§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House at its rising this day do adjourn till Thursday 16th October." (Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ (12.40.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland Division)
Anybody taking up the papers to-day will find in the law reports a very remarkable insight into the contrast between English and Irish methods of government. The case to which I allude is the casein which, on one side, there is a body of miners and on the other side a body of mine-owners. The name of the case is The Glamorgan Coal-Owning Company, Ltd., v. The South Wales Miners' Federation and Others. It would be entirely foreign to my purpose to enter into the details or merits of this litigation, but I may say I cordially congratulate my hon. friends who represent the labour interests in this House on the remarkable victory which they have gained in the conflict between them and capital. A stronger vindication of some of the rights for which they have so long fought could 1124 not have been obtained. But I allude to the case for the purpose of drawing attention to the fact that here we have a conflict between a combination of labour on the one side and a combination of capital on the other; in other words, we have a conflict which in many respects is the same as the conflict which is taking place in Ireland, except that in England it is a conflict between miners and mine-owners, and in Ireland it is a contest between landlords and tenants. wish to call the attention of the House to the different manner in which that struggle is dealt with in England and in Ireland. The case to which I am alluding was brought before a judge in the High Court, and by the consent of both parties—to their honour be it said, and to the honour of the judge before whom it was tried—it was tried by a judge unassisted by a jury. Such is the well-founded confidence even in matters of class warfare which this country has in the impartiality of its judicial officers. Now, the judge, among other obiter dicta, declared that the case was not made out against the miners, although the miners' representatives had taken action the result of which was to interfere with the property and to diminish the profits and damage the interests of the owners of the mines, and he made this statement—Damage resulted to the masters, but there was no malicious intention to cause injury. No profit was gained for themselves by the defendants, and their sole object was to benefit the men whom they were advising and directing.Could not these words be applied to the men who have the serious responsibility and duty of advising the tenantry of Ireland in the conflict which they are waging with their landlords?
This remarkable judgment laid down the proposition that though a combination, might injure the property of a class against which it was directed, that fact alone does not constitute a legal ground of action, or enable the aggrieved class to take action. It may be thought, as a result of the land agitation in Ireland, that the landlords may be injured. I do not know that they will be injured. I do not know we are not helping them towards a solution of the question. What I do proclaim is that 1125 primarily the object of the leaders of the tenants in Ireland is to do justice to the tenants, and not to do injustice to the landlords, and therefore I hold on the lines of this judgment that the action of our people in Ireland in fighting for their rights, is on a par with the action which has been taken in England, and that, therefore, it ought not to be the subject of either a criminal or civil prosecution. The learned judge, in delivering his judgment, said—Even at the risk of being told I am going outside my province, I strongly advise the parties to consider whether they cannot end this litigation. I doubt if it serves any useful purpose, and I am sure that it creates bitterness of feeling, and makes the relations between the masters and the men difficult and unpleasant.I turn now to the case of Ireland. There is not a single proposition that I have laid down with regard to the administration of justice between the warring classes in England which does not find its counterpart in Ireland. Anbody will under stand, who has watched the course of events in Ireland, that there is a war going on between the present and future owners of the soil. The Sheridan case, the packing of juries, the employment of Resident Magistrates, and the debates in this House between the Chief Secretary and ourselves—all these are matters that must be regarded as episodes in the great struggle which is going on between the two classes in Ireland; and what I want to point out is that this House does not stand in the position of an impartial judge. That is the worst part of the case. This Government is a Government of political partisans. It is from the very necessity of the case, and I make this charge in all seriousness, realising its gravity, that the Minister of the day does not stand equal and impartial between the warring classes in Ireland. He is not independent as between the two sides. He is on the side of one of the classes and against the other side. I do not blame the Government too severely for that. The British Government has to control many millions of human beings, and I think within the next twenty-four hours we shall have a conspicuous testimony of their loyalty: but I would like to point out that in 1126 India there is a similar warfare going on. There, there is a war between the landlord on one side, or rather, as you would call him, the Zemindar on the one side, and the Ryot on the other. It is the justification of British Government in. India that it is under the aegis of the Pax Britannica, and I would like to see that Pax Britannica applied to the case of the Government of Ireland. There we are governed more or less by the Privy Council, and the Privy Council is more or less an ornamental body. Its members have been called by the Crown to take part in the councils of the nation, and I would look to read the terms of the oath which these gentlemen take. One is that—I will advise the King according to the best of my cunning and discretion. I will advise for the King's honour and for the good of the public, without partiality, affection, love, need, doubt, or dread.Now, that is a solemn oath, by which a man pledges himself to impartiality and freedom from personal bias or self interest. How has this oath been kept? On April 7th, I think it was, there was formed an organisation in Ireland for the purpose of making war on the United Irish League. Persons who were asked to join this organisation were asked to do so in defence of the rights of property. The landlords, of course, have the same right to combination as the tenants, and I have nothing whatever to say against the legitimate formation of combination. One must recognise this. But in this case it was a class combination of an aggressive nature. The men who were leaders of this combination were Mr. Smith Barry (recently elevated to the peerage under the title of Lord Barrymore) and Lord Clonbrock. I do not dispute their right to form a combination, but I wish to point out that on April 14th—seven days after the formation of this great class combination—these two men. who were mainly instrumental in forming it, and who were the largest subscribers to its funds, changed their address from the Kildare Street Club to Dublin Castle, and these men, who were the founders of the movement of this class combination, became transformed into the rulers of Ireland. I put it to any man, the most bigotted amongst the partisans on the 1127 face of this earth, whether it is tolerable that men should be allowed to occupy this double position in the nation—a porition of not only leaders of class war against the masses of the people, of class war against the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland, but that within the very next week they should doff the robes of partisanship and should assume the judicial ermine of Privy Councillors, and should profess to give impartial advice to the Sovereign, while at the same time, trying to put the masses of the people outside the pale of the Constitution. Can it be said that in carrying out this Pax Britannica these men are advising the King "for the King's honour?" I am sure that nobody will feel more keenly than the constitutional Sovereign of this realm the fact that this advice is not to his honour, but to his dishonour. It may be said by the Chief Secretary that the presence of these two men at the Privy Council was merely a formal matter, but I would like to ask what about the impression this makes upon the minds of the people of Ireland, when they see the fact that they are present, and when they are reminded that among those present were two of the gentlemen who were the leaders in making this class war upon the masses. It is simply an illustration in contradiction of the historic statement of Abraham Lincoln as to the government of the people by the people for the people. This is a case of the government of Ire and being the government of one class by one class for one class, and as long as that continues on these lines, how can the people trust you? My opinion is that the attitude displayed by Mr. Justice Bigham in the war of classes in this country is one which would be impossible in the present judicial system in Ireland.
