HC Deb 18 July 1898 vol 62 cc229-35

"5. That a sum, not exceeding £2,835, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1899, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland."

"6. That a sum, not exceeding £1,261, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1899, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland."

"7. That a sum, not exceeding £3,940, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1899, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Public Record Office in Ireland, and of the Keeper of State Papers in Dublin."

"8. That a sum, not exceeding £10,596, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March. 1899, for the Salaries and Expenses in the Department of the Registrar General of Births, etc., said the Expenses of Collecting Agricultural and other Statistics in Ireland."

"9. That a sum, not exceeding £7,100, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1899, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Genera] Valuation and Boundary Survey of Ireland.

Resolutions read a second time.

Motion made, and Question put— That this House doth agree with the Committee in the Third Resolution— That a sum, not exceeding £13,792, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1899, for the Salaries and other Expenses of Temporary Commissions, Committees, and Special Inquiries.


When the House was told on several occasions that Irish Supply was to be taken on last Friday I do not think that any Member of the House thought that the Temporary Commissions' Vote would have been included among the Votes to be taken. The Votes were so put down on the Paper that no Member who had not a very accurate acquaintance with the numbers of the Votes could possibly have imagined that the Temporary Commissions' Vote was to be included. I think, therefore, that there must have been an oversight, for though it does apply to Ireland, it is not an Irish Vote. We were told that Supply of Friday last would only include Irish Votes, and there must have been some misapprehension which caused the taking of this Vote amongst the Irish Votes on Friday last. I do not intend to detain the House upon the Vote to-night. There were two or three items in it of a very curious description, as to which it is always well that we should know what we are doing. There is the Colonisation Board Vote. We should like to know how long this Vote is going on. Will it be a permanent charge, or will it go on for some long time, or will it be stopped shortly? It is universally admitted that the Colonisation Board has been a complete failure, and yet we do not know for how long the Vote is going on. I am, however, glad at least to infer that there seems to be some prospect that it will be ultimately extinguished. There are several other Commissions the charge for which we always regret year by year, because we cannot help thinking that they are really Commissions which have been grantedl for the purpose of postponing action in various matters instead of promoting it. There are the Liquor Licensing Laws Commission and the Metropolitan Water Supply Commission, which I think would come under the category of having been granted for the purpose of postponing rather than of promoting action. There is, however, one Commission which is not of that nature, which no doubt was granted for most excellent purposes, and which has been alluded to during our most recent Debates. Will the Secretary to the Treasury kindly say how long it is to be before the Local Taxation Commission reports, because that is a Commission which we hope means business, and we trust that the effect of the Report will be to remove, or, at any rate, to ameliorate, some of the mischievous inequalities which exist under the present system of rating, and which have been alluded to in recent Debates. I can assure the right honourable Gentleman that the Report of that Commission is being most anxiously awaited by many of us.


I was entirely unaware that that Vote was to be taken, or I should have been in my place for the purpose of discussing it. I am prepared now to move a reduction in consequence of the Vote for the Colonisation Board still being on the Estimates.


It is too late to move an Amendment for reduction now.


If I cannot do it in the way of moving a reduction, I will do it as a whole as a protest against the Government knowingly misleading the House. I was here on Friday; I made inquiries; I was told in the usual fashion that there were only the Irish Estimates to be taken by the Conservative Member who pressed me for a pair, and I paired with him for the night. My absence was due to the fact that I was misled. I object to this Vote on other grounds. When this Vote was before the Committee last year I got a pledge from the Treasury that it would no longer appear in the Estimates, and it is a breach of that pledge that it again disgraces our Estimates. Here we have a Colonisation Board formed 10 years ago for the purpose of sending out a few crofters to Manitoba. I think two little settlements were formed, and I suppose by now that nine-tenths of the people have left their holdings. I remember going to one of these settlements myself, and finding that every man had left. Some had been sold up for not paying their taxes, and others had gone away; but there can be no doubt that the thing has been a complete failure—a fact which the late Government admitted. The present Government have been in power for three years, and still keep up this miserable Board. They have not sent anybody over because the Report of the Select Committee was dead against them. We are keeping up this Board, we are paying a secretary here £100 a year, and we are paying an agent in Canada £250 a year, with an allowance of £25 a year for expenses. I have no objection to paying money where work is being done, but here is a Board which is practically dead, which has done no work for about 10 years, and yet you have not only a secretary over here whom you are paying for doing nothing, but you have an agent, in Canada whom you are paying mort; than double the amount to help him do nothing. And notwithstanding that, here we are asked, year after year, for a grant for this Board which both the late Government and the present Government admit is a dead failure, and a distinct pledge has been given that it should not be carried out any further. What reason on earth can there be adduced for keeping it up? The reason is this. You lent money to some of these people that you sent out. Do you expect it back? Very well, then! If you think that your excuse for spending £500 a year for the purpose of getting this money which you lent back again, it is a very bad one, for it is like spending 10s. to get back a penny. The Treasury knows from the Reports that there is not the slightest likelihood of getting it back. All these people are hopelessly bankrupt. They have all, or nearly all, been failures, and most of them have been turned out of their holdings for not paying their rates, or they have been turned out in some way or another. We had a full discussion last year on the Committee stage, and we got a practical pledge from the Treasury that this Vote should be abandoned and should not appear any further, because it was agreed on all hands that we were throwing good money after bad. I do not know why this Vote was sandwiched amongst the Irish Votes. It looks rather curious that that should have been so, notwithstanding the pledge that this Board should not be proceeded with further.


