HC Deb 19 April 1901 vol 92 cc745-65

Order for Second Reading read.

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

* MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid)

, in moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said he hoped hon. Members would bear with him while he endeavoured to convince them that this was not a measure which ought to receive the sanction of Parliament, and that it was one that was utterly opposed to public policy inasmuch as it increased a monopoly which had already grown to a too serious extent, in addition to which it might be described as a bold attempt to set aside a well considered discussion of the House of Commons. He trusted that hon. Members would come to the conclusion that it was nothing more or less than an insidious attempt to get round a deliberate decision of Parliament and to adopt a course which was in the highest degree injurious to the public interest. He would not enter into details as to the evil existing from the present railway monopoly. What he proposed to do was to attempt to show that this measure amounted to a breach of faith with Parliament and the public, and that moreover it was being promoted solely in the interests of the monopolists and was contrary to public policy. The new railway proposed to be constructed under the Bill was a junction connecting the Kingscourt and Armagh. Railway with the Great Northern Railway at Castleblaney. It was proposed to abandon a line, the construction of which had been authorised, between Kingscourt and Castleblaney, where it would join the Midland Great Western Railway. The line it was proposed to abandon was really a competitive and alternative route from Dublin to Armagh and other great towns in the North of Ireland. One of the striking advantages of the original scheme was that it would open up an entirely new district and would afford competition. That scheme received the sanction of a Committee of the House of Commons, whilst a scheme practically identical with that of the present Bill, which was also brought before the House by the Great Northern Railway of Ireland, was rejected by the Committee. Personally he was in no way financially interested in these railway undertakings, but he was interested as a matter of public convenience, because he looked at the advantages which would accrue from the adoption of a Bill which would enable a competitive route to be opened up. He was of opinion that that competitive line would be very useful to the district. Twenty-five witnesses who were called before the Committee to give evidence in support of the Kingscourt scheme, almost all of whom, having business connections with the district, were unanimous upon the matter. Those gentlemen were farmers, merchants, manufacturers, and others who knew the real requirements of the people and the locality, and they were unanimously in favour of an independent and competitive line. He opposed this Bill because it would create a monopoly which would cause the greatest possible inconvenience to the people of the localities concerned. It would, in fact, be a breach of faith to the people, a flagrant breach of faith with Parliament, and might be described as a gross breach of faith on the part of some of the Kingscourt directors with their colleagues. In his opinion the passing of this Bill would mean defeating of the legitimate expectations of the people of Armagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Meath, and the adjacent counties. The Bill asked the permission of Parliament for an arrangement that would, as he had before said, constitute a breach of faith with the House itself. The Committee last year recognised the advantages attached to an alternative and competitive route between Dublin and the North—advantages which were insisted upon by a large number of influential witnesses who described the crippling effects upon agriculture and manufactures, of the excessive rates at present charged by the Great Northern Railway Company, and Parliament having sanctioned the alternative route and rejected the Great Northern Company's blocking scheme he was surprised that the House should now be asked to deliberately reverse its decision by what he could only describe as a trick on the part of some of the directors of the company. So confident were the Midland and Great Western Railway Company in the success of an independent loop line that they expressed their intention of investing large sums of money in the concern, and the Committee sanctioned the Bill because they were induced to believe in the bona fides of the venture. But shortly after the passage of the Bill of last year arrangements were made by three of the Kingscourt directors, without the knowledge of the Chairman of the Board, practically to hand the line over to the Great Northern Company, and if the scheme were allowed to pass the monopoly of that company in the part of Ireland concerned would be established and confirmed. He moved that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.

* MR. ARCHDALE (Fermanagh, N.)

, in seconding the motion, said that every public board and every man, whether Nationalist or Conservative, in the northwest portion of Ireland affected by this scheme was against the Bill. The proposal was really in direct contravention of an agreement between the promoters of the Kingscourt Bill and a Committee of the House. The Great Northern Railway had a splendid service between Dublin and Belfast, but it starved other districts. If the present Bill was allowed to pass it would prevent the inhabitants of the district affected having any competing line with the Great Northern Railway, which had a greater monopoly than any line in the country.