Now I come to the case of jury-packing. I do not intend to go into that at any length. We have this advantage in discussing this subject, that the chief criminal in connection with it—and of course I use the words only in the Parliamentary sense—stands self confessed. He is like the unfortunate victim of Sheridan; he pleads guilty, and his defence is simply a tu quque It is the case of jury-packing on the one side, and the Minister for Ireland on the other. My 1128 point is that it is part of the system of government in Ireland that jury-packing is a necessary agent. I think a lurid and sinister light has been thrown upon this matter by the Sheridan case, and I would like to point out that, although it has been suggested that the system has produced a rough and ready method of justice, in the Sheridan case, at any rate, it is incontestible that the packing of juries has deprived innocent men of their liberty. The real man we have to attackin connection with this system is the Attorney General for Ireland, because if he did not prepare the stage and the environments Sheridan would not have secured the conviction of his victims. The Chief Secretary is tired of hearing of the case of Sheridan, but I warn him that we are only at the start, and we mean to keep up this case until justice is done. We mean, if we can, to force the Chief Secretary to prosecute Sheridan, and if we cannot force him, we mean to show the country he is ashamed and afraid to do so. I would like to remind the House that the Dreyfus case in France unmade several Ministries, and almost brought the country to the brink of civil war; but the Government of the country had the courage of their convictions, and what we complain of is I that the Government of this country has; not the courage to follow its example.
The hon. Member then gave a detailed history of the Sheridan case and of the conviction of Dan Magoohan and the other victims of police conspiracy, and remarking in passing that while a Woolwich constable was rewarded with £20 for saving the Government £10,000 a year, an Irish constable received a reward of £200 for committing perjury. The man got three years penal servitude and Sheridan got complimented. Shortly after he came out the man died, but his unfortunate mother still lived, and often told the story how her son refused to plead guilty in order to get a short sentence, and how he had always stoutly maintained his innocence. It is too terrible to think of. As I listened to the Chief Secretary talking about the guilt of Sheridan, I was reminded of the right hon. Gentleman's admired writings on the sonnets of Shakespeare. The right hon. 1129 Gentleman spoke of Sergeant Keegan being dazzled by the brilliancy of Sergeant Sheridan. He was as dazzled by the brilliance of Sheridan as the right hon. Gentleman was by the brilliance of Shakespeare. This man they gave three years penal servitude to for perjury, and the right hon. Gentleman said that conduct was most improper. The right hon. Gentleman s language was open, but it was by deeds and not by words that the right hon. Gentleman must be judged. What did the right hon. Gentleman do? The course he took was to tell these men who gave evidence against Sheridan that they could have the promised indemnity, but it must be clear to them that they could no longer be employed in any position of trust in the Royal Irish Constabulary; that if they cared to languish at the Depot, drawing regulation pay, they could do so, but that his advice to them was that they should go and try and regain their place amongst honest men. So that he practically said, "Go my children, and sin no more." Sergeant Keegan got £200, Reid got £50, and they were dismissed. Anderson, another of the criminals was languishing at the Depot on regulation pay, being given no position of trust in the Royal Irish Constabulary. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman, that there are still vacancies to be filled among the resident magistrates. Does the House understand what languishing at the Depot meant? Those who know Dublin know the monument called Nelson's Pillar, around which there is always gathered a little knot of broken men who have tailed in their business or their professions, and who stand there shivering all day long glad to get twopence to buy a piece of bread. That kind of poverty they were familiar with in Ireland. Those men had only failed, but these men could now commit perjury, and all their punishment was that they could languish at the depot on regulation pay. What crying injustice that was! Moreover, this man still wore the King's uniform. Was the right hon. Gentleman, any more than Lord Barrymore and Lord Clonbrock. doing honour to the King by allowing a ruffian of this kind to wear the King's uniform? Did the Committee appreciate what this man s languishing at 1130 the depot meant? The depot was the training school of the young constable coming into the force, and Anderson was languishing at the depot giving lessons in the dazzling performances of Sheridan. The right hon. Gentleman had two alternatives in this matter. Sergeant Keegan was willing to give evidence. It could no longer be pretended that no one was ready to give evidence against Sheridan. Sergeant Keegan had declared that he was willing to tell the whole story. The right hon. Gentleman was not suffering from want of evidence, but from superabundance of evidence. On the other hand, Sheridan said he was anxious for an opportunity of clearing his character. Sheridan was actually proclaiming his readiness to stand his trial. The one man afraid of the trial was the Chief Secretary. He could no longer make the defence that he did not believe he could get a conviction; and the alternative was that he must think that if Sheridan were tried and convicted it would have a bad effect on the force. What a revelation that was of the state of things in Ireland ! All these things had been going on in Ireland, and the had been brought to the knowledge of the Chief Secretary, who still stood shivering before the bar of public opinion.
Next there was the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the refusal of the use of the County Court-houses for the holding of public meetings. These Court-houses were the property of the people, so they were not allowed to use their own property. In these same Court-houses the old grand juries frequently assembled and passed resolutions against Home Rule. He hoped the House would consider the case lie had put before them, and that at a time when men were gathering here from all parts of the earth to bear testimony to the success of the English scheme of government, it would be noted that on the other side stood Ireland, a nation in chains and with a dwindling population. It was not with satisfaction to himself that he had occupied so much of the time of the House. It was Ireland at the beginning of the session and Ireland at the close. He hoped the House would consider the great contrast to 1131 which he had drawn attention, and whether some remedy could not be found
§ (1.25.) THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM, Dover)
The hon. Member has informed the House that Ireland claims our attention at the beginning and at the end of the session. It is so. It has occurred before. But not only that: Irish affairs have been discussed at intervals during the whole session. The hon. Member, in the first place, invited us to discuss a decision given only on the previous day by Mr. Justice Bigham in the case concerning the Glamorganshire Colliery Company. I believe there is to be an appeal. In my opinion, it is a mistake to bring before the House under such circumstances the cool decisions on a point of law. Then the hon. Member asked us to draw a contrast between the trade combinations in this country and their objects and methods and agrarian combinations in Ireland. What are the objects of such combinations as he has in his mind? The objects of trade organisations in this country are to secure greater leisure and higher wages. Their object is not to put an end to capital altogether. But the stated object of the agrarian combination in Ireland is to exterminate what is called landlordism.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Your object is that landlordism should be exterminated, but for my part I think the purchase policy of the Unionist Government is a good policy. Could anybody contend that that is an object which ought to be pursued by bringing violence and fear to bear, not upon the landlords, but upon other people? I will pass from the object to the method. In Ireland it is the method which we condemn. The case which has been; brought before the courts of justice is not for attacking the landlords directly, but for attacking other people who are tenants or the poor servants of tenants. That is not legal in this country. To follow people about in the pursuit of their work is an offence against the very Act of Parliament which hon. 1132 Gentlemen opposite appeal to when they ask that agrarian combinations in Ireland shall be treated as trade combinations in this country. Trade combinations in this country are permitted under the Act of Parliament to combine for a number of objects if they are pursued in a certain manner, but they are prohibited under the seventh section from adopting the method which hon. Members opposite are advocating in Ireland. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: "Not at all."] They say that the law is different in the two countries upon this question, but that argument cannot be sustained. I remember there was a case in Scotland about eighteen months ago during the carters' strike, and because one man followed another man about he was summoned before the sheriff and fined £30 or the alternative of a month's imprisonment, and he went to prison. This was the very thing which hon. Members tell us ought to be permitted in Ireland.
