§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Wexford, N.)
We wish to take this opportunity of drawing attention to the condition of Local Government in Ireland. At this moment the situation in regard to local administration in that country is sufficiently serious to engage the attention of Parliament. Grave dissatisfaction exists, is increasing, and is likely to increase, owing to the policy of the Local Government Board towards the local authorities. As a consequence of this dissatisfaction the efficiency of Irish Local Government will be seriously compromised. Irish local bodies are animated with a sincere desire to administer the Local Government Act to the greatest advantage of the community. I can speak from my own experience. Since I have had the honour to be associated in the administration of the local affairs of my own county with the County Council of Wexford and the District Council and the Board of Guardians of Gorey, I can speak of the zeal, energy, and self-sacrifice with which the members of these bodies have since the inception of the Irish Local Government Act endeavoured to do their duty to the public. The same may be said of the local bodies all over Ireland. Their members have cheerfully sacrificed their time, their convenience, and their money to discharge their duties to the greatest possible public advantage. The Local Government Act is a complicated and badly-drafted measure. The Irish local authorities have worked hard to make the best of it, and, in spite of the imperfections of the Act, and in spite of the complexity of the Act, they have succeeded to a wonderful extent. Our local bodies are universally and specially anxious to diminish the expense of ad-ministration, but, notwithstanding all their efforts, we find that the expense of local administration in Ireland increases every year by leaps and bounds. One would have thought that in their endeavours to administrate the Act efficiently, and to keep down the expense of administration, the Irish local authorities would have had the assistance of the Local Government Board for Ireland, but at every point they have been hampered and obstructed by the Local Government Board, with the result that 1389 intense dissatisfaction prevails all over the country at their unwarranted interference.
The action of the Local Government Hoard, speaking generally, is quite un-constitutional; we believe that it is in many cases illegal. A significant case in point is that of the Wexford County Council, to which I mean shortly to refer. Hitherto the high-handed action of the Local Government Board has been allowed to pass unchallenged. This is not so likely to occur in the future, as the result of certain cases which have been recently decided in the Law Courts. I foresee in consequence an enormous increase of litigation throughout the country, with a corresponding waste of public money, unless the authority of Parliament is immediately used to stop the evil.
The case of Wexford proves the necessity of thoroughly examining, and as far as possible resisting, the mandates of the Local Government Board. The last stage of this Wexford dispute is set out in a Return presented the other day which is in the hands of Members. But before dealing with the case may I say a word about the Return itself? The Return is drawn up in a confusing manner; for instance, Exhibits D and E (the statements of the county council), on page 25, are in answer to exhibits B and C on page 31 (the statement of the county surveyor); the statements in Exhibits D and E on page 25 are in answer to the statements similarly numbered in Exhibits B and C on page 31. These Exhibits should be examined together to explain the case of the county council. Similarly Exhibit I) on page 43 (the statement of the county council) is in answer to Exhibit C on page 42 (the statements of the assistant surveyors). The Return is also confusing in other respects. But I make no complaint as far as the Chief Secretary for Ireland is concerned in relation to this Return. He deserves credit for the promptness and the courtesy with which he laid this Return upon the Table. I do not propose to go into the Return in detail, or to answer the points which were put forward by the Local Government Board; these points are easily answered, but there is no necessity to deal with them now, since the claims of the Local Govern- 1390 ment Board were unanimously rejected by the judges. I may remind the House of the history of the case. The Local Government Board claimed the right to increase the salaries of certain officials employed by the County Wexford County Council from 33 per cent, to90 per cent., speaking roughly; an additional tax of something about halfpenny in the pound, sufficient, at all events, to put the Technical Instructions Acts in force throughout the county. Against these increases of salaries the council protested, and gave reasons for its protest. No attention was paid either to its reasons or to its protest. Then the Irish Government was asked to receive a deputation from Wexford and other counties interested in this same question, with a view to an amicable arrangement. This request was refused. Then the Local Government Board served the Wexford County Council and the other county councils with a Sealed Order commanding them to pay these increased salaries. This is the first instance in which the Sealed Order has been used in the case of county councils. The Sealed Order, it is worth noting, is an instrument unknown in England; it has been specially invented for the benefit of Ireland. It would not be tolerated for a moment in England, where public opinion is in favour of respectful treatment of local governing bodies by the central government Department in London. But the Sealed Order is a, favourite instrument of administration in Ireland. Then in July last I moved the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing this new and unprecedented form of dealing with Irish county councils by serving them with Sealed Orders, and with a view also to a general ventilation of the case for the purpose of inducing the Government to adopt a moderate course. My motion came to nothing. I was told that my proceeding was an abuse of the privileges of the House; and so the matter rested as far as Parliament was concerned.
All their attempts at conciliation having failed, and having been driven into a corner, the County Council of Wexford, together with other county councils, decided to go to law with the Local Government Board with a view to securing a revision of the case, Unfor- 1391 tunately, in the Court of Queen's Bench the trial went against us, mainly owing to certain affidavits of the Local Government Board to which I propose to refer later. An important point was gained, however, in this trial, namely, that the Orders of the Local Government Board can now be put aside on certiorari. Previous to this trial the Local Government Board evidently considered themselves above all law. Undeterred by the failure of this action, the Wexford County Council carried their case to the Court of Appeal, and there they gained a complete victory. The decision in this matter is the most important judicial pronouncement made in Ireland for years, and one of the rare instances in Irish history in which the people have found the law on their side, and not on the side of their oppressors. The case undoubtedly will have an important bearing on the future of Irish administration. It will make for peace if the Government have sense, or it will make for further turmoil if the Government so elect; and if the Government wish for further fighting I can assure them we are ready to oblige them in this respect. The decisions of the judges in the Court of Appeal are given fully in the Return to which I have referred. I would ask English Members to read the judgments in the case, and form their own opinions upon them. As I have already said, I do not propose now to go into the details of this Return, or to answer the arguments put forward by the Local Government Board. It would be easy to answer them, but there is no need. They did not weigh with the judges, or prevent the case being determined in our favour. I may, however, be permitted to touch upon one or two points to illustrate how Irish local bodies are treated by the Local Government Board for Ireland.
One contention of the Wexford County Council was that the Order of the Local Government Board increasing the salaries of their officers was unjust. Let me quote on this point Chief Baron Palles—It was argued that the Order was made in disregard of natural justice, because the Council had not a proper opportunity of hearing what was alleged against them and of being heard in reference to it. This second ground raises a question so important that I prefer not to express my opinion with reference to it.1392 It will be noted that the Chief Baron does not express disapproval of our contention. Later on I will quote Lord Justice Holmes on the same point.
From this Return the House will see that the Judges unanimously decided that the action of the Local Government Board was in excess of their jurisdiction. This is a serious reflection on a Government Department holding the extremely responsible position occupied by the Local Government Board, and if in this Wexford case the Local Government Board have exceeded their jurisdiction, in how many other cases may they not have exceeded it—cases which have never been brought into the Court of Appeal? And if they have so exceeded their jurisdiction to-day, what is to prevent them exceeding their jurisdiction upon some other question to-morrow? I will ask leave to quote shortly from some of the judgments upon this point—This brings us to the third ground, that the decision was based upon a wrong principle I cannot think that the arguments in this Court upon this part of the case were identical with those which were presented in the Queen's Bench Division. I gather from the judgment of Mr. Justice Gibson that the ground of impeachment there relied on was that the determination proceeded on the application of a predetermined general scale, without due consideration of the facts and circumstances of the particular case, and no doubt that argument was one of those presented to us upon this portion of the case.It was, however, further argued before us that the matter determined by the Board was a matter different from that which they had jurisdiction to determine. Their jurisdiction, it was rightly said, was to determine increase of remuneration in proportion to increase of duties. What they did determine, it was alleged, was the total amount of remuneration for all duties, including those which were performed before the Act. It is clear, indeed it is admitted, that if they did this they exceeded their jurisdiction."—(Chief Baron Palles, p.9, in Return.)I quote further from the Chief Baron—There is no doubt that in the case under consideration (Leary's case) the increase of salary was arrived at by deducting his former salary, £80, from the £150 fixed by the scale."(In the Board's letter of the 23rd February, 1900.)"Thus what they have fixed is the total salary and net the increase of salary. In determining as they have done a material point must have been the remuneration which ought to be received for the duties these officers performed before the Act, but the Board has no power to determine this…The action of the Board as described in this letter was in excess of their jurisdiction.1393 And the Chief Baron goes on to say—In Mr. Webster's case I therefore hold that the Board determined a matter wholly outside of their jurisdiction.I will quote now from Lord Justice FitzGibbon, page 15 of Return:—In the case of Assistant Surveyor Leary, it is hard to believe that the Act of 1898 can have doubled his work, and nothing appears to explain this doubling of his salary except a determination to pay him more for his old work as well as for his new. The same principle seems to have been adopted in the case of the Council Surveyor Webster, and there is no evidence to the contrary. Upon this ground and in this respect I think the Orders now before us are made in excels of jurisdiction and are therefore bad. The Board converted Section 115 (18) from being a protection of vested interests into an occasion of raising salaries all round, and this it had no jurisdiction to do.I now wish to direct attention to another point. In this case the Judges were at considerable pains to reconcile the affidavits filed on behalf of the Local Government Board with the letters written by the Local Government Board to the Wexford County Council. It will be remembered that the previous trial in the Queen's Bench, in which the Wexford County Council was defeated, was to a large extent ruled by these affidavits. I will quote from Chief Baron Palles, page 9 of Return—Let us therefore see what was the action of the Hoard in this matter. The relevant material before us are four letters of the Board—namely, those of the 7th and 23rd of February, the 27th June, and 6th July, and the affidavits of the Vice-President. It is suggested by Mr. Matheson" (the Counsel for the Board) "that the letters of the Board were inaccurate, having been written hurriedly in consequence of an alleged insufficiency of the staff. The affidavits from Sir H. Robinson do not allege or even hint at any such mistake, and it is to be remembered that they were filed in answer to affidavits on the part of the prosecutor (the County Council of Wexford), which referred to and relied upon the letters in question. Such a statement, before I could act upon it, should be supported by clear and satisfactory evidence, and of such evidence I do not find a trace. I consequently find myself coerced to hold that they truly represent the action of the Board.On the next page of the Return the Chief Baron says:—The answer presented by the Counsel for the Board. …. is that the affidavit.…. shows that the Board did not do what is stated in this letter that it did do.1394 (The letter was written to the Wexford County Council on the 23rd February, 1900).