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

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

MR. DE TATTON EGERTON (Cheshire, Knutsford)

thought it his duty, as Chairman of the Committee which passed the Kingscourt Bill last year, to point out that the line was originally intended to be an alternative route between Dublin and Belfast, passing through a district which would help to feed the line independently of any traffic from the two ends. The present Bill proposed to do away entirely with the work of that Committee, as it would throw back the whole country into the hands of the Great Northern Company. In view of the necessity for an alternative through route opening up a completely new district, and one which would be beneficial to the public at large, the Committee accepted the evidence placed before them as to the bona fides of the promoters, and passed the Bill. As he understood, the promoters of the present measure had gone behind the back of the Chairman of the Board, and were endeavouring to undo the work of last year. With this statement he would leave the matter in the hands of the House to settle.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

said there could be no question that the original scheme was a great deal better in the interests of Ireland than the proposal now before the House. He, however, had received resolutions from the County Council of Louth, the Dundalk Urban District Council, the Dundalk Rural District Council, the Dundalk Board of Guardians, and the Dundalk Harbour Commissioners—all in his constituency—asking him to support the Bill, and in deference to the wishes of his constituents he should reluctantly do so. The hon. Member for Mid Armagh had issued a statement that the Midland and Great Western Railway Company of Ireland were prepared, if the present Bill were defeated, to enter into an agreement by which the Kingscourt Railway, as authorised by the Act of 1900, would probably be constructed, and its competitive character restored and established. The House should remember, however, that during the last forty or fifty years not a single extension of line had been carried out in Ireland except by an existing railway company or by help from the British Government in the shape of a public guarantee. If this Bill was rejected no part of the line would be made. He therefore suggested that the Bill should be sent to a Committee; the statement with regard to the Midland Company could then be inquired into, the people concerned cross-examined, and their guarantees to construct the line taken. A clause could also be inserted in the Bill suspending its operation for one or two years, in order to give the Midland Company a chance to carry out the original scheme.


admitted there was a great amount of difference of opinion on matters of detail as to what had been and might be done, but to discuss those matters on the Second Reading of the Bill was almost absurd. Members had been reminded that there were a large number of questions at issue between the Great Northern and Midland Companies, but was the House of Commons a fit tribunal to sit upon those questions? The proper course was to send the Bill to a Committee upstairs. The prevailing opinion in Belfast was that the Bill should be so dealt with, for this reason. They had the promise of the Midland Railway Company that the railway would be made by them in its entirety, and if the Bill went to a Committee the value of that promise could be tested. He, therefore, suggested that the ordinary course should be followed, so that the Bill could be discussed before a quasi- judicial tribunal.