Having sought to draw this contrast between the law in England and Ireland, the hon. Member went on to draw the contrast between the attitude of the Government in regard to the land difficulties in Ireland and in India. The hon. Member said that in India we had solved land difficulties as great as the land difficulties in Ireland. But how have they been solved in India? The land difficulties in India have been solved by a rough and ready method of fixing fair rents, very different from the elaborate and costly judicial system set up in Ireland. The ryot and the zemindar are face to face in India with different interests. A rent is fixed for the ryot, but he has no right to have that rent revised at periods of fifteen years or any other period, but a schedule of prices is made and the rent goes up or down by a simple rule-of-thumb. But the great distinction is that in India there is no agitation against rent, and certainly there is no agitation on the part of the ryot or peasant to put an end to the Status and privileges of the zemindar. The whole point of the agitation which the hon. Member opposite has been defending in the House this morning is to put an end to the Status and privileges of the owners 1133 of the soil, not by paving a price bargained for, but by endeavouring to make the position of the owners an impossible one, in order that they shall be forced to accept the terms put forward by the agitators. Therefore, there is all the difference in the world between those two states.
The hon. Member has been good enough to say that the landlords' combination may be legal. As long as it is legal it will not, of course, invite the attention of the Government. As long as the tenants' combination is legal the Government will bestow no attention upon it. The hon. Gentleman has described the Government of Ireland as class government. I see in the House a member of the Irish landlords' combination. I would warn him that if he and his associates were to take umbrage at some member of their combination, because he had sold his property at a price which would depreciate the value of the property of the other members of the combination; and if, instead of ex-postulating with him and telling him he had acted prejudicially to his own interest as well as theirs, they were to set their minds and hands to boycotting him; if they declared that they would make the position of his butler so intolerable that he would have to resign his post, and no other person would take the post; if they proceeded to make the position of his solicitor such that he refused to work for him, I should have the greatest pleasure in summoning the right hon. Gentleman, and trying him before two resident magistrates. The hon. Member went on to describe the Government of Ireland as a class Government, and yet from whom did the complaints come? They came from the very class which hon. Gentlemen opposite said were in a position to safeguard their own interests. The tenants have won privilege after privilege, while the landlords are losing them, and yet we are told that the Government of Ireland is run entirely in the interests of one class. No person travelling through Ireland, and no impartial observer of Ireland will have the idea that the landlords have obtained exceptional favours at the hands of the State, and that the tenants have been ground down by the machinery of the law and the power of Parliament.
1134 I am not entitled to take up much of the time of the House to-day, because I know many of the hon. Members, including the noble Lord behind me, wish to raise other matters of great interest. Therefore, I do not propose to repeat in this House speeches which I have made before, and which have evidently made a profound impression on the mind of the hon. Member who preceded me in this debate. It is quite clear that the hon. Member opposite had in his mind a speech which I made on the Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill last year. In that speech, and in many other speeches, I stated my case in regard to Sergeant Sheridan, and there for el will now pass from that subject. [Nationalist cries of "Oh, oh!."] With regard to the question of Court-houses in Ireland, the hon. Member for Cork City selected the Court-house at Cork in order to preach the gospel of intimidation. That place was selected in order to preach the gospel of fighting the landlords, not by attacking the landlords themselves, but by attacking the men who shoe their horses and others employed by them, and that was the point to which they came back to. A Court-house is not a proper place in which to promulgate doctrines known to be illegal, and where the Court-house is vested in the High Sheriff it is the bounden duty of the High Sheriff to prevent the repetition of that offence, and of the Government to support him in doing so
§ (1.40.) MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)
Paid he wished to draw attention to what occurred after the holding of the athletic sports in French-park on Sunday the 20th of July. Not long ago he put a Question to the Chief Secretary, asking—Whether he is aware that on the afternoon of Sunday 20th July, after the holding of athletic sports in French-park, county Roscommon, a body of policemen drew their batons against the people: whether he is aware that a pressman who was present, in the discharge of his duty, was assaulted by a policeman, and that the. sergeant declined to give the name of the constable who assaulted him, at the same time asking the pressman to say no more about it; and will be cause an independent inquiry to be made into the conduct of the police on the occasion.The Chief Secretary replied that—A very large number of people were present at the sports. A disturbance 1135 took place in the village at the conclusion of the sports, and the police were drawn across the road in order to keep back the crowd and to preserve the peace. A newspaper reporter attempted to force a passage through the police, and was pushed back by a constable. The sergeant declined to give the name of the latter, who used no more force than was necessary in the discharge of his duty. Batons were drawn by the police, but not used. I see no ground for further inquiry into the action of the police on the occasion.In answer to a further Question put by him the Chief Secretary said—That does not represent the fact. I understand the reporter subsequently expressed regret to the sergeant at the manner in which he addressed him.He would road to the House a statement of the facts. He would read a reply which appeared in the press and which was not the reply which the Chief Secretary gave, because the right hon. Gentleman went out of his way to make capital out of the fact that Lord and Lady De Freyne attended those sports and were not attacked. The Chief Secretary said—This was purely a social and sporting gathering. Several policemen competed in the events with other athletes. A very large number of people were present, including Lord and Lady De Freyne, who were received with a cordiality which market I all the proceedings at the sports. A disturbance occurred in the village at the conclusion of the sports, and the police were drawn across the road in order to keep back the crowd. A newspaper reporter attempted to force a passage through the police and was pushed back by a constable. The Serjeant declined to give the name of the latter who used no more force than was necessary. Batons were drawn but not used. I see no ground for further inquiry into the conduct of the police. It was similar to that necessarily taken by the police in this country at any race meeting or large concourse of people.He hoped the people of Ireland would study what the Chief Secretary had said on this question. It meant that the policemen who were tolerated to compete in these sports could turn round and bludgeon the very men with whom they had competed and their friends. The Chief Secretary said that Lord and Lady De Freyne were received with cordiality, That was the Irish Government in a nutshell. If the Irish people in their assemblies did not create any disturbance, the Chief Secretary and the Government would try to put that forward as evidence, that they were satisfied. If the people who went to the sports, instead of greeting Lord and Lady de Freyne with cordiality, had 1136 groaned and booed, the police would have used their batons to clear them off the field, and a number of people would have been prosecuted and sent to prison. The policy of the Government in Ireland seemed to be—" Do nothing, and nothing will be done; do something, and you will be prosecuted; but whatever you do, it will not please the Government of the day." On hearing the Chief Secretary's reply, he telegraphed at once to Mr. Durr, the reporter referred to, and on Thursday he received the following telegram in reply—Positively did not force way through police. Emphatically deny apologised. Was seriously assaulted. Can prove same on oath. Evidence of several independent witnesses. Was not likely to apologise after a beating. Serjeant refused me name of assistant, requesting me to say nothing more about it.