§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I have to move—"That to-morrow the House at its rising do adjourn till Thursday, the 6th of June, and that at the conclusion of Government business Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without question put." I do not think this is a motion which requires any very long defence, but perhaps a few words of explanation may shorten the discussion. It has been suggested that the holidays should not extend to Thursday week, but that the House should reassemble on Monday week. In view of the fact that we have a great deal to do before the session comes to an end, I have considered very carefully whether that proposal would be for the convenience of the House, and I have come to the conclusion that it would not be. In the first place, Monday is not a very convenient day to fix for the reassembling of the House, and it is specially inconvenient for those Members who live far from London and who go to Scotland or Ireland, or even further afield, for their holidays. Then, from the point of view of Government business, by meeting on the Monday instead of Thursday we should sacrifice three days of the holidays and only get at most a day and a half of Government time. I say a day 990 and a half because no doubt we should have a right to the Tuesday sitting, but a part of that would certainly be taken up by a motion to adjourn over the Derby. In view of the nature of the business that stands for the Wednesday, I am not sure that we should not be witnesses of the unwonted spectacle of the motion for the adjournment over Derby Day being moved from a very unexpected quarter on this side of the House, whether from those who want to go to the Derby or those who want to avoid discussing the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill. It is certain that part of Tuesday's sitting would be expended in that most unprofitable discussion, and that the sacrifice of three days holidays would only result in a relatively small modicum of gain for the conduct of Government business. Therefore there is no case on that side of the question for meeting on Monday. There remains the question whether we should or should not meet on Wednesday, or at such a period that Wednesday would be a day on which private Members' business could be discussed. The only precedent I am aware of is that in connection with an Education Bill, which was brought in by the hon. Member for Sunderland, and which met with universal acceptance from both sides of the House, and passed without serious discussion or controversial debate on the first Wednesday after the holidays. It is quite evident that that Wednesday was employed in practical legislation. It is equally evident that next Wednesday week would not be employed in practical legislation at all. One of my hon. friends asked me whether we might not meet on Wednesday in order that the second Order of the day, which has reference to Church discipline, might be discussed, but whatever else happens on that day the second Order certainly will not be reached. I may go further and say that all who are familiar with the movement and currents of Parliamentary business are perfectly aware that the first Order on that Wednesday will not be concluded at 5.30 p.m. There are already forty-five Amendments on the Paper, and that at a period when no one supposed that the Bill was coming on; and if it becomes a practical certainty that the Bill is to come on, I 991 should be surprised if these Amendments do not show an extreme facility for multiplication, and there would be no chance of the Bill being got through. If it did not get through on that day there would be no chance of its passing into law this session, because there are other private Bills before it, which would make it absolutely out of the question that further progress could be made with the Bill. Therefore I think nothing will be gained for private Members by meeting before Thursday week. For the reasons which I have given I think that the proposal to meet on Thursday week is one which will commend itself to all parts of the House, and in these circumstances I have no hesitation in moving the motion which stands in my name.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, to-morrow, the House at its rising do adjourn till Thursday the 6th of June, and that at the conclusion of Government business Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without Question put."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ SIR BRAMPTON GURDON (Norfolk, N.)
I rise to protest against this continued invasion of the rights of private Members. A few weeks ago we might naturally have expected that the House would adjourn on Tuesday last until this day week. That would have enabled hon. Members to avoid the holiday traffic both before and after Whitsuntide, and gentlemen who wished to attend the Derby or the Oaks could have returned to town for the purpose. I had made arrangements in the belief that yesterday would have been the first day of the holidays, and I daresay many hon. Members did the same. The Sale of Intoxicating Liquor to Children Bill, the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, and the Church Discipline Bill are all down for Wednesday, June 5th, None of these Bills are party Bills in any sense of the word. I should be sorry to claim for any one party a monopoly of the principle involved in the Sale of Intoxicating Liquor to Children Bill. The Deceased Wife's Sister Bill has the support of a large majority of hon. Members on the other side of the House, and the Church Discipline Bill has also got friends on 992 both sides. Unfortunately, these Bills are very strongly opposed by a small section of the House representing the English Church Union, which seems to assume to itself the whole business of the country, and in order that these Bills may be postponed the whole House have been put to the inconvenience of sitting until Friday, and going to their homes in the traffic preceding the bank holiday. We heard a great deal from the right hon. Gentleman as to the continuous pressure of work. I should have thought that would have been a reason for meeting on Monday week instead of Thursday week. I think I may speak for hon. Members on both sides when I say that our desire is to get through the work of the session as quickly as possible, and get away early in August. I do not believe that the House cares for these prolonged cheap trip holidays. Whatever the front benches may think, I am of opinion that hon. Members sitting on the back benches do not care to spend their holidays at Margate or Bosherville Gardens, but would rather get home as early as possible in August. The right hon. Gentleman has said that there is no use proceeding with the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, but I do not think that he has read that Bill or the Amendments to it. It is in a form which has not been previously submitted to the House; it has been very carefully modified and carried to the extreme verge of conciliation, and has been read a third time in the House of Lords. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Amendments on the Paper he will see that they can hardly be regarded as bona fide Amendments. I think most of them would be ruled out of order, and it would be perfectly easy to get that Bill through Committee on the first Wednesday after the recess. If such a Bill has no chance of getting through, then no private Member's Bill can ever be carried through the House. I ask the House if that is right or constitutional. The First Lord of the Treasury spoke with some contempt of private Members' Bills, and he said it was hopeless for any Member to put down a Bill if it did not get through Committee before Whitsuntide. But right hon. Gentlemen on the front benches should leave private Members to make a House for themselves, and to go 993 on with Bills that are demanded by the country. I think that is a very moderate request to make. I will move an Amendment that the words "Wednesday, 5th," be substituted for "Thursday, 6th," but I do not wish to press it if the right hon. Gentleman will give me an assurance that he will not take Wednesdays after Whitsuntide until, say, the middle of July. I do hope I shall get some satisfactory assurance from the First Lord of the Treasury. I am not asking for any advantage. I am only asking that private Members should be allowed to put their Bills before the House, and have them discussed on their merits. I beg to move my Amendment.
§ MR. CHARLES MCARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)
I rise to second the Amendment, as a protest against the action of the Government in depriving private Members of the opportunity of bringing forward subjects which, I venture to say, are of great importance at the present time. Two reasons have been given for the proposal to extend the Whitsuntide holidays over a day on which various subjects of importance are set down for discussion. The first is that it is a private Members' day, and the second is that it is Derby day. I do not wish to say anything objectionable of that great opportunity for national sport, but I think there are a sufficient number of Members in the House of Commons who would sacrifice pleasure on that occasion to attend, if opportunity were given them, to urgent measures. The First Lord of the Treasury, perhaps quite unintentionally, discounted the importance of private Members' business, but the business to be brought forward on that particular Wednesday affects matters of temperance and Church government, matters which enter very deeply into the social life of the people, and compare very favourably even with the measures which have been occupying the time of the House during the present session. You may multiply the Fleet and the Army, and raise vast sums for national expenditure, but if you neglect the social life of the people, allow the religious sense of the people to become impaired, their respect for law and order to be undermined, and allow our national 994 character to deteriorate, you are permitting evils which none of these measures can prevent or avoid. That is the work which is being done, I regret to say, by a large section of the Church of England at the present moment, and the Church Discipline Bill is intended to prevent it. I may direct attention to the abortive attempts which have been made to bring this subject before the House. The hon. Member for Flintshire brought forward an Amendment which would enable it to be discussed, but that was blocked. At a later period an hon. Member brought in a Bill, but the date of the Second Reading was included in the Easter holidays in the same way as the date on which this Bill is down is included in the Whitsun recess. I would remind the House that on the 10th May, 1899, the Church Discipline Bill, in a form very similar although not identical with the Bill of this present session, was brought before this House for Second Reading, and the Attorney General of that day, now Lord Alverstone, put forward this Amendment—That this House, while not prepared to accept a measure which creates fresh offences and ignores the authority of the bishops in maintaining the discipline of the Church, is of opinion that, if the efforts now being made by the archbishops and bishops to secure the due obedience of the clergy are not speedily effectual, further legislation will be required to maintain the observance of the existing laws of the Church and Realm.Who can say for a moment that the efforts of the bishops and archbishops have been successful? I quite admit that they have made some efforts, and that some success has attended their efforts, but on the other hand I say, notwithstanding all, that the evil is a growing one.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member is now discussing the merits of a Bill upon the Order Paper. That is a thing he is not entitled to do.
§ MR. CHARLES MCARTHUR
Of course, I defer to your ruling, Sir, but I hope I am in order in giving the reasons why I think it is a matter of urgency that this matter should be dealt with, and that if it is not dealt with great danger will arise.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member may express an opinion that the matter is urgent and ask the House to adopt that opinion, but he cannot for that purpose speak on the merits of a Bill and argue the necessity of it.
§ MR. CHARLES MCARTHUR
I will not attempt to do more, Sir, than to state the case in a general way. My reasons are these—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman appears now to be going into the very matters which I have said cannot be discussed upon this motion.
§ MR. CHARLES MCARTHUR
Then I will omit all I intended to say on the subject. I regret that I cannot give the House the reasons for the urgency of this measure, and I regret that the Government do not see their way to give us the opportunity of discussing the Church Discipline Bill. May I just say that at the present time the people are looking to Parliament to deal with this matter. They have lost confidence in the bishops, but they have still confidence in this House, which they look to to put an end to what is really becoming a national scandal.
To leave out the words 'Thursday, the 6th of June,' and insert the words 'Wednesday, the 5th of June.'"—(Sir Brampton Gurdon)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'Thursday, the 6th of June,' stand part of the question."
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
As the Bill to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor to children stands second on the Paper for Wednesday, 5th June, I may perhaps be allowed shortly to state what the position of that Bill is. No Bill, whether introduced by Liberals or Conservatives, has ever been received by the House with more confidence. The Bill is a non-party bill, and it cannot be made a party measure except by some unwise action on the part of the Leader of the House, which I do not think is likely to take place. This Bill passed its Second Reading after a very full debate on Wednesday, by the unprecedented 996 majority of 118. The ordinary Opposition behind me all voted for the Bill; the overwhelming majority of the hon. Members on the Irish benches voted for it, and although it is true that the whole opposition to it came from the Conservative side of the House, so great was the feeling upon those benches in favour of it that if everybody on this side had abstained from voting the Bill would still have been carried by a majority of four to one. So great was the number of hon. Members who took part in the division that it took forty minutes to get through the lobbies, and then it was impossible to send the Bill upstairs. I am not an old parliamentary hand, and I do not pride myself upon my ability to pilot a Bill through the House, but I have taken advice upon this subject, and I am told that the only way to get a Bill like this through the House is to send it upstairs. How does the Bill stand at present? It will be second Order on Wednesday, the 5th of June. The Order before it is the Church Discipline Bill, which might be got through and sent upstairs in half a hour. I admit it is a forlorn hope at best, but it is the last hope we have of passing this Bill, and no doubt the Government takes considerable pleasure in depriving us of our only remaining opportunity. What am I to do under these circumstances? I have said that, a great majority of hon. Members opposite are in favour of this Bill, and I might go further and say that a considerable number of hon. Gentlemen opposite are determined that it shall pass into law. I have only to mention the names of the hon. Members for Norwood, Manchester, and others, to show that there is this determination, but what is my position? Am I going to ask them to vote against the Government now in order to preserve this forlorn hope? I do not think I can, and I will give the reason why. I very much wish that the Leader of the House had seen his way to make a statement, but he has told us it is inconvenient, and he is the best judge of the convenience of the House. I do not wish to press him further, but for my part I have been nine years in this House, and I have sat opposite to the right hon. Gentleman both when he has been Leader of the House and when 997 he has been Leader of the Opposition, and, although I disagree with him in political matters, I will say I never saw him do anything that would mislead the House of Commons. He has given no pledge that the Government is going to take up this Bill, but there is an understanding on both sides of the House that the Government is going to do something, and, in the face of such an understanding I do not believe, the right hon. Gentleman would deprive us of our last opportunity of doing something. That being so, I could not ask hon. Gentlemen to vote against his motion. I shall vote for him, but on general grounds I think it is a most inconvenient thing for the House of Commons to have these short holidays at Whitsuntide and Easter. I myself would far rather see those holidays shortened, and the general period of the session curtailed at either the beginning or the end.
