§ QUESTION. OBSERVATIONS.
§ *LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, before I venture to call the attention of the House to the recent change in the Sanitary Board of Gibraltar I wish to express my thanks to the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for having so expeditiously and fully furnished the Papers for which I asked. I shall only have to detain the House a very few moments while I call the attention of the House to the change that has taken place in the Sanitary Board. The House is aware that Gibraltar is a fortress and a Crown Colony under the Colonial Office with 20,000 inhabitants and 6,000 soldiers. From 1815 to 1880 the sanitary arrangements were looked after by a civilian Commission which practically represented the ratepayers. In 1880 the military being one-third of the ratepayers, as they paid rates as well, naturally claimed to have some share in the representation, and it was just and right that they should and they came in on the Board, four of the twelve Commissioners being nominated from among the officials on the Rock. That went on happily for three years when special powers were given to the Governor to alter the existing arrangements, and this went on for a few months, when Sir John Adye, the then Governor, found it unworkable. He came back to England; I believe he saw Lord Derby; he pointed out to him 1229 how unworkable those conditions were, and he got instructions to revert to the old state of things. That brings us on to 1890. I am not going to say that the drainage of Gibraltar was everything that might be desired, but at any rate the statistics, which I will just glance through later on, show that there was no bad health in the Colony. In 1890 Lord Knutsford told Major Tulloch of the Royal Engineers to make a Report about the sanitation of Gibraltar, and that gallant officer made a Report which is in the Blue Book on page 1, in which he remarks that the Sanitary Commissioners are quite incapable of dealing with the question. He says that they do not represent at all the wealth, the intelligence, the influence, or the business capacity of the civilians. He goes into detail about their maladministration, and he goes on to say that they laugh at the War Office and make them pay more than their fair share of the rates. To remedy this state of things Major Tulloch proposes to bore a great tunnel through the Rock from west to east through which the sewage is to be carried out to sea, which he says will have the double advantage that very likely he will be able, with good fortune, to strike upon water. If he does, this will produce a good water supply for the town, and if he does not he proposes to carry the sewage through the Rock into the sea from west to east. If he is fortunate enough to find any water, then he proposes to bore through the Rock south to bring the sewage out at the southern extremity which your Lordships know well is called Europa Point. He considers this a very good plan, and he suggests that the works shall be entrusted to Captain Buckle, whom he describes as a thoroughly practical and scientific man. I have not the pleasure of knowing Captain Buckle, but according to the Gibraltar Ratepayers' Defence Association, whose opinion your Lordships will find on page 18, this officer was removed from his office as engineer to the Sanitary Commission, because he did not give satisfaction, and he is reported to have been twice reprimanded by two Secretaries of State. Lord Knutsford does not seem to agree with that, because he writes on 11th December 1891, that he has every reason to believe that Captain Buckle has given 1230 every satisfaction, and he regrets that these reprimands should have been alluded to, as they had no connection whatever with his efficiency. My Lords, this brings us on to the next step in which the Secretary of State for the Colonies asserts that there has been neglect of ordinary sanitary requirements, and a lack of intelligence. Against this opinion I have to bring the opinion of Sir John Adye, the then Governor of Gibraltar, who on the 25th February, 1892, wrote—In my opinion the inhabitants should be fully represented. I have received great assistance and support from the members of the Commission; and as regards health—I think this is very important—the death rate of the civil population is very little more than that of London, much less than that of Liverpool and Manchester; and as regards soldiers, the garrison and medical reports prove that Gibraltar is one of the healthiest stations at home or abroad.That is to be found at page 3 in the Medical Report. Lord Knutsford, in the same letter that I quoted before of the 11th December, 1891, suggested that the boring recommended by Major Tulloch should be begun at once under Captain Buckle, the Civilian and the Colonial Government each paying half. I see there is a question in the Paper from the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Sidmouth) about the cost of this tunnel. So far as I see in the Papers there is no cost mentioned. I am speaking under correction; but I believe it is the fact that not even a contract is allowed to be entered into, but the whole of this enormous work is to be undertaken by Major Tulloch, R.E., and his friend Captain Buckle. Those of your Lordships who have been soldiers know very well what it is to be handed over to the tender mercies of the Royal Engineers. Those who have been quartered in the Albany Barracks, and in those death traps in Dublin, know pretty well what it is. I do not want to say one word against that class in Her Majesty's Service; but your Lordships will quite understand from old experience how very apprehensive these civilians might be of having the whole of this great sewage operation handed over entirely, without their having a word to say about it, so far as I am instructed, to the Royal 1231 Engineers. In order to carry out this boring which is recommended by Major Tulloch and is to be begun under Captain Buckle, the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies at once dissolves the old Board and creates a new one; and this new Board is composed of nine members. The Board is composed of the Commanding Royal Engineer and the principal medical officer of the garrison, two Government representatives, one Admiralty representative, two Grand Jury representatives, one Special Jury and one Common Jury representative, who are selected and appointed by the Governor himself. The Chairman of this nominee body is the Colonial Secretary, who has the casting vote; and I think this is rather a significant fact—and there may be not a consensus of opinion about the wisdom of this step—that the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Boyle, has not applied for any increase of salary to counterbalance this great and important increase of work that he will have to do. This Board is to come into power at once, and in fact it is a great deal more unworkable than the old Board which was pronounced unworkable in 1883 by Sir John Adye. Now, my Lords, this brings us to 1892, and I have done. The Colony of Gibraltar protested most strenuously against this, and they asked the Governor what he had to say to it. The Governor said he was precluded from discussing the question at all. Then they formed themselves into a Ratepayers' Defence Association, and they wrote to Lord Knutsford, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, but they got very little redress out of that. Then three of them were appointed as a deputation who came over and stayed in London; they saw the Secretary of State several times, but they went away without any redress either, and the whole thing was finished by a despatch of Sir Lothian Nicholson, who