(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,210, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Land Commissioners for England, and for defraying the repayable Expenses to be incurred in matters of Enclosure and Land Improvement, and under 'The Extraordinary Tithe Redemption Act, 1886.'
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
said, he had carefully looked through this Estimate for the Land Commission, and he thought it was a fair specimen of the style of Estimate which was constantly brought before the House. The Land Commission, as far as he was able to understand, had not much to do. It was reformed in 1886, under a Tory Government, when it took further work into its hands. Under the present Estimate there were three Commissioners, each with a salary of £1,500 a-year, while the work which had to be done in the Office was scarcely sufficient to occupy the time and attention of one Commissioner. His first objection, there fore, to the Vote was that so large a sum of money should be voted to the Commissioners who presided over this Office, 464 on the ground that the work they had to discharge in the Office was not sufficient to occupy the whole of their time, and it was only necessary that they should attend at the Office occasionally. He was sorry to say that the Government, in framing the Estimate, had given very little information indeed—in fact, none whatever—as to the work done by these Commissioners. It was only by private inquiry that he had been able to ascertain that these Commissioners enjoyed a longer holiday and had less work to do than any other Government official. Nevertheless, each of them received a salary of £1,500 a-year. The first Motion he intended to submit to the Committee was that the Vote should be reduced by the sum of £3,000, being the salary of two of the Commissioners, leaving only one Commissioner at the head of the Office. Whenever any real work had to be done an Assistant Commissioner had to be employed, who received remuneration for his services at the rate of four or five guineas per day. As far as he (Mr. Molloy) had been able to learn, the only important work that had been done recently bad not been carried out by the Commissioners, but by an intelligent and learned gentleman—a barrister—who received payment for the work he did, which work, he contended, ought to have been done by the Commissioners themselves. The whole of the Vote was of n very extraordinary character. He had several times called attention to it and moved reductions in it; and, with the permission of the Committee, he would point out briefly the points to which he took exception. There was one item in the Vote of £100 which was payable for opinions given to the Heads of the Department by the Law Officers of the Crown. Now, the Law Officers of the Crown, in the opinion of a considerable portion of the Members of that House, already received remuneration far in excess of that to which they were entitled. He had always thought that the purpose for which Law Officers of the Crown were appointed was that they should advise the Government and the Government Departments, and for that work they received a large remuneration. This was essentially part of their duty—a portion of the work they were appointed to discharge, and for which they received, in one case, £9,000, and the 465 other £7,000 a-year. In addition, they claimed the right to receive certain fees, and fees were constantly charged in the Votes. The question was one which had aroused considerable feeling in that House, because, in the opinion of a large number of hon. Members—he might say in that of the majority of the House—it was felt that the remuneration of the Law Officers of the Crown was more than sufficient at present without any extra payments at all in the shape of fees. There was one item in the Vote—a very small item, no doubt, but one which appeared to involve a question of principle. The item to which he referred was a sum of £30 paid to the Legal Assistant Commissioner in the shape of fees for taxing. The explanation of this item was that it represented the fees paid on taxing; but, if so, it ought to be clearly stated in the Estimate. It would also appear that the Surveyor to the Department, who received a fair salary, received also, according to the Estimate, a further sum of money for doing what appeared to be his ordinary work. It appeared to him that the Legal Assistant Commissioner did the real work of the Office, especially in connection with arbitrations and questions relating to inclosure and tithe; but surely the very object for which the Commissioners themselves were appointed was to do that work. Nevertheless, when any work had to be done they employed an Assistant Commissioner front outside the Office. He had also a further objection to the Estimate. Under Sub-head K there was an item for "Appropriations in Aid," giving the estimated amount of expenses repayable and recoverable within the year. For last year the amount was stated to be £15,000, and for the present year the Estimate was £10,000. These sums represented advances to the landlords for works and public improvements. Although the Estimates last year stated that £15,000 was repayable and recoverable within the year, it had not only not been repaid, but this year a further sum of £10,000 was required under the same head. The Estimate said nothing as to what had become of the £15,000 repayable last year. There was no pretence of giving a debtor and creditor account, and it certainly seemed to him that the Trea- 466 sury were not dealing altogether fairly with the public. With regard to the item of £15,000, he had searched, as far as he was able, the Papers which had been laid before Parliament, but he did not find any record of this sum having been paid. He wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) whether it had been paid, and, if so, where the payment was shown? Without troubling the Committee by going into further details, he would move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £3,000, being the amount of the salaries of two of the Commissioners out of the three who were new required to do the work of the Office. He believed that one Chief Commissioner was quite sufficient, and that the other two were of no earthly use to the Department.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Item A, Salaries and Wages, be reduced by the sum of £3,000, the Salary of two of the Commissioners."—(Mr. Molloy.)
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTLEY) (Sheffield, Hallam)
said, that probably the hon. Member did not recollect that in the Session of 1886 a similar discussion was raised as to the Office of the Land Commission. At that time he (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) made himself acquainted with the facts of the matter, confining himself, however, to the policy of the Office, and leaving the financial details to his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury. At that time he discovered that the letters alone which were received in the Office of the Examiners amounted to 35,000.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, the number he had mentioned was received in the year 1885. The transactions of the Office were not only numerous, but were connected with a great variety of subjects: for instance there were inclosures; compensation for extinction of common rights; cases under various Acts of Parliament which numbered 69; improvement of land, 387 cases; five main drainage cases; 197 copyhold cases; 102 cases of University property dealt with by the Commissioners; tithe cases; appropriations, reductions of rent charge, and other similar cases amounting to 606 in that particular year; and 208 cases under the Settled Lands Act. There 467 were altogether 1,900 cares or different transactions, to which it was necessary to add 2,192 applications involving inspection of documents. The total number of cases dealt with by the Office was 557. Since that period the legislation of Parliament had materially added to the work of the Land Commission Office, two important Acts of Parliament, the Extraordinary Tithe Redemption Act and Copyhold Enfranchisement Act, having come into operation. He was assured that there was no day in the year, except when the Commissioners took a natural holiday, that they were not all in attendance at the Office. He believed that the Commissioners signed all the letters and gave their personal attention to the various transactions he had named. No doubt there were Assistant Commissioners in addition. It was their duty to go down into various parts of the country, and make local inquiries, reporting the result of their investigations to the Commissioners, who exercised their discretion in particular cases.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, he thought he ought to answer the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy) as to the sum of £15,000 to which he had referred, and which appeared under Subhead K. The hon. and learned Member was probably aware that the Extraordinary Tithe Act of 1886 imposed certain special duties upon the Land Commission, which duties consisted in taking certain valuations, the cost of which was to be repaid when the valuations were completed. The item of £15,000 represented the estimated expenditure under that head last year, which would be repaid; but he was afraid that it would not be recovered this year, for this reason: that, although the valuations had been made, it was necessary to make them locally, and certain persons interested in the matter had raised objections to the valuation. Some of the facts were disputed, and it would be necessary to arrive at a decision in regard to them before the whole of the money could be recovered. He believed it had been agreed to submit certain test cases which would decide the whole. Arrangements had been made for collecting the money by the Inland Revenue officers, on behalf of the Commission, as soon as the ques- 468 tions now pending had been satisfactorily decided. With reference to the item of £100, which appeared in the Vote as the Estimate for fees to be paid to the Law Officers of the Crown, perhaps it was right he should say that last year a question was raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) as to the principle involved in this Vote. The right hon. Gentleman contended that an Office like the Land Commission should, as far as possible, be made self-supporting. With that principle he (Mr. Jackson) entirely sympathized; and, with a view of giving effect to it, the question he had to consider was whether the Commissioners were more numerous or more highly remunerated than the proper discharge of the duty on behalf of the public required? There had been certain alterations sanctioned by the Treasury, from which certain facilities would accrue to the public from the future discharge of the functions of the Commission, and it was anticipated that these charges would enable the Commission to provide £1,500 or £2,000 in aid of the expenses of the Office. With regard to the amount specified in the item referred to by the hon. and learned Member, it did not represent a sum which had actually gone into the pockets of the Law Officers of the Crown; but it was an amount estimated as the legal expenses likely to be incurred in connection with the Department.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury if it was intended that the future Grants in Aid to be given to England were to include the charges of this Office, or whether, over and above the grant to England, the actual cost of this Department was to be paid by a Vote of that House?
§ MR. JACKSON
was understood to say that the charge for the Land Commission would remain as at present.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, that was exactly what he had expected. He wished, therefore, to point out to the Committee that this was a Land Commission for dealing with subjects in England for which there was no corresponding grant for Scotland. The consequence was that when they came to divide Grants in Aid between England and Scotland it would be found that England would take more 469 than her fair division of the money. He might further point out to the Committee that, over and above the excess which England would take to herself, there were grants to England for which there was no corresponding grant to Scotland, and which the Scotch ratepayers had to pay out of their own pockets. He might carry the case a great deal farther, but he would only deal now with the Land Commission for England. The principle had been practically admitted by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury that the Land Commission ought to be self-supporting, and that the cost of maintaining it ought not to be laid as a burden upon the taxes of the country. If the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for King's County were carried and the salaries of two of the Commissioners were struck off the Vote, the reduction effected would only amount to £3,000, and would still leave a sum of £10,000 raised by general taxation for England, while Scotland was left to manage its own affairs without any similar contribution from general taxation. He saw no reason why England should not he called upon to bear its own expenses in the same way as Scotland, and he thought that the Scotch Members ought to resist this Vote on the ground that it was exceptional legislation on behalf of one of the Three Kingdoms.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, the hon. Member appeared to be under the impression that the total Grants in Aid given to England exceeded relatively those which were given to Scotland.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, that according to the information in his possession he believed that that was not the case, but that in England the Grants in Aid were loss if the population of each country were taken into consideration.
said, the hon. Member was now referring to a subject which was altogether irregular, seeing that it had no hearing upon the Vote before the Committee. It was a matter which could not be entered into upon the present discussion.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
said, that unless the Committee received a more satisfactory explanation than they had yet had from the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home 470 Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley), he should certainly give his vote for the reduction of the Estimate which had been moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Molloy). It was perfectly absurd to suppose that 5,000 transactions in the course of the year required three highly-paid Commissioners and a Legal Assistant Commissioner to do the work. But he objected to the Vote on another ground. He objected to all these permanent Commissions. Such Commissions were all very well when they had permanent work to do; but when an Office had permanent work to do Commissioners ought to be abolished, and they ought to have the work done on a different system. There ought to be one man at the head of the Department, who would take upon himself a personal responsibility for the whole of the business transacted. It was utterly impossible, when they had three heads, to fix any responsibility; and he entertained a very strong opinion that these various Offices were kept up for patronage purposes. He found, on going through the list, that every one of these Commissioners had been either a Treasury Clerk or the Private Secretary to a Minister. He did not think that posts in the service of the country ought to be reserved as patronage posts; and, if only for the sake of entering a protest against the present system of Commissions, he should support the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, he entirely agreed with the remarks which had been made by the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury); but he would suggest to his hon. and learned Friend the Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy) that he had not gone far enough. Certainly, he should feel desirous of pushing the point of the objections raised by his hon. and learned Friend a little further. His hon. and learned Friend proposed to reduce the number of the Commissioners by two, so as to leave one Commissioner at the head of the Office; but he (Mr. Conybeare) contended that there was no necessity even for the third Commissioner, seeing that there was already another Commissioner bearing the title of Resident Legal Assistant Commissioner. Why not have a Commissioner possessing legal know- 471 ledge, and pay him £1,500 a-year? That was all they wanted; and, therefore, after the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend was disposed of, he (Mr. Conybeare) would propose a further reduction by the omission of the salary of £800 a-year paid to the Resident Legal Assistant Commissioner. The Committee had not been informed by the Secretary to the Treasury, except in the most general terms, what the Commissioners did; and he had failed to gather what the hon. Gentleman's explanation was of the legal expenses, amounting to £100, proposed to be paid to the Law Officers of the Crown. He did not see why the Treasury should be called upon to pay fees for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, in addition to the salaries those hon. and learned Gentlemen received. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury had not enlightened the Committee at all upon that matter, and he would press for further information upon the point. Nor had the hon. Gentleman told them how many days in the year, or how many hours in the day, these highly-paid gentlemen were to be found in the Office. The statement of the hon. Gentleman was that they were always in attendance every day, except when they took their natural holiday. He wished to know what was the length of the natural holiday of these Commissioners? Was it one or two months? The natural holiday of a Civil servant was 10 days or a fortnight. Did these Commissioners get much more? Certainly, the Committee ought to know what was the natural amount of work they did in the Office. He held in his hand a Report of the Commission; but it did not reveal anything like an amount of work which would justify the expense of the Office, or the continuance of such a staff as the Committee were now asked to vote. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) said that 35,000 letters and documents were received by the Land Commission in one year; but the Committee were not told the number of letters actually written in the Office. The hon. Gentleman stated the number of letters the Commissioners were required to sign two years ago.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
remarked that the mere reading over of letters was not an onerous duty; and, therefore, he wished to know what number of letters were sent out in reply? Having had the number received, he asked the hon. Gentleman to supplement the information with the number sent in reply. He saw that the Land Commission consisted of three Commissioners with salaries of £1,500 a-year each; a Resident Legal Assistant Commissioner with £800 a-year; five Assistant Commissioners who conducted the local inquiries; a Chief Clerk with £600 a-year; a Senior First-Class Clerk with £550 a-year; four First-Class Clerks with salaries ranging from £300 to £500 a-year; a Chief Surveyor at £380; six Second-Class Clerks, a Lower Division, a Record Keeper, and so on. He ventured to say that the principal portion of the work was done by the clerks, although the lion's share of the pay went to the Commissioners. In regard to the Report of the Commissioners, he felt bound to complain that it was exceedingly deficient in the information which the House of Commons desired. The first portion of the Report related to the reclamation and inclosure of commons and the application of the compensation money paid for the extinction of common rights. A certain number of commons were named in the Report as in the process of being inclosed and regulated. It was perfectly well known that in the past history of the country most of those inclosures involved robberies committed upon poor people; and when he looked at the figures given in the Report as to the cases of inclosure and appropriation, he became convinced that the same system of robbery under the inclosure of common rights was still going on. In one case in the County of Westmoreland, 6,383 acres were to be regulated and 4,075 acres inclosed. Another case related to the County of Cornwall, a Division of which he had the honour to represent. Of the Lizard Common, Cornwall, 280 acres were to be inclosed, and only 70 acres were to be regulated. As a distinction was drawn between regulation and inclosure, he assumed that the portion to be regulated was 473 that which was to be retained for the use of the public, while the remainder was to be taken away. He wished to know why, in the case of the Lizard Common, Cornwall, so large a proportion as 280 acres was to be converted into private property, and only 70 acres left for the use of the public? As to compensation, he found in the Report a statement that in 45 cases compensation money had been paid for the acquisition of the common rights upon land belonging to the public which was required for railway purposes, and that in 19 other cases money had been invested for the benefit of the public. In 17 instances the money had been laid out in public improvements. What he had to complain of was that in the Report itself more detailed information was not provided. It was impossible for hon. Members sitting there, and endeavouring to check the Votes, to ascertain, without further information as to places and localities, where the changes were going on, the number of persons who were interested, and whether the inclosures were properly carried out or not. There was grave suspicion that hitherto they had not been properly carried out. It was, therefore, necessary that there should be a further Report; and he hoped that the Secretary to the Treasury would be able to promise information in reference to the places where the acquisition of common rights and the inclosure of common land were going on, together with the number of persons interested. If that were done, hon. Members would be able to form some opinion as to the extent of the transactions, and the number of persons who were being deprived of their common rights, together with the sums of money they were receiving in the shape of compensation. He found, from another portion of the Report, that in the case of transactions under the Tithe Commutation Act, where this Department and the landlords and the main appropriators were concerned, about 16,000 acres had been redeemed for a capital sum of £416,000, which worked out to 26 years' purchase. What he wished to ascertain was, whether anything like the same proportion had been observed in the compensation given to those who had been deprived of their common rights under Section 2 of the Act? He considered that 26 years' 474 purchase was a very long price to pay in the case of the redemption of tithe, and so on; but if it were not too large a price, then the public ought to receive compensation for the extinction of their common rights on the same principle as the tithe holders were paid for the extinction of tithe. Until the Committee received far more information than they now had, it would be impossible for them to form a satisfactory opinion, from the bald statement contained in the Report, as to the cost at which these commonable rights were taken away from the poor. He thought these were points upon which the Committee were entitled to receive further information before they consented to pass the Vote; and he, therefore, heartily supported the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend for the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £3,000.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) had quoted the figures which he (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) had given as representing 5,000 transactions in which the Commissioners took part in the course of the year.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, that, no doubt, there were 5,000 separate transactions in the course of the year; but his hon. Friend had mistaken the figures he (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) had given. The letters received in the course of the year he had mentioned numbered 35,000. The hon. Member for the Camborne Division of Cornwall (Mr. Conybeare) complained of the course that was pursued in reference to the inclosure and regulation of common land. He would remind the hon. Member that in every one of these cases of inclosure the House itself was a party to what was done. Every scheme recommending the inclosure of common land was sent to a Committee upstairs, nominated specially for the consideration of such questions; and all the evidence bearing upon the scheme was fully gone into and thoroughly sifted by that Committee. Therefore, if any injustice had been done, it was really the House itself that must bear the responsibility. In addition, the previous and subsequent stages of an Inclosure Bill gave the House the power of interfering in regard to com- 475 pensation for the extinction of common rights; these were not cases in which there could be any question of the robbery of the poor, or their unjust deprivation of their rights as commoners. This could happen only when compulsory powers were granted for any purpose such as the construction of a railway; and in such a case Parliament had full opportunity of seeing that no injustice was done, and if injustice were inflicted Parliament itself was to blame.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
said, the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) had not met the main points of his objection. He did not complain of any injustice being done in ordering these inclosures; but he complained of the form in which the Report was presented on the ground that it failed to give full information whether, in exchange for the extinction of commonable rights, a sufficient amount of compensation had been given to the public or not. He trusted that better and more full information would be included in next year's Report.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, that in the case of every Provisional Order the scheme was accessible to the hon. Member in the Library.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
remarked, that it was all very well to say that hon. Members might go to the Library; but what were these gentlemen who received large salaries as Commissioners paid for, if it was not intended that they should make a general statement in regard to what they had done? In this case they found that a certain number of acres had been inclosed, and when they asked for information they were told to go and look in the Library into a lot of old and musty archives. It was not a question of whether there had been 5,000 or 6,000 transactions in the Office; but they had three gentlemen receiving salaries of £1,500 a-year each, who were said to be always at the Office when they were not upon a holiday. The Government were asked how long the holiday lasted; but the Treasury did not appear to know, nor were the Committee told for how many hours a day the Commissioners were occupied in the Office. As a matter of fact, he believed that these £1,500 per annum gentlemen were very 476 rarely to be found at the Office. If a Return were made it would be found that they were not there upon one-half of the working days of the year, but were absent on their mysterious holiday, which, as the Committee were told, the Commissioners indulged in. The Chief Clerk did all the Commissioners' work, and for services in copying, &c., beyond those done in the establishment, a sum of £1,050 appeared to have been paid. He was prepared to say that the unfortunate gentlemen who performed these services were not allowed a holiday at all. If they were to enter into the question of separate letters and transactions, he had no doubt it would be found that the clerks who were in the Office morning, noon, and night did all the work themselves. He quite agreed with the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell) that, so far as Scotland was concerned, the work was done by the Scotch people themselves, and that they ought not to be called upon to pay for the work done in England. He thought it was a great abuse to throw these charges upon the general public. The best proof possible that the charge ought to be borne by the proprietors of land was furnished by the fact that there was no corresponding Vote for Scotland. That fact afforded convincing proof that the expenditure was unnecessary, for the Scotch people would not consent to do without the money if it were necessary and could be got. Under these circumstances, he would support the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Molloy), and also any Motion of any sort or kind in regard to this or any other Vote that would tend to bring about a reduction of expenditure of any amount upon a Public Department.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
said, he had failed to gather from the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson), or the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley), whether there had been any increase or reduction in the work last year?