urged that the promoters of the scheme had never given the public a chance to find the necessary capital. The ink was hardly dry on the Act of Parliament before these gentlemen were negotiating with the Great Northern Railway Company. It was unreasonable that matters should be allowed to remain as they were for another year by the Bill being sent to a Committee. Such a step would be giving approval to a course of conduct of which it was the business of the House to mark its disapproval. The real question was whether there had been a breach of faith with a Parliamentary Committee as well as with the public. The charge against the promoters was that by certain designs and representations they induced the people to believe that if they supported the Bill a measure would be granted by which an alter native route would be provided between Armagh and Dublin. His constituent were deceived as well. They requested him to give evidence, but, as he sail before, throughout the whole length and breadth of Ireland not a single local body could be found to recommend the scheme to the House of Commons He submitted, with all respect, that he had established that these gentlemen had humbugged a Committee of the House of Commons, and it was the bounden duty of the House to mark its disapproval of such conduct. He wished to press on the attention of the House what was stated by Mr. Balfour Browne, who opened the case last yea before the Committee for the promoters He said— Now I propose, with your permission, to tell you something about the Kingscourt, Keady, and Armagh Railway. I appear with my learned friends, Mr. Pollock, Mr. Bushe, avid Mr. Rowlands, for the promoters, and the Bill is for power to incorporate a company to construct a railway from Kings court, through Carrickmacross, through Castleblaney, and through Keady, to join the Great Northern Railway at Armagh, I believe the total length of the railway is about thirty-six miles. It has one very important feature that will be obvious to you on the cartoon—it connects the system of the Great Northern of Ireland with the system of the Midland Great Western of Ireland, the Great Northern lines on that cartoon being indicated by green, the Midland Great Western being indicated in blue. It will make a new route between the North of Ireland and Dublin, and that is one of the most important features of the scheme, and I believe that you will have tables of distances put before you that it will be a route taking Armagh as a common point, five miles shorter between Armagh and Dublin, than by the present existing Great Northern route via Newry and Dundalk. That of itself is a very important matter, and it is a matter which was entirely overlooked, I think, by the Committee which sat upon this Bill, and determined the pre amble was not proved last year. Later on in his statement Mr. Bailout Browne said— A railway company has no vested right in its traffic. It is there providing a road for the public to use, and if the public wants two roads the public ought to have them unless there are some countervailing disadvantages which would make you respect it. Here, Sir, there is not a word to be said against our line from beginning to end except by the Great Northern Railway, There is not a landowner opposing. Every one of the local authorities—every one of the county councils—every body in the district, has petitioned or passed resolutions or is in support of our line, and there is no one here to say that this line should not be made except a company that is dividing 6¾ per cent.—I do not complain of that—but a rich company that wants to maintain its monopoly in the north-east of Ireland. Sir, I do not think that is a ground for rejecting a Bill. I hope it will not be made a ground in this case. Is it necessary that this line should be made? The hon. Member wished the House to understand that the necessity for this line was recognised so long ago as 1837, but matters progressed so slowly in Ireland, especially in industrial development, that here sixty-four years afterwards they were discussing whether the line was to be made at all. Mr. Balfour Browne referred to the fact that in 1837 a Royal Commission on Irish railways recommended that a railway running up from Navan to Armagh should be made, and the learned counsel continued— That is a long time ago, but ever since the people in this district have been urging the Great Northern or somebody to make a line; and in the year 1894 the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland promoted a line running over practically one route from Kingscourt, where they are just now to join the Great Northern at Armagh. The Midland Great Western thought it was necessary. I have an opportunity, from the circular they sent to their shareholders, of giving you the opinion of the directors of that railway company as to the utility of this line. What Happened? When that line was promoted the Great Northern, in order to maintain its monopoly, went and canvassed the shareholders of the rival railway company—of the Midland Company—canvassed them to vote against this line; and so many did vote against the line that the Midland Railway Company did not get the requisite majority—they got a majority, but they did not get the requisite majority, so they had to withdraw that line which they themselves said was necessary in the interests of the public. He would not trouble the House with any further quotations from the speech of the counsel for the promoters. He should like, however, to quote a few words from the evidence of the promoters themselves. Mr. Worthington, who was the principal promoter of this railway, was examined by Mr. Balfour Browne as follows— It was said last year that it was your intention to sell the railway it Parliament gave you the power to construct it? There was not the slightest ground for such a statement. We had no intention whatever, and I believe it was said after we had called our evidence, when we had no opportunity of contradicting it, but you want to emphatically contradict it now?—Yes. Your object as one of the promoters is to have this railway made?—Yes. With your experience of Irish railways—I will not go over the evidence we have had—do you think, first of all, that the district requires a railway?—Clearly it does. Do you think also that a through rate from Armagh to Dublin will be an advantage to both those great centres?—Undoubtedly. Knowing Ireland well, do you think the district is so good as many others in which railways have been made?—It is a great deal better than many districts in which I have made railways. Besides that, will it develop traffic that does not exist at the present time?—It will no doubt. [Cries of "Divide."] He had a great deal more evidence he should like to have the opportunity of reading, but in deference to the wish of the House he would not pursue that course. His apology for troubling the House with these quotations—it was rather curious to have to offer an apology—was that this was a matter that concerned his constituency and the constituency of his hon. friend the Member for Mid Armagh, which almost adjoined each other. They knew the interest the public took in having a competitive and alternative route. Up to the 9th of April the rates on the Great Northern Railway were excessively and prohibitively high, but from a paper he had received from his constituency it appeared that within the last ten days the company had taken a step of the most extraordinary character, which he thought gave an insight into their style of management. There was in the town of Newry an important grass-seed industry. A large warehouse was established there, where seed was prepared for the market. It was not thriving, but it was not quite defunct. He believed that the last regulation of the Great Northern Railway Company was quite likely to destroy it. The rate for grass-seed from Belfast to Dublin was 8s. per ton, and from Newry, which was little more than half the way—he thought the distance was 70 miles against 112—the rate was 9s. 2d. per ton. The rate for potatoes was now raised from 5s. to 7s. 6d.


