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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND. HOUSE OF LORDS. The House sat for a few minutes on Tuesday. Seven peers were selected to act on a Joint Committee on Statute Law Revision Bills and Consolidation Bills and, on the motion of the Duke of Norfolk, the Post-office Consolidation -Bill was read a first time. TUESDAY,'FEBRUARY 2ND. HOUSE OF COMMONS. Sir M. WHITE RIDLEY, answering Sir C. Diike, said his attention had been drawn to the strike of girls engaged in the textile trade at Belfast against the long lists of large fines re- cently placarded in the mills. It was hoped that the matter would be settled by mutual agree- ment; but if not, it might be necessary to have recourse to proceedings under the Truck Act of last session, which, for the first time, gave the workpeople full protection against all unfair and unreasonable fines. Mr. G. BALFOUR, replying to Mr. M'Hugh, said he had no means of exercising influence on the Irish landlords to enduce them, in conse- quence of the fall in agricultural values in Ireland, to give abatements of rent to their tenants. In reply to a further question, he said he had no option as to permitting the employment of the forces of the Crown in carrying out evic- tions in cases where abatements were refused, and where tenants were unable to enter the Court, in order to have their rents fixed. He added that during the past year, the number of evictions in Ireland had been fewer than in any year since 1877. The HOME SECRETARY informed Mr. Schwann that he had not yet come to any de- cision with regard to the case of J. Hall, who was sentenced at the Manchester Autumn Assi- zes to three years' imprisonment for the man- slaughter of his wife. Sir J. GORST, in replying to Mr. Yoxall, said he had seen, with very great regret, the statement that at the public elementary school of St. Andrew's, Willesden, two certificated mistresses and an assistant teacher had received notice of dismissal from the chairman of the managers of the school, because they declined to sign a memorandum of agreement, by the terms of which they would have been bound to be regular communicants and attendflnts at St. Andrew's Church: that increase of salary was withheld from a certificated assistant master, on the ground that he did not attend that par. ticular church; and that finally, he was dismis- sed, because he did not so attend. The Com- mittee- of Council, however, had no power to interfere. Sir J. KINLOCII asked for an assurance that an equivalent grant would be given to Scotland I in proportion to that proposed to be given to the English Voluntary schools. Sir M. HICKS-BEACH said the Government did not think that the system of equivalent grants was properly applicable under the pro- posed bill. If the bill should become law, no doubt fair aid would be given to primary edu- cation in Scotland, in such a manner as might be statable to its requirements. Mr. BRYCE asked on-what terms this aid would be calulated. Sir M. HICKS-BEACH said he imagined that any proposals of the kind could nob be intro- duced until it was seen what the result might be of the bill shortly to be introduced. Mr. BRODRICK, replying to Mr. W. J. Gal- loway, said the Hulme Barracks were, at pre- sent, occupied by infantry, who had been there since last autumn. No immediate change was in con templation. Mr. A. J. BALFOUR stated, in answer to Mr. Morton, that on Friday night, the business in Committee of Supply would be the considera- tion of the grant in aid in connection with the Egyptian expedition. Mr. RITCHIE, answering Mr. J. Lowther, said the letter written by Mr. G. Rowley, the local labour correspondent of the Board of Trade at Bfcthesda, to a Wejsh paper, in which he spoke of his career as a trade unionist, and attributed his selection as labour correspondent to the influence of several Welsh members, was an improper letter; and Mr. Rowley had been asked for an explanation. Mr. BALFOUR moved that the order for Committee on the aid grant to Voluntary schools should take precedence of the notices of motion and orders of the day. Mr. J. ELLIS and Mr. LABOUCHERE op- posed the motion and Mr. E. LAWRENCE, who occupied the first position, with a notice of motion on the subject of the provision of piers and harbours, protested strongly against the proposal to deprive members at the very begin- ning of a session of their right to ventilate grievances in which their constituents were interested. Sir W. HARCOURT joined in the protest, remarking that if this resolution were passed, consequences with reference to the Board schools of the country would take place which would exclude the House from considering the claims put forward on their behalf. That was the reason why there should be no hurry; and he protested against any attempt to force through the House a resolution of that conclu- sive character, without giving ample time to the country to know what was the policy of the Government in this respect, and to express an opinion upon it. Mr. BALFOUR said he dissented entirely from the proposition that there was no reason for proceeding promptly wiuh the bill: in the first place, because it was very important in he interests of Voluntary schools that the bill should become law at the earliest possible mo- ment and secondly, because if an inordinate time was occupied w:th the proposal to relieve Voluntary schools, it would be impossible for the Government to proceed with their other scheme for the relief of necessitous Board schools. After some further debate, he moved the clo- sure, which was carried by 259 votes to 143; and his resolution, on a further division, was carried by 283 votes to 123. The House, afterwards, went into Committee, and resumed he consideration of the resolution proposed by Mr. Balfour on Monday night. Mr. E. GRAY, concluding the speech he be- gan on Monday, expressed his disappointment that the proposal of the Government would not come into force at the end of the present finan- cial year. Sir W. HART DYKE admitted that the pro- blem before the Government had been made more acute by the events of last year. A feel- ing of bitterness was then created; and some- how, grave alarm was created in the ranks of the Opposition, lest the Government should, some day, attempt at one fell swoop to destroy the Board school system. As a supporter of Voluntary schools, he had never failed to recog- nise the great educational efforts of the Board schools: and he felt that his friends would never forward the cause of the Voluntary schools by attempting to disparage the work done by the Board schools. He looked upon the present proposal, however, as an honest endeavour to carrv out a pledge given not only in the coun- try, but to the House: and admitted that the Government could not refuse to deal with the necessitous Board schools at an early date. Sir H. H. FOWLER said that if Mr. Balfour would simply strike out the word Voluntary,' and substitute for it the word 'elementary,' then the whole question could be debated with- out his bill being altered. If the right hon. gentleman would not agree to that, he had no right to complain if the Opposition insisted upon debating the bill four or five nights. The SOLICITOR GENERAL, in reply, said the Government had every intention of helping the Board schools at as early a date as possible; and the method for carrying that out had been under consideration for some time. Sir A. ROLLIT, associating himself with some of his friends, in criticising the proposals of the Government, said those proposals recom- mended themselves least to liiyn- because they dealt differentially with Voluntary and Board schools. So far from redressing inequality, the proposals created a new and greater inequality. Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE subsequently pro- posed an amendment, restricting the grant to 'necessitous' Voluntary schools. Mr. LOUGH seconded the awendment, which, after brief speeches by Mr. ASQUITH, Mr. BALFOUR, and Sir W. HARCOURT, was defeated: and the closure of the general debate having been moved by Mr. Balfour, the Government resolution was carried by a majo- rity of 215. -<Q



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