I quote again from the Chief Baron—As to the county surveyor, Mr. Webster, the ground of impeachment is not so clearly I made out. That mode does not appear as clearly from the letters of the Local Government Board in this case as it does in reference to the assistant surveyors, and he Board within whose sole knowledge it is, have not thought it proper to bring before us as fully in my opinion as was desirable in proceeding under the Act of Parliament, which contemplates the individualism of each county. Prima facie, neither uniformity nor scale should have any place.On page 18 of the Return Lord Justice Holmes says:—We have here letters deliberately written by the official whose duty it is to make known the views and decisions of the Local Government Board.I leave to the apologists of the Local Government Board to explain the difference between their letters and their affidavits, which evoked such comments from the Judges of the Court of Appeal, but in view of the criticisms of the judges it would be interesting to know who wrote the letters in question. Was it anyone in authority in the Local Government Board, or was it an irresponsible clerk? I would suggest an inquiry into this matter; I think we have a right to be informed upon it, and I would further suggest the transfer of this officer to some other sphere where his talents would find proper and fitting application, say to Tientsin or to the Yang-tsze Valley, for his methods savour very strongly of those of the heathen Chinee.
I come now to the judgment of Lord Justice Holmes. I doubt if this judgment gave much satisfaction to the Local Government Board, but it certainly gave intense satisfaction to those interested in Irish Local Government. It is the most important and most instructive comment on the methods of administration in Ireland that I have ever read from the Irish Bench. On page 18 of the Return Lord Justice Holmes says:—It might have been more prudent if, before considering the Memorandum and Petition (of officers interested) the Board had called the attention of the council to these documents, and invited their comment thereon; but if the letters of February were, as I should have regarded them myself, and as the county council regarded them, not a final determina- 1395 tion of the matter, but a statement of what was in contemplation, no harm would have resulted On the receipt of these letters the council took a judicious course; it forwarded a statement of the reasons against the increase of salaries, which, whether they were good or bad, were at least worthy of consideration. The replay to this document has caused me much suprise, and I feel myself bound to say that if it accurately reflects the spirit in which the Local Government Board has undertaken the important duties imposed upon it by the Act, no one can wonder if the result be friction and un preasantness with the local authorities, I is purport is that if the arguments put forward in support of their protest … had been furnished to the Board in the previous autumn … it (the Board) would have weighed very carefully the council's opinion before deciding upon the increased selaries to be allowed. This must mean, if it has any meaning, that arguments, relating to the performance of a public duty involving the rights and liabdities of officers and ratepayer, submitted by one of the interested parties, which would or at least might have deserved to be weighed very cerefully, were to be wholly disregarded because they had not been submitted at an earlier period. When it is remembered that the only notice of any kind given to the council was a letter of August—this was not a letter at all, but a badly printed circular, numbered 317, to which nobody would be likely to pay any attention unless their notice was specially directed to it—received at a time when the newly constituted Indies had only begun to learn then-duties, that the board had never informed the Council of the Memorandum and Petition of the officers, and that the inquiry consequent thereon was conducted behind the back of the parties interested; above all, when it is remembered that it was not until two months later that the sealed orders were issued, and that therefore the matter was still sub judice, the April letter must be regarded as a very curious contribution to official literature.I will now quote from this letter of April this very curious contribution to official literature—Local Government Board,Dublin, 30th April, 1901.Sir,—The Local Government Board for Ireland have had before them the resolutions of the Wexford County Council of the 28th ult. and 3rd inst. on the subject of the salaries fixed by the Board for the county surveyor and the assistant surveyors in the county, and in reply the Board desire to state that if the arguments put forward by the council in support of their protest against the increased salaries of the county survey or and his assistants had been furnished to the Local Government Board last autumn, when they invited the views of the council upon the 1396 claims of these officers, the Board would have weighed very carefully the council is opinions before they decided upon the increased salaries to be allowed in this case. The council, however, did not intervene in the matter, either by supplying the Local Government Board with any statement of their views or by coming to an agreement with these officers, and the Board had under these circumstances only to fulfil the obligations imposed upon them by Section 115 of the Act.I would like to say, in the first place, that in December previous the county council had put their views before the Local Government Board, and, secondly, that it was not possible for the county council to come to any agreement with their officers, for their officers were looking to the Local Government Board to settle their case, and no agreement with them by the county council would have been possible.With regard to the council's resolution the Board have only to remark that while the council admit that these officers have certain increased duties to perform, they nevertheless propose to allow them no increase of salary whateverHere I must remark that the Local Government Board apparently did not read the communications they receive from the Wexford County Council. That council never admitted that there was any increase of duties devolving on their officers, while they expressly stated that they had no objection whatever to paying increased remuneration for increased duties if increased duties could be proved.
I may now quote the reply of the Wexford County Council, which epitomises the entire case—That we declined to comply with the demands of the Local Government Board for increased remuneration in the case of our county surveyor and assistant surveyors, no reason having been advanced by the Local Government Board for increasing the salaries of these officers. That the notice of the trans-action received by this council from the Local Government Board was quite insufficient, the only intimation being the receipt of a badly-printed circular which was sent to the secretary of the County Council instead of being-sent, as it should have been, to the chairman and every member of the council and in the extreme pressure of business connected with putting the Act into operation and the effort made by this council to deal with the deluge of circulars which poured in upon them last year, the urgency of the matter escaped our notice. That as a simple matter of equity and ordinary courtesy the council had the right to expect that a question of such 1397 importance would not have been decided by the Local Government Board without their taking further steps if necessary to ascertain the views of the representatives of the race-payers upon it. This consideration has been admitted to weigh with the Local Government Board in their subsequent correspondence with this council, in which they are pleased to intimate that if they had known what the true state of the case was when they delivered their judgment, that judgment would have been different from what it was.I invite English Members to read this reply of the county council in conjunction with Lord Justice Holmes's judgment, and form thereon their conclusion as to whether that reply is not both appropriate and correct. And now the contest has entered on another phase. Instead of allowing the matter to rest, the Local Government Board have decided to reopen the case, and their explanation for this proceeding is quaint in the extreme. They admit that their proceedings have been informal—informal in the face of the unanimous decision of the judges, expressed in terms unprecedented in Irish law! Informal! Wholly unconstitutional and grossly illegal would have been nearer the truth. Their proceedings, they say, have been informal, and so they intend to begin again. They propose to hold an inquiry with a view to increasing the contested salaries. I invite the Government to consider seriously what they are about to do. There is quite sufficient ill-feeling already over this business, and do they wish to aggravate it? There is such a thing as law, no doubt, but there is also such a thing as policy, and the Government should consider if it is worth while to insist upon their pound of flesh with the result of reducing Irish local administration to a condition of chaos. The Attorney General will tell us that the law gives no alternative; I tell him that it does. You have your Orders in Council which have the effect of law; you have other remedies besides; you can make use of them if you choose, and so make your selection. It is utterly immaterial to me and to my hon. friends what you do. The Irish people are quite as ready to fight you on the Local Government Act as on any other question. We have no doubt as to who will win in the end, and, as I told the Government last July that the people of Wexford, though not anxious to fight, would fight if com- 1398 pelled, so I tell you now that they will fight you again if necessary, not for the I sake of the few hundred pounds yearly in question, but for the sake of the principle at stake. The principle at stake in this contest is the right of the people to manage their own affairs. If we are not allowed to manage our own affairs, we will allow nobody else to manage them—so make your selection. I protest against the reopening of this case. I protest against the proposed inquiry by the Local Government Board; in the face of the judgment of the Court of Appeal the proceeding is simply indecent. I protest against the inquiry on the grounds that the Local Government Board are interested parties and incompetent to do justice in the matter. I protest against the inquiry for another reason, which is found in the Act itself. I quote from Chief Baron Palles on page 7 in the Return—The determination of the Board as to the increase of duties and fixing the increase of remuneration in due proportion to the increase of duties so determined, if made within jurisdiction, will bind the council and impose liability upon them whether the amount so determined be right or wrong; if, for instance, the increase in duties was in fact 20 per cent., and the Board determined that it was 50 per cent., and accordingly determined that the increase of remuneration should be equal to 50 per cent, of the former remuneration, that decision would bind the council.Now it is obvious that Parliament never intended this injustice. This is a blot in the Act which must be removed before any inquiry can take place. My county council have recently held a meeting to consider this question of inquiry. They have acted with singular moderation, considering the provocation they have received. They have passed the following resolution—In reply to the Local Government Board's request that we name a date for an inquiry into the question of the future remuneration of the county and deputy purveyors, it is hereby resolved that the Local Government Board, having previously fixed the remuneration of these officers illegally, as decided by the Court of Appeal, we hold that the Local Government Board is thereby prejudiced, and consequently in our opinion incapable of doing justice as between us and our officers; and we claim that the proposed inquiry be remitted I to arbitrators selected by those interested.If we are to have an inquiry, let us have an impartial inquiry in this case of Wex- 1399 ford as well as in the other cases. There will be no difficulty in finding arbitrators in Ireland who will command the confidence of both parties interested in this dispute, and whose decision will be accepted as final.
