§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Stockport)
The first Amendment I have put down upon the Paper provides, if carried, that the operation of this Bill shall be postponed until 1905. I am not in any way wedded to that time, and if the hon. Member in charge of the Bill will accept my Amendment, the date may be made 1903 instead of 1905. I shall be quite willing to accept the figures 1903, and not delay the Committee by moving the Amendment. It appears to me that the hon. Member is not willing, and therefore it is my duty to proceed. My reasons for postponing the operation of the Bill are manifold. In the first place this Bill creates an entirely new state of affairs. New arrangements will have to be made throughout all the factories and workshops in almost every kind of employment throughout the United Kingdom. Work that has been carried on without difficulty in the past will be temporarily disorganized, and the internal economy of every business in which half timers are employed at the 9 present time will have to be reconstructed. I may point out with regard to Lancashire that the number of half-timers attached to factories and workshops is 66,000, and out of that number 48 per cent. are employed in the cotton trade itself. It is perfectly true that the whole of those 31,000 are not half-timers between the ages of 11 and 12, but undoubtedly a considerable proportion of them are. If they are all withdrawn at one fell swoop by a wave of the magic wand of the hon. Gentleman who brings in this Bill, great difficulty will ensue. Take, for instance, rink spinning, for in that class of work there are a large number of small half-timers, whose business it is to put the empty bobbins on the spindles and remove them when filled. Their little fingers are best adapted for this work, and if those children are suddenly withdrawn it will be some time before the trade is enabled to adapt itself to the new position of affairs. This is a time when it is absolutely necessary that steps should be taken by all those of us who own mills to meet this difficulty, and adapt ourselves to the new change which is about to take place. Take, again, the loom weavers, more particularly where the looms are of narrow carriage. All those employ two half-timers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and without the assistance of those half-timers that work will be seriously impeded. If the half-tinier is under 12 years of age, you are going to prevent him carrying on his work in the way in which he is accustomed to deal with it, and so earn the wage he has hitherto earned. The fullest consideration should be given by the Committee to this question. Of course honourable Members who do not come from the counties where this work is carried on naturally do not see the importance which we attach to this question; but the result of this change will be to strain the cotton industry, and, that being so, it ought to be done in a gradual manner. There is no necessity to hurry. It is not so many years, in the recollection of most Members of this House, since the age of half-timers was raised from 10 to 11. There is no doubt that some time is required to adapt ourselves to this change, and what I press upon the House is that we should have a few years given to us to do so. It is a far-reaching matter and a question of grave import- 10 ance to a very large number of people, and it is not a matter that ought to be passed through this House without very full consideration. If the object is attained and this Bill is carried, and you ultimately raise the age of half-timers, I am entitled to argue that a system which has grown up amongst us in the factories, will not, if it is allowed to exist a few years longer, work that untold measure of harm that is suggested. The question whether the half-time system is injurious is a matter that we shall be able to deal with afterwards, but, even if it were injurious and detrimental to the health and education of the children, it is a system that has, at any rate, lasted so long that it is not necessary in making this change that it should be hurried. I therefore, in moving my Amendment that this Bill shall not come into operation until 1905, am only asking for an extension of time in order that we may be enabled to meet the difficulties, and carry on our business with the least possible dislocation owing to the changes that this Bill will create.
§ Amendment proposed: On page 1, line 6, after the word "hundred," to insert the words "and five"—(Mr. George Whiteley).
§ Question proposed: "That the words 'and five' be there inserted."