said these matters were not relevant to the question before the House.


said he quite accepted the ruling. He concluded by reading a letter be bad received from a Member of the Committee that sat upstairs on the Bill supporting the views be bad put before the House.


said he understood that his hon. friend the Member for Newry opposed the Bill, though he thought his speech would more incline one to believe that the best way to get out of the tangle would be to send the Bill upstairs to a Committee. The right hon. and gallant Member had signed a whip in opposition to this Bill, because he was not impressed when he signed that whip that the Midland Railway were ready to plank down the money in order that this railway should be made. He was in favour of the railway being made at all hazards, because he thought it would be of advantage to a considerable part of Ireland. He should be very glad at the same time to see the competitive element brought into the railway scheme. But if the railway was not to be made, and the Midland Railway Company did not mean to plank down the money and defeat the object of the Great Northern, then he thought the best thing they could do was to send the Bill to a Committee upstairs. He ventured to say that next year, if the Committee found that either company had been acting unfairly and had no intention of carrying out a railway which would be beneficial to the country, the House would carry some scheme which would nave the effect of giving to that part of Ireland the railway accommodation it required. Personally he hoped that the result of the deliberations of the Committee would be that the railway, when made, would be made on the competitive principle.


I do not rise in order to express my opinion on the merits of the Bill, for that, indeed, is not the question before the House. The question is whether we shall or shall not this afternoon depart from the usual practice of sending such measures up to a Committee. That question has been very keenly argued. A somewhat strong case has been made out by the Member for Mid Armagh, who was reinforced by the Member for the Knutsford Division. On the face of it, and on the argument they put forward, it looks as if there has been a breach of faith on the part of the promoters, and that they secured the assent of the Committee to their scheme on promises which have since been broken. If that argument stood alone, and if we were able to accept that argument altogether, then I think a case would have been made out for taking the unusual course of rejecting the Bill on the Second Reading; but after listening to two or three speeches I should hesitate to pronounce definitely upon an intricate case of that kind, and should like to hear witnesses examined before I would dare to say that the promoters are not acting in good faith. It would be a serious matter if this House were to reject the Bill on the Second Reading after listening to two or three speeches without offering the promoters an opportunity of showing that they are acting in good faith. The only other argument to which I shall refer is this. A suggestion has been made that the Midland Company gave some encouragement to the promoters of the Bill of last year, and that they are not making good that encouragement. If this through line cannot be made without the assistance of the Midland Company, and the Midland Company have given no sufficient evidence of the fact that they intend to give that assistance—what a difficult question that is to resolve in this House! Surely that is a question on which we should need to hear evidence and assure ourselves whether the Midland Company do or do not mean to assist in making the through route. But when we have to decide upon the relative probability of each, and upon the value of one by comparison with another, then I must say for my part I could not come to a decision without the assistance usually given by a Committee upstairs.

* MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

said he took great interest in the railway affairs of Ireland. He remembered reading long ago that one of the most eminent railway experts said: "If the State does not govern the railways, the railways will soon govern the State." It appeared to him that they had arrived at that stage. They had the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Secretary to the, Admiralty, the ex Chief Secretary, and present President of the Board of Trade making the suggestion that what was determined by the House of Commons last session should be thrown altogether overboard, and that they should give the Great Northern Company an opportunity to so manipulate affairs that they would be able to gain the end they had in view. Where were they now? They had the Government and several interested Members on one side, and they had public utility and the Members representing the district on the other. He had some experience of what railway monopoly in Ireland meant. Practically the carrying companies claimed to detain stock as long as they liked, and to deliver it in what condition they chose. He gave the Chief Secretary credit for doing the best he could, but he had as much knowledge of this subject as any Member on the Ministerial Bench, fie was for nearly six monthson the Select Committee appointed to inquire into railway and canal rates and charges, and as the result of his experience he came to the conclusion that the object of railway managers and railway witnesses was to befog the Committee. The end of it was to make confusion worse confounded. There were in Ireland at present four or five railway companies, and they were absolutely kings and lords of the districts in which the lines ran. They had and exercised the power of assessing the residents through rates and charges, and of unduly favouring certain centres at the expense of other districts. Except on the great main arteries between Dublin and Belfast, the autocrats of the Great Northern treated the public in whatever way they thought proper. He trusted the Government would not actively interfere in this matter. If they sent this Bill to a Committee of the House, and if it came back recommended by the Committee, hon. Members would argue that they could not go against the recommendation of the Committee. The, scheme of last year was the proper one to adopt. The House was getting almost tired of railway Bills, and the railway managers ought to be a little more considerate in taking up the time of this House. A Grand Committee should take up this question, and lay down definite principles, in order to prevent the time of the House being wasted by private railway Bills of this character. The great element of an alternative way, which would make this railway useful as a competing route from Dublin with the Great Northern Railway, had been absolutely left out of this Bill. He believed that the common sense and the commercial instincts of hon. Members of this House would defeat this Bill. They should not allow it to be read a second time, because the element of public utility, which ought to be the basis of all legislation, was absent. He trusted therefore that the House would reject the Bill, as the entire management of the Irish railway system called for immediate and drastic changes.


said the chief question before the House was whether there had been a breach of faith with the Committee of the House. They had to ask themselves whether a reasonable prima facie case had been made out in favour of this Bill going to a Committee. They were now in a position to investigate the statements which had been made pro and con, and the question was whether it was not the duty of this House, after having heard conflicting statements, to send this Bill to a Committee of the House, which, presumably, would take evidence without bias, and would report to this House the result. It was more than clear that among five members of the Kingscourt Railway board there was some conflict of opinion, and if there was a difference of opinion between those five members, surely that was not a question which this House could arrange, and it was a matter that should be brought forward fairly and squarely before a Committee of the House. It had been suggested that there would be a breach of faith if this Bill was adopted, but one of the clauses in the Bill passed last year actually opened the door for this Bill. There were certain running powers in connection with the Midland Railway. Sub-section 7 of Clause 51 says— Provided that the running powers over the railway of the Midland Company granted by this section shall cease in the event of the undertaking being sold or of the railways being worked by the Great Northern Railway. That was the very thing that was being done or contemplated by the Act which the House were now asked to send to the Committee. Surely if there were any means of interpreting plain language it was clear that, inferentially, such a scheme was contemplated. Evidence was taken upon that point, and the result was that this clause was added to the Bill. They had been told that this railway could not be made without a subsidy, and up to the present, so far as they knew, not one solitary farthing of capital had been planked down. They had had a great many hazy statements brought before them, and a great many had also been reported in the press. A Bill was now brought forward to make a railway through a paying part of the line where the manufacturing districts in Ireland required it. Tho representatives of every leading manufacture in the districts between Armagh and Keady were unanimous in favour of this Bill. [Cries of "No, no."] Yes they were, for he had gone into the matter with them. He thought this difference of opinion showed the necessity for having this Bill referred to a Committee. The argument in favour of referring this Bill to a Committee was irresistible. When the Midland Railway were approached by the other company they declined to carry out their verbal agreement, and now the line was being auctioned between two companies, and bandied about as in a game of battledore and shuttlecock. They would rather not have any Bill at all than not have the whole Bill. He thought it might be very fairly claimed that, under the circumstances, this Bill should be sent to a Committee where witnesses could be examined on oath. He earnestly asked the House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill, and let the measure go to a Committee in order to sift the evidence and find out what were the real wants and necessities of the district.

MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)

said that out of the thirty-six miles of railway dealt with by this Bill twenty miles passed through his constituency. He desired to point out to the House that there was not a public body in all Monaghan, from the county council downwards, which was not opposed to this Bill, and in favour of the Bill passed last year. The Bill before the House prevented Dublin having the benefit of any competition, and gave a monopoly to Belfast. He was very sorry that the Member for one of the divisions of Belfast, who was a member of the Government, had interfered in this matter. If this Bill was passed it would prevent for all time the establishment of a competitive line of railway with the Great Northern line, which was so much needed in Ireland. Was the House of Commons going to be a party to allowing two railway companies to divide Ireland between themselves, in order that those monopolies might extract all the money they could out of the unfortunate traders who were obliged to send their goods along those railways? In Ireland they were quite differently situated to England and Scotland, because in those countries the people were able to consume nearly all their own produce. In Ireland, however, most of the produce had to be sent to England and Scotland for consumption, and the Great Northern Railway Company were practically squeezing the life-blood out of the people of the constituency which he represented by charging such high rates. It cost them more at the present time to send one hundredweight of oats to Dublin than to Liverpool. By the line sanctioned last year the people living in the north-east portion of Ireland would be provided with a competitive line, by which they could send their goods to the capital of Ireland and to Belfast. If the Bill before the House was passed, who was going to fight it upstairs? If it was sent upstairs the whole energy of the Northern Railway Company would be used in favour of the Bill, and he hoped that it would be rejected at the present stage.


said that as a Member of the Committee which adopted the Bill of last year, he wished to place before the House his recollection of what took place before the Committee. They inquired very carefully into the needs of the district, and they found that for the general benefit of that district it was necessary that there should be a competing line. They came clearly to the conclusion that the rates charged by the Great Northern Railway were high, and that if it was allowed to have a monopoly it would be detrimental to that district. They were very careful to ascertain that it was the intention of the company not to sell it to the Great Northern Railway for a certain number of years. It was on the understanding that the line would not be sold to the Great Northern Railway that the preamble of the Bill was passed. If Parliament were now to go back upon the decision arrived at last year he believed that they would be doing great harm to the district concerned.

MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)

said he wished to corroborate most emphatically what had been said by the hon. and gallant Member for Taunton, and also what had been stated by other hon. Members, that if this Bill was passed there would never be any competitive route established at all. He entirely endorsed what had been said by his colleagues on the Committee in regard to this Bill.

SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I should like to say a word upon this question with reference to the attitude which the House is bound to assume towards its own Committee, and the carrying out of an honourable understanding and pledge given to that Committee. The Chief Secretary for Ireland has stated that there was a conflict of evidence as to the transactions which took place at the Committee, which ought to be examined by a fresh Committee. After hearing the evidence of hon. Members who have spoken, of the Chairman of the Committee, and also the letter from another member of the Committee, I venture to say that such a reason as that given by the Chief Secretary for Ireland falls to the ground. We have heard the evidence of four of the members of the Committee which passed the Bill of last year, to the effect that there was a distinct and honourable understanding given with reference to future action in respect of this railway, and if the House now allows a wealthy railway company to endeavour to upset the bargain made in the Committee upstairs it will strike a fatal blow at the carrying on of private Bill business in an honourable manner. I think the reasons given by hon. Members from Ireland with reference to the needs of the district and the necessity for a competitive line in that district have not been answered, and are unanswerable. But apart altogether from this, I say that this House ought to uphold the decisions and bargains entered into by its Committees, and I shall certainly vote against the Second Reading of this Bill.