And now one word as regards the cost of this inquiry. We are told that the Local Government Board has no option but to charge us with the costs of the inquiry. Let me quote again from Chief Baron Palles—Under Subsection 3 of the Application of Enactments Order, the Local Government Board may direct the costs of the inquiry to be paid by councils, and such orders may be made rules of the High Court.The Local Government Board may direct the costs of the inquiry to be paid by the local authorities, but there is no compulsion in the matter; the clause is purely permissive, and it is just as easy for the Local Government Board to direct that the costs of these inquiries shall not be paid by the local authorities as to direct that they shall. The costs can be defrayed out of public funds. Our fighting with the Local Government Board has already cost us in the county Wexford a considerable sum of money. As we have been declared in the right, we should be indemnified for the expense to which we have been put already, and if there is to be a further re-opening of the case, it should not be at our expense. I therefore claim on behalf of my county council, first, that the issue between us and the Local Government Board shall be decided by arbitration unless the Government will give me a pledge that we shall have the right of appeal in the event of our finding the result of the proposed inquiry unjust; secondly, that the expense of this contest so far, and the expense of any further inquiry or appeal from that inquiry, shall not be a charge upon the ratepayers of the county of Wexford. Consider for a moment what is the character of the county council which the Local Government Board invite you to attack. If it were an improvident council or an incompetent council, a dishonest or a self-seeking council, there might be some excuse for crippling it with law costs. I go to the Local Government Board itself for the character of the County Wexford 1400 County Council, and what does the Local Government Board say?I am happy to state that the county council (of Wexford) and its finance committee appear to manage their business with judgment and discretion, and to exercise a careful supervision over the management and disbursement of the funds entrusted to their charge. I have only to add that the secretary's accounts have been most accurately and carefully kept.— W. Gibson, Auditor, Local Government Board Dublin; 8th February, 1901.We have had a similar certificate of character on the conclusion of each year since the administration of the Local Government Act began, and this is the council which is to be penalised for its defence of the rights of local government in Ireland. I earnestly invite the attention of the Chief Secretary to this matter. I have now done with the case of the Wexford County Council. I leave it to the judgment of the House, and I leave it to the House to say if a body acting as the Local Government Board has acted is fit to be entrusted with the far-reaching powers, conferred on it by the Act of 1898.
In conclusion, I wish to give expression to my views upon the general question of administration of local affairs in Ireland as affected by the Local Government Board. It is notorious that the Local Government Act has not fulfilled the promises which were made in its behalf. We were promised equal rights with England. We have been given nothing of the sort. Apart from the concession of the elective principle we have gained nothing. We are only doing now, at a vastly increased expenditure of time, and money, and energy and convenience, what was done before in a quarter the time and at half the cost. The business of Irish local administration has been enormously complicated, for no reason that I can discover except to enable the Local Government Board to posture as a sphinx. The time of our local councils is perpetually wasted in discussing Local Government Board conundrums, to which, very often, the Local Government Board itself cannot supply an answer. The councils have no control over their officers. The Local Government Board controls the officers. The Local Government Board is the master of the officers. The officers look to the Local Government Board and 1401 not to their councils, and this is destructive to local government. It is a notorious fact that we had no trouble with our officers until the Local Government Board sent out its ill-omened circular of August. 1899. Since the issue of that circular there has been unceasing trouble; that circular has cost the ratepayers of Ireland thousands of pounds. The object of the Local Government Board apparently is to establish a new garrison in Ireland of civil servants. They find that unless they can control the officers they will be unable to control the councils; hence their frantic endeavours to supplant the councils in the loyalty of their officers. I have said that thousands of pounds of the ratepayers' money have been spent on needless law since the issue of that circular. Thousands of pounds more will follow. This new law tax is only beginning to grow. One of these days, I propose to move for a Return giving the amount expended in law by Irish local bodies since the inception of the Local Government Act. and if I am granted this Return it will be a startling revelation as to the waste of money of the ratepayers.
On the whole, Sir, it seems to me that there is no way of dealing with this question except by the appointing of a Commission to inquire into the working of the Local Government Act in Ireland, into the operations of the Local Government Board, into the increased expense of administration, and into the status of Irish councils compared to English and Scotch, and to suggest remedies, if possible, for the condition of things which prevails with us; for. as things go now, Irish local government is becoming just as great a farce as it is a misnomer. We are growing sick of it, sick of continual dictation and interference. We have our own business to attend to, and we cannot submit to perpetual worrying by a clique of unknown officials without either responsibility or stake in the country, who pay no rates, who only raise them, and who apparently have as much knowledge of as they have sympathy with the people.
There are two courses which Irish local bodies are likely to be tempted to adopt. First to give up local govern- 1402 ment altogether, and to let the Local Government Board carry on the business and collect the rates, in which event I wish the Local Government Board joy of their undertaking; or, secondly, for the local bodies to come together, and join together and set the Local Government Board at defiance. This I think the better policy. If the local councils will go on in their own way, disregarding the Local Government Board, never minding Local Government Board circulars, letters, Sealed Orders and all the rest of their tomfoolery, never minding their inspectors or their auditors, the Local Government Board will be extremely angry, but it will be powerless in the face of a general policy to this effect. The Local Government Board may perhaps succeed in coercing a single board of guardians, but the Local Government Board cannot coerce an Irish county, much less an Irish province or combination of counties. My last word to the Government is, reform the Local Government Board. It is an anachronism in its present shape, and it must be changed. My advice to the Government is to make the Local Government Board representative and Irish— to introduce the elective principle into its constitution, and in that way to bring it into touch and sympathy with the people whose concerns it is now mismanaging. I would urge upon the Government not to delay, otherwise the Local Government Board will surely land them in further trouble. It has come to this now with us, that the, Government must choose between the Local Government Board in its present shape and local government in Ireland, for the two cannot exist together.
§ MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)
declared that the action which had been shown by the Courts to be illegal was not confined to Wexford. He had had communications from various councils showing that the Local Government Board had increased the salaries of officers by seventy-five per cent, over the original amounts, and fifty per cent, beyond the sum the councils were prepared to give Surely the elected representatives of the people, who were mostly large ratepayers, living in the different counties, were the people who best understood 1403 the needs and requirements of the districts, and realised whether the duties of the officials had been increased to an extent to warrant such increases of salary. Take the case of the county surveyor in South Tipperary. His salary was £600 a year; the county council were willing to increase it by £100; but the Local Government Board stepped in and ordered a salary of £852 to be paid. The county council refused to pay it, they defeated the Local Government Board in the Courts; a few days afterwards the board withdrew from the matter, and nothing had been heard about it since. But what had been the consequence? The officials instead of being the servants, now wanted to bo the masters. The county surveyor of South Tipperary attended the last meeting of the finance committee, and instead of accepting £800 a year declared he wanted £1,200 and would fight for it, That was the teaching of the Local Government Board. Officials were now telling county councils that they would do as they liked in regard to certain matters, and that in so doing they would have the protection of the Local Government Board. A question of great interest was whether those cases in which county and district councils had made arrangements with their officers under a false impression as to the real state of the law, would be reopened in consequence of the decision of the Court of Appeal. The Local Government Board would certainly have to be reformed. The Local Government Act would never ' work properly unless there was a change of administration. The hoard was composed of gentlemen taken exclusively from the landlord section of the community. Under the Local Government Act the occupiers, not the landlords, paid the greater portion of the rates, and certainly the section who paid the largest proportion of the rates ought to have the largest representation upon the central controlling body. What was the qualification of the gentleman who, immediately after the passing of the Act, was placed on the board in command of the councils? Simply that he was the leader of the landlord party in county Tipperary, and that when the Home Rule movement was strong in England, he came over and on every possible 1404 platform defamed his countrymen, and tried to prove their unworthiness to govern themselves. The medical officers, the poor-law inspectors, and the auditors, employed by the Local Government Board to carry out the Act, were either lawyers without briefs, doctors without practice, Orangemen, Army pensioners, or sons of Unionist representatives of Ulster. When some time ago a few representatives of the popular class were appointed on the board, and had to visit the different boards of guardians and the various institutions, there was never the slightest trouble with the officials or with the boards, simply because these gentlemen were in sympathy with the poor and with the representatives who had been elected.
