§ [SECOND BEADING.]
§ Order for the Second Reading read.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON, Londonderry, N.)
formally moved the Second Reading.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)
expressed his surprise that the Second Reading should have been moved without a word of explanation as to the provisions of the Bill.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
reminded the hon. Member that he made a statement on the introduction of the Bill.
§ MR. MURPHY
pointed out that the Bill was introduced under the Ten Minutes Rule, and that the right hon. Gentleman's statement, as were all his statements with reference to this question, was unsatisfactory, and the course of procedure adopted on the present occasion simply intensified the dissatisfaction caused by his preliminary statement. Everybody acquainted with Ireland knew that the labourers' question was a pressing one which required to be dealt with in a radical manner. More than any other section of the community the labourers had a claim to be put back on the land; and if it was a question of restoring people to the land taken from their ancestors, the Irish labourers as much as any other class were the descendants of those whose land had been taken from them. When the Land Act of last year was under discussion, the Chief Secretary, in reply to certain representations, admitted that this question was a pressing one, but urged that it was too large and complicated a matter for him to deal with while grappling with the land question from another point of view; and in consequence of a promise then given to inquire into the matter and to introduce a measure in the next session the Nationalist Members held their hand. That session had now come, the inquiries had been made, and a Bill introduced, but of that measure not a single section of the community had spoken in terms other than of condemnation. The Bill was weak, halting, inefficient in every possible way. Knowing how easily the drawbacks in the Labourers Acts could be dealt with, it was impossible to come to any, other conclusion than that a half-hearted or careless effort had been made to grapple with the question. The Bill doubtless contained some provisions that would be useful and beneficial, but taken as a whole it was neither a radical nor even a fair treatment of the question, and it would do practically nothing to remove the evils of which complaint was made.
In order to deal effectively with the question in every province in Ireland money was required. That point had been urged from all quarters of the House. Hundreds of thousands of pounds could be provided for fads connected with industrial and technical education, and other rather doubtful schemes for the benefit of the Irish people, but when it 1122 was a question of finding the small amount of money necessary to place in a proper condition one of the best, most deserving, and neediest sections of the people, the Government gave a point blank refusal. If the right hon. Gentleman had not yet formed the opinion that the money would have to be provided, he would probably be driven to that conclusion by the present debate, and by the agitation which would arise in Ireland in consequence of his ineffective treatment of the question. If the labourers of Ireland were once driven away, their place could not be supplied for many years to come, but as fast as the emigrant ship could effect that purpose the Irish labouring community was being destroyed, and for the future welfare of the country radical measures were required to stop that stream of emigration. Much of the money spent in other directions might more usefully be devoted to this question. Why should not the necessary money be taken from the same fund as that which had been drawn on in connection with the transfer of land? The required relief could in that way be given without any ultimate cost to the community. The experience of the Labourers Acts, so far as they had been put into operation, showed the readiness of the people to do their part. Local bodies would be perfectly prepared to do their share in providing decent accommodation for the labourers, were they not prevented by legal difficulties and other disadvantages. Other aspects of the question than that of the expense ought to be considered. Disease and sickness frequently resulted from labourers with large families living in miserable hovels, and the provision of decent and properly constructed houses meant that the expenses connected with disease and suffering were to a large extent swept away. The change effected in the condition of the few labourers who had been dealt with, ought to be an incentive to the Government to find the money necessary to confer similar benefits upon the remaining portion of the labouring community.
The administration of the present Acts was rendered ineffective by the red tape and peculiar decisions of the officials of the Local Government Board. It took 1123 years to provide the necessary machinery to enable the local authority to erect houses, and even then, owing to the action of the officials, they were not erected as well as they might be. The right hon. Gentleman had altogether abstained from consulting the views of the Irish representatives with regard to existing defects, and the present bad measure was the result. It would be the duty of the leading members of the Party to point out the Amendments that were required to make the Bill effective, but it was as well to say at once that unless those Amendments were adopted the Bill, while it might be accepted, would be regarded not as a final solution of the question, but simply as a stepping-stone to something further. In addition to the lack of money, the question of title was of grave importance, but that aspect of the matter was not touched by the present Bill. The proof of title, and all the delay and expense consequent thereupon, were left in the same position as before. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman would say the Bill contained provisions which would confer benefits upon the labourers, but of what avail was it to deal with details if the principle was left untouched? Neither speed nor cheapness would result from the present measure. If the right hon. Gentleman wished to give an evidence of the sincerity of his sympathy with the labourers it would be necessary for him to accept the Amendments to be put forward by the Nationalist Party, because they would be proposed by men who understood the subject, and who were dealing with it entirely in the interest of the nation as a whole. Local authorities were hampered by all manner of decisions, and case after case could be cited in which neither law nor common sense characterised the decisions which had been given. A radical reform of the whole procedure was necessary.
He thought this Labourers Bill illustrated once more how hopeless it was to find an Irish Secretary, who was an English Member of Parliament, no matter how good his intentions might be, who would be able to deal with the influences brought to bear by the people who swarmed round Dublin Castle. It might be a hard thing to say of the present Chief Secretary, but it was 1124 true. The right hon. Gentleman should be taught to feel that the Irish people wanted something more substantial than mere eloquence in dealing with the question of the Irish labourers, and that the remedies must be of a more drastic character than those now proposed if they were to receive the approval of the Irish representatives as adequate. The labourers of Ireland were dissatisfied with the treatment given to them by the right hon. Gentleman. Speaking as one of their sympathisers, he was greviously disappointed with the way in which the Chief Secretary had misled them with reference to the manner in which he was going to deal with the question during the present session. Their disappointment would not lead them to give up hope of having the question properly dealt with. Experience in Ireland clearly showed that nothing was to be got except by strong agitation. Strong agitation had broken down many a barrier placed before other sections of the community in Ireland, and the same agitation and combination on the part of the people would break down the barriers and red tape which prevented the labourers' question being dealt with efficiently and honestly.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE (Antrim, N.)
said he was disappointed with the redemption of the pledge, which was made on previous occasions on behalf of the Government, that there would be a comprehensive measure introduced for the solution of the Irish labourers question. He did not intend to spare his criticism of the Bill. He did not suggest that there was any personal breach of faith on the part of the Chief Secretary, but he understood that the facts were too strong for him, and that he had been unable to bring in such a measure as they anticipated, and as they were led to believe, which would be a practical solution of this question in the same way as the comprehensive and generous Bill of last year was a solution of the great land question which was then dealt with. But the Bill, in his opinion, was a useless Bill, and when they came to consider what its effect would be in Ulster it would be seen that it was absolutely mischievous. Speaking for himself, he would vote against the Bill if it was intended—and 1125 he trusted it would not be intended even at this period of the session—that a short Parliamentary day, and a Government closure or a Government division at the end of it, was to suffice for the settlement of the labourers' question in Ireland, because the Bill would require a week's discussion. Although the hon. Member for East Kerry might be of opinion that his colleague, the hon. Member for Mid Armagh, and himself, who had Amendments on the Paper, were wanting in honesty, he was quite prepared to answer to his constituents. The labourers in Ulster were not fools. They were educated to a great extent. They studied these Bills for themselves, and he had resolutions from labourers' associations in his own constituency, one of them asking him to oppose the Bill and the other expressing the hope that he would not take the trouble to bother about it. That was the labourers' view of the Bill, and he thought the labourer had scrutinised the Bill very closely. Therefore he had not the least compunction in saying that there was nothing in the Bill to tempt anyone to vote for it, and there was a great deal in it to tempt many of the Ulster Members to vote against it.
He agreed with the hon. Member for East Kerry that the time had come in dealing with the labourers' question in Ireland when they might expect some finality. They began in 1883. They had another Act in 1885—even the Land Act contained reference to it. They had another Act in 1901. At present it would be found that there had been six Acts all tinkering and pottering with the question, and the present Bill did not bring them one furlong further on the way. If anyone considered what the object of the Act was, they would recall the saying that it was easy to legislate on the line of least resistance. This Bill proceeded on the line of least resistance and of less utility than any Bill that could be presented. It would seem that every practical suggestion, either from the labourers or from the local authorities—the rural district councils—had been ignored in the Bill, and the whole machinery of the Bill had been directed to the adjusting of the differences which, in a few instances, arose between the rural council, when they passed their scheme, and the Privy Council when they were asked to reject or confirm a particular 1126 scheme. It was a Bill also to provide for substituting for the Privy Council, consisting of the Judges and others, an appeal to a single Judge at an assize. After all, how many appeals were there? He was not in a position to say how many schemes there had been. There were 10,000 schemes in Munster and there were not 1,000 in Ulster. Whatever the number of schemes might be—he was speaking absolutely offhand—he did not suppose that in 5 per cent. there had been appeals to the Privy Council. He supposed the Privy Council did not sit to hear appeals under the Labourers Acts a dozen days in the year, and they might dispose at each sitting of half a dozen objections. All this procedure was brought in for the sake of a few cases, and he did not think there would be one penny of expenditure reduced. At present no one came to the Privy Council except with a very serious case, because he did not get any costs even if he succeeded. Again and again the rural councils in Ireland had set the machinery of the Acts in operation in order to perecute obnoxious individuals, and the Privy Council had been appealed to successfully; but the costs of the appeal were generally more than the land was worth. This was to be altered, appeals were to be facilitated, which was what nobody wanted, and were to be heard in the county town. Witnesses were to be brought in, and there was to be a full-dress hearing. He did not think this would be any advantage to the rural district council. He did not think it made very much difference to the labourers to have appeals facilitated. There were two classes who would get the benefit of that, but it was not pretended that the labourers would get it. The rural council had never asked for this transfer of jurisdiction. The cases were always fought out between the rural council and the landlord. He knew of no case in Ireland where the local authority asked for the change.
