HC Deb 08 February 1900 vol 78 cc973-1003
MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

, in moving the Amendment he had placed on the paper, said that, in spite of the strong expression of opinion in the Report of the Napier Commission against the diminution for the purpose of afforestment of arable or pasture area, according to two Parliamentary Returns—one in 1891 and the other in 1898—fourteen new deer forests had been created between 1883 and 1891, while between 1891 and 1898 the number had been increased by twenty-one, giving a total since 1883 of thirty-five new forests. While not desiring to interfere with pleasure or sport, he contended it was more important that the glens in the Highlands which were suitable should be used for supporting human beings than for herding deer. Instead of thousands of men being easily procured in a time of conflict such as the present, the glens were desolated and clear of human beings. From 1851 to 1891 the population of Argyllshire had decreased by 20,879, while the decrease in Inverness-shire during the same period was 10,055. The poor rate instead of going down had gone up. In 1852 it was £46,565, but in forty years it had more than doubled, the figures for 1892 being £94,697. It was highly important that this state of things should be investigated. A great deal was heard about going to other lands to redress grievances of so-called Uitlanders, but why were not the grievances of the people at home regarded instead of being ignored, especially in the face of the reports of Commissioners appointed to inquire into these very matters? Two Royal Commissions had stated that these lands in the Highlands were suitable for cultivation and occupation by the people. Instead they were used simply for deer. This extension of deer forests should be arrested. The Crofters Act did arrest it to a certain extent by giving tenants at will fixity of tenure, rents fixed by a commission or land court, and compensation for improvements. The number of applications for fair rents up to 1898 was 19,756; rents had been reduced from £80,373 to £58,910, I while arrears of rent to the extent of £123,630 had been cancelled out of a total of £183,776. These figures show to what a vast extent robbery had been going on under the pernicious system which prevailed prior to the passing of the Crofters Act. Leaseholders have, however, remained in the same position as before the passing of the Crofters Act. He had appealed to the Government time after time to look into this question and give these leaseholders some consideration. The leases of these people were entered into when the prices of agricultural produce were high, with the result that the tenants were now unable to pay their rents, and were turned out of their homes. It was very hard that a person living on one side of the road should have the benefits of the Act, while another person on the opposite side of the road, simply because he had entered into a lease, should be debarred from those benefits. Moreover, was it fair that soldiers who went to the front, at a time of crisis such as the present, should on their return find that their families had been turned out of their homes? He sincerely hoped the Lord Advocate would give an assurance that at least the question as regards the leaseholders would be dealt with. The second part of the Amendment referred to the Deer Forest report of 1895, which scheduled 1,782,785 acres suitable for cultivation and occupation, but now used as deer forests. In 1898, the deer forest area had risen to 2,287,297 acres since 1883, and this in face of the Report of the Napier Commission recommending so strongly that no extension of the deer forest area should take place. In the same time there had been an increase of 35 in the number of deer forests. The total area in the crofting counties was 8,412,687 acres, while the deer forest area was 2,287,297 acres, or 27 per cent. of the whole acreage of the five counties. The cultivated land in these counties amounts only to 481,735 acres, whilst there are 1,782,785 acres now under deer suitable for occupation by the people. The hon. Member proceeded to compare this with the state of affairs in England before the Civil War. At that time there were 700 private parks; in England they had now been reduced to 300. In England these lands had been used for the purposes of the people; whilst in Scotland the people were cleared out and the land used for the purpose of creating deer forests. In 1812 there were only 5 deer forests in the whole of Scotland; at the present time there were 136 in the five crofting counties alone. When Sir George Trevelyan brought in a Bill in 1895 to settle the people on some half million acres of the land scheduled by the Deer Forest Commissioners the present First Lord of the Treasury, then in Opposition, said it was not a generous Bill, and that he wanted to do a great deal more for the crofters. But since the right hon. Gentleman had been in office nothing had been done to give effect to that wish. It was, too, a great injustice that the land should be allowed to go out of cultivation. In the report of the county medical officer for the island of Lewis last year it was stated that sanitary progress was much hindered by the lack of encouragement given to fishermen who were able and willing to build better houses if a site and a modicum of land could be obtained; while the Deer Forest Commissioners of 1895 were clearly of opinion that much might be done to effect an improvement in the existing state of matters as to holdings for fishermen. What had the Government done for the fishermen? He (the hon. Member) was not aware of a single house having been built since that report was issued. What had been done for the crofters by the Congested Districts Board? £62,000 had been unexpended of the money voted by Parliament, and only £1,451 had been spent in migrating the crofters and cottars, although the Act was mainly provided for the purpose of migrating people from congested districts to parts less occupied. The whole thing was a farce and a sham; it was simply trifling with the question. On national grounds it was of the utmost importance that the Highland people should be settled in the Highland glens. In a great war the effect of the present condition of things would be felt; it was felt now. The Highland regiments must be filled up, but they cannot be with Highlanders. Highlanders are a martial people. It was not necessary to refer to the many glorious victories won by Highlanders. Surely the Highland soldiers, when they returned from the war maimed and crippled for life, as many would return from this South African War, should be able to settle in their old homes for the rest of their days, and not be liable to be turned out by some grasping landlord. If the Lord Advocate is not prepared to deal with the whole question, surely he should have no difficulty in carrying a short Bill to give small crofter tenants, who in 1886 were leaseholders, the benefits of the Crofters Act.

Amendment proposed— At the end of the Question, to add the words, 'But we humbly represent to Your Majesty that in view of the continued increase in the deer forest area in the Highland crofting counties, it is desirable, in order to prevent a still further depopulation of the Highlands, that the benefits of the Crofters Act, 1886, should be extended to all crofter tenants holding under lease at the time of the passing of the Act; and we regret to observe that there is no indication in Your Majesty's Speech that arrangements will be made for the settling of Highland crofters, cottars, and fishermen on some portion of the 1,782,785 acres of land which in March, 1895, Your Majesty's Commissioners scheduled as deer forests, grouse moors, etc., which might be cultivated to profit, or otherwise advantageously occupied by crofters or small tenants.'"—(Mr. Weir.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."

MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)

The matter introduced by my hon. friend is in my opinion of importance not only to the Highlands but to the State, and that is my reason for occupying the time of the House in seconding the Amendment. The Crofters Act of 1886 conferred very great benefits on those people in the Highlands who came within the limits of its operations. I have often in my own mind contrasted the condition of the crofter of to-day with the condition of the artisan in any one of our great towns. Unlike the workman in the town, the crofter breathes the fresh air of heaven; he lives in a better moral atmosphere; he is surrounded by the sweet influences of nature; he is not summoned to a monotonous labour by the clang of the factory bell. He is master of his own circumstances. He is not liable to be dismissed at the caprice of an employer, or in consequence of fluctuation of trade. Secure in his croft, he enjoys the fruits of his toil without fear of molestation. These are inestimable blessings. It is not surprising therefore that those of us who are familiar with the improved condition of the crofter under the Act should be anxious to see the same advantages extended to others who are equally deserving, but as yet without the pale. I confess I have no hope of obtaining in the present session, or indeed from this Government at all such an extension of the Act. To effect such a change a fresh effort of legislation would be required, and it is obvious from the programme which has been laid before us that this is not to be expected. Therefore I regard the first part of this Amendment as scarcely practical. At the same time I agree with my hon. friend in the advisability of the extension, The second part of the Amendment, however, is really and entirety practical, dealing as it does with the desirability of doing something to settle the crofters in the Highlands upon some portion of the millions of acres which were reported by the Commission of 1895 to be capable of cultivation by crofters. In that connection I may remind the Lord Advocate that the Commission which sat under Lord Napier in 1883 gave expression to a very strong opinion with reference to the deer forests then in existence. The Commissioners went so far as to declare that any further extension of deer forests would be opposed to sound policy. What is meant by sound policy? What I understand to have been running in the minds of the Commissioners was that it would be infinitely better for Scotland if that portion of the land then scheduled as deer forests, but suitable for cultivation by crofters, could be brought into cultivation. Such a course would benefit the country in several respects. In the first place, increased cultivation of the land must necessarily give increased employment to many people; and, in the second place, that increased employment must of necessity do something to arrest the depopulation that has been going on for generations and is still taking place in the Highlands. The evidence of those most fitted to judge is that the young men who are leaving the country are of the best class—that is, those of most spirit and enterprise. Last September, when this country was first menaced by the shadow of war, a detachment of one of the Highland regiments marched through part of the Highlands to beat up recruits. I encountered the detachment towards the end of its march, and, on making inquiries as to its success, I found that they had been able to enlist only one young man, the parents of whom the next day came and begged him off. Take another illustration of even more recent occurrence. There was a proposal lately to send a contingent of about 150 gillies to South Africa. It was supposed that a corps of deerstalkers might render valuable assistance to our troops.


Was that Lord Lovat's scheme?


I believe it was. Well, Sir A. Orde, who was interested in the movement, went to Glasgow, and in a speech there told his audience that after going over his own extensive estates he could find only some six or seven young men; all the rest of the males on his property were old men or boys; and therefore he had to go to Glasgow to enlist men for this so called Highland contingent. This is a lamentable state of things. Contrast this state of affairs with the fact that early in this century, when we were at war in the Peninsula, the island of Skye alone furnished some thousands of men to the British Army. Consider for one moment how invaluable it would be to us to-day if instead of going to the purlieus of our great cities to find a few remnants of the descendants of Highlanders, we could furnish from the Highlands, as was formerly the case, thousands of men of the very finest quality. Surely anything which would tend to revive the people would be a signal benefit to the State. But in spite of the warning given by Lord Napier's Commission in 1883, what has taken place? Have any of the deer forests been redeemed? On the contrary, afforestation has gone on increasing. This cannot continue for ever without having a very disastrous effect upon the country. The situation is serious. I do not profess to be at all fanatical on the subject; I am perfectly well aware there are great economic laws always in operation. There is the attraction or the drag of the great towns. There is that which is common to all youth everywhere—the dream which paints the fields that are far off as infinitely more fertile than the fields nearer home. These things one grants; they must operate in the ordinary course of human nature everywhere. But beyond and in addition to all these things, legislation and administration may or may not be contributing causes towards the depopulation of a country or district. What has the Legislature done? It has to some extent realised and attempted to meet the evil of which I complain. In 1897, under pressure, the Government passed the Congested Districts Relief Act, the main object of which was the purchase of land and the extension of existing holdings. It was, it is true, an absurdly inadequate sum which the Government granted, but small as it was there was in it some potentiality, if behind it there had been a mind willing to effect the purpose in view. But what has been done? Has the Government done anything? As far as I can gather there has not been one penny spent on the main object for which the money was granted. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate told me in reply to a question on Monday that there was in hand a balance of some £62,000, and that £1,451 had been expended on migration. But migration is not the acquisition of land or the extension of holdings. Therefore I am not exaggerating when I say there has not been a single penny spent on the main object of the Act. But the Lord Advocate told me, and I thank him for it, a good deal that I did not ask for. He informed me that there were promises made under recommendations of certain committees with regard to agriculture and public works which would or might involve the Board in an expenditure of something like £27,000; and that negotiations were pending for the purchase of one or two properties which, if concluded, would involve a further expenditure of about £18,000. Then, no doubt feeling that after all it was a very lame account which the Government had to give with regard to the utilisation of the fund, the Lord Advocate added to his reply a little homily. He told me it was much better to proceed with caution rather than by precipitate action to do anything which might operate against economic laws and thereby defeat the main object of the Act. That Act was passed in 1897—nearly three years ago—and yet the Lord Advocate speaks of precipitate action. Nobody doubts the caution of the Lord Advocate, but caution may become a mania. If in three years the Board have not had sufficient time in which to discover some portion of land—although two million acres were marked out in 1895—on which to place some of these crofters in the congested districts without disturbing any of these great economic laws, then in my opinion caution is a veil for another and less admirable quality. I want some definite assurance from the Lord Advocate as to whether the negotiations of which he speaks are at all within reach of a conclusion, and whether we are likely, within the ordinary term of the life of the Government, to see anything done. I am not quite sure for what purpose the money is being heaped up. I am not quite sure that some purpose not within the limits of the Congested Districts Act may not be brooding in the minds of members of the Board, and I think we are entitled to an assurance that the money, which was granted for the specific purpose of relieving the crofter population of the north, by the acquisition of land, shall be devoted, without undue delay, to some substantial extent at any rate, to that purpose.

