HC Deb 31 July 1899 vol 75 cc858-79

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time".


I do not wish to occupy much time on this question, but I desire to develop somewhat the observations I made on the introduction of this Bill. It is a very extraordinary Bill, because its Second Reading is moved at the end of July, while it is of a nature which ought to receive, and is designed to receive, the fullest attention and consideration of the House. Last year the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced a Colonial Loans Fund Bill, which was so framed that it organised certain machinery dealing with this department of public business; but any loan that was to be put forward with the specific approval of Parliament was to be embraced in a clause of the Local Loans Bill. But objection was taken that if a loan or loans were dealt with in that way there would be no opportunity to the House of Commons to. make itself thoroughly acquainted with the circumstances, the necessities, and the quality of the loan, and to obtain all the information which was necessary. That having been the feeling of the House of Commons last year with regard to loans which might be embedded in that Bill, based on a comprehensive measure which had received the assent of the House of Commons, the right hon. Gentleman now asks us to approve a specific measure of two clauses, but containing in the schedule a list of no fewer than seventeen loans, all of which will receive the sanction of the House if this Bill passes into law. On the face of it, is it not an overreaching altogether of the proprieties of the case to ask the House in the last week of the session to deliberately give its approval to seventeen separate loans, a good many of which are entirely new, and of the particulars of which we can know nothing? Some of those loans are exceptional. There are two loans of small amount to meet the distress and the damage caused by the hurricane in the West Indies. They stand on a separate footing. But most of the others are loans of which we have absolutely no knowledge whatever at this moment. If there was such a strong opposition to the prospect of having one or two loans dealt with in a somewhat regular and deliberate manner, what shall we say of the seventeen loans now brought before us, without any opportunity whatever being given to the House of knowing what they are for? I regret that the matter should be in this condition. I know the right hon. Gentleman may be able to tell us that arrangements have been made, almost necessarily, anticipating the assent of Parliament. There may be a case on that account, but that is no reason why, owing to the arrangement of Government business, this question should be pushed over to the last hour of the session. In these circumstances I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to say whether it is reasonable to expect the House of Commons to take this Bill into consideration.


I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has thought it necessary to make such an appeal. I think it has been always understood that this Bill would be introduced towards the close of the session. The First Lord of the Treasury referred to it some time ago, when making arrangements for the progress of business, and he said it would be a daughter Bill depending on the Colonial Loans Fund Bill.


It is not a daughter; it is a litter.


The right hon. Gentleman has argued on an entirely erroneous assumption. Last year, in deference to objection which was taken to our original proposal, I promised that the Colonial Loans Fund Bill should merely be a Bill for instituting the machinery for making loans, or rather the fund out of which loans should be made, and that before a loan could be made the separate authority of Parliament should be obtained. I never thought for a moment that each particular loan to a colony, perhaps of £20,000 or £30,000and no more, should be the subject of a separate Bill. Any such proposition seems to me—


But ample time should be given to Parliament to look into them. That is my point.