is Governor of Gibraltar, on the 11th of April, 1892, in which he approves of the action of the Colonial Office, and he calls this retrograde movement "a most carefully considered measure of reform"; and he goes on to say in the despatch that he considers two-thirds of the civilians of Gibraltar are foreigners by origin, by connection, and also in language, and that they are only British subjects in name. Their very existence 1232 there, he says, is not an Imperial necessity, and they should not be granted the position which is held by colonial municipal leaders in other parts of the great British Confederation. Now those who happened to see the reception that those residents, "whose existence is not an Imperial necessity," gave to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in 1876 are not likely to forget it. My Lords, they are just as loyal and just as devoted to the Crown of England as any other Colonist in any other part of Her Majesty's Dominions. My Lords, we shall be told now, of course, that Gibraltar is not a Colony, it is a fortress, and that it is of paramount importance that it should be treated as a fortress—we all say so, of course—all Gibraltar would say so too. But, my Lords, municipal improvements are not Imperial defences and Gibraltar is not defended by sewage works; and therefore I shall conclude these few observations by asking the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he approves of this language of the Governor, and I shall ask the House whether it approves of what I may fairly, I think, call the harsh treatment of our Colonists in Gibraltar by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Lord KNUTSFORD)
My Lords, I am in the first place desirous, in return for what the noble Lord is good enough to say of me, to thank him for his courtesy for having deferred this Debate from the first day on which it was put down. I confess I am rather surprised at the light way in which the noble Lord has passed over this case. He has admitted that there is a strong feeling in the Colony as regards the change that has now been made; but he has not really attempted to attack the Government for the action it has taken except by stating generally that Sir John Adye disagrees with the change; that the former Board with some slight exceptions did their work very well; and that on the present Board the ratepayers are not sufficiently represented. I hope before I sit down to show your Lordships that on every one of those points the noble Lord is wrong,—or rather I will not say the noble Lord is wrong, but those whose cause he represents here are wrong and have mis-stated their case. 1233 It is not necessary for me now to bring again before your Lordships the character of this place, Gibraltar. The noble Lord has admitted that it is a fortress primarily, and that on one side of this fortress no doubt a town has sprung up with a population of about 19,000 people, of whom 3,000 are aliens. It is also an important coaling station, both for Her Majesty's ships and for trading vessels. When the noble Lord says that this place is not defended by a system of sewage, I am prepared to grant that; but when I state that it is a fortress, and that there are a number of soldiers constantly on the Rock, I think it may fairly be said that it is a very important thing for the War Office that Gibraltar should be kept in a sound sanitary condition. And I now propose to show in what state that town has been left by the Commissioners whom I have superseded. The noble Lord, I think, was right in saying that up to the year 1883 the Commissioners consisted of twelve civilians; but in 1882 as the work was badly done, and in order to protect the paramount interests of the War Office and the Admiralty, there was a change made, and the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Kimberley) in the strongest way pronounced in favour of a more direct influence being given to the Governor, and also to the Departments. That change was highly approved by Lord Napier of Magdala, who was then Governor of Gibraltar; it was approved also by Lord Derby, who succeeded the noble Earl opposite as Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Board was changed in this respect: that instead of twelve Commissioners all unofficial, four official members were appointed, and certain powers were taken away from the Board, and vested in the Governor, so that he might have a more direct control and influence over the important questions of sanitation, drainage and water supply in the Colony. It is true that afterwards a local opposition sprung up, and that Sir John Adye did think it best that the powers which were vested in the Sanitary Board should be restored to them. I am not prepared now, nor do I desire to find fault with that decision of Sir John Adye, which was confirmed by Lord Derby. But I cannot help thinking that the result has shown that the decision was a most unfortunate one. The Board 1234 did not improve in the work that they did. There were constant complaints by the Admiralty of the serious nuisance from the outfall of the sewer on the west side. There was no attempt made by the Board to deal with the sanitary state of Gibraltar, with the overcrowding, and the deficiency of water, or the general insanitary condition of the dwellings. It was difficult to get people of any position or influence to act upon the Board—indeed, in 1890, to fill up two vacancies twelve persons were pressed to act and declined to do so. It was difficult to get a quorum very often, and there was generally a very indifferent attendance. I am not saying that the unofficial Civil Commissioners are alone to blame; I think considerable blame attaches to the official members of the Board; I think they ought to have exercised more influence and insisted upon more attendances, and on the work being done. However, in view of that state of things and the repeated complaints of the Naval and Military Departments it was decided, as the noble Lord has said, to send out a thoroughly competent and efficient engineer in whose judgment and capacity Her Majesty's Government could have full confidence; and after consideration they selected Major Tulloch, who, as Engineer Officer for the Local Government Board, has had very large experience in sanitary questions. After an exhaustive inquiry, Major Tulloch made two Reports. The noble Lord has only referred to the Report which was of a confidential nature at first, but which I thought it better to include in this last Paper that has been presented to Parliament. The original Report is of great length and goes most exhaustively into the subject, and has a number of maps attached to it; copies of that Report were placed in the Libraries of both Houses. I regret to say that as I am defending the action of Her Majesty's Government in superseding the Board of Commissioners, it is my duty and it is necessary for me to refer to Major Tulloch's Report as showing the state of things in Gibraltar which had been brought about by the inefficiency and inaction of the Board. At page 6 of the first Report, that is to say the Report that is now in the Libraries of the Houses, 1235 Major Tulloch in describing the condition of the patios or courtyards says—Considering that these patios are used for all kinds of purposes, that mules and donkeys are often tethered in them, and that poultry are kept there, the state of things can be better imagined than described. The whole atmosphere is reeking with the constantly rising exhalations from filth. … In parts of the town some of the rooms also in the houses which are used as dormitories have only doors—no windows. When therefore the inhabitants retire for the night and close the