HC Deb 04 March 1902 vol 104 cc318-38

Order for Second Reading read.

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

*(3.22.) MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)

asked the indulgence of the House while he gave his reasons for now supporting the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill, seeing that in the past he had actively and constantly opposed it. Under the circumstances existing at the time, he believed he was right in the action he, took, and, indeed, he did not in any way regret it, because he had a well-founded belief that he had another and better scheme which his constituents almost unanimously approved. But the facts which justified that opposition no longer existed, and he could not continue to press it; on the contrary, the new facts rendered it imperative that he should support the measure before the House. The Kingscourt, Keady, and Armagh Railway scheme was first introduced to the House of Commons in 1899, and then it was rejected by a Committee on the ground that the line was only required from Armagh to Keady—a distance of eight or nine miles. The promoters had previously had an understanding with the Midland Company of Ireland, under which that Company agreed to subscribe capital to the extent of £50,000, and to work the proposed line for 50 per cent. of the gross receipts. From the inception of the scheme the promoters clearly rel ed on the co-operation of the Midland Company. Primarily the Kingscourt scheme was approved by the whole of the people of the Armagh district, mainly because it offered for the first time the advantage of much needed railway communication, and they preferred it to the Northern Company's scheme because it was a longer line and introduced competition. In 1900 the Midland Company renewed their agreement with the directors of the Kingscourt Company, and at that time he had reason to have implicit confidence in them. He therefore consented to help in the promotion of the Bill, which passed successfully through Committee.

But, after it had become law, the Midland Company declined to be bound by the arrangement which they had specifically made with the promoters, and, instead, they put forward fresh proposals, one of which was that they should receive 55 per cent. of the gross receipts for working the line. That, of course, would have been absolutely fatal to the financial success of the scheme. In thus repudiating an honourable understanding, he held that the Midland Company were guilty of a breach of faith. He did not think so at the time, for he felt that the promoters might have been too hasty in arriving at a conclusion, and. that there might have been some misunderstanding. He also thought it was so obviously to the interest of the Midland Company to carry out this scheme that they could not be otherwise than anxious to take advantage of the opportunity. While his colleagues who formed the majority of the Kings-court directors despaired of coming to any arrangement with the Midland Company, and opened up negotiations with the Great Northern Company, he felt that no effort should be spared to work with the Midland Company, and he consequently opened up fresh negotiations with them, arriving at such a satisfactory arrangement that he was justified in opposing the Bill of last session. In February last year, before the Second Reading of the Bill, he had an interview with the Midland Board in Dublin, being accompanied thereat by representatives of all the public bodies in Co. Armagh, as well as the County Council of Meath—who were all "acting in full harmony with him." Terms were submitted one by one and discussed at length. Instead of contributing £50,000, the Midland Company agreed to subscribe £100,000, and they also undertook to work the line for 50 instead of 55 per cent. of the gross receipts. They further—as security for carrying out the arrangement—agreed to deposit 510,000 by way of penalty in the joint names of the Chairmen of the. Midland and the Kingscourt Companies. These terms were published in the Press the next day, and were never contradicted, and he wished especially to emphasise the fact that the penalty clause was absolutely unconditional. Having obtained those satisfactory promises, he felt justified in opposing last year's Bill to, the utmost of his power, and in the end the measure was thrown out.

Subsequent events convinced him of the, utter hopelessness of obtaining the co-operation of the Midland Company, and of the fact that it was only by means of the arrangement contained in the present Bill that this much needed railway would be constructed. The history of those subsequent events consisted of the starting of a series of new objections on the part of the Midland Company—objections never raised or even hinted at until after last year's Bill was rejected by Parliament. Immediately one point was conceded, another was put forward, it being clear that the object of the Midland Company was to entirely destroy the Kingscourt scheme. They denied, for instance, that the penalty clause was unconditional and binding; they said the £10,000 was only to be deposited as part of the capital, and was to be repaid in the event of the scheme falling through. They asserted further that the deposit was dependent on the assent of their shareholders being first obtained, and they made no effort to obtain that assent, although they had plenty of time. That was the first serious breach of agreement on the part of the Midland Company. Again they raised the point that the contract entered into by the Kingscourt directors for the construction of the line should be broken, although it had been already signed and sealed, and notwithstanding that the Kingscourt Company succeeded in obtaining the necessary concession from their contractor that any or every item of the contract should, in case of dispute, be left to arbitration, the Midland Company were not satisfied and refused to leave the matter to arbitration.