It has been all along understood that this, like the Public Works Loan Bill, is necessarily one of the Bills to be introduced towards the end of the session. Objection is taken to this, as an extraordinary proceeding on the part of the Government. Just let the House consider for a moment what happens with regard to local loans. Parliament is asked in a Bill, always introduced towards the close of the session, to provide and sanction this year no less than seven millions sterling for local loans within the United Kingdom. Those local loans are decided in individual cases, not by the Government, not by Parliament, but solely by the Public Works Loans Commissioners. Once the Public Works Bill of the year is passed, Parliament retains no control whatever over the grant to individual cases. By this Bill Parliament does exercise control over loans in individual cases, however small they may be. The right hon. Gentleman has not asked me, and it is not my duty to explain to Parliament, the particulars of any one of those loans. The Secretary of State for the Colonies will readily un- dertake that task, just as the representative of the War Office or of the Admiralty is responsible for the proposals of the Naval Works or Military Works Loans Bill. It is quite true this Bill involves the making of these loans, not out of a Colonial Loans Fund, but out of the Local Loans Fund already established by the authority of Parliament. I understand that the hon. Member for Poplar objects to this, on the ground that it constitutes a new departure. I can only say that by no conceivable process would it be possible to bring to the knowledge of Parliament future proceedings with regard to these loans more effectively than by making them out of the Local Loans Fund. Parliament has been asked in previous years, from time to time, to guarantee loans to colonies in need of such assistance, and it has done so in a casual kind of way, without any provision for communicating to Parliament how far the loans have served their purpose, and to what extent they have been repaid. But under the procedure we now propose, Parliament will be informed, just as it is this year, by the Return annually presented relating to loans made within the United Kingdom of the future of every one of these loans, the repayments made from time to time, and of all particulars in regard to them, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General will audit the accounts, just as he now audits the accounts of the loans that are made to local authorities in Great Britain and Ireland. That is the reason why I propose the loans should be made out of the Local Loans Fund, rather than by a separate guarantee. I hope the speech of the right hon. Gentleman does not presage any great opposition to the Bill. I have made such inquiries as were possible to me, and I gathered that those hon. Members who were opposed to the Colonial Loan Fund Bill were opposed to it on the ground that it did constitute an entirely new departure in finance by the institution of a Colonial Loans Fund, and that it imposed no limit whatever on the amount which might be issued. Some one suggested the total might run up to 200 or 300 millions, but of course that was neither our intention or expectation. Therefore, I understood that I was meeting the wishes of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite by making the present proposal for a limited amount to be lent to colonies where such loans are required. This question must necessarily form part of the examination of the process of utilising the Savings Banks deposits and investing them in various ways, which will come under the notice of Parliament next session. One of my reasons for introducing this Bill was that that subject might not be prejudged, and that we might make those loans which are absolutely required without binding Parliament as to its future action in the matter. Seeing that the Colonial Loans Fund Bill passed its Second Reading practically without opposition, it was anticipated that the measure would become law this session, and various Colonial Governments incurred expenditure on matters referred to in the schedule for which money will have to be provided and which cannot be provided in the ordinary way. Loans for those purposes which would otherwise have been issued have been kept back for something like eighteen months, and it is now impossible to issue them all at once under the old system. The great bulk of them will be extremely remunerative to whoever may lend the money. If hon. Members like to refer to any stock or share list in regard to the credit in the market of some of the colonies to whom loans will be made under this Bill, they will see, for example, that Jamaica Three per Cent. stock now stands at par, Mauritius Four per Cent, stock at a premium of more than 20, Trinidad Three per Cent, stock at par, and that Barbados Three-and-a Half per Cent. stock stands at 107. So that hon. Members must not imagine that the great bulk of these loans come into the category of charitable or eleemosynary loans. In my belief they will be extremely good investments for the savings banks deposits if Parliament will sanction that investment. There are others, like the loans to Barbados and St. Vincent on account of the damage done by the hurricane, which are more in the nature of an eleemosynary loan, but these loans have been announced many months ago, and I do not think any single voice was raised in opposition. If hon. Members oppose the other loans set out in the schedule to which I have referred, I think they will be depriving the colonies of an advantage, which may be safely extended to them, of obtaining money at ¼ per cent. less than they would in the open market, and they will certainly be depriving the depositors in the savings banks of an. admirable investment for their money.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