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, the figures he had mentioned appeared in the Commissioners' Report last year. In addition to a large number of transactions in connection with the Office 477 last year, there were 56 applications for schemes which were in progress of consideration now. That number was less than in previous years; but he imagined that the parties interested had been waiting for the Copyhold Act to come into full effect last year.
§ MR. HUNTER
said, he found that in 1885 there were applications for about 1,000 schemes; in 1882, 269; and it appeared that this year there were only about 50; showing the diminished amount of work the Land Commissioners had to perform. Personally, he wished to support the view put before the Committee by the hon. Member for Preston, and which in theory had been accepted by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury—namely, that it would be inexcusable that any portion of the payment for this work should be thrown on the shoulders of the taxpayers of Scotland. The Land Commission did excellent work for the landowners, and were doing work for them which in former days would have necessitated their going to the Court of Chancery or applying for the benefit of an Act of Parliament. They were now able to get the same work done at an extremely small cost, and it was work in which the general community had no interest whatever. He thought that the Commissioners ought either to raise the fees, so as, at least, to equalize the expenditure and income, or, if they found they could not obtain more in the shape of fees, they ought then to reduce the expenditure. If they found it impossible to afford three salaries amounting to £4,500 per annum, let them afford one at £1,500; and if they could not do that, let them reduce the salary to £500. He maintained that if the Government continued to do the work for the advantage of the landowners they ought to make a profit upon it. They made a profit upon every letter they carried for the poorest person in the Kingdom, and they ought not to undertake the work of the landlords without making a profit also. It was quite clear that there was a diminishing amount of business, and it was necessary that the Commission should be kept in full employment. Upon these grounds he should vote for the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy).
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
said, the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) had, in a very clear manner, enunciated the principle that the cost of this Office ought not to be borne by the public. That principle had been accepted in theory by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson), and he (Mr. Ellis) was quite certain that it received the sanction of a large number of the Members of that House. In 1886 there was a strong opinion expressed on both sides of the House that the taxpayers of the country ought to receive more value for their money than they had hitherto had. The Secretary to the Treasury had said that he agreed with most of the remarks of the hon. Member for Preston, and was of opinion that the public ought not to pay the sole charge of these Commissions. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman was not aware that in 1868 an interesting debate took place in that House upon this very question. The Conservative Party were in power at the time, and a Resolution was moved by Mr. Goldney, who was then Member for Chippenham, declaring that the expenses of this Commission ought not to be thrown upon the public. The late Mr. Ward Hunt, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, said that he accepted the principle entirely; and there now stood upon the Journals of the House a Resolution that, in the opinion of the House, the expenses of the Copyhold Commission and of the Charity Commission ought not to be borne by the public. It was a matter of regret that the Resolution had not been acted upon during all the years which had since elapsed. Under the circumstances, he should support the Motion for the reduction of the Vote, because he looked upon it as a protest against the present state of things. He earnestly hoped that the principle of relieving the public from the cost of this Office would be acted upon.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, the hon. Member opposite (Mr. J. E. Ellis) had asserted that the principle which he accepted was that the cost of this Office should not be borne by the public. That was not the principle he had accepted; but he did sympathize with the theory that, as far as possible, the Office ought to be 479 made self-supporting. There were certain duties discharged by the Office which were exclusively for the benefit of the public, and he thought that for those duties the public were entitled to pay. In the remarks he had made he went on to show that the Government had been endeavouring to give effect to this principle, inasmuch as they had just sanctioned additional fees which ought to bring in £1,500, or probably £2,000 a-year more. Taking that fact into account, he did not think the Committee would be of opinion that it was desirable to dislocate the whole of the business of the Commission, but that they should proceed to give effect gradually to the principle he had indicated. The Government were of opinion that the work done by the Commission was for the public benefit. They ought, as far as they could, to make it self-supporting; but he had been far from expressing the opinion that the whole of the cost of an Office from which the public derived considerable benefit ought to be borne by individuals other than the public who resorted to it.
§ MR. BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
said, that an impression prevailed that a certain amount of dilatoriness existed in regard to the way in which the duties of the Assistant Commissioners were performed, and considerable inconvenience had been the result in the localities more particularly affected. These Assistant Commissioners were appointed under the Tithe Commutation Act of 1886, and he would like to hear whether they were paid so much per day for their services, or whether they received fees without regard to results? He suggested that it would be better to pay them by piece work, or by results. Probably, if such a system were adopted, the progress of their investigations would be accelerated.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, the question was carefully considered at the time the Assistant Commissioners were appointed, and a scale of payments was settled. He was only speaking from memory, but his impression was that these gentlemen were paid so much per day. The work, however, was of a character that was very easily surcharged, and he did not think there had been any undue delay. The only reason why it had not been completed was that there were certain test cases which had been raised in 480 connection with certain points upon which it had been found necessary to take legal advice. Upon these test cases a decision would shortly be come to, and after it had been announced the work would be proceeded with rapidly.
§ MR. MOLLOY
remarked, that if he wanted any justification of the Motion he had placed before the House for reducing the number of the Commissioners from three to two, it was to be found in the fact that from the Treasury Bench itself there had been no defence of the scale upon which the Office was manned. The nearest attempt at a justification was made by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley); but of all the meagre defences ever put before a Committee of Supply, that of the hon. Gentleman was the most meagre. The hon. Gentleman entirely ignored the fact that the whole of this subject had been debated in the House of Commons in 1886. The hon. Member had quoted in defence of the Office a set of figures the House refused to accept in 1886. He had quoted almost precisely the same set of figures which the House refused to accept in justification of the retention of three Commissioners—namely, that in one year the Office received 35,000 letters. He was reminded of the old smoker who acknowledged how much tobacco he had smoked in the course of 20 years, but defended it on the ground that it all came to nothing. The defence of the Government amounted to this—that from 30,000 to 35,000 letters were received in the Office in the course of a year; and in order to deal with that large amount of correspondence an Office was kept up in connection with which there were three Commissioners, a Resident Legal Assistant Commissioner, 18 regularly paid clerks, and a number of unknown clerks called copying clerks. Something like 26 or 27 persons were employed to receive the letters and peruse them at the rate of about 100 per day; yet this was put forward in that House as an immense amount of business, sufficient to justify an extravagant expenditure of the public money. Now, what were the letters that were received by the Land Commission? One-half of them were merely formal acknowledgments of the receipt of plans, and asking who was to receive so and 481 so. If these 100 letters represented 100 different classes of business transactions which had to be carried out, there might be something in this defence. But what would an hon. Member say if in the course of business a complaint was made that the staff he employed was not large enough, and on inquiry he found that all the staff did was to receive 100 letters a-day, about one-half of which, or about two per day for each man employed, were answered? He had specially avoided entering into any question of a personal character; but he warned the Secretary to the Treasury that if this style of Estimate was to be continued, a Committee of the House would have to examine into how the Commissioners came to be appointed. The Office was over-manned, and it afforded one instance of the jobbery by which men were appointed to Commissionerships, which they had not earned and did not deserve. He had no hesitation in saying that a very considerable amount of jobbery went on in connection with the Public Expenditure—much more than the country had any idea of. As he had said, a number of men were appointed to positions they had never earned, to the detriment of others who had worked hard in the Office. He believed the public would be astonished when the true facts came to be known. He would ask those who really wished to see economy carried out in the Public Expenditure whether they were prepared to continue voting year after year £3,000 per annum to men who did not earn £150 throughout the whole year? He had put a Question to the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department as to the number of hours the Commissioners actually spent in the Office during a day, but he had failed to elicit a satisfactory answer. He was told that they attended the Office every day, except when they were enjoying their natural holiday. But they might go down to the Office every day and only remain there for half-an-hour. There were no particulars before the Committee as to the work done. All they had before them was the amount of money spent annually, and spent for work done which, if it were the only work transacted, would be not worth one-fourth of the money paid for it. He wished to make no personal allusion to the present Commissioners, but he 482 must enter a most determined protest against the present system, and against the continuance of this most extravagant expenditure of the public money without any explanation whatever from those who were employed in the Office, or any explanation from those in authority. He asked for this information in the name of the taxpayers of the country; and as he certainly intended to go to a Division he trusted that all who were in favour of economy and the saving of the taxpayers' money would vote with him.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
remarked, that the justification which the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) had given of the Estimate was one which would not only induce him to vote for the reduction of the Vote, but would compel him to move still further reductions. What was the explanation which the Under Secretary of State had given? The hon. Gentleman had drawn attention to the fact that the same question had been raised in 1886. The statement then made was that a certain amount of work was then done by the Commission, and it was now added that that work had since been very much increased. But had the hon. Gentleman turned to the very next page of the particulars of the Vote which the Committee were considering, he would see that there were several thousand pounds more charged for the additional work created by the Tithe Redemption Act of 1886 and otherwise. Therefore, instead of pleading this in any fashion as a defence of the Office, if the hon. Gentleman was not able to defend it otherwise, he should have left it alone altogether, because he was really damaging the Vote by the explanation he had offered. Sub heads E and F dealt with the whole of the extra work created by the Tithe Redemption Act; and he maintained that it was by no means satisfactory for a Minister who took up the defence of a Vote to be unable to offer any kind of explanation as to details, but simply to desire hon. Members to go into the Library and look up the information which he himself ought to be prepared to give to the Committee in justification of the amount of money asked for. He would put it to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Trea- 483 sury (Mr. Jackson), who always gave the Committee the whole of the information in his possession, that, instead of maintaining the present officers, one Commissioner might be retained, and that the note at the top of the page showed that the Assistant Commissioners were paid at so much per day, and an additional fee on Report. He trusted that in future the Committee would not be asked to vote blindly in this way in favour of a Vote without having received a word of explanation.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 69; Noes 154: Majority 85.—(Div. List, No. 277.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
stated that in accordance with the intimation he had conveyed a short time ago he proposed now to move the reduction of the Vote by a sum of £800, being the salary of the Resident Legal Assistant Commissioner. He did not object to the appointment of a Legal Commissioner, but he thought it would answer every necessary purpose if they had a Chief Commissioner who had received a legal education and training. As he had already commented upon that matter, he would direct his observations now to another point. Under Sub-head No. 5 there was an item which very much corroborated what he had already characterized as the unbusinesslike way of setting forth the details of the work of the Commission in the Estimates. The Committee were told under that head that the expenditure in 1887 in Great Britain, under various Improvement Acts, had amounted to some millions of the public money. He maintained that the House of Commons had an absolute right to know some of the details of that expenditure, so that they might become acquainted with the rate of interest at which the public money had been lent to landowners, how much had been repaid, and how much still remained to be repaid. He trusted that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would be able to give the Committee some information upon that subject. No doubt it might be answered that if he went to the Library and would look up the different Statutes he would be able to get all the information he required for himself, but he maintained 484 that that was not the way in which the House ought to be satisfied upon important points of this character. They had a perfect right to have all those matters set out in full detail, so that by the time when the Votes were under the consideration of the Committee of Supply hon. Members might be furnished with full information on which to base their criticisms of the Estimates. With reference to the reduction which he was about to move, he had no doubt the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury would also tell them that if the Motion were carried it would dislocate the whole business of Commissions; but that was not an argument to which they ought to pay any attention, because no change could be carried out without, to a certain extent, dislocating existing arrangements. Hitherto it had been the custom, year after year, to put off the Committee of Supply by arguments of that kind. What they desired was to effect some permanent improvement at once. If that were not done, and the matter be raised again some 10 years hence, no matter what Government was in power, they would be met with the same arguments. These things had been going on far too long already, and it was time the House took measures to effect some real reform. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) had attempted an apology for the large expenditure in connection with this Vote, on the ground that a great deal of the work done by the Commissioners was public work, done in the public interest. He wished to know, on the other hand, how much of it was work done in the interests of the landowning classes? If they took the different sections of the Acts of Parliament under which the work was done, it would, no doubt, be found that a certain amount of work was carried out which might be called public work; but, on the other hand, there was a great deal of work done which was not public work in any sense—namely, that affecting the alteration and division of land under the sanction of Public Acts of Parliament, such as the enfranchisement of leasehold property, of inclosure of common land, and transactions under the Tithes Commutations Act and the Universities College Estates Act. If hon. Members would look carefully into 485 the Report of the Commission, it would be found that a great bulk of the work was done in the interests of one class—namely, the landowning class of the country. At any rate, if the House of Commons was to be asked to vote these large sums of money because public work was being done, they were entitled to have a clear statement showing what was the amount of public work, and what was the amount done in the interests of the landowning class. If a Return of that nature were given, hon. Members would be able to see whether the public or the taxpayers were unfairly treated.
Motion made, and Question,
That Item A (Salaries and Wages) be reduced by the sum of £800, the Salary of the Resident Legal Assistant Commissioner,"—(Mr. Conybeare.)
—put, and negatived.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
said, there was one question upon which he should feel it necessary to take the sense of the Committee, unless the Government were able to give a clear and satisfactory explanation in regard to it. He was afraid they would be unable to do so after what he had already heard from the Treasury Bench. Under one of the Sub-heads to this Vote, there was an item of £100 for fees upon the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown. He had failed to understand, either from the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury or the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of those legal expenses had been paid in the last year or the year before, so as to guide the Committee in arriving at an estimate of the probable expenditure. Before making a Motion, he should wait to hear what explanation was given upon the matter; and he would suggest to the Committee what the principle was which was involved in this item. If it involved the payment of fees to the Law Officers of the Crown on non-contentious business, then he thought the Committee ought to know why those Officers were thus being paid, because he was of opinion that a payment of that nature was a matter which Parliament should directly set its face against. He should be glad to receive some explanation from the 486 hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury before putting the Committee to the trouble of a Division.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, it would be obvious to the Committee that this item of £100 placed on the Estimates was a provision made in case of an emergency, or of a complicated point arising when the expenditure would become necessary. It did not follow that the amount would be expended, but of course the Treasury was bound to provide for any contingency that might be likely to arise. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) had raised a fair and practical question, and, therefore, it was desirable that he should give some information to the Committee as to what had been done. In 1886–7 there was no expenditure under this head. In 1885–6 the total expenditure amounted to 13s. 4d.; in 1884–5 the expenditure was £57 5s. 7d., and in 1883–4 there was no expenditure at all; so that the Committee would see that, although this was a provision necessary to be made in the event of some complicated question arising for which the Commission would have to pay for outside opinion, there had hitherto been a really small expenditure under that head; probably if the money were voted it would not be necessary to use it.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
said, he would suggest to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury that the answer he had given showed the absolute necessity of raising questions of this kind in Committee, because an unfair view was placed before the Committee that there were fees paid to the Law Officers of the Crown under this particular item. It now appeared quite clear that in some years the Law Officers of the Crown got nothing at all. He should be glad if the hon. Gentleman would inform the Committee how much the Law Officers got out of the £57 that were paid in 1884–5. If Law Officers of the Crown got nothing at all, he thought it was a pity to keep putting on the Estimates an insertion which was bad in principle and which hon. Members ought to challenge. He asked the Government to relieve him of the duty of moving the rejection of this item by an intimation that it would not appear on the Estimates again.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he was afraid that he was unable to say off-hand what portion of the fees was received by the 487 Law Officers or the Crown in regard to the sum of £57 expended in 1884–5. He thought, however, he might say, and probably he would be borne out by the hon. and learned Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster), that the Law Officers of the Crown received no fees in connection with Government business.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he hoped the hon. Member would be satisfied with the expression of an opinion that an alteration next year would be of advantage.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
asked if it would meet the views of the hon. Gentleman if he moved the omission of the words, "Fees for the Law Officers of the Crown?" He had a great objection to the insertion of a principle which could not be conscientiously sustained.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
said, that if the Government would undertake to carry out an understanding of that kind he would not press the matter.
§ MR. MOLLOY
asked if the Committee were to understand that in the event of the hon. and learned Attorney General, or any other Law Officer of the Crown, being called upon to give an opinion to any Government Department, the work was done for nothing, and that in no single case did the Law Advisers of the Crown receive fees?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
said, there was no doubt whatever as to the practice, or as to the way in which it was worked. So far as the non-contentious business of the Government Departments were concerned, the Law Officers advised without fees, but there were certain offices, not directly Government Offices, which from time to time consulted the opinion of the Law Officers and paid fees. So far as the Government Offices were concerned, the Law Officers of the Crown discharged all the non-contentious legal business of the Government without extra expenditure.
§ MR. MOLLOY
asked why, under such circumstances, an Estimate of £100 was inserted in the present Vote for extra fees? He wished to know if he understood the hon. Gentleman the Secretary 488 to the Treasury correctly that a similar item should not appear again on the Estimates?
§ MR. MOLLOY
asked if he was to understand that this sum of money was not intended to be paid to the Law Officers of the Crown in the shape of extra fees for their opinion upon Government business, and that an undertaking was given that it should not appear again in the present form?