One condition put forward at the last moment was that the proposed line should be constructed as a double line. He submitted that that was unnecessary and was most unfair, and that it would involve a further expense of £50,000, and that such an increased expenditure on such a small line would be fatal to the success of the railway. Obstacle after obstacle had been placed in the way of the agreement; the Midland Company finally declined to make any agreement, alleging that the Kingscourt Company were taking powers to deal with another Company. Since the rejection of this Bill last year, his co-directors in the Kingscourt Railway Company had worked loyally with him for the purpose of perfecting the agreement which he had come to with the Midland Company, and it was only after every effort had been made that they relinquished all hope. He believed this line was urgently required in the neighbourhood and in the district that the railway was proposed to run. It would open up a populous district, where manufacturers, farmers, traders, and others would be for the first time brought into railway communication, and their prosperity thereby increased the advantage would, no doubt, have been greater had the element of competition been preserved, but he had shown the House that it was utterly hopeless that it would ever be secured. He was now convinced that the Midland Railway had never any serious intention of competing; the necessity for the railway was beyond all question. In every way the need of a railway had been expressed, and it was hoped by everybody that the Bill would become law. He hoped that the Bill would receive a Second Reading and that it might be sent to a Committee.

*(3.35.) MR. CARVILL (Newry)

said the hon. Member who had just sat down had completely avoided the real question before the House. The question was whether the House would allow a set of promoters to commit a breach of faith. The measure now under consideration was shown to be a gross breach of faith towards a Select Committee of this House, and also a breach of faith with the public, who looked to this House again for the protection extended to them last year. The facts, shortly, were that in 1900 an Act of Parliament was obtained, the leading and overmastering feature of which promised to the people of Meath, Cavan, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Tyrone, and adjacent counties a new railway system which would afford much desired through communication between the south and the north and northwest districts, such through route being an inland and shorter one, and affording long-desired facilities to important agricultural and industrial districts hitherto not developed by such railway accommodation. The existing limited facilities were by the coast line of the Great Northern system through the seaports of Dundalk and Drogheda, and the rates charged on passengers and cattle, which represented the bulk of the trade, were high in the extreme. It was for a. promised reform in these matters that he and others were induced to give evidence in support of the Bill, and some twenty-six highly representative witnesses were examined, whose evidence satisfied the Committee, presided over by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Knutsford Division of Cheshire, that an alternative and competitive through route, such as was then proposed, was necessary in the public interest. Among the witnesses examined were Lord Greville on behalf of Meath, Lord Dartrey representing Co. Monaghan, and the agent of the Marquess of Conyngham (Lord Essex), Lord Sheffield, and Sir John Dillon of Lismullen. A table of distances was used by the promoters, and, no doubt, had great weight with the Committee, showing the widespread benefits to be gained by means of the proposed through line. Although the line to be made was only thirty-five miles in length, it was shown that it would bring twenty-three important towns and districts enumerated in this table much nearer to each other, and that the average saving in distance to be effected in respect of these places would be twenty-and-a-half miles. This table was headed by a reference to the saving between kings-court and Castleblaney, which was put down at fifty-eight miles; that was to say, seventeen miles as against seventy-five miles, and between Kingscourt and Armagh the saving was shown to be fifty-seven miles, a reduction from ninety-two to thirty-five.