§ MR. SETON-KARR (St. Helens)
I am going to support the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman on general grounds. First of all, because I think it is rather a longer holiday than the usual—
§ MR. SETON-KARR
I am speaking to the best of my recollection. I think there has been a tendency on the part of the Government to encroach upon the time of private Members, and upon that ground I support the amendment. To come to particular matters, on Wednesday, the 5th, there are some very important Bills to be dealt with. In the first place, there is this minor reproach against the Government that they have adjourned over the 5th because they want to go to the Derby. I do not believe myself that the right hon. Gentleman himself is animated by any such reason, although that may be the reason adopted by hon. Members opposite, but, passing over that, I happen to have a Bill down for Second Reading on that day—the Salmon Fisheries (Ireland) Bill. If the House sits it may not come on, but if the House does not sit it cannot possibly be reached. I have frequently introduced that Bill to the House during the last ten years, and this is the first occasion 998 that I have ever secured anything like a first place, and I am very sorry to think that by the action of the Government my one opportunity for bringing it on for discussion is now to be taken away. It is not a private Bill in the ordinary sense, because it is a Bill the outcome of the Report of a Select Committee, and I venture to think that the prevention of its discussion will inflict an injustice on Ireland. With regard to the Church Discipline Bill, I am very sorry indeed, because, although it is unlikely that that Bill would have been reached on the 5th if the House sat, I think it is a matter on which the Government should take the earliest opportunity of stating their views. I happened to be down in Lancashire ten days ago, and had the honour to preside at a large meeting, when a resolution was passed by 400 delegates by no means hostile to the Government, but calling attention to the principles of the Bill and urging upon the Government the advisability of some action being taken. I mention this fact in order that His Majesty's. Government may understand that there is a very ardent desire amongst a large body of electors, a great number of whom are supporters of the Government, to have a precise statement of the intentions of the Government with regard to this Bill. For these reasons I feel compelled, much against my will, to support the Amendment which has been moved with the object of shortening the proposed holiday. I think on general grounds it is necessary for private Members on both sides to protest—although usually it does not amount to much as far as results are concerned—when we think our time is being unduly taken from us by the action of right hon. Gentlemen on the front bench. The two front benches are always in league on this subject when it is a question of a private Member's Bill as against the exigencies, of public business. I submit that this is not a party question at all. The main fault very often lies in the fact that the Government of the day try to pass more measures than there is time for. It is perfectly clear to anybody who examines the records of our legislation that many of the most useful and valuable Acts have been passed on the initiative of private Members. I have ventured 999 to protest against the proposed prolonged holiday not because we do not want a holiday, but because it cuts out some extremely important measures from the serious consideration of the House.
§ MR. PURVIS (Peterborough)
I wish to address to the Government a few words on the belated condition of the Beer Bill, which passed its Second Reading two months ago by a majority of 112. On almost every night since the 27th March I have tried to raise the lid of the stony sarcophagus in which this Bill is being suffocated in order that it might escape to life in the Committee on Trade upstairs. Last Tuesday, in reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, the First Lord of the Treasury said the time had not arrived for making any definite statement as to the fate of the Bill.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The question before the House is that of substituting "Wednesday, the 5th," for "Thursday, the 6th June," in the motion. The Beer Bill is not down for Wednesday, the 5th of June, and the hon. Member will not be in order in referring to it.
§ MR. PURVIS
To seek intentionally to infringe the rule of the House would be the last thing I should think of doing. My object is to show that, if the House met on the Wednesday, the Government might perhaps grant an hour of the time at their disposal in order to facilitate the progress of this Bill.
§ MR. PURVIS
Then, Sir, I will not pursue it further than to say that the people of the country are becoming from day to day more earnest in their inquiries as to the fate of this Bill. The Government will be doing a great—
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
The principal matter of regret, it seems to me, is that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House has deferred until after Whitsuntide making any statement at all of the intention of the Government in regard to the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Children Bill. No one can doubt, not only from what has happened in this House, but from the state of feeling which we all know to exist in the country that this measure is one of first-rate importance, and one in which the most intense interest is felt. Considering the number of weeks which have elapsed since the Bill went through its previous stage, the right hon. Gentleman might by this time have made up his mind as to the course of the Government with regard to it. As my hon. friend in charge of the Bill has pointed out, supposing the whole Opposition had gone out, the Bill would still have been carried by a majority of four to one of Members sitting on the Government side of the House. That fact alone takes the measure entirely out of the region of party controversies and jealousies, and, considering the number of weeks which have passed since then, I regret the right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to make the statement for which we are anxiously awaiting as to the fate of the Bill. With regard to this particular question of the Wednesday, which affects that Bill indirectly, the first Order to come under the consideration of the House would be the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, with considerable naïveté, that there are forty-five Amendments to that Bill on the Paper, and that, therefore, the Bill has no chance of being passed. But is it not a remarkable fact that out of those forty-five Amendments no fewer than twenty-six or twenty-seven are in the names of two Members—the noble Lords the Member for Greenwich and the Member for South Kensington? Those two Members are to be able, therefore, to obstruct the business of the House because of the natural affection for them of the Leader of the House, or some other reason, and their eccentric and exaggerated action, designed for this very purpose, is to be the means of compelling the House to abandon the opportunity 1001 of utilising this particular day. I am one of those who think it is high time we were done with this farce of adjourning over Derby Day. The general sense of the House has condemned the practice, and surely there is no virtue in Derby Day that it should be regarded as holy or sacrosanct. Here is an opportunity of transacting useful business without interfering with Government business, of getting something out of the way, whether it be the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, if it is rationally treated, or the Children's Bill, and of making some advance in our business in this session, when so little advance has been made in business of any kind, and I regret very much that the Government will not help us. I am not going into the merits or the extraordinary history of the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill. I have been thirty-two years in this House, and I remember that the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill was a popular article of diet for the House night after night thirty-two years ago. It has been affirmed and reaffirmed, and still it hangs in the wind. Let us, then, make the great sacrifice of actually sitting on Derby Day, abandon the altogether exploded and discredited holiday on Derby Day, and devote the time to pushing forward a measure on which the favourable mind of the House has been expressed times without number.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I must have been very unfortunate in my mode of expressing myself to-night, because, although I attempted to explain exactly how business stood, and the reasons for the course the Government have pursued, I apparently made no impression on the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He seems to think that the reason why we are adjourning for ten days is that there is a Derby Day. That is not the case. In my opinion ten days is an ordinary and fair holiday. Those ten days, it has been suggested, might have begun on Tuesday last and ended on Monday week. That, no doubt, would have saved Wednesday, 5th June, but last Wednesday would have been sacrificed, and it would have made no earthly difference, so far as the general body of the House is concerned, which of the two Wednesdays was taken.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I may tell the hon. Gentleman that the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill certainly would not have been the first Order on that day. If there was any idea that the House was not going to adjourn over that day other Bills would have had precedence, and the hon. Gentleman would not even have had the place which he thinks might have led to the passing of the Bill. Let hon. Members, therefore, put entirely out of their minds the idea that the motion has anything to do with the Derby Day, except this—that by historical tradition of the House, whenever the Derby Day falls as it does this year, a certain amount of time is taken up in discussing whether the House should or should not adjourn over the Derby Day. Such a discussion is a great waste of time, and it is avoided by the course I have adopted. Had the ten days run as the right hon. Gentleman desires, from the Tuesday to the Monday week, that waste of time would have been permitted. Therefore, I think there is a distinct advantage. The right hon. Gentleman complains that I have not made a statement about the Bill relating to the sale of intoxicating liquor to children. In the course of my parliamentary experience I have never heard a statement made by any Government with reference to a private Bill until after the Whitsuntide holidays. I should have thought that the House might have waited until I came down to the House on Monday fortnight before pressing this question. This proposal is wholly unprecedented at this period of the session. It has never been made, and I do not think it is convenient that it should be made now. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that the Government are somehow standing in the way of this legislation on Wednesday week. If the House adjourns for ten days, two Wednesdays must be sacrificed. The House might meet on the Wednesday, but it has not been the practice. It has met once only in my experience for a Bill about which there was a general agreement, and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman, who has been thirty-three years in the House, to say whether he remembers any Government returning for work on a Wednesday, except on one occasion, when we returned to deal with the Member for Sunderland's Bill. [AN 1003 HON. MEMBER: There was another occasion.] If there was, I know the occasions are very few and very rare indeed. The course which I am asking the House to pursue is that which has been endorsed by every Leader of the House, to whichever party he belonged, and by no one more consistently than by the Leaders of the party to which the right hon. Gentleman belongs. I hope that under the circumstances the House will settle this question at once, as the Government are most desirous to enter on the discussion of the Budget, which is the main business of the evening.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
I desired to say a word or two on the subject raised by the hon. Member for Peterborough, but I understand it would now be out of order, and, therefore, will raise it upon the main question. I should not have said a word upon this question if the Leader of the Opposition had not referred to what he called "the discreditable practice of adjourning for the Derby Day." I think that requires some explanation, and I will submit to the House one or two reasons for my belief that the right hon. Gentleman was not well advised in regard to the language he used in reference to that festive occasion. I have heard the adjournment for the Derby Day moved by the Leaders of both sides of the House. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that Mr. Gladstone spoke of the Derby Day in very different terms from those employed this day by the Leader of the Opposition. The right hon. Gentleman may urge that the Derby to-day is a very different thing from what it was in days gone by. It is different in two respects only. I do not think that the horses are quite so good as they used to be, and I am certain that the betting is much less than it used to be many years ago. I do not know whether this reason is an improvement or the reverse in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, but when the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the Derby Day and its associations in the way he did, I differ from him, and I am delighted to think that my view is supported by the opinion of men in the Liberal party more representative than the Leader of the Opposition himself.
§ MR. M'KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
I do not know why the subject of the Derby Day has been raised upon this occasion. It happens that frequently the Derby Day discussion has not had precedence, and consequently the question could not be raised. I think, Mr. Speaker, that that has been your ruling.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I am not aware that I have given any ruling on the point. I think I am right in saying that there was an occasion recently upon which the adjournment was not moved, but I do not think I have given any ruling.