I think the right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension as to the nature of the opposition which we find ourselves compelled to offer to this Bill. It is not so much, as far as I am concerned, the principle contained in the Bill to which I object; on the contrary I think that loans to our colonies for railways, and the two which are known as "hurricane loans," meet with our approval. What I do object to is that this is practically a new departure not only in our relations to many of our colonies, but also in regard to the source from which loans are to be made; and I object very strongly that in the last working days of the session the House should be committed to that policy, and to such an enormous extent as £3,300,000. I entirely agree with what fell from the Leader of the Opposition with regard to the hurricane loans. I do not think anyone will object to them. What we do object to is that a new policy is introduced by this Bill for the first time, and we are asked to give the advantage of imperial credit to many of our colonies. The right hon. Gentleman talked as if this had been done constantly in the past, and as if we were now simply regularising that system; but I find that we have hitherto only made four such loans, and now at the extreme end of the session we are being asked to sanction an entirely new policy. The right hon. Gentleman says that he did not give a promise that each loan should be put into a separate Bill, but I believe the general impression in the House was that, while some loans might be classed in one Bill, it never was intended to include seventeen different loans for all sorts of purposes in the same Bill. Such a course puts some hon. Members in the very difficult position, if they do not accept the Bill, that they will be practically opposing some loans to which they do not object. When this subject was discussed the other day the right hon. Gentleman pledged himself most distinctly that the fullest possible explanation should be given of all these loans, but up to the present there has not been a single word of explanation even from the Colonial Secretary. Indeed, I think it would be rather difficult at this period of the session to give a full explanation of seventeen different loans. With the hurricane loans and some other loans I should be inclined to agree, but there are other items, such as those with regard to Jamaica, to which, I for one, should strongly object. I do not think it is the business of the Imperial Parliament to lend her credit for such matters as securing the efficiency of railways and the payment of interest on railway debentures. It ought to be remembered that there has been a very considerable development of this policy of loans under this Bill, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year said two things; in the first place, that he did not expect that for some time to come the Crown would be likely to assume any large amount, and in the second place that he did not think it would be necessary to make loans to the West Indian colonies. Yet now we are asked to advance £3,300,000, and of this, sum half a million is to go to our West Indian colonies! It only shows that this is a policy which is likely to rapidly develop if we once approve the principle. I do not think the House ought to be committed to the principle of the Bill at this stage in the session, and in the circumstances I shall certainly oppose the Bill.

MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)

I regret very much to hear the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which he held out no hope of any modification in the procedure in regard to this Bill. He told us that there was no understanding come to when the Colonial Funds Bill was under discussion, that each separate loan should be brought forward in a separate Bill. I remember very well, however, what occurred when objection was being taken on the ground that the authority of Parliament over the various loans might not be preserved. The right hon. Gentleman told us that on that point we were perfectly safe, because a separate Bill would be brought forward to deal with the loans. These words, of course, might not imply a separate Bill for each loan, but I am bound to say I understood it to convey that meaning, and. my view is strengthened by the first clause, in which I find the following words: Where a loan under this Act to a colony is by a separate Act relating to colonial loans authorised to be made within the time, to the amount and for the purposes therein specified, such loan may be advanced out of the Colonial Loans Fund. Surely, the meaning of these words is, that the intention, of the Bill was that each. separate loan should be passed through this House by a separate Act, so that the House might have an opportunity of considering it on its merits.


It meant an Act separate from the Colonial Loans Fund Act.