§ *MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
I have an amendment on somewhat similar lines to that which has been moved by the hon. Member for Stockport, and as it is possible that I may not have an opportunity of moving it I would like to say a few words upon this. In putting down my amendment I had not in my mind quite those considerations on which my hon. friend has supported his amendment. I had not so much in my mind the special difficulties that might arise in carrying on satisfactorily the Lancashire industries. What I wished to do was to give the Education Department a little more time to accommodate itself to this change which is suggested. No doubt there are a great many in this House who look upon the half-time system as one which ought to be terminated; but I think it is, or may be made, a good system. The tendency of education at the present time is totally to dissociate education from the work the children will have to do in 11 after life. When children have passed their standards and left their schools they in a few years forget nearly everything which they have learned. If we could maintain some association between education and the work which the children will have to perform later in life we shall have done something to interest them in education whilst they are beginning to learn the business which they have to follow. Now, it appears to me that this disassociation between the future work and the education which the children are receiving is a serious reproach to the Education Department. If this Bill is passed the Education Department ought to have ample time to infuse a more practical spirit into its educational system. If you go beyond the fundamental rules of reading, writing, and arithmetic you at once get into a region where in the majority of cases what is taught is of no practical benefit to the children. If the half-time system is carried on properly it does conjoin the work which the children have to perform in after life with the education they are pursuing at the same time. If we are to abolish the system then we must adapt ourselves to the changed circumstances that must ensue, and in order to give time to the Educational Department to infuse a more practical spirit into elementary education I shall support the amendment of my hon. friend.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
I have taken the greatest interest in this subject from my earliest years. As a clergyman's son I passed much of my youth in the neighbourhood of factories, and I in my later years find myself in much the same position. I sympathise with these people, and I desire to promote their prosperity. I cannot help contrasting the position of our factory hands with the position of those engaged in similar industries abroad. I do not want my argument to refer to foreign competition, which may be pressed too far, but what I do desire to see is the advancement of our own workpeople. What I see when I am abroad, sometimes in manufacturing towns, sometimes in the cantons of Switzerland, arid sometimes on the breezy uplands of the Black Forest, is crowds of children flocking to school, and I want to know what the children here have done that they are not to have the same advantages. What have the parents of these children done that they are not 12 to have the same advantages as the parents on the Continent? What has the British nation done that we are not to have the same advantages as other nations? I find in the Education Report issued last year, the most valuable document of its kind that we have, that in Switzerland such great importance is attached to education that the legislation of the country will not allow any child to go into the factory until he is 14 years of age. The comparison is steadily against our people. It will injure our production—
Order, order! The hon. Member must remember that the general Question is not now under discussion. The question is whether the Bill shall come into operation next year or five years hence.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL
My hon. friend in moving his Amendment said the present condition of affairs has lasted so long that this matter need not be hurried, I say that it has lasted far too long. Thirty years of recorded time has gone by since the age of the half-timer had reached 10. Surely the time has now come to move forward a step, and I hope we shall take the step firmly, surely, and speedily. As a Lancashire Member I desire to say that one Lancashire Member at least does desire to advance education, and he does not desire to hear, on this occasion, what he heard so much of when the Education Bill of 1897 was passed, that Lancashire was behind, was arrear, and was retarding progress, those remarks ought not to be made without justice, and I do not desire to hear them made at all.
