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The vintage Hansard Trawl, featuring the menace of park bands, confused deserters and turbulent Tristanians

Out of the frying pan and into the fire:

COLONEL DUNNE said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the practice of orders being sent from the War Department to Officers commanding Militia Regiments to release deserters from their corps who have enlisted into the Line; and to ask the Secretary of State for War if such a practice is not contrary to the Articles of War?

MR. SIDNEY HERBERT said, there could be no doubt that, whether politic or impolitic, the practice was strictly legal; because it was laid down in the Mutiny Act that a deserter from the Militia who enlisted in the Line was to be received, but that his time in the army was not to count till the time for which he had enlisted in the Militia was expired.

Am I baffled by the idea that anyone would desert the equivalent of the TA and then want to go on active service. Very rum indeed.

And slapdown o' the day:

COLONEL DUNNE But how does the right hon. Gentleman get over the perjury of these men?

MR. SIDNEY HERBERT I don't get over it at all. The question is how the law gets over it.


Disgruntled sabbatarians:

MR. EDWIN JAMES (Lib) said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works what reply, if any, he gave to a Deputation of the Lord's Day Society, which attended him upon the subject of preventing the performance of Bands in the Parks on Sundays?

Mr Fitzroy ....he fully agreed with them as to the right of every man to the enjoyment of one day of rest in the week, and that he would be most unwilling to be a party to anything that would affect that right; but at the same time he stated that the performers who composed the band were free agents, and undertook the duty voluntarily; that according to the showing of the deputation, vast numbers of persons frequented the parks to enjoy the music; that the privilege had been continued for several years; that no complaints of riot or improper conduct had been made with respect to the parties frequenting the parks: and that he would not feel justified in abolishing the existing practice, which had been so long continued without leading to any inconvenience.

Sounds like a sensible chap, this Fitzroy character


MR. CAMPBELL moved the following Resolutions: — That this House feels bound, before the Session closes, to express the deep respect it entertains for the firm and honourable manner in which the Government of Portugal has acted on its Treaties with Great Britain, in restraining Negro exportation from the Eastern Coast of Africa in 1857 and 1858. That this House fully recognizes the zeal with which the Emperor of the French has resolved to check the Slave Trade in all its forms through his dominions.

Mr Buxton ....He knew that the Portuguese themselves were anxious that there should be some such expression of opinion on the part of the British Parliament as that now proposed, which would have the effect of placing them in a better position with respect to their efforts to suppress the slave trade than they were in at present.

I very much doubt whether Lisbon would care a fig for any resolutions the Commons might pass these days. Ah well.

Moving swiftly on, 1909.

Tristan da Cunha

Major ANSTRUTHER-GRAY asked the Under-Secretary if he can state what is the latest news he has received from Tristan da Cunha as to the condition of the inhabitants; whether it is his intention to appoint a magistrate there; and whether any arrangement can be made for periodical visits of ships to the island?

Colonel SEELY Information has been received up to April last, from which it appears that the health of the islanders had not been very good and the attempts to open up trade with the Cape had not so far been successful. Some trouble has been caused by certain turbulent persons on the island, and the appointment of a magistrate is under consideration. Further attempts are being made to open up trade, and, if successful, a vessel will no doubt be able to visit the island at more or less regular intervals.

Storing up trouble for further down the 'pike

Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies what meaning the Government attaches to the words of European descent used in the South Africa Bill [Lords]; whether the meaning of the words was discussed with the official representatives from South Africa, and with what results?

Colonel SEELY The term European descent has been used in various Acts of Parliament passed by the Legislatures of the South African States and in official documents used in this' country. There was a judicial decision in the Transvaal in 1905 as to the interpretation of the word "white" which was regarded as substantially identical with the term of "European descent," and administrative decisions have been given in this country, but it is not possible to state in precise terms what exact meaning will be attached to the words in the Bill.

Mr. W. P. BYLES Is a person with only one European parent entitled to claim to be of European descent?

Colonel SEELY Everybody has two parents. This question is one of great difficulty, and I cannot say what the decision would be in such a case. It is not clear, from cases already decided, how many parents are required to establish the qualification for European descent.

I believe such folk ended up being termed 'coloured'..

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