§ MR. M'KENNA
Upon one occasion the motion was down, but it was not given precedence, and it did not come up for discussion. The First Lord of the Treasury has stated that this holiday is the usual length. Whether that statement is accurate or not—I do not mean to say that it is intentionally inaccurate—depends upon the meaning given to the word "usual." If he means by "usual" that so long as he has been Leader of the House he has always given the House long holidays his statement is strictly accurate, but if we go back to the time when Mr. Gladstone led this House we find that so far from giving long holidays' of this kind at Easter and Whitsuntide, if a long holiday was given at Easter a short holiday was given at Whitsuntide. The right hon. Gentleman has invariably given these long holidays. Now what are the reasons which the right hon. Gentleman stated in his opening observations as to why these holidays should be so long? He said that if we met earlier we should have to spend time in taking the Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
§ MR. M'KENNA
We know very well that hardly any of the Bills introduced by private Members have the least chance of passing. Nevertheless, we adhere to our parliamentary rights, and insist upon having as much parliamentary time as possible. What reason is there for giving this long holiday, except the reason given by the right hon. Gentleman 1005 that this long holiday is for the convenience of the House? The convenience of the House in this case means the convenience of the Ministers. [Ministerial cries of "No, no."] That is so, and we are to have long holidays in order that Ministers shall not be at the pains of doing their work in this House. ["No, no."] We met this year later than is customary for this House to meet. We had an excessively long holiday at Easter time, and we are having an excessively long holiday now, having regard to the length of the Easter holidays. Under the leadership of the right hon. Gentleman we are fast losing the habits of business which characterised this House under former leaders, and why we are told now that it is for the convenience of the House to have long holidays I cannot understand. I trust my hon. friend will go to a division.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
I do not wish to appear ungrateful to the right hon. Gentleman after his liberal treatment, but I support this Amendment because I have come to the conclusion that these long holidays are upsetting the mental equilibrium of hon. Members. No sooner do we get back from one set of holidays than we are called upon to go away to enjoy or endure another set, and I am bound to say that these continuous holidays are extremely unsettling to my own mental condition. I should like to point out how the matter stands. As my hon. friend who has just spoken told us, we have met this year later than usual. We met on 14th February, and sat for thirty-one days. We then went for our Easter holidays, when the weather was damp and cold and dreary, and when holiday making was very unpleasant. We got back again, and we have sat for twenty-five days more, after which period we are so exhausted that we are compelled to come now and ask the House to give us another fortnight, and yet we are told that we are pressed with work. We have had continually the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule, and the time of private Members has been filched from them upon almost every occasion. I suppose we shall soon have what is called "the massacre of the innocents," 1006 and we shall probably be kept here till the middle of September. It would be very much better for us to finish our work, and break up earlier. I have no doubt that Ministers are hard worked. I think our friends below the gangway, who are carrying out what they consider to be their duty in this House, work very hard, but I am sure that the ordinary rank and file of this House cannot complain of a demoralised mental condition from sitting here looking on lazily while all the work is done by others, and it is very difficult for us to keep up this delusion before our constituencies under the circumstances. How is it possible for us to keep up the delusion of being hard worked when we are obliged to have these continuous holidays, instead of getting through with the work of the House?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
If this House is disposed to meet too late and separate too early, and to multiply holidays, it follows that His Majesty's Government have to resort to the obvious method of the closure, and that the credit of this House will suffer more in the future than it has suffered in the past. When Members come into this House they should resolve to do their duty by the House, and should not seize with such avidity at every excuse for taking what are called holidays—holidays not from their own work, but the work of the country. The "massacre of the innocents," of which the hon. Member has spoken, will not take place this year. There are no innocents to massacre. As to the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill and the Sale of Liquors to Children Bill, they have already been massacred in advance by the Leader of the House. They were not his own offspring. I must make one remark as to the way in which my right hon. friend proceeded to dispose of the Bills. He demonstrated that the House could not pass them, and consequently came to the conclusion that they should not be discussed. My belief is that the Bill that does most good in the House is not the Bill that is passed but the Bill that is discussed. If you pass a Bill you may make many blunders, but if you discuss a Bill you inform the country as to the legislation which is proposed. But it is a very important matter that 1007 the Minister in charge of the business of this House should give us time to do the business we are required to do. I do say that this has not been the case in this instance. I say that we have been called upon to do business we could not do in the time the Minister has left us to do it in. The result has been, firstly, an odious resort to the closure; secondly, the constant suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule—the Twelve o'clock Rule may be said almost to have ceased to exist—and, thirdly, as I have already said, the very great discredit of this House. I ask hon. Members who are impatient at these remarks to remember that this House has been the great security of good government in this country, and if the House is to allow His Majesty's Government
§ to take all its own time, and in addition to that, to give it power to withdraw from the control of the House questions of finance, as in the case of the death duties, the result will be a more discredited and less powerful House of Commons, and a more powerful Ministry, in a position to control the revenues. The final tendency of that will be, especially with conscription looming in the distance, to do away with the House of Commons, and leave the Ministry in full power in the country. The tendency will be to have a military despotism, or an absolute, not monarchy, but ministry.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 196; Noes, 166. (Division List, No. 201.)1011
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Denny, Colonel||Kenyon, James (Lines., Bury)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Kimber, Henry|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Lawson, John Grant|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Austin, Sir John||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Duke, Henry Edward||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Fardell, Sir T. George||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.|
|Baird, John George Alex.||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent|
|Balcarres, Lord||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowther, Rt Hn J W (Cum. Penr.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manc'r||Fisher, William Hayes||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Fitz Gerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose-||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Balfour, Maj. K. R. (Christch.)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W G Ellison|
|Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Flower, Ernest||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. W. W. B (Hants||Forster, Henry William||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Galloway, William Johnson||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Bill, Charles||Garfit, William||Malcolm, Ian|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gibbs, Hn, A. G. H. (Cy. of Lond.||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Brassey, Albert||Gordon, Hn. J E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Maxwell Rt Hn Sir H E. (Wigt'n|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Brown, Alex. H. (Shropshire||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mitchell, William|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Butcher, John George||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gretton, John||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Groves, James Grimble||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Hain, Edward||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hall, Edward Marshall||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cecil, Evelyn, (Aston Manor)||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'derry||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd||Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Myers, William Henry|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Heaton, John Henniker||Parker, Gilbert|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hope, J. F. (Sh'ffd, Brightside)||Peel, Hn. Wm Robert Wellesley|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Howard, John (Kent, F'versh'm||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Penn, John|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Percy, Earl|
|Dairymple, Sir Charles||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Welby, Lt.-Cl. A. C. E. (Taunt'n|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Welby, Sir Charles G. E (Notts.)|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyn's'de||Whiteley, H (Asht'n-und-Lyne|
|Purvis, Robert||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Handles, John S.||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Rankin, Sir James||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Wilson, Arthur S. (York, E. R.)|
|Ratcliffe, R. F.||Stock, James Henry||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Renwick, George||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. Univ.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ropner, Col. Robert||Valentia, Viscount||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Round, James||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Walker, Col. William Hall||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Flynn, James Christopher||Moss, Samuel|
|Abraham, Wm. (Rhondda)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Murphy, J|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud||Fuller, J. M. F.||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Gilhooly, James||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herb. John||Norman, Henry|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Bell, Richard||Grant, Corrie||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Blake, Edward||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Boland, John||Hardie, J. K. (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Boyle, James||Harwood, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Brigg, John||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir A. D.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Higginbottom, S. W.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Burt, Thomas||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Malley, William|
|Caldwell, James||Hobhouse, Hy. (Somerset, E.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Horniman, Frederick John||Partington, Oswald|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Carew, James Laurence||Jacoby, James Alfred||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Joicey, Sir James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a||Price, Robert John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Priestley, Arthur|
|Clancy John Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Russell|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U.||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Colville, John||Kitson, Sir James||Reddy, M.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Labouchere, Henry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lambert, George||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Langley, Batty||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Cremer, William Randal||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Crombie, John William||Leamy, Edmund||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan||Leese, Sir Joseph F (Accrington)||Russell, T. W.|
|Delany, William||Lloyd-George, David||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lough, Thomas||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lundon, W.||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.|
|Dillon, John||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Dermott, Patrick||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Mappin, Sir Frederick T.||Thompson, Dr E C (Monagh'n N|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Mather, William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mooney, John J.||Tomkinson, James|
|Ffrench, Peter||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Wallace, Robert|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Warr, Augustus Frederick||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Brampton Gurdon and Mr. Charles M'Arthur.|
|Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Weir, James Galloway||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|White, Luke (York, E. R.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|White, Patrick (Meath, North||Yoxall, James Henry|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ MR. CONOR O'KELLY (Mayo, N.)
I wish to call attention to the recent action of the Attorney General in regard to the demolition of certain huts in county Mayo. In view of the fact that one of my colleagues has already a notice on the Paper in regard to this subject, and also in view of the fact that the motion of the hon. Member for West Waterford cannot come on until after the holidays, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether I would be in order in bringing the subject before the House on the motion for adjournment.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member cannot deal with that subject on the present motion because of the notice upon the same subject which stands in the name of the hon. Member for West Waterford. It is quite true that if this motion were carried, that hon. Member's motion would be practically wiped off the Paper, but I am not able to assert that it will be carried, or to treat it as if carried. The hon. Member will not be in order in discussing the subject embodied in the motion in the Notice Paper.
§ MR. CONOR O'KELLY
May I ask, if the hon. Member for West Waterford were to withdraw the motion which now stands in his name, would I be in order in referring to the subject?
§ MR. SPEAKER
No; it has been frequently ruled that if a notice of motion stands on the Notice Paper on a particular day, it cannot be withdrawn for the purposes of that day.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
May I be allowed to put a question on a point of order. We are all well acquainted with the repeated rulings from the Chair that motions standing on the Notice Paper prevent the subject matter of that motion being discussed on the motion for the adjournment of the House after questions. But I 1012 wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether there ever has been a ruling that that practice shall apply to a motion for adjournment over the holidays such as the motion we are now discussing. The immemorial practice has been that on the motion for adjournment over the holidays it has been open to Members to discuss practically everything. Of course, I am only speaking from my own, no doubt, imperfect recollection and limited experience, but I do not recall any occasion on which it has been ruled that a notice on the Paper is a bar to the discussion of any particular subject on the motion for the adjournment over the holidays. I ask, Mr. Speaker, if your ruling is based on precedent, or is an absolutely new ruling?
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
On a question of order, if the motion were for the adjournment over the recess at the end of the session of Parliament, and a notice were on the Paper for the discussion of any particular subject at an "early day," would that prevent a Member in the discussion from alluding to the subject matter of that motion?
§ MR. SPEAKER
This is no new ruling. I myself have ruled in precisely the same way on the occasion of a motion for adjournment over a short recess; and I believe that in doing so I acted in accordance with precedent.
§ MR. NORMAN (Wolverhampton, S.)