I am quite sure that I gave no pledge that the Colonisation Board should not appear upon the Votes again. What I did say, with very great respect for the honourable Gentleman who has just spoken was, that I agreed with him that the Board had not been altogether a success. But it is necessary to keep up at least the framework of the organisation, because, while we do that there is some chance of recovering some portion of the money which has been lent. It may be said that the money recovered will not amount to what we are actually spending in order to recover it, but I confess that that is a method of looking at the matter which does not appeal to me. I can only hope that this is the last year in which it will appear. With regard to the statement as to this Vote for Temporary Commissions being taken with the Irish Votes, the difficulty arose in this way: as the right honourable Baronet knows, there is no numbering of the various divisions under this Vote, and we had very strong pressure brought to bear upon us by Irish Members who particularly wanted to discuss the Congested Districts Vote, and the only possibility of affording them an opportunity of doing that was to put down the Vote for Temporary Commissions. I presume that it was concluded that no portions of the Vote would be discussed except the Irish Congested Districts Board, and it was only when I saw this particular Vote put down in the name of my right honourable Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland in the place of my own name that I saw what had happened.


Is not the right honourable Gentleman absolutely aware of the fact that the habitual custom of the House of Commons has always been to try and tiring the Irish Votes in connection with Irish business, in order to

suit the habit and the custom of us who have to come from a very long distance in order to do our habitual duties in connection with the House of Commons? The right honourable Gentleman is one of those on the opposite side of the House whom I respect. There is no harm in saying that. If you like a man you may as well say you like him. I like the right honourable Gentleman, but I would ask him that, when he deals with Irish matters again, he should be more thoroughly informed, so as to put the House of Commons right.


The right honourable Gentleman did not answer my question as to the Local Taxation Commission.


Perhaps the right honourable Baronet will put the question on the Paper—that will be the best way.

MR. WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)

I am not at all satisfied that I understand now how this apparent breach of faith arose. You cannot call a Commission an Irish Vote, and it is most important that these Commissions should be discussed. In this House, unfortunately, it is the custom of Governments, and I am afraid in this respect there is little difference between Liberal and Conservative, to refer things to Commissions that they want to put off, and the only way of pointing out the evils attaching to these things is to have the Vote for the Temporary Commissions discussed in this House. On this occasion the House has been utterly precluded from discussing the Temporary Commissions, because it has been put down as an Irish Vote. We do not recognise it as an Irish Vote, and inasmuch as several honourable Members have been deceived, and I myself have been deceived, I hope my honourable Friend will go to a Division.

The House divided:—Ayes 129; Noes 36.—(Division List No. 228.)

Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Barton, Dunbar Plunket Carlile, William Walter
Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H. (Bristol) Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)
Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness) Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Cavendish. V.C.W. (Derbysh)
Baird, John George A. Bethell, Commander Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)
Balcarres, Lord Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.
Balfour, Rt.Hn. A. J.(Manch.) Brassey, Albert Chamberlain, Rt.Hn. J.(Birm.)
Banbury, Frederick George Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. E.
Charrington, Spencer Helder, Augustus Purvis, Robert
Callings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Henderson, Alexander Pym, C. Guy
Colomb, Sir John C. R. Hornby, William Henry Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)
Compton, Lord Alwyne Howell, William Tudor Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.
Cranborne, Viscount Hutchinson. Capt. G. W. G. Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Johnston, William (Belfast) Round, James
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Kemp, George Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Dalkeith, Earl of Kenyon, James Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lafone, Alfred Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers- Lawrence, Sir E. D. (Crnw'll) Sidebottom, W. (Derbyshire)
Duncombe, Hon. H. V. Lawson, John Grant (Yorks) Smith, A. H. (Christchurch)
Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglas Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Fergusson,RtHnSirJ. (Manch.) Llewelyn, E. H. (Somerset) Stewart, Sir M. J. McTaggart
Finch, George H. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne Loder, Gerald Walter E. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Fisher, William Hayes Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Forwood, Rt. Hn. Sir A. B. Lucas-Shadwell, William Thornton, Percy M.
Galloway, William Johnson Macartney, W. G. Ellison Tomlinson, W. E. Murray
Garfit, William McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool) Valentia, Viscount
Gedge, Sydney McKillop, James Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Gilliat,, John Saunders Melville, Beresford Valentine Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Godson, Sir Augustus F. Milton, Viscount Wentworth, B. C Vernon-
Gordon, Hon. John E. Milward, Colonel Victor Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John E. Monckton, Edward Philip Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh., N.)
Goschen,Rt.Hn.G.J.(St.Geo's) More, Robert Jasper Wodehouse. E. R. (Bath)
Goschen, G. J. (Sussex) Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.) Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Graham, Henry Robert Morrell, G. H. Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury) Murray, C. J. (Coventry)
Gretton, John Newdigate, Francis Alexander TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Greville, Captain Nicol, Donald Ninian Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Gull, Sir Cameron Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.
Haldane, Richard Burdon Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Pretyman, Ernest George
Baker, Sir John Hayne, Rt. Hn. Chas. Seale- Philipps, John Wynfor
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Joicey, Sir James Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Billson, Alfred Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land) Robson, William Snowdon
Brigg, John Lough, Thomas Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Brunner. Sir John T. Macaleese, Daniel Souttar, Robinson
Caldwell James MacNeill, John Gordon S. Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Channing, Francis Allston McLaren, Charles Benjamin Tanner, Charles Kearns
Colville, John Mandeville, J. Francis Tennant, Harold John
Daly, James Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Chas. Norton, Capt. Cecil William Woodhouse,SirJT(Hudd'rsf'ld)
Doogan, P. C. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Duckworth, James Paulton, James Mellor Dr. Clark and Mr. Cour-
Goddard, Daniel Ford Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.) tenay Warner.
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