Until 1880, boards of guardians in Ireland were controlled by the ex officio and landlord element. In 1880 the national element obtained the control, and when they came to discharge their duties they found the workhouses in the most disgraceful state—bad ventilation, unplastered walls, unceiled rooms, dirt and filth of every description, wretched straw heaps on the floor for the poor to sleep on, and dirty vessels out of which they had to take their food. That was the legacy bequeathed by the landlord element. The first step of the popular representatives was to improve this wretched system, but as soon as they did that the officials of the Local Government Board stepped in and declared that they were not doing half enough. The record of the board was one of discredit and disgrace. It pandered and played to an insignificant minority who were troublesome in Ireland. Any person with popular leanings who was connected with the board was bound to be victimised by the minority, as was proved at the last General Election, when a right hon. Gentleman lost his seat in this House because he went in for popularising the board with which he was connected. He would take as an instance the county of Tipperary, with which he was connected. It was the only county in Ireland which had two county councils. It was ordered that the gentleman, Mr. Bailey, who had been Grand Jury Secretary, should be secretary to both councils, but his manner of doing the business was so absurdly inefficient that on the 1405 plea of the work being too heavy he resigned the secretaryship of one, South Tipperary, and retained the other. He left the accounts in such a state of extreme confusion that it was necessary for the council to pass resolutions ordering him to employ an accountant to put things in order. In the end that was done. The secretary who was then appointed, Mr. Shee, soon had affairs in a satisfactory condition. But, what happened? The auditor came down, and required that within a couple of days Mr. Shee should stand an examination by a Mr. Saunderson—son of the light hon. Gentleman opposite, who did not object to getting fat salaries for his friends and children. Then this Mr. Saunderson who had passed no examination himself, and who would sneer at poor Irishmen because their countrymen supported them whilst they fought their battles in the House, examined Mr. Shee on the 22nd March, with the result that on the following 5th April there came down an order stating that Mr. Shee had not passed an examination, and the council should proceed to appoint another secretary. They found that his waiting was bad, and that his spelling was not good. But the council's knowledge of Mr. Shee's capacity was such, that they pressed the Local Government Board to allow him a six months trial, at the end of which time the accounts and business of the council were put upon a footing of the most excellent order. Then came down an auditor (Mr. Courtney Croker), who himself had never passed an examination as auditor, and who made a note that the accounts showed the most careful supervision by Mr. Bailey—Mr. Bailey, who had left the accounts in the state which he had described, and who had never as much as seen them after that time. The Government persevered in rejecting Mr. Shee, notwithstanding the fact that men like General Massy, famous as Redan Massy, the chairman of the county council, and Mr. Grubb had proposed resolutions in favour of Mr. Shee's retention, and that those resolutions were supported by the members of the council, a representative body of men who he ventured to say were as competent in such a matter as any that could be found in an English or Scotch 1406 county. They represented the people, and had the interests of the country at heart. They were satisfied with Mr. Shee, yet they were told that the Local Government Board would have none of him. The board insisted that he should be called upon to resign; threatened the council with a mandamus, with a Scaled Order, with legal proceedings of every description. Yet the council stood by Mr. Shee, and the consequence of the Conservative gentleman on the board holding to the same view was that the hands of the board had been stayed. They had not, however, given in, and their last contemptible resort, after failing to intimidate the council, was not to bring them into open court, for that would be too manly and honest a course, but to threaten that if he was retained any longer as secretary, the auditor would surcharge the members of the council. The explanation of all this was that Mr. Shee was a staunch Nationalist, whilst his predecessor was a staunch Unionist and Freemason. This gentleman, who was not competent to open accounts for them in South Tipperary, who could not read the minutes of the meetings properly, had been granted by the Local Government Board an increase of salary of £150 a year in North Tipperary. That was the kind of administration which it was necessary to expose, for he believed there were a great many English Members of the House who believed that there was in Ireland the same kind of local government as in England, where he was informed the county councils had practically a free hand in the management of their own affairs. In England the Local Government Board exercised a judicious control and did not unduly interfere with the county councils, but in Ireland they could not appoint or dismiss an officer, or even pay away£5,without first getting the permission of the hostile assembly in Dublin Castle. Those examinations had been instituted simply to disqualify Nationalists and force into office the nominees of the Local Government Board.
Why was it there was to be an examination of officers in Ireland and none in England? It was an insult to the intelligence of the Irish county councils. Was there any general standard of ex- 1407 animation, and would the right hon. Gentleman publish the questions which were put? As a matter of fact, there were different kinds of examinations adopted, for in some cases a very severe test was imposed, whilst in others candidates got through by a small conversation. It was an outrage to say that the County Council were not the best judges of who was best qualified to serve them as clerk, and they should not be interfered with by the Local Government Board. Why should these examinations not be the same as Civil Service examinations? Petty sessions clerks were given six months notice to prepare. Why should not council secretaries be given the same opportunities? He certainly thought it was an outrage to say that the County Council of South Tipperary were not the best judges as to who was best qualified to serve them as clerk, and they ought not to be interfered with by the Local Government Board. A good deal had been heard about the benefits the Local Government Act would confer upon Ireland by allowing the people to elect their own representatives, but all those councils were handcuffed by the instructions sent down by the Local Government Board. They had had a good deal of discussion in the House recently upon the South African war. At the time of the outbreak of the war the Colonial Secretary had said that the war was entered upon because the Government of the Transvaal would not give the Uitlanders the franchise, and place them in the same position as the burghers. They had spent a hundred millions and sacrificed thousands and thousands of lives to give freedom to the Uitlanders, but they treated the Nationalist majority in Ireland far worse than ever Mr. Kruger treated the Uitlanders. He maintained that the Government by their action in Ireland belied the excuse they gave for embarking on the war in South Africa. He was perfectly satisfied that when the right hon. the Chief Secretary, and possibly the Attorney General for Ireland, got up to reply, they would tell the House that the members of the Local Government Board were fine gentlemen, most competent gentlemen, and most honourable gentlemen. He was not going to say that the members of the Local Government 1408 Board were not honourable gentlemen in their own sphere; but he would certainly say that they were not honourable gentlemen in the sphere which they occupied as controlling the county and district councils of Ireland, in the interest of a section of the community, and in order to please an insignificant minority whenever it rattled upon the Orange drum. The cause of all these troubles in Ireland was the constitution of the Local Government Board; and it was perfectly useless to think that the Local Government Act would be popular in Ireland until the Government realised that they must do away with a Castle board, and substituted for it an elective body which would administer local government in the interests of the people. It was just as well that the Government and other hon. Members opposite should know that this tinkering with local government was not going to settle the question of complete self-government for Ireland. This tinkering with the Local Government Act was only meant to satisfy the Unionist representatives, to try to preserve for their sons and friends the plums of office, to keep what influence they had in their own hands, and to crush the popularly-elected councils.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
thought that no one who had listened to the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down could help coming to the conclusion that there was scarcely any exaggeration in anything that had been said from the Irish Benches as to the domineering spirit of the Irish Local Government Board. He thought that the Wexford case was an even more striking example of the action of the Local Government Board than that brought forward by the hon. Member for South Tipperary. He would recall some of the facts mentioned by the hon. Baronet. The Local Government Board, at least so their contention was, had, on the passing of the Act, to determine whether an increase of duty was imposed on any existing officer, and if so, to fix the increase of salary he was to receive in consequence of that increase of duty. Who would imagine that there was any difficulty in interpreting that instruction of the Local Government Act? The Local Government Board, having at its disposal 1409 a large amount of legal talent, should have made no great mistake in discharging their proper function. But what was the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Ireland on that point? It set forth that, instead of fixing the increase of salary to which these officers were entitled, they went on to revise all the old salaries so that if they came across any officer of the Grand Jury whom they thought insufficiently paid in the past, they took advantage of the Act to pay them a sufficiency in the future, although the Act gave them no such authority whatever. He congratulated the hon. Member for North Wexford on having had the prescience to ask for a Return giving the judgment of the Court of Appeal, because he was very suspicious of the acts of the agents of the Government in Ireland, and if that judgment had not been before the House the illegality committed by the Local Government Board might have been denied by the Chief Secretary on the authority of some of his underlings in Dublin Castle. A great hardship existed in the case of those councils which, unlike that of Wexford, did not carry their cases to the highest Court of the land. He thought that the question put by the hon. Member for South Tipperary ought to be put again and again to the Chief Secretary, namely, whether those councils on whom illegal salaries had been imposed were to be put to the expense and trouble of going, each of them, to the Court of Appeal to have these illegal salaries re-adjusted. He maintained that there had been a total disregard by the Local Government Board of the opinion of the new local bodies, although one might have imagined that quite a different course would have been pursued. The Unionist Government of England in setting up these local bodies by Act of Parliament presumably thought that they were competent for the discharge of the duties imposed upon them, and surely they ought to be treated with respect and confidence by the Local Government Board as competent for the discharge of those duties, but it was only in the last resort, and when compelled by legal proceedings, that the Local Government Board had acted according to law.