doors, there are all the conditions for typhus.But, my Lords, even such an elementary duty for a Sanitary Authority to perform as the removal of dry refuse, they were unable to carry out. At page 10, Major Tulloch says—The carts in which the dust is collected are often so over-filled that the lids cannot be shut down, and the refuse is then apt to be blown about in all directions. It is finally disposed of by being thrown into the sea, but without any reference to the state of the tide and current prevailing at the time. The shore on both sides of the shoot is littered with refuse, and a very objectionable state of things is produced.Well, then, let us turn to the terrible evil of overcrowding — what does Major Tulloch report upon that? He points out that the density of the population in the town is as great as in some of the worst districts of London, while the accommodation, owing to the lowness of the houses, is very much less. Some idea of the state of things in this respect may be gathered from the figures of the recent Census. There are 1,036 single room tenements inhabited by 3,214 persons, or over one-sixth of the total population. Some of these single rooms are inhabited by as many as ten and eleven persons. One hundred and twenty-three of them are inhabited by 844 persons, or an average of about seven persons in each room, and 1,875 persons lived in 360 rooms, an average of more than five per room. Health, not to mention decency, in a climate like Gibraltar, is impossible under such conditions. If I turn again to the important question of water supply, Major Tulloch observes on page 16 that drinking water is charged for at the rate of 8s. 4d. per 1,000 gallons, and the total public supply of good water available for the civil population amounts to not two quarts per head per diem, while brackish water unfit for dietetic purposes is charged for at the rate of 1236 2s. 6d. per 1,000 gallons. That subject had been brought to the notice of the Commissioners by Colonel Cox in 1877, and he showed how the civil population was being relieved of rates at the expense of the War Office; but still those Commissioners did nothing. I admit that that is a difficult question, but they made no practicable attempt to deal with the question of the water supply. Then I turn to the system of sewerage. At page 31 of the Report, Major Tulloch says—The sewage from the northern and middle outfall cannot flow right away to the sea, but keeps zigzagging up and down the coast line, and gradually deposits most of its solid matter on the foreshore, which when exposed in summer to a hot sun makes the western side of the Rock so offensive.And your Lordships will bear in mind that the most densely inhabited portion of the town is on the west side, and that therefore the alteration on that side is manifestly specially necessary. The main or southern outfall is only a few yards from the dockyard, and has almost since its construction been the subject of complaint from the Admiralty. Speaking of his inspection of it Major Tulloch says:—Although it was in December, the stink from the sewage which we smelt standing on the new mole, where Her Majesty's ships lie when coaling, was sickening. A nuisance of this kind cannot be continued with impunity. The people employed near the locality must suffer in health sooner or later.Then he goes on (I will not trouble your Lordships with much more) to show that the sewers themselves are badly constructed, that some have too slight gradients, some are broken and leak, and so on. And, my Lords, the Commissioners cannot plead ignorance of these facts, because their attention was specially drawn to them in 1884 by the present Colonial Engineer, Captain Buckle, who was then the engineering adviser of the Board; but nothing was done. The Health Officer's Reports constantly pressed these questions upon the attention of the Commissioners; but for some reason or other no effective steps were taken to remedy any one of these evils. And perhaps one of the most striking proofs of their inefficiency was this: that during something like 25 years since the Sanitary Board was started, only one bye-law, I believe, was passed with the object of 1237 preventing infectious diseases in lodgings. My Lords, it must be manifest to anyone that a town cannot be kept in a proper sanitary condition unless the inspecting officers have some power of enforcing the remedies which are necessary. They can report; but they can do no more,—they can effect no amendment. I think this perhaps is one of the most striking instances as showing the inefficiency of the Board. There are some other subjects which are touched upon in the Governor's despatch of 22nd May which also show how sorely a new Board was wanted. In 1890 Major Tulloch reported as to the useless consumption of coal. He says—There is a large useless consumption of coal taking place on the north front, and the Commissioners have been perfectly aware of this for years, inasmuch as two experts, Mr. Melrose and Captain Jelf, R.E., investigated the subject in 1882, and having pronounced the pumping engine to be 'antique' reported 'that they were confident that the substitution of modern engines of the compound condensing type would result in a very considerable measure of economy.'Designs and tenders were sent out for those engines, but nothing was done. Now it has been stated in a Paper which appears in the Parliamentary Papers and is headed "Facts about Gibraltar" that after Major Tulloch's Report was published in the Colony the Board set to work to carry out his suggestions. I regret to say that that is a complete fallacy, which is put an end to altogether by a statement of the Governor in his Despatch of 11th April (on page 30) as to what this Board had done after Major Tulloch's Report. He says—It is scarcely borne out that 'the Board at once endeavoured to carry out Major Tulloch's recommendations as far as was possible.' The provision of new engines for the North Front was certainly taken in hand; some deodorisation of the main drain at Europa was attempted—and the preparation of the bye-laws was commenced, but these drafts were left incomplete, and in so crude a state that the present Board have practically to reconstruct them, a work which is still occupying their earnest and constant attention. Catalan Bay improvements were negatived by the late Board; the dust destructor was declared to be unnecessary; the engines both at Southport Ditch, and at the North Front, were run in a ruinous manner—ruinous alike to the machinery, and in the cost of coal, and little or nothing was apparently done to secure the many sanitary improvements in dwellings and amongst the community generally, which Major Tulloch had so exhaustively pointed out.1238 And it also appears from the Governor's Despatch of 2nd May, 1892 (on page 34) how entirely they neglected the state of the engines and the machinery at the North Front—a neglect which the Governor very properly characterises as "discreditable." I have referred to the fact of the careless consumption of coal, and I may here observe that since the new Board came into operation they have in about four months saved no less than 248 tons of coal. I would further remark that the great number of nuisances that have been dealt with by the new Board, and which are referred to in pages 37 and 38 of the Parliamentary Paper, show how great was the neglect of the former Board up to the time of its dissolution. The noble Lord has referred to the rate of mortality, and he says that Sir John Adye has said that it was not at all a high rate, and that on the whole, as I understand, the noble Lord is satisfied with the rate of mortality. Now Major Tulloch, by the figures