COLONEL, PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)
If you compare the working classes on the uplands of the Black Forest or those of Switzerland with those of this country, you will also find that the Members of Parliament here are representing the best interests of the working classes of Lancashire. The reason why they urge as strongly as they do that every consideration that it is possible to give should be given to this matter, is because they are not only pleading the cause of the manufacturers but they are also pleading the cause of the children. In the industries that have been alluded to there is a career for 13 the whole life of the operative, boy and man, and the question is when the child should put his step upon the first rung of the ladder, and it is, in our opinion, a question which deserves most careful attention. The point which I wish to urge is that the time given by this Bill is much too short. There is no doubt a great deal of work that will have to be done, and there will have to be a great deal of trouble taken in reorganising the plan upon which these industries are carried on. It is all very well for people not engaged in trade, who are not under the stress and difficulties of trade, to deal with this question in a philanthropic way, but those who are engaged in those industries are face to face with the difficulty, and as I think know best what is best for the industry where this difficulty centres. Everybody in this House must know perfectly well that this system has been working for many years. You will interfere with the organisation of business, which will be very much disorganised, and everybody will agree with me that the utmost time and consideration ought to be given to the change which is going to be made. From
§ the centres of industry no agitation has come at all for the change that is suggested; the agitation has come from the elementary teachers encouraged by the Vice-President of the Education Council, and there are a great many people in Lancashire who do not believe in it. I venture to ask both sides of this House with all respect to consider very carefully the great interests they now propose to touch, and to touch very closely. Home Rulers surely have some principle of Home Rule which they apply to places other than Ireland; surely Home Rule should be conceded to Lancashire, which is deeply interested in this question of training up the children. These industries are keeping the country going, and supplying it with the sinews of war, and if this change is suddenly made you will hamper and destroy them. In conclusion, I ask that the extension of time which is asked for by the Amendment may be granted, and unless it is I can only assure the House that these industries will be greatly and dangerously disorganised.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 10; Noes, 163—(Division List No. 160).15
|Ascroft, Robert||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)|
|Cross, Herb. S. (Bolton)||Maden, John Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Pilkington, Richard||Mr. George Whiteley and|
|Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Rutherford, John||Mr. Tomlinson.|
|Kemp, George||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und'-L.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Causton, Richard Knight||Fry, Lewis|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Cawley, Frederick||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Allen, W.(Newc.-und'r-Lyme)||Channing, Francis Allston||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Clark, Dr. G. B.(Caithness-sh.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Clough, Walter Owen||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred'ck|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gold, Charles|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Colville, John||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Corbett, A. Cameron (G'l'sg'w)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stan. W.||Gourley, Sir E. Temperley|
|Baker, Sir John||Crombie, John William||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Bethell, Commander||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Birrell, Augustine||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Blake, Edward||Drage, Geoffrey||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Duckworth, James||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Bond, Edward||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Harwood, George|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Edwards, Owen Morgan||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Engledew, Charles John||Hazell, Walter|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Evans, Sir Francis H. (S'ton)||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.|
|Burns, John||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Helder, Augustus|
|Burt, Thomas||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Caldwell, James||FitzGerald,Sir Robert Penr'se-||Holland, W. H.(York. W. R.)|
|Cameron, Sir Charles (Glas.)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Flower, Ernest||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Shaw, Charles Ed. (Stafford)|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Morgan, W. P. (Merthyr)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Morley, Rt. Hon. J.(Montrose)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Moss, Samuel||Spicer, Albert|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Steadman, William Charles|
|Kitson, Sir James||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Knowles. Lees||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Lafone, Alfred||Oldroyd, Mark||Talbot,Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. U.)|
|Langley, Batty||O'Malley, William||Tennant, Harold John|
|Lawrence,Sir E.Durn'g-(Cor.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Palmer, George W. (Reading)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)||Paulton, James Mellor||Warner, Thomas C. T.|
|Leng, Sir John||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Logan, John William||Perks, Robert William||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, Charles H. (Hull)|
|Lyell, Sir Leonard||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson, J.(Durham, Mid.)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Purvis, Robert||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Pym, C. Guy||Woodhall, William|
|Maddison, Fred||Randell, David||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (H'dsfld.)|
|Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Woods, Samuel|
|Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie||Wylie, Alexander|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Rickett, J. Compton||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Monk, Charles James||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Scott, C. Prestwich (Leigh)||Robson and Mr. Kenyon.|
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
I now beg to move to substitute for the word "twelve" the words "eleven years and six months." The Bill proposes to raise the age to 12. There is always a time in the age of a child when it is able to become a half-timer after the age has elapsed. If you fix 11 years and 6 months, practically the age of 12 will be arrived at, and your object will be attained. But the child will be competent to the work before reaching the age. There is nothing magical about the word twelve. One often hears an expression of the opinion that we were pledged by our representative at the Berlin Conference to raise the age of half-timers to 12, and the argument that has been put forward since is that, whether we are in favour of it or not, the pledge having been given we ought to act up to it with honour. But, in the first place, was any pledge given at the Conference in favour of raising the age of half-timers, and, if so, by whom was it given? Was it given by the Minister of Education, and, if so, in what capacity? Did he act as the direct representative of the British Ministry, and was he instructed by the Government to agree? If he was, the question arises as to whether any Government or Minister generally of this country has the right in any shape or form to make such a pledge. I think no such pledge was given, and all I say is, 16 let us have a fair field and no favour. If you fix 12 years of age as the time, it means really 12 years and some months, and the child is able to work full time at the age of 13, so that fixing the age at 12 will result in doing away with half-timers altogether. If that is what you are trying to do, why do you not have the courage of your opinion and put a clause into the Bill to that effect, and not try to do it indirectly by a side-wind. Give us 11 years and six months now, and insert a clause in your Bill that the age should advance automatically, so that in a few years you will have the age that you put down here. I think if you do that you will make the Bill a good deal more palatable.