What was the procedure of Dublin Castle as illustrated by the case of the Wexford County Council? In August 1410 1899, the Local Government Board brought to the knowledge of the county councils the fact that the salaries of the old grand jury officials would have to be revised, or, rather, that they would have to be increased or decreased according to the duties imposed on them in consequence of the passing of the Local Government Act. As might well be imagined, the county councils, having been only a few months in office, had a great deal to do; new and important duties had to be discharged, some of which, it was reasonable to suppose, they scarcely understood. At any rate they were hard at work when they received a circular from the Local Government Board, to which a great many of them gave no answer. They simply put the circular aside intending on a future day to make a full answer. Well, the Local Government Board received a communication from a county council official in regard to his salary, and the Board having heard only one side of the story, and without seeking for further information from the county council, issued a notice laying down that certain salaries were for the future to be paid by the county council to that officer, and if they did not pay such salary the officer would compel them to do so. The county council of Wexford woke up to the situation and submitted a series of reasons why the salary should not be increased. The Local Government Board themselves admitted that that list of reasons was of great importance and worthy of the greatest consideration. But, having that list of reasons before them, they actually wrote a month after, and three months before they issued the Sealed Order, and said that if they had got them sooner they would have taken them into consideration; meaning thereby that they could not take them into consideration because they received them too late. He thought that if the county councils in England were treated in that fashion by the English Local Government Board there would be an uproar in England and a demand for a change in the English Local Government Board. It was no wonder that Lord Justice Holmes, a gentleman who could not be accused of any Nationalist feeling or leaning, stated that the Wexford Council had taken a judicious course. He said—It forwarded a statement of the reasons against the increase of salary, which, whether 1411 they were bad or good, were at least worthy of consideration. The reply to this document has caused me much surprise; and I feel myself bound to say that if it correctly reflects the spirit in which the Local Government Board has undertaken the important duties imposed upon it by the Act, no one can wonder if the result be friction and unpleasantness with the local authorities. Its purport is that if the arguments put forward by the council in support of their protest, against the increased salary of the county surveyor and his assistant had been furnished to the Board in the previous autumn, when the views of the council were invited upon the claims of the officers, it would have weighed very carefully the council's opinion before deciding upon the increased salaries to be allowed, but that as the council did not intervene, either by supplying any statement of its views or by coming to an agreement with the officers, the Board had only to fulfil the obligations imposed by the sub section.Then Lord Justice Holmes went on to express his opinion that the Board's letter of April "must be regarded as a very curious contribution to official literature," which was another way of saying that it was a most incompetent document to issue to any local body. Was it any wonder that there were differences between the Local Government Board and the local bodies? Some of the details of this case were really amusing. One of the reasons given in a letter by the Local Government Board for holding to its decision to increase the salaries, was that after all to increase the salaries of the officers would not add a half-penny to the rates. What business had the Local Government Board to take into consideration whether it would add a half-penny or a penny to the rates? Their business was to act according to law. It appeared from the affidavit of Sir Henry Robinson that the county of Wexford required extreme skill and attention on the part of the county surveyors, because it had a large seaboard, with piers and harbours and several roads running down to strands and landing places, and that there were a number of important bridges. But the large sea-board and the piers and harbours and bridges were there before the Act of 1898 was passed, and the surveyor was obliged to do all that inspection before the passing of the Act; and yet this great Department actually indulged in that ridiculous ground of excuse for increasing the salary of the county surveyor. He wanted to draw attention 1412 to a claim made by the Local Government Board both in the Queen's Bench and in the Court of Appeal. That claim of the Local Government Board was that they were above the law. They said—"Wo are a great Department of State; we are like the Lord Lieutenant, or the Lord Chancellor in the distribution of legal patronage, and our acts, no matter what they are, cannot be inquired into in a court of law." In that case, as was pointed out by one of the counsel, if they declared Li Hung Chang to be an existing officer, entitled to an increase of salary, their order could not be investigated or set aside in a Court of law. All the judges of the Queen's Bench Division had decided against that contention, and the Court of Appeal had also unanimously decided against it; but the mere fact that such a claim was made by the Local Government Board in Ireland showed more clearly than anything else the spirit in which they administered a remedial Act of Parliament.
Speaking as an Irish Nationalist representative, he was of opinion that several good acts had been passed by this Parliament for Ireland, which, if they had been properly administered, would have done great good and settled probably great questions sooner than they would otherwise be. The Land Act of 1870 was, in his opinion, a great Act and contained great principles, and if it had been administered so as to give full effect to the intentions of Parliament they would never have seen the agitation of the last ten years. In the same way, if the Land Act of 1881 had been administered in a spirit calculated to give effect to the intention of its framers, they would never have seen the agitation which compelled the passing of all the Amendments of that Act. The truth was, that the best Acts might be passed with the best intentions, but as long as they left in Ireland a bureaucracy out of sympathy with those for whose benefit they were passed to administer these Acts, there would never be anything but failure. So also in regard to the Local Government Act. He did not agree with some of his colleagues in their criticisms of the Local Government Act. He thought that 1413 Act did give to Ireland the same rights and privileges as the English Local Government Act gave to England, and in his opinion it was a great work of legislation, and he would not be candid or telling the truth if he did not say so. At the same time the Board which set to work to administer that Act was composed of persons out of all sympathy with the people, and with the spirit in which the Act was conceived, and were consequently determined in their own minds to frustrate the objects of that Act and all other remedial measures passed for Ireland. He, for one, deplored this state of things, and he must confess that he despaired of seeing any remedy. This led up to a bigger question than that they were now discussing, namely, national self-government for Ireland. As long as Home Rule and the management of Irish national affairs by a free Parliament elected by the people in Ireland was refused, they must maintain these English agents in Ireland, for no matter who went into Dublin Castle he was speedily corrupted. Therefore, he had not the least hope, from these debates, that any radical reformation would ensue. All the same, it was their duty to make perfectly plain the state of affairs that now existed, and if that state of affairs could be defended he would be greatly surprised.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire. Cricklade)
said he wished to say a few words on this subject, because when the Irish Local Government Bill was passing through the House he called the attention of the Committee on the Bill to the extraordinary character of the clauses that were practically the subject of debate now, especially when compared with English legislation. He ventured to prophesy that at a very early stage trouble would arise in Ireland over these clauses, and that was what had occurred, although he would rather have been a false prophet in the case. As a matter of fact, it was perfectly clear that these wide clauses, giving such large powers to the Local Government Board, had already been a cause of mischief—a greater cause of mischief even than he anticipated. The Irish Local Government Board appa- 1414 rently by some of these unfortunate motives had failed to administer the Act properly, and had used the powers given to them to put a construction upon the Act which had been questioned before the law. As a matter of general principle, he rejoiced when a court of law put its foot down against the most gigantic attempt ever made to set up administrative law, a law conceived in the secret rooms of a Government Department, to over-ride the law of the land. There were clauses and schedules in the Irish Local Government Bill which undoubtedly did arm the Board with gigantic powers, and he and others had at the time pointed out that that was an unprecedented attempt to set up administrative law as distinct from the law of the land. He must say that he thought the Government had been successful in doing so, and that it would not be in the power of a court of law to escape from the loose declarations in the Bill, by which apparently it was put in the power of the Local Government Board to do anything in the world in bringing the Act into operation. But seemingly a limit had been reached, and an Irish Court had been found strong enough to say—thus far and no farther. He ventured to say that the Irish Court had rendered a service not only to Ireland but to England, because Government boards-had done injury to the public by obscure amendments of administrative law.
He would take the particular case under discussion. The County Council of Wexford, it appeared, imposed certain new duties upon one of its officers, and that officer, under the terms of the Local Government Act, was entitled to have his salary increased in proportion to the new work placed upon him, and if he was dissatisfied with the salary offered, he had a right to go to the Local Government Board as a sort of arbitrator. But the Local Government Board attempted to go beyond that, and said that they would inquire into the whole question of the salary, and would practically decide, not only whether the percentage of increase of salary represented the percentage of increase of work, but whether the original salary was or was not adequate. Now, the Government should trust the county councils to arrange these questions of salary. If they could not trust them in 1415 matters of that kind they might as well not have called the county councils into being at all. The one chance of improving the administration of Ireland was to trust the local bodies which had been called into existence. Of course there would be mistakes; there were mistakes even in local bodies outside Ireland. After all, if they could not trust the county councils, whom were they going to trust? These were the most important of all the local bodies, and the bodies to which all of them looked to lay the foundation of a sound public opinion in Ireland. They on that side of the House looked to the county councils of Ireland as paving the way to something, as they thought, larger, higher, and better—to what they called Home Rule. They knew that hon. Members on the Government side of the House did not believe in that view, but looked to the county councils as being able to do such great things for administration in Ireland as to make Home Rule unnecessary. It was part of the great plan to kill Home Rule in Ireland by concessions and kindness; but how were they going to do that unless they treated these local bodies which they had created with some amount of confidence and goodwill? After all, what was it that these county councils wanted? Who were the officers of these councils? There was no chief constable, because the police wore entirely centralised; and there was no county medical officer of health. The only leading officers were the county clerk, the county treasurer, and the county surveyor. Did they mean to tell him that Ireland was such a backward country that they could not trust the Irish county councils to settle the salaries of these three officers? If they were not able to do that, what were they fit for? He agreed with what fell from the hon. Member for North Dublin, that a strict eye must be kept on the administration of this Act, for it was a fact that whenever a Bill was placed on the Statute Book there were, at headquarters in Dublin, a set of men whose object was administratively to reduce and, if possible, destroy the wise concessions to Ireland which had been made in this House either by a Liberal or a Tory Government—the only difference being that they regarded the Liberals as enemies and the Unionists as traitors to their 1416 cause when they made any concession. In his opinion the hon. Baronet was perfectly justified in bringing up this case. He remembered when he last had the honour of a seat in the House there was an inquiry as to the Irish Board of Works, which was shown to be determined to stand in the way of any reform or of being reformed itself, and the Commission recommended what ought to be done. That was during Mr. Gladstone's first administration; but when Mr. Gladstone came into power again the Board of Works was just exactly as it was when the Commission reported upon it. What was true of the Irish Board of Works was true of other bodies. There was nothing in the world so difficult to fight as the accumulated prejudices of a Government Department. The departmental official was always there; the parliamentary official came and went. If the permanent official only lasted long enough he was bound to outlive the Parliamentary official. He did not attack the Chief Secretary, because he was aware of the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman had to face; but whether they were favourable to our rubor not, it was necessary to make Dublin Castle understand that when Parliament passed an Act it was intended that the officials at the Castle should obey the Act in the spirit as well as in the letter. In nine cases out of ten, though the officials carried out an Act to the letter, they never carried it out in the spirit. He considered the establishment of the county councils in Ireland the greatest reform which had been placed on the Statute Book for ten or fifteen years, and everyone should unite in seeing that the benefits that Parliament decided three years previously should be granted to Ireland should not be given with one hand and taken away with the other.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
The noble Lord will forgive me for saying that his speech was not so closely addressed to the question before the House as some of those to which we have listened in the course of this debate. It was rather in the nature of a disquisition into the nature of government in Ireland. The noble Lord told me he brought no charge against myself or my predecessors, but he drew a gloomy 1417 picture of Irish officials banded together for the purpose of destroying the benefits just given by this Parliament to Ireland. He said that the Local Government Board was inspired by unfortunate prejudices. I hope to prove that in this matter the Local Government Board has been inspired solely by the motive of discharging the strict obligations imposed upon it by this House in the year 1898, and I can prove that out of a speech to which we have listened this evening—the speech of the hon. Baronet who brought this matter before us this evening. I was much, struck by a. sentence which fell from him towards the end of his speech. He said in the most emphatic terms, "We are bound to have the Act amended.'' That is the whole point. This attack, which I admit is justified, against the Local Government Board, is founded upon a mistake in the Act of 1898. It is an attack against provisions which are vital to the Act, and in the absence of which the Act never would have been passed by this House or any similar assembly.