SIR LEONARD LYELL (Orkney and Shetland)

I desire to congratulate my hon. friend the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty for taking the only opportunity that may occur during this session of enforcing the bitter complaint of the Highlands at the neglect they have suffered from this House and the Government during the past fourteen years. Previous to 1886 the condition of the crofters was a good deal worse than at present. Since the passing of the Crofters Act in 1886, which really prevented an agrarian revolt in the country, there has been a considerable improvement in affairs; but that Act was an experimental Act, and innumerable small grievances, which might have been remedied, were passed over. If these grievances had been dealt with by amending Acts, which had been proposed by the Highland Members, a good deal of harmony and confidence would have been restored to the north. I refer specially to the grievance that the leaseholders were not included in the benefits of the principal Act. Now, these leaseholders are men of more enterprise, thrift, and foresight than the majority of their neighbours. In fact, it was in order to secure some return for the improvements which they had made on their crofts that they entered into the leases, by which they lost benefits which were conferred on the crofters who held their land only from year to year. I think it is a shame that the best men in the Highlands should have been penalised in that way. Their case has been brought forward in this House again and again, and I think, it is desirable that the Members for the crofter constituencies should enter their protest at the unfeeling disregard of their demands by the Conservative Government. Some Amendments to the Act of 1886 have been passed, and the relief of the leaseholders might have been included in them, but it was refused. I do not enter into the question of the deer forests, because in the county I happen to represent there is not a single deer, and a very small amount of game. But there are numbers of crofters in the southern counties, who desire to possess land, but cannot get it, although, a very large amount of land capable of being divided into crofts was scheduled in the Report of the Deer Forest Commission of 1892. It has been said that the Highland grievances can be dealt with by the Congested Districts Board; but our complaint is that that Board does the things we don't desire, and refuses to do the things we desire, and I am sorry to say that the hopes raised by the appointment of the Congested Districts Board have been falsified, and we are actually in a worse condition than before it was instituted. And for this reason: we have not the same facility to obtain redress of our grievances. Instead of appealing to the House, we must appeal to the Board, which may be partly in Dover House and partly in Edinburgh, and we cannot ferret the members out. It is said that a considerable sum of money has been placed at the disposal of the Board; but, the money being in the hands of the Board, when land is wanted owners immediately raise the price of land. I know that negotiations have been entered into with the Board to obtain possession of the land, but they failed on that account. If the money had been placed in the hands of an independent man, the land could have been bought for a reasonable sum. I shall on another occasion have a better opportunity of dealing with the Congested Districts Board; but in regard to this particular Amendment, which deals with the grievances of which we have to complain, we want to have some responsible person in this House who will be able to deal adequately with the questions which are now referred to the Board, so that we may be able to bring him to book when a remedy is not applied. The fault of the Board is that the members, although they are adequately paid, have no particular business to do. There is, therefore a divided responsibility, and no special obligation to do the work well.

MR. GORDON (Elgin and Nairn)

I wish to say a few words on the question raised by previous speakers, but I do not promise to vote for the Amendment, as I have no desire to turn the Government out of office. I know of no Government which has done more for the good of the Highlands than the present Government. All I ask is that the attitude of my right hon. friend the Lord Advocate will be as sympathetic as possible, and that he will be able to indicate in his reply what the Government are going to do. The difficulty is in the economic condition of the Highlands, and many men of goodwill have been unable to suggest proper remedies. An appeal to a Government office is always a third-class mode of procedure. I have paid attention to the speeches made on the other side, and have failed to gain any idea of how these hon. Gentlemen, opposite would themselves proceed to improve the condition of the Highland population. I know that Railway legislation has been hindered, hampered, and delayed by the action of certain Members on the other side of the House. The economic question of dealing with a rural population living at a high altitude in a severe climate is by no means confined to the North of Scotland. The rural population of Scotland is decreasing, but not necessarily by harsh and cruel methods. There are districts near London where the rural population is diminishing, but that is because the men are intelligent enough not to go on working for 10s. per week when they can get more in the towns. I myself have always divided the Highland population into, two classes—first, that class which from an over conservative sense of local patriotism and a natural instinct desire to stay where their forefathers lived and died. I think that portion of the population is well worthy of the attention of the House. The question of deer-forests is a very serious one. No doubt deer forests bring capital into poor districts, and improve conditions and methods of living, but at the same time I think that to allow the further unlimited afforesting of large districts in the North of Scotland is quite as worthy of the attention of this House as the carrying of a railway or canal, which may affect the condition of the population adversely throughout extensive areas. I would say that before allowing landed proprietors to afforest their lands it would not be unreasonable to ask them to come before the House by a private Bill seeking the permission of Parliament. The other class of the rural community are far too acute and clever, in these days of travel and inter-communication, to remain where their forefathers lived. They go out into the world to subdue the wilderness in our colonies, or, with the energy and strength to command, to leading, armies to victory, or to building great railways, returning Peers of the Realm. One of these sons of the Highlands the other day offered to the Secretary, of State for War a regiment of cavalry, fully, equipped, at his own expense. The question is how to protect that portion of the community, which desires to remain at home, without going against the progress of the age. In my own constituency, which is not under the Crofters Act, there are a large number of men who would be called under the English law squatters, who have made improvements on the land they occupy. Under the old families these men are practically safe, but when a property changes hands and a new owner comes in, who has none of the feudal instincts regarding his tenants' rights, or no sense of noblesse oblige, he may seek to appropriate the improvements which morally belong to the crofter. I hope that in the proposed legislation on agricultural improvement foreshadowed in the Queen's Speech, the Government will throw their ægis over these tenants, and secure for them the value which they have really created on a bare soil, so that they may not depend for their security on feudal law or custom, but on the law of Parliament. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment referred to the Ferrintosh case, and left, unwittingly, I have no doubt, a wrong impression on the House. That is an estate belonging to the family of Forbes, whose name is of historic interest, for, without the efforts of Lord President Forbes, during the rebellion of 1745, the House of Hanover would probably not now have been on the throne. The hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty referred to the condition of the crofters on that estate, but their condition is better than that of the landlord, for Culloden House has recently been dismantled, and no member of the family is able to remain in this country for want of financial means. I believe that the true remedy for the position of land tenants in Scotland, not only small but also larger, is to be found in the Government's recent legislation in Ireland for Land Purchase; and I regret most sincerely that when some similar offer was made by the Duke of Sutherland in regard to his crofting holdings, it was coldly received by the advisers of the crofters. I believe that a judicious proposal by the Government, if not in this session, in the near future, forwards carrying out a scheme of bona fide land purchase would be the best solution of the land question in Scotland. The only other matter I desire to bring, before the House is that the Government should, in connection with a scheme of land purchase in Scotland, also borrow from Ireland the policy of the Irish Labourers' Cottage Act, and consider whether it is adaptable to Scotland. To all these experimental methods, if carried out by the Congested Districts Board, I would give my hearty support, for I believe that if carried out prudently and wisely, it would be the best method of meeting the difficulties now before the House.