I rise to call the attention of the House to what I venture to think is a matter of grave national concern, and a matter about which great surprise, and I think I may add, considerable alarm have been felt in the country. I allude to the state of the reserve of small-arm ammunition at a recent period. The reserve of small-arm ammunition has played rather a prominent role in recent political history. It will be in the recollection of the House that six years ago there was a discovery which occasioned so much horror and dismay on the part of right hon. Gentlemen who were then in opposition, but 1013 are now in office, that it resulted in the overthrow of the Government. But I think that even greater surprise and much greater alarm was occasioned in the mind of that perspicuous friend of the First Lord of the Treasury—the man in the street when he opened his daily newspaper and found that after the Unionist Government had been four years in office, and nearly four months at war, the sum total of the reserve of small-arm ammunition in this country consisted of 3,300 individual cartridges. A more startling and extraordinary revelation was never made in this country upon such a subject. I suppose the House realises what a reserve of 3,300 cartridges is. According to the equipment regulations, every rifle in the country, whether in use or in store, should be provided, I believe, with 400 rounds of ammunition, so that the reserve at the time represented an equipment of just about eight rifles—a corporal's guard. [Cries of "Oh!"] That is to say, that in a time of war the total reserve of ammunition for the safety of the British Empire could have been placed, I believe, in one of the despatch boxes on the Table of the House. In 1895 the reserve of ammunition consisted of ninety-two millions of rounds, and at that time we were at peace with all the world, and had the expectation of peace. Moreover, in the minds of experts, there was very considerable doubt about the keeping qualities of the cordite then being used, and the right hon. Gentleman, now the Leader of the Opposition, had the full support of his military advisers for the amount of cartridges that it was deemed necessary to have in stock. I think a comparison of these facts is sufficient to justify me in calling the attention of the House to the matter.
But did such a state of affairs as a reserve of 3,300 cartridges really exist? I do not mean was the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury true in the letter, because, of course it was, but was it true in the spirit? Was it true that, in spite of anything that could be done, in spite of the best technical advice, and the most patriotic and devoted efforts of the members of the Government, and in spite of all the factories working seven days a week, and twenty-four hours a 1014 day, it was unavoidable, it could not be helped, that the reserve stock of ammunition of this country could be put in one of these despatch boxes? I think I can show that it was not so, but rather that human nature and political controversy being what they are, such a statement is more likely to have been made for the purpose of causing those who heard it or read it to be ready to alter their political action, by playing perhaps upon their patriotic fears. It could hardly have been made in order to induce the country to place greater confidence in those who had left it in that position. Such reasoning seems to me to be of such a topsy-turvy character that I, for my part, cannot understand it. It would be on a par with a physician who asked us to place ourselves under his care because he had killed his previous patients, or an engineer who should seek a contract on the ground that his previous bridges had broken down. To prove that I am right in my suggestion that the statement was not true in the spirit, I think I shall be correct in saying that the Small Arms Factory at Woolwich is capable of turning out four millions rounds a week, Kynoch's three million rounds, and other smaller services can supply five millions more, making a total of from ten to twelve million rounds. If the reserve stood at 3,300 rounds at a certain time it was necessary to know—not only the day and the hour, but even he minute at which it stood. Because if that statement were true at 2.15 on any day, it was not true at 2.16. If at 2.15 there were only 3,300 rounds in reserve, a minute afterwards there would be 4,750; at 3.15 there would be 85,550, at dinner time 435,000, and next day at the same hour there would be one and three quarter millions. Now, I say, we must look behind the actual literal statement that the reserve was only 3,300 cartridges in order to understand with what purpose such a startling statement was made to the country. If that statement was true in the letter, as I am quite sure it was, why was it rue? Was it true because the huge rserve of 170 millions cartridges was insufficient? Was it true because the demands of the war were infinitely greater than all the sources of supply? 1015 That is what we want to know. Was it not, on the other hand, because the Government had pinned its faith to a species of ammunition which was known to be technically unsuccessful and which was repudiated by the growing humanitarian sentiment of the time? That is the real question, I venture to think, at the bottom of this matter of the deficiency of the small arm ammunition reserve. Was there not in existence a huge reserve of Mark IV. ammunition? Was not South Africa supplied with Mark IV. ammunition and almost only with Mark IV. ammunition shortly before the outbreak of the war? Was not Mark IV. ammunition sent out to South Africa after the outbreak of the war, and were not millions and millions of rounds of Mark IV. ammunition brought back from South Africa after the war had broken out? Was it not for that reason, and that reason alone, that the country was denuded of ammunition, that the equipment regulations were perforce set at defiance, that from one end of the country to the other every little source of supply—almost every handful—of cartridges had to be called in, to be sent to the front I Was it not because the authorities had pinned their faith to a bullet which, on the one hand, had shown a perverse tendency to expand in the barrel of the rifle rather than in the body of the enemy, and secondly because the Government had not foreseen, even after The Hague Conference, that when they proposed to use this ammunition there would be such an outcry that they would be compelled to withdraw it for ever?
With all respect, I venture to think that an explanation—a considerable explanation—is due on that point. I tried to get that explanation by question on Monday to the Secretary of State for War, but it proved impossible for me to do so. I also wished to ask him whether confidential departmental information might be used controversially for a purely party purpose in a debate in the House, and at the same time not be a fitting subject for a bona fide request for information across the floor of the House. He replied that it would not be advantageous in the public interest to make any statement on this point, that is to say, he sheltered himself behind 1016 the familiar plea of official secrecy. Now the right hon. Gentleman, I hasten to add, has himself been entirely consistent in this matter. During the debate which resulted in the fall of the last Liberal Government he did not ask for information on this point. But there is a higher authority in this House, and in it at the present moment, than the right hon. Gentleman. The First Lord of the Treasury, speaking in the debate on June 21st, 1895, said—The discussion had shown that little was to be gained by hiding facts which embarrassed nobody but the critics of the Government, and least of all foreign nations—and the right hon. Gentleman added—He thought the right hon. Gentleman (now the Leader of the Opposition) might on this occasion very properly break through the traditions of the War Office with regard to this secrecy—traditions which he did not invent and for which he was not responsible—and give the Committee some further information. By doing that he would tend to quiet men's minds, and at the same time put the Committee in possession of facts which were necessary to enable them to criticise the acts of the Government-He had no desire that it should be thought that he was casting discredit on the right hon. Gentleman or his officials when he said that he entertained some suspicion with regard to the facts which were concealed from parliamentary criticism.That is precisely the attitude which I am venturing to take to-day, and I shield myself, I hope not unsuccessfully, behind the very high and parliamentary authority of the right hon. the First Lord of the Treasury. That is precisely my demand—I hope I may say our demand—on this occasion. We want him to "break through the traditions of the War Office, traditions which he did not invent and for which he is not responsible." We want him "to quiet men's minds and put the House in possession of facts which are necessary to enable them to criticise the acts of the Government." We, too, "entertain some suspicion with regard to facts which are concealed from parliamentary criticism." Therefore I venture to appeal to the Secretary of State for War, reminding him of his own remark at that time, that to have practically no reserve of ammunition is the height of impolicy. I appeal to him to tell the House frankly when, how, and why this lamentable collapse occurred, and, above all, I venture to appeal to the 1017 First Lord of the Treasury to make it clear to the House, once for all, that departmental information which is not too sacred or too secret to be used to score a party point shall also not be too sacred or too secret to be frankly explained to the House and the country.
§ MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W. R., Elland)
I hope the House will allow me to keep it from a final decision on this motion for a few minutes while I raise a limited part of a great question. I want to speak for a few minutes about the 20,000 Boer prisoners that we have now got in our safe keeping, and what I have to say will be rather by way of interrogation than by way of criticism. The question of the way we are treating the Boer prisoners has never been discussed at any length in the House. I think the reason is that in the opinion of the people of this country we are treating these prisoners of war—as far as all questions of their material condition is concerned—better than prisoners of war have ever been treated before. Compared with the way the French prisoners were treated by the Germans, above all compared with the way in which the Northern Americans were treated in the horrible prisons of the South, we give to the Boers in the matter of food, in the matter of shelter, and in the matter of medical attendance more than prisoners of war ever had before. But there are one or two very evil rumours afloat, and I want to ask the Government one or two questions regarding them. There has been a rumour with reference to the shooting of a prisoner at St. Helena. It has been said that that prisoner was shot unnecessarily; but I am aware that the Government have answered that the prisoner wasshot at St. Helena endeavouring to climb over a fence before daylight, I wish to ask the Government whether they would mind publishing the verdict of the coroner's jury at St. Helena on the matter, because it is rumoured on good authority that that was not the reason why the prisoner was shot.
There is another subject I desire to mention. I am afraid we are risking the loss of our reputation for the comparatively good treatment of our prisoners of war hitherto. In St. 1018 Helena and Ceylon the prisoners live in healthy countries, under comparatively healthy conditions; but within the last few weeks the Government have determined to send a large number of prisoners to stations in India, which have been chosen apparently for no other reason than that they are the hottest that can be found. I should like to ask the Government if they can give us information as to what the ordinary temperature of these stations is, and their level above the sea. It is, no doubt, not impossible for white men to live in these places, and the Government have said that British regiments have lived there. Under what conditions? Under every attention that can be paid to them, and in well-built barracks. Yet there is a difficulty in keeping British soldiers there. Why, then, choose to confine Boer prisoners in places where it is difficult for white men to live healthily? Why choose places where it is difficult for men to live, the hottest places you can find in the whole of the Empire, which has got within it all the temperate countries? I think one place is as near the Equator as it could well be. I ask why this danger should be incurred of sending white people to tropical countries? We are running a very serious risk. It is perfectly true that it may be a successful experiment, and that many of these prisoners may not die, but where men's lives, for which we are responsible, are concerned, we ought to send them where there is a certainty of their living healthy lives, and we ought not to run the chance of what may be the greatest disgrace to this country. There is another side to this question to which I wish to refer, and that is the way in which the prisoners are occupying their time. I believe that the Government have recently undertaken to give them certain opportunities for education, a large number of them being utterly ignorant rustics. That is a very valuable advantage, and I am glad the Government are doing it; but I do wish that the Government could see their way, now that the war is not over, and that the prisoners will not be incarcerated merely for a short period while the war is being finished, as we at first supposed, but may be confined for another year, to give them full occupation for their hands. The Government 1019 may be doing that; but, if they are, I wish they would take the country a little more into their confidence. There is no reason for secrecy in the matter. I do not think the country at large wishes to be over critical, but they do want to know what is the character of the treatment which is being given to these prisoners. Of course, this country is determined to give no promise whatever with reference to the object for which the Boers are fighting—that is to say, to give them back their independence. But I do ask the Government whether they cannot try and meet them in another way. These men are most of them farmers, and if they are not assisted when they go back to South Africa they will be absolutely ruined men. They know that their farms are mostly burnt, that their stock is gone, and that they will fall into the hands of money-lenders if they are not assisted. Now, the Government have, by their dealings with General Botha, shown that they realise the importance of the economic resettlement of the country. They have practically declared it to be their policy to resettle the country after the conclusion of the war, and I ask whether it would not be a good thing to let these men, who are eating out their hearts in captivity, know that, although they cannot get the political idea for which they fought, they will be assisted to start again without suffering the economic ruin which many of them now regard as inevitable. We have a great opportunity. We have two-thirds of the male part of the population of these two countries in our safe keeping, and we have a great opportunity of teaching them before they return to their own countries that we are determined to treat them fairly in the matter of government and in the matter of the economic conditions of their country. I think it would be unfortunate if we did not do everything we could to show them that it is the desire of the Government to send them back with good prospects.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
The hon. Member who has just sat down has been theorising in his usual way, more especially as regards geography, but I may tell him that the Boer prisoners are infinitely better treated than our 1020 own men. My object in rising is to say a few words in support of the suggestion of the hon. Member for South Wolverhampton. I think the House is indebted to the First Lord of the Treasury and to the hon. Member for having brought the question of our reserve of ammunition before it. What is the situation? When Lord Lansdowne had been Secretary of State for War for four years, when he could do everything he liked at the War Office, he said that it struck him that we were £4,000,000 worth of stores deficient. What are stores? They are not merely nails or biscuits. They are waggons, accoutrements, rifles, guns—in fact, everything needed for the upkeep of an army. Now we are told that there was a deficiency of ammunition, and that there were only 3,300 rounds in reserve on a certain day in 1899, which was as much as half a battalion of infantry would use in a couple of hours. I do not wish to labour the subject, but I will say that I feel I owe a sort of apology to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, because in this House, in June, 1895, I took a certain course which led me into the lobby in the train of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Guildford. The right hon. Gentleman, I am perfectly certain, must feel that it is rather hard that the noble Lord the Secretary of State could steal a horse while he himself was not allowed to look at over the fence. But I never could understand the ways, of the War Office. Even the scheme of the Secretary of State for War fades into insignificance as compared with the quantity of reserve ammunition two and a half years ago, which I think is full worthy of the consideration of the House.
