§ MR. J. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
referred to an item of £3,000 as grant in aid of piers and quays, and commented on the very un-satisfactory method of having two independent sources of expenditure for this object.
§ DR. CLARK
could not agree; with the suggestions of the hon. Baronet. He was a member of the Committee which dealt with this subject, and he agreed with the recommendation that the Scotch Fishery Board should have a cruiser for the purpose of doing this police work, The old boats, like the Lively, the Jackul, and the Garland were absolutely useless to go after steam trawlers steaming 15 and 16 knots. He reluctantly agreed to the experiment being tried. It had been carried out, and the Scotch Office had purchased a fine steam yacht. It was at first proposed to the Treasury to spend £10,000, but it being a Scotch proposal, of course, the Treasury refused, and screwed the amount down to £5,000. But the new cruiser was worse than the old Jackul, and it was now compulsory to keep it in Oban Bay, through fear that the crew should be drowned if it ventured out in rough weather. As a matter of fact, the new cruiser was not worth fivepence as far as work was concerned. The intention surely was that the Admiralty should do all this police work. ft possessed the proper forces to do it. The Admiralty were now building torpedo destroyers; and he suggested that here was a class of work on which torpedo destroyers could be employed, inasmuch as in time 1687 of war they would be occupied in watching foreign cruisers and trawlers. He hoped the Lord Advocate would understand that upon this question the right hon. Member for South Aberdeen did not represent the views held by all the other Members of that House who represented Scotch fishery districts. The only exceptional views entertained on this subject was held by the Member who represented the one district where the trawling poacher lived and thrived. The trawlers were again destroying the fishery beds and carrying away the lines and nets of the fishermen, with the result that these honest men had lost thousands of pounds. It was to prevent this that an efficient police system was wanted. When complaints were made to the Scotch officials those who made them were referred to the Admiralty, and the Admiralty, when representations were made to it, laid the blame on the Scotch Office. The result was that nothing was done, and he hoped that this game of battledore and shuttlecock between the Departments would cease. They ought to use half-a-score torpedo catchers, 24 or 25-knot boats, that could easily run round any trawler. When these police boats were to go out in search of trawlers the fact ought not to be disclosed beforehand. At present it was generally known when they were going out. As it had become manifest that mere fines did not prevent trawlers from breaking the law, he agreed that there ought to be a power to imprison as well as to fine. As to the maintenance of harbours, that was one of the burdens taken over by the Parliament of Great Britain at the time of the Union, and that the sum devoted to the purpose had not been increased did not speak well for the generosity of the Treasury. The surplus Herring Brand fees, which were allocated to the purposes of piers and harbours, increased in 1895 by £700 or £800, and yet Scotland was to have apparently £1,000 less for her harbours. As far as the Brand fee was concerned, there was a very serious grievance. This tax was put upon Scotch herrings, and the proceeds of it were not given to fishing purposes. There was a large sum in respect of the past Brand fee, which they ought to get, but never have got, and probably never would get. The fees collected in 1895 amounted to 1688 £8,021, but of that amount £5,267 was taken away for expenses. If the development of the telegraph was necessary it ought not to come off the Brand fee. He thought it was very mean and contemptible, but it was just the kind of thing the Treasury had always done for Scotland. There was also a decrease of £500 in the Vote for Scientific Investigation and Marine Superintendence, though he had understood that what was taken from one Department was to be handed over to the other.