which he set out in his first Report, showed that the mortality was 24.5 per 1,000 among the whole population, that is to say the fixed and alien population, and that it was 25.0 among the fixed population. Those figures were disputed by the delegates, I think in their papers, but at all events they were disputed by them before me, and different figures were brought forward showing a smaller death-rate. But those figures were based upon the Report of the Medical Officer, and it would seem that the Medical Officer made a curious mistake in his calculation of the death-rate, because he took the deaths of the fixed population, that is to say he excluded the aliens, casual seamen brought in for hospital treatment and so on, but having taken the deaths of the fixed population, in calculating the rate of mortality, instead of dividing those deaths by the fixed population it would seem that he divided them by the whole population including aliens; and as a matter of fact the death-rate amongst the aliens is considerably smaller than the death-rate amongst the fixed population; and therefore by dividing the deaths of the fixed population by the whole population including the aliens he materially brought down the death-rate. Whether that 1239 is the explanation or not it is not necessary for me to inquire into it any further, because all the figures have now been carefully gone into by Surgeon Captain Macpherson, who has had the advantage of having the last Census before him, and his Report will be found upon pages 47 to 59 of the Parliamentary Paper which has just been presented. I do not intend now to trouble your Lordships with details; it is impossible to go into them; but there can be no doubt of this: that while he shows a good death-rate for 1891 (which was certainly a good year) the figures he brings forward, which can be found in that Paper, show a death-rate in 1890 of 22.17 for the total civil population, that is to say the population which includes the aliens whose death-rate is smaller than that of the fixed population, and of 24.71 for the fixed civil population.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
On what page does the noble Lord find that? On page 63, which appears to be the final account, those are not the figures; I admit that there is not much difference.
§ *LORD KNUTSFORD
I am not sure of the page, but the figures will be found correct. Taking the decennial period he finds a rate of 23.06 for the total population, and 25.83 for the fixed civil population which is rather higher than Major Tulloch makes it. No doubt the year 1891 was a satisfactory year, and though it is not quite safe to take it, looking to the ups and downs of former years in the death-rate, we may hope that, with the improvements that will be made by this new Board, we shall keep down the death-rate as in 1891. It is certain that this large mortality is due to insanitary conditions, because we find that the Health Officer of the late Sanitary Commission, in his Report for 1889, points out the abnormal death-rate among the infant population, and says that one-third of all the deaths in Gibraltar are of children under five years of age, and again that quite one-third of all the children born in the town do not reach the age of five. So much then for the rate of mortality, which I think is not a very good one, and is certainly capable of improvement if we can get the sanitary condition of Gibraltar in a better state, and diminish the difficulties and dangers from over-crowding, get 1240 a better supply of water and remove the drainage to the East. I may now perhaps deal with another point to which the noble Lord has referred, and which was very strongly pressed by the delegates—I mean the claim that they ought to be represented by two-thirds of the members of the Board on the ground that they pay two-thirds of the rates. That statement again is very misleading. There is a general sanitary rate of which the civil inhabitants do pay two-thirds; but there is a water rate which brings in about an equal amount with the general rate, and of that water rate the private ratepayers contribute less than two-fifths; and, if we take the total rates, the Government Departments contribute about five-elevenths of the gross revenue from the rates, while they have in addition given capital contributions to about one-third of the work done by the Sanitary Board. Therefore, taking those figures, the Departments could fairly claim a larger representation than they now have on the Board. They have now five members, as the noble Lord pointed out, against four. And as regards the work which is proposed by Major Tulloch—namely, the tunnel, it is said that two-thirds of the cost are to fall upon the general sanitary rate; but, as I have pointed out, the civil inhabitants only pay two-thirds of that rate; and therefore four-ninths is the proportion they ought to bear of representation on the Board. And that is about the proportion that they do bear. If you take the basis of population again at 19,000—it must be remembered that of those about 3,000 are aliens on permit—there again their proportion of representation on the Board is a fair one. But, my Lords, I desire to guard myself against admitting that in a military outpost like Gibraltar, and in a place where there is a large military garrison, the civil inhabitants have an absolute right to be represented either according to the rates they pay or according to the population. It is right, of course, that they should have as much representation as they can have consistently with the government and the character of the place, and with the paramount interests of the Army and Navy. My Lords, the principle that they contend for at Gibraltar is not upheld in 1241 Colombo, Singapore, or Hong Kong; in all those places the representation does not depend either upon the rates paid or upon the population. Another point that was raised by the noble Lord, that the Governor should not have the power to appoint the Chairman of the Board, is also untenable, because I believe it is without precedent in any of these places—places be it observed where the garrison and the Government bear a much smaller proportion to the private inhabitants than they do at Gibraltar—for in none of them is the principle admitted, and in none does the appointment of the Chairman of the Municipal Board vest in any other person but the Governor. I think, therefore, I have established two points: first that the Board which I superseded by the present Board did their work most inefficiently, that they were not equal to coping with the general sanitary requirements of the town, and therefore were still less fit to deal with the important sewerage work which is contemplated by Major Tulloch, and which has been pressed upon us by both the War Office and the Admiralty for many years; and, secondly, that whether we look to rates or population, the ratepayers are not unfairly represented on the new Sanitary Board. I must now turn to the grievances that have been brought under your Lordships' notice, some of them by the noble Lord, and some others which have been brought before me by the delegates. The first grievance, which I do not think the noble Lord mentioned, was that the Order in Council was published and put into force at once. That course was not without precedent, though I am ready to admit that as a general rule, except in matters of small importance, Orders in Council should be published in the papers so that objections may be raised and the opinions of the inhabitants made known upon them before they are brought into operation. But, my Lords, looking to the state of things which existed, looking to the deadlock which existed, looking to the complaints that were received from the Departments; looking to the necessity for improving the condition of Gibraltar, and especially by carrying out the important works recommended by Major Tulloch, I venture to think as was said by Lord 1242 Derby in 1883, or by the noble Earl opposite,—I am not sure which—