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £173,968, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board, including various Grants in Aid of Local Taxation.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, he would like to have information from the Government in regard to one or two points connected with this Vote, and he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would be able now to bring before the Committee his proof in support of his pet argument that Scotland obtained more Grants in Aid per head of the population than England did. He found on looking over the Medical Vote—and he wished to call special attention to that Vote—that in England the Medical Vaccination Vote was £21,724, whilst Scotland only received £400. Now, the £400 granted to Scotland was not per head of the population equal to £21,724 granted to England. England drew far more than Scotland, and practically Scotland paid for all its own vaccination, in addition to which it had to help the unfortunate English taxpayers by paying a portion of the charge for the others. He also found in the Vote a charge for the Medical Department, which received £9,080 in the shape of salaries and £2,900 for the expenses of the Department, making a total in salaries and expenses of £11,980. When he turned to the Vote for Scotland he found that it got £200, as against £11,980 paid to England; then certainly, so far as that grant was concerned, Scotland 489 did not get so much per head of the population as England. In looking over other parts of the Estimates in connection with the old Medical Vote, he found that there was £149,200 paid to the Medical Officers of Health, and a sum of £74,500 for the Poor Law Medical Establishment, making altogether more than £200,000, while the entire Scotch Vote was only £20,600; comparing the population of England with the population of Scotland the money voted amounted to £10 per 1,000 in England, and £5 10s. per 1,000 in Scotland. He should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would explain how it was that the Scotch people got so much less than the English. The same discrepancy occurred regularly throughout the Vote; for instance, £9,600 was paid to Registrars in England, while in Scotland they had to pay all their own Registrars out of the local taxation. He failed to see why, under those circumstances, they ought to be required to pay any portion of the £9,600 required for the English Registrars. Then, again, he found that £15,000 was required to be paid for District Auditors; but in Scotland the cost of the District Audit was paid entirely from local sources. According to the Vote, the money expended in England was twice as much in comparison with the population as that in Scotland; and, in addition, the Scotch taxpayers were made to contribute a portion of the English taxes. Before moving the reduction of the Vote by £100,000, in order to bring the Vote for England to a level with that of Scotland, he would like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman opposite the basis upon which the statements he had made in reference to Scotland was founded.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
said, he thought it would be convenient, in discussing the Local Government Vote, to go into matters of detail. He wished to draw attention, in the first place, to the item for the inspection of workhouse schools in England. In Scotland there were no workhouse schools whatever, but all the pauper children were educated in the ordinary board schools, and the inspection took place in the ordinary way. He was not going to enforce the great importance of educating the children in the parish schools, and do away with the work- 490 house schools altogether; that was a principle which he proposed to bring forward later on. All he desired now was to call attention to the important fact that in Scotland all the children were educated in the ordinary board schools, and by that means the expense charged in the present Vote in connection with the audit and inspection of the workhouse schools was saved. He found that there were four Inspectors, who received £600 a-year each, and £250 for personal expenses, in addition to £112 10s. 0d. which each received for travelling expenses. He thought it was monstrous to suppose that those gentlemen expended £250 a-year in personal expenses, in addition to £112 10s. 0d. for travelling expenses, or a total of £362 a-year; that was about £1 a day, whether the Inspectors were in work or not, and they were paid for carrying on the work of inspection as well. Formerly the sum paid in this way was still greater, and it had been commuted in the case of personal expenses to £250 for each Inspector. The sum paid some years ago was much larger, and it was considered convenient to cut it down. Now, in the case of Scotland the children were inspected in the various localities where they happened to reside, without any extra cost of inspection at all. The whole of this Vote was an extra charge for which there was no corresponding charge whatever in Scotland. He did not ask for the reduction of the whole Vote, because he certainly attached some importance to the duty of inspection; but he did object to the payment of enormous sums for personal and travelling expenses, and he would therefore move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,000.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
said, that he had a Motion upon the Paper which would precede that which had been made by the hon. Member for Glasgow.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
said, it had reference to Sub-head F, which related to Metropolitan vagrants, and appeared upon page 140 of the Estimates.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
said, the item of the Vote to which he desired to draw 491 attention was that which defrayed the cost of the Inspectors who were employed to inspect the vagrant wards in the Metropolis with a view of detecting those who visited a Metropolitan vagrant ward more than once within a month. If a vagrant was so detected he became liable to be detained for four days. The matter was one of special importance at present, owing to the action taken by the police last winter, which action might be repeated in the approaching winter—namely, the driving of destitute people out of the streets, and, in fact, compelling them to have recourse to the casual wards. It was not his purpose now to question the action or policy of the Government in the matter, but merely to point out what that action had been, and to show that its practical result had been to force people to go into the casual wards. The policy of the law which the Inspectors were appointed to carry out was to deter people from having recourse to the casual wards, so that the police and the Local Government Board appeared to be at cross purposes on the matter. If they compelled vagrants to go into the casual wards it would certainly seem right not to treat them with too great severity when they were there; and especially the policy adopted ought not to be one that would deter them from going to the casual wards at all. What were the facts of the case? It had been said—and he believed there was a good deal of truth in the statement—that those people would rather be in prison than in the casual wards. There was, at all events, some reason why they should prefer the prison, because he understood that the tale of work exacted for them in prison was one-fourth less than in the casual wards. A person imprisoned in a gaol was required to pick three pounds of oakum, whereas in the casual wards they were required to pick four pounds. He had heard it said that it was a very easy thing to pick four pounds of oakum. Very likely it was so, if the person picking it knew how to do it; but, at all events, the result would be this—that they were providing a task which pressed with peculiar severity upon those who were most deserving, and upon those who were not habitual vagrants, who had no means of acquiring the same facility for doing the work which old vagrants had ac- 492 quired. He should like to say one word as to the detention of persons who entered the casual wards. That detention amounted to this—that if any man was found in any Metropolitan casual ward twice within a month, he was liable to be detained until the fourth day after his admission. This detention, in many cases at all events, he might say without exaggeration, worked most unfairly and oppressively. A short time ago a person was brought before one of the Metropolitan Magistrates charged with refusing to perform his allotted task of work in the casual ward. It happened that the man was admitted on a Friday night; on Saturday he performed his allotted task of work, and on the Sunday morning he desired to be released. It would appear, however, that according to the Rules Sunday was a dies non, and therefore the authorities refused to release him. When the prisoner was let out of his cell, he refused to go back, and he was therefore given into custody; upon which the Magistrate said—"Are they put in cells? It sounds like a prison." The witness exclaimed that they were put in single cells, 10 feet by 5, and that the work they had to do was done in solitary confinement. The prisoner said—I had no money to pay my lodgings, and so I went to the casual ward. On Sunday they wanted to lock me up all day long; but I preferred to come before you, in order to know if I could be treated like that.The witness from the workhouse said that the man had stated the truth, whereupon the Magistrate said he would make further inquiry into the facts of the case, and would visit one of the workhouses where the casual ward system was in operation. The prisoner remarked—What is a man to do? If they had told me that I should be detained on Sunday, I would not have remained.The Magistrate said—It does seem a little hard, but I suppose they have some good reason for the Rule. I will discharge you now.He thought it desirable to call the attention of the Local Government Board to the matter, and the way in which the Poor Law Authorities discharged the duties laid upon them, no doubt by statute. He found that the Casual Poor Act of 1882 provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to be discharged. He invited the right 493 hon. Gentleman's attention to the words used in the Statute. The words of the Statute were "shall not be entitled to be discharged;" but what did the Board do when they came to frame their Order under the Statute? They deliberately altered the word "entitled," and substituted the word "allowed," so that the words ran—A casual pauper shall not be allowed except within a prescribed period.Now, he ventured to think that the Board had rather exceeded its power, or, at all events, had acted contrary to the spirit of the Statute; the statutory word being "entitled" and not "allowed." The effect of the alteration was to give a large discretion to the Guardians as to whether they would detain the casuals or not; and the Order, by substituting the word "entitled," made a material alteration. The Statute did not say, you shall detain them; but gave to the Board of Guardians a wide interpretation of the Order. However, the Local Government Board said that a casual pauper should not be allowed to be discharged, and the Order, therefore, practically took away from the Guardians the discretion which the law had given to them. He was aware that something had recently been done in this direction, and that the Board had issued an Order giving the Guardians a discretionary power to discharge vagrants at an early hour in the morning, so that they might be able to get work; but, as he understood the Order, that relaxation of the Rule only applied to the morning of the day on which the pauper would have been discharged if there had been no relaxation of the old Rule. It seemed to him that persons who were, unfortunately, obliged to enter the casual ward as an exceptional thing were treated somewhat harshly and oppressively. He therefore desired to impress upon the President of the Local Government Board the necessity of doing something in the matter, and the advisability of altering the word "allowed" in the Order issued by the Board, so as to make it agree with the Statute, in which, as he had stated, the word was not "allowed," but "entitled."
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
said, he would move the omission of the item of £416 in respect of salaries of the Inspectors of the Metropolitan Vagrant Wards.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Item F, £416, for Inspection of Metropolitan Vagrant Wards, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Pickersgill.)
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
said, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bethnal Green seemed to think that the only duty which had to be performed by Inspectors of the wards was the identification of habitual vagrants. No doubt that was a portion of the duties they had to perform; but, in addition to that, they had to make regular Reports to the Local Government Board in reference to the sanitary condition of the casual wards, and all the conditions that were necessary to be observed for the health and comfort of the inmates. Therefore, he thought no one would regret more than the hon. Member himself if his Motion were carried, because there would not be that inspection which, in the opinion of the Local Government Board, was necessary to be made in regard to those casual wards. It was perfectly obvious that precautions ought to be taken against what might be called the professional tramp, who never attempted to get any work, or to provide himself with lodgings, but who made the casual ward his hotel. One of the duties the Inspectors had to perform was the identification of that class of pauper. They were required to go from one casual ward to another, to inspect the people who went there, and ascertain whether any of them were professional tramps, who made it a practice to go to the casual ward for shelter; therefore, under certain circumstances, it was desirable that the Rule objected to by the hon. Member should continue to be enforced. The hon. Member had referred to the action taken by the Local Government Board in connection with the matter, and had said that the Board had gone beyond what the Act of Parliament proposed. Now, he did not think that that was so. The Act of Parliament expressly laid upon the shoulders of the Local Government Board the duty of making Regulations, 495 and certainly used the words which had been quoted by the hon. Member. But the hon. Gentleman knew also that a considerable discretion was left by the Orders of the Local Government Board in the hands of the Guardians, who, if they considered it desirable, might deal in a different way with any particular person or class of persons. They had full power to relax the Regulations laid down by that Order of the Board in favour of any individual if they thought proper to do so. The hon. Gentleman was apparently unaware of the fact that the Local Government Board had expressly drawn the attention of the Guardians last year to the power placed in their hands in relaxing the hour at which the inmates of the casual wards might be discharged.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
said, he thought that relaxation was confined to the hour of the morning at which they should be released.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that no doubt it was considered the best course to enable the Guardians to dismiss those persons at an hour of the morning that would enable them to go to work; but, in addition to that, instructions were given to the identification officers that they were not to be too particular in the identification of persons who were not of the habitual class of vagrants it was considered desirable to deal with. As a matter of fact, the Detention Order of last year was not put in force; but it would, in his opinion, be a great mistake to take away permanently the power of enforcing the Order if it were not exercised in any harsh manner. He was quite certain it was desirable, in the public interests, that the power of enforcing the Order should exist if a time of pressure came. The hon. Member might be assured that everything would be done in the way of relaxing the Rules, if any Rule existed that might do harm. The hon. Member found fault with the fact that some of the casual poor were confined is separate compartments. That was not so in all the workhouses; but in several of the workhouses in London, no doubt, the separate cell system was employed. He could quite understand that a bonâ fide honest wayfarer who had occasion to go into a casual ward for a night's lodging would very much prefer a separate cell system; and it was mainly in the interests of such honest casual wayfarers that the 496 separate cell system had been set up. If the hon. Gentleman supposed that they were treated as prisoners and locked in their cells for any long period he was altogether mistaken. Instances might, no doubt, be quoted; but, so far as the Local Government Board was concerned, they distinctly set their faces against any proceedings on the part of the Board of Guardians to convert those apartments into prisons, or anything like prison cells. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the action of the police with reference to driving the people into the casual wards. That was a matter of which he himself had no cognizance. No doubt, at the time referred to last year, there was a great pressure in certain casual wards in the Metropolis, and a large collection of people in Trafalgar Square and other places. It was desirable that those persons should be taken off the streets, and the effect of dealing with them was to fill the casual wards. He earnestly hoped that owing to the improved condition of trade there might not be a similar pressure this year; but he had no doubt whatever that, in any circumstances, ample accommodation would be provided to meet any emergency that might occur. He thought it was not in the interests of the poor themselves, or of the Metropolis at large, that those unfortunate persons should be allowed to lie about the streets or in Trafalgar Square; but that some place should be provided for them into which they might go.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
said, that his object had been substantially served in calling attention to the subject; but there were some portions of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman to which he desired to refer. He had understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Inspectors were required to certify that the casual wards were properly maintained. He believed they were required by Statute to certify that the casual wards were in a proper sanitary condition. It certainly seemed to him strange that men receiving 30s. a-week should have imposed on them a duty so important and so responsible as that of giving a certificate that the casual wards were maintained in a proper sanitary condition. He should like the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether a man employed at 30s. a-week was a proper person on whom to impose so important and responsible a duty?
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, the duties of the Inspectors were clearly laid down. There were certain printed questions which they had to answer, and they were of such a nature that he thought any man of reasonable common sense would be perfectly able to understand them and reply to them. They were such as—Is there a proper light? Are there separate beds? Are the wards properly warmed? Are they properly ventilated? Is there a lavatory in the ward?—and matters of that kind. The hon. Gentleman would be aware that there were Inspectors employed by the Local Government Board, whose duty it was to visit all these wards and to make a Report. The Reports which the Inspectors were required to send were such as they were perfectly competent to make.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
said, he rose to move the omission of the amounts under Sub-heads S, T, and U. It was against bonuses that his Motion was directed. However unfortunate it might be that he should have to move the reduction of the Vote, he had no doubt that hon. Members and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would agree with him in expressing satisfaction that this would be the last time that the subject would be brought before that House. He would like the Committee to deal with the question on that occasion, especially as it would be dealt with by the Local Authorities in future, and because he desired to obtain an expression of opinion on the subject of bonuses which were given in England, but not given either in Ireland or Scotland. If these bonuses served any object at all it would be shown in the prevention of small-pox. But, curiously, they had the strongest evidence that in this respect bonuses were an utter failure. In the case of Sheffield, year after year, they had the most glowing accounts of successful vaccination, and large bonuses were paid for the alleged successful vaccinations; but there had been in Sheffield a most serious epidemic of small-pox. He had no intention of taking up as much time on this question as he should have done if the Vote had been discussed before the passage of the Local 498 Government Bill, because he felt sure the Committee would regard this as a sort of partial criticism over a subject which was dead so far as the House of Commons was concerned. But it was part of an emphatic pledge he had given to make this protest while the matter was still in the hands of the House, and he did so in order that Members who felt strongly on the subject should have an opportunity of expressing their opinions in the Division Lobby. There was a very strong feeling on the question outside the House. He had received letters from poor people in Sheffield which were extremely touching; these people thought a real injury had been done to them, and he thought that many of them had ground for thinking that they should look to that House for the justice that otherwise they could not obtain. He did not intend to go into the question of the good or evil of vaccination generally, but he wished to put it that there were Members of the Medical Profession to whom bonuses had been paid for successful vaccination, while they had evidence of which the House had taken cognizance that some of the cases of vaccination had resulted in death, the vaccinator receiving the bonus; notwithstanding that he might have used instruments which were not clean, or otherwise communicated disease to the child. He was afraid that the right hon. Gentleman would think that he was going beyond the text he had shadowed out for himself if he suggested that certainly in many cases serious diseases had been communicated by vaccination, and that the evidence that syphilis had been so communicated was overwhelming. This was perfectly true, although the right hon. Gentleman might say that it had only occurred in some few cases, and to that answer of the right hon. Gentleman he would reply that although it had only been proved in very few cases, yet the possibility of this might be considered an excuse for a poor father and mother refusing to submit their children to undergo the process of vaccination. He had received an account of a case in which a child, supposed to be healthy by its parents and the officer, was vaccinated and died soon after the operation. He was aware that skilled evidence disagreed very much as to whether death in this case resulted from the operation or from other causes. But he put it 499 that where there was the colour of a grievance of this kind, and more than that, where poor people were prosecuted over and over again for refusing to have their children vaccinated, this aspect of the case demanded attention. Cases had been repeatedly brought before the House of Commons in which it was said, perhaps truly, that the fines imposed had been paid by some association, and it was, perhaps, fortunate for the parents if this was the case. But he pointed out that one of the Members of that House who had conscientious objections to vaccination had only been fined once; his conscientious objections having been allowed to prevail, and no other prosecution following, because he was a Member of Parliament. As against this a man at Bedford had been prosecuted 14 times, and one Charles Hayward had been the subject of between 40 and 50 proceedings. He asked whether, in that case, the persons to whom he now referred were not justified in denying that we were dealing out even justice? He would not say more than that the bonuses given in England, and which were not given in Ireland or Scotland, had failed in preventing the disease for the purpose of preventing which they were given. They had had a Parliamentary inquiry, the evidence at which showed that in one case a doctor, who had received, and was still receiving, as he believed, bonuses for successful vaccination, had several children die under his hand in one way or other, admittedly under conditions of gross neglect. He hoped there would be an expression of opinion on the part of the Committee on this question, and for that purpose he begged to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,864, the item for the National Vaccine Establishment.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Item S, £1,864, for the National Vaccine Establishment, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Bradlaugh.)