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
I would not venture to intrude on the House were it not for the importance of the subject which I desire to bring before it. It is the question of the slaughtering of cattle in South Africa. At the present time winter is approaching, and if the cattle which have been used for breeding purposes in South Africa are slaughtered for food, naturally, when the war comes to an end, there will be no cattle left, and the country will have to be restocked. I asked a question on the 19th April of the Financial 1021 Secretary to the War Office as to what consideration was being given to the importance of keeping a stock of climatised cattle in South Africa. The noble Lord replied that the local authorities were alive to the importance of the question, and that Government stock farms were being established. I had a communication from the Transvaal, dated the 26th April, which stated that no stock farms had been established at that date, which was seven days after I had received the reply I have referred to. My informant may have been mistaken, but at any rate the point is of very considerable importance, and I hope instructions will be sent to South Africa that these stock farms, if not already established, should be established. If cattle are being slaughtered for the food of the troops, I cannot imagine a more deplorable state of affairs than will exist when the war is over, and the Boers come home to their farms. Everyone who has any experience of cattle knows that it takes a very considerable time to acclimatise cattle, and I believe that in the Transvaal it is even more difficult than in other parts of South Africa. A statement has been made in the public press that if you want to bring cattle from a neighbouring colony into the Transvaal, the loss through death will be about 20 per cent., and if you take them from this country the loss will be something between 50 per cent. and 80 per cent. I understand also that the military authorities are selecting the best conditioned cattle for slaughter, and they are often the most useful for breeding purposes. I am told also on extremely good authority—that of an Englishman who has been in the Transvaal for twenty years—that lung sickness and pleuro-pneumonia are very prevalent, and that healthy and diseased cattle are herded together. We all know how infectious pleuro-pneumonia is, and if healthy cattle are herded with diseased cattle they will all share the same fate. I am also informed that the Boers in winter used to bring their cattle down from the high districts to the low districts for the purpose of keeping them alive, and that this is not being done at the present time. All the stock captured is now being kept in Johannesburg and the vicinity, and 1022 I am informed that if they do not succumb to lung sickness they will all die of cold and starvation. I do not blame the military authorities or Lord Kitchener. After all, he has enough to do to look after the military affairs of the country. In fact, he seems to have more than he can do. I hope these matters will be put under the control of some practical person who understands stock. Military officers do not understand stock, and I cannot blame them for that lack of knowledge. In my opinion it is more important that stock should be cared for than that the gold mines should be opened. Gold can be extracted at any time, but if the stock is allowed to die you will hardly ever be able to replace it. I cannot conceive any question more important to the future of South Africa than to keep alive its stock in order that the Boers on their return may be able to resume their ordinary avocation. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree that nothing more disastrous could happen than that the country should be denuded of its stock. Therefore I venture to bring the subject before the House, and I hope the Government will give it immediate attention.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
As the Secretary of State for War will no doubt answer the points that have been mentioned, I will refer to one matter, with reference to which I should be glad to have an assurance from him. It relates to the employment of armed bands of Zulus to raid territories on the borders of Zululand. I had better read to the House a short statement made on the subject by Mr. Brunner, the member for Zululand in the Legislative Assembly, which appeared in Saturday's newspapers. He says—Steps have been taken with the cognisance of the highest military authorities in the country to let loose the natives upon the already demoralised enemy, permission being given to them to loot and plunder. The natives of Zululand have been instructed by military officers to arm and invade the Vryheid district. Thousands of head of Boer cattle were brought in and handed over to Colonel Bottomley, and the Zulus were allowed 10 per cent. of all the plunder. As a result of this action the Dinizulu and Usibebu tribes are again upon the war path. Telegrams of protest have been sent to the Prime Minister, 1023 and the latter replied that he had sent protest after protest to the military authorities, but believed Colonel Bottomley had greatly exceeded the instructions given in the original order.I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman upon this subject, and I understand that by his answer he carried the matter somewhat farther than he did at first, and showed that Lord Kitchener and the War Office are becoming alive to the danger of this matter. It is quite evident that a serious error has been committed. Who is to blame for that error is a matter we shall be able to determine when we receive the correspondence which I hope there will be no disinclination on the part of the Government to produce; but the point I wish to have some information upon now is whether these proceedings have been stopped, and that no officers are authorising or encouraging the Zulus to raid the country, or, if it is going on now, whether instructions will not be sent at once to put a stop to it. The reason I attach so much importance to the matter is this. One of the greatest efforts that have been made by both combatants in this war has been to keep the natives out of it, and those efforts have been attended by success; and it is only due to our officers to say that they have done their best to make our position, already deplorable as it is, better by not bringing the Zulus into this war. The action to which I refer has excited a strained feeling among the loyal British subjects. They deplore this action, because in the first place they feel that it is certain to excite very bitter sentiments between both parties in the colonies, and that racial passions will be far more excited if black men are allowed to take part in military operations, if only to the extent of raiding cattle. In the next place, there is another danger which will be apparent to all those who know something of the past history of Zululand. Zululand is divided among a number of chiefs, and the Zulus, of all the South African races, are the most warlike and the fiercest in their wars. Under the wise administration of Sir Marshall Clarke and other British officers, Zulus have been brought to abandon their warlike habits, and the greatest peace and tranquillity has reigned there for a great 1024 number of years. To arm the Zulus again, and send them out to raid the country, is perfectly certain to rekindle the old war fire, and to endanger the safety of Zululand. I think it is this, quite as much as anything else, that has so alarmed the peaceful and loyal inhabitants of Natal, and has made them resent the proceedings reported to us. As I understand, the Prime Minister of Natal has done his best to stop these proceedings, and, in a telegram that was sent by the Prime Minister, it is stated that the Natal Government would not rest until the utilisation of the Zulus has been satisfactorily explained. I earnestly hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell us that these proceedings are entirely stopped, or that, if that is not the case, he will see to it that nothing of the kind is allowed to take place in future.
§ SIR ALFRED HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)
said he rose to call attention to the large purchases of materials which were being made by railways under the control of the British Government. He thought he would be able to show that these purchases had not been made on business principles, and that there had not been due regard to efficiency, to public safety, or real economy. In the first place he desired to refer to the purchase of locomotive engines by the Burmese Railway Company. This company had guarantees from the Indian Government, and had covenanted to equip the railway with rolling stock, plant, and machinery to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State, who might from time to time alter or improve the equipment. The half-year's report of the locomotive department for 9th May, 1900, speaking of twenty new engines purchased from the Baldwin Works, Philadelphia, says—Some of their details are beginning to show early signs of wear and want of strength, and that cheapness in first cost is not true economy. The coupler bars are made of the same treacherous stuff, and two have already broken and caused train-partings.The senior Government inspector, on 5th August, 1900, reported of the same engines—Some of the details show want of strength, and parts supposed of cast steel proved of very inferior metal and workmanship Repairs had 1025 been required much in excess of what was necessary with locomotives received from English makers.Mr. Johnson, acting for the locomotive superintendent, said on 10th September, 1900—We have increased fuel fence on the tenders of most of the Moghals (Baldwin locos), to enable them to take sufficient wood to last between wood-fuelling stations. The Moghals burnt 35.5 per cent. more per train mile, and 23.5 per cent. more per vehicle mile than the 'F.' class (English). This was for five months on all services. We continue to be troubled with the result of cheap work in these engines. Seven coupler bars have broken during the half year.Similar experiences had arisen in regard to Belgian engines which had been bought for the Egyptian railway. The chief engineer reported—In the locomotives of British make the boiler tubes ran on the average 252,000 miles against only 146,000 of the Belgian engines, attended to by the same men and using the same coal and water. The price of the Belgian engines was £45 each less than the British, but the repairs in material alone, besides labour, had cost £382 per engine more. It will be readily understood how short-sighted has been the policy of accepting the lowest offer.These independent reports, one from Egypt and the other from India, had been received, and yet these purchases were still going on. Only last month the Calcutta Port Commissioners bought a parcel of nine locomotives of the Pittsburg Locomotive Company. The English price was £1,549, and the American price £1,378. He submitted that no English railway company or anybody with experience would suppose that the American locomotives were the cheapest. He could only suppose that one Government Department did not see the reports sent home by the other. He did not think that English manufacturers always had a fair chance. An inquiry was sent out from the Burmese Railway for 1,247 sets of wheels and axles. The tests stipulated for were of an almost impossible character—chemical and mechanical, even prescribing the mode of manufacture. The prices quoted for these wheels and axles were no doubt high prices, and no doubt a considerable time was required to make them; but the order was given to an American firm, and the Americans were allowed to supply common steel, with their own tests, and even cast iron wheels. The English 1026 manufacturer was asked to supply material of a far superior character to anything required by any English railway company, and the material accepted was such as no English railway company would suffer to run on their line.