I am aware that that is a possible meaning, but I think the obvious meaning of the words I have quoted is that under this Act loans should only be advanced by means of a separate Act. In the past, whenever the Imperial credit has been pledged on behalf of a particular Colony, it has always been done in a separate Act, and I am certain that the general idea the House gathered from the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that the authority of Parliament would be amply maintained in future in the matter of these loans. But is the authority of the House of Commons being so maintained on this occasion, when we see a Bill brought in during the last week of the session by which a totally new departure in regard to financial arrangements with our Colonies is being introduced, and we are asked to advance a sum of over three and a-quarter millions for various purposes as to which we have absolutely no information? I do not think that that is a fair way of treating the House of Commons. It is invidious to put upon anyone at this period of the session the duty of criticising, however feebly, the proposals of a Bill into the details of which it is almost impossible to enter. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that these loans are likely to be remunerative, and he has referred to the financial position of some of the colonies to which they are to be advanced. Surely, if a colony can borrow at 3½ per cent., it is proof that there is no really substantial need to give it financial assistance. I always thought that the policy of the Government was to make these colonies as far as possible independent and self-governing, and I certainly cannot see how you are increasing their independence by thus coming forward with indiscriminate offers of assistance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer also spoke of this as affording an admirable opportunity for the investment of Savings Bank deposits. I do not think that that is a fair argument. We know that the matter of the investments of these deposits is to come before us next session, and I do not think we ought to be asked by this totally new departure in the mode of making loans to our own colonies to establish a new fund in which to invest our Savings Bank deposits. Let the House consider what are really the proposals of this Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred to the fact that this is practically a daughter Bill of the Colonial Loans Fund Bill, and my right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out that it is not the birth of one but rather of a litter. Here we have a proposal to make seventeen loans to twelve different colonies, and the gross total proposed to be advanced is £3,300,000. What are the purposes for which this money is to be advanced? We are asked in the schedule of this Bill to vote a sum of £1,680,000 for West African railways. That is an astounding proposal to be made in the last week of the session. The information which has been afforded to us in regard to it has been of the vaguest possible character. Is it necessary that this money should be advanced? I have been looking into some Returns with regard to the West African Colonies, and I find that Sierra Leone in 1873 borrowed £40,000 on her own security for the purpose of certain harbour works. I do not know what progress was made with those works, but the interest of the loan and the capital sum as well have been paid off. Surely, then, there is no great need for this advance for railways in Sierra Leone. What security is there that the interest and the principal of the loans will be paid? Clause 2 of the Bill provides that the principal shall be a charge on the revenues and assets of the colonies; but the present financial condition of some of the colonies is not first class. In the case of the Gold Coast, for instance, it is admitted that the colony cannot pay its way, and of late years the Imperial Parliament has made increased grants in aid of its revenue. Could there be anything more absurd than trying to hoodwink the public into the idea that you are advancing money on good security, when you yourselves have recognised in the last year or two that the colony cannot pay its way, and needs grants from the Imperial Exchequer to enable it to cover its current ordinary expenditure?


The grant was made in aid of the northern territories. It was quite exceptional, and did not arise under the ordinary expenditure and revenue of the colony.


I accept that explanation, but it only shows the difficulty the House is in. May I ask the Colonial Secretary whether the railways are entirely in the Gold Coast Colony or in the northern territories?


The railways are practically entirely in the colony, but there is a proposal to carry the railway to Kumassi.


I understood that the part of the grant in aid which related to telegraphs was given to the colony and not to the northern territories.


The telegraph is in the northern territories. My feeling in regard to all these matters is that where money is being expended for the development of the territories it should be granted by way of loan; but where the money is required in order to make provision against possible aggression—which, fortunately, has now been rendered unnecessary by the Convention with France—I hold it is not fair the abnormal expenditure required should fall on the colony.


May I ask whether the revenues of the Gold Coast are the security for the railways?




In the short time which has been at our disposal, it has been impossible for outsiders to closely examine the matter; but I have looked through the Colonial Office List, which gives a summary of the revenue and expenditure of some of the colonies within recent years, and I find that, as to the Gold Coast, in 1888–89 there was a deficit, in the three following years a surplus, in the three next years a deficit, and last year the revenue was £237,000 and the expenditure £406,000. What kind of security will the revenue of the Gold Coast be for a loan of half a million sterling? Lagos and Sierra Leone are to get between them a million sterling for railways, but the House has been afforded no information in respect to those places. Half a million is to go to the Malay States, in all of which, except one, there is a deficit. The security, therefore, does not look very first class. £450,000, divided into five different purposes, is to go to Jamaica. One purpose is railway rolling stock, a very strange object for which to lend money from the Imperial Exchequer. It certainly is not a very promising form of investment, and I think we ought to have had some explanation about the proposed payment for debentures. It seems to me that the creditors, seeing a prospect of getting a loan from the Imperial Exchequer, have been holding out for better terms. But no information has been vouchsafed us at all.


I will give it now.