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
said, that while he could join with his hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) in congratulating the Committee that this matter, in the same form, was not likely to come again before the House, there were grounds on which he was inclined to regret that fact. He rejoiced at it because the local elections for the County Councils 500 would afford an opportunity of stimulating public opinion on this question to an extent which, perhaps, did not prevail in the election of Members for that House; at the same time he regretted to be deprived of the opportunity of dealing in that House with a subject, which, however rarely alluded to, was one of undoubtedly deep importance. His hon. Friend had mentioned cases of suffering and persecution that had resulted in connection with the subject then before the Committee, but he had not alluded to the very angry feeling which existed in many places with regard to vaccination, and of which many hon. Members on that side of the House were well aware. He should, however, endeavour to keep as closely as possible to the immediate question of the Vote for vaccination purposes before the Committee. Although the Chairman had very properly restricted the Motion of his hon. Friend to one sub-head, he hoped he might be allowed to direct the discussion to the other sub-heads to which his hon. Friend had alluded. The sum of £18,000 was not relatively very large, but at the same time it was a large sum of public money to be wasted; and one strong argument for cutting down the Vote was that it was actually wasted because it did no kind of good. Professedly it was put forward as the most practicable means of securing that vaccination should be performed effectually and safely, and the principle was that of payment by results. Doctors were not only paid a fee for performing the operation, but were promised a further reward, as a bonus, if the operation should be performed effectually and safely. To this there was the strong objection that the medical men were paid twice over for doing the same work; and then again there was underlying it the assumption, not complimentary to the Medical Profession, that doctors had to be bribed to do their work properly. He thought this was humiliating to the Medical Profession, and, if the principle was legitimate, should not it be carried further? Why not make extra grants to parish doctors for cures, or go further and say, "No cure no pay?" He could not imagine any principle consistent with professional dignity or honour that would justify the manner in which these bonuses were given. The 501 notion was to secure general immunity from small-pox; but though in Sheffield £190 had been paid in bonuses, according to the last Report the visitation of small-pox there had been extremely bad. Dr. Sinclair White, writing to the Local Government Board upon the severe outbreak of small-pox in Sheffield, said it should not be forgotten that there was such a thing as imperfect vaccination; that the value of the operation depended on the extent of the efficiency with which it was performed. Sheffield had received a large sum in bonuses, which he (Mr. Picton) believed amounted, in the course of 10 years, to £2,500. The Committee would observe that Dr. Sinclair White said that the value of vaccination depended upon its efficient performance. This Vote was intended to secure, by a certain test, that vaccination should be efficient. But the test had been proved to have completely broken down, because in Sheffield there had been one of the most terrible outbreaks of small-pox within recent experience. In the Report of the Local Government Board they found a list of towns in which there was very little vaccination, and when they turned to the catalogue of bonuses given to them they would find that, with respect to them, those towns stood at a very low figure. For instance, in the case of Keighley, where 71.7 per cent of the children born were unaccounted for in the vaccination list, the bonuses this year only amounted to £16 10s., and yet the town was entirely free from small-pox. In Leicester the number of children who were unaccounted for in the vaccination list was, as was well known, exceedingly large; and there, also, the amount of bonuses was only £34 13s. Leicester was not mentioned in the new Report, and the figures he had given represented the amount for last year. As he had already urged, Leicester was entirely, or to a great extent, free from small-pox, but not so entirely free as to allow hon. Members to say that if the disease came into the town the population would be speedily decimated, because Leicester had been frequently attacked, but had always managed to suppress the disease. Without pursuing this point in detail further, he would remark that in most cases where the amount of bonuses earned was very low, the neighbourhoods 502 were practically free from small-pox. On the other hand, if hon. Members would turn to the towns where a large amount for bonuses was paid, such as Leeds and Sheffield, they would find that the mortality had been very great. It followed, therefore, that the efforts to secure successful vaccination had broken down. But he might be told that it was not intended by these bonuses to secure immunity from small-pox, and that the immediate object was to secure the safety of the operation. That was an admission that the operation was in itself a dangerous one, and that unless special guarantees were given for its safety many evils were likely to result. In other words, the operation was so perilous that ordinary skill was not considered sufficient. But when the Regulations under which the operation was to be conducted, and for compliance with which these bonuses were given, were carefully scrutinized, it would be found that literal obedience to them was impracticable, and that, where practicable, it was impossible to test compliance in any fair and sufficient manner. The first Regulation required that the public officer should refrain from vaccinating in districts where there was any report of the existence of erysipelas, or where, at any rate, it was prevalent. Hon. Members would recollect the inquiry which had taken place into the cases of the vaccination at Norwich, the evidence on which he held in his hand in the form of a Parliamentary Paper. Dr. Guy, of Norwich, had received, and, he presumed, continued to receive, bonuses for vaccination; and in the course of the inquiry he was closely examined as to his practice with reference to the Regulations. With regard to the first Rule, which provided that there should be no vaccination where erysipelas was epidemic, Dr. Guy said that on the 13th of June last he believed erysipelas was epidemic in Norwich, and that he had heard so since; that a Dr. Airey had told him that there was a case of erysipelas, and he had also heard of isolated cases. He believed there was a slight epidemic; that it was very slight at the end of June, and that he still continued to vaccinate. Again, the second Rule required that the vaccinator should take care to see that there were no eruptions on the child's body, and that a very close examination should be 503 made. Dr. Guy said, in reference to this, that when a child was brought to him he asked if it was healthy, and if it had the thrush. He also asked whether it had skin disease; that the examination he made was not by having the child stripped; that if he complied with the instructions of the Local Government Board he ought to have the child stripped. He (Mr. Picton) understood that as many as 50 children would be operated on in the course of two hours, and it was, therefore, perfectly impossible to carry out such a class of examination and to take such precautions as were prescribed in the first Regulation. Yet they were told that these bonuses were given for compliance with this Rule, among others. But he contended that even if compliance were practicable, it was impossible for anyone to test the matter, and to ascertain whether the public vaccinator always made the examination required, or whether he had continued to vaccinate when there was a prevalence of erysipelas. Again, what was there in the examination to show whether the vaccination was efficient or not? No true test whatever could be said to be properly applied except in the case of the inspection of the vaccination marks, which were ripe on the eighth day. He contended that he had given some proof that the bonuses did not secure any immunity from small-pox; that the Regulations were impracticable and could not be carried out; and that there was no adequate test of compliance with the Regulations. But there was more than this to be said. The dangers from vaccination, as appeared from the Instructions and Regulations themselves, were mainly two—syphilis and erysipelas. He asked whether these grants operated in such a manner as to give any guarantee against these two dangers? Dr. Creighton, Mr. Hutchinson, and Dr. Cory—the latter unwillingly and in his own person—supported the view that these diseases were communicable by vaccination. He trusted that the President of the Local Government Board would keep his eye upon this subject, with regard to which medical opinion did not stand where it did a few years ago, as would probably appear also from an article in the forthcoming volume of The Encyclopœdia Britannica. It was certain that vaccinal matter was capable of producing 504 the effects of syphilis, and if it were said that this had not been proved in cases brought to the knowledge of the Local Government Board, it must be remembered that the preliminary manifestations of the disease did not appear until three or four weeks after the operation, while the certificate of successful vaccination was given on the eighth day. All things being considered, he thought there was very great reason for hesitation in making this grant of £18,000, which could be of no possible use. It was well known that erysipelas was increasing among children, and he believed cases of syphilis were more common than formerly, which could not always he traced to the sources from which they were supposed to arise. He would, therefore, ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board seriously to consider the issue at which they stood. The question, as he had said, had created a considerable amount of anxiety in the country, and something ought to be done to soothe the feelings of the many afflicted people who stood between their conscientious sense of duty to their children and their sense of obedience due to the law. If the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee some assurance that an inquiry of some kind would be instituted for the purpose of throwing fresh light on the question, the course of Business might be facilitated. For his own part, with his present information on the subject, he should cordially support the Motion of his hon. Friend for the reduction of the Vote.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
said, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board to look at this question from an English point of view. He was not there to dispute the benefit of vaccination, and admitted that, as far as the evidence went on the subject, it was on the side of vaccination. In Scotland the law compelled a parent to have his child vaccinated within a certain time; if the child was not vaccinated, then the Registrar brought him before the Parochial Board, which was equivalent to the Board of Guardians in England, and instructions were then given to the medical officer to have the operation performed, or to see that it was properly done, and the expense was entirely borne by the 505 ratepayers. He asked why it was that while the people of Scotland voluntarily paid the whole of the expense of vaccination, the ratepayers in England got relief from the Public Revenue to which the people of Scotland contributed? He should suppose the reason to be that in Scotland there was no difficulty whatever in having the Vaccination Acts applied, but that a certain amount of difficulty existed in England; for which reason it was found necessary to give a sum of money to have the work properly done. He maintained, however, that if vaccination were a public duty at all, the State should not in any way contribute to the cost.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
said, that if Scotland had a grievance it would end with the present Vote, as the duty of paying these awards would in future rest with the Local Authorities; and the hon. Member who had just spoken would have the satisfaction of knowing that henceforward no ratepayer in Scotland would be called upon for any contribution to these amounts. He hoped that the hon. Member would not ask him to go into the question with regard to how far Scotland contributed. Still, if they were to go into the whole question, he did not think Her Majesty's Govenment would have any difficulty in showing that in Scotland there was no public vaccination in the sense in which it existed in England, and that Scotland would not be found to suffer any injustice when all the grants given to her were compared with those given to England. He acknowledged the fairness with which the question had been brought forward by the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), and the narrow limits to which he had confined his remarks. He did not, however, think that the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) had confined himself within limits quite so narrow. He would ask the hon. Gentleman to excuse him from entering into the merits of Sheffield, Leeds, and other towns, and the manner in which they illustrated the operation of the law, because the hon. Member was aware they had already had a discussion on this question during the present Session. He was perfectly ready to admit the remarkable character of the Leicester system, but he 506 thought it would be a great mistake to argue from it that vaccination might be dispensed with throughout the United Kingdom because Leicester had been free from small-pox for a period. If he were to enter into a discussion on the subject, he thought he could show facts which might make the people of Leicester feel a little alarmed, if they were placed under circumstances which all must hope might not take place. His position was this—that if vaccination was a good thing, and he must occupy that position, precautions ought to be taken to carry it out with the greatest amount of safety and efficiency. The hon. Member for Leicester said that these awards were given for the safe performance of the operation, and he argued that this process of securing safety was an admission that it was a very dangerous process. He (Mr. Ritchie) entirely differed from the hon. Member. He denied that the rewards were given solely for the purpose of securing the safety of the process. No doubt it was necessary and right that this should be one of the conditions; but the rewards were given mainly with the view of securing the efficiency of the process, both in quantity and in quality. He would add that it was a well-known fact, demonstrated by example, that the protective character of vaccination did vary with the manner in which it was performed—with the quantity and with the quality of the vaccination. He would not trouble the Committee with many figures; but as the hon. Gentleman had raised a very particular question, he would point out the result of an examination which had been made into the cases of 27,000 vaccinated children, between the ages of seven and 14 years. Of those who had four scars, 0.67 per 1,000 were pitted with small-pox; those with three, 1.42 with two scars, 2.49; and those with one, 6.80 per 1,000; so that there was a great difference between those who had four scars and those who had only one—namely, as between 6.80 and 0.67 per 1,000 who were pitted with small-pox. The statistics of cases of small-pox at all ages admitted at the Highgate Hospital showed that the deaths of those stated to have been vaccinated, and upon whom no cicatrices were visible, amounted to 21¾ per cent; of these with one cicatrix visible, 7½; with two, 4⅛; with three, 1¾; and with 507 four or more cicatrices, the deaths were ¾ per cent. The question of whether one or 10 should die after contracting small-pox was, therefore, found to be a question of the quantity of vaccination received. Similar results were obtained in the Montreal epidemic; and it could be no question at all that the amount of protection given differed greatly according as the operation was performed successfully or not, and with its quantity and quality. That being so, he now passed on to the hon. Member's argument that this constituted a double payment. But he would point out that the payment was made according to Act of Parliament passed in 1857, which distinctly stated that there should be one payment for every operation, and that, in addition, there should be this other payment depending on the examination made. The hon. Gentleman was, perhaps, not aware that this matter, in 1876, was very minutely examined into by the Treasury, and that the result was that Lord Lyndhurst stated that this was not an extra payment, but that the payments were to be read together as the payment which Parliament had decided ought to be given for the operation, but that the second portion should be made contingent upon the character of the operation. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) and the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) had spoken of Sheffield as being a place where, notwithstanding the fact that considerable awards had been made, the protection given was extremely small. Now, he (Mr. Ritchie) entirely denied that this was so, and he referred to a Report which, he hoped, would be in the hands of hon. Members in about 14 days, and which would show that the success of vaccination had been completely demonstrated.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
said, he had intended to say that, notwithstanding that there had been for a series of years many thousand cases of successful vaccination, a severe epidemic had resulted.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he did not think that anyone would say that vaccination, however well performed, was an absolute protection, and that people vaccinated could not take small-pox; but he would say that it was an enormous protection, and this he would like to make clear with reference to Sheffield. 508 The population of Sheffield was 300,000; of that there were 292,500 persons vaccinated and 7,500 unvaccinated. The total number of attacks was 6,120, of which 5,075 occurred to vaccinated persons, and 1,045 to unvaccinated persons. It followed from this that one unvaccinated person in every seven was attacked, and that if this proportion had been maintained among the vaccinated, the total number of attacks would have been 41,300 instead of 6,120; the total number of deaths among the vaccinated, 246, or 57 per cent; and the total number of deaths among the unvaccinated was 342, or 33 per cent. Therefore, if the same proportion of deaths had occurred among the vaccinated who were attacked, as among the unvaccinated who were attacked, there would have been 1,691 deaths among them instead of 246; and if the whole population had been unvaccinated the attacks would have been 41,300, instead of 6,120, and the deaths would have been 13,200 instead of 589. Those figures showed the enormous value and the enormous protective power of vaccination. The hon. Member for Northampton spoke very feelingly about a number of cases which were said to have resulted in disease by vaccination, and the hon. Member for Leicester had quoted Mr. Hutchinson to show that syphilis might be communicated by the operation. But he also said that Dr. Cory had vaccinated himself four times with lymph taken from persons impregnated with syphilis, so that in order to sustain the hon. Gentleman's case he had to give an illustration of a man who ignored all the instructions of the Local Government Board, and only, by so doing, succeeded in innoculating himself with syphilis. He was not prepared to say that under such circumstances it was not possible for syphilis to be conveyed, but he said that out of the last 6,000,000 cases of vaccination which had taken place, there had not been one case in which it was proved that syphilis had been communicated. But with reference to the question of deaths referred to vaccination, he wished to state that it was his intention to have the most thorough and complete inquiry into every case, and he had arranged with the Registrar General that where vaccination was alluded to as a cause 509 of death, the case should be brought at once before the Local Government Board, and a full inquiry should be instituted. The Local Government Board would, immediately after death had taken place which was attributed to vaccination, inquire into all the circumstances, and every care would be taken to get at the truth of the matter. With regard to the cases alleged, of the particular disease referred to by the hon. Member for Northampton, he had always instituted inquiry immediately, and the result had been that there was not a single proof that the disease had resulted from vaccination. He believed he had shown that it was extremely desirable that these grants should continue to be made. Parliament had distinctly laid down that they should made, and the whole question had been impartially inquired into, with the result that a confirmation of the view on which Parliament had acted had been arrived at. As the Committee was aware, he had stated that, so far as the money part of the question was concerned, these grants would not be asked for from Parliament again, and that they would be paid out of local funds; but he was satisfied that it would not be right or proper to discontinue this inspection of the result of the efforts which the Government were making to improve both the quantity and quality of vaccination, and to see that, as far as possible, proper safeguards were preserved, and that no injury resulted from the operation. Under these circumstances he hoped the Committee would not consent to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman, and that after the observations he had made the hon. Gentleman would not put the Committee to the trouble of dividing on his Motion.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
said, the right hon. Gentleman had made one announcement which he thought would give some satisfaction to those on that side of the House—namely, that there should be special inquiry in cases whore ill results were alleged to have occurred. The right hon. Gentleman had also said that vaccination was an absolute protection, and had given a number of statistics to prove that there was immunity resulting from vaccination, and that protection was in proportion to the number of soars. The right 510 hon. Gentleman, however, had not in his remarks alluded to a subject to which he (Mr. Channing) had drawn attention on several occasions at the close of the Summer Session—namely, the severe outbreak of small-pox at St. Joseph's Industrial School, Manchester. As being distinctly pertinent to this question, he believed the Committee would allow him to draw attention to the Report which had been made to the Health Committee of Manchester. He understood that the Local Government Board had sent a medical man to inquire into this case; but, as far as he could ascertain, his Report was not yet in the hands of Members of Parliament. The Report he referred to showed that 67 persons, including two sisters and five assistants, had been attacked by small-pox. He had marked eight cases of vaccinated children which were reported to the sanitary committee as being "very severe" and "severe." They were as follows—Age 15, three sears; age 14, two sears; age 16, one scar; age 14, three scars; age 12, three scars; age 15, four scars; age 13, four scars; age 14, three scars. It would be seen from this that the total number of scars was 23, which gave an average of three scars apiece for those children who were vaccinated and who had "severe" or "very severe" attacks of small-pox. He thought from this aspect of the case that there was not very much in the number of sears, because in those very severe cases the children were comparatively young, and had had the advantage of the system the Committee were now asked to vote for. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that revaccination was complete protection, but he would point out that there were three cases of disease mentioned in the Report as occurring to re-vaccinated persons. Thus they had the fact that, in all these cases where, he presumed, bonuses had been awarded by the Inspectors of the Local Government Board, it had been scientifically and practically proved that there was not the absolute or relative protection from vaccination which the right hon. Gentleman asserted. Upon the general question of vaccination, he ought not, perhaps, to enter at that moment; but the Returns which he moved for, and which were furnished by the Government, amply supported the contention which persons 511 interested in this question had put forward again and again—namely, that there had been a very serious increase in the proportion of deaths of children of under one year old, due to causes and diseases which were alleged by certain scientific men to be associated with vaccination. He represented a great many persons deeply interested in this question, and their feeling was that this Vote aggravated the very serious evils of the compulsory system of vaccination. He submitted that there was a good cause for a much fuller and wider inquiry than had yet taken place, an inquiry which he hoped might lead to the abolition of a system which was causing great affliction and distress in many parts of the country.
§ SIR GUYER HUNTER (Hackney, Central)
said, he had had considerable experience in India with reference to vaccination, and that experience led him to the conclusion that compulsory vaccination was absolutely necessary for the protection of the inhabitants from small-pox. It had been shown by the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) that vaccination in itself was not an absolute protection against small-pox; and, indeed, that had been proved by statistics and by experience over and over again. But the right hon. Gentleman did not say that re-vaccination, and, if necessary, a second re-vaccination, did not afford protection from small-pox. That revaccination did afford protection was shown in the vast experimental scale adopted in Germany. Formerly our statistics were ahead of Germany, but now, since compulsory vaccination had been introduced into Germany, our statistics were far inferior to those of that country. It was at the present moment a recognized fact that vaccination, in the course of a few years, were off, and required its re-introduction in the system to act as a protection to the individual against small-pox. Dr. Buchanan, in an able and exhaustive Report which he wrote on this very question, had shown that the incidence of small-pox in this country, in consequence of re-vaccination not being compulsory, was not among young children, but among the adult population. That, in itself, was sufficient evidence to prove that vaccination did wear out, and that re-vaccination was an essential if people were 512 to be protected from small-pox. With reference to the allegations of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that substances other than vaccine might be introduced into the system by vaccination, Dr. Buchanan showed conclusively that the number of cases in which allegations of this nature were made could be reduced by careful examination to nothing at all; and in the conclusion of his Report he made the statement that in the year which had passed no less than 960, or nearly 1,000, children, had been suffocated by bedclothes, and he stated that surely that was no reason why bedclothes should not be used, but rather showed that a better application of them was desirable. He (Sir Guyer Hunter) had pleasure in supporting the President of the Local Government Board in the statement he had made.
§ DR. R. MACDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)
said, that from a very different point of view from that of some of his hon. Friends who had taken part in the debate, he must give his vote in favour of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh). He considered the present system of public vaccination altogether wrong. In his opinion, all the troubles which had arisen in reference to vaccination had come mainly from the Office of the Public Vaccinator. Any hon. Member of the House who took the trouble to inquire would see how vaccination had come to be looked upon by thousands of the people from the bad way in which the work was done at the vaccination stations. He had had himself to look for vaccine with which to vaccinate his private patients, and therefore he knew what care was required in the selection of the vaccine. As a rule, syphilis did not appear until after a child had been vaccinated. Unless a medical man knew something about the family history of a child he could not possibly tell whether there might or might not be syphilis latent in the child. The public vaccinator took his vaccine from a likely child—a fat, plump child, as the case might be—and used it, and then it might turn out later on that there was something wrong with the child. If matters were allowed to go on as previously, if private medical men were allowed to vaccinate their own patients, and to be paid out of public funds for the work, 513 they would take good care that there was no supposition of syphilis in the family of the child from which the vaccine was taken. He believed that the odium of the whole present system was owing to the fact that it was impossible for the Public Vaccinator to tell whether the child he took lymph from was all right or not. As he had already said, he had had large experience in vaccination. He was not in the least afraid to attend a person suffering from small-pox, because he was vaccinated once, and he had tried to vaccinate himself at least half-a-dozen times since, but the operation had never succeeded. Consequently, he knew he had immunity from small-pox, and he had no fear. It was well known to medical men that epidemic waves swept over districts, especially erysipelas. There were certain cases which were apt to go wrong at certain times; there was a tendency to epidemic all round; and he hoped that something might be done to inquire into such matters. In the last debate on this subject in the House he had said that if 20 individuals were vaccinated at the same time, with the same lymph, it might happen that 19 out of them would do well, while the twentieth would have abscesses under the arms or other similar symptoms. Who was to blame for such a condition of things? The anti-vaccinators would say it was vaccination. He, however, should say, no; he should say it was not. If 20 people were vaccinated, and one of them went wrong, he should say it was not the fault of vaccination, but the fault of the individual himself. He thought there was some justice in the complaint made by medical officers of Unions that they did not get grants for their work as well as the public vaccinators. There was a great deal of heartburn among medical men because they saw that some men received these grants year by year and other men were overlooked. For this and other reasons it would be much better that the particular grants should be done away with, and that vaccinators should be paid a reasonable and proper fee for vaccination, and if they did not do their duty properly let them be dismissed.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he desired to endorse all that had fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Guyer Hunter). It was a very great 514 mistake to have these debates upon vaccination. Year after year the same objections to vaccination were urged, notwithstanding that they were always ably and thoroughly refuted. There could be no doubt that vaccination was an extremely great been to the country. Every medical man who had any practical acquaintance with the subject would endorse that statement. It did not follow that because there were periodical outbreaks of erysipelas vaccination was at fault. Erysipelas might attack any child who suffered from the slightest scratch; it did not follow that if a child were vaccinated it got erysipelas. Erysipelas might attack a child which had not been vaccinated, because, as they all knew, in many young children erysipelas was latent. He sincerely hoped that the Government would take such steps as would afford every inquiry into the subject, and that by satisfying all reasonable demands, and by adopting all the reasonable suggestions which had been thrown out by a great number of hon. Members, who probably were not very experienced in the subject, this matter might be set at rest once and for ever, and in that way extend the benefits of an indisputable been to the community at large. It would be a very terrible thing if the anti-vaccination doctrines were to spread, and especially as it was often found they did spread in the very districts where vaccination was most desirable.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
asked if there was a corresponding charge to this for vaccination in the Irish Estimates?
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, he could not find any charge for vaccination in the Irish Estimates. Ireland was a poor country, and that it should have to pay for its vaccination and receive no grant from the Exchequer, while the richer country of England did, was absolutely absurd. He was quite confident that the Secretary to the Treasury or the First Lord of the Treasury would not allow such a thing when attention was called to it.