Let me come direct to the point. In the Local Government Act of 1898 there is one part—part 8— which is specifically labeled "Transitory Provisions." The Local Government Act of 1898 effected a revolution in the government of Ireland. It transferred from the grand juries greater [lowers than had ever been held by similar bodies in the country. Almost all power of local government had accumulated in 200 years in the hands of the grand juries, and those powers were transferred to elective bodies. No such Act could have been passed without providing protection for the officers who had been employed by the grand juries; and in these transitory provisions it was provided that the officers who had served the grand juries—secretaries, surveyors, and others,—should have certain rights, after the period of a year, as they were bound to go on serving So that they should not embarrass the new body by immediate resignation. They were to serve on at the same salary, and for any increase of duty they were to have an increase of emolument, and the Local Government Board, and no other any body was to determine the in- 1418 creased emolument. That is in the Act, and if that is desired to be altered, hon, Members must come into the House and argue that the law is faulty.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
That is quite understood, but my point was that the Local Government Board went beyond that. They tried to gauge the salary without going into the question of whether the percentage of increased emolument represented the percentage of increased work, and it was decided by the Irish courts that their action was illegal.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I was coming to that immediately. It was for that reason that the hon. Baronet who opened the discussion was driven to the conclusion that until the Act was amended nothing could be done. I can go as far as anybody in believing that when you give power to local bodies you should not wreck that power with unnecessary restraints, but this is not an unnecessary restraint. This is a transitory provision similar to the provisions embodied in the English Act, and which is always embodied in Acts of this kind. It might be galling to have to employ a man whom you do not like, or to have to pension him off at Civil Service rates in order to employ the man you prefer. But this is part of the necessary sacrifice which must be made in order to carry through a great revolutionary and beneficial change in local government. It was put up with in this country without a murmur, and also in a great part of Ireland; and where objection is taken it is taken in order to make another attack on the Local Government Board—["Certainly not"]— because it embodies in the minds of hon. Members the emblem of British rule. [Cries of "British misrule."] I am not surprised to hear that cheer, but how factious is this attack. The Vice-President of the Local Government Board, who is principally arraigned, is a distinguished Irishman and the son of a distinguished Irishman. He is a man who enjoys the warm respect of most Irishmen; and he deserves that respect, for the energy and devotion with which he applied himself to the work placed on the Local Government Board when called upon to interpret 1419 and to administer this great Act. In these difficult two years in every act he has been considerate, and his every word has been courteous. Yet the action of the Local Government Board is called into question as though he was naturally inclined to wreck the Act.
Let me come at once to the charge that is brought against the Board. The action of the Local Government Board is arraigned because it was illegal, and also because its action has been hasty, arrogant, and unjust, inasmuch as it has imposed a charge on the Irish ratepayers which it was not justified in imposing, and which was not entertained by the framers of the Act. I feel the charge of illegality, but I am not one of those who ask this House to constitute itself into a Court of Appeal, and I shall say little about that, but to the charge of illegality there has been added the charge that the actions of the Board have been hasty, arrogant, and unjust. I think as to the illegality I plead guilty at once, but I may remark upon this point, as the hon. Baronet upon the point of illegality addressed himself exclusively to English Members of the House, who may be horrified to hear that a great public department has been cast in the High Court of Appeal in Ireland, that consideration should he given to the circumstances. The Lord Chief Justice, who gave the judgment, insisted upon the great heaviness of the burden thrown on the Local Government Board in its duty of interpreting for the first time and applying to the whole of Ireland this new law. It is a fact that during many months that Department, which has been taunted with neglecting its legal work, had to write 3,000 official letters per week on matters involved in the Act, and it was on one of those letters that the Local Government Board was cast. When the case was brought before the court of first instance it was unanimously decided that the Local Government Board was technically right, and I need not labour the point of illegality further than to say that the House must understand that it does not follow because the Local Government Board was wrong on this occasion that therefore the county councils are to decide as to the salaries of the existing officers. The legal points were very ably argued, but 1420 few were decided. The Lord Chief Baron, Lord Justice FitzGibbon, and Lord Justice Holmes all agreed in saying that the Local Government Board under the Act had final, conclusive, and uncontrolled power to determine whether there had been an increase of duty or not. And if the Local Government Board has that right and is charged with that duty, who is to decide the increase of salary for such increase of duty? The three judges of the Court of Appeal also agreed that that duty was obligatory on the Local Government Board. It might be asked, if upon these two great questions of substance the Local Government Board was in the right, why was their action found to be illegal? Because the learned judges decided—and, I think, quite rightly—that the decision of the Local Government Board was based upon a wrong principle. The ground upon which they were cast was that in the terms of the letter they so expressed themselves as to leave the judges of the Court of Appeal no option but to believe that they had taken into account the adequacy of the original salary as well as the amount of increase and the emolument for that increase. That is the whole matter.
I accept the decision of the High Court, but I must tell hon. Members that this is not as a matter of fact the principle which guides the action of the Local Government Board. The words in the Act are not too clear. They are that these officers should receive such increase or diminution of remuneration in proportion to the increase or diminution of their duties as the Local Government Board might determine. That is not a very clear phrase, and the judges in the High Court gave various views as to what such proportion would mean. The intention of the provision, however, is clear. The intention was that the Local Government Board, and no one else, should have a discretion to give added remuneration which should be more or less proportionate to the added work imposed on the officers. I have only dwelt upon this legal point to show what a melancholy prospect is before us if the hon. Baronet persists in his determination to test every one of these technicalities in a court of law, and to make the Irish ratepayer pay for that 1421 intellectual exercise. But is the action of the Local Government Board in honestly attempting to carry out the duty placed upon it arrogant or unjust? The Act was passed in August, 1898, and declared that the new salaries of these officers were to begin from 1st April, 1899. From that date they were entitled to increase of pay, and the Local Government Board was responsible to Parliament and to eternal justice to see they received their due. It was not until August, 1899, that a courteousletter, to which no reference has been made, was addressed to the county councils of Ireland. That letter points out to the county councils the provisions existing in the Act, and invites their co-operation in giving any information at their command in order to assist the Local Government Board. That was a year after the passing of the Act. The hon. Member read a letter which, for the purposes of my argument. I am glad to find is in close juxtaposition to the affidavit of Mr. Piggot. This letter was written a year after the other letter to which I have referred, and two years after the passing of the Act, and Mr. Piggot swears in his affidavit that it is especially inequitable to fix these salaries on ex parte evidence. That is a year after the expression of their views was invited. From the Wexford County Council we have received no assistance or expression of views on this subject whatever.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Then that letter is not printed in the Return. But I take the hon. Baronet's word. In December the Wexford County Council demurred altogether to the course the Local Government Board was taking. How many of these officers are there in Ireland? There are thirty-three secretaries, thirty-three surveyors, and 170 assistant surveyors, the duties of the surveyors and assistant surveyors being to inspect the roads in the counties of Ireland. Ten counties in Ireland, not on the motion of the Local Government Board, but of their own free will, came to an agreement with all their officers which entirely fulfilled all the intentions of the Act.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The circular was not illegal, and the hon. Member is quite in error in supposing that the counties to which I have referred acted on the suggestion of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. CLANCY
It was on the basis of the circular of the 7th February that the Court of Appeal decided that the Local Government Board had committed an illegality, and that was the circular which dictated the agreement to which the right hon. Gentleman refers.