Now, the Bill before the House was in principle the very reverse of that which was promised to the public, and which secured the approval of Mr. Egerton's Committee, and it therefore falsified this table and set it at naught in twenty cases out of the twenty-three enumerated, and the present Bill not only denied the promised benefits, but, if tolerated, would indefinitely block the through communication desired by the communities in question. The Bill of 1900 was opposed by the Great Northern Railway Company, who at that time submitted a Bill of their own to the same Committee. Their line was a lengthy zig-zag affair, and was intended to block the district, and it, like the present Bill, proposed) that the all-necessary link between Castleblaney and Kingscourt should be dropped. It was nothing less than audacious on the part of the Great Northern Railway Company, controlling now the paper company of the speculative contractor, to put themselves forward as proper parties to be entrusted with the development of any of this district. The Great Northern Railway Company, through its General Manager, Mr. Hews, told a Committee in 1899 in reference to the through communication scheme that— We think it a very objectionable thing for a line to he interposed like this into a district, and we think it is only calculated do mischief. He added— It would, like the Belfast Central Railway, keep the Great Northern in hot water. Mr. Walkington, a trustee of Darkey Works, produced as a witness by the Great Northern Company, said— Mr. Plews held out a threat that if the Keady people did not support him, and if the Kingscourt, Keady, and Armagh Bill passed, they would have to buy the line, and if they did, they would never make the part to Keady. Following this out with a view of showing the real intentions of the Great Northern Railway respecting this district, Mr. Flews estimated the local traffic between Armagh and Keady from all sources at £2,590 gross per annum, and that between Keady and Castleblaney at £2,210—in all £4,800. He was not concerned in exposing the absurdity of the financial proposals in this Bill; he rested his case on a breach of faith towards a Committee of this House, and on the Vote of the House last year. But where would interest be earned for the required capital of £450,000? The Great (Northern were to work the line at 50 per cent., of the gross traffic, which would leave the paltry sum of £2,400 to provide interest on £450,000 capital and debentures. Mr. Hews estimated the actual cost of working this local line would leave his Company at an annual loss of £600 per annum; that was to say, on the Great Northern subscription of £50,000 they would receive no dividend, while they admitted that a loss would be involved in the working agreement entered into of £600 per annum. From these figures and the past conduct of the Great Northern Railway Company towards this district, he submitted that the present proceedings were a sham, having no other object than to secure territory and to prevent its development by any rival Company. It might be said that what he was stating was ancient history, but he would now read something quite fresh. At the meeting of the shareholders of the Great Northern Railway on 13th February Mr. Garstin, a Director of the Line, of Louth, and a large shareholder, said—" He had considerable doubt as to the expediency of the line from Castleblaney to Armagh. It was necessary only for the protection of the Great Northern line. The £50,000 to be contributed would certainly water their stock, but the terms of the agreement were favourable. He doubted if the line would ever be made, and they need not be disturbed if the Bill came to grief. The expediency of securing themselves was the reason for the Bill. The Chairman, in replying, said— with regard to Mr. Gaistin's observation, his mind would not be very uneasy as to the Armagh and Keady line. Mr. Garstin considered that if the line were not made it would not hurt them, and if it were made they would not get much out of it, but on the whole they would protect the interests of their Company. That was the latest information on the subject. He submitted that Parliament, in refusing a Second Reading of the Bill last year, declared that it would not countenance a manifest juggle, and in following a similar course now it would be only respecting itself, while at the same time it would be protecting the public from the altogether unnecesssary costs of another Parliamentary inquiry. In his opinion the case was, last year, fairly and fully submitted, since when there was not a single factor changed and the broad point that Parliament last year, with all the necessary facts before it, acting with the advice and guidance of the Chairman and the three other Members of the Committee of 1900, decided, was that not only had a breach, of faith been committed, but also that an existing Railway Company distinctly interested in blocking a district, rather than honestly carrying out the complete scheme approved of by Mr Egerton's Committee, could not be a safe party to entrust with the execution of either all or any of the authorised public works in question. He thought it important to remember that when the Act in question was obtained, an Act which it was now sought to artfully transform, the Select Committee stipulated, and the promoters agreed, that for a term of ten years from the opening 'of the line there should be no sale, and the Chairman, the hon. Member representing the Knutsford Division of Cheshire, added— I think it is the opinion of the Committee that the Great Northern are not to have a linger in the Kingscourt if possible. Notwithstanding that condition, the promoters of the line were found to have been negotiating with the Great Northern Railway Company four days after the passing of the Bill.