MR. MCLEOD (Sutherlandshire)

I congratulate my hon. friend the Member for Elgin and Nairn on the manner in which he has discussed this subject, but I challenge his statement that the present Government, of all Governments, has done most to benefit the crofters of the Highlands. If my hon. friend had been in the House longer he would have known that the Crofters Act of 1886, which transferred property amounting to millions that previously to that Act belonged to the landlords, to the crofters, was passed by a Liberal Government. I think that that measure will bear comparison with anything done by the present Government. The hon. Member said that there had not been a single practical suggestion made this evening on this side of the House for the benefit of the Highlands, but I think that a practical suggestion is indicated in the first part of this Amendment, which states that "the benefits of the Crofters Act of 1886 shall be extended to all crofter tenants holding under lease at the time of the passing of that Act." I have no doubt we shall presently hear from the Lord Advocate something of the sacredness of contract, and that it would be going against all the traditions of Tory Governments that they should interfere with written contracts. I would point out that the case of the small leaseholders in the Highlands and islands is exceptional. It is exceptional in this respect, that these small leaseholders are the descendants of men who occupied the same position as the men who obtained the benefits of the Crofters Act. In most instances they were turned into leaseholders against their will. They had carried out improvements on their crofts at their own expense, and could get no compensation from the landlords. It was the men who carried out the most valuable improvements that entered into the leases, because they imagined that in that way they would get security for these improvements. In my own constituency there are few small leaseholders, but in the case of these few the hardship is all the greater. As showing how accidental was the operation of the Crofters Act, in so far as admitting some crofters to the benefit of that Act and excluding others, you find side by side a large community enjoying the benefits of that Act and a small community excluded from them, simply because, in the case of the former, their leases had expired. Then there is the case of Lord Lovat's crofters. The factor on that estate, foreseeing that the Crofters Act would pass, compelled the crofters to accept leases; but when the subject was brought before the Crofters Commission, they stated that these contracts were not contracts at all. There is the case of the crofters on the Ferrintosh estate, nominally owned by a very historical family. On that estate absolutely all the improvements were executed by and at the expense of the small tenants. I do not know whether the House is aware of the fact, but the Culloden family obtained the right of making as much whisky on their estate, duty free, as they could, in return for the services rendered by President Forbes during the Rebellion of 1745–6. The consequence was that a great many people settled on the Culloden property for the purpose of growing-barley, and that rents went up high. Holdings which originally were only let for 2s. 6d. were raised to £16. There was one case of a small leaseholder, who proved that he was only in a position to pay £8 instead of £16 during the last few years. Now, if that man's lease had happened to expire just before the Crofters Act was passed, he would have got the benefit of that Act, and have been required only to pay £8. It is nothing short of legalised robbery that that man should pay a rent of £16 when his holding is only worth £8. In my own constituency there is a small estate of the name of Herniss which is unfortunately in the hands of a trustee; and it is impossible for him to give relief to the tenants according to the law. This is not a party matter at all. The representatives of the Tory party have tried to do all they can to relieve these poor people, who in the end, however, are turned out of their holdings. There is not a single argument that can be used in favour of preventing these small leaseholding tenants getting the benefit of the Act, the same as was given to the leaseholders in Ireland, except that they do not happen to be the political force which the leaseholders were in Ire- land. We are all aware that the Conservatives do not hesitate to break leases of large as well as small tenants, when it suits their purpose, and when we ask for this in the case of the crofters in the Highlands and Islands we are only asking what is fair and just. My hon. friend the Member for Wick Burghs made it appear as if it was rather a difficult thing to ask the Government to pass legislation this session, on account of other matters engaging the attention of the House: but I can assure the Lord Advocate that it only means a one-clause Bill, and that he will not get any opposition from this side of the House. In regard to the second portion of the Amendment, perhaps the House will bear with me if I say a few words in regard to it. I had the honour to serve on the Royal Commission which made the report to the House that there was an area of £1,782,785 acres of land available for advantageous occupation by crofters and other small tenants. Now, in regard to Royal Commissions, it is generally the practice to quote their Report even when it is only signed by a majority. A strong point in regard to the Report of the Royal Commission of 1895 is that we were absolutely unanimous in our recommendation so far as the area available was concerned, and that it could be advantageously occupied by crofters and small tenants. The only difference was how the people could be settled on the land. I signed the minority Report that the land should be bought, but the view of the majority was that that was not a question for the Commission at all to decide, but for the Government. Since that Report was made there was an attempt on the part of the late Government not only to make it easier for the small tenants who had got the benefits of the Act of 1886 to acquire more land, but to extend its benefits to other counties than what were in the original Act called the "crofting counties," and to put in operation a scheme for the compulsory acquisition of land. That failed, but it is very significant that when that Bill was before the House not a word came from the First Lord of the Treasury or the Lord Advocate against the scheme, or the necessity for drastic legislation. Their whole complaint was that Sir George Trevelyan had not gone far enough. It is an amusing commentary on the value the Scottish Office attaches to its own representations that it was suggested that the small portion of money granted to the Congested Districts Board for land purchase should be applied to education, as they could not find the means of spending it. Now, when the Bill passed, everyone knew that the money provided for the Board was utterly inadequate if the purchase of land was to be resorted to. In the old days it was said that the Highland people did not want the land, but the whole and sole reason why the Congested Districts Board has not been overwhelmed with applications, is that they have no compulsory powers of acquisition. In my own constituency the Board were in treaty for an estate, but the condition of sale by the proprietor was that the prospective tenants were to take over the sheep stock, which they said was absolutely useless for their purposes. Where you have a well-meaning landlord like Sir Arthur Ford of North Uig, difficulties are put in his way by the Congested Districts Board. That gentleman was willing to take a certain number of tenants from the congested districts and put them on a portion of his land, but the Board would not consent unless he put the whole of these tenants under the Crofters Commission, so as to give them the legal status of crofters. My hon. friend the Member for Elgin and Nairn complained that no scheme for the amelioration of the Highlands was forthcoming from this side of the House. I do not know whether he ever did the members of the Highland Land League the honour of reading any of their speeches; but we have for years pointed out a manner of dealing with this question—namely, that the Crofters Commission, which has done its duty in such a way as to command the admiration and confidence of all parties in Scotland, should have its powers enlarged, and the scope of its operations extended. That brings me to the point in regard to the remark of the hon. Member for Elgin and Nairn as to the offer by a proprietor in my own constituency, the Duke of Sutherland, to his small tenants that they should purchase their holdings, and that they had refused to accept that offer under advice. But the hon. Member should remember that the holdings offered for sale were only rented at 25s. per annum, and therefore of a size impossible for a man to make a living out of. In regard to the remedies, I do not think that if any Government is only strong enough to face the situation there can be much difficulty in providing them. It is to be remembered that the case of the Highlands is entirely exceptional, and indeed that was the excuse already made for very special legislation. From the manner in which the Highland people became dispossessed of their land, any Government—even a Conservative Government—is fully justified in saying to the present proprietors in the Highlands and Islands, "You must be prepared to deal with these exceptional circumstances, and, according to the remedy suggested by the hon. Member for Elgin and Nairn, no Highland proprietor in future shall be allowed to add to the area of deer forests without getting a private Bill authorising it." The other remedy is an extremely simple matter: extend the powers of the Crofters Commission. In regard to this matter of the deer forests, I am quite certain that neither the House nor the country has the slightest conception of the enormous area that has been constantly added to them in the Highlands. The matter has not received the amount of attention it should have, because a good number of the people who speak on the subject speak too loosely, with the result that their opponents have no difficulty in showing that in some respects they are wrong. Now, it is an undoubted fact that formerly a large population was cleared out from the Highlands, and their houses burned down. I owe my presence in this House to the fact that I am the son of a man whose dwelling was so burned down after he had been turned out of it. The whole population of Sutherlandshire, with the exception of that of one little strath—every living soul—was turned out of their homes and driven down to the seaside. These, be it remembered, were the parents of the men who, at that time, were fighting the battles of England on the Continent, men who had been induced to enlist on the assurance that they would be not only doing a duty to their country and their parents, but that they would be able to come home and find a place in which to spend the remainder of their days. But when the survivors returned they found, instead of a home, charred ruins. What is the result? In the most populous parish of Sutherlandshire, where the people are relatively well off, where there is the largest Volunteer company in the county, and where there is all the material for a splendid contingent—not a single man volunteered to go to the front in South Africa. And why? They say, "See what happened under a British Parliament and under a British Government to our fathers; and unless you put that right we won't go to fight your battles abroad, although we are prepared, as Volunteers, to defend our homes." Take the case of the Inverness Militia, which was lately taken up to Aldershot under the command of The Macintosh. I have seen these men myself; they were not like Militia, but like troops who had seen service abroad; big stalwart men, well set-up, and finely drilled. When called up, out of over a thousand only fourteen were found unfit for duty. Well, it was put to them whether they would not like to go to South Africa, and they good-humouredly said they would consider it if they got a promise of a farm or a share in a gold mine; but they added they were not going abroad to fight for a shilling a day after the way their forefathers were used. The feeling is there deep and determined, and that is the result of the Highland clearances. As I have said, very few are aware of how enormously the area of the deer forests in the Highlands has increased of late years. In 1883 the figures were sufficiently startling; the area then under deer forests was 1,711,082 acres, whereas in 1898 it had increased to 2,287,297 acres, or an increase of half a million acres in sixteen years. I have been led away by this digression from the point I was illustrating. When the people were cleared off the land for the purpose of putting on sheep, the proprietors did not pay the crofters and small tenants for the improvements which they appropriated, although it was these improvements which produced the grass that made sheep-farming then profitable. In the passing I of this little measure of justice I think we can almost claim it by the inherent righteousness of the case. At the same time there is no reason in the world why a clause should not be introduced in the interests of these poor people, and with regard to the utilisation of this large area of land, which is practically wasted in the Highlands, I do not see why that also should not be amended It is a perfectly good scheme, If this House only realises in a very small degree what the condition of these poor people in the Highlands of Scotland is, I am sure they would not be slow to pass this measure of relief. In my own constituency, which is a rural constituency, I can tell you that the supply of milk for the children is so short that the medical officer has been constantly referring to it in his annual reports to the county council. The area of land is so small that the crofters are not able to keep a sufficient number of cows in one place. They are decent people, who are law-abiding and who pay their rent and taxes; and when this House by its enactments gives relief to the big farmer, but none to the small tenant, it is but natural that a protest should be raised. I do not know a more industrious section of the community than the poor Highlanders. Since the passing of the Crofters Act it is almost incredible to believe what these people have done. One of the greatest agitations that Scotland has ever witnessed was that which broke out in Skye in 1896 after the passing of the Act. It was felt that the crofters were doing something to better their condition, to build new houses to which they might resort in the summer time. There is no desire to keep the Highlander there against his will. In my own constituency, in the best of parishes, emigration is so great among the young people that it is almost impossible to get assistance in the shape of a lad where the small tenant is not able to do the work himself. On the other hand, in the poorest parish there is no emigration at all; they do not breed; and if occasionally one or two of them do go away, they almost always come back. In the better-off parishes the parents are generally able to keep the children at school, and, when they come of age, to give them a decent outfit and a fair start in life. They do fairly well. Well, Sir, that is the class of people whom I would like to see settled. If it be true that there is no great demand for new holdings it makes it all the easier for the Tory party to deal with the question. I can assure the House that there is no more deserving people, no people that will better appreciate legislation in their behalf than these people in the Highlands.