I say that that is not so. The circular of the 7th February was the document which led the Court to hold that our action was illegal, but I say that ten county councils in Ireland agreed with all their officers irrespective of and anterior to the issue of the views of the Local Government Board; seven other counties came to an agreement with their officers at a time when I am not sure whether or not they were in possession of the views of the Board; six counties undoubtedly made agreements in accordance with the terms issued by the Board; and ten counties refused to act in accordance with the wishes of the Board. Indeed, the circular of the Board, which is chiefly impugned, was largely based upon the terms of the agreements which had been arrived at by the various counties in Ireland, and especially in the case of the assistant surveyors. I would point out that under the grand juries the assistant surveyors with one or two exceptions, had the same emoluments—namely, £80 a year; but by voluntary agreement county Cavan gave its assistant surveyor £1 70; county Dublin, £150; county Meath, £160; county Galway, £120; county Tipperary, one £200, and two others £140; and so forth. By voluntary agreement these counties gave higher salaries than that to which the hon. Baronet takes such exception. We did not take the highest of those, but we took £150 as the maximum and £120 as the minimum, and we felt that the discretion which we believe we have ought to be exercised within those limits. Under the grand juries the assistant surveyors. who had uniform duties and uniform salaries, had to inspect the roads twice and to make two reports to the grand 1423 juries each year. When this Act was passed their work was doubled, because instead of two meetings per year of the grand juries, it provided for four meetings of the county councils, and, therefore, four inspections of the roads, four reports, and so on. On that ground the Local Government Board undoubtedly took mileage into account, because if the work was doubled the man who travelled most miles had a larger increase of work than the man who travelled a smaller number of miles. Was it unreasonable to say that the man who had 800 additional miles to do should have £30 a year more than the man who did only 500 miles? The officer upon whose case these proceedings were taken by the Wexford County Council had to inspect 554½ miles of roads. The effect of doubling his work was therefore to impose upon him the duty of inspecting an extra 1,109 miles. For that his salary was raised by the Local Government Board from £80 to £150. I doubt whether anybody would say we had gone beyond the actual dictates of common justice or even been guilty of a technical illegality if they understood that that is the whole head and front of our offending. We were bound to take the action we did. We based it upon our construction of the Act, and fixed the scale upon the agreements voluntarily come to by various county councils, and, above all, upon the fact of the increased duties which we were directed by the Act to take into account when fixing these increases of salary. We may have been guilty of a technical illegality, but I doubt whether anybody with justice can say that the action of the Board was at all precipitate, arrogant, or unjust towards the ratepayers of Ireland. We did break the letter of the law, but the Wexford County Council and the hon. Members opposite are seeking that we should break the spirit of the law. ["No."] Yes, for what are the pleas which have been advanced? They are that the old salaries were ample even though the men have to make four inspections instead of two. [Hear, hear.] That proves my whole contention. That is precisely what we are precluded from doing by the explicit provisions of this Act. Hon. Members from Ireland are asking, and the hon. Baronet is driven 1424 by his own argument to ask, that we should repeal certain provisions of the Act. Correspondence on this matter went on in courteous terms, and it was not until July, 1900, two years after the passing of the Act, that the Local Government Board issued a mandate to say that these gentlemen were to receive the money due to them for fifteen months and guaranteed by Parliament.
I do not know that I should labour the matter any more. I would ask the hon. Baronet to consider where we now stand. I have said enough on the legal point involved to show that we could go to law about every phrase and technical point in the Act; but surely that would not be a wise thing to do. We are to have an inquiry into the Wexford case, and I suggest that it should be treated as a test case, and, if it should turn out that the Local Government Board have made some error in their calculation, of course the Local Government Board will take that into account. But, whatever happens, nothing can alter the fact that the officers who have honourably served the grand jury are entitled to continued employment at the same emolument and to increased emolument for increased duty, and are entitled to retire on pensions calculated on the Civil Service scale. These propositions embody the substance of my contention; all the rest is form and technicality, upon which may be opened an almost illimitable vista of litigation. I hope the hon. Baronet will not encourage those who trust in him to take so disastrous a course. When is an existing officer not an existing officer, which proposition is not a rule of three sum, and if not, why not—these are questions of the deepest speculative interest; but I doubt whether the Irish people should be called upon to pay for their elucidation.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said he had seldom listened to a more characteristic-speech from an Irish Secretary than that which they had just heard. At the end of his speech and in the course of an eloquent appeal to the hon. Baronet who had earned the thanks of every county council in Ireland in respect of the action he had taken on this question, the right hon. Gentleman declared that he did not understand the clause under which the 1425 operations had been carried on so long. It had been argued in a court of law, and the judges had been utterly unable to understand what it meant. In the long debates which took place when the Local Government Act was before the House he ventured to say that it was a badly drafted Act, and that some of the provisions- and this would apply also to the orders and rules which had since been made—would lead to enormous and endless litigation in Ireland. He thought the prophecy he then made had been more than justified by the speech to which they had listened.
He came now to the substance of the speech. What did the Chief Secretary say at the very outset? He admitted frankly that the action of the Local Government Board was illegal, but he contended that that illegality was a question of form and not of substance. The statements which the right hon. Gentleman made with regard to the principle on which the Local Government Board acted on these occasions were absolutely contradicted by the judgment of the learned judges in the Court of Appeal. The Chief Secretary went on to say that certain action would be legal but idiotic—rather an extraordinary phrase. In fact his speech bristled with extraordinary phrases. The hon. Member contended that the action of the Local Government Board had been illegal and idiotic, because they not only fixed these salaries without proper local inquiry and without proper consultation of the county councils, but in their eagerness to do so they broke the law. Undoubtedly the Act conferred excessive powers on the Local Government Board of Ireland. That was one of the blots of the Act. He raised that question on the Second Reading and again several times in Committee. He complained that the Act as drafted conferred on the Local Government Board—a body utterly out of touch' with and irresponsible to the people of the country—powers enormously in excess of those conferred on the Local Government Board of England, which was directly responsible to the representatives of the people, and which would never dream of entering on the career of dictatorial assertion of its powers which was practised constantly by the Local Government Board of Ireland. He ventured to 1426 say that if the Act was passed in that form they would find in Ireland before it had been working long a revolt on the part of the population against its excessive powers. That was exactly what had happened. The Chief Secretary had entered into a long argument to show in reference to the increase of salaries and the other acts complained of that the Local Government Board had simply done its duty and carried out the law. The whole question was the spirit in which they had carried out the law, and the discretion which they had shown. Nobody objected to any official in Ireland left by the grand jury obtaining a just increase of salary in respect of a real in-crease of work. He believed there was not a single county council in Ireland which had raised any objection. What they objected to was that the Local Government Board had approached the consideration of this question in a spirit of partisanship, and that they had in many cases ignored the fair and reasonable opinion of the councils. By approaching the consideration of this question in a spirit of partisanship they had stirred up all this trouble. They ought not to give to the Local Government. Board in Ireland so wide a discretion as to say that they were entitled to raise the salary of any officer employed by any local body in Ireland without considering local feeling and without consultation with the local representatives of the people who were entitled to form an opinion on the subject. The local bodies who had to find the money were the only men in a position to know what increase there had been in the duties, and this action on the part of the Local Government Board would almost lead to a revolt in any other country in the world but Ireland.
He would turn for a moment to the assertion made by the Chief Secretary, in which he laid down the principle on which the Local Government Board considered these salaries. He distinctly understood him to say that this did not involve going back upon the question as to whether the officers had been paid previously too much or not. Here was an extract from the judgment given by Lord Justice Fitzgibbon—I am certain of the fact upon the evidence, and it is the ground of my decision, that the 1427 Board assumed the jurisdiction of considering the existing remuneration for the existing duties, and to lay down scales of payment for the future which were to regulate the pay for the old as well as for the new duties.It was clear from this evidence that the board did assume the discretion which the Chief Secretary now denied. The same principle appeared to have been adopted in the case of county surveyors, and yet the Chief Secretary came down there and declared that there was no foundation for that statement. Another judge—Lord Justice Holmes—said—The Board has recast and revised old salaries.That was what the Chief Secretary said they never did.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I stated that although the terms of their letter which was laid before the judges drove them to that conclusion, really as a matter of fact the Board did not act in that way.
§ MR. DILLON
said he saw in the Chief Secretary's speech abundant evidence of what they were to expect from him, and he was going to be the mouthpiece and conduit pipe for the officials of Dublin Castle. It was stated that there was not a shred of evidence to show that the Board had acted upon any other principle than that which he had stated, and yet they were asked to ignore the opinion of two judges and accept the statement of the Chief Secretary.