§ MR. WHITBREAD (Bedford)
said, that the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) had spoken on this subject in a more tolerant spirit than he (Mr. Whitbread) had ever noticed displayed by Gentlemen 515 occupying the same position and having to defend the vaccination grants. What he was particularly anxious to point out, however, was that as the right hon. Gentleman had promised an inquiry into every case where it was alleged that it was possible that death arose from vaccination, it was of the utmost importance that the inquiry, if it was to be of any real good, should be an inquiry that on the face of it would carry weight; it must be an inquiry which would show that there was no prejudice bound up with it, and which would accordingly carry conviction to those whose minds were alarmed on the subject. As far as the Vote went, he was not able to vote with the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), because, so long as vaccination was compulsory, he would not mind spending large sums of money in order to secure that it should be conducted as well as possible. He had always felt that they in the House of Commons were almost incompetent to deal fairly with this subject, owing to the enormous difference between what vaccination meant to them and what it meant to the humbler classes. He wished that his right hon Friend. (Mr. Ritchie), when he turned his attention to the subject, would turn it a little more to the vaccination stations. Vaccination was probably looked upon by most Members of the House of Commons as a great protection to their families, but it meant a very different thing to them from what it did to the poorer people. Their children were taken to be vaccinated when in the best of health and condition; they would not think of sending a child to be vaccinated if it was not fit for the operation it had, to under go. That, however, could not be said I of the humbler classes, many of whose children were taken to be vaccinated when they were not in a proper condition. Hence those outbreaks of erysipelas, and many of the other evils of which complaint was made. He confessed that with regard to a rather larger question which had been a good deal touched upon in the debate, he doubted whether those in favour of vaccination were not losing very much more than they gained by insisting on the continuance of the present sham compulsory system. His right hon. Friend would not dare for a moment to 516 take a child from its parent's arms and vaccinate it by force. By such a proceeding they would raise an immense amount of hostility to the system. He could not help thinking that by sending persons to prison, or by fining them for not having their children vaccinated, those of them who believed that vaccination was a good thing were losing far more than they gained, because they were insisting upon maintaining clauses which they found they were really unable to carry out.
§ DR. FITZGERALD (Longford, S.)
said, that he noticed that the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) seemed to have no remedy for small-pox but to let it alone. He, however, had a remedy which would deal with this awful visitation, and at the same time conciliate the poor who objected to compulsory vaccination. The compulsory Act was passed, he was fully persuaded, with the very best intentions, and, as he understood, the National Vaccine Establishment was raised, and had been maintained at enormous cost, for the purpose of supplying what was called pure stock lymph. The National Vaccine Establishment was established to supply medical practitioners with the lymph so that they might transfer it from person to person in order that it might afford immunity to them against small-pox. But the vast majority of the population of this country, notably the poor, who had to avail themselves of these methods of vaccination, on account sometimes of pecuniary circumstances, complained, and, he thought, justly, notwithstanding the protest of the President of the Local Government Board and the medical scientists who, he supposed, instructed the right hon. Gentleman in these purely professional matters—they complained that while the Legislature sought to protect them, they were really devouring them, because they were introducing into their systems a disease still more awful than small-pox, a disease which, for convenience, he would call a specific disease. That specific disease was more terrible than small-pox, because it was not merely confined to the victim, but transmitted to future and unborn generations germs of maladies so loathsome and so disgusting that it might be well called the giant scourge of humanity. How did 517 the officials of the Local Government Board obtain the pure stock lymph? It was sent to them from what were called vaccination stations, and, would it be believed, that those vaccination stations were situated in the slums of London; would it be believed that they found one of those stations in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden? As a matter of fact, the stock lymph was derived from the poor and necessarily diseased and unfortunate persons who inhabited the alleys of Drury Lane and the vicinity. He believed this to be one of the most stupid bits of blundering ever perpetrated. It was said that this poison, which, he contended, was conveyed to the human race through vaccine virus, could not be conveyed if the professional gentlemen at vaccine stations, who happened to take up the vaccine, did not take up a little blood. He cared not whether this virus was conveyed in blood or lymph, or in both. He believed it to be conveyed in both, and there were ample means of knowing that it was conveyed, and that it did do this destruction. If it were not conveyed, why should they find, day after day, those acres of skin disease which he believed to be merely the result of the specific disease of which he had spoken. He had said that he believed he had a remedy for small-pox, against which there had been no complaint. His remedy was no great secret, for it was an ancient remedy for small-pox—namely, calf lymph. He found that, notwithstanding the promise made by Mr. Dodson on the 11th of June, 1880, when President of the Local Government Board, the medical scientists of the National Vaccine Establishment supplied this lymph with such a niggardly hand, and surrounded with such red-tapeism, that medical men throughout the country had almost ceased to apply to have it supplied to them. There was no such thing as specific disease known among cows; therefore, the question was at once settled that specific disease could not be conveyed from cows to the human race. He had no regard whatever to the theory of medical scientists; it was well known that doctors differed and patients died. What he desired to impress on the mind of the President of the Local Government Board was, that he should gradually withdraw from the vaccine 518 stations, which were no better than poison dens, and concentrate the energies of the officials of the Local Government Board, and the spending of the grants made by Parliament, upon procuring and supplying pure calf lymph, which was the ancient remedy for small pox, and which statistics proved to be a real immunity against that awful disease, to give, moreover, to medical men in Scotland and Ireland the 9d., in addition to the 1s. 6d. fee, which was now allowed to medical men in England, but which, for some reason unexplained, was withheld from the profession in the poorer portions of the United Kingdom. By so doing, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would conciliate, if not satisfy altogether, the anti-vaccinators of the country. He certainly would be conferring an everlasting benefit upon the poor by removing from their shoulders a scourge which was inflicted upon them by Act of Parliament, in the shape of compulsory vaccination; but against which, sooner or later, if allowed to remain, the humbler classes in this country would justly and, he hoped, effectually revolt.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that the hon. Gentleman thought that if some arrangement could be made by which calf lymph could be supplied to every public vaccinator, all the troubles which met them in connection with vaccination would disappear. He assured the hon. Gentleman that that was not at all so. The hon. Gentleman would find, upon further inquiry, that the anti-vaccinators would not be one bit less strong in their opposition to vaccination if every person in the Kingdom were vaccinated with calf lymph. But it would be perfectly impossible for the Government to set up such an enormous establishment as would enable them to provide calf lymph for all the vaccinations in the country. The Government considered it their duty to maintain a central station, such as was maintained in London, from which supplies of lymph could be issued; but, if more was to be done, he was afraid it would have to be provided by the Local Authorities. He certainly did not think that the Government would be justified in increasing the size of their calf lymph station, or that they could be called upon to do more than they were now doing. There was a great difference of opinion as to 519 the relative merits of calf and human lymph. Many medical men argued that the result from human lymph was superior to that obtained from calf lymph. As to the assertion of the hon. Gentleman that the lymph was obtained from the purlieus of Covent Garden, he could only say that the lymph obtained by the Local Government Board was obtained with very great care.
§ DR. FITZGERALD
remarked that one of the largest stations was situated in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, that it did not follow that lymph was obtained from the purlieus of Covent Garden. The hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan) had asked a question with reference to vaccination in Ireland. The hon. and gallant Gentleman inquired whether there was any corresponding grant for Ireland? There was no corresponding grant for Ireland, but the circumstances of vaccination in that country were entirely different from those in England. Vaccination was performed in Ireland by the dispensary doctors, and half the salary of the dispensary doctor was paid——
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he was aware of that. Two shillings was paid for each vaccination, but half of the salary of the dispensary doctor was paid by the Guardians, therefore the cost of vaccination to the Guardians in Ireland was something less than the cost of vaccination in England. If, however, there were anything in this grant of which hon. Gentlemen from Ireland or Scotland had any reason to complain, they would not have any reason in future to do so, because this was the last year in which the grant would appear in the Estimates; this expenditure would in future be met out of the rates. The hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread), referring to the arrangement to institute inquiries into cases of death reported to the Local Government Board, stated that the inquiries in order to carry conviction to men's minds must be thoroughly impartial. Of course, the inquiries must be impartial; but it was impossible that inquiries of this sort could be conducted by other than medical men. He assured the Committee that everything would be done to secure that the inquiry should be one which would give satis- 520 faction to the public. The hon. Gentleman spoke of what he called vaccine stations; he supposed the hon. Gentleman meant vaccination stations. So far as the results of the operations performed by the public vaccinators and private practitioners were concerned, there was no doubt whatever from the figures before them that, if there be a better result obtained by one than by the other, it was in favour of public vaccinators. There was nothing which would meet with sterner condemnation at his hands than that the poor should not receive every consideration and proper treatment. He hoped and believed that they did receive considerate treatment; certainly, if any case were brought to his knowledge where there was any neglect, it would be severely dealt with by the authorities. As they had passed vaccination laws making vaccination compulsory, it was the duty of the Legislature to take every precaution they could that vaccination should be performed in the best possible manner, that every consideration should be shown to poorer people. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) had made some remarks upon the subject of compulsory vaccination being a sham. He was afraid he could not agree with the hon. Gentleman, as neither did he think that it was right to admit that vaccination was less availed of now to any extent than it had been. There was no doubt there were certain districts in which the vaccination laws were not properly and adequately carried out, and this was the principal reason for such reduction as was noticeable in the country. It was only in particular districts where a great propaganda had been carried on, in which all kinds of misleading statements had been put before the people in a misleading form—and he could not express very great surprise that these statements had misled the people and led to indifference in carrying out the vaccination laws—that the percentage of vaccination had gone down. He was afraid he could not hold out any hope that the Government would take any step to put an end to the law as it now existed, because their opinion was very strong that anything in that way might and probably would result in consequences of a disastrous character to the people of the country.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, that the reply of the right hon. Gentleman was most unsatisfactory. The right hon. Gentleman had publicly acknowledged that for a very considerable time a large proportion of the cost of the vaccination of the English people had been borne by the Government, and from the resources of the Exchequer, and that at the same time the Irish people had had to pay for their vaccinations out of the local rates. The right hon. Gentleman's argument as to the salaries of medical men of workhouses did not apply; vaccinations were totally separate and distinct from the ordinary work of medical officers. He had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman was right when he said that 2s. was paid for each vaccination, but that charge was put on Ireland, and then the Irish people were expected to pay towards English vaccination. That showed the enormous disadvantage of Ireland being governed exclusively by English administrators. The President of the Local Government Board was very proud of his new Local Government Bill, and was most anxious to impress upon the Committee that under that Bill this injustice to Ireland would cease. The right hon. Gentleman quite forgot that an enormous sum of money was being transferred from the Imperial Exchequer to those localities to pay for vaccination and for everything else. Vaccination was a very small item, and it was extremely probable in the present state of politics that the same state of things which now existed would continue in Ireland. Ireland, a poor country, would still have to go on paying for vaccination, while in this, a rich country, the localities would be recouped one-third of the cost of vaccination, though in a different fashion. He protested against this system under which Ireland was taxed to pay for English vaccination. He considered compulsory vaccination an absolute necessity, but its cost ought certainly to be equitably borne as between the three countries.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, that he intended to vote for this Amendment on the ground that it was very unfair to make the Scotch people pay for the whole of their vaccination and to pay a portion of the cost of English vaccination. But, apart from that, he objected to the present system of compul- 522 sory vaccination, and against the way in which the Vaccination Act was being carried out. He did not know anyone who mislead the Committee or misrepresented the state of things more than the right hon. Gentleman himself. The right hon. Gentleman was not a professional man, and therefore was unable to understand the arguments placed before him; he merely repeated statements of which he was the vehicle and not the author. He (Dr. Clark) put it to the Committee whether it was likely that a private practitioner, who knew something of the history of the family, and who would be paid for doing the work by the people, would not be more careful and get better results than servants who were paid partly by the Poor Law Authorities and partly by the Imperial Government, and who never saw the parents of the children from whom the lymph was taken? Another misrepresentation of which the right hon. Gentleman had been guilty had reference to the source of the lymph. When the supply of lymph ran short and a man wrote to the Government for more, he generally got bad lymph. He (Dr. Clark) had used all lymph supplied to him, and he had found it perfectly valueless. What was the source of the lymph? It was public vaccination stations, which were generally to be found in the poorest localities. The source of all the lymph sent out was a very suspected source, and he for one would not use it. They were told by some gentlemen that they would not propagate disease by vaccination unless there were blood in the lymph. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman knew anything about microscopy, but he (Dr. Clark) had examined hundreds of the sealed tubes, and he had got other people to do the same, and he had invariably found blood mixed with the lymph. He defied anyone to take lymph from any child without getting blood in it. Let them examine any lymph sent out by the Local Government Board through the microscope, and they would find in it red disc as well as white. They could not separate blood from the lymph. His strong point, however, was that as soon as they had had compulsory vaccination, they had had scrofula and consumption and other diseases increased thereby. While they had gained by the diminu- 523 tion of small-pox, they had lost by the increase in the number of cases of the diseases he had spoken of.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 45; Noes 154: Majority 109.—(Div. List, No. 278.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
said, he wished to take exception to the next item in the Vote—namely, Grants in Aid in respect of Poor Law Schools.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
(interrupting) wished to know whether, if he allowed this Vote to pass, he could question the gross sum later on, as he wished to have the Medical Vote reduced? Might he move a reduction at the end, or must he do it now?
We have already voted on "S." and, therefore, it is impossible to take the items "P, Q, and R."
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, he saw here an item for Poor Law schools in England, and desired to point out that there was no such corresponding charge in Scotland. In Scotland, the children who were being educated by the Parochial Boards were educated by those Boards at their own expense in the ordinary board schools; whereas in England, in connection with their Poor Law administration, they had schools for the purpose of educating the children belonging to the pauper class. Upon the general question of the expediency of Parliamentary grants for Poor Law schools, he would make a remark founded on the expenditure, the subject being one of considerable importance. They had in Scotland, as he had said, no such thing as Poor Law schools; but they had the pauper children distributed among the ordinary schools of the country, and educated in the ordinary manner. Now, pauperism was often the result of misfortune—probably, through the death of a parent, or of both parents. It was no crime, therefore, that the children should be educated at the expense of a charity such as the Parochial Board, and the result of the Scotch experience was this—that by boarding 524 the children out, and educating them at the ordinary board schools like other children, they took away from them the stamp of pauperism, which was so inherent in the English system. And what was the result of the Scotch experience? Why, in one parish with which he was acquainted in Stirlingshire, they had a record relating to each child educated at the expense of the Parochial Board, and they found that the children in regard to the Standards they were in and in regard to regular attendance, were above the average, having regard to the ordinary children of the district who were in attendance. They found that the children whose school fees were paid by the Parochial Board passed Standard V. at 11 years of age, and that many of them passed Standard VI. at 12 years of age; and he ventured to say that if they took the statistics relating to the Parochial Board children it would he found that the poorest children educated at the expense of the parish would bear more than favourable comparison, so far as education was concerned, with the ordinary children of the working classes. He thought the present a favourable time for considering the question as to whether or not pauper children should continue to be educated as paupers by themselves. He contended that by such education they lowered the tone of these children, and gave them a stamp of pauperism from which they did not soon escape; whereas it was found that by doing away with the stamp of pauperism and mixing the children up with other children, they prevented pauperism becoming hereditary. It was not at all unusual to find in cases where these pauper children had been properly educated that they got into good situations, and in many cases were able to relieve their mothers from pauperism, and frequently to help in the maintenance of younger children. He did not wish to take up the time of the Committee any longer, merely desiring to point out the result of the system of boarding out in Scotland. His contention was that it would bear comparison with the English system—that the comparison was all in favour of doing away with Poor Law Schools altogether, and of allowing the pauper children to mix with other children in the ordinary schools of the country.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said, if he understood from the Government that this subject would receive their special attention he would not move a reduction. He understood that the Vote was only for the present year; and, therefore, it would hardly be convenient to move the reduction.
§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
said, he entirely agreed with the remarks which had fallen from his hon. Friend (Mr. Caldwell). He believed the system of boarding out pauper children which prevailed in Scotland was immensely superior to the English system of bringing up children in pauper schools. In Scotland the system of boarding out had stamped out the character of pauper children altogether, having enabled those children to mix with other children, and lose all trace of their pauper origin. In England, on the other hand, destitute children were trained up in pauper schools. In England those children were practically orphans, and were a charge upon the State. As many as 1,000, and even 1,500, children were to be found in some pauper schools in London; and they cost, in some cases, as much as £30 per head per annum; whereas, in Scotland, under the boarding out system, the cost was only about 4s. per head per week, or £10 a-year. He was told that in some cases it was not more than 3s. per week. And in the case of London it must be remembered that this enormous cost of £30 per head was wrung out of the very poorest class; therefore, even from a pecuniary point of view, the English pauper school system was an entire mistake. The pauper system was a most expensive way of bringing up pauper children. But not only was it a mistake from a pecuniary point of view, but the moral results were equally unsatisfactory, as the system tended to fix a stamp of pauperism upon the children, and make pauperism hereditary. In these pauper schools, in fact, many of the children were not even called by their names, but were referred to as "No. 100," or "200," or "300," as the case might be. No one knew better than the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board how bad had been the result of bringing up these children in large 526 schools. The right hon. Gentleman was acquainted with the Report of Mrs. Senior, who had given a deplorable account of the results with regard to the girls brought up in pauper schools. She had pointed out that as many as 50 per cent of these girls went to the bad. He did wonder, with all these facts so well known—with the fact that the expense was so enormous, and the moral effect so distressing, and that the Scotch system showed so much better results—that we should go on from year to year with the same pauper school system. He was aware that the Local Government Board was doing something now in the right direction; but the Board was proceeding so feebly that its action amounted to nothing. In England there were probably not more than 2,000 out of a total of 00,000 pauper children boarded out. The result in the case of those who were boarded out was good; but he desired to ask the Committee whether the best way to deal with these pauper children would not be to send them out to the Colonies, where the population was thin and employment was ample, in place of training them in London and other large centres where the population was congested and work was very difficult to get? He maintained that there was no better means of dealing with these pauper children than that of planting them out in the Colonies. There was an unlimited demand for such children in the Colonies, provided they were properly trained before being sent out. They could not send the pauper children out to the Colonies as at present trained. The Colonies would not accept them. The Committee could hardly imagine the dread the Colonies had of workhouse children. The workhouse system had been so wretched in its results in this country that the Colonies would hardly receive pauper children if the fact that they were such was known; and what he would therefore suggest was that these 60,000 children in this country to which he referred should never be permitted to become paupers at all. When the parents died, and the children were left to the care of the State, in place of putting them into workhouse schools, they should be handed over to some of the numerous Charities which abounded in our country which undertook education, and 527 which would treat them tenderly and wisely; but do not let them ever come under the operation of the English Poor Law so that it could be said at some future time, "These people were once paupers." Let these children have guardians appointed to them—let them be handed over to people who would undertake to board and train them for the sum of, say, 4s. per week; and he did not suppose, from their experience in Scotland, that it would take more than one or two years to train such children. They found no difficulty in getting people in the Colonies to take charge of the children at ages varying from six to 12 years. He ventured to say that if the system he advocated were adopted it would do more than anything else which could be devised to drive pauperism out of the country. Pauperism in England was hereditary; it went on from generation to generation. Such a condition of things was a shame to this country—there being a larger class of hereditary paupers here than in any other civilised country in the world. He did not think he need say more. He had spoken upon this subject in that House again and again; and the reason he had done so was that, although the Local Government Board professed to sympathize with his views, they did nothing, or if they did anything it was only to lay down Regulations which hampered all attempts made to improve the condition of these pauper children. There was a large class of persons, official and otherwise, interested in the administration of the existing pauper schools. He did not know whether these were responsible for the inaction of the Local Government Board; but, at any rate, he knew that there was something at work against the efforts of those who were striving to bring about a better state of things. He believed that nothing would be done until the House passed a Resolution condemnatory of inaction, and calling for the removal of all obstacles in the way of adopting the boarding out system.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT (Sussex, N. W.)
, said he sympathized with the remarks which had fallen from the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith). He (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had spoken on this subject on many 528 occasions, and had always been most strongly of opinion that pauper children should not be brought up in workhouse schools. He had stated that opinion very strongly for several years past, and had always found that right hon. Gentlemen at the Local Government Board, whoever they might be, sympathized to a great extent with his remarks. The question, no doubt, was a very difficult one to deal with; and the hon. Member for Flintshire travelled very widely when he expressed the wish that all pauper children should be sent to the Colonies. No doubt it was a desirable thing that a certain number of those children should be enabled to go there; but it was a rather strong statement to say that the parents of all such children were dead, and that, therefore, the State should take possession of them. He (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) was in a position to say that a large number of the parents of those children were alive. It might be right to say of some of the children who were not orphans, that it was the proper sort of thing to remove them from the evil influence of their parents; but all the parents of those children were not alike.