The first portion of this Amendment deals with a now familiar question, as I think the House will remember that this question was really fully argued last year. On that occasion I gave the view of the Government on the matter, and before the present debate I had refreshed my memory on the subject. I do not mean to go into the question at any great length; but I do wish to say this, that I entirely demur to that description of the leaseholder—assumed rather than stated—in the speeches which have been delivered as that of "a cautious crofter." A good many years ago it is said he was cautious, and now, in the efflux of time we find him in a very much worse condition than the crofter. There are some persons in that position. But the effect of extending the Crofters Act to all leaseholders under £30 would be to include an enormous number of people not in that position, and who, I have again and again explained, were not in the view of the Government to be brought in under a land court system. The Crofters Act introduced a land court for a peculiar people who had an historical reason for being allowed a privilege which no one else was allowed, because, although they had a tenure which by law was precarious, in practice it had always been looked upon as non-precarious, and the law did no more than make legal a tenure which had been practically customary, and this could not apply to those under voluntary contracts. It will be a sad day for Scotland if a land court were introduced between landlord and tenant. In dealing with the second portion of the Amendment in relation to deer forests, the mover passed with a rapid and somewhat confused touch from the early history of the subject to the present time, and did not differentiate in his epithets, which, however appropriate at one time, are so no longer. The "cruel evictions" referred to are things of the past; and, in fact, such increase as there has been in afforestation in recent times has been by the conversion of sheep pastures into deer forests, because in certain places deer pay better than sheep. Another hon. Member has dwelt upon the depopulation which, he said, is still proceeding in the Highlands. But the economic causes that make for depopulation of rural districts are common to the whole kingdom; and if the more intellectual and enterprising young Highlanders seek their fortunes far afield it is not a matter for complaint, and, indeed, it is a Scotchman's boast that his successful countrymen can be found in every part of the world. Reference has also been made to the poor success of a recruiting party, and mention has been made of the fact that from a body of the Inverness Militia not one would volunteer for service in South Africa. I am sorry for it; but throughout Scotland there is no lack of the patriotic fervour that exists in all parts of the kingdom. I do not speculate as to the reasons influencing the Inverness men, confining myself to the hope and belief that they were personal and good reasons. One thing I am sure of, that is that their conduct was not due to any slight or injustice from the Government long ago. So far as deer forests are concerned, the case failed, because the Commission did not find a large extent of forest land available for crofting, though they did refer to land that could be advantageously occupied by persons suitably chosen, able and willing to stock and cultivate. It was when the land was found that the difficulties began, and the attitude of the Government was shown in the experiments being made by the Congested Districts Board. For the general policy of that Board my noble friend the Secretary for Scotland accepts entire responsibility. A wrong idea has been conveyed by the statement that my noble friend proposes to devote a certain portion of the funds of the Board to education. Advice from those best qualified to give it shows that young Highland people are at a disadvantage when going out into the world from ignorance of the advanced forms of social life and matters of common knowledge to ordinary boys and girls. They do not know really the ordinary operations of building, carpentry, the proper conduct of a dairy, and so on. Thus, when they left their native place to go into service, they are only able to take the lowest place in the scale of labour. Unfortunately, as a lawyer, I had to advise my noble friend that the clauses of the Congested Districts Acts did not cover, that class of expenditure, and accordingly my noble friend, approached the hon. Member, for Sutherland and several other hon. Members, who may be termed representative in this matter to see whether he could not get through the House by consent a Bill to enable him to do so.