§ *LORD KNUTSFORD
It might have been in 1882—The continued existence of conditions thus detrimental to the public welfare would be very undesirable, even if the circumstances of Gibraltar did not require an exceptional degree of efficiency in sanitary administration.I say that this was a case, if ever there was a case, for at once proceeding to put the Order in Council in operation. It would have been impossible to delay until all objections which could be made to the Order in Council were disposed of; as it is, the Order was published in October last and the objections still continue to thrive, and have not yet been disposed of. All that time would have gone on, and the good work which has been done by the new Board would have been entirely lost. The new Board have, I believe, nearly finished their code of bye-laws. I have pointed out the nuisances that have been removed by them; the good that has been done in dealing with the question of overcrowding, and also in the great saving of coal and putting the engines and sewers in a fit state; and I would also observe that the Order in Council especially provides that if Amendments are desired they can be made by Ordinance. The Order in Council can, therefore, be very easily amended, and the objections removed if they are established to my satisfaction. The second objection was as to the mode of appointing the four unofficial members. As the noble Lord has pointed out the old plan was for the Governor to appoint the members out of the panel of the Grand Jury and eight names submitted by the Grand Jury. We thought it desirable that the Governor should have a larger area of selection, and therefore by the Order in Council he was empowered to take two members from the panel of the Grand Jury, one from the panel of the Special Jury, and one from the panel of the Common Jury; in this way it was thought we should get more representative members on the Board. But I have been anxious from the very beginning so far as I could to meet the delegates, and 1243 to meet the wishes of the inhabitants, and to get the opposition to the Order in Council withdrawn; and therefore I agreed that if opposition was withdrawn on other points, I would revert to the old plan and direct the Governor to choose from the panel of the Grand Jury and eight names presented by them. I do not think that is the best plan, but it was not so important a matter that one need hesitate about the concession; and the Governor, though still preferring the new plan, has agreed to it. Then the third objection was to the Colonial Secretary being a member of the Board and Chairman. Well, my Lords, I think it would be quite impossible in a place like Gibraltar that the Colonial Secretary should not be a member of the Sanitary Board; he is perhaps the most influential man next to the Governor, and it is most desirable that he should be closely in touch with all the important work that is going on in the Colony, and every question is important of course that affects the health of the Colony. I could not therefore concede the point that the Colonial Secretary should not be a member of the Board. But in addition to that the delegates when before me desired that they might appoint their Chairman out of the official members. I have pointed out to your Lordships that in all these cases the Governor does appoint the Chairman. But there would be an especial objection to the unofficial members appointing the Chairman out of the official members; because, if they chose to pass over the Colonial Secretary and the Commanding Royal Engineer, they would have to appoint one of the medical officers; and it is scarcely necessary to observe that the Colonial Secretary and the Commanding Royal Engineer would hardly be willing to serve on a Board of which the Chairman was their inferior in precedence and rank. Then the fourth objection which is most strongly urged is that which was brought before your Lordships by the noble Lord opposite, namely, the objection to the Colonial Engineer being the Engineer of the Board. And it is a two-fold objection; first on the ground that the duties of the Colonial Engineer and the Engineer of the Board are incompatible; and, secondly, on personal grounds to 1244 Captain Buckle. Now, as regards the general objection, the union of these offices of Sanitary Engineer and Colonial Engineer was very strongly urged by Lord Napier of Magdala when he was Governor of Gibraltar. Instructions were sent out, in conformity with his advice, by the noble Earl opposite in 1882, and were confirmed in January 1883 by Lord Derby. It is not true that Captain Buckle was removed from his offices. It is true that the duties were subsequently separated at the suggestion and instance of Sir John Adye, who succeeded Lord Napier of Magdala as Governor; but it is open to us to re-consider the question; and, upon the best reflection and consideration that we can give to the case, we have arrived at the conclusion which was arrived at by the noble Earl opposite and others and by Lord Napier of Magdala, that economy and efficiency are best secured by the appointment of the Colonial Engineer to act as Engineer of the Board. My Lords, here again I would point out that, being anxious to make any concession I could to the delegates and ratepayers, I agreed to this: that when these important works of the tunnel have been done, with which I consider the old Board was absolutely unable to cope, and supposing there is no other equally important work connected with the water supply going on, I think it reasonable, and I told them so, that they should bring up again this question of the combination of duties before the Secretary of State for the time being. I confess that if I were in office I should be very loth, unless a very strong case were made out, to saddle the ratepayers, who have now a very small sum to pay for which they secure a thoroughly competent and efficient officer, with the large sum that they would have to pay for the salary of such a thoroughly efficient officer if they determined to have an Engineer of their own. My Lords, as to the personal question, the committee of the Ratepayers' Association have made charges against Captain Buckle as to the performance of certain public works that he had to undertake as Colonial Engineer, and I thought it right, as they had made those charges, both in the interests of Captain Buckle as well as those of the ratepayers to examine into the subject, and I appointed a 1245 Commission to perform that work. The inquiry of that Commission has not yet been concluded; but I must say that, from the high opinion of Captain Buckle's professional qualifications which was formed from knowledge of his work both by Lord Napier of Magdala, by Major Tulloch, and by others, I have very little doubt that it will be found that the public works which he has executed have been executed with great efficiency and economy; and I think it is only due to Captain Buckle that I should read the high opinion entertained by Major Tulloch as to his capabilities—and that is the last quotation which I will make. In the first Report Major Tulloch shows that the tunnel scheme for the sewer outfall was practically Captain Buckle's own; and the passage to which I will refer is on page 4 of the Parliamentary Paper, in which the writer says—It is essential that the officials should be able men, and the Commission will certainly require an