He was rather curious to see what hon. Member, this year, would stand up for the Great Northern Railway Company, and what case he would try to make. In anticipation he could think of nothing except that it might be suggested that if the Bill were thrown out the people of Keady would lose a present chance of getting a railway. He had shown what that chance was worth, but if any hon. Member said that the railway to Keady might be made, his answer was that the interests of Keady were not to he allowed to prejudice and damnify the future prospects of the whole country lying between the unimportant point of Keady and the innumerable other districts that had proved their case for through communication with Dublin. It might be said for Keady that half a loaf was better than no bread, but he said there was no half loaf in question, not even a crumb. But if Keady could get, say, a slice, why should the other ninety-nine slices of this imaginary loaf he turned into stone as against the infinitely more important places that were demanding that justice to all should be done, and that the House should not be influenced by the consideration of Keady alone and bring bitter disappointment and serious permanent loss to innumerable districts elsewhere. There might also come up, as there did last year, an argument on behalf of the monopolists of Belfast. The only backers, in fact, that the Great Northern had in Ireland were in Belfast or in outposts set up front Be fast, like Dunrick and Drogheda, which were on the Great Northern coast line, and which were naturally opposed to an inland route. He should like to tell the Belfast representatives that in their own community there was great difference of opinion as to the tactics of the Great Northern Railway Company, for last year, when this House declined to be led by the advocates of railway monopoly, two of the leading Belfast newspapers in most outspoken language hailed with approval the decision of this House when it declined to help the Great Northern to defeat the completion of a through route between Armagh and Dublin. He hoped hon. Members, especially on the Conservative side, who opposed the Second Reading of the Bill last year would not be induced to imitate others in the policy of slate cleaning. He hoped, rather, for their own credit and in the interests of justice they would adhere to the clear principle for which they voted last year, and that every lion. Member would stick to his gun, giving as his final answer on the question, "What I have said, I have said." He begged to move "That the Bill be read a second time this day six months."

(4.0.) MR. M'GOVERN (Cavan, W.)

said he desired to second the proposal of his hon. friend for two reasons. The first was that the Bill, if passed, would give a monopoly in the north of Ireland to the Great Northern Railway, and the second was that a large district in South Monaghan and East Cavan would not be able to secure railway accommodation at all. He would respectfully appeal to hon. Members not to reverse the vote of last year. The Bill was rejected last year by a very large majority, and there was no reason whatever why the House should now pass it. He asked hon. Members to enter a protest against the Great Northern Company coming to the House year after year and putting poor people to the expense of opposing their projects. Hon. Members representing English and Scottish constituencies had no idea of what the Irish railways were. In England and Scotland there was competition; in Ireland there was no competition. If hon. Members passed the Bill, they would be doing an injustice and an injury of which they had no notion. The hon. Member for Mid Armagh had put forward no argument in favour of the measure. Last year the hon. Member was very eloquent against the Bill; he was now equally eloquent in its favour; but he had forgotten to mention that outside his own constituency not a single public body in any of the districts affected had passed a Resolution in favour of it. He trusted, therefore, the House would again reject the Bill, and put an end once for all to the attempt to monopolise railway traffic in the north of Ireland.

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

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

(4.5.) COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)

said that he also executed a peculiar manceuvre in connection with last year's Bill. He signed a Whip in opposition to the Bill, and then spoke and voted in its favour. When he signed that Whip he confessed he had not carefully gone into the history of the question. When he went into it, however, he formed the decided opinion that if the Great Northern did not make the railway from Castleblaney to Armagh, no railway would ever be made at all. When he found that the Midland Railway had absolutely refused to carry out its promises, he saw very clearly that the object of that Company was that no railway should be made at all. The district concerned was at one time populated by a manufacturing population; it wanted a railway, and when he found that the Midland Company would not make it, he changed his tactics and voted for the Bill. The hon. Member for Newry ought not to have devoted himself to slating the Great Northern Company; he ought also to have shown to the House that if the Bill were thrown out the Midland Company would carry out its pledges. But he did not attempt to persuade the House that the Midland Company had any intention whatever of making the railway. The House had now to decide whether the railway was to be made or whether it was not. It mattered little which Company made the railway, but he was perfectly certain, as the inhabitants of Armagh were perfectly certain, that unless the Great Northern Company made the railway it would not be made at all. That was the reason lie supported the Bill last year and the reason why he supported the present Bill. His hon. friend last year believed entirely in the bona fides of the Midland Company. He did not know when the Bill was discussed last year that his hon. friend had previously had an interview with the chairman and directors of the Midland Railway Company, at which they had promised great things. His hon. friend fell a victim to the glamour of the chairman. His hon. friend was perfectly persuaded that the Midland Company had a bona fide intention of building the railway. In the short speech he made last year he warned his hon. friend to beware of the bona fides of the Midland Company. The result proved that he was correct, and his hon. friend now acknowledged that he was wrong. His hon. friend having defeated the Great Northern Bill, had a further interview with the directors of the Midland Railway Company. What was the result? They at once picked holes in the agreement, and laid down propositions which they could not possibly fulfil. His hon. friend had, however, been converted, and new supported the Bill, as he supported it, because he believed that a railway through the district would be of immense value to a large population, and that it would not be built unless the Bill were given a Second Reading and sent to a Committee.


