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Family Notices


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RICHARD FOTHER.GILL, ESQ, M.P., ON THE CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES. On Friday last our honourable member, Mr. Fothergill, was evidently well on the alert during the passing of a number of votes on account of the Civil Service. In the course of the sitting he spoke on several occasions. Referring to the vote of £3,800 on account of travelling expenses for Inspectors of Coal Mines, Mr. Fothergil said Although this is not the occasion on which I should wish to explain myself on the subject of the Inspection of Mines, L can- not allow the opportunity to pass without in the first place, urging upon my Right Honourable friend, the Home Secretary, to d-lay the v..te for the payment of Coal Mine Inspectors unt I the Bill for the Regulation of Mines is brought on, when the whole question can be mo-e fitly dis- cussed and, secondly, to remark that the present arrangements for the Inspection of the Coal flutes are highly unsatisfactory and wrong in principle that they do not answer the purpose for which they were intended, and that tha increase talked of in the number of gentlemen inspectors would he worse than useless, for the simple reason that without throwing anv blame upon them, they can not, ii the nature of things, perform the duty for which the public believe they are competent, namely, that of securing the lives of the working colliers. I have watched the practical working of the existing system of inspection of mines, and my opinion is I.hat it is wrong in principle, for the object aimed at is not attained. The gentleman inspector arrives perpetually at the scene of an accident after the mischief is done and the conse- quent loss of life incurred, and what I desire to impress on the committee is that either we should abandon the principle of inspection altogether, or make it effective; but I will not on the present occasion anticipate the explanation of my views, which I shall hope to urge in detail, when the Mines Bill is brought before us nevertheless I reiterate my objection to the appointment of addi- tional gentlemen inspectors, for I assure my Right Honourable friend, whose views are so well known in his own district to be intended for the benefit of the working collier, that the existing inspection is not effecting the objects he desires, and that in my humble judgment no advantage has followed, nor has a single life been saved by the costly system in operation. I hope, there- fore. he will consent to postpone the vote for the payment of the inspectors of coil mines." On the vote for Queen's Messengers the honoura. ble gentleman made the following facetious obser- vations :— t, Before passing the large estimate of 918,000 for messengers, I would observe that, besides the question of needless journeys, which have be,>n ably commented upon by the honourable members near me, the scale of payments to the persons employed appears to me larger than the service performed justifies. The honourable gentleman, the member for Chatham, has explained that each of the fifteen messengers receives in salary, and otherwise, from seven to eight hundred pounds a year, or a total charge of upwards of eleven thousand pounds, upon the taxpayers of the country. Now I am at a loss to understand why so costly a class of messengers should be employed. I have met them on the Continent, and finer gentlemen are not to be found they are also, I dare say, as a rule, charming companions, and that my own experience has been exceptional; especially in the instance which occurs to me, where, in a voyage of some little duration, a Queen's Messenger was moved to acquaint all his fellow passengers within hearing, with his numerous and successful sporting expeditions, performed usually in the society of Royalty for Emperors and Princes were household words in his mouth, and he seemed to rarely pull a trigger in company inferior to a Duke. Prostrated as I own to having been on the deck of that odious vessel, it is not improbable that my thoughts may have takena jaundiced tint, and that the loud-toned ceaseless, narrati ve of this terrific swell, might 011 another ooeasion have seemed both interesting and improving but as it was, the impression left on my mind remains, that a gentleman so devoted to sport, evidently the main object of his life, so fitted to adorn and enliven the Royal battues which he described and so ready to wipe the eye of a dull Arch Duke, was out of his place as a simple messenger, and a dear bargain to his em- ployers (cheers and laughter). No doubt a con- siderable reduction of expense has been effected, but more may be done in the same direction and, while thanking the honourable gentleman for the valuable economical movement already put in force, I strongly urge upon him and the committee that a much cheaper and equally effective class of men might be employed as messengers" (hear, hear). 0 Touching the condition of trade, especially in our own district, and in reply to Mr. Me Cullagh Torrens's gloomy remarks, Mr Fothergill observed That he thought, as the facts so ably and so eloquently put before the House by the Right Honourable geutlernin, the President of the Poor Ltw Board, upon the general improvement of the trade of the country had been disputed, it was his duty to speak to the state of things in the great centre of the iron industry in South Wales, representing, as he had the honour to do, the Borough of Merthyr Tydfil, which had been especially mentioned by the right honourable gentleinin, and it was with great pleasure that he was able to corroborate his statement on the improvement which had com- menced there. The iron trade, long languishing, had decidedly improved, and with it there had sprung up an increased employment of, and demand for labour. Good workmen where in request generally, and he might add that a large iron work in thu centre of Merthyr, belonging to his partner and himself, which had been unused for years, only awaited an adequate supply of workmen to be lighted up and put into active operation again (cheers). That long desired im- provement had enabled the large employers with real pleasure to themselves to give an advance of wages to their work people (cheers) whose earnings thereby so much increased that among others his (the sp-alcer's) firm was paying thirty to forty thousand pounds more in wages this year than last (cheers). It was truly a happy change for the better, and it gave him much pleasure to state that there was every app^aranc; of the improve- ment remaining, so that he trusted that they might dismiss from their minds the gloomy picture drawn by the honouraole member for Finibury. Before sitting down he would tender his best thanks tothu right honourable geutleman for his masterly and eloquent answer to the un- warrantable and mischievous representations which had been adilressed to them that evening at so much length" (cheers).



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