§ *MR. J. E. GORDON (Elgin and Nairn)
thought the Government were to be congratulated on the fact that the whole night had been spent on Scotch business without any great grievance from North of the Tweed arising in any of the great centres of population. He represented a district where they had a few grievances, but he believed that in the hands of the Government they were easily capable of relief in the course of the next few years. They felt on his side of the House that they were addressing willing ears, and that their affairs were in safe hands. They had to thank the Government for the ready way in which they came to their aid when the trawlers recently invaded the Moray Firth. Speaking on behalf of the line fishermen, he said that all they asked for was protection in their great industry. This last winter for the first time the fishermen were really satisfied with their fishing, but when they saw the trawlers invading their fishing grounds they were naturally apprehensive. They, therefore, asked that they should be protected all along the coast, and allowed to develop the fishery for their own advantage and for the advantage of the country; and that the trawlers who were new comers and had steam at their disposal should spend an extra hour-and-a-half in proceeding to sea and not fish in the inner banks. With regard to the policing of the sea, he would like to see some of the swiftest vessels the Admiralty could spare put upon the work, but he would point out to the Lord Advocate that there was another method by which the law could be carried into effect. The fishermen now complained that when they had a case in Court the expenses allowed them were inadequate, and their loss of time very serious. Therefore, if the Law Officers 1689 could see their way to give them proper expenses, the fishermen would be more willing to take action and would thus form a detective police at sea all night and everywhere, and would do the work much more efficiently than could be done by a gunboat here and there. Another point which was worthy of attention was that the trawlers were now accused of covering up their distinctive marks. He would suggest that vessels of that class should be forced, as could be seen sometimes on Scandinavian and Danish steamers, to have their names or numbers very large right in the middle of the hull, so that those at a distance could readily see them. He would urge Her Majesty's Government to take these matters into their consideration.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that the Government had no reason whatever to complain of the discussion, inasmuch as the two matters chiefly dealt with were both matters of high interest. One of them, however, had already been dealt with in the earlier part of the evening in such a way as to discharge him from saying anything more about if. The hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire began by asking first, whether the existing regulations were sufficient: and secondly, whether they were adequately enforced. As to sufficiency, the only observation his hon. Friend had made was that he thought there ought to be some extension of the limit of trawling waters. Everyone would desire to see this question settled favourably to the Scotch line fishermen, but the situation would become one of extreme difficulty and gravity if the Government were unduly pressed with regard to it. As to the question as to how far their obligations, such as they were, had been adequately enforced, all he could say was that the Government had been following the lines of policy which had been adopted by their predecessors in office. No one knew better than hon. Members opposite the difficulty of enforcing the law with regard to trawling in Scotch waters. In the first place, the ships used for the enforcement of the law were not built for that purpose. It was all very well to say that the "catch trawlers" ought to be of the same description as the torpedo-boat destroyers, but the truth was that there were any amount of difference between 1690 the two services. In the case of the torpedo-boat destroyers, they had the men in the Navy discharging their ordinary national duties which they were paid to discharge, but in the case of the ''catch trawlers" there was a suggestion of police about it, which was most distasteful to the officers and men employed on board such ships, and the result was that whatever Government was in power were prevented from unduly increasing the extent of the operations necessary to prevent illegal trawling. The Admiralty had done fairly well in the past by the Scotch Fishery Board in regard to this matter, and they had had more assistance from them during the last two year's than had been previously given. With regard to the old Jackal, he remembered not many years ago that that vessel was merely an old small paddle - wheel steamer, whereas the new Jackal had grown into a fine screw vessel of 700 horse-power and of 750 tons burden. That was the Jackal of the present day, and he thought it was a little more up-to-date than the hon. Gentleman opposite supposed it was. The proper form of "catch trawler" did not yet exist, but he hoped that eventually such a class of vessel would be at the disposal of the Scotch Fishery Board. He appreciated what the hon. Gentleman opposite had said with regard to the extension of the three-mile limit, but the hon. Gentleman must see that with the means at present at their disposal