said that on behalf of the Government he did not propose to take sides as between either of the two combatants. He only wished to support the appeal of his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade, and also of his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant last year, that the Bill should be allowed to go to a Committee. It was admitted on all hands that the district required railway accommodation. The valley was once prosperous: but that prosperity could only be brought back by means of railway communication. Four Bills had been introduced since 1899, but, for one reason or another, the result was that railway accommodation had not yet been provided. He thought if the appeal of his two right hon. friends last year to give the Bill a Second Reading had been listened to, all the circumstances could have been investigated. Hon. Members were not in a position to express a definite opinion on the wisdom of the scheme. The House was not the proper place to enter into the details, and he therefore asked the House to pass the Second Reading and send the Bill to a Committee.

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

said that the history of this Bill was the history of the discredit of Irish railways throughout the country. It possessed all the wealth, all the-loyalty, and all the dishonesty of the Kingdom. The two great trunk lines, one on the East Coast, and the other in the centre of Ireland, lying ten miles apart, agreed, on the principle of European Powers, to have "spheres of influence"—those were the actual words of the agreement—and that in the belt of land which intervened between their lines neither should construct a line, with the result that all the factories in. this district, which at one time were prosperous, had to pay 5s. or 6s. a ton more for their coal than if they had had a line through their district. Coal was as necessary for their existence as the atmosphere for the existence of human beings. At last another Company, independent of these two potential powers, oscillating between the two, tried to get one to out-diddle the other. Either great Company was willing to cut the throat of the other and sacrifice the interest of the country, neither cared what happened in the intervening belt, and for years and years each of them did a series of competitive swearings which would do credit to the highest efforts of an alibi witness at the Old Bailey. All the time these poor people were gasping their lives out for want of railway communication. He agreed with what had been said by the hon. Members for Govan and Newry about preferring the glittering shadow to the actual substance. If the Midland Railway would take up the Bill he would give them his blessing, and if the Bill were read a second time he would suggest that the Committee should give the Midland Company an opportunity to fulfil their obligations; but when a Gentleman like the lion. Member for Mid Armagh got up, with all the experience of the Midland that lie had, and, took the action that he had, it proved the hope lessness of expecting that Company to come forward to guarantee the loan, without which the line could not be built. This Company had put forward the same statements this year as humbugged the hon. Member for Mid Armagh last year. If they were willing to find the capital, why did they not call a meeting of their shareholders and get the necessary warranty? Then, if they came before the Committee, they would be bound to find the £100,000 required. The Second Reading of the Bill would not preclude the making of the new road at the hands of the Great Northern Company, but it would give the Midland Company, if it was honest, which he did not believe, the opportunity of finding the £100,000. The interests of Keady and the interests of the district generally should not be sacrificed to the brilliant shadow of the through route, and he hoped the Bill would be read a second time. The Government should also consider the whole question of the railway policy in Ireland.


said it was perfectly true that large and important interests were involved in this matter. But the action of the Government last year in giving the control of a certain section of this new route to the Great Northern Railway had effectually prevented a through route being made in this district. He supported the Second Reading.

(4.28.) MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

expressed the opinion that local interests ought not to be allowed to over-ride the general interests of the country. The hon. Member for Mid Armagh was between the devil and the deep sea. As a director of the Company he last year opposed this Bill, but his constituents wanted it, and he could not help himself; he was bound to support it. But those who had regard to the whole commerce of the country could not allow a small line like this to be built, and thereby prevent a large through route being opened in the future. Keady and Armagh had obtained a Bill authorising them to build this line; they were supposed to be an independent Company, and they were the persons supposed to build it. Instead of doing so, directly they obtained Parliamentary powers they went and tried to sell this thing, first to the Midland and then to the Great Northern Railway. These gentlemen had, in his opinion, come to the House and obtained these powers on fraudulent pretences. When they got powers to build the railway they had no intention of carrying out the work. They went about offering to sell to the other companies in order to get the best terms they could. He submitted that no body of gentlemen had a right to come before a Committee of this House stating that they were going to build a railway when they had no intention of doing so. He was not prepared to take the Attorney General for Ireland as his authority in regard to railway matters. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be peculiarly ignorant of the ways of railway companies in Ireland. They were superior to the right hon. Gentleman. The House was asked to pass this Bill and lay down a principle which was entirely subversive of the interests of commerce in Ireland. He respected the action of the hon. Member for Mid Armagh, who brought forward the Bill. He saw the difficulty the hon. Member was in, but he trusted the House would carry out the behests of the Committee upstairs.