The matter was not a subject of complaint, but it showed simply that the Scotch Office relied upon the Congested Districts Board, which was no remedy.


Surely it is a most curious deduction to make that if you have five ways of doing good and you see a sixth way that is a confession of failure in regard to the other five. Although I did get much individual assistance from certain hon. Members, they could not come to that absolute unanimity as to letting the Bill go through, which was the only condition of success, and accordingly the Bill did not pass. There are many forms of benefitting the people other than by the creation of new holdings. Passing over those forms and systems which are quite as important as any other forms, that does not alter the fact that the Congested Districts Board are anxious to try what can be done in that matter. I will answer the questions put to me by the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment. I can assure him that we are not intentionally heaping up the money. We have no ulterior object, and we are only heaping up money because we do not wish to spend it until we can spend it favourably. The real difficulty is not getting the land, but getting suitable tenants, and I should like to read to the House one or two conditions imposed by the Congested Districts Board, to show how extremely liberal their views are if a tenant of the proper kind will come forward. The price of the holding was to be an average of £650. The proposal of the Congested Districts Board is that they are willing to lend that money, and allow it to be paid back at 2¾ per cent., spread over fifty years. They would also arrange for the shooting to be paid for, the benefit of the shooting rent to go to the crofter. The way it would work out would be that the crofter would have to pay £23 18s. 11d. yearly for fifty years, when the loan would be repaid. He would get £12 19s. for the shooting rent, and, therefore, the holding would cost him £10 19s. 11d. per year. Now I ask hon. Members, is that not a perfectly handsome offer, and is it not a good chance for a man able to better himself that by paying £10 19s. 11d. a year for fifty years he becomes the proprietor of the holding? If the crofter Consented to erect upon his holding the proper buildings, the Congested Districts Board offer to lend him £300 towards the buildings, and lend it him upon the same terms as those upon which his holding has been acquired. The difference between our views and those which I rather suspect are held by the hon. Member who moved this Amendment is that we are determined, although we are liberal, we are not going to disregard economic conditions in toto. If you do not insist upon it that the men coming forward shall be men of character and experience, and men who at least have a sufficiency of stock or the means of getting them, then so far from helping the solution of the problem of the crofters in the congested districts you will be doing your very best to make the last state of the Highlands worse than the first.

MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick Burghs)

I am bound to say that certain: new facts have been brought to light in regard to this problem during the past year which I should have thought would have brought home conviction to my right hon. friend. It is impossible to deny that the state of matters in the Highlands is a state of peace, but of peace which must be followed, unless a change of policy ensues, by a state, I will not say of clamour, but of unrest which may have very serious consequences. Each year that passes over our heads sees us possessed of a smaller and smaller area of land for ordinary economic purposes. This is a serious fact. During the past twelve or fifteen years afforestation has been in a progressive state. Of the entire area of the Kingdom of Scotland, not less than 12 per cent. is now under deer and devoted to the purposes of sport alone. The House will see that this is at least a social problem which may not be without trouble in the future. It is impossible in a country like ours that a Crofters Act can pass without having its consequences, and I think the time has come when the House is able to fully recognise, in view of our past experience, that some extension of that measure is necessary. The Commission which was appointed in 1892 to inquire into a kindred subject gave us clearly to understand how beneficial had been the operation of that Act. The Act is one of which the Government who passed it may justly be proud. In regard to the relation of the crofter and the crofter population to the landlords, the situation had for long been one of chronic debt on the one hand, and chronic pursuit for debt on the other. The result of the Statute economically has been that about 27 per cent. of the entire rental of the crofting area has disappeared, and with regard to the arrears 70 per cent. has been completely wiped out. I venture to say that a policy that has been followed by such peace and contentment in the relations between landlord and tenant, after the passing of that measure, is a result which the authors of that Act can look back upon with much satisfaction. It is not only with regard to the relations between the crofters and their landlords that the Act has been beneficial. The House may remember that in 1892 there was laid on the Table of this House a report from the Deer Forests Commission. The personnel of that Commission was largely identical with the personnel of the Crofters Commission itself. They took that occasion to make certain remarks as to the alterations during the period succeeding the passing of the Crofters Act, and their verdict has been, with regard to the land possessed by the crofters, that such land is now better tilled, better drained, and better fenced than it ever was under the old system. An opinion like that, so manifestly favourable, is bound to have an effect upon the mind of the surrounding population. What has been the history of Ireland in this matter? You would never have had peace in Ireland upon this topic of land occupation unless you had been content to extend the benefit of such a statute to the leaseholder. I remember quoting a sentence from a speech made by Lord Salisbury, in which he brushed aside all those legal and technical subtleties founded on by the Lord Advocate, and said the leaseholder's position was that he held a longer tenure than the tenant at will, but that he was side by side with the tenant at will, and should, like him, have fixity of tenure and other rights. The result in Ireland has been eminently satisfactory, and why should the leaseholders of Scotland have the door slammed in their faces in this matter? I support my hon. friend who has moved this Amendment because I think it is a matter in which it is the duty of Scotch Members to iterate and reiterate, until the mind of the House becomes saturated with the necessity of this reform. On the other hand, the motion has reference to and a considerable bearing upon the operations of the Congested Districts Board, and here I do not think my right hon. friend has done very much service to that Board by laying the whole blame or the whole glory for its operations at one single door, namely, the door of the Secretary for Scotland. Of course I am not going to repeat here what I urged as strongly as I could when the Bill creating that Board was before this House, namely, that unless you give powers for the compulsory acquiring of land you were setting that body into existence tied hand and foot, and so fatally impeded its progress. There are many ways in which the expenditure of money in the Highlands can be undertaken for the benefit of the population. We have the expenditure of money for communication by roads, light railways, and the like; we have the expenditure in the case of the present Government by grants in aid of the taxpayers in agricultural districts. We also have the expenditure of money for industrial purposes under the Congested Districts Board Act; but at the bottom of all that expenditure we ought to have the expenditure of money upon a scheme for enabling crofters, or that class of people, to have land upon reasonable terms, on which they can work out their own betterment in life, and pay their taxes like their neighbours. Unless you do that you are only building a superstructure without laying the foundation. So far as we can gather the result up to the present is that the Congested Districts Board, which has been in existence for two and a half years, has obtained grants from the Treasury to the extent of £70,000. What has it done with regard to assisting the acquirement of land by the crofting population? The whole figure on that head amounts only to about £1,400 to £1,500.