What they asked for was some lessening of the cost of proving title which was found over and over again to be ever so much more than the actual value of the land. In this matter the rural councils wanted help from Parliament. If a man had a thousand acres and the cost of investigating his title came to £100, that did not 1127 seem excessive, but when they wanted to take one acre out of the thousand the same trouble, and expense, and delay were caused. As something had been said of landlords, he could assure hon. Members that in his part of the world there was very little difficulty with the landlord. He got little more than a nominal sum. The man who got the compensation was the tenant farmer. Suppose only half an acre was taken, as was generally the case in the North of Ireland, and suppose the tenant was paid £20 and the landlord £10, they had a total sum of £30? Why should they 20 through the whole expensive procedure of proving title for £30. It would be perfectly easy on a sum like that to pay the money into the County Court, let an affidavit be made that the man claiming the money had been in possession of the land, say for six, ten, or twelve years past, and pay out the £30 to him without further investigation of title, leaving it to him to distribute. He knew that from a lawyer's point of view that was not a proper thing to do, because conveyancing counsel would take as much trouble over half an acre as over a thousand acres, but there should be a short cut of some kind, and he regretted that nothing had been done to provide it.
There were many complaints about delay, and he heard also much about red tape at the Local Government Board. He had given the matter his best attention, having frequently been consulted by constituents whose names had been included in schemes and who had not got their land or cottage, and he was not prepared to say that the fault lay with the Local Government Board. He dared say they were understaffed, and his right hon. friend might take into consideration the advisability of supplementing the staff when schemes had accumulated. He was bound to say, however, that, in his part of the world, a great deal of difficulty arose from the feeling which existed between the labourers on the one hand and a certain section of the rural councils on the other. He had no desire to attack any section of people holding different political views from his own, but it was a common case that in certain counties in Ulster the Act had not been enforced by certain local bodies. That was the labourers' 1128 grievance, and he saw nothing in the Bill which would make the councils less unwilling than at present to help the labourers to get their cottages and allotments. He was aware there was a section in the Bill providing that where an authority made default in carrying out the Act, the Local Government Board might take summary action. The local authority, however, might do as had been done, adjourn the consideration of the scheme from time to time, write to the Local Government Board, and adjourn again; and every obstacle being raised the labourers were delayed in their schemes until they got so heart-sick that they would not go on with them. He knew of cases where there had been delays of two, three, and even four years. There was nothing in the Bill from beginning to end to compel the council to proceed. On this head he believed he might be allowed to say that he thought the Local Government Board might publish their Reports with more promptness. When addressing his constituents last September he wanted to find out how matters stood. Actually at this moment the last annual returns of the Local Government Board only brought them up to March, 1902. They were published in the autumn of 1903, and now in the month of June, 1904, they, could not tell how counties stood under the Labourers Act up to March, 1903. He believed a better administration of the existing Act would go a long way to remove difficulties.
He must say to hon. Members opposite that they seemed to administer the Acts well in places like Tipperary, Cork, and elsewhere, where there were a large number of houses, and where the feeling for the labourer was such that they were willing to put a burden on the rates. He did not think, as between the labourers and the local authority in those districts, there was much to complain of. There was, however, a good deal to complain of in the North, in the nature of a class feeling between the labourer on one side and the rural council, from which he was de facto excluded, on the other. It was a regrettable feeling which would disappear if the Acts were properly administered. The labourer also wanted, besides proper administration of the Acts, someone to represent his interests. It was practically 1129 impossible for the labourer to get someone to represent him on the rural council. If he was badly treated in any respect or turned out of his house, he had no one to put his case forward. He wanted some independent person who would not only hold inquiries, but would receive and act upon communications from people who dared not sign their names, just a factory inspectors acted on anonymous communications. The labourer also wanted the power, if he was a prudent and saving man, to purchase the fee of the house he held under the rural council, and to have the power under rules corresponding with those under the Acquisition of Small Dwellings Act, which would do nobody any harm. The labourer was as much entitled to State credit as the town occupier, and there would never be a settlement of the question till he was put in the same position. This, of course, only applied to cases where houses had been built or had been acquired by the local authority, for there would be endless difficulty where the labourer was in the employ of any other man, and living in a house by virtue of his employment. If a man employed a ploughman and put him in a house, he could not give that ploughman fixity of tenure for ever. That would mean that if there was a dispute between the farmer and his ploughman, and the farmer dismissed him, a new house must be built for the new ploughman, and the whole demesne might be dotted over with ploughmen's cottages. None of these considerations applied when they were dealing with allotments which had been taken from farmers' holdings or were held by the rural councils. He knew there was a provision by which labourers who had been five years in possession of their cottages might be treated as one of the privileged people under Section 2 of the Act of last year, but the labourers should have the same benefit of State credit as the tenants to enable them to acquire their cottages and allotments. This power the Bill did not give, and he saw nothing in it which would improve the administration of the Act.
He thought it an unfortunate thing to take away from the Local Government Board the power of enforcing the Act and vest it in the county councils. The county 1130 councils had already as much as they could do. It was a difficult thing to get people to attend the meetings of the county councils, and now it was proposed to add to their work the burden of administering the Labourers Acts. It should be also remembered that county councils were practically composed of the same class of people as those on the rural councils, and now it was proposed to throw on the county councils—people who met quarterly and whose hands were already full—the duty of putting the law in force and compelling the building of houses for labourers. The labourer would rather have the present system, by which the Local Government Board would enforce the performance of their duties by the local authority, than leave it in the hands of the county council. There was a provision in the Bill enabling rural councils to make rules guarding against undue preference in the building of houses, but he did not think the labourer would be much satified with it. In the West of Ireland there had been some extraordinary abuses of the existing Acts, and therefore it was utterly absurd to expect the labourer to feel satisfied. As regarded Ulster, the most mischievous part of the Bill was this: Section 13 proposed to transfer from each county in Ireland the amount ascertained of the annual grant. It had been officially stated that it was not proposed to deal with accumulated grants up to the present, but for the future it was intended to apportion the contribution which the rural councils at present got in proportion to the number of cottages provided under the Bill in their districts. In his opinion this proposal should be extended to allotments, because in a great many cases allotments had been provided and no cottages built. The Return, which showed how the Acts had been working in the various counties, gave Ulster as having built 1,000 cottages and Munster 10,000. The whole object of the section seemed to be to prevent Ulster councils in future from getting anything like the contribution which had already been credited to them for local purposes. Antrim County Council objected to it on the ground that if the local grants were not used for supplying labourers' cottages they 1131 should be used for their original purpose, which was to develop the motor transit problem. Rural councils were beginning to wake up and object that for the sake of other parts of the country they should be deprived of money grants to which they were entitled. It was grossly unfair. It was what was called in Ireland Macdonnellism It was on parallel lines to remitting police taxes in one part of the country and imposing them in another.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said there was no justification for making that statement, and it was most improper to import into the debate the name of a Civil servant in such a manner.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE
said that if he was wrong in introducing the name of a gentleman who did not behave as a Civil servant but had been an open partisan, he would withdraw, but he thought he had special grounds for making the statement. Still, he would withdraw it so far as Sir Antony Macdonnell was concerned. If he had been misled into making statements the probabilities were that he had every ground for making them. The Unionists parts of the country were the only parts which the section would injure. The proposal was to take money away from them and distribute it over that part of the country which hon. Gentlemen opposite represented. They were asked to approve of this Bill, which was introduced as a Government measure, and the effect of which would be that the Ulster labourer might whistle for his cottage or allotment and the money would be used for other purposes. There was no justification for the clause remaining in the Bill, but of course it would be moved by the Government and would be cordially supported by hon. Members opposite, who wanted to get from the Unionist parts of the country the money which had been allocated to them.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE
quoted from a Return of the number of cottages that had been erected under the existing Act in the various connties, and said it would be found that the Unionist parts of the country were entitled to large sums from 1132 the contributions. There was no possible-doubt as to the effect of this clause on the province of Ulster, and they had stood by long enough while other parts of the country got a far larger share than the proportion which they received, and, when it was proposed to take away from the Ulster labourer the last chance he had of encouraging the rural councils to provide cottages and allotments for him, it was time to draw the line.
There was one more matter calling for attention. It was a great misfortune that something was not done under the Bill to alter the status of the medical officer. That had long been a block in the efficient working of the Act. No one who knew the medical officers in Ireland—the self-sacrificing life they led, the life of toil and privations would say a word against them, but at the same time this present system of the Labourers Acts threw a most unfair burden upon them, and put them in a most invidious position. The dispensary doctor, as he was called in Ireland, was under these Acts a sanitary officer of health. His patient might be a farmer, and in the course of a visit to the farm he might find on the premises a labourer lodged like an animal. What was the doctor to do? It was his duty if a complaint was made to condemn the house, but he had acquired his knowledge whilst on a visit to a patient who might be a member of the rural council, and he might be told, "You must leave this matter alone, because you acquired your knowledge whilst on a visit as a doctor." On the other hand, the labourer might say, "If you condemn the house you are bound to stand by your condemnation." By espousing the cause of the labourer the doctor would be put in the position of making enemies on the rural council, and would have to run his head against those who gave him employment, holidays and remuneration. That was an argument for the appointment of an independent inspector who would stand, between the labourer and everybody else. When the Government arrived at a settlement of this labourers' question some provision should be made for removing this burden from the shoulders of the dispensary doctor. Much remained to be done for the Irish labourers by Parliament. They were a thoroughly deserving class. He had been interested 1133 in them for many years, and it was for that reason that he felt bitterly disappointed that the Unionist Government when bringing in a Bill to settle the question should have done so little towards that object as would be done by this "painted lath" of a measure.