—Durr, Athlone.He had given the Chief Secretary notice that he would raise this Question, and although he was sorry to bother the House with it, he thought it was really necessary to refer to it when the Chief Secretary tried to throw dust in the eyes of the House, and to make capital out of the incident. In a letter, dated 22nd July, Mr. Durr wrote to him—It was after the sports (which Lord and Lady De Freyne attended) and the people as usual collected in knots about the town. Some two young men had a kind of an altercation, and Frizelle at the head of a dozen bludgeon men, gave the order to draw batons which, of course, was instantly obeyed, and the people brutally set upon. I was standing oil one side and an infuriated policeman rushed upon me, and catching me by the throat with the remark, 'You have not an M.P. to save you now, although you are a reporter,' knocked meagainst the wall, and would have given me a moat serious beating had not the people and the sergeant intervened.That was the position of matters, and he should like to know what the Chief Secretary thought of it. Was the right hon. Gentleman prepared to give the name of the constable who assaulted a representative of the Press on this occasion? The hon. Member described the annoyances to which representatives of the tenants' combination were subjected by the police when they visited places in Ireland and pointed out that the constabulary were regularly employed in performing work for the landlords which did not properly come within their police duty. With reference to the statement said to the circulated on the authority of the Bishop of Elphin that certain organisers in the 1137 West of Ireland had run up a hotel bill of £40, he said he visited that part of the country and made inquiries with regard to the matter. He was in a position to say, as the result of these inquiries, that there was not a shadow of foundation for the statement. Further than that the hotel proprietor concerned wrote to the Bishop of Elphin stating that there was; no foundation for the statement. The hon. Member held, however, that an organiser who went to the West of Ireland could spend his money as he chose with out giving any satisfaction on that matter to the Chief Secretary, or the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had tried to make capital out of the statement about the hotel bill, but he did not blush when his son received £1,000 a year for the Government post he held. The hon. Member urged that consideration should be given by the Government to the position of certain tenants who had been created caretakers, and in that way prevented from getting the advantages of the land court.(2.5.)
§ (2.36.) MR. YERBURGH (Chester)
asked a number of questions of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs in regard to affairs in China. He wished to know, in the first place, what the views of the Government were upon the claims of the French in regard to the mixed tribunals at Shanghai. As he understood it, the French Consul churned that any Chinese subject residing in the international settlement at Shanghai could be taken under warrant from that settlement to the French settlement for trial before the French mixed Court, without his having first been before the mixed Court of the international settlement to see whether there was a prime facie case against him. It had been admitted by the Chinese themselves, and supported by the authorities, that no Chinese subject could be taken from the international settlement before being brought to trial before the mixed Court. He would like to know whether the French still held this position, or whether they had abandoned it in any way. Another, and a very serious, claim by the French was that they could try cases in a mixed Court in their own settlement, in which the rights of foreigner other than French were concerned without any assessor, except a 1138 French assessor, sitting with the Chinese magistrate. On the other hand, in the international settlement, wherever foreign interests were involved, the foreign parties to the case were represented on the Bench by an assessor of their own nationality. He understood, moreover, that the French Consul had stated that he had orders from his Government not to send an assessor to sit on the mixed Court in the international settlement. The French took up a position in their settlement which had never been claimed before by the international settlement, and all these points were of extreme importance. He also asked for the views of the Government upon the establishment of courier postal services of their own by the French and Germans in spite of the protest of the Chinese Government, a proceeding which he regarded as a clear infringement of the sovereign rights of China. In regard to the new commercial treaty, he congratulated the Government on having recognised the fact that it was impossible to treat the question as one affecting the Imperial Government of China alone. If they had decided that any surcharge there might be after the abolition of likin was to go into the provincial Treasuries instead of into the Imperial Treasury, they would have taken a very wise step indeed. The Viceroys had done excellent service for Europe, and one of them, at least, was known to be an ardent advocate of reform. He suggested that the Government should offer them the services of distinguished and able administrators, who would be able to give them the benefit of their experience in administrative reform. He would also like to hear that the Government were prepared to entertain seriously the question of the reform of the Consular service in China. Lie did not apologise for bringing this matter forward, because in view of the greater and more vigorous competition which might be expected in the future. The question of Chinese markets was of the greatest importance to this country, and especially to that part of the country with which he was connected.
§ *MR. NORMAN (Wolverhampton, S.)
said he desired to take a last opportunity of eliciting from the noble Lord some 1139 explanation of his action with regard to the confidential correspondence of the Tariff Commission. He had in a previous debate pointed out that no-boby at the Foreign Office had any expert or personal knowledge of China. Now a new and welcome departure had been made, and a number of persons in this country, capable men of affairs, had been invited to come to the Foreign Office to discuss the tariff question, and a copy of this correspondence had been shown to them, and by them to a great many people who were not present at the Conference, and their opinion asked upon it. He wished to know how it was the Foreign Office had not seen their way to show this correspondence to Members of the House interested in Chinese matters. It was not impossible that Members of the House of Commons might have been able to have thrown some light upon the matter, and offer some suggestions even to the Foreign Office. He found, however, by some principle with which he was not acquainted, this correspondence had been shown to a number of privileged persons, and had not been shown to Members of the House. It was a very curious state of affairs, and he would be glad if the noble Lord could say upon what principle he had acted in selecting these privileged persons, and had not given any Members of the House an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon this most important and technical matter.