It is rather too late. I am not speaking for myself, but I say the House of Commons is not being fairly treated by being asked to pass this Bill without information during the last week of the session. There is an item of £150,000 to Jamaica, for what purpose? In aid of the revenue. Loans are to be made on the security of the revenue, and at the same time Parliament is making a grant in aid of the revenue. Surely, that is taking money out of one pocket to put it into the other. I will not go further into detail, but I do say there are two strong arguments against proceeding with this Bill at this period of the session. The first is the absolute want of information as to the purposes for which we are asked to advance this money, and the second is the absence of information as to the security to be given. Surely, it is an extraordinary thing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should, at this late period of the session, propose to advance over £3,000,000 without informing the House as to the security on which this money is to be invested. This is a distinctly new departure both in financial and colonial policy. The Secretary for the Colonies has been in the habit of making interesting speeches upon the subject of his colonial policy, and his desire to develop the backward colonies out of the Imperial Exchequer. There may have been Votes of this character passed by this House, but this House has not been committed to that course, and there is a strong objection, indeed, to public credit being used for the purposes of constructing these public works and building these railways in backward colonies, in order to promote their commercial development. That is a question which ought to be discussed and debated, and the House ought to have an opportunity, in full session, of debating it. I do think that the mode in which the Government have brought forward this very important Bill, which contains so many novelties, both financial and political, at the very fag end of the session, is really playing with the control of the House, and I think we are entitled to an explanation. I beg leave to move the adjournment of the Debate.


I cannot accept that motion.


Then I move that this Bill be read a second time this day three months.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the question to add the words, 'upon this day three months.' "—(Mr. Buchanan.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


We have voted no less than £14,000,000 during the last fortnight, and it can only be said in regard to £6,000,000 of that sum that full notice was given to the House. That is the amount which the House has been called upon to authorise the payment of within the past fortnight. It seems to me that a very strong ground of objection to the present proposal can be taken upon that fact alone. By bringing forward this proposal at this late period of the session, we are committing the House and the country to a principle which, I submit, has never been discussed. It is quite true that, earlier in the session, the Colonial Secretary indicated what his policy would be, for he described it as one of active and vigorous Colonial development. We were, however, promised full opportunity for discussion; but we are now called upon to give our adhesion and consent to the Second Reading of a Bill containing a principle which there is not time to fully consider. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, in February last, that— Before a loan is made a proposal will come before Parliament, and a full explanation will be given as to the reasons why it is asked for. Here we are asked to authorise a series loans to the various colonies which the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself expressly excluded. With regard to the argument that these loans will offer good investments for the Savings Bank Fund, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that that was a matter requiring consideration; therefore, I can hardly think that he is entitled to assume that the House will be disposed on that ground to assent to this Bill. In the discussion upon a similar Bill last year, it was clearly indicated that the result of this policy would be to bring about a consolidation of the loans already given to the colonies. We are not only assenting to the loans mentioned in the Schedule, but we are opening the door to the proposition hinted at by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that it may be convenient to take advantage of this machinery to enable the whole of the colonial loans to be consolidated into one fund similar to the Local Loans Fund of this country. Practically, we are giving up, once and for all, our control by assenting to a principle which has never been discussed by the House. I know the same practice has been adopted by foreign countries for the development of their colonies, but it is open to doubt whether the commercial men of those countries approve of it. It is a very serious matter to ask the House, within a week of the end of the session, to adopt such a proposal, when it is impossible to discuss the Bill thoroughly, and when many hon. Members who could contribute valuable information are absent. I think the Government is exercising its predominant power to the very great detriment of the confidence which the country might be disposed to have in the future deliberations of this House. It seems to me to be straining representative institutions to the utmost, that no consideration should be given to the very weighty reasons which have been advanced for postponing this Bill.

* MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)

I do not share the regret of the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentlemen opposite at this Bill being passed through Parliament at the end of the session. I do not share that regret, because it embodies a principle which I have strenuously advocated—namely, that the credit of the mother country, on reasonable and solid security, should be granted to the aid of Crown colonies in cases where justification has been made out for it. Therefore, I am glad that, even at this eleventh hour, this Bill has been introduced, and I hope it will pass into law without alteration. But in saying this, I must be allowed to express my regret that a Bill, embodying an entirely new principle, should be introduced and passed into law without proper discussion in this House, and without proper consideration outside. I do not object so much on the ground of procedure, for I would rather sacrifice procedure than principle, but I do feel that this is a great departure from the financial regulations which govern the administration of the finances of this country, and I am sorry that that new departure cannot be, and will not be, subjected to that discussion and examination in the country which it ought to receive. My right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the 23rd February last, said: I was desirous of introducing this Bill before, because I felt it was a measure which it would be advisable should be known and discussed in this House and in the country.