§ MR. SHEEHAN (Cork County, Mid)
said the measure before the House was most important in this respect, that it proposed to deal with a subject affecting the lives, the happiness, the comfort, and well-being of the whole labouring population of Ireland. At the outset, however, he might frankly state that he could not congratulate the Government or the Chief Secretary on the manner in which they had approached and attempted to deal with a great social problem and with an evil which was admittedly one demanding the immediate application of efficacious remedies. The history of the Bill before the House was well known. Rather than lose his Land Bill of last year, the Chief Secretary solemnly pledged himself to deal with the labourers' question this year. Yielding to the pressure of circumstances, although many of them on the Irish Benches felt in doing so they were to some extent sacrificing the labourers, they accepted, in all good faith, the pledge given by the Chief Secretary that he would give his personal attention to the matter during the autumn. This distinctly implied that he intended to bring forward a great comprehensive measure which would remove all the grounds of difficulty and delay, of complaint and dissatisfaction, which had made the present Labourers Acts practically inoperative in many parts of the country. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman regarded the Bill before the House as a fulfilment of his pledge—given in circumstances which should make it exceptionally binding—but this he did know, that the Irish people and the Irish labourers did not regard it as such, and that the feeling, not alone in Ireland, was that unless it was radically amended and its provisions widely extended, they must condemn the Bill as being but a poor child of promise of whom the parent could have no reason to be proud. He did not say the Bill was wholly bad, but, knowing what he knew of the condition of the Irish labourers, 1134 and of the necessity of hastening and cheapening the procedure for their better housing if the remnant left of them was to be saved to the country, he emphatically asserted that it would not greatly serve the purpose for which it was intended or meet with any degree of approval unless an honest attempt was made to improve it and reasonable time given for its discussion in that House. The Chief Secretary had promised to give his personal attention to this question during the autumn. Had he done so? They knew that inspectors of the Local Government Board toured the country instituting special inquiries, and that even the services of the Royal Irish Constabulary were called in to his aid. What were the results of these investigations, and where were the reports? They had sought for them in vain. They were, told they were private and only for Departmental use. But if there was nothing objectionable in them, why not give them to the light of day. They were not afraid to see them before the public in print. They could not damage their demands, because their case I for legislation was so strong and powerful that nothing that might be contained in the report of any Government official I could weaken it. But the attitude of the Government all along towards this Bill I had not been satisfactory, and there were some of them who feared that this attitude would be reflected in their future action.
The defects of the existing Acts were manifold. Returns had been laid on the Table of that House showing the monstrous waste of expenditure in connection with them in law costs, costs of inquiries, appeals to the Privy Council, and in numerous Other forms of red-tapeism which were as useless as they were extravagant. Indeed, a vastly Undue proportion of the cost of labourers' cottages was wasted in frivolous charges and unnecessary details. They had all along demanded that there should be drastic reform here. He had studied the Bill, and it was not quite plain to him in what specific directions retrenchment was to be effected. They required a simplification of procedure. Under the present Acts it had been computed that no less than nineteen different stages had to be gone through before a single cottage could be erected, and, incredible though it might seem, five and six years had 1135 frequently elapsed from the time the representation for a cottage was first received until it was finally built. The; arbitrary powers vested in Local Government Board inspectors was another source of much complaint which was, to some extent, modified in the present Bill. It was certainly a grave scandal that, after a council had gone to the expense and trouble of formulating a scheme with full knowledge of the local requirements, and taking each cottage on its merits, that an official should come down from the Local Government Board, hold an inquiry, and recommend that one-half or more of the cottages be rejected, and rejected they always were by the Local Government Board. As a matter of fact, everything was done to hamper and obstruct the erection of cottages, and to discourage the local authorities from putting the Labourers Acts into force. Hence, was it to be wondered that, though the Acts had been in operation for over twenty years, only 17,411 cottages had been actually built up to the present? It would be interesting to know how many were forced to emigrate in these twenty years owing to the scarcity or insufficiency of housing accommodation. And if they took the pathetic and the human side of the picture, they could compare in their minds the hundreds of thousands who, in all these years, had been compelled to five in hovels not fit to house the brute beast of the field; who had brought forth children and reared families in these fetid dens of fever, dirt, consumption, and disease; whose homes were worse than a dungeon when they were not a living grave; who were hopeless because there was no hope and who had to be content because rebellion of spirit seemed to bring them no nearer to a modest home and cheerful surroundings. It was for that they pleaded here that day, pleaded earnestly and with all the force at their command, that they might be enabled to take back to Ireland, when this session was brought to a close, such a Labourers Act as would speed forward the day when every tired worker going home from his heavy labour might have the sweet consolation and relief of sitting by a pleasant fireside in the midst of a contented family. But would the Bill as it stood do this? 1136 Emphatically no; but the skeleton was there, to which substantial framework a perfect structure might be superadded.
During the discussion on the Vote for the Board of Agriculture, the previous evening, mention was made of the fact that while it was hoped for it that it would have had the effect of arresting the tide of emigration, it had not done so; that it had, on the contrary, stimulated it by the encouragement of the rearing of live stock to the detriment of arable cultivation was his conviction, and he saw no hope whatever for any cessation of the deadly hemorrhage of the nation until the working classes in Ireland were firmly rooted in the soil, until they had fixity of tenure in decent houses and moderate allotments of land, and until the great grass plains, grazing ranches, and the untenanted land of Ireland were restored to the industry of a sturdy Irish peasantry. Would it not be better for the country, for its social,' industrial, and commercial prosperity, that, instead of having vast areas roamed over by oxen and sheep, that these should be parcelled out into economic holdings and distributed amongst the labourers who were now so steadily leaving the shores of Ireland and taking to other lands that energy, that labour, and those powers which should be devoted to the reconstruction and regeneration of their own country? That was a phase of the Irish question which must be seriously considered in the near future if the native labouring population was not to dwindle to vanishing point. The land which was now given over to the rearing of bullocks to feed the British beefeaters must be restored to the industry of the people, and it was in than only would be found the final solution of the agrarian problem in Ireland. Farmers everywhere were complaining of the scarcity of labour and of the fact that they could not carry out their agricultural operations or get full value out of their land owing to this scarcity. But few farmers had constant employment for labouring hands, and when labourers could now get to America for a few pounds it was not in human nature that they would remain in Ireland on the chance of earning a precarious livelihood for five or six months of the year. Sir Horace Plunkett's panaceas would not 1137 keep a single labourer in the country. The only means by which that could be effected was by housing them properly, giving them reasonable allotments of land according to the varying necessities of different localities, and by finding for them remunerative outlets for their labour.
Speaking recently in the South of Ireland, the Lord-Lieutenant sympathetically referred to the emigration and pointed out how essential it was, even from a British standpoint, to devise some means of keeping the people in the country. Here and in that Bill was the opportunity for taking a great step forward towards keeping the people at home. His Excellency recognised that the people of any nation were its greatest asset. That was commonplace truth, but why, then, did not the Government bring in some statesmanlike measure which would achieve that, and not be paltering with a great question by petty, tinkering proposals unworthy of anyone claiming a title to statesmanship? He found from emigration statistics for the year 1903, that of the 39,789 natives of Ireland who left the country no less than 12,892 males were returned as labourers and 1,174 as artisans, whilst over 15,000 female servants emigrated. Those figures were startling as showing that it was mainly from the working classes the emigrant ship was filled. That showed that the labour problem and the population were inseparable—were really one and the same. If they solved the one they settled the other. In Ireland they had hoped, as far as they could hope for anything great from a British Ministry, that the present Bill, if not offering a complete solution, would at least do something seriously in the direction of grappling with the great social problem which existed in Ireland. But it was disappointing, it was almost worthless, and it was another scandal of Irish misgovernment and of British neglect of Irish necessities. In Ireland they had no great manufactures to keep the Irish people in the country and to give them employment. The land was the sole source of employment, and surely it was incontestable that if the land of Ireland was properly distributed and its productiveness utilised it could maintain in comfort and contentment at least double 1138 the present population. It had done so before and could do so again. When the Land Purchase Bill was before the House last year the Chief Secretary postponed the labourers' claims with fair assurances and smooth promises, and now look at what they had got—where they expected bread they had been given a stone. What answer had the Chief Secretary to make for himself and how could he excuse this shameless breach of faith. What was in the present Act that they were to be grateful for? Little—very little—so little that he wondered the right hon. Gentleman went to all the sham display of instituting special inquiries and of drafting its provisions at all. If this was all they were to get why did he not leave them to fight out this issue on the Land Bill and let them take their chance of forcing what concessions they could from the Government.
Doubtless other Members would analyse the clauses in detail and there was only one that he would now refer to, and that was Clause 15 which disqualified for election to a district council any person who was a tenant of a labourer's cottage. That was a most preposterous proposition and one to which the Irish Party could under no circumstances commit itself. It must be removed from the Bill. It was an insult to the Irish labourer and it was not in harmony with the spirit of the times. There were many reasons why the Irish labourer should at least receive fair and liberal treatment from the Government, if not full justice. His scale of life was far below that of the English and Scotch workers. His surroundings were of the most abject description, his life was one of constant toil and of constant struggle. His family were ill - fed and worse clad. He knew no home joys in any real sense. How could he know them kennelled as he was in dwellings which should not be even pig-styes and dragging out an existence on a wage which was no better, if as good, as that given to the Kaffir in the compounds of South Africa. They wanted to bring some light and sunshine into the homes of these poor people who tasted so little of the joys of life, and when they knocked at the door of Westminster, craving for some crumbs of comfort, they were told 1139 contemptuously to go about their business, that there was nothing for them, that bloated "Bung" had to be cared for first, and that the millionaire of Park Lane was very poorly off indeed because his dividends were not multiplying with sufficient rapidity. The labourers of Ireland knocked mildly now, but the time might come, and that sooner than was thought, when their knock would be neither timorous nor one that could be put off by soft promises and soothing accents.