engineer of knowledge, experience, energy, and determination. The present Colonial Engineer is specially marked out for this post by not only his intimate acquaintance with Gibraltar after many years' residence there, which is simply invaluable, but by his high scientific attainments and practical skill as a civil engineer. My official position at the Local Government Board necessarily brings me into constant personal communication with most of the eminent sanitary engineers of England, and I have, therefore, rare opportunities of gauging the knowledge possessed by these men and their scientific attainments, but I am glad to say that I found Captain Buckle to be in no respects behind these gentlemen. He is a thoroughly scientific and practical man, and it was one of the great advantages I had during my visit to the Colony to be able to discuss every question of geology, water supply, sewerage, or any other subject which arose in my work with a man so well up in them.Well my Lords I think I am justified with that kind of testimony to Captain Buckle, to express again, as I do most sincerely, my regret that the committee of ratepayers should have referred to the two cases in which Captain Buckle's action was not approved by the Secretary of State. They knew perfectly well that those questions had nothing to do with the efficiency of Captain Buckle as the Colonial Engineer; and yet they have thought it right to bring forward these questions and raise these points as against Captain Buckle in a question which is a question of engineering, whether he is a 1246 fitting person to be the Engineer of the Board. Another concession which I was able to make to the delegates was that Section 17 of the Order in Council, which gave special powers to the Governor, should be repealed. It was lastly urged that this tunnel scheme should be delayed for further inquiry by a competent engineer sent from this country to examine it on the spot. Well, I was not prepared to concede that. I stated to the delegates that very full and careful consideration had been given, and I added that further consideration should be given if necessary to the details of the scheme, and to the way in which it should be carried out. Let me observe that Major Tulloch had before him the Report of Sir Andrew Ramsay and Sir Archibald Geikie upon the geological formation of Gibraltar, and I suppose it is hardly possible to find two more eminent geologists than those two gentlemen; he had also the Reports of Mr. Roberts, C.E., Mr. Dixon, C.E., of Lieutenant Colonel Cox in 1887, of the medical officers year after year, and of Captain Buckle. All these Reports were examined into and carefully noted by Major Tulloch, and Major Tulloch's Report when it came to me was referred to and examined by a Departmental Committee in this country. The only criticism upon Major Tulloch's Report has been made by a Mr. Yockney, an engineer I daresay of eminence here, but who had very little information before him; he certainly had not all the Reports before him that Major Tulloch had, and he had never been on the spot; he was therefore unable to judge for himself of the character and condition of the rock at Gibraltar. I may add, as I have undertaken to present some more Papers in answer to the noble Lord, that there is a report by Colonel Fellowes, the Commanding Royal Engineer at Gibraltar, which to my mind completely disposes of Mr. Yockney's Report. My Lords a misapprehension prevails (I am partly now answering the noble Viscount behind me) as to Major Tulloch's Report and the action taken upon it. While Major Tulloch was making inquiry into the best way of diverting the sewage from the west to the east of the rock, he was of course fully aware of the enormous importance to the garrison, as well as to the civil inhabitants, of 1247 improving the water supply, and he had his attention directed to whether there could be any new source of water found. Now he admits himself he is not too sanguine as to the result of the experiment which he has suggested, nor can he guarantee a sufficiency of water; nor indeed that it shall not, if over pumped, be of a brackish quality. Yet the importance is so great of finding new sources that the experiment he has suggested is very strongly advocated by him; and I may say it has been twice under the consideration of the War Office and the Admiralty, and they have concurred with Major Tulloch. I would just point out exactly what Major Tulloch's practical proposal, as he calls it, is; it is on page 42 of his Report—Practically, my proposal is this: Drive a tunnel through the hill as if for a sewer. After it has been driven about three hundred yards, search for water. If water is found, continue the tunnel as a water conduit and intercepting channel. If water is not found, continue the tunnel through the mountain as a sewer.That was the original plan of Captain Buckle, who was then only considering how to dispose of the sewage,—that it should be conducted from west to east by a tunnel; and the only difference is that Major Tulloch, thinking from his obser-servations that water may be found in the rock and feeling the great importance of finding it if possible, suggests that an experimental tunnel should be made, and that before it is decided finally to send the sewage through the tunnel from west to east, it should be seen whether there is a good chance of getting water and a sufficient supply of water. No doubt that will create some delay, and the present Sanitary Board, who are considering Major Tulloch's scheme, are so impressed with the importance of dealing with the sewage question and carrying the sewage through a tunnel from west to east, that they desire to abandon all chance of getting water, and at once to commence this tunnel at both ends so that within a short time the sewage may be diverted. That is the point of difference between the present Sanitary Board and Major Tulloch's Report; and as I said before the Report of Major Tulloch was referred both to the War Office and to the Admiralty, and within the last two days I have received the concurrence of both 1248 the War Office and the Admiralty in carrying out and giving effect to Major Tulloch's scheme. If there is one question that is important in Gibraltar it is the water supply. The water supply in the North Front is not altogether satisfactory; and in time of war it is a question how far it could be made use of. I hope, in conclusion, that I have shown your Lordships that Her Majesty's Government have not acted hastily in putting an end to a Board of Commissioners who had shown themselves unequal to deal with the sanitary condition of Gibraltar, and that on the new Board the ratepayers are fairly represented. I have shown also, I trust, that I have endeavoured in every way to meet as far as I could the wishes of the delegates, and have made all the concessions possible consistently with Imperial interests. And lastly I have shown that Major Tulloch's scheme is really the scheme that we must endeavour to put in force. The noble Lord is under some misapprehension in arriving at the conclusion that there are to be no specifications and no contract. There was a question whether this work might not be more effectively done by the sappers and civilians working together under the orders of the Board and the Colonial Engineer. But that suggestion has not been accepted, and the decision of the War Office is to the contrary. I think my Lords I have nothing more to add; I am only sorry to have kept your Lordships so long; but the question is one of very great importance no doubt,—it has been very strongly pressed upon me, and I admit fully that there has been considerable feeling in the Colony on the point.
*THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
My Lords I do not wish to trouble the House with a detailed commentary upon the interesting explanations of the noble Lord opposite; but I think there are one or two points worthy of notice in his statement. First of all I should like to refer, as the noble Lord referred first to it, to Major Tulloch's Report. Now Major Tulloch's Report I have no doubt showed a great deficiency in the sanitary arrangements of Gibraltar; I assume that is a fact, and I am afraid that deficiency exists in a great many towns besides Gibraltar. But the urgency of the case must be judged of by the con- 1249 dition of the health of Gibraltar; and, notwithstanding the statistics to which the noble Lord referred, I cannot find any distinct proof that the condition of the health of Gibraltar was at all of an alarming kind, or indeed that it was inferior to that which you find in most towns. I am not going to draw the conclusion I might, but it almost seems to follow that, assuming Major Tulloch's descriptions are not too highly coloured, the existence of these extraordinary nuisances in a crowded town like Gibraltar are not incompatible with the very fair condition of health of the population; and I must say that that is so very surprising an inference that I am almost inclined to think that Major Tulloch must have been run away with to a certain extent by his sanitary enthusiasm. Now what is the death-rate? There has been a good deal of misunderstanding I believe about it. I take the figures from what I suppose is the final conclusion of the Medical Officer; it is in the Appendix to his Report at page 63, where he compares the death-rate as corrected in Gibraltar with the death-rate in a variety of large English towns: it does not differ much from the figures that the noble Lord quoted, but you will find the total civil death-rate in 1891 happened to be remarkably low. I do not lay stress upon that fact, but it is the fact that the death-rate was remarkably low in the year when this change was made.
*THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I know it was; but I do not think it could have produced that effect in that time. I think it would be very unwise to lay stress upon that particular year. No doubt the proper method is to take a series of years, as the Medical Officer has done, and he finds the correct death-rate of the civil population is 25.31, and the death-rate of the fixed civil population 25.83. Now let us compare that with the large towns here as the Medical Officer himself compares it, and I will just read some of the towns where the death-rate in England is as high, or was at least in 1891: Newcastle 25.1; Huddersfield 25.2; Sheffield 25.7; Sunderland 26.0; Blackburn 28.1; Salford 28.3; Oldham 28.5; Liverpool 28.6; Manchester 29.5; and Preston 29.6. 1250 When we find that with all our sanitary legislation in this country, in a considerable number of our large towns the death-rate is much higher than the average death-rate as shown here in Gibraltar, I do not think it can be said that there was a case of very pressing necessity. I do not for a moment believe that the sanitary condition of Gibraltar cannot be improved, and I daresay it is in many respects unsatisfactory; but I do not think there was any very urgent case in that respect. That bears upon the next remark that I desire to make, and it is this: that although the noble Lord has explained some points satisfactorily, I do not think he did answer the objection that has been made to the course he took in publishing this Order in Council without giving the usual opportunity to the populate in of Gibraltar to express their opinions upon it. I agree with the noble Lord entirely that if there is a case of urgency that interval cannot be allowed. But what possible urgency could there be in the present case of so extraordinary a kind when we find the death-rate, after all, was not so high as in many of the large towns in England? I do not deny that it may be very proper and right—I have no doubt it is—to bring about a better sanitary condition of Gibraltar; but why offend the population by what I must term very hasty and unnecessary proceedings; and why not pursue the ordinary course which the Gibraltar population are accustomed to necessarily and have come to consider a custom that ought not to be infringed except for strong reasons, instead of publishing this Order in Council without hearing what they have to say? I cannot help thinking that the noble Lord has brought about a great deal of the opposition and trouble that has come upon him individually in consequence of his not having adopted the simple expedient of letting the Gibraltar people say what they had to say and then deciding upon what he thought was right. Now the noble Lord said (and I agree with him entirely) that the case of a fortress like Gibraltar is a special case. You cannot deal with the population in a fortress like Gibraltar in the same way that you would with a civil population elsewhere. But all the more necessary is it where you have a considerable 1251 civil population (like Malta, where the noble Lord knows what difficulties there have been, as at Gibraltar) to be extremely careful to consult whenever you possibly can the wishes of the population, and not to offend their susceptibilities if it can be helped. Now I must comment upon what the noble Lord opposite is by no means responsible for, but what I think a most unfortunate circumstance—this extraordinary paragraph in the Despatch of the Governor. I must read the whole of it. The Governor in writing on this subject says—British subjects in name, fully two-thirds of the civilian residential population are foreigners by origin, by connection and in language. They cannot occupy, and should not be granted, the position held by municipal leaders in the Mother Country, and in her Colonies properly so called. Their existence here is not an Imperial necessity; their taxation, whether for purposes of municipal or general administration, is abnormally light, and their claims for self-government, which is practically what they seek, are in no way parallel to those which are, with reason, advanced, and with policy, admitted, in other dependencies of the Crown.There may be something to be said for the latter part of the sentence; but what are we to say of a Governor who is guilty of the extraordinary indiscretion and impropriety of speaking of subjects of the Crown, as loyal men I believe as any in our Colonial Empire, in terms of the most insulting kind? Are we, who have an Empire largely composed of men who are not British born, to sneer at the subjects of the Queen as foreigners, and to say that they are not entitled to rights because they are foreign-born? And remember, my Lords, these foreigners are Europeans; they are not Asiatics whom perhaps you may think you can treat with less consideration, these are Europeans coming of a very proud race and occupying a town which we hold in circumstances of great peculiarity. I cannot conceive of any part of Her Majesty's dominions in which it is not necessary, in every point of view, not to offend in the slightest degree the susceptibilities of the inhabitants of the Colony; and the Governor positively in a public Despatch (and if it had come into my hands it never would have seen the light in a Blue Book, so exceedingly wrong do I think it) says that, because these men are foreign-born, therefore they are to be treated differently 1252 from British-born subjects! I can only say that I hope the noble Lord opposite has conveyed