§ MR. S. SMITH
said, he was aware that a certain number of the children educated in pauper schools had parents living. He did not say "all" the children were orphans; but the major portion of them—some 33,000 out of 60,000.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he thought that if they could make an advance upon what had been done already, and could get rid of all the workhouse schools, so that the children could be educated in the ordinary schools which were to be found in every town and village of England, they would be making a great step in advance. This was the subject which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board should consider, and one, no doubt, which he had been considering; and he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) would, therefore, ask him to say what advance had been made, and how many schools they had now which might be called workhouse schools? Then as to boarding out, which was a most important branch of the subject, he believed that the system 529 was largely increasing. Every man who knew the habits and condition of both men and women of this country must be aware that to place a child in a good family, where it would be well taken care of, was to confer the greatest possible benefit upon that child. Instead of having the brand of pauperism put upon it, the child becomes a member of a respectable family, and would be in a fair way to become a decent member of society. But, of course, it did not do to farm out children in places where they were not well taken care of. Most careful supervision was required, in order to make sure that the children were put in proper places, and that the people who had charge of them would not abuse their trust. He (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) ventured to think that both the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, and his hon. Friend (Mr. Long) who sat by his side, were both of them most anxious that the two things to which he had referred should be done—namely, that the pauper children should be taken out of the workhouse schools, and that they should be boarded out. If any statistics could be given to the Committee upon this subject it would be an advantage, and hon. members would be grateful for the information. He held that anything which could be done to raise the children of that class who had been paupers for generations, from their condition of pauperism, would be a benefit, not only to the people interested, but to the State itself.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
, said, he had placed upon the Paper a Notice to reduce the Vote, not with the intention, however, of endeavouring to bring about a reduction, but simply with the object of calling attention to what appeared to him the unsatisfactory condition of some of the Metropolitan pauper schools. The hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) strongly advocated the boarding out system, and he (Mr. Pickersgill) went with the hon. Member in supporting that principle so far as it was practicable; but he thought it would be obvious that it was not always practicable to adopt it. In some parts of the country a sort of middle course had been adopted, with, he believed, very satisfactory results, that course being to keep the pauper children in 530 separate establishments; but instead of teaching them in a pauper school, to send them out to ordinary public elementary schools in the neighbourhood. He thought there could be no doubt as to the unsatisfactory results in the pauper schools in face of the Reports of the Inspectors of those schools. Mr. Holgate, for instance, in his Report for 1886, had referred to the poor quality of the reading and spelling of the children, and had said that he was disposed to think that those difficulties arose from the monotony of their life, destroying alike the interest and energy of teacher and taught. And then in regard to the status of the teachers themselves, he was afraid they did not get, as they ought to have, teachers of the very first class in the pauper schools. Mr. Holgate declared in his Report that many of the teachers remained in those schools a very short time, owing to their status not being duly recognized, and also because the limited freedom they possessed became unbearable to them. He further stated that of those who remained, some lost all their energy in the work, either from its monotony or from the limited amount of encouragement they obtained. There was another branch of the educational part of the work in those schools which he (Mr. Pickersgill) was afraid was still more unsatisfactory, and that was the industrial training given. Dr. Clutterbuck, the Inspector for the Western District, said there were 1,789 children under instruction at an annual cost of £2 per annum per head. Well, the question arose whether they could expect to get adequate teaching at an expense of only £2 per annum per child. Dr. Clutterbuck was manifestly sceptical on that point, because he said it was not right that payments out of the local rates, or from a Parliamentary grant, should be made on behalf of an officer who was little less than a servant in the workhouse, or whose so-called teaching, in spite of some excellent exceptions, was the merit shown, and of no real benefit to the children. The industrial training of the children was, of course, of very great importance, and it was also important that in this matter the country should not be deceived. If industrial training was given it should not be a sham, but should be real and beneficial, and that was one of the points to which 531 he hoped the attention of the Local Government Board would be directed. The other point to which he would wish to direct special attention was this—where the boarding out system could not be carried into practice, the workhouse authorities should be encouraged, instead of taking the education of those children into the walls of the workhouses, to send the children to public schools outside.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. LONG) (Wilts, Devizes)
said, he was sure that everybody interested in this question of the education of pauper children would readily admit the right of the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) to address the Committee on the subject, looking at the great interest he had taken in it and the devotion which he had shown in its ventilation; but he thought that hon. Member was a little hard on the Local Government Board when he said that he believed the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board and himself (Mr. W. Long), who were actuated by as good motives as the hon. Member, had thrown obstacles in the way of the better education of those pauper children. He could assure the hon. Member that during the time his right bon. Friend (Mr. Ritchie) and himself had held their present offices, they had not thrown any obstacles in the way of securing improvement in the education of pauper children when it tended in the direction of making arrangements for their being boarded out within or without the limits of the union, or of sending them to schools other than those belonging to workhouses. He could assure the hon. Member for Flintshire that if he had occupied the position of either the President of the Local Government Board or himself (Mr. Long), he could not have done more than they had. They had lost no opportunity of impressing upon the Guardians the necessity of taking every precaution, and ascertaining the condition of the homes to which it was intended to send the children when they were boarded out. In 1888 there were 1,227 children boarded out beyond the limits, and 2,324 boarded out within the limits of the unions. Those figures showed, if not a large, at least a steady increase on the figures of the preceding year; and he did not think the charge of obstruction on the part of the Local 532 Government Board could be sustained on any basis of fact. His hon. and gallant Friend behind him (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) asked the Local Government Board for some figures as to the education of pauper children. There, again, though the numbers were not very large or striking, there was to be found a steady advance. It would be found that the number educated wholly in workhouses had decreased. The figures were 303 workhouses in 1883, against 210 in 1888. In 1883 there were only 79 unions which had detached schools, while in 1885 there were 87. Of those 87 unions, 63 had detached schools of their own, and 24 had detached schools which they shared with other unions. In the unions which sent their children to public elementary schools, the increase was more marked. For 1883 the number was 201, and for 1888 it was 298. The figures showed that there had been a steady increase in the number of unions in which the children were boarded out, either within or without the union. The hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) appeared to make a somewhat serious charge with reference to the children who were brought up in workhouses, and had referred, in somewhat general terms, to the number who went to the bad. Well, one of the most recent Reports which they had seen on that subject was the Report of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants. That Society, in its Report for 1887, stated that the number of young girls which it supervised in that year was 2,326, and that 2,073 of them were from district and separate Poor Law schools in the Metropolis. Of those girls 916 cases were referred to as "very good"; 782 as "fairly good"; 219 as "unsatisfactory"; and only 48 as "bad." Although it was to be regretted that there should be those 48 bad, yet they hardly bore out the hon. Member's contention that a large proportion of the children brought up in Poor Law schools went to the bad. He had listened with great interest to what the hon. Member had said about the emigration of pauper children; but it seemed to him that the hon. Gentleman had made some slight error. The hon. Member was apparently not aware of the powers at present possessed by Boards of Guardians. The hon. Gen- 533 tleman practically suggested that instead of those children, when they were orphan or deserted children, going into the workhouse, they should go into Charitable institutions which gave industrial training to fit them for emigration. But there was nothing to prevent that from being done now. The Guardians had power at present to send children to industrial schools, the only necessary condition being that the schools should be approved by the Local Government Board, who endeavoured to secure that in those schools there should be such industrial training as would, at all events, to some extent fit the children for earning their living in the future. Therefore, that part of the hon. Member's proposal seemed to be hardly needed; because if the Guardians saw an opportunity and were willing to send children to schools of that description, they could do so now; but he must confess he had listened with some alarm and astonishment to the hon. Member's proposal that all pauper children should be treated in that way. When the children were sent out under proper conditions and placed on those Canadian lands, they might, no doubt, get on very well, and within certain limits the Local Government Board were very willing to see that emigration continued; but he scarcely thought that the public mind was prepared at present to see all pauper children, or any very large proportion of them, sent out of this country. There might be a better prospect for them in the Colonies under a judicious system; but if they were properly educated and started in life, there was no reason why many of them should not be able to obtain a good living and have a fair prospect before them in this country. He did not, therefore, think that a case had been made out to justify the Local Government Board in making such a complete alteration of the Poor Law system as was shadowed out by the hon. Member for Flintshire; but, at the same time, their desire was that not only should there be no sham in the system of education, not only should no obstacle be thrown in the way of the Guardians adopting a more humane, more civilized, and better system of education, but also that they should send the children to schools outside the union, and provide an education which would improve them both mentally and 534 physically; they would continue to do everything in their power to assist the Guardians in carrying out such a system, and would help the Guardians when they found any difficulty in their way, and certainly would not themselves be parties to the creation of any obstruction.
§ MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)
, speaking as Chairman of a large Board of Guardians in a seaport town in the South of Ireland—namely, Waterford—complained of the deportation of paupers from England, Wales, and Scotland to Ireland. He thought he might say, without exaggeration, that in the union to which he referred every month they received warrants from different unions in England, Wales, and Scotland sending over to them workhouse inmates simply because they happened to be born within the Waterford Union, and altogether regardless of the fact that they had spent their energies and the best years of their lives in contributing to the wealth of those parts of the United Kingdom from which they were deported. He had last year called attention to the deportation of two men who had spent 40 years of their lives in South Wales—men who were sent over to Waterford when they had become incapable of working simply because they had been born in that union. These men were now rendered a permanent burden to the rates of Waterford. The most tantalizing part of the arrangement was that there were in the Waterford Workhouse at the present moment three or four inmates who had been born in England, and yet there was no power of sending them across to this country. The Waterford Union had to continue to support these people. This was a very unsatisfactory state of things; and although he had called the attention of the Government to it, nothing had been done to remove the grievance. When he had asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he intended to introduce a small Bill to deal with the matter, notwithstanding that it would not have been a Bill of a contentious nature, the right hon. Gentleman said that he had no such intention. The Irish Members might be asked why they did not themselves bring in such a measure; but the answer to that was that it would be useless to do so, as they would have no prospect of passing it. Only the Session 535 before last they brought in 39 Bills on various subjects, and not one of them became law. It was ridiculous to expect the Irish Members to trouble themselves with the preparation of Bills when there was no chance of their becoming law. He should like to ask the President of the Local Government Board what was the precise condition of the law with regard to the deportation of paupers to Ireland, and from that country—why it was possible to deport paupers from England to Ireland, and impossible to send them from Ireland to England?
§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
said, that on a former occasion he had spoken of the bad results which followed the teaching in our workhouse schools. He had not now his figures by him; but, if he remembered rightly, there were 60,000 children in pauper schools, and whatever reduction had taken place in the number it was very discouraging to see how small progress had been made. He had pointed out that about 50 per cent of the children, especially in the case of girls, turned out badly. Since the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants had been established it had done admirable service, but had dealt only with 2,000 or 3,000 out of a total of 60,000 pauper children in the country. But the stress of his remarks on a former occasion was devoted to the question of emigration; and the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Long), in replying to him, said that there was nothing to prevent Boards of Guardians emigrating the children if they chose. He (Mr. S. Smith) could not agree with that statement. He had received numerous letters from Clerks and Chairmen of Boards of Guardians, asking him how they could obtain emigration powers; he had referred them to the Local Government Board, and in the end they had written back to say that such obstacles were placed in their way that they could practically do nothing. They were hampered by certain regulations, one of which required that no child should be emigrated unless it had first been in a workhouse school. Now, their very object was to get rid of that; they did not want the children to go into workhouse schools at all; they wanted them to pass into voluntary homes and escape the taint of pauperism altogether. As to the condition of the boys brought up in pauper schools, he 536 wanted to make one observation. A year or two ago he read the report of a treat which had been given to a number of rough lads who were prowling about the streets of London; at the close of the entertainment the lads who had been educated in pauper schools were asked to stand up, and the result was, as far as his recollection went, that 1,800 of the boys who were living in the streets in idleness and mischief said that they had been brought up in those establishments. He imputed no blame to the managers of workhouse schools, who did their best for those under their charge; he admitted that all that could be done for the boys in those schools was done; but he said 1,000 children could not be brought up like a herd of cattle without their turning out badly in after life. It was contrary to nature, and could not be. In all countries the conclusion had been come to that these institutions worked badly; they had been found to work so badly that the Trustees had broken them up, and the children had been taken away and planted in private homes. The hon. Gentleman opposite stated that the Government could not contemplate the deportation of all these children from the country; but he maintained that the country would not suffer by these 60,000 children being planted in the Colonies. Employmens was not easily obtained in our great towns; on the contrary, it was well known that nearly one-third of the working population in East London was always on the verge of pauperism, and had the greatest difficulty in getting the barest subsistence. And, again, there was no adequate employment for this huge population of London, and, in his opinion, never would be, for they were snffering from congestion of population. It was only quite recently that a very careful statistical statement was made, which showed that in one area containing about 900,000 persons, 300,000 were ascertained to be on the verge of extreme poverty or absolute destitution. There were many cases in which parents endeavoured to make money out of the degradation of their offspring, and it would be well if parental authority could be curtailed in cases where the parents had forfeited all moral claim to its exercise. In no other country was there such extravagant respect paid to the wishes of parents who had proved 537 themselves to be worthless, and he hoped the law would be liberalized in such a way as to enable children to be taken from the control of parents who were frequently their very worst enemies.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
said, he would not have troubled the Committee on this subject after the very full statement made by his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Local Government Board (Mr. Long) were it not for the statement of the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith), which he thought had been made under a misapprehension. The hon. Gentleman had spoken of some friends who were extremely desirous of taking steps for the emigration of pauper children; and he said that, having communicated with the Local Government Board, he found that there was great difficulty in getting the assent of the Board to the proposal. He could not understand that, because the Local Government Board had lately taken great pains in considering the Regulations under which they would assent to the emigration of these children.
§ MR. S. SMITH
said, he had stated that the gentlemen to whom he referred were so hampered by the Regulations that practically they could not carry out their view.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said, he understood the hon. Member to make two statements—one, that it was difficult to get information; and, secondly, that the Regulations were such as to hamper Boards of Guardians to a very large extent; and he had been very anxious to hear from him the particular conditions by which the Guardians were so much fettered. The hon. Gentleman had given one instance—namely, that the children were required to have been educated in a Poor Law school. There was no such Regulation. The condition, so far as schooling was concerned, was that a child under 14 should have been under previous instruction for at least six months in a workhouse school, or in a separate school under Government, or in a school certified in accordance with the requirements of the Act 25 & 26 Vict., c. 43. Of course, the condition would be complied with if the child had been educated in a workhouse school, 538 but that was not at all essential. The hon. Gentleman would quite admit the necessity of some preliminary training, and he could assure him that the Department had enlarged to the utmost the definition of the schools to which these children might be sent; and if any schools were submitted to them where proper training was given and where regulations were made for the comfort and bringing up of the children to the satisfaction of the Board, they would immediately certify that children might be emigrated from them. He could assure the hon. Gentleman that there was no foundation whatever for the statement made upon this particular point, and that no impediment would be put in the way of Guardians by the Local Government Board in this matter. He could not say how strongly he agreed with the hon. Gentleman in his desire to rescue these children from their condition while they were children. He believed that comparatively little could be done with our adult pauper population, and that the country would get value for its money and secure the greatest results by taking children and trying to reform them. He was satisfied that any Board of Guardians who desired to do the best for the ratepayers to whom they were responsible would try their utmost, under proper conditions, to snatch these children from the life to which they would otherwise be consigned. As he had said, no impediment would be put in the way of Boards of Guardians by the Department over which he presided; and if the hon. Gentleman would point out any Regulation which he thought unduly and unnecessarily impeded them, he would be ready to reconsider it. But they must take care that proper Rules were carried out, or otherwise the last state of those children might be worse than the first; they must have proper safeguards that they would be taken care of and properly brought up. With reference to the taking charge of children whose parents were living, that, of course, was a very important question, and much consideration must take place before the Government could come to any conclusion upon it. He thought, however, that public opinion was growing very much in the direction in which the hon. Gentleman desired to travel. The public were beginning to think that 539 parents who grossly neglected their children and deserted them, were people who should have very little control over them. But the question was a large one, and could only he dealt with when public opinion was practically unanimous in favour of legislation. He hoped he had convinced the hon. Gentleman that the Government were as anxious as he himself could possibly be to promote the object in view.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said, he thought the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) had been more satisfactory than that of the hon. Gentleman beside him (Mr. Long). He (Dr. Clark) was strongly in favour of emigrating children rather than adults. The question of boarding out children had come before the Board of Guardians of which he had been a member, and he had himself inspected a great number of children who were boarded out, the results of his examination being very satisfactory; for he found that they had developed a degree of independence which they would not get in the Poor Law schools. He had also occasionally gone to the large caravanseries of children of which the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) had spoken, and found that the physical results were very bad indeed; he had seen ophthalmia and other diseases generated in them. If this form of pauperism was to be got rid of, he thought that every facility should be given to Boards of Guardians by the Board of Trade to send the children to fields where they would have a better chance than they could get here.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
said, he wished to draw attention to the question of the deportation of paupers from this country to Ireland. Irish-born subjects came over here, spent the whole of their life in work which was profitable to the State, and then, at the moment when they could work no longer, they were, under the present law, sent back to the unions from which they came. On the other hand, the Irish unions were obliged to maintain English and Scotch paupers. He thought that some measure should be introduced to relieve Ireland of this grievance, and trusted the matter would be considered by the Government with the view of putting an end to the system.
§ MR. LONG
said, that so far from 540 pooh-pooling the question referred to by the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith), as the hon. Member for Caithness had been good enough to remark, he had felt that nothing could be better done in the interest of the country than something in the nature of the work in which the hon. Member for Flintshire had been so long engaged. The hon. Member for East Waterford (Mr. P. J. Power) had told the Committee that men were sent back to Ireland who had passed 40 years in England, and became chargeable to the Waterford Union. He had no doubt that the hon. Member was sure of his facts; but the persons referred to must have led a very wandering life during their stay in this country if they were liable to be sent back to their native land. Although the existing law was surrounded by many difficulties, and appeared to inflict some hardship on Ireland, at the same time the fact was that a man acquired a settlement in England in the parish in which he had resided for three years, without having had relief from the rates, and became thereby chargeable to the union in which the parish is situated, and could not be removed to Ireland. There was, no doubt, a considerable number of paupers who were returned from England and Scotland to Ireland owing to the Law of Settlement, about which there were a good many difficulties in this country. There was much to be said for the suggestion of the hon. Member who had just proposed that the Government should deal with this question by a Bill; but that was not the only aspect in which it could be regarded. There were parts of the country in which any attempt to alter the Law of Settlement would be met with strong opposition. He was, therefore, afraid that the Government could not hold out any hope of legislation on the question, which was admittedly a very difficult one. If the hon. Member would look at the figures for the whole country, he would find that, although there were many paupers sent back to Ireland, the number was not so very great and serious as he had been led to suppose from the figures of one particular union.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)
said, the explanation of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Local Government Board (Mr. Long) was that a person who had lived in England or Scotland for three years in one place obtained a settlement; and, therefore, that the individuals referred to by the hon. Member for East Waterford (Mr. P. S. Power) must have led a very roving life not to have obtained a settlement in 40 years. But it might, he thought, have occurred to the hon. Gentleman that a person might have changed his place of abode through illness, or the inability to find a living, and in that case they complained that he would be sent back to Ireland. This was, in fact, what really occurred, and what he contended ought not to be allowed to occur again. There had been a considerable amount of agitation for national rates in Ireland, and he thought it very probable that there would, some day, be a national rate for paupers. On the subject of the emigration of pauper children, he was rather inclined to agree with the Secretary to the Local Government Board in thinking that there was not too large a population in the country. There were, of course, a large number of improvident people, and those who lived in indolence; but there were others who, although they did not find work throughout the year, yet had work during the remainder of the year. He had very little sympathy with the former class, who squandered their money and left their children in poverty, for which he would have them put in prison and given some substantial punishment. That, he thought, would be a better way of dealing with the matter than sending the children to the Colonies, and putting the cost on the parishes. He thought, also, that the boarding out system was preferable to the workhouse system, and that children brought up in the houses of the industrious poor were quite as likely to learn as if they were with people of a different position.