They had tabled a series of Amendments in which they put forth their demands. He submitted that they were not extravagant and would do nothing to fundamentally disturb the existing social order. They were based on bed-rock principles of justice, and if they were conceded they would go a great way towards bringing peace, prosperity, and contentment to all classes in the country. At least they claimed for these Amendments, and this Bill, the right of a fair discussion in this House when they could more fully put their views before hon. Members. There was one class of men whom he would wish to bring by right within the four corners of this Bill. They were the fishermen. Replying to a Question of his on the 10th May, the light hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary replied—A fisherman to be eligible for a cottage must come within the definition of the term ' agricultural labourer' prescribed by Section 4 of the Labourers Act, 1886, as amended by Section 93 of the Irish Land Act of 1903. It is not proposed to extend the definition so as to entitle fishermen, as such, to the benefits of the Labourers Acts.He strongly made the claim that fishermen should by reason of their avocation have the right to apply for a cottage. He knew their difficulties and the necessity for this demand, and he hoped it would be conceded. In conclusion he had to thank the House for its kind indulgence and to say that the Bill could be made a reasonably good one if there was any desire on the part of the Government to treat the question fairly. If not, he promised the Chief Secretary that when next they demanded a measure of legislation on this subject it would not be to his charity or good will they should appeal. They should be in the position to dictate the terms of a just settlement of this great question 1140 which so much concerned the lives and happiness of the poorest classes in Ireland.
§ MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid)
said he thought it was evident to the House that in its present form this Bill did not satisfy anyone outside the ranks of the Government, and he hoped it did not fully satisfy even the members-of the Government, and that his right, hon. friend would endeavour to persuade the Government to consent to Amendment of the measure in such a way as to meet the very serious objections which had been brought against the Bill. In the first place, he found a strong feeling existed among those who would be called upon to administer the Bill when passed that the machinery it provided, was too complicated and too costly. He had received resolutions passed by county councils and district councils, and they all agreed in the opinion that unless something were done to simplify the-procedure very little good would be accomplished by the Bill. The compulsory acquisition of land, which was the first essential in the provision of labourers' cottages, was hedged about by too many precautions. First, there was-to be an inquiry by the county council; then there might be an appeal from the county council to the Local Government Board. The Local Government Boards in that case, were bound to hold a second inquiry. In addition to that there was an appeal to a Judge of assize. All this meant delay and enormous expense. He thought they should be able to simplify procedure to a very appreciable extent. The appeal to the Judge, he thought must be retained. That was especially, needed for the protection of the scattered Unionists in the South and West of Ireland. Hon. Members opposite advocated the abolition of any appeal beyond the county council; but he was speaking the opinion of his friends from Ulster when he said that they could not consent to the right of appeal being swept away altogether. Events had shown, even in recent times, that the Unionist minority in Ireland could not always get that full consideration -and fair play from their Nationalist fellow-countrymen which they thought they were justified in expecting-There was only too much reason to fear 1141 that if there was no appeal beyond the county council, cases of hardship would arise, owing to the councils so arranging their cottage schemes as to favour their political friends at the expense, probably, of those whose religion or politics might be objectionable to them. Such attempts had been made, and therefore he submitted that it was necessary to retain the means of preventing any such abuse of the powers of local government in the future. This protection had been afforded in the past by the Local Government Board, but there had been the additional security of an appeal to the Privy Council. Now it was proposed to substitute an appeal to a Judge for the appeal to the Privy Council, and he trusted the Government would resist all attempts to remove this safeguard from the Bill. At the same time, he believed they would do well to consider whether the intermediate appeal to the Local Government Board, with the contingent local inquiry, might not be dispensed with, in order to simplify the procedure under the Bill.
He believed also that the Bill should be modified in respect of the power it gave to the Local Government Board to force the district councils to take action. He found that Clauses 11 and 12 were looked upon with considerable misgivings by the district councils, and he could not help thinking that they were far too drastic in character. By Clause 11 the district councils were almost entirely ignored in the settlement of schemes for the accommodation of labourers under Section 96 of the Land Purchase Act of last year. These schemes were to be framed by the Land Commission in conjunction with the Local Government Board. But although the district councils might have nothing to say in the arrangement of the details of the schemes, those councils would have to carry them into effect and meet all the expenses they might entail. Clause 12 went even further. It provided that where rural district councils had failed to put the Labourers Act into operation, the Local Government Board might appoint an officer and confer upon him all the powers of a district council under the Act, and his expenses and remuneration, to be fixed by the Local Government Board, were to be paid by the district council. 1142 He did not think such extreme provisions as those, which involved a serious interference with the right of self-government, were either necessary or desirable. He quite admitted that in some cases district councils had shown a disinclination to put into operation the powers conferred upon them by the existing Labourers Acts. It was no doubt necessary to apply some sort of stimulus to these bodies; but the Government had, he thought, applied the lash with undue severity. He thought it should be recognised that in many cases district councils had not moved because the-labourers in their district had not called upon them to do so. In the county of Armagh, for example, although the Act had been in force for over twenty years, the Armagh Rural District Council up to June, 1901, had not received a single application from a labourer for a cottage In 1901 one solitary application was received. In the next year there were five; in 1903 there were thirteen, and in the present year there had been fifty-five, and in consequence the council was-now formulating a scheme for building as many cottages as might be necessary. He thoroughly approved of Clause 2, by which it was enacted that an improvement scheme might be carried out without waiting for any representation on the part of labourers. In effect that clause placed upon district councils the positive-duty of seeing that the labourers in their area were properly housed, and he had little doubt that if the procedure were simplified and cheapened the district councils would rise to a sense of their duty in this matter, and there would be less cause to complain of their inactivity in future.
The great blot on the Bill was Clause 13, which proposed to introduce a new system for the distribution of the Exchequer contribution; and he warned the Chief Secretary that his proposals under that head would receive the most strenuous opposition from the Unionist Members for Ireland. What was proposed was neither more nor less than sheer robbery of Ulster. The contribution from the Exchequer towards the provision of labourers' cottages had hitherto been divided among the Irish counties in the same proportion as the Irish probate duty grant. For the year 1143 1904 the amount of the contribution was £32,049, of which the counties in Ulster received £11,922, or more than one-third of the amount. The Bill proposed to make a sweeping change in the future allocation of this money. The grant was to be distributed to the rural districts in proportion to the number of cottages provided under the Labourers Acts in the several rural districts. That would mean that Ulster, instead of receiving £11,922 for the provision of labourers' cottages, would get only a paltry sum of £2,030; in other words, the contribution to Ulster would be cut down from one-third to one-seventeenth. In the county Armagh last year the Exchequer contribution was £877; under the scheme of the Bill it would be less than £50. In contrast with this might be placed the county Limerick, which, under the new arrangement, would have its Exchequer contribution increased from £1,551 to £5,036. What possible justification could there be for such a monstrous and iniquitous proposal? If it was intended to punish in this way the local bodies who had been slow in carrying out the Labourers Acts, the proposal was grotesquely unfair and exceedingly ill-timed. It was unfair to the labourers of Ulster, who were chiefly concerned and would suffer most. If district councils had been slow to build when they had £12,000 a year coming in to help them, they could not be expected to be more ready to build when the Exchequer contribution had been cut down to £2,000. The proposal was strangely ill-timed, inasmuch as the district councils in the North of Ireland were just begining to provide labourers' cottages. If the new scheme of distribution was carried into effect the difficulties in the way of gratifying the desires of the Ulster labourers for cottages would be immensely increased. With this clause in it the Bill might rightly be called "a Bill to discourage the provision of labourers' cottages in Ulster." Taxation in rural districts was very heavy and was on the increase, and when this fact was coupled with the depression in agriculture it would be recognised that the proposal of this clause would place the district councils in Ulster in a very difficult position. How could they be expected to incur the serious responsibilities entailed by the adoption 1144 of the Labourers Acts within their area when the assistance from the Exchequer was to be so ruthlessly cut down? The proposal was so grossly unjust that the Ulster representatives felt bound to protest against it in the strongest possible way, and unless they had an assurance that the Government would remove the clause from the Bill the Chief Secretary could not expect to receive from them any assistance in getting the measure through the House.
On the question of whether a labourer should be allowed to purchase his cottage and allotment, he held the view that the labourer who did not tie himself to one spot by purchasing his house had a decided advantage in being able to remove himself to any place where he could more profitably dispose of his labour. Still he did not think that any man should be debarrd from becoming the owner of his house if he desired to do so. Therefore, he thought the Bill should give facilities to labourers to acquire their cottages on easy terms. He hoped the Chief Secretary, who he still believed had some regard for his supporters in Ulster, would be able to meet their objections to certain provisions in the Bill, and that they would be able to pass the measure in such a form that it would help forward the movement for providing decent dwellings for the labourers of Ireland.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
said he had always thought there was something in the nature of a sham about the opposition of the Ulster Members to this Bill, and their criticisms upon Clause 13 had confirmed him in that view. In many respects the Bill did not come up to the expectations that had been formed, but if there was one clause in the measure of which he approved it was Clause 13. The hon. Member for North Antrim had read out the amounts received by each county from the Exchequer contributions, and had seemed to convey the impression that in some way the Government had a discretion in virtue of which they could manipulate the proportion to be given to Ulster and the other parts of Ireland. As a matter of fact the proportions were settled by the Land Act of 1891, passed by a 1145 Unionist Government, and hitherto acquiesced in as correct by the Unionist Members. How any injustice could be done to Ulster under the clause he failed to understand. It simply provided that wherever public bodies did not make use of their powers they should suffer by not having the enjoyment of this money at the end of the year. The mere insertion of the clause had done good, in that it had aroused Armagh and stirred up Antrim. He hoped the proposal would be retained in the Bill, as it would be a valuable inducement to the ratepayers of Ireland to put the Labourers Acts into operation. The charge of robbing Ulster had a very poor foundation if it had no other basis than this clause. As he had said, however, the Bill did not come up to the expectations which had been aroused by the Chief Secretary's speeches on the subject. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he seriously thought this Bill would supply the more powerful inducement to stimulate the enforcement of the Labourers Acts which he himself had declared to be necessary. What was wanted was some scheme to prevent any undue burden being cast upon the ratepayers by the Acts being put into force, and that could only be done by decreasing the expenses attendant upon the operation of the Acts. Those expenses were really very serious. The cost of inquiries might, in his opinion, be lessened, but this Bill would increase them. The cost of making title was another serious item. He had known cases where sums of £20 or £30 had had to be Iodized in Court because title could not be made, and the cost of taking the money out of Court had boon three or four times the amount lodged. There was nothing in this Bill to remedy that flaw in the administration of the present Acts. The costs of arbitrations also were very serious. Every owner, occupier, or possessor of interest concerned, could get legal expenses from the district council, and the whole thing totted up to a considerable amount and formed a large proportion of the total cost of the, scheme. The Bill did nothing whatever to prevent these expenses. There were many ways by which the expenses could be lessened; men would be deterred from insisting upon having their claims to 1146 compensation investigated if certain penalties awaited them. The Irish Party had considered the matter carefully, and were prepared to put forward reasonable propositions which the right hon. Gentleman would have to give substantial reasons for rejecting.