(4.35.) MR. McVEIGH (Down, S.)

said that the promoters of the Bill did not come to the House with clean hands. When the Kingscourt line was authorised the Company agreed that they would not allow the railway to be sold when built. They gave repeated assurances that they were able to find the capital, and to carry out the undertaking, but after obtaining the Bill under false pretences, they went cadging from one Company to another to supply them with the funds. The Attorney General for Ireland had asked the House to allow the Bill to go to a Second Reading. That was a very proper attitude for a lawyer. There had been Committees on this Bill until he thought the House was sick of them. He thought lawyers had got more out of the Kingscourt and Armagh Railway than would have built two railways. He was not surprised that the Attorney General should be anxious to secure for his brother lawyers a continuance of the golden harvest they had had. They were not all lawyers. The principle had been laid down by this House that the Great Northern Company of Ireland should not be allowed a monopoly over this district. If the House passed the Second Reading of the Bill, they would not only stultify themselves, but also inflict serious injury on the entire district proposed to be served by the railway.


I have done my best to consider the statement circulated by the parties for and against the measure, and there are two things that I have learned. The first is that hon. Members of this House, who ought to understand the matter, have changed their opinion of it since last year and secondly, it is perfectly clear that the subject ought to be referred to a Select Committee. My only object in rising is to ask whether we have not sufficiently discussed the matter, and whether we may not now take the division.

MR. KENNEDY (Westmeath, N.)

rose to address the House, and


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, because he was of opinion that the House was prepared shortly to come to a decision without that Motion.

Debate resumed.


said he desired to intervene in this debate for the purpose only of presenting to the House the County Meath side of the question now before it. The County Council of Meath, of which he was Chairman, had passed a resolution asking this House not to consent to the proposed abandonment of the line of railway between Kingscourt and Armagh, and their reason for passing that resolution was that they believed if the Great Northern Company got the powers which they sought under this Bill they would be bound in their own interests to prevent the lower half of the Kingscourt and Armagh Railway being made, so as to avoid a connection with the Midland Line from Kingscourt to Navan. Now, the people of Meath looked upon this connection as necessary to the future commercial and industrial prosperity of their county. They had in County Meath but one industrial centre, namely, at Navan; here they had a large corn milling trade and one of the too few woollen factories in Ireland. It was therefore of great importance that they should have a direct railway connection, extending beyond their own borders and especially with the inland northern counties. Now this; was just what they had not got, though they had a more than usual supply of railway lines at Navan; indeed, that town was known locally as the Crewe of County Meath, but if hon. Members turned to the map which had been issued by his hon. friend the Member for Newry they would see that of five lines leading from Navan no less than three terminated within County Meath, or at its borders, and failed to connect with the industrial centres of the adjoining counties; one of these lines terminated at Athloy on the borders of West Meath, one at Oldcastle on the borders of Cavan, and one, that with, which they were concerned, at Kingscourt, also on the borders of the North. Therefore, while they were most anxious to preserve the policy of the open door in their commercial relations with the North of Ireland, they found themselves brought by two lines of railway in sight of the land of promise, and then they were left in the wilderness. He asked the House was this the way to encourage the only struggling industries in County Meath which were endeavouring to hold their own against tremendous odds at the town of Navan? He would appeal to the House to pause before giving a decision which would for ever close to Navan industries the open door of the North. No doubt there was much in the argument that they had not availed themselves of their opportunity in past years to give effect to the Act of 1900, but the Midland Railway now promised to subscribe £50,000 to the construction of the railway so authorised, and to work it for 50 per cent. of the receipts: in this fact they saw a prospect of that line being constructed, but they might ask why had they not done so before now? He held no brief for the Midland Company; he was disposed to say, "A plague on all their railway companies," because between them they were strangling the struggling industries of the country: but he understood that the Midland Company felt themselves hitherto prevented by some private agreement made between themselves and the Great Northern Company, by which they bound themselves not to encroach on what they impudently call their respective territories for a certain number of years. That agreement would, he understood, expire this year or next, and then the Midland Company would be free to construct this line. While he felt the House would properly condemn this principle of companies taking upon themselves any right to restrict the development of railway enterprise, he asked hon. Members whether they would not be putting a premium on such undertaking