Therefore the result of all this is that of this £70,000, the main purpose of which was to bring the people of the proper class back to the land, more especially in the neighbourhood of existing holdings, only 2 per cent. has been expended. What I fear is that the Congested Districts Board lacked power to begin with, and it also lacks nerve and resolution. It is impossible to have listened to such a speech as that delivered by my hon. friend the Member for Orkney without feeling that there is land in abundance in Scotland which could be acquired even without compulsory powers upon reasonable terms. The Treasury, however, has been substantially controlled by the Scotch Board, who will not bring the people back to the land. My right hon. friend made one I remark that I cannot say I listened to with very much satisfaction. He gave an instance of the rental arising from shooting and deer forests, and said the latter pays best. Yes, but whom does it pay? It may pay the landlord best, but does it pay the nation best? That other element is one which we may well consider at this moment, when our Highlanders are taking their share in battle for this country. There is another element besides the purely economic aspect of this question, and that is that you are gradually depleting the area of land on which you can grow a healthy and a hardy and a virile population. We know to-day what such people can do in times of war and in times of national trouble, and I want our legislation shaped upon lines and upon economic conditions, which will give the Highlands a chance of flourishing and of replenishing the British Empire in its strength.

DR. CLARK (Caithness-shire)

I am surprised that the Lord Advocate has taken the course which he has done to-night and opposed this Amendment. My hon. friend proposed as a compromise that if his very moderate demand were accepted he would give up the still more important portion, but the Lord Advocate does not even concede that which, time alter time, before the right hon. Gentleman was Lord Advocate, the leaders of both sides declared should be I given. When I listened to his speech to-night, I wished that the Lord Advocate knew really more of the facts of the case. He has told the House that this is a proposal made by those who wish to introduce Irish methods into Great Britain. Why, this proposal was first made fourteen years ago in this House; and by whom does he think? By a noble Lord who was the largest owner of land in Scotland—who owned more than a million acres. This proposal was first made in this House by the present Duke of Sutherland, who was then Marquess of Stafford—not by any crofter or an Irish- man, but by a man who owns more land than any other living person. Both sides admit that the leaseholder was in the same position as the holder from year to year. The bulk of the leaseholders are simply crofters who, having made improvements, are desirous of getting security for them, and they required protection much more than any other class. When the Conservative Government came into power they brought in a Bill which at once destroyed over 150,000 leases. We have been told that the Highland tenants were not harshly but generously rented, but fourteen years experience of the Crofters Act has demonstrated that they were more rack-rented than the Irish tenants. So that, as far as the case of the crofters is concerned, it has been made out that it is based upon equity and justice. Of course, the Government now refuse what we ask. My hon. friend in introducing this motion gave some very startling statistics regarding the great decrease of the population in our Highland counties. The facts stated did not give the House the impression that otherwise they might have done. The case is very much worse, as I will explain. Take Argyllshire, for instance. The hon. Member says that during forty years there has been a reduction in the population of Argyllshire of 20,000, and that is perfectly true. But it must be remembered that five or six big towns have grown up in Argyllshire during that period. The decrease in the rural population in the Highlands has been about one-half. What is the economic condition now as shown by the last returns? I won't take Skye or Lewes, which we have had before, but I will take Mull, which I do not think has ever come before us. During the forty years from 1841 to 1881 the population of Mull was reduced from 10,000 to 5,000, or 50 per cent., and what is the picture we get in the last report? It says that there are fifteen farms in Mull with an annual value of over £4,000, and they are now all in the hands of the Duke of Argyll. He has got to keep those farms with their stock, and he has them on his hands. That shows the failure of the old system. If we had a really active Congested Districts Board they would give relief to the Duke and the other great landlords, and take them out of the unfortunate position in which they now find themselves. That congestion in the Highlands is causing the growth of pauperism, and you have all the best people leaving the districts. The Lord Advocate wonders why we object to this, but I cannot see his logic, for if your best people go away and your worst remain, the country must deteriorate either intellectually, morally, or physically. Surely, as a patriotic Scotsman, the right hon. Gentleman cannot desire that. That is the reason why we object to it. Is this the case in Norway and Switzerland? How do we stand in Scotland? Our case has been brought year after year, before the House, and our facts have been admitted by the First Lord of the Treasury himself. The principle has been admitted and a remedy suggested, because for many years emigration has been urged by hon. Members on the opposite side of the House. That was tried, and large sums of money were voted by this Parliament, for the experiment. It is now admitted that the experiment was a dead failure, and the £20,000 which was voted might just as well have been pitched into the Thames. I have visited one of the settlements in Manitoba, and there was not a single soul left in the houses there. We ask for migration, and we say that there is plenty of land in Scotland. There was the Commission of 1890, and their Report demonstrated that there was plenty of land, and so that is not a mere statement made by us. They classified a scheme which showed that there was 794,000 acres capable of cultivation as new crofts. Half a million acres were recommended as farms of moderate size to give to the more enterprising people, and we did expect that the Congested Districts Board, after it was appointed, would have done something to carry out those recommendations. Two years ago the First Lord of the Treasury said we were in too big a hurry and expected results all at once. What has been the result of nearly three years experience? Why, that rather less than £1,500 has been spent in migrating the population. I admit that they are making arrangements to spend £18,000 more. The whole sum they have spent for every purpose has been about 10 per cent., and this £18,000 is only one half of the sum they will get this year, for they will receive £35,000. They still have £62,000 out of the £70,000 which was voted by this House two years ago. That is the con- dition of things we have got after nearly three years working of the Board. Having no compulsory powers, we knew from the beginning that they would not be able to do much, and all they have been able to do is to issue advertisements asking Highland landlords to sell their estates. But until you get compulsory powers you cannot get the land. We have been told that we do not suggest any remedy, but we have suggested remedies, and the House has practically admitted that our remedies are just and practical. Want of time during the session might make legislation impracticable, but there is no great question coming before the House which is likely to take up much time this session. There is no great party question