Without unduly occupying the time of the House, there was one other matter to which he might refer. The advances of money for the working of the Labourers Acts were supplied out of the Local Loans Fund, the working of which was regulated by the Public Works Loans Act, 1897. He had investigated the matter carefully, and, as far as he could understand, the Government had actually been making a profit out of these loans. If he was right in that, he thought it was a serious reproach to the Government. A sacrifice rather than a profit ought to be made for the purpose of housing the poor. From motives of general expediency, the State was bound to see that the housing of the working population was carried out properly, and, if necessary, at the expense of the nation. In the present case, however, it was not necessary to go so far as that. There would be no difficulty whatever in making the funds raised under the Land Act of 1903 available for the housing of the labourers, and, after all, a very large sum was not required. Under the Act of 1903 it was possible to raise any amount of money required for the purchase of Irish land. Why were not the labourers of Ireland entitled to the advantage of the cheap rates provided by the Act of 1903 as well as any others connected with the agricultural population. [An HON. MEMBER: They are more entitled to it.] This would be a solution which would present no difficulty. It could not be said that any Department had been wronged because this country could not suffer by such an arrangement. The Government were pledged—and he had no doubt they would redeem the pledge—to save out of the Irish Estimates as much as would pay for the whole of this expense. It could not be supposed that the finances of the Irish Land Act would be deranged by applying a few millions to the workers of Ireland. He could not express his own opinion too strongly that some step was necessary in 1147 the public interest, not only for the purpose of putting into speedier and more effective operation the Labourers Acts, but to put a stop to emigration. He thought a better step could not be taken towards stopping the emigration of the labourers of Ireland than by giving them some inducement to remain in their native country. The best inducement that could be offered to any Irishman was to give him some interest in the soil which would keep him at home and enable him at the same time to maintain his family in comfort and educate his children. For the double purpose of carrying out the Labourers Acts, and stopping emigration, he begged the Government to take a larger view of this matter than was expressed in the Bill. He believed if they did so, they would have taken even a greater step than by the Land Act of 1903 in saving the situation in Ireland.
§ ME. SEYMOUR ORMSBY-GORE (Lincolnshire, Gainsborough)
said the question of keeping the labourers on the land was one which deeply concerned not only Ireland but also this country, though, perhaps,it more nearly concerned Ireland. Having lived the first part of his life in Ireland he could readily appreciate the anxiety shown by hon. Members from Ireland on this subject. He thought himself that this question had been scamped. He was perfectly aware that the Chief Secretary had a good deal of sympathy with the Irish people, but, at any rate, on this occasion he had not acted up to his former record. The right hon. Gentleman prided himself on his Geraldine blood. It appeared to him that his Geraldine blood had been running in the past in a popular direction, but on this occasion, he feared, it was running in a back stream. There were one or two great defects in this Bill and he thought one of them was with respect to the question of proving title. There never was anything more illusory than the facilities given in the Land Bill in regard to proving title. They could not get round the legal profession. When the Land Act was passed there was a suggestion as to the agents being allowed to do some of the work in connection with the proving of title, but the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland stepped in and served notices prohibiting 1148 them from interfering with one of their own prerogatives. He did not think that title would be more easily or more cheaply proved under the provisions of this Bill, and there would be just as much difficulty as before in obtaining land for the labourers as had been encountered under the Land Act. The new procedure for dealing with appeals provided by the Bill would be no cheaper than the present system and he doubted whether it would be quicker. He suggested that provision should be made by the Bill for a special assize in order to deal with appeals as quickly as possible. That would have been a far more satisfactory method of dealing with the question. The definition: in the Bill of "Agricultural Labourer" was, to his mind, very unsatisfactory. Anybody might be able to call himself an agricultural labourer and acquire a house under this Bill. A very unsatisfactory clause in the Bill was that dealing with temporary letting by local bodies. When a house was wanted for a labourer there might be a great deal of difficulty in getting rid of the temporary tenant. He thought the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Antrim a sensible one, namely, that there should be an inspector to look into questions as to whether or not there ought to be cottages in particular localities.
§ MR. VINCENT KENNEDY (Cavan, W.)
said he was in favour of the acquisition by the labourer of the fee of his holding, and he unhesitatingly said that one of the best uses to which State aid could be given would be to assist in this. He approved of the suggestion as to the appointment of an inspector to protect the interests of the labourer. With regard to the apportionment of the land he thought that where work was plentiful perhaps an acre might be sufficient, but he knew places where for nine months of the year there was practically nothing to be done, and in these cases he would suggest that the allotment should be three acres. To say that the procedure under this Bill was cumbersome was to put the matter mildly. In his opinion the County Courts could deal with the whole matter expeditiously and inexpensively. The county councils at present had ample work to occupy their time without undertaking this further duty. The attempt to rush 1149 this Bill through the Second Reading on a Friday afternoon was, in his opinion, not well advised. After all, what was the use of the Land Acts and all the other Acts if the labourers were not properly provided for? He would impress on the Government that they should cautiously consider the question of the Irish labourers.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said he understood when the Land Bill was under debate last year that this year a large and comprehensive measure dealing with the labourers' question would be introduced. He did not think such a description would apply to the present measure. A Labourers Bill ought to have one great object, namely, to keep the labouring population of Ireland in Ireland. They could not, with the inducements held out by foreign countries and with facilities for travel, make an Irishman remain in Ireland unless he could live a comfortable life. It was said that those who supported the case of the labourers were animated by very low motives. Personally he did not care what was said about his motive by hon. Members opposite. For years past, he had said in this House that the labourers' question was of vast importance to Ireland. He had always cordially supported any Bill which furthered the interests of the labourers. He knew something about the Irish labourer. He admitted that there was a very great difference between the English and the Irish labourer. The Irish labourer was infinitely more intelligent, and quite as hard-working as the English labourer. The Irish labourer was as a rule better educated than the English labourer. He did not confine his thoughts simply to local matters. On the contrary ho was generally an intelligent politician. Imperial matters occupied his thoughts. In his constituency they were a highly intelligent set of men. This Bill was to him a cruel disappointment. There was one great necessity in any Bill of this kind, and in this case that necessity was minus. If the Chief Secretary had plenty of money and would come to the House supported by the Chancellor of the Exchequer he would have no difficulty in satisfying them. They spent a good deal of money to help the tenants, who were a deserving class, a considerable amount to help the landlords, who were a very deserving class, and now it was proposed to satisfy the Irish labourer. He had 1150 hoped that the Bill would be of a generous character. He supposed that on both sides of the House the Irish labourers were considered to be a deserving class. They were hard-working and industrious, badly paid, badly housed, and badly fed, When a labourer came out of his miserable house he did much hard and useful work. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: That is not what Plunkett says about him.] He did not care what anybody said about the Irish labourer. That was his personal experience.