by allowing the Great Northern Company to avail themselves of this contraband agreement with the Midland Company to preserve their monopoly in the North of Ireland, and he would therefore ask the House to withhold their consent to the Bill now before the House to enable them to evade the pernicious effects of the agreement referred to.

(4.46.) Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 263; Noes, 76. (Division List No. 56.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex.F. Clive, Captain Percy A. Hain, Edward
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Coghill, Douglas Harry Hall, Edward Marshall
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Cohen, Benjamin Louis Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.
Allan, William (Gateshead) Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hamilton, RtHn LordG (Midd'x
Allhusen, Augustus HenryEden Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready HamiIton, Marg. of (L'nd'nderry
Allsopp, Hon. George Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford
Anstruther, H. T. Craig, Robert Hunter Hare, Thomas Leigh
Arnold-Foster, Hugh O. Cripps, Charles Alfred Harmsworth, R. Leicester
Arrol, Sir William Crossley, Sir Savile Harwood, George
Ashton, Thomas Gair Cubitt, Hon. Henry Hay, Hon. Claude George
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dalrymple, Sir Charles Healy, Timothy Michael
Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitzroy Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley
Bailey, James (Walworth) Denny, Colonel Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Dickson, Charles Scott Helder, Augustus
Balcarres, Lord Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Henderson, Alexander
Baldwin, Alfred Donelan, Captain A. Hoare, Sir Samuel
Balfour, Rt HnGeraldW. (Leeds Doughty, George Hobhouse. Henry (Somerset,E.
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Hogg, Lindsay
Banbury, Frederick George Doxford, Sir William Theodore Holland, William Henry
Bartley, George C. T. Dunn, Sir William Howard, John(Kent, Faversh'm
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Dyke, Rt. Hon. SirWilliam Hart Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenham
Beach, Rt. Hn.SirMichaelHicks Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Hozier, Hon.James HenryCecil
Bell, Richard Esmonde, Sir Thomas Hudson, George Bickersteth
Bignold, Arthur Faber, Edmund B. (Hants,W.) Jackson, Rt. Hon.Wm. Lawies
Bill, Charles Farquharson, Dr. Robert Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick
Blake, Edward Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Johnston, William (Belfast)
Blundell, Colonel Henry Fenwick, Charles Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Fergusson, Rt. Hn. SirJ. (Manc'r Joicey, Sir James
Boulnois, Edmund Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Jones,David Brynmor(Swansea
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Jones, William (Carnarvonshire
Bowles, T. Gibson(King's Lynn Fisher, William Hayes KennawayRt. Hon. Sir John H.
Brassey, Albert FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Kinloch, Sir JolinGeorge Smyth
Broadhurst, Henry Fitzroy,Hon Edward Algernon Knowles, Lees
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Labouchere, Henry
Brown, Alexander H.(Shropsh. Flower, Ernest Lambert, George
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Flynn, James Christopher Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)
Bull, William James Foster, Philips. (Warwick, S. W Lawson, John Grant
Burdett-Coutts, W. Galloway, William Johnson Lecky,Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.
Caldwell, James Gardner, Ernest Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Campbell,Rt.Hn.J.A.(Glasgow Garfit, William Leese,SirJosephF. (Accrington)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Gibbs, Hon. Vicary(St. Albans) Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Causton, Richard Knight Gilhooly, James Lewis, John Herbert
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Gordon,Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Cavendish, V. C.W. (Derbyshire Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop Long, Col. CharlesW (Evesham)
Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. (Birm.) Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.
Chamberlain, J. Austen(Wrc'r) Gorst, Rt. Hon.Sir John Eldon Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)
Chapman, Edward Goulding, Edward Alfred Lowther, Rt. Hon. James(Kent)
Charrington, Spencer Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)
Churchill, Winston Spencer Greville, Hon. Ronald Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Macartney, Rt. HnW. G. Ellison Pierpoint, Robert Stanley,Hon. Arthur(Ormskirk
Macdona, John Cumming Pilkington, Lieut. Col. Richard Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