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord CRAXBORNE, Rochester)
The hon. Member for Chester has asked a number of questions of interest with regard to China, and has raised again the question of the mixed Court at Shanghai, and wishes for a little further information upon that point. Apparently, no doubt, through my own fault, I did not make myself quite clear when I dealt with this question upon the Second Reading of this Bill. There is no claim on the part of the French authorities to take any case into their own Court. It does not go so far as that. What they contend, and what we dispute, is, that the locus of the trial, if the place of residence of the prosecutor, 1140 or the plaintiff lives in a French settlement, that the case shall be tried in that settlement although the defendant may live elsewhere. We dispute that, on the ground of long precedent and long tradition of the judicial system of Shanghai, and what we say is that where the defendant lives there the case should be tried, and that is the controversy between us. With regard to the exclusive jurisdiction claimed by the French Court, I am not now prepared to give full details at the present moment, but when the report which has been asked for comes to be considered, all these matters will be gone into. My hon. friend will remember that, when this question arose, we requested a detailed report from China of the whole matter; that involved a certain amount of delay, and the matter cannot be dealt with before the report is considered. With regard to the postal services, I was not aware that my hon. friend was going to raise that question, and I am not prepared at present to say anything with reference to it; but I will make inquiries. My hon. friend then turned to the commercial Treaty, and neither he nor my hon. friend appears to be quite pleased with the proceedings of the Foreign Office. The hon. Gentleman opposite has had some criticisms to make upon the way in which we have dealt with this matter, and did not give the Foreign Office credit for their new departure. One of the complaints made against the Government is that in such matters they do not consult the commercial community. Now that the Government have consulted the commercial community, the hon. Member indulged in trifling criticisms respecting the persons to whom the confidential correspondence has not been sent. Where are we to make the distinction between Members of Parliaments? If we once begin to consult one or two, how are we to distinguish between them? It would not be possible to carry out any negotiations on that basis. The Foreign Office went to the Chinese trade, as it was a trading question, and the main matter upon which we consulted them was the likin Clause which has special importance to the traders of this country. My hon. friend asked whether these proposals in the commercial Treaty have special regard to the financial interests of the provinces 1141 of China as distinguished from the central Government. I can assure him that we have boon very carefully safeguarding those rights. I should like to say that, although this Clause is of great importance, it is not the only Clause in the treat there are others of very great importance. Indeed, they are so important that I do not think the Government could consent to abandon them even upon pressure, however great, from the Chinese authorities. Certain difficulties have arisen of late, but I earnestly hope we shall be able to surmount the reluctance which has been felt at the last moment with regard to certain other provisions of the Treaty.
My hon. friend also spoke of reform in China. I think when he sees the text of the Treaty, he will see that we have had regard to reform in China. Certain reforms of importance in the judicial system will appear, and one of the main difficulties which have beset the Chinese Government in its relation to missionaries will also be touched upon. I cannot go further than that until the terms of the Treaty are before the House, and I hope hon. Members will be content with that statement while the negotiations are still proceeding.
§ MR. YERBURGH (Chester)
asked when the Government would see their way to offer the assistance of any distinguished officials of proved capacity and long experience to advise in the proper carrying out of necessary reforms.
§ LORD CRANBORNE
I could not go so far as that at present, but the hon. Member will see from the text of the treaty that we give every encouragement to China in the path of judicial reform. The hon. Member also asked me about the Consular system in China, and he said quite truly that Mr. Tower, before he left China, had prepared a report on the Consular system for the Foreign Office. That report dealt with a great variety of points—among others, the grouping of Consuls and their subordination to a specific Consular-General. Then there was the question whether the Consuls should not travel more, and make themselves more acquainted with the conditions which prevail in their different districts. Both of these points have been not only considered, but acted 1142 upon. The report dealt also with many matters of a confidential and personal nature, which I am sure the House would not wish me to go into. I think I have said enough to show that Mr. Tower has made a very careful report, and that some of his recommendations have already been acted upon. All the other recommendations will be considered, and we may look forward to making many improvements in consequence of the exertions made in collecting materials for this report. I may say, in conclusion, that the Government have the greatest sympathy with reform in China, and they believe that by helping it forward they will not only confer great benefit on the Chineese, but will promote in the highest degree the interests of British trade and commerce in China
§ (3.8.) MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
called attention to an alleged grave scandal in connection with the censorship in South Africa and the operation of martial law in Cape Colony. According to his informant, the scandal to which he re-ferred occurred in Cape Townat Christmas last. A dance was got up by ten officers at a hotel. These officers held a sham court-martial on a civilian, and for two hours punched and knocked him about. They then took him to the gardens at the back of the hotel and threw him into a pond. They dragged him out, stripped him, and, having inflicted an unspeakable degradation upon him, threw him into the pond again. Then, when more dead than alive, he was made to sign a declaration that the whole thing was done in fun. These disgraceful proceedings were carried on while two eminent officers were at the hotel, but no attempt was made to stop them. The victim brought an action against the perpetrators of the outrage, claiming £3,000 damages and the defendants settled the matter in Court by agreeing to pay £1,500 damages, and £1,200 costs, although the money, he believed, had not been paid. Why had these men been permitted to remain in the service? He thought that if Lord Kitchener had known the true facts they would have been cashiered. In the report to Lord Kitchener this outrage was glossed over as being in the nature of a practical joke. Would it be believed 1143 that so stringent was the Press censorship in Cape Town at the present time that no account of the affair appeared in the Cape papers, and it was only known in England now through private correspondence? He demanded a strict inquiry into the case. Lord Kitchener was in this country, and would know whether he had been misinformed or not. The Secretary of State would see that a horrible outrage had been perpetrated, but it showed the extent to which things were allowed to go when strict martial law was proclaimed; all information was suppressed, and young men enabled to ride rough-shod over the country. If there had not been martial law and a strict censorship, a case of this kind could not have occurred, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consent to institute an inquiry into the matter.
*LORD CHARLES BERESEOHD (Woolwich)
I wish, even at this late period of the session, to say a few words on the question of Imperial defence. I must congratulate the Prime Minister on having adopted a totally different attitude in regard to this question from that which he has adopted formerly. The right hon. Gentleman was evidently sincere in the remarks which he made the other day in reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Wight. He admitted that a grave problem existed, and said that he intended to grapple with it. In other words, the Prime Minister has really accepted the responsibilities of his position. There is only one man in the country who can look at this question of Imperial defence as a whole, having regard to the true conditions which exist in the two services, and that man is the Prime Minister. He is the only man in a position to grapple with it. I am satisfied that I express the views of the House when I congratulate, with reference, to the right hon. Gentleman's declaration, the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean and my gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth, who have laboured for years to get such a statement from the Prime Minister with; regard to Imperial defence as was made by the right hon. Gentleman the other day.
