HC Deb 14 June 1904 vol 136 cc109-15


Order for Second Reading read.

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

MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)

moved: That this Bill be read a second time this day three months. He wished to explain the grounds on which he made this proposal.


pointed out that it was extremely undesirable to make that Motion at present. There were three separate Provisional Orders included in one Bill, and one hon. Member objected to one of them, and another hon. Member to another of them, and Amendments were put down to the Second Reading of the whole Bill. There were also notices of Instructions on the Paper to strike out each of those two Orders. He only pointed out that the more reasonable method would be to allow the Second Reading to pass, and to deal with the objections on the Instructions.


If it falls in with your opinion, I am willing to move any Instruction now.


The Instruction is objected to, and whether the Motions against the Second Reading are withdrawn or proceeded with, the Instruction cannot be taken to-nigh*


said it seemed to him that in the circumstances the only course for him was to proceed against the Second Reading. He pointed out that part, of the Provisional Order related to Islay, and stated that he was hopeful that before the end of the discussion the promoters would be prepared to withdraw this part from the Bill. The objection of the Provisional Order was to place in the hands of the owners of the land the entire control of the piers on the island, all of which were of the utmost importance to the inhabitants. He had not the smallest intention of proposing anything which might at all interfere with the rights of any of the proprietors, but he thought it was only right that the House should have its attention drawn to the extreme importance of these piers to the people of the district, who for the carrying on of their industries were largely dependent on water carriage. If anything were done to interfere with the enjoyment by the public of the piers, they would do something in the direction of putting a stop to the interchange of traffic between the island and the mainland. The piers, so far as they were attached to the shore, must stand on the property of the individual proprietor of the land, and so far as they extended into the ocean they must stand on the property of the Crown, so that the Crown occupied an important place in connection with the ownership of the piers. No rates had up to the present time been charged for the use of the piers, but by this Provisional Order it was proposed to empower the promoters to charge rates on every species of traffic. He wished the House to remember that they were dealing with a remote and poor part of the country, and that the imposing of these rates would be a serious burden on the people for a service which had hitherto been free. The island had a population of 8,000, and there was great difficulty in securing employment. He thought the proper policy would be to encourage the transfer of the piers from the proprietors to the county councils, and he wished to point out that, if the House agreed to the Order they were now asked to pass, they would put off the day when the transfer could take place. It was of the greatest importance to the island that that day should not be put off indefinitely. If the House confirmed this Order they would really interfere seriously with what were in the nature of permanent highways of the island. If there was to be an alteration in the present-state of things the proper authority to take over the piers was the county council of Argyll.

MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

in seconding the Motion said that if there was a curse in the Highlands it was the everlasting demand for tolls. It was all very well for Members of that House when they visited the Highlands to put their hands in their pockets and pay the penny or twopence asked for pier dues, but these charges were a very serious matter for the poor people who lived in these districts. He supposed that the proprietors took the tolls to Continental resorts and played rouge et noir with them. He could only hope that the county councils would ultimately secure every pier in the Highlands. Ten years ago, in the Black Isle case, the Crown lawyers stated that a ferry was part of the public highway, and as a boat must get to land somewhere, that showed that piers should be under the control of a public authority, and not in the hands of private individuals. He did not know when Mr. Morrison secured the Island of Islay, but he found that, as landlord, he demanded 10 per cent, on his expenditure. A more monstrous thing he had never heard of. The powers contained in the Bill would enable the landlord or his factor to know exactly the earnings of every poor fisherman on the island, and every small trader, and the result would be that the rents of the holdings would be increased 30, 40, or 50 per cent., and the landlord would be master of the situation. Mr. Morrison would have acted in accordance with reason and justice if he had come to some arrangement with the county council. He wished to know whether the Board of Trade or the Department of Woods and Forests had looked after the Crown rights in this case. He did not want a Bill of this character to pass, and accordingly he seconded the Motion of the hon Member.

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

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

MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

said that the Irish Members distinctly sympathised with the views of the hon. Gentlemen who had moved and seconded the Resolution. Anyone did not require to live in the Highlands to understand the depopulation which had been going on in that part of the country. But the Irish Members found themselves in an awkward position on account of this being an omnibus Bill, and it contained provisions in re- lation to Ireland as to which arrangements satisfactory to all parties had been made. If they were to vote against the Second Reading of this Order, that part of it in which they were interested would go by the board. As to the Instruction, that was quite another matter; and they hoped to have an opportunity Gentleman in that respect.