How did his right hon. friend propose to get the money? He did not intend to follow his hon. friend the Member for North Antrim, whose speech, he thought, was one of the ablest and most lucid he had heard while in the House of Commons. The Bill proposed to get money under Clause 13—that was the gold mine. But in his opinion that was a most nefarious way of getting money. It was proposed to take away from those counties that had not used it the money that had been allocated to them for building cottages and providing allotments. He could not support a Bill having such a clause. He could not accept it as a settlement of this question. It was not a generous or comprehensive measure which would finally settle the question as they had been promised. When he returned to Ireland on 12th July he would probably be asked whether the Bill fulfilled the pledges made by the Government. He could not say that it did. He looked in it in vain for the generosity promised and for its simplicity, in vain for anything that would satisfy the Irish labourer and do justice to him. So far as the Irish labourer was concerned the Bill was an absolute delusion. Imagine establishing a title for a half acre of land! It would cost as much as establishing a title to a thousand acres. Any ordinarily intelligent Irish labourer would scout the idea that this Bill would satisfy what he believed to be a necessity for his continuing to live in Ireland. Therefore, as it stood, it was practically useless as a settlement of a question which he desired to see settled. If the Chief Secretary was desirous of leaving behind him in Ireland a happy memory, he could not do better than force into the minds of 1151 his colleagues in the Cabinet, and especially the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that no British money could be better laid out than in securing to Ireland in future that which Ireland had not got now—a labouring class comfortably clothed, well fed, and well housed. The establishment of a labouring class living under those circumstances would do a great deal, he believed, to establish peace and prosperity in Ireland.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said he intervened at this point, because he thought it was only right that time should be left for hon. Gentlemen to deal with his arguments. They had heard so much about Clause 13 that he expected the remainder of the time at their disposal would be taken up in its discussion. The Exchequer contribution was distributed among the counties of Ireland in pursuance of the Land Act of 1891, and the proportion in which it was distributed was based upon the amount of money spent in those counties in one specified area upon roads. Could there be a more accidental test for the distribution of money for providing cottages throughout Ireland? It had no bearing whatever on the needs of the labourers. He did not make any complaint that before he had had an opportunity of speaking some of his hon. friends from Ulster had looked somewhat askance at this clause. Originally they assumed that the past balances would be taken away from those counties. The Bill made it perfectly clear that every sovereign standing to the credit of any county would still stand to its credit.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said Ulster would come uncommonly well out of this. Antrim had £10,000; Armagh, £5,000; Down, £14,000, and Fermanagh, £1,800. As a matter of fact, Ulster retained a very handsome endowment. He was very glad of that and he trusted it would be used as had been suggested by the hon. and learned Member. Coming to the future effect of this clause, if the charge of unfairness could be levelled against the Bill in respect of any part of Ireland, it could be levelled, he thought, with respect to certain counties in the West of Ireland with far more justice than with respect to Ulster. His hon. friends 1152 the Members for Antrim, Mid-Armagh, and others, had said that there ought to-be more labourers' cottages in the constituencies they represented. If that was the case, there had been default on the part of the district councils. All they had got to do was to build those cottages, and at once they would alter the proportion in their own favour. Let them contrast that with the position of Galway and more especially Mayo. In Galway there were eighteen cottages-at the present time and none in Mayo. That was not because the authorities had been remiss, but because Mayo was populated by a number of small holders who did not employ labourers. Therefore Mayo would lose under this clause, and he reconciled that to his conscience on the ground that in other points Mayo had not done so badly. If this clause acted unfairly at all, it acted unfairly against Galway, Donegal, Mayo, and Sligo, and not against Antrim, Down, Fermanagh, and Armagh. In Donegal there were seventy-one, in Sligo twenty-two, in Armagh twenty-four, in Down ten, in Fermanagh twenty-three, and he could not imagine that there would be any large increase in the cottages in these counties. If that were true what was wanted was to give some inducement to the local bodies to adopt the Bill After all, this money was for one purpose, the building of labourers' cottages. If it was not wanted for that in one county it should go to a county where it was wanted. He was addressing a House in which there were now some representatives of English constituencies, and might he not submit that it was rather a strong order to ask the House to vote additional money from the taxpayers at large and to give additional credit facilities for this purpose, when money allocated for that purpose was not being used? In the future, when our credit was in a better state, some other purpose in Ireland might deserve to be considered by this House, and let each be judged on its own merits, but do not ask the Government to vote further sums of money for labourers' cottages when there were sums of money now available for that purpose. No Chancellor of the Exchequer would listen to such a proposal. He did not know whether he had made any impression on 1153 his hon. friends by that argument. There was no county which would build more than 500 cottages. [An HON. MEMBER on the IRISH Benches: 3,500.] But if 500 were built in each year there would be 3,500 built in six or seven years. If the constituents of his hon. friends did not wish to have the cottages why should the money be indefinitely hung up for other purposes? That was the only result that would or could be effected.
§ SIR JAMES HASLETT (Belfast, N.)
said that suppose a county had £8,000 of unused money and began now to build cottages to any considerable extent, and was entitled to £1,000, £2,000, or £3,000, would that county have to work tip the balance of the unused money before it could overtake the Parliamentary grant year by year.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said that his answer to that was no. The balance was there to spend on whatever purpose the county chose—say on roads. He thought that was a fair arrangement.
He now came to the main charge against the Bill. The real gravamen of the criticism that afternoon was, he thought, to be found in the complaint that the finance of the Bill was inadequate and that, in respect of title, nothing had been done. Was it possible to place the Labourers Acts of Ireland on the same financial basis as the Land Acts? Under the Land Acts a new stock was created at 2¾ per cent. It was even now at a premium, giving 3 per cent, to those who advanced the money. Three per cent. was the interest on local loan stock, How was the balance rectified? By a charge in respect of notation, which fell on the Development Grant, and that was an Irish resource. Therefore, if a similar financial operation was applied in respect of the Labourers Acts they would have to put another charge on the Development Grant or come to the House and ask for a grant to make up for the difference between the face valued and the actual value of the stock. That was not all. The Land Acts provided a bonus, which had to be added to bridge the gap between what the tenant would give and what the landlord would accept. And the gap in respect of labourers' cottages 1154 was even a bigger gap. Cottages could not be built on an economic basis. The labourers' rent could not repay the loan borrowed by the local authority, and therefore to finance the Labourers Acts on the same basis as the Land Acts they would require an unknown sum to make up the difference between the rent the labourer paid and the interest and sinking fund on the loan obtained by the local authority. A suspicion had been expressed that the Government had been in the past or was now making money out of local loan stock. That was wrong. He could assure the House that an issue of local loan stock some months ago was very unsuccessful, and it was quite impossible in future that that stock could be floated with advantageous results. The Labourers Acts were not by any means the only operations which were financed out of local loan stock. Many other Acts in operation in Ireland, Scotland, and England were all based on this local loan stock. That, surely, had an important bearing on this question. In Ireland last year £861,708 was advanced for various purposes—all based on the local loan stock. The total advanced in Ireland was £59,000,000. In England last year £5,000,000 was advanced and the total amount reached £91,000,000. In England, Scotland, and the Colonies the sum advanced last year was £6,647,000 and the total advances to £176,976,000. Was it would be successful if he asked in respect of one operation based on this stock that exceptional terms should be given when the condition of the market did not warrant it? Therefore it was no use to develop arguments at the present moment in favour of giving a wider and more favourable basis to the Labourers Acts.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said that the money was got out of the public by promising them 3 per cent, for every £100 they advanced. All loans which were advanced by the Board of Works had to be paid for by the issue of 3 per cent. Local Loan Stock.
§ MR. CLANCY
The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that the annuity of the sinking fund and the interest amounts to 41.2 per cent.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said that the amount of the annuity varied in accordance with the terms and the period of repayment, and these terms were arranged with different persons and corporations in England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Colonies. In Scotland the loans were advanced for thirty different objects, and in Ireland for sixty-eight different objects, so that Ireland was getting a good deal of credit under the Local Loans Act. England and Wales had outstanding balances in respect of loans to the amount of £41,000,000, Scotland to the amount of £1,400,000, and Ireland £17,000,000. It was due to the House thus to explain why the Bill was and must be of a disappointing character in respect of its financial basis. Not only was it impossible in existing circumstances to get a better financial basis, but relatively he doubted whether it would be right to give exceptionally favourable treatment to the labourers as compared with other classes in Ireland.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said there was another class equally poor, the Irish in the towns. The outstanding debt in the rural districts was equal to 3s. 11d. per head, while it was in the urban districts 21s. 3d. per head. If that was the case it was beyond the bounds of possibility to advance money in the rural districts on better terms for labourers' cottages.
Complaint was made that the Bill did nothing in respect to title. That was a very thorny subject, as had been admitted by several speakers. If one acre of land was bought for a labourer's cottage the title must be proved at perhaps as much cost as if a whole property of 15,000 acres was being bought. But if a man's property was being taken by compulsion he could not be expected to pay the bill. The locality must pay, and this would lead to a heavy charge. He was prepared, before going into Committee, to consider whether some alleviation of this difficulty could be found; but 1156 any large attempt to deal with title would be importing into the Labourers Acts a reform of land transfer, and that was outside the bounds of possibility. He denied, however, that the Bill was a useless Bill. If it passed into law, the Irish Executive were ready at once to carry out reforms of an administrative character on which they had already made up their minds, and throughout Ireland at once to institute some kind of inspection to see what the real needs of the districts were, and where these needs were great and no effort had been made in the locality to meet them, Clause 12, empowering the Local Government Board to appoint officers on default of district councils, would come into operation. By Clause 18 the Local Government Board might make general rules for carrying the Labourers Acts into effect and those rules might, among other things, fix the amount of any fees, and might provide for the taxation and payment of any costs to be received, allowed, or paid in relation to the confirmation of improvement schemes. Under the wide administrative powers embodied in those two clauses they would be able to do a good deal towards solving this great problem in Ireland. The normal condition of things in Ireland was that the local bodies desired to build labourers' cottages. Where this was the case the Bill would reduce the expenditure enormously and accelerate their operations, and where there was obstruction Clause 12 would be applied. And there were provisions in Clauses 4 and 5 which would deal with any case where the rights of any individual were likely to be invaded.
