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IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT. -1 HOUSE OF LORDS.—July 3. I LONDON GOVERNMENT, I The report of the amendments to the London Government Bill was considered. The Duke of Devonshire announced that it was intended, under Clause 15, to appoint Sir Hugh Owen, late Secretary of the Local Government Board; Sir Samuel Johnson, Town Clerk of Nottingham; and Mr. A. T. Law- rence, Q.C., as Commissioners to prepare such orders and schemes as might be required to carry this Act into effect. On the motion of the Duke of Northum*- berland, made on behalf of Lord Glenesk, a new clause was inserted providing that an Order in Council under this Act might detach Kensington Palace from the borough of Westminster and attach it to the borough of Kensington. Lord TweedmoMth moved, on Clause 25, an amendment to the effect that the London County Council (and not the Local Government Board, as was proposed by the clause) should cause an inquiry to be instituted when a vrima-facie case had been made out for the alteration of the number of wards of a metropolitan borough, or of the boundaries of any ward, or of the appor- tionment of the members of the council among the wards. Lord James of Hereford opposed the amendment, which was supported by Lord Kim- berley. On a division being taken, the amendment was negatived by 98 votes against 26. Lord Hawkes- bury moved to amend the first schedule by dividing the proposed city or borough of Westminster into two separate boroughs. The first area would consist of the parishes of St. Margaret and St. John, West- minster, and the parish of St. George, Hanover- square while the second area would comprise the parish of St. James, Westminster, the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Field, and the district of the Strand Board of Works. Lord Hobhouse and Lord Kimberley supported the proposal. The Duke of Devonshire said the Government thought it was not an unworthy idea to recognise in the ancient Parliamentary borough of Westminster an area which might fitly receive municipal incorporation. On a division the amendment was negatived by 74 votes against 22, Some other amendments having been disposed of, the bill passed the report stage. BILLS FORWARDED. I The Summary Jurisdiction Act (1879) Amendment Bill and the Education of Children Bill passed through Committee; and the Isolation Hospitals (Amendment) Bill was read a third time and passed. I HOUSE OF COMMONS. I KIGERLAND. I The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Committee of Ways and Means, moved a financial resolution on which to found the bill for transferring to the Government the administration of the Royal Niger Company's territories. In submitting the motion for approval he dwelt but little on the history of the past, but reminded the Committee that in the basin of the Niger very large British interests had been created by the enterprise of the promoters of the Niger Company, and he described the grant of the charter in 1886 as a step that was sanctioned by both the great parties in the State. He then referred to the three forms of administration existing in West Africa-namely, the administration of Lagos under the Colonial Office, that of the Niger Coast Protectorate under the Foreign Office, and that of the Royal Niger Company—and he observed that these three kinds of administration did not always work in harmony. He then stated the claims of the company to fair treatment at the hands of Parlia- ment, saying that it had administered vast territories where it had checked the slave trade and also the noxious trade in spirits. It had, in fact, founder an empire extending over many thousand square miles in a most valuable part of equatorial Africa, and its achievements contrasted sharply with the neglect of successive Governments to further British interests in that part of the world. Having dealt with the successive side of the company's work, he next placed before the Committee the other side of the question. Regulations had been enforced which were, to a large extent, restrictive of trade, and which were held by traders in this country and in France to contravene the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin as to the free navigation of the Niger; But, he said, the chief reason for making the change which the Government proposed in the company's posi- tion was the friction that had occurred in West Africa between France and Great Britain. The state of things to which he alluded had been put an end to, he was glad to say, by the treaty which the French Government had recently ratified; but it had become clear that the company was not capable of discharg- ing with complete satisfaction our international obli- gations. If, he said, the Niger Company had been allowed a free hand in its dealings with the French there might have been a conflict, resulting in a terrible war. In consequence of what had taken place, the Government had been forced to organise a West African frontier force, so that now there was within the territory both an Imperial and a civil authority, and this led to difficulties. This was the main reason why the Government counselled the revocation of the com- pany's charter. It was proposed that the company should be relieved of all its administrative rights and duties and should make over to the Government all its treaty rights, lands and mineral rights, and such of its administrative buildings and plant as might be required. It would be reduced to the position of a trading company, being left in possession of the buildings, stations, and wharves actually in its occupation at present. But the company, the Government held, was entitled to the full recog- nition of the position which it had created for itself and of the rights which it had acquired in the territories covered by the charter. When that chartet was granted the company was allowed to levy Customs dues for the cost of administration and to include in that cost a sum representing liabilities already incurred, which sum was fixed at £ 12,500 a year. On that charge on the Customs dues the company raised E250,000, which was a debt, and the Government purposed taking it over and to raise £ 300,000 in order to redeem it at once. Then the company had a claim to be reimbursed for what he called "unex- hausted improvements," and it was intended to pay them P.300,000 