1144 The first thing that is necessary with regard to this question is thoroughly to organise the Navy and the Army for war. If the Prime Minister takes lip this question of Imperial defence without first organising these two services for war, he will be making a chain out of rotten links. Some time ago the Secretary to the Admiralty used the expression that "the reinforcement of intellectual equipment" was necessary. The reformers use a different phrase "the thinking Department," by which we mean a Department which should consider what is necessary to meet the all requirements for war. The hon. Gentleman afterwards said, "We want greater preparation in advance for war." That is what the reformers have been saying for the last twenty years. Those who are interested in the question of Imperial defence and organisation for war must never allow that sentence to be dropped. The Prime Minister acknowledged the justice of that sentence, although he was some time in doing it; and, if the Cabinet support it, we shall want to know next session what is going to be done to put right those things which, out of the mouth of the Secretary to the Admiralty, supported by the Prime Minister, are acknowledged to be wrong. In my opinion, that is the most important statement that has been made for many years. We regard it as an admission and the reason why there has been enormous expenditure to provide the essentials for war, after war has been declared, is that there has not been that preparation for war which the Secretary to the Admiralty now acknowledges should be made.
I have recently received letters asking why I have not spoken of certain matters which have come before the House appertaining to defence. I do not see any necessity to speak on such details when once this acknowledgment has been made. Our business is to go to the crux of the situation—the proper organisation for war before war is declared. The ordinary debate on the Army and Navy Estimates, taken as a whole, is absolutely useless. In the multitudinous details brought under the notice of Ministers, the main point of efficiency for war is lost sight of. What is wanted is a standard of preparation and some one practically responsible for efficiency, 1145 and if we stick to that point in tin future I think we shall do hotter There is evidence in the speeches o Ministers that the question of Imperia defence has never been grasped at all up to now. We all admire the hard work done by the Secretary for War, hut I cannot agree with his recent state ments with regard to the remounts scandals and so forth being accidents incidental to war. I do not agree with that at all. There must, of course, be extra expenditure of money in war time; hut the point is that such inefficiency has been discovered after war is declared and when Ministers of both parties have for years before been continually assuring the House that the services were efficient and ready. The Secretary of State for War made a statement about the coaling stations as to the Navy taking them over to garrison them, but the Admiralty repudiated the idea altogether. This showed that the question of Imperial defence as a whole was not in the minds of the Cabinet, or such an important question would not have been brought forward without previous reference to the Admiralty. The Secretary for War once made the extraordinary remark: "In discussing the question of home defence, let us not confuse our minds by considering the action, of the Navy." But there never was such a ridiculous statement as that. That must have been before he realised what imperial defence meant, and when he reads it now he must wonder that he had not given some military authority an order to lock him up. There could be no more wild suggestion by a member of the Cabinet representing one of the services of the State. The principal service on which we depend for our very existence, and upon which the Army depends to enable it to act, is the British Fleet. Again my noble friend the First Lord of the Admiralty said the Navy was efficient. How can it be efficient? The Secretary to the Admiralty says he is 2,000 stokers short of the number necessary for war, after he has added all the reserves. There should be 15,000 reserve stokers in the country, because they are not men who can be found and drilled after war is declared. Therefore, the Navy cannot he efficient so long as the stokers are not there. In 1146 addition, my hon. friend tells us that we are fifty-one officers and 131 artificers short, and these are highly trained men. How can the Navy be efficient under hese conditions?
Again, there is another matter which I believe was brought before this House by the hon. Member opposite—I allude to the question of the engineers. There is no doubt that the engineers are dissatisfied. I do not wish to enter into the merits of the case, but it is well known that the engineers are dissatisfied, and there is no doubt that if you have either the officers or the men in any branch of a great service like the Navy dissatisfied, it is injurious to efficiency. I earnestly hope the Secretary to the Admiralty will be able to tell the House that the grievances of the engineers have now passed beyond the long-continued stage of consideration. The Admiralty has been considering their case for the last throe or four years. What we want now is that something practical shall be proposed, and I hope the Admiralty will do something quickly, because it will be very bad for the service if he allows any question connected with the comfort of officers and men or the discipline of the service to pass out into the political arena. This question ought to be settled departmentally, and if the Admiralty do not settle it, I am perfectly certain that this engineers question will get an important body of supporters amongst the voters of the country. I think it is wiser and better always to settle questions connected with the services by the departmental and the administrative heads of those services.
I turn now once more to the question of Imperial Defence, and I will touch upon the Council of Defence. The Council of Defence was instituted because there was agitation in the country and in this House, and it was felt that there should be some one responsible for efficiency. But there never was such a ludicrous and useless body as the Council of Defence. The Prime Minister know it to be so ludicrous that he never allowed it to meet, and the right hon. Gentleman approved the refusal of Ministers in not answering my questions about the Council of Defence as to whether it ever did meet. In answer to my question, I received the official answer that it was not for the utility of the public service that I should know that 1147 the Council never met to discuss anything whatever. That Council, however, might be made a most useful body if it had any evidence to adjudicate upon. I hope the Prime Minister will take the chairmanship of the Council of Defence and will have evidence submitted to it from both bureaus as to what is necessary to enable each service to act if called upon. I am no speaker, because I was not brought up to this sort of thing, and I feel that I have not explained myself very well. The Secretary to the Admiralty has said as much, and I do not blame him, as ho is probably right. But my view is that there should be in each Department a body like the Public Accounts Committee of this House, which should simply report to the Council of Defence what they ought to know and what the requirements are as to coal, guns, etc. It is natural that the country should become anxious as to the amount spent on the services, but it would not grudge necessary expenditure. What it does grudge is paying a pound and not getting a pound's worth. I believe that if the Prime Minister really takes this question in hand he will be able to get us a pound's worth for a pound, and there will not be the gross extravagance which now exists in both services. We know what has happened in the Army. I have heard that the khaki suits given to troops on their return from South Africa, and costing between £1 and 25s., were sold to Jews for 8d. I believe that is a fact. I will not swear to it. My right hon. friend will correct me if I am wrong. The Secretary to the Admiralty when lie was a reformer—and he is a good reformer now—was engaged year after year along with myself trying to get ships scratched off the Navy list which were no use because they could not fight, owing to their obsolete armament, and they could not run away because they had no speed. We have spent large sums of money keeping these ships on the Navy list, and somebody has said that this was done to blind the British public.