He desired to tell the House the story of the Gokteik Viaduct which had recently been erected on the Burma Railway by an American firm. The prices quoted by the American firm were lower and the time for erection less. So far as the time had gone there had been no complaint. A gentleman appointed to inspect the erection of this viaduct reported on 4th September, 1900, that he had only examined 40,000 rivets out of 100,000. He tested a portion of Bent No. 23 and found the rivetting was not so good as previously. From the end of June until September he said that he had had little or no time available to test rivets. This viaduct was the highest in the world. The whole structure of the bridge rested upon what appeared to be a most slender support composed entirely of steel, and the photos of the bridge made it look more like a spider's web across a great gorge than anything else. At this time a new inspector was appointed named Constable, and he found that the rivetting was being done by coolies of the cow-keeping class. He said that these men were not only entirely inexperienced for the work, but were physically incapable of doing what was required of them. He reported this to his superior and marked certain portions of the viaduct which he found to be bad. In the meantime the bad work was going on. Failing to obtain any redress whatever, he stopped the work going on, and he was then superseded. Mr. Constable, having been superseded, came to this country, and he said he would pledge his professional reputation that he would prove that this bridge was unsafe and such as no engineer ought to pass. He offered to go out there without fee or reward to prove the charges he had made. The American record of bridge building was a very bad one, and yet we went on buying American bridges. Having regard to the awful results, not only in money but human life, involved in the safety of these bridges, it seemed a small thing indeed to appoint someone to investigate Mr. Constable's 1027 report, and he hoped the Secretary of State for India would see his way to grant the application, and see his way to publish these reports, so that every Government department might know what was going on. He hoped the noble Lord would also endeavour to impress on his subordinates the fact that low prices were not necessarily true economy.†
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
Before the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War replies, may I ask whether, having regard to the fact of the enormous services rendered in South Africa by the railway servants, drivers, firemen, and guards, any arrangement has been made for the suitable acknowledgment of those great services, and whether honours will be conferred upon them of a similar character to the honours conferred on the other forces in the field, and if any substantial reward of material value will be given them. I think we all agree that these men deserve the highest recognition for the services they have rendered, and I trust the Government will, if they have not already done so, work out some scheme so that these men shall have full, complete, and equitable recognition of the risks they ran daily in the discharge of these very important duties. Without the discharge of those duties the operations of the Army in various parts would have been impossible. Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman has not yet considered the question, I hope he will go into the subject and consider it and make a statement with regard to it at a later period of the session. While on my feet I would also like to ask a question of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I read the other day a statement to the effect that some kind of syndicate was being formed in the colonies to obtain black labour for the mines on the Rand, which is to be distributed very much in the manner of coal, according to the proportion of payment made. If that be the fact, I appeal to the Secretary of State for the Colonies to exercise his great authority to prevent anything† In The Times of the 1st June, page 13, appears a letter addressed by the Secretary of State for India to Sir Alfred Hickman, replying to the speech here reported.1028 like the re-establishment of slavery in that part of the world. It is a matter of considerable importance to labour, and I think it is a matter which seriously requires the attention of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
, who said: I imagine and hope the right hon. Gentleman rose for the purpose of endeavouring to close the discussion upon this branch, or at any rate to deal with the discussion that has passed upon the various questions arising out of South Africa. I do not know whether he or the Colonial Secretary would be able on the present occasion to make a statement upon the general state of affairs in South Africa, as to the position we are in and the progress made, and to give some explanation of recent events, and give some indication of the policy and objects of the authorities in South Africa with regard to the prosecution of the war. What I mean is this. This is one of the occasions upon which we may ask for information of this kind. I do not think there ever has been a war on a great scale in which the general public has been so little informed. Whether it is necessary or not, we will not now inquire, but I think the people of this country have been extremely patient and have shown a great deal of forbearance and restraint in remaining for weeks and months with such imperfect information. The same observation applies to China, though it is more limited in its scope. The other day we had a statement from a responsible Minister of the Crown upon the subject of China. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman could make a similar statement on this occasion. If not, I hope we shall not remain week after week in the same condition of ignorance in which we are, and that some opportunity will be taken to give some explanation and indication of the course of conduct pursued by those in office in South Africa, and some indication of the Government's general view of the prospects.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
A number of questions have been 1029 asked me as to the situation in South Africa, and I think in dealing with them, I had perhaps better commence with the smallest first. With regard to the questions of the hon. Member for Leicester, I hope no section of individuals who have borne a share in the war will be forgotten when the time comes to give rewards. But, at the same time, I must call attention to the fact that an enormous number of men have been engaged on the lines of communication in various capacities in connection with so large an army as we have in South Africa.
§ MR. BRODRICK
No; but a large number of individuals, and anything we do for any particular class must bear some relation to what we can do as a whole. The efforts made and the strain placed on the class of railway servants to whom the hon. Member alludes will not be forgotten, and will receive full recognition.
Now, Sir, this discussion was opened by the hon. Member for South Wolverhampton, who seemed to attach undue importance to certain aspects of the question as to the supply of cartridges, to which allusion was made by the First Lord of the Treasury the other day. Let me clear away an idea that seems to permeate the hon. Gentleman's mind, that the object of introducing the subject was to make party use of it. All those who remember what passed on that occasion will know that the First Lord of the Treasury was advocating the necessity of our giving full attention, not only to the increased supplies which might be necessary for the defence of the Empire, but also to the maintenance of the reserve of stores, and he, one by one, took the chief items of increase which have raised our Army Estimates from £18,000,000 to £30,000,000, and justifying them in the gross asked the House whether, in each item as he brought it forward, it was necessary to make a reduction. In the course of that review he came to the question of stores, and mentioned that we were brought to a low ebb at one period of the war by unexpected 1030 demands. I do not think that anything which had to do with party was introduced into the debate. But the right hon. Gentleman opposite thought it right to interject an observation with regard to the state of affairs in 1895. That undoubtedly led us into some little party discussion, but I look upon the matter as one that has nothing to do with party at all. [Cheers.]
As I am challenged by that cheer, let me remind the House that before ever I brought this subject forward in the House, in the time of the Liberal Government, I submitted the whole of the facts in a private letter to the right hon. Gentleman, who was then at the War Office, and which I quoted. Whatever I did in the matter at that time was from a sense of public duty. But that is not what I rose to say. I thought it right to answer the right hon. Gentleman upon this point. But the hon. Member for South Wolverhampton said we had been guilty of manufacturing; what was technically known as Mark IV. ammunition with a soft-nosed bullet, but that we had not used this ammunition in South Africa. That is true. We withdrew it from South Africa, first, because in 1899 the bullet was found to some extent to strip in the barrel, and secondly, because bullets which could be brought in any degree under the term "explosive bullets" were censured by The Hague Conference. That kind of cartridge was consequently withdrawn from South Africa and elsewhere. The Leader of the House truly stated the other day that, having regard to these withdrawals, the supply of ammunition was brought to a very low ebb. But there is a large amount of that ammunition remaining which is available for practice, and has been, and is being, used for that purpose. In this connection I may remind the House that we had a campaign in Chitral in which it was found that the bullet did not stop the enemy; it was necessary to find a bullet which would stop the enemy. In the present war our antagonists have had to act in a similar way, I presume, from the same reasons, but in a greater number of cases pouches have been taken containing bullets the heads of which had been cut off for that purpose.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Of whom a good many were Irish! But this sort of suggestion at the expense of British soldiers is not worthy to occupy the attention of the House. But, on the main point, we have been attacked because, as it has been said, the late Government having been turned out on a Parliamentary Vote, we followed in the wake of the late Government. The hon. Member for the Chelmsford division of Essex said he felt he ought almost to make an apology to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition for having voted against him on that occasion. I am sure he need not make any such apology, because, no matter what Government happens to be in power, if the division is on an Army subject, my hon. friend is always found on the side opposed to the Government.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Well, nearly always. When he attacked Lord Lansdowne for following in the wake of the late Government he ignored the fact which has been brought before the House on more than one occasion—that Lord Lansdowne accumulated a store of ammunition nearly double in amount of that accumulated by the late Government, and yet, owing to the withdrawal of Mark IV., we found a difficulty in keeping up the supply.
§ MR. NORMAN
I am sorry to interrupt, but the right hon. Gentleman misconceives my point. I do not recollect that the First Lord of the Treasury said in his speech that the smallness of supply was due to the withdrawals. The right hon. Gentleman said that the smallness of the quantity was in spite of the fact that factories were working twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. I believe the suggestion that it was due to withdrawals was first made by myself this afternoon.
§ MR. BRODRICK
That is so, but the hon. Member has most exaggerated views as to what factories and private firms can produce. He said ten or twelve millions a week, but that cannot 1032 be done; and, what is more, it takes many months before factories can arrive at their full output. All I can say is this—I believe the Government laid in a store of ammunition which, tested by any table or standard, must be considered adequate. Then we entered upon a campaign which has been far beyond anybody's expectations. The First Lord of the Treasury was well advised, I think, in calling attention to the fact that it is not a time to be grudging a large expenditure for Army supplies when we so recently found ourselves running short. That was my right hon. friend's point. In order that the hon. Gentleman may have the anxiety he professes allayed as to the present condition, I have great satisfaction in telling him that, in spite of the demands of the war, despite all the claims of South Africa, we have in the country a considerably larger reserve now than we had at the commencement of the war, and that reserve is being increased by several million rounds a week, at a pace that will build up such a reserve as we have never had in the country before.
One word on the remarks of the hon. Member for Elland with regard to the Boer prisoners. I need hardly reply at any length, for he admitted that the general treatment of the prisoners was all that could be desired, but he made attack upon our sending prisoners to Ahmednagar, accusing us of selecting the hottest place in India. Well, the Equator cannot be moved to suit our convenience. I do not know whether the hon. Member is a great traveller, but with my own small experience of travel I could undertake to find many places from which he would be very glad to find himself transferred to Ahmednagar. I can only say that the Government of India, with the fullest desire to do their best for the prisoners, and to save a long journey from the coast at the hot time of the year, chose Ahmednagar as a healthy and appropriate place. I sincerely hope t will prove to be so. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen made an attack upon us with regard to Zulu raids for cattle.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Then the right hon. Gentleman's manner when he asks a question is so very like his manner when he makes an attack that I was unable to detect the difference. I have not the advantage of speaking from Papers, for I only heard this afternoon that the right hon. Gentleman intended to raise the subject. If I recollect the telegrams aright, the Zulus who were allowed to collect stock in the neighbourhood of their border were unarmed. If that be so—as I believe it is—the whole case which the right hon. Gentleman makes out of armed Zulus being encouraged to raid Boer territory falls to the ground. He talked of letting loose natives on an already demoralised enemy. There is no question of the kind.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The right hon. Gentleman is very fond of giving us quotations. We have had three speeches during the session in which there have been a series of quotations which he has not been able to make good.
§ MR. BRODRICK
I cannot without referring to the right hon. Gentleman's speeches, and I cannot be expected to have references to the right hon. Gentleman's speeches ready. I simply give my recollection. The right hon. Gentleman has made two or three very strong speeches during this session on the state of affairs in South Africa, and he has not always been able to make good the statements therein contained.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The right hon. Gentleman will find that I am correct by referring to Hansard. Some of the statements I have refuted myself. But what I desire to say with reference to 1034 the Zulus is this. We are discussing the matter, as I informed the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon, in the absence of correspondence and solely upon the few telegrams which have passed, and from these we find that what occurred was this. The Zulus were allowed to protect their own border against incursions by stray Boer bands, and they were allowed by British officers to assist, unarmed, in collecting stock outside their frontier. This was objected to by the Prime Minister of Natal, and Lord Kitchener took action in the matter. Whether that action gave complete satisfaction or not I do not yet know, but, at all events, it appears to have given satisfaction. He appears to have considered the matter with great care so that Zulus should not be encouraged in raiding. I cannot help saying before I leave this subject that we in this country have great reason to be proud of the way in which our officers and men have behaved in regard to the natives and the manner in which they have kept natives out of any active participation in hostilities.
§ MR. BRODRICK
I think the right hon. Gentleman put a good deal more stress on the other side, and seemed to have a disposition to dwell on any occasion there might be for criticism, rather than to express the satisfaction we feel that the British standard of conduct with regard to natives has been maintained under very great difficulties in all parts of South Africa.