under that head. For the company's very valuable land rights acquired by purchase along the banks of the Niger, for its mineral rights, and as compensation for the disloca- tion of its business it would be paid £ 150,000. It would also be entitled for 99 years to half the proceeds of any royalty on minerals worked. For the buildings, steamers, war materials, &c., which were to be taken over from the company a sum of £ 115,000 was to be given. The total sum payable would thus be £ 865,000. E820,000 would be raised for the purposes of the bill by way of loan, and the rest of the money asked for would be charged on the Consolidated Fund. He next stated that throughout Lagos, the Niger Coast Protectorate, and the Niger Company's territory all inland Customs frontiers would be abolished, and there would be perfect freedom of trade for all alike. There would be a common arms law through the whole region, and a common tariff, except that the importation of trade spirits into Northern Nigeria would be prohibited as now. For the present the territories would be divided for administrative pur- poses into three divisions, all under the control of the Colonial Office. Having given particulars as to the areas included in each division, he said that the military and police would be reorganised and re- duced, especially in Lagos. Anticipating the objec- tion that the Government were assuming a very material increase of responsibility in West Africa, he explained that the responsibility was theirs already, and that all they were now doing was to Take power to discharge that responsibility in an effective manner. Adverting, in conclusion, to the terms which were granted to the company, he insisted that to revoke its char er and to reduce it to the position of a mere trading company without making fair and just compensation would be an act of gross in- justice. Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman thought the statement of the right hon. gentleman showed clearly the dangers and difficulties attending the system of government by chartered company. By that system the country was led on to a rapid extension of its re- sponsibilities but it was only right that it should undertake those responsibilities openly. He com- mended the conduct of all who had taken part in the administration of the Niger Company, and said he imagined that the plan of the Government would commend itself to the judgment of the Committee. A definitive judgment, however, must be deferred until members should have in their hands all the papers tearing on the subject. Mr. Labouchere insisted that if the resolution was agreed to it must be understood clearly that the House reserved its right to discuss the terms upon which the duties of the company were being assumed by the Government. Mr. Gibson Bowles complained that the motion ot the Chancellor of the Exchequor had not been printed, and suggested that the debate should be adjourned so that mem- bers might have before them tNe figures given by the right hon. gentleman. Mr. Dillon argued that a full statement ought to be made as to the company's financial position before the resolution was passed, and Sir C. Dilke, referring to the circumstance that the French Government had some claim agains t the company, asked whether that claim would be settled before the affairs of the com- pany were taken over. The Chancellor of the Ex- chequer stated that recipi ocal claims were made by the company and the French Government, and that the subject would be duly considered. To the other members who had spoken he replied that the accep- tance of the motion would not pledge them to any- thing, and that they would have a perfect right to discuss both the principle of the bill and the amount to be paid to the company at the stage of second reading. After further debate, in which Mr. Buxton, Cap- tain Bethell, Dr. Clark, and other members took part, Mr. Gibson Bowles moved to report progress, but this motion was negatived by 192 votes against 103. The discussion on the main question was them continued, and after it had proceeded for some time, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved the closure, which was carried by 216 votes against 116. A division was then taken on the resolution, which wa ) agreed to by 223 votes against 101. SMALL HOUSES BILL. I The consideration of the Small Houses (Acquisi- ) tion of Ownership) Bill, as amended by the Stand- ing Committee on Law, having been resumed, Colonel Milward's amendment to Clause 9, constituting the council of any rural district containing a population in excess of 7000 a local authority for the purpose of the Act, was carried on a division by 188 votes against 96. Consequential amendments proposed by Mr. Chamberlain were agreed to, and the other amendments on the paper having been disposed 94 j the bill was ordered for third reading. NATIONAL DEFENCE. I On the motion for the second reading of the Mili- tary Works Bill, Mr. Dillon protested against the pecuniary demand made by the Government and against some of the purposes to which the money was to be applied, and Mr. Gibson Bowles asked for information as to the defence works upon which one million was to be spent. Lord C. Beresford again expressed disapproval of the fortification of Wei-hai-wei, where a sum of £ 130,000 was to be expended, and as to the fortification of commercial harbours generally, he said he regarded it as waste of money. Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, while not intending to put any impediment in the way of this National Defence Bill, maintained that means ought to be devised to enable the House to retain control over the expendi- ture which the measure sanctioned. With regard to the proposed protection of commercial ports, he ex- pressed the hope that there was no intention of wasting money in fortifying mere seaside towns. Mr. Wyndham replied on th3 various points which had been raised, devoting special attention to what had been said as to defence work. These he explained must be shrouded in a certain amount of mystery, but the general object of the authorities was to secure our principal and secondary naval bases, our commercial stations, and strategic har- bours. The debate was continued until midnight, when it stood adjourned. OTHER BUSINESS. 1 The Report of Supply was agreed to; the Refor- matory Schools Amendment Bill was read a third time, and the Agricultural Holdings Bill was with- drawn. HOUSE OF LORDS.