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLD - FORSTER, Belfast, W.)
Nearly forty have been scratched off.
§ *LORD CHARLES BERESFORD
Yes, they had been scratched off since my 1148 right hon. friend went to the Admiralty, but it ought to have been done long ago. Do not let us spend money if we do not get a good return for it, and we shall not get a good return unless we have some Department to revise this expenditure like the Public Accounts Committee. I believe I am correct in saying that we do not want any more money at present. For many years I have urged that there should be more expenditure on the Navy, but I do not say so now. What is wanted is organisation to secure efficiency for the money provided, and that can only be effected by the Prime Minister doing that for which he admits his responsibility. The Navy can be "run" very efficiently for the money now voted, and I object to any more money being asked for until efficiency has been obtained by the use of the money already provided. So far as the Army is concerned, I believed the Prime Minister will find a saving of five millions can be effected, and I am certain that there is an enormous amount of money now wasted that could be divided usefully between the two services. The question of expenditure on the two services should be carefully taken into account. My hon. friend the Member for Oldham has taken up the question of expenditure, but, with great respect to him, I think he has got hold of the wrong end of the stick. It is the system under which we work that has created this great expenditure.
The question of expenditure on the Army requires careful attention directed to the system that provokes waste of money. Instead of the haphazard way in which intelligence is now gathered after the outbreak of war, there should be the knowledge available beforehand that proper organization and efficiency exists. The time has passed for the old official language about matters receiving consideration, and with the Prime Minister lies the responsibility for securing efficiency in the two services and the provision of a system of Imperial defence as a whole. As for the War Commission, I anticipate from it no better result than has attended such, inquiries in the past. It will probably carry on its proceedings for years, but by this time next year the people of this country will not care a fig for what has happened; 1149 they will content themselves with the reflection that the war has been costly, but it is over, and we won, our men having displayed the splendid fighting qualities for which they have always been distinguished. The people will not ask whether we have spent.£1,000,000 or £30,000,000. You might just as well think yon would be doing a good thing by appointing a Committee to inquire into the Crimean War or the Wars of the Roses. There have been Commissions of Inquiry into every war during the past century, and yet when the South African war broke out we were not a whit more ready than we have ever been. There is a body of service Members in the House who will make it their duty to continually remind the Prime Minister of matters that require looking into. I do not say that we have all the same ideas that some of us have, but if we can only get four of them to stick together, not with any idea of hampering or heckling the Government, but simply for the purpose of keeping this question of Imperial defence and the question of efficiency before the Government, I think we may be as useful as the old party of four with which the Prime Minister was once connected. I think it is only right, even at this late period of the session, to do what I can to bring before the House the importance of the questions I have referred to
§ (3.55.) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey, Guildford)
If I find some difficulty in answering my noble friend, it does not arise from the subject-matter of his speech, but because I wish not to dissociate myself from the principle laid down —an important one, to which the Government have given special attention. But some of the language with which the noble Lord punctuated that principle requires an answer. I know the manner of my noble friend; he plays the part of a plain, bluff sailor who cannot speak well, but under that exterior he conceals an extreme amount of craft. He has indulged in various generalities which have been received with applause, taking care to avoid details which would weaken his case. He said a great deal about economy, and that Royal Commissions 1150 were worthless, but he has not indicated any expenditure that could be cut off, and he has hardly referred to anything which at some time or another in past years, he has not declared necessary for efficiency. When my noble friend says that the Prime Minister could effect a reduction of five millions in Army expenditure, I can only assure my noble friend that, if he will favour me with the heads of the expenditure under which he thinks such reduction can be effected, time will be well employed in consideration that would give hope of such a result. My noble friend, in order to make out his case for a better Council of Defence, has taken from their context some remarks which I made in the discussion upon remounts. What I did say was that when war suddenly broke out, the exigencies were such that there must be some mistakes and difficulty. Again, when I referred to the coaling stations, I was telling the House what were the number of troops required at various stations, and I thought I would not have been acting frankly if I had not mentioned that subject as one of the matters under discussion. My noble friend went on to attribute to me a sentence which I did not use, that we should not confuse our minds by considering the action of the Navy. I never said anything so ridiculous. What I did say was—Let us not allow the possible action of the Navy to absolve us from the duty of providing for home defence.Our duty is to consider the possibility of temporary failure of the Navy to keep the Channel clear, and, in that possibility, to have means of defence. The proposal of my noble friend for another Department resembling the Committee on Public Accounts, as a means for arriving at the proper lines of national defence is one which I cannot approve. Something quite different is required, a responsible body to consider the whole matter, not a body of experts to advise; and, as my noble friend said, it is a matter for earnest consideration how the Admiralty and the War Office should co-ordinate more closely in the Intelligence Department. That is most important, but do not let him assume that these Intelligence Departments are standing still, much 1151 less that they are going back. There has been steady progress in the status, the numbers, and the responsibilities of these Departments; and only in the last year the Director-General of Military intelligence has been placed on the War Office Council, which consists only of five military officers of the first rank. Although no man in the House feels more acutely than I do the absolute necessity of giving the whole question of national defence, and of the programme of operations in the case of a possible war the first place in our military and naval consideration, I put it to the House of Commons that there never has been a time when the Departments have shown themselves so much alive to that necessity. My noble friend speaks as if we were people who were asleep and required to be awakened by his return to the House of Commons.
§ MR. BRODRICK
I can assure my noble friend that, so far from that being the case, we fully recognise that the problems which this country has to solve are more numerous, more intricate, and, to a great extent, more important than those that any Continental country has to solve. To Continental nations undoubtedly the danger is, no doubt, more immediate, but at the same time it is a much more simple matter. I can assure my noble friend that if the country is getting nervous, as he said it is, it need not be afraid that this subject is one which the Government either desires to neglect or to lay aside. We are grateful to him, as I have been on many previous occasions, for uniting the body of gentlemen who are going to keep a close watch on the Government in this respeet. Anything that awakens interest in naval and military matters is an advantage to the heads of those Departments who are responsible to this House; but I do not believe that anything has occurred that makes it necessary for me, either at length this afternoon, to justify our previous action, or to add to the assurances which have already been given by the Prime Minister as to the interest of the Government on this subject.
May I, before I sit down, reply to the statement by the hon. Member for 1152 South Donegal. He brought forward a certain case, and I heard of it for the first time by a Question that he put in this House. I have not been able to find out that any officer in this country is aware of the occurrences to which the hon. Member alludes, and he really must absolve me from giving any undertaking in the matter until I have been able to ascertain whether or not there is foundation for the very serious charges he has made. A great many of these stories come over from South Africa, which are without foundation. This may be one that will bear explanation, or it may be one which has been very much exaggerated, and I can only say that until I get more certain knowledge, I cannot give any undertaking with regard to it.