in some way or other to the Governor (who is a most excellent military officer and an admirable soldier I have no doubt) that such language can only be excused from his apparent entire inexperience of civil administration. I must say I regret extremely that the inhabitants of Gibraltar have not been dealt with in this matter with a little more tenderness. I am most willing to admit that on some points the noble Lord has met the delegation in a fair spirit, and has made concessions to them which are undoubtedly such as ought to a certain extent to give them satisfaction. The noble Lord has agreed to strike out of the Order in Council the seventeenth clause which gave to the Governor the complete power of ordering certain works to be done. I think that is a very considerable concession, and I hope the inhabitants of Gibraltar will regard it (for I am not at all desirous of promoting dissension in this matter, but the contrary) as a substantial concession on the part of the noble Lord. The noble Lord has also made a concession to them with regard to choosing from the panel presented by the Grand Jury. That also I think is a very reasonable concession; and although there may be opinions in favour of the other mode of selection, I cannot help thinking that the concession which the noble Lord has made will not at all impair the efficiency of his Sanitary Board. Then comes the question of the Colonial Engineer; and the noble Lord has told me, what no doubt is quite correct, that I was in favour of and directed the measure to be taken which he has now taken of making the Colonial Engineer the Engineer to the Sanitary Board. I have no doubt there are strong reasons in its favour; at the same time there is something to be said on the other side, and I am very glad to hear from the noble Lord that after these works are dealt with he thinks it may be possible to consult the wishes of the inhabitants on that point. I think that is a fair mode of looking at the matter, and I trust that also will be received with a certain amount of satisfaction. With regard to the Chairman I am sorry that the noble Lord did not see his way to make a concession. I do not think it 1253 can be essential for the working of the Sanitary Board that the Colonial Secretary should be Chairman. The noble Lord will observe that in some of the other Colonies to which he referred the population is not entirely European. I should have been inclined to think that upon that point some concession might have been made.
§ *LORD KNUTSFORD
The Governor has the power to appoint any one of the members official or unofficial Chairman; he might appoint the Commanding Royal Engineer if any particular objection was taken to the Colonial Secretary; but all I meant was I could not conceive that the unofficial members should appoint from the official members.
*THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I think the whole body together might have presented a Chairman to the Governor (I do not lay it down as a necessary matter) the Governor having, as I think he must in any case have, a veto upon the appointment. It probably would have come to the same thing, but it might have been more agreeable to the inhabitants. Those are the chief points I believe of which the Colonists complain. Now the other matter is with regard to obtaining water for Gibraltar. My Lords, I have a lively remembrance of the questions which continually arose, when I was Secretary of State, as regards obtaining water at Gibraltar. The supply of water at Gibraltar, as everyone knows, is extremely unsatisfactory, and I remember various attempts being made, which unfortunately failed, to obtain a good supply of water. I do not think Major Tulloch was quite just to the old Sanitary Board in mentioning brackish water as a grievance. I do not think the present Sanitary Board, any more than any other authority, has been able yet to find out how to get a proper supply of water for Gibraltar.
*THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
It was mentioned as one of the grievances of Gibraltar. All I would say is this: I understand that the inhabitants have a strong opinion that the particular mode in which it is proposed to conduct the sewage away from the harbour, which must evidently be a most necessary operation—namely, by a tunnel from west to east of the rock, is not the best 1254 mode if there is another way by which it can be conducted beyond Europa Point.
§ *LORD KNUTSFORD
That is a tunnel too. There is no objection to the tunnel as a tunnel; but the tunnel at Europa Point would cost nearly half as much again.
*THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I am correct in saying that they think an alternative scheme of some kind would be better, and they think it would be very desirable if an eminent engineer unconnected with the Admiralty, the War Office, or Gibraltar would give his opinion upon the scheme,—which I venture to think is by no means an unreasonable proposal. I have a vivid recollection of more than one occasion during the time I had the honour to hold the seals of the Colonial Office when schemes were presented to us, supported most strongly by engineers perhaps not of the highest eminence, which by careful examination afterwards were found to be entirely untenable. Very considerable expenditure will have to be gone into in this matter, which is a matter of great importance, and if the inhabitants who will have to contribute the greater portion of that expenditure really desire that some eminent engineer should be consulted, over and above the opinions that have been taken, I should have thought that was a matter which might be conceded to them. My Lords, I do not know that I have any further observation to make. I hope the noble Lord will not think I have been endeavouring to interpose difficulties in his way in settling the question; that is not my desire. I wish for harmony, and that he should be able to improve the sanitary condition of Gibraltar without exciting any discontent on the part of the inhabitants. One thing, my Lords, I will add, and it is this: that highly important as sanitation is (and no man feels the importance of it more than I do) there is something even more important, and that is the contentment of the inhabitants of our Colonies; and if I had to choose,—I should be very sorry to be placed in that dilemma,—between a perfect system of sanitation with discontent and an imperfect condition of sanitation with content, I should not hesitate to choose the latter.
§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
My Lords, the noble Lord has answered almost every question that I had put on the Paper except with respect to the expense of the proposed tunnel, and also as to the period when the work will be commenced.
§ *LORD KNUTSFORD
As to the period when the work will be commenced some doubt has been thrown by the observations of the noble Earl opposite; but as regards the expense it is roughly estimated that the cost of the complete scheme of sewerage recommended by him will be £26,000 if carried to the east of the rock and £36,000 if carried to the southern outfall, that is Europa Point. The Colonial Engineer estimates the cost of the actual tunnelling at £2,954 for the experimental tunnel for a water supply; then after that tunnel is completed if the water should not be found there would be £8,125 to add to that to complete the tunnel to the eastern outfall; but it would be £22,950 for a tunnel to the southern outfall; and as I told the noble Lord opposite further Papers shall be presented as soon as they are completed.