§ MR. P. J. POWER
said, with reference to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Local Government Board (Mr. Long), the facts of the case he had referred to had been sent to him by the Board of Guardians of which he was Chairman, although he could not per- 542 sonally vouch for their accuracy. But in a question put by hint to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) he had stated the particulars, the accuracy of which the right hon. Gentleman admitted, and said that these people were now a permanent charge on the rates. He could tell the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) that there was no dissentient voice on this subject, and that the ex-officio Guardians were all in favour of an alteration of the law. With regard to the Poor Law administration, the result of his experience in both countries was that the Irish people might learn many useful lessons from the way in which the law was worked in England; and, on the other hand, he thought that Boards of Guardians here had something to learn from the way it was administered in Ireland. For instance, he had found in one union in England people in the same ward of different denominations, whereas in Waterford union there were 14 Protestant inmates, who had a ward to themselves and a Protestant clergyman to minister to them. If English gentlemen would visit Ireland and see how Protestants in the unions were provided for, they would see how wrong were many of the arguments founded on the supposed existence of religious intolerance, and he threw out this suggestion in the hope that a better state of feeling might be brought about.
§ DR. CLARK
said, he wished to point out that, calculating upon the figures of the last Census, he found that the Poor Law Medical Officers in England received from Grants in Aid sums equal to £10 per 1,000 persons, whereas in Scotland they only received £5 per 1,000. There was this disparity with regard to the payment of every official in Scotland as compared with those in England. He would also point out that the payment of Registrars of Births and Deaths was in Scotland entirely defrayed from the local rates, whereas in England it was made a charge on the Imperial Exchequer. As this was the last time the items under Sub-heads B, E, and F, to which he referred, would come before the Committee, he should not, on the present occasion, put them to the trouble of dividing against them.
§ Question put, and agreed to.543
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,717, be granted to Her Majesty's Government, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Commissioners in Lunacy in England.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
said, that in every Public Department the Reports were produced annually; but he did not think that throughout the history of the Commissioners in Lunacy this rule had ever been observed. These gentlemen had been opposed to every proposal of lunacy reform, and they had oven gone so far in their Report as to draw attention to the fact that they altogether disagreed with the method of the proposed legislation which had been introduced into the other House of Parliament. He did not think it was the business of the Commissioners to instruct that House in the matter of legislation, but that if they had any criticism to offer on the subject they should make it to the Government of the day. The main object of the Bill of Lord Herschell, which had passed the Upper House, was to put an end to the system under which it was in the power of any two doctors to cause a man under their certificate to be deprived of his liberty and cast into a lunatic asylum. He had brought before the Committee cases of the most deplorable and cruel character, where the object of imprisonment was generally that of getting the money of the person imprisoned; and the legislation in question was proposed with the view of getting rid of the possibility of this, even if it had not happened. It was to this Bill that the Commissioners said they objected, and advised its withdrawal. He asked the Committee to remember that a few months ago application was made to the Courts of Law for the release of a man who had been imprisoned through the influence of his wife on the certificate of two doctors who were proved afterwards to be improper characters. Then there was the case of Mrs. Weldon, who had worked so hard as eventually to obtain her release. Upon these cases the Report practically gave no information; what information there was not being of the character to which Parliament was entitled. The Commissioners 544 were originally appointed for the protection of lunatics in asylums, and for the purpose of seeing that they were not illtreated, and that the law was properly carried out. But during the year the Commissioners had to supervise the treatment of 60,000 lunatics, and it followed that to carry out the work properly the Commissioners would have on the 200 working days of the year to examine over 300 lunatics, an amount of work which he did not believe any hon. Member would suppose it to be in the power of any man to carry out properly. Again, he had looked to see if the Commissioners had taken any particular note of the cases of cruelty and injury and death in lunatic asylums, and he had been able to find scarcely a reference to them. The whole character of the Report of the Commissioners on such subjects was most fragmentary. Some of the private asylums were of a very high character, and were conducted in a manner worthy of the greatest commendation, whereas there were others which were a disgrace to the country. By way of exemplification, he would refer to a piece of evidence which recently came out of a certificate being given to a man to establish a private lunatic asylum who had been in the service of a Peer—his only recommendation was that he had been his butler. This one case would suffice to show the character of some asylums. It had been decided by the unanimous assent of the House, year after year, that the Lunacy Law was so bad that it must be changed; yet at that day no change had been made, although the Bill of Lord Herschell had passed the House of Lords. Whether it was owing to the opinion of the Commissioners that this Bill had not come down to the House of Commons he could not say; but certainly their Report was now two years in arrear. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £5,000.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the reduced sum of £717 be granted for the said service."—(Mr. Molloy.)
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
said, it appeared to him that the Commissioners of Lunacy discharged their duties in a singularly perfunctory way. The information they laid on the Table of the House in their Annual 545 Report furnished material which ought to wake in them some sense of the importance of the interests entrusted to their care, and ought to drive them to make some effort to abate the evils which were growing day by day and year by year in the country in the province over which they were placed to watch and to guard. He feared there were few Members of the Committee who realized the full significance of the details furnished by the Commissioners in the Blue Book they had presented to Parliament. In the year 1859 there was a total number of lunatic patients in the country of 36,762. In 1888 that number had gone up to 82,643. The number of patients in private domestic treatment was practically the same now as then, making allowance for the increase of population; it was a little under 6,000 then, now it was a little over 6,000. The number of patients in provincial licensed houses was also much the same—about 2,000. In Metropolitan licensed hospitals the number was also about the same, 2,500. In registered houses the number was 1,855 30 years ago, and now it was 3,426. The figures were small, and the ratio did not make very much difference. But in the borough and county asylums, where there used to be 15,844 patients, there were now no less than 50,180. A little further examination of the figures would show that the increase was principally in the poorer classes, and that the pauper lunatics, who 30 years ago bore a proportion of 3.68 per cent of the total number of paupers, now numbered 8.92 in every 100 of the ordinary paupers. In other words, the total number of the pauper lunatics had increased more than two-and-a-half times. The total number of lunatics in borough and county asylums had increased three-and-a-half times, and the total number of lunatics in the country had increased by something more than 100 per cent. But what was very much more important was that the rate of recovery of patients was lower than it formerly was in every single class of these institutions, except the Metropolitan licensed houses. Table 6 showed that the recovery per 100 of the admissions was, in the Meeropolitan licensed houses, in the year 1878, 28 per cent. It had risen in 1887 to 38 per cent, a very substantial improvement, showing, presumably, a considerable 546 improvement in the general treatment of the patients in those institutions. In the registered hospitals, the recovery bore to the admissions a proportion of 50.14 to 100 in 1878; that proportion had fallen to 46. In the county and borough asylums there was also a diminishing rate of cure, very much lower than that in the registered hospitals. Again, if they looked to the question of the number of deaths, they found that in private practice, where patients were treated singly, the number of deaths was now 4.87 per cent. In registered hospitals and in the naval and military hospitals it was much the same, the figures being rather better—4.77 in the one case, and 4.44 in the other. But in the provincial licensed houses it rose to 6.11, in the Metropolitan licensed houses it rose to 7.58, and in the county and borough asylums, where all the poor people were accumulated to the number of 50,000 and more, the rate of death was 7.89 per cent. The question which, in his opinion, ought to have forced itself upon the attention of the Commissioners, was whether there was no connection between the accumulation of the poor in the borough and county asylums, and the extraordinarily high death rate which was there discovered, and also the falling ratio of cure. He was inclined to think the Commissioners were alive more or less to the truth of the proposition which he had suggested, but, for reasons best known to themselves, they hesitated. Possibly they were afraid to put forward their views on the matter; whether it was from the point of view of economy, or for fear of raising professional jealousy or what not, he did not know. But the increase of the numbers in the county asylums was important, for the reason that the Commissioners had not as much authority in the county asylums as they had in other institutions. In their Report, page 87, the Commissioners said—It will be observed that in visiting licensed houses particular attention is given to the mental condition of individual patients. In licensed houses, and in lunatic hospitals, we are entrusted with the power of discharge, if satisfied that any patient is detained without sufficient cause, while in county and borough asylums, as we have already remarked, we have no such power.'That, therefore, was one important fact to be borne in mind. When he spoke of the diminished rate of cure, he must 547 not be supposed to be merely putting forward something he himself had gleaned by comparing the figures in the Report. The Commissioners themselves referred to the matter. On page 4 of their Report they said—The recovery rate, as compared with the admissions in 1887, is considerably below the average of the three preceding years;and then they went on to make the extraordinary statement that to the accumulation in the county and borough asylums was to a great extent due the diminished rate of cure. That was to say, that the curative treatment was less effectual; that people were left in these asylums who ought to have been cured under other circumstances. That fact alone had a considerable effect in causing the congested state of these institutions. Another question he desired to dwell upon was the insufficient authority of the Commissioners, which they themselves also complained of, in these institutions. In the Suffolk Asylum a man died of broken ribs, and the Commissioners in Lunacy reported to the Home Office that in their opinion the patient was done to death by the attendants of the asylum. The Commissioners proposed that the most extreme measures should be taken in order to ascertain who were the guilty parties. And yet the Committee of Visitors of the asylum were able to treat the Report with absolute contempt, and the inculpated and charged attendants were in the same position as if there was not the least complaint to be made against them. It was no earthly use to have Commissioners at all if their powers were to be ineffectual in so serious a case as the practical murder of an innocent fellow-creature. Amongst the different classes of lunatics were the unfortunate inmates of workhouse lunatic wards. From the Commissioners' Report it was found that at Maidstone the Governors condemned eight poor idiots to hard labour, in the shape of continual water pumping. A system which admitted of such cruelty being administered must be very faulty. Some arrangement ought certainly to be made whereby the visitation and inspection of the lunatic portion of the workhouse population ought to be thorough and frequent. There was another matter which the Commissioners might seriously turn their attention to. Frequently 548 an inmate of a workhouse who was fit to be removed to an asylum was taken by the police or by the workhouse authorities before a magistrate, as if he or she were a criminal, and dealt with in a Police Court. Again, he found from the Report that in the case of 784 patients, 442 were Roman Catholics. Those 142 Roman Catholics, in different stages of mental ailment, were never allowed to hear Mass, at any rate, inside the institution. There might not be upon the Government Bench at the present moment anybody who could appreciate what that meant; but if the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) would consult his Chief, he would find that the deprivation of attendance at Mass to 442 Catholics was something more than a sentimental grievance. He had dwelt especially upon the accumulation of pauper lunatics in borough and county asylums; but he affirmed that even a cursory examination of those institutions by anyone who had an opportunity of spending some hours in any of them would convince him that there was a radical fault at the bottom of the system, and it was that medical superintendents were not regarded by the Government as medical superintendents at all, but were really treated as if they were so many students. A medical officer who had charge of an institution with, perhaps, 1,000 inmates, was really little better than a clerk: he had such an amount of figures to attend to, he had so many returns and reports to make, he had so much financial responsibility, that he practically had no time at all to devote to the individual treatment of his patients; and the reason why there was so low a rate of recovery in these institutions was that the medical staff was ridiculously inadequate for the business which was put into their hands. It was an incontrovertible fact that there was not a single institution in the country for the treatment of the insane which was furnished with a medical staff such as the poorest hospital for the treatment of bodily diseases was furnished with. [Sir HENRY FLETCHER: Oh, oh!] His authority was Dr. Rayner, who made the statement a short time ago in a letter to The Times. The question of treatment was really very important. The charge for lunacy was 549 very great, the evil and the misery of lunacy was extreme, and in other countries—in Scotland and in Belgium, for instance—there were very different results from those which attended the treatment of the insane in this country. Here there was no adequate individuality of treatment; hundreds and thousands of lunatics in different phases of mental infirmity were herded together, and then left. The treatment of these lunatics was sufficient to keep them alive, but it was not sufficient to cure them. He should like, if time permitted, to deal with the question of mechanical restraint of the insane; it was a question which the Commissioners ought to have dealt with in their Report. The Report, however, was the baldest possible thing; it was really startling from its baldness and its formality. It furnished a large number of tables, though it omitted some of the interesting information of previous years, and upon matters which did go to the root of the administration of relief to the lunatic poor it had absolutely nothing to say. The question of mechanical restraint was of immense importance, especially from an Irish point of view. It was admitted that in Ireland lunatics went in chains for weeks together; but he found that at the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, for instance, there was no restraint of the kind. That showed that when they had an intelligent administration a great deal of the cruelty and misery inflicted by mechanical restraint might be done away with. Under the circumstances, he thought it was quite right of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Molloy) to move a reduction of the Vote.
SIR HENRY FLETCHER (Sussex, Lewes)
said, he had been for 18 years a member of the Lunatic Asylums Committee, and he could say that the magistrates who were members of that Committee had done their best to carry out everything connected with lunacy administration in an honourable and straightforward manner. He maintained that all the remarks of the hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) were without foundation, and in that statement he would be supported by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the home Department. The Asylums Committee had looked most carefully into everything connected with 550 the unfortunate lunatics placed under their care; they had investigated every case, and they had carried out all the recommendations of the Report laid before them.
§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
said, there was one abuse in the administration of the Lunacy Laws to which he desired to direct attention, and that was the practice of placing idiot children in asylums for adult lunatics. Those children were often very harmless, and yet they were placed amongst lunatics who were sometimes outrageous in their behaviour. It had been strongly pressed on him as one of the necessary reforms in the administration of the Lunacy Laws that there ought to be a separate establishment for harmless idiot children. He hoped the Bill to be brought before the House would contain some provision whereby these children would be dealt with on a different principle to that applicable to grown up pauper lunatics.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTLEY) (Sheffield, Hallam)
said, the hon. and learned Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy) had repeated a complaint he made two years ago—namely, that the Commissioners were undeserving of public confidence, because in their Report they had indicated their opinion of the way in which they thought reforms of the Lunacy Laws should or should not be carried out. He disagreed with the hon. and learned Member in the view he took of the Commissioners' functions. The opinion entertained and expressed by the Commissioners with regard to the Lunacy Acts Amendment Bill was the opinion entertained by the great Lord Shaftesbury, and he thought the Commissioners might have been treated with more respect when, as they had done, they ventured to lay before the public an opinion founded, as it must be, on a very long and close experience of administration of the law. It was not true to say that the Bill for the Amendment of the Lunacy Laws had not reached that House. He held in his hand a copy of the Bill, and he observed that the Bill was brought from "another place" in March of this year, and was ordered to be printed in April, and ever since then it had been in the hands of the House. Hon. Members who were criticizing the 551 Estimates might render assistance in passing a measure which represented the labour, experience, and concurrence of opinion of three successive Lord Chancellors. It was also complained that the Commissioners had passed lightly over cases of abuse which unfortunately occurred, and must occur, in administration. He found in the last Reports presented to Parliament no less than 30 pages of closely printed matter, dealing with details in particular establishments; indeed, he submitted with some confidence that the Report showed that the Commissioners had gone about their labours with energy, and had used their powers to the fullest extent. There was certainly nothing on the face of the Report which justly exposed the Commissioners to the condemnation with which they had been treated. He could not help thinking that the hon. and learned Member for King's County and the hon. Member for East Donegal had answered each other. One of the hon. Gentlemen objected to an expression of opinion by the Commissioners, and the other appealed to that expression of opinion as a justification of what he said; one objected that important cases of abuse were left out of sight, and the other founded his speech upon a reproduction of the very kind of cases which were supposed to be left unnoticed. If it were true that Boards of Guardians were lax in the management of pauper asylums, that was a reason for an amendment of the law, and an opportunity for amending the law was one which the Government hoped to present to the House at no distant date. Of course, questions affecting legislation must be addressed to someone higher in the Government than himself. All he could say confidently was that the present Lord Chancellor took the warmest interest in the prosecution of the measure which had now been before the House for months. He (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) believed that with a little assistance from the quarter from which the present complaints proceeded that Bill might very soon be matured into a most useful piece of legislation in which all the abuses complained of might be dealt with. The point raised by the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) was one deserving of the most serious attention. It was, of course, more a question of expense than of anything 552 else. Certainly there was no one who would not wish to see the desirable measure which the hon. Gentleman mentioned carried into effect. In conclusion, he had only to say that if the powers at present existing were inadequate, or if the law was defective, the remedy was an amendment of the laws.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he could not help being amazed at the hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Stuart-Wortley's) reference to the Lunacy Act Amendment Bill. Surely the hon. Member knew that a Bill like that could not be slipped through the House anyhow. As a matter of fact, it was always after 12 o'clock at night that the Bill was brought up for discussion. If the Government were sincerely anxious to legislate in this matter they ought to bring the Bill on at a time when it could be reasonably and properly discussed. Now, he did not propose to argue the question whether private asylums were desirable or not. He believed they were not desirable, and he sincerely hoped the day might soon come when all the unfortunate people who were suffering from mental affliction would be looked after by the State. Complaint had very often been made as to the infrequency of the Commissioners' visits. There was no doubt that the Commissioners did not visit lunatic establishments often enough. If they did, many patients might soon be restored to liberty. Reference had been made to the workhouse asylums. Personally, he objected to the retention of insane people in the wards of any union. Unions had no provision for the classified treatment of the insane. Provision for these unfortunate creatures ought certainly to be made in asylums which were suitable for their cases, and in which adequate treatment could be provided. The hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) had said that lunatic asylums were under-officered. He (Dr. Tanner) could assure the Committee that that was practically the case. Again and again he had heard complaints by his medical confrères that it was utterly impossible for them to do their duty in asylums, in consequence of the many cases which were cast upon them, and notably in consequence of the immense amount of clerical work they were called upon to do. He trusted that 553 before long all these questions would be thoroughly looked into.
§ MR. DILLWYN (Swansea)
said, he thought that the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) was inclined to blame the House of Commons for not dealing with the Bill which the Government laid on the Table in April last. That Bill, no doubt, should have been dealt with, but it should have been dealt with at the instance of the hon. Gentleman's own Government. Instead of casting blame upon the House of Commons, the hon. Gentleman ought to cast blame on the Government for not urging forward their own measure. It was a very important measure, and it was one of such importance that it could not be brought forward in the small hours of the morning. He did not blame this Government more than any other Government. The question of the amendment of the Lunacy Laws had been before the House for many years past. Government after Government had admitted the evil of the Lunacy Laws, and one after another had promised to deal with the subject. Still nothing had been done; and, unless the matter was urged forward with a little more heart and earnestness, it was very likely that nothing would be done. He trusted that, whether the present Government was in Office or not, the subject of the amendment of these laws would be taken in hand early next year, and pushed to a settlement.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, he did not think that his hon. Friend (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) intended to blame anybody, but rather understood his hon. Friend to invite the assistance and co-operation of hon. Gentlemen opposite in procuring an amendment of the law.
§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
said, it was a matter of great regret to him that his Party was not in Opposition when these Estimates were being dealt with. The whole of the accounts were confusing and unsatisfactory. He desired to reduce expenditure, but he was placed in a very difficult position. He was asked, as a Conservative, to support Members of the Government, but he found that if he did so he was merely supporting officials in their ex- 554 travagance. There was a great deal of extravagance; and it was impossible to get a clear, satisfactory, and unequivocal account of the expenditure of the country. He was often tempted to vote against the Government. He had done so on several occasions, and once or twice they had succeeded in defeating them. He should be very much better pleased when he could act as an entirely independent Member, instead of being called upon to support officials who seemed to him to be ruining the country. [Opposition cheers.] Hon. Members opposite might cheer, and probably embarrass him in the statement he was making; but, no matter what Government was in power, he was bound to confess they were getting in a more difficult position every year. If the Government would only give them a fuller statement of the——
I must ask the hon. Member to remember that we are discussing the Vote for the Lunacy Commission.