It was discussed.


The Bill was very little discussed in this House, and cannot now be discussed in the country at all. This Bill differs very much from the previous Bill, and requires not equal but more examination than the other Bill. My right hon. friend may recollect that when the other Bill was introduced Amendments were suggested which I thought were unreasonable, but in the present case what is going to be done? Not only are we unable to have the Bill examined as it ought to be examined, but we cannot receive what my right hon friend told us we should obtain, and that is a full explanation of the purposes for which the Bill is required. I am bound to say that I differ from the right hon. Gentleman as to the nature of the securities, and on this point I share the opinion of my right hon. friend below. Here we are going to transfer the administration of these loans, and a Department of State is to make these advances and report to the House, not before but after the money has been spent. We are going to authorise a Department of the State to make these advances and report to us, not before but after the money has been advanced. I have a little experience in loans, and if the control of the House of Commons is worth anything, surely the House should be consulted before, and not after, the advance is made.


It is being consulted now.


I do not think that my right hon. friend will claim that the examination which we are now allowed to institute is a very searching or critical examination; but, even superficial though it be, it does enable us to discriminate between advances which are urgent advances which are not. We all approve of the House of Commons being asked to aid the West Indies in connection with hurricanes and other emergencies; but a railway in Sierra Leone, or a harbour and railways and irrigation in Cyprus, do not appear to me to partake of the urgent nature which distinguishes the advances to Barbados and St. Vincent. There is another principle which I also think ought not to be sanctioned by this House in this casual way, and that is with reference to the employment of the Post Office Savings Bank Funds. Personally, I am not desirous that these funds should be invested in any security that has not at the back of it the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom. If these funds are invested in these loans, it is the State that will run the risk. That is an important departure from the principle on which we have hitherto acted. In spite of these objections I do not wish to prevent this Bill passing into law. (Opposition laughter.) I am not aware why hon. Gentlemen should laugh. As I said at the outset, this Bill embodies a principle I have always advocated. I hope it will be passed, but I regret that it has not been submitted to sufficient examination and investigation.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

The hon. Member appeared surprised that we on this side laughed just now. I believe we had reason. The hon. Member made an excellent speech against the Bill, and then he finished up by hoping that the Bill would be passed. I might have hesitated as to whether I would vote for or against the Bill, but the hon. Member has so thoroughly convinced me that this is a bad Bill, that he himself is to a certain extent responsible for the action of my legs in taking me into the Lobby against it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer used a most extraordinary argument in favour of this Bill. He said that we required investments for the Savings Bank Funds, and that therefore he created these investments. Of course, they will be safe enough as far as the Savings Bank is concerned if you give a Government guarantee; but I never heard of a Government giving a guarantee and then saying they give it in order that they might be able to invest in a good security. The question really is, whether we will have good security ourselves, or whether we may be called upon to pay under the guarantee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a director of an insurance company, and I ask him, would he in that capacity regard this loan as an Al security without a guarantee? Of course he would not. Why, then, should he ask the country to invest in these securities, which would not be regarded as A 1 for an insurance company's purpose? I look through the Schedule of this Bill and find most extraordinary things. We are asked to believe that a grant to Jamaica in aid of revenue is a good investment. Jamaica cannot carry on on its own revenue, and we are asked to supply the deficit and to hope that in the future Jamaica will be able to repay us with interest. Then there is to be another advance to Jamaica for the completion and equipment of a railway, and the very next item for Jamaica is "interest on railway debentures," which means that the railway is unable to pay the interest on its debentures. Then, again, we are asked to advance £314,000 to Cyprus for "Harbour and Railways and Irrigation." Why, Sir, we know perfectly well that the first charge on Cyprus is the amount of £100,000 per annum, which is paid practically in tribute to the Turkish Empire. At the present moment Cyprus cannot bear the expenses of administration, and we are expected to believe that in the future she will be able to meet her expenses and pay the interest on this loan. We know perfectly well what will occur. After a little while we shall be told that Jamaica, Cyprus, and the other places cannot pay, and that we shall have to pay. I have observed that in Turkey, China, and other remote parts of the world, there is great competition for concessions to build railroads among financiers; but even the wildest financier would never dream of taking, even as a gift, the right to build railroads in Jamaica or Cyprus. We are asked to vote certain sums of money for these purposes, but we are not told whether more money will be required. Surely these railroads are not to be left half finished. Our great complaint is that the Bill has been brought in so late in the session, and at a period when it was understood controversial measures would not be introduced. No one will deny that this is a very controversial measure. On the Schedule alone it will be my painful duty to divide the House at least fifteen times—and allowing fifteen minutes for each Division, that means nearly four hours—and allowing an hour for discussing each item, which cannot be regarded as excessive, that means nearly twenty hours on the Schedule alone. Under the circumstances, if we go on with this Bill, the session is not likely to end at the period which is now contemplated. We want to go away for our holidays—we fully admit that—but we are ready to sacrifice ourselves. There are hon. Members on these benches with such determination and patriotism—I am not speaking of myself—that they will sit during August and September rather than allow this Bill to go through in this reckless fashion. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will realise that, whether the Bill be good or bad, it is too important, and too controversial, to go through this session, and that accordingly it will be at once withdrawn.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 118; Noes, 66. (Division List, No. 317.)