said that there was no doubt whatever that the present Bill would destroy the arrangement made by the Bill of last year, but the right hon. Gentleman must have forgotten that there was serious danger that if the Bill before the House were not allowed to go to a Committee, not necessarily to be passed, the result would be that neither the scheme of the Bill nor the scheme of last year had any chance of being carried out. There was considerable evidence to show that there was an understanding on the part of the promoters, rightly or wrongly, last year, that they would be assisted in the construction of the railway by the Midland Company, and if there was any such understanding—he did not wish to express a definite opinion regarding it—the Midland Company had now withdrawn from it, with the consequence that there was no prospect of raising capital for the construction of the line. That brought a new chapter into the matter, and it appeared to him that the House would be well advised to allow the Bill to go to a Committee in the usual way. The Committee could examine as to whether there was anything which deserved the title of a breach of faith, and if there were, the course that would be adopted was clear enough. But if there was not a breach of faith, and it was thought desirable that the question should be considered afresh, then it would be possible for the Midland Company to come forward and make a definite offer as to what they were prepared to do. [Sir H. FOWLER: Who is to pay the costs?] There was something besides costs to be considered, and that was the public interest. Having listened most carefully and in an impartial spirit to the discussion, he did not think that it would be to the public interest that the House should decide the question itself.

MR. NOLAN (Louth, S.)

said he would have preferred to give a silent vote on the question but for some of the observations made in the course of the debate. His hon. friend had stated that there had been certain corrupt influences at work to promote the Bill, but as far as he was concerned he wished it to be distinctly understood that he had not been approached by anyone in favour of the Bill. On the other hand, he had been very strongly urged to oppose the Bill. It had been stated that local opinion was opposed to the Bill, but he held in his hand a resolution passed by the county council of Louth in favour of it. With regard to the statement of his hon. friend the Member for Newry that Dundalk had been subsidised by the Great Northern Company, he wished to say publicly that he knew two of the gentlemen concerned, one of whom was a friend of thirty years standing, and that there were not two more honourable or upright men in Europe. He had