Coming to the question of discretion on the part of the Local Government Board, he heard the Chief Secretary state that by a calculation it was found that the county surveyors had to inspect twice as many roads as before. What evidence was there of that? None at all. He was not a county councillor, but he was assured by his colleagues who were members of these councils that there was no foundation for that statement. There was no provision in the Act requiring the road inspectors to go over the road twice as often as they did before. All the extra work they had to do was to attend the meetings of the councils four times a year, instead of twice under the Grand Jury system. On that point he preferred to take the information of his own experienced colleagues rather than the opinion of the Chief Secretary. The 1428 Local Government Board having, according to the Chief Secretary himself, interpreted this extraordinary clause, drafted as it was in a way which no human being could understand, in the sense of giving them the widest possible discretion, had exercised that discretion in the silliest and most idiotic way possible, The complaints on this score were made not only by the Nationalist Councils, but also by the councils on which the Unionists were in power. They had heard of the Tipperary and Wexford County Councils, which could compare with any county councils for administrative efficiency. But let them take the case of the county council of Derry. (He might say parenthetically that the Northern counties cut down the salaries of their officers to half what was given in the South). The Local Government Board declared in their knowledge and wisdom that the secretary of this council should get a large increase of salary on account of his increased work. But in this case the worthy man had never done anything at all. He was one of the class of Rois fainéants or "dead heads" under the old grand jury men, who did very little themselves, but who sweated some poor devil at £100 a year to do their work for them. This intelligent gentleman hardly did anything but sign his name, and yet the Local Government Board ordered his salary to be increased 50 per cent, on account of the increase of his labours! He never did any duty and never wanted to do any duty. There was another bitter dispute in the case of the secretary of the Antrim County Council. He alluded to these cases to show that this was not a party question. The substance of complaint was that the Local Government Board were given this power of descretion, and that they used it in a partisan, unfair, and outrageous manner. In the Wexford case the Local Government Board did not take sufficient pains to consult the men on the spot who knew the circumstances of the case, and who had to provide the salaries, and when their views were before the Board they treated the council with impertinence and neglect. It was idle for the Chief Secretary to fall back on the letter of the law in this case. He admitted that he was unable to tell what that was; but, even supposing it was 1429 quite clear, the letter of the law was nothing as compared with the administration. Would the Chief Secretary contend that the Local Government Board could so far exercise this power of discretion, as to go about the country doubling and trebling the salaries of officials? The Local Government Board had the power and discretion to do that, and would the Chief Secretary defend such action? Before exercising their discretion in this case, the Local Government Board should have hesitated, and thought twice, and three times, rather than come into collision with popular sentiment in the country, unless they were convinced that deliberately and of set purpose the representatives of the ratepayers meant to penalise and hunt down some old officials. He was of opinion that the Irish county councils in the South as well as in the north approached this question of dealing with existing officers in an honest spirit, and with a really sincere desire to carry out the spirit of the Act. The late Chief Secretary had said that this action of the Local Government Board had been taken under provisions in the Act to which the Irish party had assented. That was absolutely untrue. The Irish Members protested against all these provisions.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I affirm most distinctly that we were pressed by the Irish Members to give more favourable terms to these officers.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
And I affirm most distinctly that we proposed a dozen Amendments in the contrary direction.
§ MR. DILLON
said the late Chief Secretary was wrong in attributing to the Irish party any desire to press for more favourable terms. What that party did was to appeal to the Government to extend to other officials the same treatment as was proposed to be given to the old grand jury officials. The Irish Members always protested against the giving of this extravagant 1430 power to the Local Government Board; and as far as he was concerned himself he could quote for the House an extract from the speech he delivered on the Bill, in which he warned the Government that this clause would lead to endless litigation and to something like revolt on the part of the local bodies. The Chief Secretary now challenged them as to what they would do in this case, and wanted to know would they take it to a higher court. He again warned the Government of the danger of arousing in Ireland such a combination on the part of the councils as would make the working of the machinery of this Act very difficult. The Chief Secretary argued that there should be some ruling body to decide these matters. That might be admitted, but while the Bill was passing through the House the Irish Members warned the Government that if they packed the Local Government Board in the interests of the landlord party and the old grand jurors it would be sure to provoke a collision. That was what had been done by the Government. There was no representative of the people on the Local Government Board. But the Government had brought in to assist in the working of the Act a representative of the landlord class instinct with all the bitterness of that class—a gentleman, moreover, who had denounced the Act just at the time it was being passed, and even after he had been appointed, as an Act that bad been so badly drawn that no human being could understand it. The Board would always remain incompetent in the present atmosphere of Dublin Castle. If the Government had wanted to give the Act a chance of working what they should have done would have been to say, "Here, we are going to work a great popular machinery. Let us bring in on the Board two nominative gentlemen—(the Irish Members would rather have had them elective)—not Orange landlords, but two popular gentlemen who, without salary, will act along with the Board and keep it in touch with the local bodies." If the Government had done that, none of those troubles would have arisen, because these popular gentlemen who were in touch with popular sentiment would have kept the Board straight. The condition 1431 of Ireland was peculiar, and it was perfectly clear that the Local Government Board was not responsive to popular opinion, and that the local bodies had no more influence on the Board in Dublin Castle than on the Yamen. Therefore, he maintained that in Ireland they had a totally different condition of things to deal with from what they had in England, and if the Government wanted to work the system of local government in Ireland smoothly and successfully they should bring the Local Government Board more into touch with popular sentiment. The, Local Government Board was already a Department of Dublin Castle,, and as such in the existing atmosphere of Dublin Castle, was incompetent to work the machinery of an Act of this kind. When the Government nominated Mr. Bagenal to the Local Government Board, why did not they also nominate representatives of the Nationalist sections in the country? If they had done that none of these troubles would have arisen. The Chief Secretary knew that the conditions in Ireland were peculiar. He know that the Local Government Board was not responsible to Irish public opinion, and treated with contempt the views of the Irish Nationalist Members. Therefore if the Government had wished to work this Act successfully they should have appointed to the Local Government Board some representatives of popular opinion in Ireland.
In conclusion he would refer to one other case, that of Mr. Nicholas Shee, the secretary of the county council of South Tipperary. The Chief Secretary gave this case the go-by, probably because he was ashamed of the action of the Local Government Board. What happened in this case? Mr. Shee was a Nationalist, and a most respectable farmer in the County Tipperary. He was elected secretary of the county council against the opposition of the Unionist Members. He put the affairs of the Council on a business footing, and the Local Government Board refused, against the wishes of all sections in the Council, to sanction his appointment on the ground that he was not competent. A more grotesque piece of oppression he never heard of. The Local Government Board sent down the son of Colonel 1432 Saunderson to examine Mr. Shee, the secretary to this council. They might as well send the grand-master of an Orange Lodge in Belfast to examine a Catholic priest, and see if he was qualified. This young gentleman was sent down to examine a prominent Nationalist of Tipperary, and to report upon his qualifications. The hon. Member protested against the introduction of this system of examination in Ireland, when there was no examination in England for corresponding positions. What right had the Government to put upon the councils a test which was not exacted from the old grand juries when they were administering the country? He hoped the Chief Secretary would give some explanation of this case. The treatment of Mr. Shee was grotesque and outrageous, and he was compelled to think, unless the spirit and disposition of the Local Government Board was altered, they would never have a smooth or successful working of the machinery of Local Government in Ireland.
§ SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
I venture to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, having regard to the lateness of the hour, whether it would not be possible to find an opportunity for discussing the subject of affairs in the Far East on the third reading of the Appropriation Bill on Thursday.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Of course it does not in any way rest with the Government to say what topics should be taken on the Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill. That depends on the Members of the House of Commons, and the order in which they are called upon to take part in the debate. The hon. Gentleman has asked whether I might not ask the House to meet earlier on Thursday, so as to increase the time given for the Third Reading. I think such a course would be very unusual, if not unprecedented; but I believe it would be possible, perhaps, at the cost of some inconvenience, to try to get the House of Lords to meet on Friday morning instead of Thursday night. If that is thought desirable, 1433 and if I can make that arrangement on separating to-night, we might take the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill now, without a division. I am sure the House will recognise that I am doing my best to meet their desire for the discussion of the Appropriation Bill, and also that all that can be done has been done by the Government.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
think the suggestion that has come from the First Lord of the Treasury is a reasonable one. The debate has not been so long and exhaustive as we could have wished. Indeed, I know that a number of my hon. friends here were anxious to take part in the discussion. Still one must recognise the fact that
§ the debate has been a substantial and important one. But we are dissatisfied with the result of the debate so far as the answer of the Government is concerned, and therefore we will mark our dissatisfaction by taking a vote. It will really be a division on the question of Local Government in Ireland which has been raised. We can reserve until the Third Reading, on Thursday, such other topics of discussion as may remain. Under these circumstances I would suggest to my hon. friends who feel keenly on this subject that it would be right for us now to take a division.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 143; Noes, 51. (Division List No. 107.)1435
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederi'k||Mount, William Arthur|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir AlexF.||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Green, Walford D (Wednesbu'y||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Gretton, John||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Arrol, Sir William||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Asher, Alexander||Groves, James Grimble||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Hamilton, Rt Hn LordG. (Mid'x||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Hardy, Laurence (KentAshfo'd||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynemo'th||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Hayne, Rt. Hn. C. Seale-||Purvis, Robert|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Beaeh, Rt. Hn. Sir M H. (Bristol)||Henderson, Alexander||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hope, J. F- (Sheffield, Brightsi'e||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Ridley, Mat. W. (Stalybridge|
|Bill, Charles||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Bond, Edward||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Brassey, Albert||Keswick, William||Rutherford, John|
|Brigg, John||Knowles, Lees||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Lambert, George||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Lambton, Hon, Frederick Wm.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Butcher, John George||Law, Andrew Bonar||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Caldwell, James||Lawrence, William F.||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire||Lawson, John Grant||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Spear, John Ward|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Levy, Maurice||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Charrington Spencer||Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S||Valentia, Viscount|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Macdona, John Cumming||Webb, Col. William George|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham||Majendie, James A. H.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und Lyne|
|Digby, John K. D. (Wingfield||Malcolm, Ian||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield-||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Milton, Viscount||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wodehouse, Rt, Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose-||Morrell, George Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Morris, Hon. Martin Herny F.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Doherty, William|
|Ambbrose, Robert||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leamy, Edmund||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lundon, W.||O'Malley, William.|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||O'Mara, James|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||M'Dermott, Patrick||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Fadden, Edward||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cullman, J.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Reddy, M.|
|Delady, William||Mooney, John J.||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Dillon, John||Murphy, J.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Duffy, William J.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thompson, E. C (Monaghan, N.|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Field, William||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
Bill read a second time, and committed or to-morrow, at Twelve of the clock.