MR. SWIFT MACNELLL
asked the right hon. Gentleman if he would make full inquiry into the matter. Would he ask Lord Kitchener about it?
§ MR. BRODRICK
I have no doubt that in due course the War Office will hear what is to be said with regard to these officers.
§ *MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
asked the Lord Advocate to urge the Secretary for Scotland to pay a visit to the Island of Lewis in order that he might see the conditions existing there. He was convinced that if he did pay a visit to the island he would do something for the people. Yesterday he asked the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in the event of any change being made in regard to the Secretary for Scotland he would consider the expediency of appointing a Member of the House of Commons to the office, and the right hon. Gentleman replied—If, and when, a vacancy occurs I will consider the claims and qualifications of the hon. Gentleman.He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that he was the last man in this House who desired office. He had no wish to have a muzzle put on him. He would rather have £1 a week and his liberty to express his views than £5,000 a year without that freedom. The First Lord of the Treasury might disabuse his mind that he sought 1153 for any office. He asked whether the Government intended to do anything on behalf of the small tenants in the Highlands of Scotland, who, because they were leaseholders, were excluded from the benefits of the Crofters Act.
§ *MR. WEIR
asked why the Scotch Office did not acquire farms in the neighbourhood of the deer forests when they came into the market so that they might be used for the benefit of the crofters in the congested districts. That was purely a matter of administration, and did not require legislation. In recent years some estates which might have been bought for this purpose had been absorbed in deer forests. The Scotch Office ought to approach the Board of Agriculture to get maps so arranged as to show the situation and extent of deer forests. He urged that greater vigilance should be exercised by the Government cruisers to prevent illegal fishing by trawlers. He complained of having been refused admission to the ordnance yard at Hong Kong and expressed the hope that the First Lord of the Treasury would bring the matter under the notice of the War Office.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Motion before the House is, "That this House at its rising this day do adjourn till Thursday, October 16th." In making that motion, I give formal notice that as soon as the House meets in October I shall ask for special privileges as regards Government business. That is a policy which has always been pursued by former Governments when they have had to ask the House to sacrifice their leisure in an autumn session.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is going to ask for facilities for anything except the Education Bill, and, if so, for what other business.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I cannot enumerate all the business that has to be taken; but, of course, we must pass the Water Bill, as the hon. Member knows; and there are some other Bills of an 1154 administrative character which we must pass. But the only great legislative proposal, besides the Water Bill, is, of course, the Education Bill.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No. The Irish Land Bill is a measure urgently requiring the consideration of the House, but it is not a measure for which we are having the Autumn session.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)
made a complaint that the postal mails between Limerick and Trylee were not carried as they ought to be, so as to allow the delivery of Dublin and English newspapers and letters to be made at convenient times in the district.
§ MR. PLATT-HIGGINS (Salford, N.)
said he wished to call attention to the unsatisfactory manner in which the engineer officers in the Navy were recognised as to their status. He had been a member of a deputation which had waited on the First Lord of the Admiralty some time ago in regard to this question. That deputation consisted of Members from both sides of the House who had great experience in the mercantile marine, and it also embraced the leading members of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. It was acknowledged that the Navy was under-manned so far as the engineers were concerned; and the main reason for that was that the engineers were not given a proper status. Theoretically, a captain in the Navy ranked with a colonel in the Army, and an inspector of machinery in the Navy ranked with both. But, as a matter of fact, the engineer in the Navy never secured his proper status; and it was because of that that there was the present dangerous dissatisfaction and deficiency in the list of the engineer officers in the Royal Navy. He could not imagine anything more fraught with danger than such a deficiency. He understood that there was an Intelligence Department connected with the Navy, 1155 but he wondered why it was that there was not a single engineer officer in that Department. Some reform ought to be made in the Admiralty, but it would never come from the Board of Admiralty itself; the impetus must come from the House of Commons.
§ MR. LUNDON (Limerick, E.)
said he believed he had a right to say a few more words on the Sheridan case, which had been the source of so much trouble and mischief in his country. Ho had found that Sheridan, in addition to his other malpractices, had drowned Mistress Quinlan's—a very respectable person—two asses. There were two young men in Mistress Quinlan's cabin, and in the night they heard what they thought was somebody removing the peat from the peat heap, and when they went out they found Sheridan and another man, who was believed to be Sergeant Keegan. They disappeared in the darkness. The next morning Mistress Quinlan's asses were discovered drowned in the pond near by. [Great laughter]. He was surprised that hon. Gentlemen in this House should display such an amount of levity in regard to this matter, and by none more than by the Chief Secretary himself. But he could tell the Chief Secretary that Sheridan was his "old man of the sea," and that he would not get rid of him in a hurry. He insisted that, if only full and fair inquiry were made, it would be found that there wore hundreds of Sheridans in the Irish Constabulary. He complained that the Chief Secretary had only allowed Con Bray's mother a gratuity of £25. He thought that the Chief Secretary might have made a more generous allowance. What was 5s. per week to an old woman like that, when they compared the expenses which were being paid for the South African War?
§ MR. WYLIE (Dumbartonshire)
said he wished to say a few words in regard to the deficiency in the amount of the grants paid in aid of the education in the Art and Science Department in Scot land. He specially wished to direct attention to the Ben Nevis Observatory, which was familiar not only to all Scotchmen, but to every scientific man all over the world. That observatory was built in 1883 at a cost of £7,000, 1156 including a station at the foot of Ben Nevis, at Fort William, The Meteorological Society had given notice that they intended to withdraw the grant in connection with Ben Nevis Observatory. The advantages of meteorological observations had been recognised for many years, and for twelve years Ben Nevis Observatory had been working. Many of the foreign countries were endeavouring to placs stations in high places, and this was one of the highest in the West of Europe. Many had given much more liberal grants for this purpose than we did. India gave,£22,000, as against our contribution of £15,300; Canada gave £13,000, Russia £45,000, and the United States £195,000 per annum for meteorological research. He hoped that before long this country would emulate such good examples. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated on a recent occasion that the Exchequer gave a similar amount as the countries themselves, that they gave £55,000 to Ireland because Ireland had herself contributed £54,000, and that Scotland had only received £6,000 because she had only contributed £6,000. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was misinformed in that regard, for Glasgow alone in the last seven years had given £750,000 for these various purposes. (5.5.)