MacIver, David (Liverpool) Pirie, Duncan V. Stevenson, Francis S.
M'Crae, George Plummer, Walter R. Stewart, Sir Mark J. M Taggart
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stone, Sir Benjamin
M'Iver,SirLewis(Edinb'rgh,W Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
M'Killop,James (Stirlingshire) Purvis, Robert Sullivan, Donal
M?Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Randles, John S. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Majendie, James A. H. Rankin, Sir James Talbot, Rt.Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv.
Manners, Lord Cecil Rattigan, Sir William Henry Thomas Alfred(Glamorgan,E.)
Maple, Sir John Blundell Redmond, John E.(Waterford) Thorburn, Sir Walter
Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Reid, James (Greenock) Thornton, Percy M.
Maxwell,Rt HonSirH E(Wigt'n Reid, Sir R. Threshie(Dumfries) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Maxwell, W. J. H. (D'mfriesshire Remnant, James Farquharson Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William Renshaw, Charles Bine Vincent,Col. Sir C.E.H(S'effield
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Renwick, George Walrond Rt.Hn. Sir WilliamH.
Mooney, John J. Ridley,Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge Walton, John Lawson(Leeds,S.)
Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Ritchie, Rt Hon. Chas. Thomson Wanklyn, James Leslie
More, Robt. Jasper(Shropshire) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen) Ropner, Colonel Robert Welby,Lt.-Col. A. C. E(Tannton
Morrell, George Herbert Round, James Welby, Sir CharlesG. E. (Notts.)
Morton,Arthur H. A.(Deptford) Royds, Clement Molyneux Whiteley, George(York, W. R.)
Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Rutherford, John Whiteley,H. (Ashton und.Lyne
Muntz, Philip A. Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham(Bute Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Williams,RtHnJ Powell-(Birm.
Myers, William Henry Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Schwalm. Charles E. Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E. R.)
Norman, Henry Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Seely, Maj J. E. B. (Isle of Wight Wilson,J. H. (Worcestersh.,N.)
O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Simeon, Sir Barrington Wrightson, Sir Thomas
O'Dowd, John Smith, Abel H. (Hertford,East) Wylie, Alexander
O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Smith, H. C(N'rth 'mb. Tyneside Young, Samuel
O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Smith,James Parker(Lanarks.)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Smith, Hon.W. F. D. (Strand) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Spear, John Ward Sir James Haslett and Mr. John Gordon.
Parker, Gilbert Spencer, Rt. HnC.R. (Northants
Abraham,William (Cork, N.E.) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Abraham. William (Rhondda) Hayter,Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Reddy, M.
Allen, Charles P. (Glouc.,Stroud Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Rickett, J. Compton
Barlow, John Emmott Hope, John Deans (Fife,West) Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Black, Alexander William Joyce, Michael Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Boland, John Kennedy, Patrick James Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Burns, John Langley, Batty Shipman, Dr. John G.
Cameron, Robert Levy, Maurice Soares, Ernest J.
Channing, Francis Allston Lundon, W. Strachey, Sir Edward
Condon, Thomas Joseph McVeigh, Jeremiah Tennant, Harold John
Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow) M?Govern, T. Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen,E.)
Crean, Eugene M'Kenna, Reginald Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings)
Crombie, John William Mansfield, Horace Rendall Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Markham, Arthur Basil Wallace, Robert
Cullinan, J. Murnaghan, George Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Delany, William Murphy, John Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Nannetti, Joseph P. White, George (Norfolk)
Doogan, P. C. Nolan, Col.JohnP.(Galway,N.) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Duncan, J. Hastings O'Brien,,fames F. X. (Cork) Wilson,Fred.W.(Norfolk,Mid.
Evans,SirFrancisH.(Maidstone O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Wilson, Henry J. (York,W.R.)
Ffrench, Peter O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Field, William O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Yoxall, James Henry
Flannery, Sir Fortescue O'Mara, James
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Pickard, Benjamin
Goddard, Daniel Ford Power, Patrick Joseph Mr. Carvill and Mr. Carew.
Harris, Frederick Leverton Price, Robert John

First four Resolutions agreed to