Then, Sir, the Leader of the Opposition has asked for a statement upon the general course of the war. It is quite reasonable that at intervals-Parliament should ask for an assurance that every effort is being made to bring the war to a conclusion, and that it should be made aware of any special steps which the Government may have taken at a particular moment to that end. But the moment chosen for the inquiry is not a very useful one, and for this reason. Sir A. Milner is expected hourly in this country, and naturally it is the desire of the Government to communicate with him, their chief administrative 1035 officer in South Africa; and what may pass between the Government and Sir A. Milner will no doubt be important, while the information we obtain from him in conversation will be much greater than we can receive by telegraph. So far as the War Office is concerned, every communication from Lord Kitchener proves that he is satisfied that steady progress is being made. The great area of the war, the great dispersion of the Boers in small parties, undoubtedly tends to the prolongation of operations, but I ask the House to note that these operations have been conducted on our part within the last few weeks with a minimum of loss—that in itself is satisfactory—and also that the number of Boers who have surrendered is out of all proportion to the number killed or wounded. Stores and ammunition taken and the destruction or capture of guns from the enemy indicate that the process of exhaustion, on which a great deal must depend, is going forward, and with some rapidity. At the same time we are fully aware of the desirability, mentioned by the hon. Member for South Molton, of avoiding the depletion of stock in the country, so that we may lay a foundation for the future return of the population. But if the right hon. Gentleman will defer his question for a short period we shall be in a much better position to give the information for which he asks. It is the winter season, and the operations of the various columns, with their equipment, by Lord Kitchener must, of course, have very important results in the conduct of the war. Those new columns have only recently been formed. I am glad to say the new troops which have arrived, in Lord Kitchener's opinion, more than justify any anticipation that might have been formed of them, and I am myself satisfied that, while everything has been done which lies in the power of the Government to support Lord Kitchener, there is every disposition on his part, by a most judicious treatment of the heavy administrative affairs which now lie on him, to do all that he can towards a rapid couclusion of the war. I trust that the House of Commons will, therefore, continue to us for a brief measure the confidence which must be placed in the Government in these circumstances, 1036 and will believe that although the reports we are able to give are meagre, yet that operations have reached the phase in which reports necessarily cannot be very full or very exciting. We have given substantially to the House of Commons almost all the information which has been given to us as regards the progress of the war; we desire to make no concealment; we have given a very full statement of the whole progress of events in South Africa, and in those circumstances I trust we shall be accorded that measure of confidence which is necessary to us to prosecute the war.
§ MR. M'KENNA
I rise for the purpose of calling attention to the appointment of a Birmingham doctor as one of His Majesty's inspectors of schools. [Cries of "Oh, oh!" and "Divide."] If hon. Members will allow me to continue, I can assure them they will be very interested in this case before it is finished. They will discover, as in most things which happen in Birmingham, there is a good deal behind it. This is the case of a doctor—Dr. Henry Ward Irvine—who was brought before the General Medical Council on a charge which I will read, because it will enable the House to understand at once the position of affairs.
[The hon. Member read the charge, which was to the effect that Dr. Irvine had accepted the office of consulting physician to an institution at Birmingham, and approved of or acquiesced in extensive advertisements by that institution setting forth his qualifications and special ability, and inviting the public to consult him at a reduced fee.]
The House will immediately understand that in so doing this medical practitioner had committed a serious offence against the rules laid down by the medical profession. He was doing some-thing which is considered to be beneath the dignity of the profession, namely, he was touting for practice by means of advertisements. His conduct was brought before the Medical Council, and after hearing evidence for and against this Dr. Irvine, theo Cuncil came to the following conclusion—The President informed Dr. Irvine that the charge which he had been required to answer had been proved to the satisfaction of 1037 the Council; that the further consideration of the charge proved against him had been adjourned until the May session; that the Council regarded the conduct complained of as being of a serious character; and that in adjourning the case it gave him an opportunity to reconsider his position.I am quoting from the report of the General Medical Council, and the proceedings to which I have referred took place on November 29th, 1900, and will be found recorded at page 119. The House will perceive that the situation at this moment was this: A medical practioner had been suspended—I think that is the correct word to use; at any rate, the case against him had been adjourned until the May session, in order to allow him to clear his character of the charge made against him. The charge was a serious one. The body which brought the charge against him, and which had adjudicated in the case, is a statutory authority, with power given to it by Parliament to adjudge in cases of this kind. The gentleman is a medical man, properly qualified, and, if we may rely upon the advertisement issued in Birmingham, of considerable medical attainments. What happened? During the period between the hearing of the case and the time fixed for its further consideration, this gentleman withdraws from the medical profession, and is appointed one of His Majesty's inspectors of schools.
§ MR. M'KENNA
I will tell the House why not. His Majesty's inspectors of schools ought not to be appointed from doctors who are under a charge of delinquency. Have we no greater regard for our schools than that we are content to put in the prominent post of inspector of schools a man who is qualified as a doctor and not as a school inspector, and a man who, in his own profession, has been brought under the ban of the properly-constituted authority, and is practically suspended for the time being? Is that as ufficient answer to the hon. Gentleman who asked me "Why not"? I might more properly ask this House, Why was the gentleman appointed as a school inspector—why is it the moment you touch a case from Birmingham you always—["Oh, oh!"]— 1038 yes, you always have to inquire more deeply into the causes which lead to this or that preferment or promotion? I should be glad if the Vice-President will tell me whether, when this appointment was made, he was aware that this gentleman was a doctor who had been brought before the General Medical Council for conduct which they regarded as being of a serious character—
§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY (Yorkshire, Shipley)
Might I ask whether there was any other charge against this doctor than that of advertising?
§ MR. M'KENNA
It is within the recollection of the House that in opening my observations I read the charge from beginning to end. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to reply to me he will have an opportunity of so doing, but he cannot suggest that I have concealed anything from the House in this matter. It is true there is one thing I have not mentioned—I have not given the names of the persons who were interested in this doctor, nor have I referred to any name in that connection, and I do not see that there is any reason for my doing so.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
I think you had better. As the whole speech is an insinuation, I think we had better have the charge with the names.
§ MR. M'KENNA
I am astonished that the right hon. Gentleman is so sensitive. He has not hesitated on any occasion to charge a number of us with being traitors, and, for my part, I confess that, having been charged by the right hon. Gentleman with being a pro-Boer, Little Englander, and traitor—charges of which the right hon. Gentleman has not the least shadowy substance of proof—I am not very concerned as to what he says, whether as to the names he wishes me to read or as to the charges he brings against me. But if the House is anxious to have the names of the witnesses called in defence of this doctor I am perfectly willing to read them. The first witness, as far as I can gather from the proceedings, called in defence of Dr. Irvine, was Mr. William Cooke, J. P., Alderman of 1039 the city of Birmingham, Chairman of the Hospital Saturday Fund.
§ MR. M'KENNA
That piece of information is not given me in this book. The next witness was Mr. W. S. Aston, A. C. A., hon. secretary to the Institution. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can give us some further information as to him. The third witness was Mr. Arthur Chamberlain, J. P. There is no other description given of him. Those are, so far as I know, the only three witnesses who were called in defence of Dr. Henry Ward Irvine, but I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman, as he seems to be familiar with the persons who were called as witnesses in the case, will be able to give the House some explanation as to who recommended this medical officer for the post of school inspector, and how it was that the President or the Vice-President of the Council ever heard of the name of this Birmingham doctor as qualified for the post. I have no doubt that either the right hon. Gentleman or the Vice-President of the Council will be able to give the House the fullest information on this very delicate case.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
We have listened to a speech which is characteristic both of the hon. Gentleman who has made it and of the quarter of the House from which it proceeds. The hon. Gentleman, displaying in his face the awful sign of serious emotion, asked the House to deal with a mystery which required the deepest and closest investigation. He pointed out to the House that, as it concerned Birmingham, it would be a matter of the greatest interest, and that the most attentive consideration would be required of the influences connected with that city. In the course of his speech he stated that there were names which he might have mentioned, but which he was willing to withhold, in connection with this extraordinary conspiracy, and from beginning to end there was an insinuation by the hon. Gentleman, which I cannot characterise in parliamentary terms, that something underhand and wrong had been done at Birmingham, and, of course, the Member for West Birmingham was concerned. 1040 I knew nothing about any intention to introduce this matter. The hon. Gentleman when he desires to attack me of course never gives me notice, but in the present instance I know something of the matter, and I shall be very glad to give the facts to the House. I know nothing whatever about this gentleman, Dr. Irvine—whom I have never seen, whom I have never spoken to in my life—except what the hon. Gentleman has said as to his being appointed inspector of schools. I have never recommended him or suggested him, nor had I even heard of his name until the hon. Gentleman introduced it. My right hon. friend the Vice-President of the Council will explain this part of the matter, and will no doubt state to the House why this Gentleman was appointed inspector of schools. But now as to the story. It is unfortunate, really, that hon. Gentlemen below the gangway cannot attack the Secretary of State for the Colonies without attacking other people. After all, the Secretary of State for the Colonies does not mind, but it is a distinct abuse, in my opinion, of the privileges of the House to bring in the names of people who are in no way connected with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and, in attacking the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to level charges and insinuations against other persons. What has the hon. Gentleman done with respect to Dr. Irvine? He represents to the House of Commons that Dr. Irvine is under a ban, that his character is under consideration by the Medical Council. There is not an atom of foundation for that. If the hon. Gentleman had made the slightest inquiry he would know that the only charge against the gentleman is that of having infringed what I may call the trade union rule of the medical profession. He would have known that there was abso utely nothing against his private character.
§ MR. M'KENNA
I never alleged it. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that I used the phrase "under a ban." I never used that phrase. I repeated the exact charge in the words of the charge, and I added not one jot or one tittle to the charge.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The interruption of the hon. Gentleman only 1041 shows with how little care he brings his charges. The hon. Gentleman forgets what he said himself.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am in the recollection of the House. The hon. Gentleman spoke of this doctor as being a delinquent. He spoke distinctly of his character having been inquired into by the Medical Council, he spoke of him as being suspended. It is perfectly ridiculous under those circumstances now to say that if I had allowed this charge to remain unanswered this gentleman would not have been under suspicion of having done something unworthy of his profession or his character as a gentleman. Now what is the history? The history is this. Certain gentlemen in Birmingham, among whom were prominent my brother, Mr. Arthur Chamberlain, and Mr. Alderman Cooke, the chairman of the Liberal Association, and other gentlemen of all politics in Birmingham, devised a new charity for Birmingham, as to which I will say nothing, except that at all events it was devised absolutely and entirely from philanthropic and charitable motives, and the object was to secure for the working classes of Birmingham the advantages of consultation with eminent practitioners which they could not get under existing circumstances without payment beyond their means. The object was to secure a gentleman of high professional reputation as consulting physician to whom this charitable institution would be able to send the working people who might be in need of his services. Dr. Irvine was chosen. The mere fact that he was chosen by such a society is, I think, in itself some indication of his professional standing. The moment he was chosen the greatest possible objection was taken on behalf of the medical profession. I do not wish to go into these matters, but it must be evident to the House that the appointment of a gentleman to a position of this kind might have the effect of injuring the business of other private practitioners, of those, in fact, who up to that time had been receiving higher fees for similar work. I think it is not at all unnatural that that complaint should be 1042 made. The complaint was carried to the Medical Council, and the Council, as I understand, gave as their decision that if this gentleman did not retire from the position to which he had been appointed in connection with this charitable association they would do something—I suppose strike him off the list. I have forgotten exactly what it was. There is the whole charge against this gentleman, and there is the whole punishment that could by any possibility have been inflicted upon him. What I know to have been the case is this—that Dr. Irvine, for good reasons no doubt, thought it his duty to bow to the decision of the Medical Council, and he did give notice to the association that he would be unable to continue his services to the charity, and I believe he has retired from this appointment. I believe the association has either already appointed, or intends to appoint, another gentleman of professional eminence, and I hope they will find someone who will carry out the eminently beneficial objects they have in view. There is the whole story. It is in connection with a story like this, a story of a charity in which men of all classes and all politics in Birmingham are concerned, that the hon. Gentleman gets up and with an air of mystery wishes to make the House believe that he has discovered a plot in which the Secretary of State for the Colonies is concerned.
SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
In a matter of this kind, which amounts almost to a serious scandal, we ought not to be led astray upon a personal issue. In opening this case my hon. friend below the gangway simply brought forward an instance without making any personal references. [Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, I was here all the time and I did not hear any. He mentioned no names, but upon this point I am within the recollection of the House. He mentioned no names except to bring forward this fact, that a member of the medical profession, by a statutory judicial body, had been placed in the position of being struck off the register of an honourable profession for conduct—
SIR WALTER FOSTER
Well, he was in a position to be struck off. Practically he is yet a prisoner under remand. [Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh!"] I must ask, Mr. Speaker, the House to give me an opportunity of putting this matter right. I do not know Dr. Irvine, and I am, in this respect, in the same position as the right hon. Gentleman opposite. But I have an advantage as an old member of the General Medical Council which only one other Member of this House has. There is another Member of this House who is a member of the General Medical Council. I allude to the Member for the University of Edinburgh, who, I have no doubt, will tell us the views of the General Medical Council on this question. The Medical Council has power under the Medical Act to inquire into the conduct of medical men, and this is an important duty, not only in the interests of the profession, but still more in the interests of the public. They are bound to keep the medical profession pure, and any man brought before them has to be charged with infamous conduct in a professional sense. [Cries of "No, no!"] I think we shall get to close quarters in a moment. The Act says that if any registered medical practitioner should be convicted in England or Ireland of any felony or misdemeanour, or in Scotland of any crime or offence, or should after due inquiry—which has been held in this case—be judged by the General Council to have been guilty of infamous conduct in any professional respect, certain consequences should follow. Those are the words of the statute.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Does the hon. Gentleman say that to take lower fees than are usual is "infamous conduct"?
SIR WALTER FOSTER
It does not lie in my power to give any definition of infamous conduct. The definition is given by thirty eminent men, five representing the Crown, and including representatives of each University, and they have to define what infamous conduct is. They have defined it in this case, and they have found the man guilty. [AN HON. MEMBER: What was he guilty of?] He was guilty of what the General 1044 Medical Council considered to be unprofessional conduct. Under this section of the Act of Parliament the Medical Council may direct the registrar to erase anybody's name from the medical register. That is the state of the law, and if the law is bad then it is the duty of the Government to alter it. This Act has not only been on the Statute-book since the year 1858, but it has been amended over and over again since that time, and there has never been any attempt to strike these words out. What happens? This gentleman goes to Birmingham, where he accepts an appointment. I say nothing about the institution, for that is not my business, but the business of the General Medical Council. The General Medical Council, after due inquiry, considered that the charges made against this doctor of unprofessional conduct were proved, and they stated in their judgment that they were proved. I heard of this trial, and I heard the result afterwards. What happened? Out of kindness for this gentleman the General Medical Council, as is their practice in some cases, did not proceed to exact the full penalty of striking his name off the register. They remanded him, as it were, to come up for judgment in six months. I am myself largely responsible for this mode of action, because I think a summary decision in a case of this kind sometimes does an injustice, and it occasionally happens that the Council go back on their decision out of pity or kindness, or after further consideration of the evidence brought before them. You have in this case a judicial body coming to a conclusion, and they demand, as it were, that this gentleman shall come up in six months for judgment. That is the decision of a judicial body and a very high authority. It is such a high authority that no judge in the land has ever attempted to question their decision. Over and over again the judgments of the Medical Council have been challenged in the law courts, and no judge has ever justified any attempt to upset their decisions. On the contrary, the strongest judges in the land have upheld these decisions, and they have said that the Medical Council are the judges of what infamous conduct is in the profession, and that you cannot go behind the judgment of the General 1045 Medical Council. This is the General Medical Council of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and it lays down a standard of conduct for the profession. While any man is before that Council with charges against him proved, and while he is waiting for judgment, I say he is under the ban of one of the highest judicial tribunals of the country. This is a position that I am sorry for any man to be placed in. I am not going to argue about his case, for I have nothing to do with that, but I do say that it is not right, in the interests of the country, that a man in this position, before his character is cleared, should be selected as an inspector of schools.
SIR WALTER FOSTER
Yes, in a professional sense. You have got to have this matter cleared up by the General Medical Council, and you do not know yet what may be the judgment of the Council. The Council will meet, and this gentleman will be summoned to appear before it, and in what capacity does he now go before the Council? He does not go before the Council as a simple medical practitioner, but as one of His Majesty's inspectors of schools. Is that a position in which an inspector of schools ought to be placed? He will have to come before the judges of his profession—
§ MR. BUTCHER (York)
May I ask, for the information of the House, what is the infamous conduct which is alleged against this gentleman?
SIR WALTER FOSTER
The hon. and learned Gentleman is trying to confuse the issue. The definition of his conduct is not with me, but with the General Medical Council.
§ MR. BUTCHER
I should be exceedingly obliged if the right hon. Gentleman could tell the House what the infamous conduct is which has been alleged against this gentleman.
SIR WALTER FOSTER
I have nothing to do with that. I have quoted a judicial body whose judgment has been maintained in courts of law over and 1046 over again. The Medical Council, having found this gentleman guilty of charges, have power to strike his name off the register. Out of mercy they did not do it, and they ask him to come up for judgment in six months time. I contend, purely on public grounds, that no man in such a position as this doctor, awaiting the judgment of the General Medical Council on a charge of which he had been found guilty, ought to have been appointed to high public office, especially as the body which made the appointment, the Privy Council, rules the General Medical Council. And so you have this scandal—that the Privy Council, which has the control of the General Medical Council, takes a person found guilty by the General Medical Council, and whose character has not been cleared in a professional sense, and they give him an appointment outside his own profession under the Privy Council of the country. I say that that is a position in which the Privy Council ought not to be placed. It is a position in which the King, who signs the appointments of inspectors of schools, should not have been placed. [Ministerial cries of "Order."]
SIR WALTER FOSTER
I withdraw the expression referring to His Majesty. It is an elementary principle in public patronage that you should select persons against whom there is nothing of this kind hanging over their heads. I do not for a moment introduce the question of fitness for the appointment, but I think that, in the interests of the administration of any public department, no person has a right to select a man for a public official position who at that time has to have a charge cleared up—a charge which has appeared in all the papers, and which is known to the whole country. Such a man ought not to be selected for a high official position. On these grounds I think this is a scandal, which does not redound to the credit of the Privy Council, and it is a case which I think my hon. friend was perfectly justified in bringing forward.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir J. GORST,) Cambridge University
I do not want to 1047 prolong the debate, but this is a question upon which I should like to say a few words. Dr. Irvine was selected from a large number of candidates for the appointment of inspector of schools by my noble friend the Lord President of the Council. He was selected because he had very exceptional qualifications, and because, in the opinion of my noble friend, he was the most fit person upon the list of candidates to receive such an appointment. Dr. Irvine has a very distinguished degree of Trinity College, Dublin, and, not being a man of great means, he supported himself before and after he took his medical degree by acting as a teacher and master in several secondary schools in Ireland. Therefore, it will be seen that Dr. Irvine has had a very large teaching experience, and his degree was of a very first-rate character. At the time the appointment was made my noble friend the Lord President of the Council and myself had not heard of this charge against Dr. Irvine. [Opposition cries of "Oh."] How could they have heard of it?
§ SIR J. GORST
Neither my noble friend the Lord President of the Council nor myself have sufficient leisure to acquaint ourselves with the proceedings, of the General Medical Council. But, even if the matters alleged in the course of the debate had been brought to the notice of the Board of Education, we should not have seen in them any reason whatever for reconsidering their decision.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 191; Noes, 121. (Division List No. 202.)1049
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hain, Edward|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cranborne, Viscount||Hamilton, Rt Hn L'rd G (Midd'x|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Austin, Sir John||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Crossley, Sir Savile||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dalkeith, Earl of||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Denny, Colonel||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Balfour, Maj K R (Christchurch||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Doxford, Sir William T.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffi'd, Brightside)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Duke, Henry Edward||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. W. W. B. (Hants||Faber, George Denison||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Bigwood, James||Fardell, Sir T. George||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bill, Charles||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury).|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finch, George H.||Keswick, William|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Fisher, William Hayes||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Bull, William James||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Butcher, John George||Forster, Henry William||Lawson, John Grant|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Foster, Sir M. (London Univ.)||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. E. H.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Garfit, William||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Leveson-Gower, Fred. N. S.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Goschen, Hon. George J.||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft|
|Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Green, Walford D (Wednesbury||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Chapman, Edward||Gretton, John||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Groves, James Grimble||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.||Rankin, Sir James||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingsh.)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Remnant, James Farquharson||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Mitchell, William||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Renwick, George||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Valentia, Viscount|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter|
|Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Rutherford, John||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Mount, William Arthur||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Whiteley, H. (Asht'n-und. Lyne|
|Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Myers, William Henry||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Seton-Karr, Henry||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Smith, H. C. (N'rth'mb Tyneside||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Peel, Hn. W. Robert Wellesley||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Stock, James Henry||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Purvis, Robert||Stroyan, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Pym, C. Guy||Strutt, Hon. Chas. Hedley|
|Randles, John S.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Malley, William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gilhooly, James||O'Mara, James|
|Blake, Edward||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boland, John||Grant, Corrie||Partington, Oswald|
|Boyle, James||Griffith, Ellis J.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Brigg, John||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Price, Robert John|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Harwood, George||Priestley, Arthur|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hayden, John Patrick||Reddy, M.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Healy, Timothy Michael||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Burt, Thomas||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Horniman, Frederick John||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Caldwell, James||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Joyce, Michael||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Labouchere, Henry||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leamy, Edmund||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Leese, Sir Joseph F (Accrington||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Colville, John||Lloyd-George, David||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lundon, W.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Crean, Eugene||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Crae, George||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Dermott, Patrick||Thompson, Dr. EC (Monagh'n, N|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||M'Govern, T.||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.|
|Delany, William||Mooney, John J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wallace, Robert|
|Dillon, John||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Moss, Samuel||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark)||Murphy, J.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Edwards, Frank||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Lough and Mr. M'Kenna.|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Norman, Henry|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, Kendal (T'pper'ry Mid|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
Question put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ Resolved, That, To-morrow, the House at its rising do adjourn till Thursday, the 6th of June, and that at the conclusion of Government Business Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without Question put.