Allsopp, Hon. George Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford
Arnold, Alfred Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fisher, William Hayes Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Bagot, Capt Josceline FitzRoy Fletcher, Sir Henry Nicholson, William Graham.
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manc'r) Flower, Ernest Nicol, Donald Ninian
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds) Giles, Charles Tyrrell Oldroyd, Mark
Banbury, Frederick George Goldsworthy, Major-General Percy, Earl
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Perks, Robert William
Barry, Rt Hn A H Smith-(Hunts Goschen, Rt Hn G J (St. George's Pierpoint, Robert
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Purvis, Robert
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Gull, Sir Cameron Rentoul, James Alexander
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Halsey, Thomas Frederick Richards, Henry Charles
Beach, W. W. B. (Hants.) Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W. Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matt. W.
Bethell, Commander Heaton, John Henniker Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Bill, Charles Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hogan, James Francis Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'nh.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Brassey, Albert Hughes, Colonel Edwin Seely, Charles Hilton:
Brookfield, A. Montagu Johnston, William (Belfast) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Bullard, Sir Harry Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Caldwell, James Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Lecky, Rt. Hn. WilliamEdw. H Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Clarke, Sir Edward (Plymouth Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Liverpool Valentia, Viscount
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lloyd, Archie Kirkman Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John Warr, Augustus Frederick
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lucas-Shadwell, William Williams, Jos. Powell-(Birm.)
Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready Macartney, W. G. Ellison Wilson-Todd, Wm. H-(Yorks.)
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Macdona, John Cumming Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge M'Arthur, Chas. (Liverpool) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Cranborne, Viscount M'Killop, James Wyndham, George
Cripps, Charles Alfred M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Curzon, Viscount Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J. Young, Commander (Berks E.)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Middlemore, Jhn. Throgmorton
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Mildmay, Francis Bingham TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Monk, Charles James
Doxford, William Theodore Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Drage, Geoffrey More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert Jn. O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W
Asher, Alexander Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Atherley-Jones, L. Griffith, Ellis J. Palmer,Sir Charles M. (Durham
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Bainbridge, Emerson Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H. Pirie, Duncan V.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. J. B. (Clackm. Horniman, Frederick John Power, Patrick Joseph
Birrell, Augustine Jacoby, James Alfred Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Blake, Edward Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Broadhurst, Henry Labouchere, Henry Steadman, William Charles
Buxton, Sydney Charles Lambert, George Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Campbell-Bannerman Sir H. Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land) Tennant, Harold John
Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton Macaleese, Daniel Wallace, Robert
Causton, Richard Knight M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.
Clough, Walter Owen M'Crae, George Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Crilly, Daniel M'Ewan, William Williams, John Carvell (Notts.
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) M'Leod, John Wilson, Herry J. (York, W. R.
Dalziel, James Henry Maddison, Fred. Woods, Samuel
Dewar, Arthur Mappin, Sir Frederick T. Yoxall, James Henry
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand
Donelan, Captain A. Molloy, Bernard Charles
Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton) Moulton, John Fletcher TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Buchanan and Captain Sinclair.
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Fenwick, Charles O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)

Main Question again proposed.


