HC Deb 31 July 1899 vol 75 cc933-5

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee).

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]

MR. LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

I have no objection to this Bill, which appears to be an attempt to remedy an injustice. But when a Bill of this kind is brought before the House I think it is only right that the House should know the amount of the fund to which the Bill refers. The Committee ought to have more information upon Clause 1. The sections which have to be referred to in other statutes should be set out, and I protest against this fresh instance of the growing and mischievous practice of legislation by reference.


I admit that there is a good deal to be said against legislation by reference. Still it is permissible in a Bill of this kind. The Royal Patriotic Fund was established at the time of the Crimean War to relieve the widows and children of soldiers who were either killed or died from their wounds in that war. The fund has been administered under a Commission which has been confirmed by Acts of Parliament. The Bill only embodies the moderate and unanimous recommendations of a Committee which had recently sat. In 1881 an Act of Parliament was passed which brought under the same administration five other small funds, each of which has also issued from a public subscription on the morrow of some great disaster such as the wreck of the "Captain." But the five funds, before they were brought under the administration of the Commissioners of the Patriotic Fund, were administered with greater latitude than the Patriotic Fund; relief from them could be given, not only to the widows and children, but to any dependent upon the men lost. The phrase "widows and children" was imported into the fourth section of the Act of 1881, so that the Act placed a greater restriction upon the five small funds than there was upon them formerly. The first purpose of the present measure is to restore to the five subsidiary funds the latitude they originally enjoyed, and at the same time to extend it to the Patriotic Fund itself.


As far as I am concerned, this Bill is entirely unopposed so far as regards the principle, which, as I said before, is a most admirable one. I only desired to draw attention to what appear to be certain drafting irregularities, and in doing that I shall rest contented.

Bill reported without Amendment; read the third time, and passed.