Some exception had been taken to making use of the county councils, but this House had by a unanimous Resolution in 1894 invited the Government to legislate on the lines followed in this Bill. In England where the county councils acted they had done the work very well without putting any great strain upon the members of these councils. Under this Bill the Irish county councils could act through a standing committee, or by commissioners who would visit particular districts, or by delegating inquiry to the members who happened to live in the district. If any wrong should be done to any individual, there was an appeal to the Local Government Board, which, however, he did not think would be frequently exercised. 1157 Let him ask the House to reflect that whereas in the past an appeal was general, the appeal in this Bill was on the one narrow issue that somebody's amenities or rights had been injuriously affected. He did not think there would be many such appeals. The county councils would not, through negligence—he would not suggest that they would through animosity—allow any person to be divested of private rights. The county councils would see fair play between different districts, and there would be an appeal to the Local Government Board on the administrative aspects of the scheme.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said that that was a Committee point, but he believed that the clause was only carrying out the law which applied to the United Kingdom generally. He was quite prepared to discuss the matter in Committee, although he did not wish to be taken as giving any undertaking to withdraw the clause. He did not wish to sail under false colours in the matter. He rose mainly to make a few businesslike observations upon the reasons why they could not expect to have a better financial basis to the Bill. He hoped they might he able to cheapen expenditure in respect of title, and he had shown that, on the whole, the proposed redistribution of the money was fair, and if it was unfair at all it was against some of the western counties, and certainly not as against counties in Ulster.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said that his only object in rising was to make perfectly plain what was the attitude of the Irish Party on this question. They shared to the full the disappointment which had been expressed so forcibly on the other side of the House with reference to the provisions in this Bill. Last year they were promised in the most specific manner that if they allowed the consideration of the labourers' question to be dropped out of the Land Bill the question would be dealt with in a comprehensive and sympathatic way this year, and they got a further promise; 1158 because the right hon. Gentleman, in answer to a Question addressed to him from the Irish Benches, said that not only would he introduce a Bill dealing with agricultural labourers this session, but that he would also introduce a Bill dealing with artisans and labourers in towns. That was a specific pledge, but that pledge had been thrown absolutely to the winds. The light hon. Gentleman had not introduced any such Bill and did not propose to do so. The Bill which he had introduced, relating to agricultural labourers, was one which not one of them considered was a fulfilment of the pledges he gave. They shared to the full in the criticism which they had heard from the other side on the value of the Bill as it stood. They had to consider what their duty was with reference to the labourers and with reference to this Bill. He noticed with some interest that although two hon. Gentlemen on the other side most valiantly put down on the Paper notices of opposition to the Bill neither of them had moved his Motion for rejection.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said that if the hon. Gentleman was going to move, that brought the matter to a point, and if he did move his Motion the Irish Party would vote against it, not that they were satisfied with the Bill, but that they would not take the risk or the responsibility of destroying the possibility of amending the Bill in Committee and of turning it into a measure which would be of use to Ireland. When the Bill had passed through Committee it was quite possible that it might be of such a shape that none of them would take the responsibility of supporting or voting for it. Possibly they might be forced to vote against it, but they would not at this stage take the responsibility of destroying the hope of effectively amending it in Committee. Therefore, on this ground, if the hon. Gentleman did move his Motion, the Irish Party, dissatisfied though they were with the Bill as it stood, would vote against the hon. Member and in favour of the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ ME. GORDON (Londonderry, S.)
expressed his disappointment with the Bill. He found that it would not be for the benefit of the Irish labourer. What was wanted was simpler and more expeditious machinery and also a provision by which money could be got at a cheaper rate. The Bill met neither of these requirements. It seemed to substitute one set of cumbrous machinery for another. They might use different names, but there would be the same delays and quite as great an aggregate expenditure. As to petitioning the Local Government Board, it was proposed that after everything had been done by the district councils and county councils there should be the exact inquiry they had at present, with all its delays and expense, so that they would be no better off than they were at present. There was no simplification of procedure which made it worth while to introduce the measure. There was not the smallest chance of getting a scheme through more expeditiously than there was at present. There was an utter absence of any provision to get money at a cheaper rate. The rates at which money was lent for thirty-five or forty years for these building schemes was something like £4 16s. and the result was that a cottage which cost £150 took something like £7 a year to pay for it, and the rent that could be collected from it was £2 10s. or £2 12s. Why could not the money be granted on the same terms as those of the Land Act of 1903? If the period of repayment was extended the payments could be made £3 12s. 6d. instead of £4 16s. It would make a serious difference in working out an Act of this kind. The clause dealing with the power of the Local Government Board was enacted already under the Act of 1891. As to Clause 18, relating to model schemes, if an Act of Parliament was to be brought in to enable someone to draw up a model scheme, the time of the House would be very badly spent in considering such a trifle. Surely the Local Government Board could do that without the aid of an Act of Parliament.
The Chief Secretary had tried to explain Clause 13. That clause meant 1160 that the eleven counties of the thirty-two which had funds to their credit and were not spending what they were entitled to, would have those funds divided in proportion to the cottages built. His view was that this clause should be modified so as to apply to cottages to be built in the future. He wanted to see something put in the Bill which would help district and rural councils to do something in the future. At present the clause would work very unfairly to certain counties in the North of Ireland. Seven of the eleven counties were in the North of Ireland. If the right hon. Gentleman would assure them that the distribution would be as from the 1st January next in proportion of the new cottages built and not those that already existed, he for one would be content. He did not think the arguments of the Chief Secretary in this matter were convincing. If the clause was allowed to go through as it stood, the chief loss would fall upon the counties represented by Unionist Members. What the right hon. Gentleman should do was to consider what could be done in the way of giving money for longer periods at more reasonable rates. The right hon. Gentleman had probably not considered it from that point of view, or he would have probably made some concessions on the point. It would be a very great matter if money could be provided in some cheaper and easier form and a cheaper and more inexpensive mode devised of dealing with all these applications. He would like to see something done, also, to simplify the procedure prescribed by the Act, so that these matters might be got through more rapidly. On the question of time, which had not been raised in this Bill at all, he did not think any great hardship would accrue to any person if, in a case of a tenant of twelve years, they dealt with the tenant in possession unless, of course, there were deposits. He hoped, if the Second Reading passed, something very different from the Bill with which they had been dealing would emerge from the Committee. If it did not, it would be no 1161 satisfaction to Irishmen to say they had discussed the Bill and it would be of very little use to Irish labourers.
§ MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
said if this Bill passed into law in its present shape it would be perfectly useless to the labourers of Ireland, for it did not meet any of the difficulties and objections that arose in connection with the existing law. Most prominent among the objections was the expense attending the erection of these cottages, and the absurdly extravagant proportion that costs bore to the total expenditure. It would hardly be believed by persons who had not seen the figures what the proportion was that the ratepayer bore. In one particular case the cost of working out a simple scheme came to £58 for each cottage. The Attorney-General had taken the trouble to point out how the expenses would be diminished under this Bill, but he had been driven to the conclusion that it involved exactly the same expense. Though the appeal tribunal was to be changed, he saw no prospect of the proceedings being less costly. He was inclined to think that there should be no appeal from the decision of a tribunal commanding public confidence. Another great objection to the existing system was the delay that occurred, extending to four or five years after the approval of a scheme, and meanwhile honest labourers lived in hovels only fit for animals. Much of this delay he attributed to the lethargy of the Local Government Board, and the Bill, which was only a sop to stop the mouths of the labourers, would not remove it. Clause 13 would require careful scrutiny in Committee; it was difficult to say whether as it stood it would have 1162 retrospective action on accumulated funds or apply only from year to year. It would not do in this matter to take the word of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite as to what was intended, because they had had a great object lesson of that on the bonus question in the Land Bill, where the intentions of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary were altogether defeated when cases came to be tried in the Courts at Dublin. Whilst he would not take upon himself the responsibility of voting against the Second Beading, he reserved to himself the fullest possible right to criticise every clause in the Bill, line by line, if necessary, in Committee. He hoped it would now receive a Second Reading, and so make it possible to remedy its miserable condition in Committee.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said that in one sense this had been a remarkable discussion. The Bill had been brought into fulfil a pledge given by the Government, and yet not a single Member on either side of the House had expressed anything like approval of it. The Chief Secretary would not take this as reflecting upon him, but they were getting perilously near the end of the session, and it seemed to him of very little use to road the Bill a second time if they were going into Committee with a contested measure at this time of year. There had been a strong attack upon Clause 13. As far as he understood that clause, it was defensible, but he was not sure that he understood it. Indeed, he was not sure that anybody in the House understood it. But he thought there was one thing quite clear about it; that the accumulated funds now standing to the credit of the different councils in Ireland were not to be affected, and that the counties which built the most cottages 1163 would get the biggest grants. He could not conceive anything more reasonable or fair. He might be wrong, but this seemed to him the only fair way of dealing with the question. That-however, was a matter which would have to be settled in Committee. He did not look at this as an Ulster question, but he thought the Ulster people were to blame for having allowed accumulations. In his own county the accumulations were nil. He reserved to himself the fullest freedom of criticism when the matter came into Committee. He had entered upon the consideration of this Bill with very little hope. He did not think that much could be done for the labourers unless the Bill was wider. The local authority could not provide labourers' cottages if the charges were prohibitive as regarded the proving of the title to the land. The Chief Secretary had removed the difficulty somewhat in his speech, but the remedy was not yet in the Bill. As to the question of loans, they could not avoid comparisons being made between tenant farmers and labourers. The tenant farmer got his money at 2¾ per cent., while the labourer had to pay 3½. They would never convince the Irish labourer that he had not the right to get money as cheaply as the Irish farmer. If the money could be given to the farmer without loss there was no reason why it should not be given to rural districts, where the security was equally good. The cost of proving title must be cheapened and the rate of interest must be lessened.
Very little had been said about the Amendment on the Paper as to conveying the fee simple of his cottage to the labourer. He had thought a great deal about that and at first he was captivated 1164 by the idea. But it was a matter that required thinking out. So far as the agricultural labourer, whose cottage was on the land of the tenant farmer, was concerned, it was an impossibility. A farmer might have to dismiss a labourer, and if that labourer had bought his cottage he could not be dispossessed and the farmer would have to provide a new cottage for his new labourer. The other class of labourers who were not wholly employed in agriculture were differently placed. He was far from saying that it would not be possible with the consent of the rural authority to allow deserving men with a fixed occupation to acquire the fee simple of their cottages. It had its dangers, and they must bear in mind that the mobility of labour was worth a great deal to the labourer. The labourer was not a snail who could carry his house on his back. Instead of benefiting the labourer by allowing him to buy his cottage they might be putting a burden upon his shoulders which would retard his progress. He should like to see an experiment made in this direction. At the present time a cottage was built and an acre of land given as an allotment. Friends of his on the other side would like to see the labourer have three, five, seven, and even ten acres. He was wholly opposed to turning the Irish labourer into the holder of an uneconomic holding, or into a farmer without capital or knowledge. He did not say what exact quantity of land the labourer should have but to attempt to turn him into a farmer would not be good for him. With regard to the proposal of the Chief Secretary to provide model rules under Clause 18 he considered that it would save enormous cost, and he was glad that that was to be taken up. As regarded the Amendments on the Paper, what were the official 1165 Unionist Party going to do? Did they mean business? Or was it a mere demonstration? If they were going to a division they must take the responsibility. For himself he said plainly, although the Bill was a very poor thing at the best, and no realisation of the hope that had been cherished by the Irish labourers and people, he was not prepared to oppose the Second Reading. He wanted an opportunity to put down Amendments in Committee, but he reserved full right of criticism and even of opposing the Bill at a later stage it necessary.