§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON
said, if a fuller and straightforward account were given of the Lunacy Commission, they would not be detained there for hours trying to understand that extraordinary Vote. He had only to say, further, that the Government would gain the confidence of the country if they would try to compel the officials to state clearly what the various Votes were for. He certainly was in utter confusion about the matter, and he looked forward to the time when the Government would furnish the Committee with fuller particulars, and thus save that endless discussion.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, that as he understood the Government were about to introduce the Bill brought in in "another place," and as on that Bill hon. Members could propose reforms which were necessary, he would not put the Committee to the trouble of taking a Division.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
inquired whether there was in the hands of the Government or of the Lunacy Commissioners any power to insist upon an increase in the medical staff of borough and county asylums?
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, that the Government Grant to asylums was not administered by the Department to which he belonged, therefore he could 555 not say from personal experience exactly what power there was for controlling such matters, But he should say that probably hitherto the power of keeping the medical staff up to a proper state of efficiency had been exercised by means of the power of controlling the Government Grant.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (4.) £18,941, to complete the sum for the Mint, including Coinage.
§ MR. MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)
Sir, I wish to call attention to the subject of decimal coinage, and to briefly state what has been done since the last occasion on which I advocated the introduction of such a coinage system, and to ask the Government if they will grant a Select Committee to consider this important question? In June last year I had the honour to introduce to the Chancellor of the Exchequer an influential deputation, composed of members of the London and Provincial Chambers of Commerce, their object being to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the adoption of the decimal system of coinage and of weights and measures. The Chancellor of the Exchequer received the deputation very favourably, and suggested that during the Recess they should formulate their views. In order to comply with this suggestion, I went down to Swansea in September of last year to attend a Congress of Trades Unions, and there found the delegates in favour of a decimal currency. Subsequently I attended a meeting of the Associated Chambers of Commerce, where a Resolution was unanimously passed in favour of the same improved system of currency, weights, and measures; and only to-day I have sent in Petitions containing some 2,000 signatures, most of them of working men, also in favour of this system. Signatures of this kind can be almost indefinitely increased, if only someone goes to the expense of hiring persons at 5s. a-day to collect them. The Petitions to which I refer contain a fair sample of the signatures which can be procured by this means. My object in bringing the subject forward is to obtain, if possible, the more active support of Members of Parliament in the advocacy of this improvement, which all foreign 556 nations have adopted with advantage. Unless the Government will undertake the matter, an Association must be formed to force the subject to the front. Another matter connected with the currency is that of light gold. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his intention of bringing in a Bill dealing with the light gold, which now forms quite the half of our gold circulation. I trust that when he does so he will also provide that the composition of our gold and silver coins shall in future be 9–10ths fine, which quality is considered by almost all other nations to be far more suitable for coinage than ours, which in the case of gold is 11–12ths, or 916ç6 fine, and in the case of silver 925 fine. I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has obtained, or will obtain, information on this subject from foreign Mints, as well as from our own Mint. Experiments have been tried in London as to the wear of coins by placing them in revolving boxes. This friction is too regular, therefore not so trying to the coins as actual circulation, yet the result has been greatly in favour of the 9–10ths alloy. My own experience of over 40 years with all kinds of currency proves, without the shadow of a doubt, that our coins are far loss durable, and in consequence far more costly, than almost any others. Naturally, I do not propose that coins should be issued containing less fine gold or less fine silver than now. I recommend that our gold coins should be made slightly heavier and of a better type, also that our silver coins should be made considerably heavier, so as to prevent fraudulent imitations in good silver. I have already submitted to the Chancellor of the Exchequer my views as to the folly of using such soft metal for our currency, which will not bear rough contact with harder metals without great sacrifice, also as to the superior Mint Regulations in Germany, the United States, and in the countries forming the Latin Union. I have fresh evidence proving that almost all our silver coins are imitated in good metal, even over the standard, with a profit to the forger of about 70 per cent. I have here an account from the Bank of England relating to £100 of English silver paid in last month, which states that three half-crowns and one florin are returned, "because they were not issued by the Mint." I had each of those coins assayed with 557 the following results. The quality of each was 927, 919, 918, and 923 fine, as against our standard of 925, showing that in one instance the forged coin was two millièmes better than our standard, and the others almost as good. I have calculated the values, which are as follows. George III. half-crowns, date 1818, which should weigh 9 dwts., 2ç18 grs., actual weight 8 dwts., 14 grs., value 1s. 6ç45d.; George IV. half-crowns, 1834, actual weight 7 dwts., 18 grs., value 1s. 4ç66d.; Victoria florin, date 1872, should weigh 7 dwts., 6ç5 grs., actual weight 7 dwts., 8 grs., actual value 1s. 3ç76d. In the last instance the weight, quality, and value, are greater than the genuine coin, the profit to the forger being about 50 per cent. If that was a fair sample of silver in circulation, the finding of 9s. 6d. in £100 would indicate that among the £20,000,000 of silver currency there is about £95,000 of silver imitations in the hands of the public. I do not wish to discuss bi-metallism at present, as the Report of the Royal Commission has only just been issued, but the Government must recognize that they must either have an International Bi-metallic Convention, or spend millions sterling in restoring our silver currency. With regard to the wear of silver coins, those which have proved to be the most desirable in the world are the old Spanish dollar and the five franc piece, both of which are 9–10th s fine; they have stood the test of wear far better than any others. Until recently, Spanish dollars circulated over a vast area, including North and South America in the West; China, Japan, and many other countries in the East; consequently they have been constantly subjected to extra wear through packing and jolting, which are important factors in the durability of coins. Yet, after circulating all over the world for about a century, the average loss of weight of Spanish dollars is under 1 per cent, while that of five franc pieces is still less. On the other hand, the loss in weight through wear is vastly greater in our silver currency of 925 fine. For instance, £100 worth of our silver currency should weigh, when issued from the Mint, nearly 364 ozs., the intrinsic value of which, at the present time, is about £65. The following weights are from the Bank of England. Average weight of 558 £100 in half-crowns in circulation is 350½ ozs., deficient nearly 4 per cent. Average weight of £100 in florins, which are all coined during the present Reign, is 353½ ozs., showing a deficiency of 3 per cent. Average weight of £100 in shillings 349 ozs., deficiency 4 percent. I have had two or three trials made of the weight of half-crowns and florins of certain years—for example; £100 in half-crowns coined 1840–5, weight 347½ ozs., deficiency 4½ per cent; £100 in half-crowns coined 1874–8, 357½ ozs., loss 1½ per cent. Lastly, £100 in florins coined 1870–5 355 ozs., loss 2½ per cent. You can see by these figures that the wear of our silver coins is far greater than the old Spanish dollar or five franc piece, which coins are 9–10ths fine, even if you allow for the difference in the size of the coins, the larger being more durable. The question of the durability of our coins is of great importance, seeing that we shall have to expend nearly £1,000,000 sterling in rehabilitating our gold currency, and that we lost in 1886 in withdrawing £185,116 of worn silver, £22,623, or over 12 per cent, and in 1887 we lost no less than £44,119 in withdrawing, £353,831, or about 13 per cent. I am certain of this—that the wear of our coins, made of comparatively soft metal, 916 and 925 fine, is far more rapid than if they were made of the more durable and almost universal quality of 900 fine. Finally, I must again call the attention of the Government to the advisability of allowing the Mint to coin for the public British trade dollars for circulation in the East. It appears to me most absurd that our traders with China and other Eastern countries should frequently have to pay a premium, reaching this year 2½ percent, for Mexican dollars to circulate in our own Colonies. Surely we ought not to depend on Mexico or any foreign country for the currency of several of our Possessions? If we have to pay any premium it ought to be paid to the Mint by those who should be permitted to bring silver to be coined into trade dollars. I trouble the Committee with these details, because a Currency Bill is promised, and even my short experience in this Honse shows the difficulty of amending a Government Bill. Should the Government not accept my recommendations, I would ask them to appoint a Select Committee to obtain the evidence of experts, which would 559 certainly confirm my statements, and result in placing our currency on a safe and permanent basis.
§ MR. W. A. M'ARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid, St. Austell)
asked for an explanation of the item of £400 for brokerage, in connection with the purchase of silver. The price of silver, he maintained, was pretty well known to all business men; and he doubted whether the Mint obtained any advantage by paying this sum for brokerage. At any rate, if a commission had to be paid on the purchase of silver, he did not think it should be as high a one as one-eighth per cent.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, he hoped the hon. Member who had first spoken (Mr. Montagu) would not expect him to follow him into all the details of his speech, as to how they had best make their coins; but he thought the Committee were very much indebted to the hon. Member for the clear and interesting statement he had put before them, and would promise the hon. Member that the whole matter with which he had dealt should be brought very seriously before the proper authorities. The question of a decimal coinage was not one with which it was his (Mr. Jackson's) province to deal; and he regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not present. The question of light gold was one that he knew his right hon. Friend had under consideration; and though the right hon. Gentleman might not have been in a position to make a statement that night, he (Mr. Jackson) could inform the Committee that the matter was receiving the right hon. Gentleman's closest attention. With regard to what bad fallen from the hon. Member who had just spoken, the subject had been fully discussed last year with the Master of the Mint, and the Government had come to the conclusion that the present system was really the best which they could adopt. The amount expended on brokerage was a varying one. The amount for 1886–7 was £188, and £400 had of recent years been the maximum amount expended. He knew that there might be a sort of prejudice against paying brokerage in cases like this; but he put it to the Committee whether it was possible for anyone connected with the Mint, who might have during the year to make probably no more than three purchases of silver, to keep absolutely 560 in touch with the market so as to know to a fraction what the price of silver would be. They knew that the price of silver varied from time to time. Sometimes there was a serious fluctuation in the morning and evening of the same day. Whether one-eighth per cent was too large a commission to pay he did not know; but certainly it did not seem to him that the total amount expended was a very extravagant one; and it must be remembered that the Indian banks, which bought much more largely than Her Majesty's Government bought for the Mint, adopted the same system of paying brokerage. He was by no means certain that the very fact of a Government representative, known as such, going into the market on a particular day to buy silver for the purposes of the Government would not in itself cause a serious effect upon the market, and upon the price to be paid; and his own impression was that it was better to employ an independent broker, who was in daily touch with the market, and who knew what the closing quotations for silver were, than to employ a Government agent, known as such, to buy for them. He hoped he had convinced the hon. Member that for the present system there were, at any rate, some sound reasons to be urged, and that the question was one which had been carefully considered by the Government.
§ MR. MONTAGU
said, he could confirm what the Secretary to the Treasury had said with regard to the payment of brokerage. He did not think one-eighth per cent was too high a rate to pay; and he certainly was of opinion that if silver had to be bought the better plan was to buy it from the broker. He thought, however, it would be as well to invite tenders, as the Indian Council did for the bills which they issued in such large quantities every week.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £5,071, to complete the sum for the National Debt Office.
§ (6.) £23,305, to complete the sum for the Patent Office, &c.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
said, he should like to draw the attention of the Secretary to the Treasury to the fact that the Controller of the Patent Office, when he had to decide any cases of dispute when patents were taken out, had no place to sit or hold his Court in. The 561 matter had been brought before the Committee on former occasions, but nothing yet had been done. The official to whom he referred sat in an official capacity, but was absolutely at times obliged to go out and hire a room in one of the houses in Chancery Lane, or wherever he could, in which to hear cases. He (Mr. Molloy) trusted the Government would take measures to provide the Controller with a Court Room. Another point to which he desired to draw attention was the fact that the three descriptions of patents which had been taken out of late years were largely in arrear. At present it was a most difficult thing for those who had to search patents to find any index which would give a clue to the whereabouts of that for which they were looking. The result was that the library and the offices were crowded with examiners, and a state of confusion prevailed. The difficulty was caused on this ground—that there were not a sufficient number of persons employed in the Office to make these investigations, and to prepare abridgments; but the estimated receipts of the Patent Office for the present year were £145,000, and the total expenditure amounted to over £50,000—say £55,000, including furniture and supplies which did not come under this Estimate; and there was, therefore, a large balance out of which any additional expenditure which might have to be incurred would be paid. It was desirable that the abridgments should be made up to date, and part of this balance would enable that to be done. He would suggest that a portion of the balance should be placed to the credit of the Patent Office, in order that the abridgments might be brought up to date. He was sorry he could not move an increase of the Vote for this purpose, but he trusted that the Government would take action in the direction he suggested.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
said, he was very glad the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Molloy) had raised a question about arrears and abridgments, because it was a question he (Mr. Jackson) had for some years taken a particular interest in. In the course of his duty he had had to have an interview with those who were responsible for this Department, and had been obliged to go thoroughly into the whole 562 question. He might say that he entirely sympathized with the view expressed by the hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. Molloy)—namely, that the abridgments ought to be brought up to date at the earliest possible moment. It would be a great convenience to the Government if this were done. What had happened was this. Last year, he thought he was right in saying—for he was only speaking from memory—the amount put in the Estimates for the work of preparing abridgments was £1,500. With the view of preparing an index and of making up arrears, however, he (Mr. Jackson) had put £4,000 in the Estimates this year; and his hon. and learned. Friend the Attorney General would, he thought, bear him out in the statement that really the first important step was to get up an index. He had seen this week a rough copy of the index, and he was promised that the finished work should be ready by the end of this calendar year. He was told that when this index was complete it would greatly facilitate the work of getting up abridgments. The thing was being done by piecework. It was important that it should be done carefully and well, and there was only a limited supply of men competent to do it efficiently. He had discussed the matter with the officials of the Patent Office, and had told them that the Government would be prepared to supply a reasonable sum of money next year and the year after, in the hope that the abridgments would be brought up to date in a reasonable period of time. He hoped he had satisfied the hon. and learned Member that the question was one on which they were at one, and that the Treasury were determined to do everything they could to get the abridgments made up. As to a room for the Controller of the Patent Office to hear patent disputes in, he (Mr. Jackson) was told that there had been some alteration in the system, and that latterly there had been no difficulty in this regard.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he begged to thank the hon. Gentleman for his statement as to the abridgments, and assured him that all persons interested in patents would be grateful to him for his exertions. Even if it were found necessary to place a further sum on the Estimates for the carrying on of this work, it was to be hoped that the Government would not shrink from the expen- 563 diture. As to a room for the use of the Controller, he (Mr. Molloy) was not aware that they had definitely fixed upon one yet. He knew the Controller had been sitting more regularly in one place; but it certainly seemed to him ridiculous for what was practically a Court to have no place appointed for its sittings.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
said, there had been a difficulty in the matter of finding a place for the Controller a few years ago; but latterly, when the Courts had been occupied, he had sat in a Chamber convenient for the purpose situated in the Law Courts building. He (Sir Richard Webster) had a great deal to do with this matter; and if he found that inconvenience was being occasioned to the parties interested in patents, to the patent agents, or members of the Legal Profession, he would exert himself to see arrangements made whereby a room for the hearing of patent disputes could be permanently secured, so that these cases might always be heard in the same place.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, they appeared to be deriving a considerable sum in the shape of fees from patents, and it seemed to him that the accommodation made for the whole of the Patent Office—whether they took into consideration the officials' rooms, the libraries, or other offices—was not worthy of a great country like ours. Looking at the amount of fees received every year through the advance of mechanical skill and enterprize, he thought that a small sum should be set aside annually out of those fees for the purpose of improving the accommodation in the Office, so as to enable the Patent Office of this country to compete in some measure with that of the United States. It was owing to the prominence and importance attached to patents in the United States that the Americans were so far ahead of us in all sorts of mechanical invention. Besides, the high fees charged for patents in this country stood in the way of skilful working men and artizans bringing forward inventions. He held that the fact of the Patent Office being away in a corner in Chancery Lane, and being of such an insignificant description, and, in addition, the red tape system in use 564 —although he was aware that of late years a great improvement had taken place in this respect—discouraged the spirit of invention amongst our artizans and working classes. He wished to see a wider view taken of this subject of patents, and greater encouragement given for the purpose of sharpening up the wits of our working men.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, that no doubt there was a great deal in what the hon. Member said. He (Mr. Jackson) had had the advantage of going through, in all its branches, the Patent Office at Washington, and was pretty well acquainted with the whole of the American patent system. The hon. Member (Mr. Conybeare) said that the Americans were a much more inventive people than we were, and he (Mr. Jackson) believed that the hon. Member was right. It must be remembered, however, that in America there were a much larger number of patents taken out for small details than there were in this country; and, in regard to fees, it must be borne in mind that the preliminary fees which were paid merely to secure the three years' protection were lighter here than in America. As to the higher fees charged at later stages, he considered these a great advantage, as they helped to kill a great many useless inventions.
§ MR. MOLLOY
asked whether the hon. Gentleman could say when the Regulations governing the Patent Agents' Association would be issued under the Bill of last year?
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
said, the scheme in question was contained in the measure which was in charge of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
asked whether anything had been done to provide a Museum of National Inventions worthy of the country?
§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
desired to call attention to the fact that in Germany and other countries every encouragement was given to inventors who wished to bring their inventions to public notice, whilst in this country inventors met with nothing but what he might call the cold shoulder, which, no doubt, led to many valuable inventions being lost. He would suggest that some Department should be established for the purpose of testing the worth of inventions.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal E.)
asked who was responsible for the administration of the details of this Office? Certain fees had to be paid which were gathered by means of stamps. Some of these stamps, after having been used, had in certain instances been treated as uncancelled, the money paid for them the second time, however, not being refunded. Certain irregularities—to use no stronger word—had occurred in this way, and it had been decided that some steps should be taken, as between the Treasury and the Inland Revenue, to guard against the possibility of such frauds in the future by dishonest officials in the matter of spoilt stamps. He wished to know whether any such steps had been taken in the matter, and, if so, what they were; and whether the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury was assured that they were of such a character as would protect the Treasury against fraud?
§ MR. JACKSON
said, that was so. He had made at the time a Memorandum, with the consent of the Patent Office, calling attention to the question, and requesting that some system should be adopted whereby the recurrence of such irregularities would be prevented. The system which had previously prevailed had certainly been a loose one; but he was assured that satisfactory alterations had been made.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he did not wish to press any unfair question, but should like to know what steps had been taken to prevent the recurrence of fraud, and whether the hon. Gentleman thought they were sufficient to prevent any such irregularities in the future?
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he was afraid he could not give the details as to what particular check had been imposed; but, knowing the interest the hon. Member took in the matter, he (Mr. Jackson) would ascertain them and communicate them to him.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
said, he would remind the Secretary to the Treasury that he had not replied to the 566 question put by the hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley).
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he could not say that any conclusion had yet been arrived at, the matter being rather mixed up with the large question as to what they were to do at South Kensington. The provision of a now Patent Museum would entail a large outlay, and a great deal of money was already being expended on public buildings in connection with the General Post Office, the Post Office Savings Bank, and the Admiralty. His view was that in the matter of making progress with public buildings it was better to proceed gradually than to undertake immense schemes at once. The matter referred to, however, had not been lost sight of. He quite admitted that better provision in the shape of a Patent Museum was necessary.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
asked for an explanation as to why the Registrar of Designs and Trade Marks, whose salary was stated in the Estimates at £800 a-year, was in receipt of £1,000 a-year? They were told in a note in the Votes that this extra £200 was "personal to the present holder;" but he considered the Committee entitled to some better explanation than that.
§ MR. JACKSON
replied, that £800 was the maximum salary of the post; but the present occupant of the Office was transferred there when the re-organization took place, he having previously been in receipt of £1,000 a-year. When the present holder vacated the post the salary would be £800 per annum.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he supposed the hon. Member referred to the Merchandize Marks Act. He should be out of Order in referring to that measure in any detail; but he might say, generally, that the Act had worked very successfully.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £9,690, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of
Her Majesty's Paymaster General in London and Dublin.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he understood that none of the Irish Votes were to be taken to-night.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he would postpone the Vote if the hon. Member really wished it to be postponed; but he did not think there was anything controversial in it.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
said, that in the Vote there was another instance of a post retained when really there were no duties attaching to it.
§ It being Twelve of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.