-JULY 4. I The London Government Bill was, on the motion of the Duke of Devonshire, read a third time and passed, Some other business having been disposed of, the House rose at five minutes past five o'clock. HOUSE OF COMMONS. I THB TRANSVAAL. I Mr. Chamberlain, replying to Sir J. Brunner, explained that the Cape Government was not a party to the negotiations between her Majesty's Govern- ment and the Government of the South African Republic; but that the High Commissioner was in communication with the Cape Ministers. SCOTCH LEGISLATION. I The Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Bill, as amended in Committee, was under consideration for several hours. In accordance with an under- taking given in Committee, when it was agreed that the local inquiries under the measure ought to be conducted by members of the two Houses of Parlia- ment rather than by extra Parliamentary commis- sioners, the Lord Advocate brought up a new clause for the formation of Parliamentary panels from which the commissioners were to be chosen. This clause pro- vided for the appointment in every case of inquiry of two members of the House of Lords and two mem- bers of the House of Commons, who were to be nominated by the Chairmen of Committees of the two Houses and it contained a direction that only when such members were not available was recourse to be had to the extra-Parliamentary panel. This arrangement was approved by Sir H. Campbell- Bannerman, but was not received with equal favour in every quarter of the House, some mem- bers being of opinion that the Lord Advo- cate's proposals did not carry out fully the agreement arrived at in Committee. The clause, however, was not seriously opposed and was added to the bill. Other amendments, most of them consequential, having been disposed of Mr. T. Shaw renewed his opposition to Clause 9, under which a second inquiry in the case of a disputed order will be possible before a Joint Committee of the two Houses, sitting in London. Ho moved an amend- ment providing that confirmation bills containing opposed orders should be considered in Parliament as if they had passed through all stages up to report, and that while either House might refer such bills back to the Commissioners who had conducted the local inquiries for further consideration, there should be no fresh inquiry before a Parliamentary committee. The Lord Advocate declined to depart from the position which he took up at the committee stage of the bill, when he explained his reasons for resist- ing the amendment, although he was pressed to reconsider his decision by Sir H. Campbell-Banner- man and by other Scotch representatives, including some sitting on his own side of the House. On a division the amendment was negatived by 159 votes against 114, and, after further dis- cussion, the bill was ordered for third reading. BOARD OT EDUCATION. I Sir J. Gorst having moved in Committee of Ways and Means a resolution authorising the payment of a salary of £ 2000 to the President of the proposed Board of Education, Mr. Yoxall asked for an assur- ance from the right hon. gentleman that the President of the Board would be a member of the House of Commons, and being dissatisfied with Sir J. Gorst's reply, he moved to reduce the amount named in the resolution by £1000. The amendment was nega- tived by 127 votes against 50, and the motion was agreed to. SMALL HOUSES BILL. I On the order for the third reading of the Small Houses (Acquisition of Ownership) Bill, Sir C. Dilke commented unfavourably upon the measure, observing that the use of public money for the pur- pose of enabling individuals to become freeholders had not had successful results in England. Mr. Cald- well complained that the bill would fail in many par- ticulars to meet the special needs of Scotland, and Mr. Wilson (Durham) made some observations as to the way in which the interests of miners would be affected. Mr. Chamberlain said that the bill gave effect, to one of the most important promises made by the Unionist party at the time of the general election, and that he believed it would be of great advantage to the working classes. The Government, in proposing the measure, had received, he remarked, no assistance ;from the Opposition, whose attitude thad been one of sombre acquiescence and con- emptuous depreciation. If, therefore, the bill should be a success, the Government would have a right to all the credit attaching to their legislation. Answering Sir C. Dilke, he affirmed that in many cases it was certainly desirable to create freeholds with the help of public money, and he referred to the purchase of holdings in Ireland in support of his contention. For his part, he declared he should like to see every working man in the country the free- holder of his house. The bill was then read a third time, amid Unionist cheers. IMrROVBMKHT OP LAND. I On the order for the second reading of the Im- provement of Land Bill, which extends the period for the repayment of charges under the Act of 1864 from 25 years to 40 years and amends the enact- ments relating to the improvement of land in a varietv of wt\vs. Mr. S. Evans, Mr. Lewis, and other members of the Opposition complained that the bill did not contain special provisions for the improve- ment of labourers' cottages. Mr. Long explained that the measure, which he had regarded as being uncontroversial. would assist limited owners who found it difficult to obtain money for the develop- ment of their estates on reasonable terms but the statement of the right hon. gentleman failed to satisfy the members who were opposing the measure, and they challenged a division, with the result that the second reading was carried by 140 votes against 44. The bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Law after a second division. NIQERLAND. The report of the financial resolution upon which to found the bill relating to the administration of the Niger Company's territories was agreed to after pro- tests from Mr. T. P. O'Connor, Mr. Dillon, and Mr. Dalziel, who held that the House ought not to sanc- tion the introduction of the measure until it had been supplied with fuller information than it yet possessed. The bill having been brought in by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and read a first time.





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