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-parliament in tief. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH. HOUSE OF LORDS. THE Marine Insurance Bill was read a second time. Earl Spencer called attention to the difficul- ties with respect to rifle ranges caused by the adoption of the Lee-Metford rifle, and asked the Secretary for War if any arrangement had been made to assist volunteer corps in getting facilities for practice ac their present ranges or within easy reach to their headquarters. Lord Lansdowne, in reply, said it was quite true that the range of the Lee-Metford was greater than the range of the Martini-Henry, but the difference was much less than was com- monly supposed. He was assured that where existing ranges had been really safe with the Martini-Henry they would be safe, or could be easily made safe, for the Lee-Metford. The inquiry which had been instituted was not yet complete. So far as they could judge, a great miny existing ranges could be made safe with- out much difficulty, but until their informa- tion was fuller, it would be premature to dis- cuss the question of a grant. .——————————————— HOUSE OF COMMONS. Mr. Whitmore moved the second reading of the London County Buildings Bill, and explain- ed that it was proposed that the Council should have power to acquire a site to the east of the present offices in Spring Guardens for the pur- pose of extending the accommodation. The estimated cost of the site was 9810,000, and the probable cost of the building was another £ 500,000, but the scheme would only involve an addition to the rates equal to about three- fourteenths of a penny in the pound. Mr. Boulnois moved the rejection of the bill. The motion for the second reading was de- feated by 227 votes against 146. Questioned by Mr. Pickersgill as to the eir- cwmstances under which he respited James Bate, who was sentenced to death for murder at the Liverpool Assizes in November last, Sir M. White Ridley said he would be departing from th^ course which had been taken uniform- ly by all his predecessors in similar cases if he were to answer in detail the series of questions put by Mr. Pickersgill. The murder, though committed in a moment of drunken fury, and in circumstances of considerable provocation, was in other respects of such a nature that he felt that the circumstances as a whole, and re- garded in themselves, did not justify reprieve. After his decision was made public, he received such clear evidence by numerous and weighty representations from all quarters of the exis- tence of a genuine and unanimous sentiment in favour of mercy that he was forced to the belief that the exaction of the extreme penalty would change indignation at an atrocious crime into compassion for the criminal, and he therefore advised the Queen to commute the sentence. In answer to Admiral Field, Sir M. White Ridley said he was informed by the Lord Cham- berlain that the play called I Nelson's Enchan- tress' was duly submitted to him, and as it did not contain anything to justify a refusal, a licease was granted, and it was not proposed to withdraw it. Mr. Curzon, replying to Mr. Stevenson, said there were about eleven gunboats belonging to the different Powers at Constantinople. Pre- cautions were being taken by the authorities in view of the posibility of disturbances occur- ing during the month of Ramazan. Answering Mr. H. D. Greene, Mr. Curxon said the papers relating to the Stokes case had been delayed in order that they might include the result of the negotiations with the Congo Government concerning Mr. Stokes' property. Those negotiations had now been completed, and had resulted in an offer from the Congo Government to hand over the sum of 147,550 francs as representing the total value of all the goods belonging to the estate. That offer had been accepted by the Government, and the papers would be circulated as soon as possible. Mr. Chaplin, answering Mr. Carvell Wil- liams, said he was not aware that the practice of including Church-ley' in the demand notes of the township of Manchester for poor and other rates had been continued. Although in the form of a demand note, it was stated that the payment of the Church-ley' was optional, The inclusion of that item in the demand note which was headed with the words Due on de mand,' was, he thought reasonably open to ob- jection. The Local Government Board would communicate with the Overseers of Manchester on the subject. Mr. Curzon informed Sir E. A. Bartlett that the Government had received no confirmation of the reported massacre of 300 Mussulmans at Sita and 23 at Kissamo Kasteli. At the request of Mr. Dillon, Mr. Curzon premised to make inquiry into the report that a, number of Christians had been roasted alive in a bakery. Replying to Mr. Bryce, Mr. Curzen said the Government had received no official informa- tion of any recent landing of Turkish troops at or near Alexandretta. Mr. Chamberlain, replying to Mr. Roche, said he had received a telegram from the High Commissioner stating that the British Agent at Pretoria. had received from the South African Republic a bill ef indemnity to be paid by the British Government, or to be caused to be paid by them, for Dr. Jameson's raid. The amount claimed fell under two heads. First, material damage, 1677,938 3s. 3d.; second, moral or intellectual damage, total of claim, £ 1,000,000. Asked by Mr. Bowles whether the XI,000,000 was in addition to the other sum, Mr. Cham- berlain said there was a little ambiguity, but he believed it was. Mr. Brodrick formally moved the second reading of the Military Works (Money) Bill. Mr. Lough proposed an amendment to the effect that before proceeding with the second reading of the bill it was desirable to have further information as to the necessity for the proposed works, and fuller details as to where the expenditure was to be made. He con- 'pen i ure demned the proposal to spend £ 600,000 "n new barracks in Ireland, and asked for further details of the proposed expenditure of 91, 140,000 on ranges and manoeuvring grounds. Mr. Kearley seconded the amendment, and protested against that part of the scheme which related to the fortification of London. Mr. Brodrick, replying to some of the criticisms passed on the measure, said the principle of the scheme was considered and accepted nine or ten years ago. There were changes in war, and the Government were bound to regard the risk of our losing the com- mand of the sea. Lord Wolseley, Sir Redvers Buller, an eminent engineer, and an eminent artilleryman had suggested that centres should be established and temporary entrenchments made. Under the present scheme the military authorities merely provided that their proper share of work should be done if the country were subject at any time to invasion. After some further debate, the amendment was defeated by 194 votes to 43, and the House adjourned,






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