it would be extremely difficult to carry out such a proposal. It must be recollected that it was only a very few months ago that the Board had powers conferred upon them by Parliament to take the steps necessary to prevent illegal trawling. At that moment he was not prepared to give any further promise on this subject. Observations had been made that night with reference to the desirability of operating against illegal trawlers in other directions. He confessed that he had very considerable sympathy with the proposal to increase the penalties in oases where there were repeated convictions, and also with that which suggested the possibility of dividing a portion of the fines among the line fishermen who gave the information that led to those convictions. He did not complain of the action of the 1691 fishermen in that respect. They might, perhaps, do a little more than they were in the habit of doing in the way of collecting information, but to ask the line fishermen to take the trouble to collect that information without any reward and to throw upon them all the trouble of running in the illegal trawlers would be unjust. He had merely thrown out these observations for consideration, but he would give his full attention to the question and would not forget the points which had been brought under his notice. Turning to the subject of piers and harbours, he did not think that an amalgamation of the two sources from which the funds for the construction and maintenance of piers and harbours would have much effect in improving them. The hon. Member had said that only some £3,000 was applied for the purpose, but he could assure the hon. Gentleman that that sum by no means represented the whole of the money appropriated to those constructions. During the last two years a large amount of work had been done on the coasts of the Highlands and Islands. Works of a larger nature had been carried out at a cost of £37,600, and of a minor nature at a cost of £26,000. There had been instances, undoubtedly, in regard to which it was difficult to say that the money had been well spent, but on the whole he thought the money for harbours had been spent to the best advantage. The hon. Member for Kincardineshire suggested that harbours ought to be selected with some regard, first, to the size of fishing boats, which were now being built with a larger draught; secondly, in connection with railway accommodation; and thirdly, to geographical considerations, in order to give service to the largest area. Those were useful and sensible suggestions. The most important of the three was that in regard to railway facilities. There was not much good in bringing fish to the shore unless it could be forwarded to market, and he could point to the Light Railways Bill of the Government as evidence of their desire to provide the fishermen with increased railway accommodation in that direction. He sympathised with the complaint of the hon. Member for Banffshire in regard to the cost of Provisional Orders. It must, however, be remembered that in matters 1692 of that sort Parliament had delegated its own powers to those local authorities which brought in Provisional Orders, so that the Provisional Order—expensive though it might seem at first sight—was really the cheapest form of legislation. But when that was said, the fact remained that a great deal of expense was incurred, especially in lawyers' fees; and while he could not shadow forth any scheme by which the Departments might perform some of this work—in fact, he doubted whether it was feasible—he could assure hon. Members that their suggestions in that direction would receive the careful attention of the Secretary for Scotland.
pointed out that the Lord Advocate had said nothing in regard to the reduced surplus of the Herring Brand fees. He thought the time had come when the Committee should insist upon getting the total sum received in fees for the purpose of harbour extension.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he had inadvertently neglected to refer to the Herring Brand fees. In 1889 or 1890 a Committee sat and investigated this extremely complex question in the fullest possible manner, and they made representations which resulted in the charges—of which complaint had been made—being fixed as essential. It should be remembered, also, that, rightly or wrongly, the Herring Brand fees had been pledged to certain trusts, and that all that was available for the purposes of harbour extension was the surplus. For instance, in 1892 the Eyemouth Harbour Trustees received £10,000, and the Herring Brand fees were assigned by the Secretary for Scotland to the Loan Commissioners as a security for the repayment of the grant. He hoped that explanation would be accepted, and that the Committee would consider that the matter had been sufficiently dicussed.
§ MR. J. M. WHITE (Forfar)
said, that it was of great importance that railway stations should be near to harbours. He was interested in one harbour, which at the present time was in a very incomplete and unsatisfactory state, although a considerable sum of money had been spent on it. It was three or four miles from a railway. The fishermen from the neighbouring villages had contributed a sum towards its com- 1693 pletion. The state of the harbours was a public scandal. There was not nearly the accommodation that there used to he, and yet the fishermen were compelled to pay dues for a harbour which was worse than useless.