Before the Bill is read a second time, I should like to—


Order, order! The

hon. Member has already spoken on the main question. The question is that the Bill be now read a second time.

The House divided—Ayes, 124; Noes, 69. (Division List, No. 318.)

Allsopp, Hon, George Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart Murray. Rt Hn A Graham (Bute
Arnold, Alfred Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Nicholson, William Graham
Bagot, Capt. Joseeline FitzRoy Fisher, William Hayes Nicol, Donald Ninian
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fison, Frederick William Oldroyd, Mark
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r. Fletcher, Sir Henry Percy, Earl
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds Flower, Ernest Perks, Robert William
Banbury, Frederick George Gedge, Sydney Pierpoint, Robert
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Giles, Charles Tyrrell Purvis, Robert
Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Sm-(Hunts) Goldsworthy, Major-General Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Rentoul, James Alexander
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. Goschen, Rt Hn G. J. (St George's Richards, Henry Charles
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.
Beach, W. W. Bramston (Hants. Gull, Sir Cameron Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson
Bethell, Commander Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm. Robertson Herbert (Hackney)
Bill, Charles Heaton, John Henniker Round, James
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Royds, Clement Molyneux
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Hogan, James Francis Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenh'm)
Brassey, Albert Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hughes, Colonel Edwin Seely, Charles Hilton
Brookfield, A. Montagu Johnston, William (Belfast) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Bullard, Sir Harry Laurie, Lieut.-General Simeon, Sir Barrington
Caldwell, James Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Chamberlain, J. Aust'n (Worc'r Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Clarke, Sir Edward (Plymouth Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Rt Hn. Walter (Liverpool Valentia, Viscount
Coghill, Douglas Harry Loyd, Archie Kirkman Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lucas-Shadwell, William Warr, Augustus Frederick
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Macartney, W. G. Ellison Williams, Jos. Powell- (Birm.)
Colomb, Sir John Charles R. Macdona, John Cumming Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)
Cook, F. Lucas (Lambeth) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Cox, Irwin Edward B. M'Killop, James Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Cranborne, Viscount M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Wyndham, George
Cripps, Charles Alfred Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J. Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Curzon, Viscount Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Monk, Charles James TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Doxford, William Theodore More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)
Drage, Geoffrey Morton, A. H A. (Deptford)
Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.) Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Horniman, Frederick John
Asher, Alexander Dalziel, James Henry Jacoby, James Alfred
Atherley-Jones, L. Dewar, Arthur Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U
Bainbridge, Emerson Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Labouchere, Henry
Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. B. (Clackm.) Donelan, Captain A. Lambert, George
Birrell, Augustine Evans, Sir Francis H. (South'ton Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)
Broadhurst, Henry Farquharson, Dr. Robert Lewis, John Herbert
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Fenwick, Charles Macaleese, Daniel
Buxton, Sydney Charles Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)
Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow) Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Hrbrt. John M'Crae, George
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley M'Ewan, William
Carvill, Patrick George H. Griffith, Ellis J. M'Leod, John
Causton, Richard Knight Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Maddison, Fred.
Clough, Walter Owen Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H. Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe
Crilly, Daniel Holland, W. H. (York, W. R.) Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand
Molloy, Bernard Charles Pirie, Duncan V. Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.
Moulton, John Fletcher Power, Patrick Joseph Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Williams, J. Carvell (Notts.)
O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Smith, Samuel (Flint) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Soames, Arthur Wellesley Woods, Samuel
O'Connor, James Wicklow, W. Steadman, William Charles Yoxall, James Henry
O'Connor, T P (Liverpool Sullivan Donal (Westmeath) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Buchanan and Captain Sinclair.
Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham) Tennant, Harold John
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Wallace, Robert

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.