§ MR. O'SHEE (Waterford, W.)
said Members from all parts of Ireland were unanimous in their views on this Bill with the exception of the ominously numbered Clause 13. It was quite clear that the clause did provide that so far as the annual Exchequer contributions were concerned that they should be divided among the various local districts in Ireland in proportion to the loans outstanding for building cottages. That, in his opinion, was a fair arrangement. If the suggestions of hon. Members opposite were adopted the effect would be that places like Newcastle West, county Limerick, where they had taxed themselves to the extent of 1s. in the £, would get no portion of those grants. With reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for South Tyrone as to the size of the allotments which were to be given to the labourers, it was really that question which necessitated this Bill. The discussion on the Land Bill raised this question and gave rise to the suggestion by the Chief Secretary that he should introduce this Bill. When the question of the distribution of the land of Ireland was being discussed it was urged 1166 that the labourers of Ireland had a claim to a share. As a result of that discussion the Chief Secretary stated he would introduce a special Bill to deal with the labourers. He was glad to hear the speech of the hon. Member for North Antrim, with most of whose criticisms he entirely agreed. He agreed that the introduction of the county council in carrying out the Labourers Acts would, instead of facilitating the operation or shortening the procedure, rather tend to complicate matters and make the operation of these Acts more tedious than in the past. On that subject an Amendment would be proposed by the Party to which he belonged to the effect that the functions proposed to be handed over to the county councils should not be handed over to them but to a central board elected through the county councils. No appeal to a Judge of assize should be allowed, but there should be a final appeal to the Local Government Board. By this means all interests would be safeguarded and no new element would be introduced. The labourers of Ireland looked forward with the hope that the Chief Secretary would see his way to enable them to come I in with reference to loans on the same terms as had been granted in connection with the transfer of land to the tenants of Ireland. He himself could not see why, when public opinion in this country was agreed that £100,000,000 of money might be devoted to carrying through sales from the land lords to the tenants of Ireland, some of that fund should not be regarded and used as ready money for the purpose of enabling the Labourers Acts to be effectively carried out. The chief blot in this Bill was the introduction of the county councils into the operations of the Labourers Acts. He hoped steps would be taken 1167 to make it simpler to take land under the Section 13 he knew that the sums now Labourers Acts for labourers' cottages.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
, with the permission of the House, asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary whether he would be willing to reconsider Clause 13 in Committee.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
said he could not see how the Bill could possibly be of the slightest use to labourers in Ireland. The Chief Secretary had said there would be a sweeping inquiry by the Local Government Board if the Bill was allowed to pass into all matters of detail which were in dispute. But the right hon. Gentleman had no need of a Bill to do that, because there were already powers to carry that out. It was stated last year, when the labourers' clauses in the Land Act were being discussed, that the labourers' question would be dealt with in a thorough way, and that the Chief Secretary would devote his time during the autumn to an exhaustive Labourers Bill. But it was almost in the nature of an insult to produce a Bill like this as a settlement of the question. He unhesitatingly said he should vote against it. Last year they laid many points before the Chief Secretary, which they understood he would deal with, but he had dealt with none of them. There was no possibility of the Bill before them becoming of the slightest use. As to
§ Section 13 he knew that the sums now standing to the credit of Ulster counties would not be disturbed if the Bill were passed, but for years to come they would have practically no share in the Exchequer Grant, for, owing to misunderstandings, and a certain unfortunate hostility between the rural district council, and the labouring classes, the Acts had not been administered in Ulster as it was intended they should be. If by this Bill the labourer were deprived of his fair share it would be grossly unfair, and if the rest of the Bill were accepted he should object to it because of Section 13. He had a Motion on the Paper regretting that the Bill did nothing to facilitate or cheapen the transfer of land for the purposes of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts and that no measure would be satisfactory that did not place at the command of a labourer the same facilities for acquiring the ultimate ownership of a house and allotment as had already been afforded to tenant farmers under the Land Purchase Acts. To show the sincerity of his Motion he proposed to move it.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 316; Noes, 27. (Division List No. 174.)1171
|Abraham, William (Cork.N.E.)||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Aubrey-Fletcher.Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Barran, Rowland Hirst|
|Aird, Sir John||Austin, Sir John||Barry, E. (Cork, S.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bailey, James (Walworth)||Barry,Sir Francis T.(Windsor)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bartley, Sir George C. T.|
|Arnold-Forster,Rt.Hn.Hugh O||Balcarres, Lord||Beach,Rt.Hn.Sir MichaelHicks|
|Arrol Sir William|
|Asher, Alexander||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Balfour,Rt HnGerald W.(Leeds||Beckett, Ernest William|
|Boll, Richard||Fenwick, Charles||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Benn, John Williams||Fergusson,Rt.Hn.SirJ.(Manc'r||Lawson, John Grant (YorksN.R|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Ffrench, Peter||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Field, William||Leamy, Edmund|
|Bigwood, James||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lee,ArthurH.(Hants,Fareham|
|Blake, Edward||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fison, Frederick William||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Boland, John||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Fitzroy,Hon. Edward Algernon||Levy, Maurice|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lloyd-George, David|
|Bowles,Lt.-ColH.F.(Middlesex||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Brassey, Albert||Flower, Sir Ernest||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol,S|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Flynn, James Christopher||Lowe, Francis William|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Forster, Henry William||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Foster,Philip S. (Warwick,S.W||Lucas,Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Bull, William James||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Lundon, W.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gardner, Ernest||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Burt, Thomas||Gilhooly, James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Butcher, John George||Gordon,Hn J.E.(Elgin & Nairn||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Caldwell, James||Gore,Hn G.R. C Ormsby-(Salop||M'Hugh, Patrick A.|
|Campbell,Rt.Hn.J.A. (Glasgow||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||M'Iver,Sir Lewis(Edinburgh W.|
|Campbell,J.H.M.(Dublin Univ.||Graham, Henry Robert||M'Kean, John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Greene,SirEW(B'rySt.Edm'nds||M'Killop,James (Stirlingshire|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Greene,HenryD.(Shrewsbury)||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Grenfell, William Henry||Manners, Lord Cecil|
|Cavendish,V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Groves, James Grimble||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gunter, Sir Robert||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hall, Edward Marshall||Milner, Rt Hn. Sir Frederick G.|
|Chamberlain, RtHn. J.A. (Wore.||Hammond, John||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh,N.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hardy,Laurence(Kent, Ashford||Mitchell, William (Burnley)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Charrington, Spencer||Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Mooney, John J.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morton, Arthur H. Alymer|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Hayden, John Patrick||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Heath,James (Staffords. N.W.||Murphy, John|
|Collings, Rt, Hon. Jesse||Helder, Augustus||Murray,RtHn.A.Graham(Bute|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hobhouse,RtHnH (Somers't,E||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hogg, Lindsay||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Crean, Eugene||Hope,J.F. (Sheffield, Brightside)||Nolan,Col.John P.(Galway,N.)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Nolan, Joseph (Louth. South)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Horner, Frederick William||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Houston, Robert Paterson||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Howard, John(Kent, Faversham||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cullinan, J.||Howard, J. (Midd.Tottenham)||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hozier,Hon. James Henry Cecil||O'Connor,James (Wicklow,W.)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Hudson, George Bickersteth||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Delany, William||Hunt, Rowland||O'Doherty, William|
|Devlin, CharlesRamsay(Galway||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Jeffreys,Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||O'Dowd, John|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Kelly,James (Roscommon,N|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||O'Malley, William|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jones,DavidBrynmor(Swansea||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Shee, James John|
|Dorington,Rt.Hon.Sir John E.||Joyce, Michael||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Kennaway,Rt.Hon.Sir John H.||Parker, Sir Gilbert|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Kennedy,Vincent P.(Cavan,W.||Parrott, William|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Percy, Earl|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Dyke,Rt.Hon.Sir William Hart||Kilbride, Denis||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Edwards, Frank||Kimber, Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Knowles, Sir Lees||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lambton,Hon. Frederick Wm.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Law, Hugh Alex.(Donegal,W.)||Rasch, Sir Frederick Carne|
|Reddy, M.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Redmond, JohnE. (Waterford)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Walrond,Rt.Hn.Sir WilliamH.|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Sheehy, David||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Welby,Lt.-Col A.C.E.(Taunton|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Ridley,S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Smith,James Parker(Lanarks.)||Whiteley,H.(Ashton und.Lyne|
|Ritchie,Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Spear, John Ward||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Stanley,Hon.Arthur(Ormskirk||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Stanley,Rt. Hn. Lord (Lanes.)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Roche, John||Stewart,Sir Mark J.M'Taggart||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Stroyan, John||Wilson,Fred.W.(Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Sullivan, Donal||Wilson-Todd,SirW.H. (Yorks.|
|Round, Rt. Hon. James||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wodehouse, RtHn.ER. (Bath|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Talbot,Rt. Hn. J.G. (Oxf'd Univ||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Russell, T. W.||Thomas,David Alfred (Merthyr||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Thorburn, Sir Walter||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|Samuel,Sir Harry S (Limehouse||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.||Young, Samuel|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos.Myles||Tuff, Charles||TELLERS FOB THE AYES—Sir|
|Sohwann, Charles E.||Tufnell, Lieut-Col. Edward||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Shackleton, David James||Ure, Alexander||Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||M'Crae, George||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Black, Alexander William||Morgan,J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis(AntrimS.||Moss, Samuel||Whiteley, George (York,W.R.)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Crombie, John William||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Saunderson,Rt. Hn. Col Edw J.||TELLERS TOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Shaw, Charles Edw, (Stafford)||Lonsdale and Mr. William|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Moore.|
|Lambert, George||Spencer,Sir E.(W.Bromwich)|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.