§ MR. A. CROSS
said, that as an hon. Member had pointed out that no Scotch Member for a great Scotch constituency had intruded in the Debate, he would say that, as representing one of the great centres of population in Scotland, there were two questions in which he was intimately concerned. These were the questions of trawling and of harbours. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench was always extremely pleasant, but he had heard this Debate on the Scotch Estimates more than once, and he must tell the right hon. Gentleman that he had answered admirably in the language of successive Administrations. They wished that trawling should be carried on in a business-like style. The Fishery Board had a number of vessels of an antiquated style, and their attempt to deal with trawling he must characterise as absurd and antiquated. He wished to ask whether it was the intention of the Fishery Board to put down trawling. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of what he hoped to live to see, and as they wished him long life, it might be 30 or 40 years before they saw any change with regard to trawling. The right hon. Gentleman admitted the force of all their arguments, and gave them lavish promises such as in the past had yielded no satisfaction. If the construction of harbours was to be encouraged, more money must be provided: but the Vote was being reduced this year. He submitted that the proper course would be to press the Front Bench a little more firmly. There was a strong opinion that the west coast fisheries had not received the attention which was their due. There was no reason why there should not be as valuable fisheries on the west coast as on the east coast. He did not believe that much would be achieved unless more pressure was put on the Department in order to obtain something more than kind words and lavish promises. They might well begrudge the spending of £1,000 upon elaborate scientific investigation when so much was needed for more practical purposes. To develop 1694 the fisheries, trawling must be kept within proper limits, and carried on under effective supervision; and for these purposes money was required. From a business point of view and in the interests of the great centres of population, the proper course would be to divide the Committee, and he strongly recommended that course as the only way of obtaining immediate attention to their requirements.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
said he wished to say a weird in appreciation of the increase of the Vote for scientific investigation, the results of which would be felt in the future, if not immediately. He was glad to see that the Vote had been raised to £970.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said there had been a transfer from that Vote to another Vote, which had resulted in an apparent augmentation larger than the very slight increase.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
said he was sorry to hear that was so. He thought that it was only right that someone should bear testimony to the work done by the Fishery Hoard. Inquiries had been made all over the Continent, and a great deal had been done; but the fishermen, like the farmers, were carrying on their work with a little impatience as to scientific methods, but in the end it would be found that these scientific methods would do an enormous amount of good. He was sorry to find that this increase of £970 was not an increase in reality. He did not think that money could be better expended.
§ MR. R. B. HALDANE
said, before the hon. Gentleman considered the questions put to him, he should like to follow up the remarks of the hon. Member opposite. Before the late Government went out of office, it was admitted that the south-east coast of Scotland was in an unsatisfactory state as regasds the protection given to the fisheries. There was only a sailing vessel to look after the steam trawlers. Nothing could be got out of the Scotch Office. He had been engaged in some negotiations and after these it had been intimated that the Admiralty were prepared to take some steps. They did not pledge themselves to what they would provide as to policing the south-east coast. These negotiations were still in the Scotch Office, and what he should like to know 1695 was whether they were being continued with particular reference to the southeast coast? The thing amounted simply to enforcing the laws of the land, and whether the Admiralty were taking any steps to carry out the understanding arrived at. They hoped and believed that they would lead to some efficient result, and that the duties would be satisfactorily discharged. If the Government would not undertake it—and he should have thought that would have been the speediest way to carry out the intentions of their predecessors in office— they must take some steps. It was said there was a great difficulty about a gunboat, but he had satisfied himself that that was not so. The entertainments given were most hospitable, and the business was found to be a pleasant one. He trusted the First Lord of the Admiralty would find no objection to undertaking those duties; or, if so, that someone else would be put in a position to discharge them. Until the Government provided the Scotch Fishery Board with some adequate means it would be well that they should carry out that which certainly it was understood should be carried out.
§ *MR. WEIR
urged that Her Majesty's ships, instead of doing little at Chatham, Portsmouth, or in the Mediterranean, should be off the coast of the Highlands of Scotland protecting the fishing industries. At the time Lord Spencer was at the Admiralty a gunboat was placed at the disposal of the Fishery Board, but it never went round the west coast at all.
THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREA-IURY
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put":—
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 136; Noes, 64.—(Division List, No. 115.)
§ The House was cleared for a Division on the Question that the Vote be agreed to.
§ *MR. WEIR, seated and with his hat on, said he desired to raise a point of order. He had moved the reduction of the Vote by £100, and he claimed to have that reduction put from the Chair.1696
§ Question put accordingly:—
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 140; Noes, 56.—(Division List, No. 116.)
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.