said that on behalf of the Board of Trade he asked the House to let the Bill go to a Select Committee where the arguments could be sifted, and the evidence duly weighed. The hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty said that it was desirable that piers should be in the hands of the county councils, but there was no proposal of the county council of Argyllshire to take over these piers, and surely it was not the duty of private owners to part with their property without compensation. The Board of Trade sent down a Commissioner to Scotland, who heard all the evidence and the arguments put forward by eminent counsel, and the Commissioner was satisfied that on the merits a prima facie case had been made out for the Bill. He did not wish to go into the merits of the Bill now, but he might point out to the hon. Gentleman who said that this was a case of a greedy landlord wanting 10 per cent, that the proprietor of these piers had spent over £14,000 in keeping them up during his lifetime, apart from the original cost. The Board of Trade had put in a provision that the utmost sum to be paid was 10 per cent., not on the original sum, but on expenditure after the Provisional Order came into operation. The interests of the public had been duly safeguarded in the Bill, and he hoped the House would allow the Second Reading to be taken.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said he quite agreed with the hon. Gentleman that there was something to be said for the Bill now before the House. But he wished to enter his protest against the Board of Trade bringing forward a Bill of this character, which included three Provisional Orders, each of considerable importance, but dealing with entirely separate interests. He should vote against the Government for another reason, and that was that this was not a time when they were justified in passing legislation giving such large powers to a private landowner. From all he had heard, he believed Mr. Morrison to be a highly respected landlord. But this Bill was giving him authority which he ought not to have — authority which ought to be in the hands of the local body. The Government ought to have given sufficient money to build these piers. Grants had been made for building piers in other places which had not so strong a claim on the public funds as this locality. The schedule to the Bill almost suggested that there was to be a little protection introduced under the guise of a Provisional Order. Mr. Morrison would have power to put a tax on all the food which went into the island. That was giving far too much power to a private individval, and practically it seemed to him as if an attempt was being made to experiment with protection in the island of Islay.

MR. LEVESON-GOWER (Sutherland)

said that, as a Member for a Highland district, he had very great pleasure in voting for the Second Reading of this Bill. He must confess that he did not understand on what grounds the rejection of the Bill had been moved and seconded. He held that such works as wer1; dealt with in the Bill were of the

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Dalkeith, Earl of
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Brotherton, Edward Allen Davenport, William Bromley
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Caldwell, James Delany, William
Anson, Sir William Reynell Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway
Arkwright, John Stanhope Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.
ARROL, William Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Dickson, Charles Scott
Asher, Alexander Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Doogan, P. C.
Bain, Colonel James Robert Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A(Worc. Doughty, George
Balcarres, Lord Charrington, Spencer Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J (Macnh'r Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)
Balfour, Capt C. B. (Hornsey) Condon, Thomas Joseph Durning-Lawrenee, Sir Edwin
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Farquharson, Dr. Robert
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Crombie, John William Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)
Bignold, Arthur Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Fergusson, Rt. Hn. SirJ(Manc'r
Boland, John Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Field, William
Brigg, John Cullinan, J. Finlay, Sir Robert

greatest benefit to the crofters in the Highlands, and every encouragement should be given to private landlords to build piers, harbours, and the like, which provided for the safety and security of the people.

MR. JOHN DEWAR (Inverness)

said he knew so well the difficulty of getting piers erected that he hesitated to oppose this Bill. He understood the object of putting two or more Provisional Orders in one Bill was to save expense; but he was informed that the whole crofting population of Islay and the smaller landlords were opposed to Mr. Morrision getting these powers under this Provisional Order. He hoped that the Secretary to the Board of Trade would see to it that the proprietor of the piers was not empowered to increase the rates so as to stop trade and prevent steamers landing passengers and goods as had been done at one of the piers in his constituency.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

said he was not specially interested in the Highlands, but he understood that no tolls had been levied at these piers hitherto. It was said that those who objected to the Bill would have a locus standi upstairs; but how could they put their case before the Committee when they were all poor crofters or fishermen?

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, Noes, 33. (Division List No. 152)

Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Forster, Henry William M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S.W.) M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Gardner, Ernest Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh. Smith, H C(North'mb.Tyneside
Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn) Milvain, Thomas Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Grant, Corrie Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.) Soares, Ernest J.
Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Morpeth, Viscount Spear, John Ward
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lanes.
Hammond, John Mount, William Arthur Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Hay, Hon. Claude George Murnaghan, George Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Hayden, John Patrick Murphy, John Stock, James Henry
Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute) Stroyan, John
Heath, James (Staffords., N.W. Nannetti, Joseph P. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford,W. Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.) Sullivan, Donal
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Slid.) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hickman, Sir Alfred O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G(Oxf'dUniv.
Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil O'Malley, William Tennant, Harold John
Hunt, Rowland Parkes, Ebenezer Thorburn, Sir Walter
Jameson, Major J. Eustace Partington, Oswald Thornton, Percy M.
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Joyce, Michael Percy, Earl Tuff, Charles
Keswick, William Plummer, Walter R. Tuke, Sir John Batty
Kilbride, Denis Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Valentia, Viscount
Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Randies, John S. Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir Willam H.
Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W. Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne Warde, Colonel C. E.
Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monmouth) Reddy, M. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks., N. R. Reid, James (Greenock) Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)
Layland-Barratt, Francis Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Webb, Colonel William George
Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Renwick, George Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Royds, Clement Molyncux Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Russell, T. W. Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Lundon, W. Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Young, Samuel
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Macdona, John Cumming Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Maconochie, A. W. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Alexander Acland-Hood
MacYeagh, Jeremiah Seton-Karr, Sir Henry and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Duncan, J. Hastings Rigg, Richard
Barlow, John Enimott Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert Jn. Runciman, Walter
Bell, Richard Goddard, Daniel Ford Shipman, Dr. John G.
Black, Alexander William Harmsworth, R. Leicester Sinclair, John (Forfarshire;
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Slack, John Bamford
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Horniman, Frederick John Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)
Causton, Richard Knight Leigh, Sir Joseph Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Cremer, William Randal Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Dalziel, James Henry M'Crae, George
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.
Dobbie, Joseph Pirie, Duncan V. Ainsworth and Mr. Weir.