being brought forward; the measures proposed are such that all sides might feel inclined to pass. This is a session when there is no great burning political question, and therefore important legislation of this kind might be passed. Now we are told that nothing will be done by this Government, and what is worse, the Government have gone back from the position formerly taken up by the First Lord of the Treasury and the Cabinet by now opposing this matter on principle.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 113; Noes, 186. (Division List No. 5.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E. Flavin, Michael Joseph Oldroyd, Mark
Allan, William (Gateshead) Flynn, James Christopher O'Malley, William
Allison, Robert Andrew Gibney, James Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)
Asher, Alexander Goddard, Daniel Ford Parnell, John Howard
Ashton, Thomas Gair Griffith, Ellis J. Pearson, Sir Weetman D.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Gurdon, Sir William Brampton Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Hammond, John (Carlow) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Barlow, John Emmott Harrington, Timothy Pinkerton, John
Blake, Edward Hayden, John Patrick Power, Patrick Joseph
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Healy, Maurice (Cork) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Burt, Thomas Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth) Redmond, William (Clare)
Caldwell, James Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Holland, William Henry Robson, William Snowdon
Carew, James Laurence Horniman, Frederick John Roche, John (East Galway)
Carlile, William Walter Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Runciman, Walter
Causton, Richard Knight Jordan, Jeremiah Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Channing, Francis Allston Kearley, Hudson E. Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Clancy, John Joseph Kilbride, Denis Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)
Clark, Dr. G.B. (Caithness-sh.) Kinloch, Sir John George S. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Commins, Andrew Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'l'd) Strachey, Edward
Condon, Thomas Joseph Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Crean, Eugene Lough, Thomas Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)
Crilly, Daniel Lyell, Sir Leonard Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)
Daly, James Macaleese, Daniel Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Dalziel, James Henry MacDonnell, Dr. M.A. (Q'n's C.) Tully, Jasper
Dewar, Arthur MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Donelan, Captain A. M'Cartan, Michael Wason, Eugene
Doogan, P. C. M'Crae, George Weir, James Galloway
Dunn, Sir William M'Ghee, Richard Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Emmott, Alfred M'Kenna, Reginald Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)
Engledew, Charles John M'Leod, John Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Mandeville, J. Francis Woods, Samuel
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan Morton, Ed. J. C. (Devonport) Yoxall, James Henry
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Murnaghan, George
Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.) Nussey, Thomas Willans TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. M'Arthur.
Fenwick, Charles O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Ffrench, Peter O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Bethell, Commander
Arnold, Alfred Banbury, Frederick George Bill, Charles
Arrol, Sir William Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S.- (Hunts.) Blakiston-Houston, John
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Brassey, Albert
Bailey, James (Walworth) Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John
Brookfield, A. Montagu Hanson, Sir Reginald Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Butcher, John George Hardy, Laurence Parkes, Ebenezer
Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin) Hare, Thomas Leigh Penn, John
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Haslett, Sir James Horner Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.) Heath, James Pierpoint, Robert
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Helder, Augustus Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Henderson, Alexander Plunkett, Rt. Hon. Horace C.
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Hill, Sir Edward Stock (Bristol) Pollock, Harry Frederick
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hornby, Sir William Henry Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Charrington, Spencer Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Pretyman, Ernest George
Clarke, Sir Edw. (Plymouth) Hudson, George Bickersteth Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Purvis, Robert
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.) Quilter, Sir Cuthbert
Colston, Charles E. H. Athole Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies Rankin, Sir James
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez Edw. Rentoul, James Alexander
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg'w) Johnston, William (Belfast) Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hart'pl)
Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W. Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Kenyon, James Royds, Clement Molyneux
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham
Curzon, Viscount Keswick, William Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Dalkeith, Earl of Kimber, Henry Rutherford, John
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Knowles, Lees Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Dorington, Sir John Edwd. Lafone, Alfred Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Doughty, George Lawrence, Sir E. Durning- (Corn Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry) Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Curry Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'nsea Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool) Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)
Finch, George H. Lorne, Marquess of Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lowe, Francis William Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Fisher, William Hayes Loyd, Archie Kirkman Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Fitz Wygram, General Sir F. Lucas-Shadwell, William Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Fletcher, Sir Henry Macartney, W. G. Ellison Stock, James Henry
Flower, Ernest Macdona, John Cumming Stone, Sir Benjamin
Forster, Henry William MacIver, David (Liverpool) Strutt, Hn. Charles Hedley
Galloway, William Johnson Maclure, Sir John William Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier
Garlit, William M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox'fd Univ.
Gedge, Sydney M'Killop, James Thorburn, Sir Walter
Gibbons, J. Lloyd Maple, Sir John Blundell Thornton, Percy M.
Giles, Charles Tyrrell Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E. Tritton, Charles Ernest
Goldsworthy, Major-General Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J. Webster, Sir Richard E.
Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. George's Milward, Colonel Victor Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.
Goulding, Edward Alfred Monckton, Edward Philip Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Graham, Henry Robert Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Williams, Joseph Powell (Birm
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) More, Robert Jasper (Shrops.) Willox, Sir John Archibald
Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'y) Morton, Arth. H.A. (Deptford) Wyndham, George
Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Mount, William George Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Greville, Hon. Ronald Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Gull, Sir Cameron Murray, Charles, J. (Coventry) TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George Myers, William Henry
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens

Main question again proposed.