nothing to say with reference to the merits of the Bill, but he thought there was a great deal of force in the argument of the hon. Member for North Louth, with whom he did not always agree, that the Bill should be sent to a Committee and that the Midland Company or others who desired to have the Kingscourt and Armagh Railway constructed in accordance with last year's Bill should be given an opportunity of submitting their proposals.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 114; Noes, 244. (Division List No. 129.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex, F. Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Garfit, William O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Aird, Sir John Gibbs, Hn A G H. (City of London Parkes, Ebenezer
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham
Anstruther, H. T. Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Percy, Earl
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Purvis, Robert
Arrol, Sir William Goschen, Hn. George Joachim Randles, John S.
Baird, John George Alexander Graham, Henry Robert Reid, James (Greenock)
Baldwin, Alfred Gunter, Colonel Rentoul, James Alexander
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds Hain, Edward Ropner, Col. Robert
Banbury, Frederick George Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x Rutherford, John
Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor) Healy, Timothy Michael Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Heath, James (Staffords, N. W. Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Bond, Edward Henderson, Alexander Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Higginbottom, S. W. Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Brassey, Albert Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampst'd) Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.
Brookfield, Col. Montagu Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, F.) Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Butcher, John George Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E. Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Gl'sg'w Horner, Frederick William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Howard, John (Kent, Faversh Valentia, Viscount
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Walker, Col. William Hall
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Walrond, Rt Hn. Sir Wm. H.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Wharton, Rt. Hn. J. Lloyd
Charrington, Spencer Lawson, John Grant Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u-Lyne
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham Whitmore, Chas. Algernon
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Williams, Osmond (Merioneth
Cranborne, Viscount Llewellyn, Evan Henry Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)
Denny, Col. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S. Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Dickson, Charles Scott Lowe, Francis William Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks
Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield Lowther, Rt Hn J W (Cum Penr. Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Dixon Hartland, Sir Fred. D. Macdona, John Cumming Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Doxford, Sir William Theodore M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs. Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriessh.) Wyndham, Rt. Hn. George
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Milward, Colonel Victor Young, Commander (Berks, E.
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Younger, William
Fisher, William Hayes Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Fison, Frederick William Newdigate, Francis Alex. Sir James Haslett and Mr. William Johnston.
FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose- Nicholson, William Graham
Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E. Asher, Alexander Bell, Richard
Allan, William (Gateshead) Ashton, Thomas Gair Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.
Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud Asquith, Rt Hn. Herbert Henry Bill, Charles
Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy Blundell, Col. Henry
Allsopp, Hon. George Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Boland, John
Ambrose, Robert Bartley, George C. T. Boulnois, Edmund
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn
Boyle, James Hay, Hon. Claude George Peel, Hn Wm. Robert Wellesley
Brigg, John Hayden, John Patrick Pemberton, John S. G.
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Philipps, John Wynford
Bullard, Sir Harry Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Pilkington, Richard
Burke, E. Haviland- Helme, Norval Watson Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Burns, John Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Plummer, Walter R.
Burt, Thomas Hermon-Hodge, Robert T. Power, Patrick Joseph
Buxton, Sydney Charles Holland, William Henry Price, Robert John
Caine, William Sproston Hope, J. F. (Sheffield Brightside
Caldwell, James Horniman, Frederick John Rea, Russell
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Hudson, George Bickersteth Reddy, M.
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Jacoby, James Alfred Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)
Causton, Richard Knight Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Redmond, William (Clare)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Jordan, Jeremiah Renwick George
Cawley, Frederick Joyce, Michael Rickett, J. Compton
Channing, Francis Allston Kearley, Hudson E. Ridley, Hon. M. W. (St'ly bridge
Churchill, Winston Spencer Kennedy, Patrick James Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Clancy, John Joseph Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury) Roberts, J. H. (Denbighshire)
Cogan, Denis J. Labouchere, Henry Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lambert, George Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Law, Andrew Bonar Robinson, Brooke
Colville, John Layland-Barratt, Francis Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Leamy, Edmund Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Leng, Sir John Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S. Schwann, Charles E.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Levy, Maurice Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh
Craig, Robert Hunter Lewis, John Herbert Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)
Crombie, John William Lloyd-George, David Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Lough, Thomas Shipman, Dr. John G.
Cullinan, J. Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent) Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lundon, W. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Daly, James MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Smith, H C (North'mb. Tynesi'e
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Soares, Ernest J.
Delany, William M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Spear, John Ward
Dewar, T. R (T'rH'ml'ts, S. Geo. M'Cann, James Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (N'rth'nts
Dickinson, Robert Edmond M'Crae, George Spencer, E. (W. Bromwich)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles M'Dermott, Patrick Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Dillon, John M'Govern, T. Stevenson, Francis S.
Donelan, Captain A. M'Kenna, Reginald Stone, Sir Benjamin
Doogan, P. C. M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire Strachey, Edward
Doughty, George M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Sullivan, Donal
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Taylor, Theodore Cooke
Duffy, William J. Malcolm, Ian Tennant, Harold John
Duke, Henry Edward Manners, Lord Cecil Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.
Duncan, J. Hastings Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r
Dunn, Sir William Markham, Arthur Basil Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gow'r
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Minch, Matthew Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.
Emmott, Alfred Mooney, John J. Thornton, Percy M.
Esmonde, Sir Thomas More, Robt. Jas. (Shropshire) Tomkinson, James
Faber, George Denison Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Morley, Rt. Hn John (Montrose Tully, Jasper
Farrell, James Patrick Morton, Arthur H A. (Deptford) Ure, Alexander
Field, William Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Vincent, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Muntz, Philip A. Wallace, Robert
Flower, Ernest Murnaghan, George Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Forster, Henry William Murphy, J. Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Warr, Augustus Frederick
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Nannetti, Joseph P. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Furness, Sir Christopher Nicol, Donald Ninian Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans Nolan, Col John P. (Galway, N. Webb, Col. William George
Gilhooly, James Norman, Henry Weir, James Galloway
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. John Nussey, Thomas Willans Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE. (Taunton
Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby- O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)
Goulding, Edward Alfred O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Grant, Corrie O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.) O'Dowd, John Willox, Sir John Archibald
Grenfell, William Henry O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Wills, Sir Frederick
Groves, James Grimble O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.
Guthrie, Walter Murray O'Mall'ey, William Yoxall, James Henry
Hammond, John O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Hardie, J Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Shee, James John TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Harris, Frederick Leverton Partington, Oswald Mr. Lonsdale and Mr. Morris.
Harwood, George Paulton, James Mellor

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Second Reading put oft for six months.