§ Amendment proposed: In page 1, line 7, to leave out the word "twelve," and insert the words "eleven years and six months"—(Mr. George Whiteley).
§ Question proposed: "That the word 'twelve' stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. WYLIE (Dumbartonshire)
I object to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Stockport. I have given notice of an Amendment that the age shall be raised to 13, but owing to information I have received from the Education Department, which leads me to believe that it is not practicable, I have decided to withdraw that Amendment. The 17 reason for my objection is that raising the age will conduce to the physical and educational advantage of the children. The only practical difference of opinion between the supporters and opponents of this Bill is as to whether the country can afford this or not. The question is not very great. The great economical factor is the saving of time and labour by machinery and scientific combination. This country has taken the lead in industrial pursuits, and so great has been our combination of these advantages that it is calculated that the labour of six English workmen is equal to that of 24 Germans or French, 32 Austrians, 50 Spaniards, 75 Italians, or 82 Portuguese; and the accumulated wealth and wages in this country are proportionately greater. Under these circumstances, who shall venture to say that the country cannot afford to give its children proper education, or that it should lag behind other Continental Powers? In no country in the world so much as in England has so great advantage been taken of labour saving appliances, and no country is better able to afford a proper education for her children. I have come into close contact not only with the hon. Members of this House who represent Lancashire, but also with the employers and the operatives of the country. I have the highest opinion of their intelligence, and there is a very great deal in What they say. It is this: "What Lancashire thinks to-day England thinks to-morrow." No Scotch Member has taken part in the Debate, on the second reading, with the exception of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Fife, and my excuse for intervening now, if excuse be needed, must be the effect which this Bill will have upon the Scotch Bill of a similar character which has yet to come before the House, Scotch Members showed their opinion very forcibly in the division on the second reading of the Bill, when 44 of them voted for it and only three against it. I think it is a sound policy to give children a good elementary education such as they could receive by staying at school till the age of 12 or 13. If the age limit were raised to 12 it would, I believe, remove the stigma which attaches to this country of not having fulfilled the engagement we entered into at the Berlin Conference; it would partially 18 remove the reproach that though we are the wealthiest nation in the world we lag behind many of our poorer neighbours, and it would diminish the number of the ignorant, depraved, and feeble in this country.
§ MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
Those of us who are Scotchmen as well as those who are Scotch Members will welcome the remarks of the hon. Member who has just sat down. There are one or two matters which I do not think have been dwelt upon with sufficient force in this House with regard to the raising of the age. What is the industrial position at the present moment? In England you have total or partial exemption at 11, but a child is not allowed to be employed in a factory until it is 13. The result of this is, that you have a gap which my honourable friend the Member for South Shields is endeavouring to diminish by one year, but even if this Bill passes into law, that gap would still remain. The remarks made by the Vice President of the Council on the subject not very long ago must be still fresh in the memory of the House. But I do not wish to dwell upon the details which he gave on that occasion; I wish rather to remind honourable Members of what the condition of affairs is. In Scotland we are every worse off than the people are in England, because the age at Which a child is exempt from school attendance is 10 instead of 11. I am aware that my honourable friend the Member for Forfarshire has a Bill Which seeks to raise the age from 10 to 11, but even if that Bill passes, and this Bill passes, you will have an unequal state of things. I think it is of the utmost importance that, we should in future, even if we cannot at the present moment, endeavour to bridge over a hiatus which I venture to say does more harm than any want in the legislation of this country.
§ *MR. TOMLINSON
I think that it is the greatest misfortune that there should be a gap between the time when a child leaves school and the time when he begins sonic occupation. One of the worst results of that system is that children take up desultory employment instead of applying themselves to some kind of regular occupation. The object of the amendment is not to prevent that system from being put an end to, but to 19 preserve the half-time system which bridges over the gap. The great advantage of the half-time system is that it enables children to begin to learn to work while their education is still going on. It is because I think that this Bill will tend to break down the half-time system that I desire to support the amendment.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Rochester)
There is no question that a great deal of money is wasted on education, because education does not go on long enough. If there is to be any progress in that direction, the only chance you have to make it is by combining education with industry. The essential idea of the Evening Continuation School system is that you carry on education even when a child has begun to work. Whether, in detail, the half-time system is right or wrong, it is a step in the right direction. It may be, as the House thought on the Second heading of this Bill, that the age is too low now, but the principle is right, and the only principle upon which progress is possible is the combination of the two elements of child-life—education and industry. The only chance you have of progress in education is to permit parents to allow their children to work during a part of their education. The question then arises as to whether you have the right to limit the power of parents to determine whether their children shall be employed or not. You have that right if you can show that it is bad for the children, but no inquiry has yet been made, and, until an inquiry has been made, and it has been proved that it is injurious to the children, the wishes of the parents ought to be respected. I deny the contention that, as a general rule, the parents are anxious to oppress their children. The parents may be wrong in their views as to what is best for their children; but in the vast majority of cases they have the interests and advancement of their children at heart. Therefore, before any alteration is made in the half-time system, it should be established that it is bad for the children educationally and physically. I do not believe that it is bad for the children physically. Those great factories in which children work are carefully looked after from the sanitary point of view; the strain on the children at work is not so great as the strain on the children at school, and I am of opinion that the 20 mental strain in the school is more likely to injure their health than the physical strain at work. It has not been proved that the half-time system is bad from the point of view of education. Therefore, though I hope my hon. Friend will withdraw the Amendment, I shall feel bound to support him if he goes to a division.
§ MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)
I think the noble Lord is certainly inaccurate in one of his remarks. What we maintain in connection with this Bill is that those who are now parents have themselves been brought up under a bad system, and under a far worst system than their children. I would remind the Committee that at the Berlin Conference we were definitely pledged to do the very thing that this Bill proposes to do, and I should have thought after that fact there was nothing further to be said in the matter. But whether the Bill is passed by the present Government or not, it will be passed by the succeeding Government. We cannot fight against time in this matter. The noble Lord has spoken about the health of the children. I believe that all medical opinion right through the country is dead against the half-time system. Moreover, there is not a medical man in this House who does not oppose it. One medical authority has said that every month the children are taken from the workshop and placed in the school would be a distinct gain to their health. Parliament has no more sacred charge committed to it than the charge of the child life of this country, and if it now determines to save 50,000 children from the dangers of the workshop, it will do one of the best strokes of business it has ever done. If the Bill passes through Committee to-day, the 31st of May will be a red letter day in the Parliamentary calendar.
*COLONEL MELLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
I desire to endorse the remarks of the noble Lord the Member for Rochester. With regard to the Amendment itself, I think it would have been as well if my hon. friend the Member for Stockport would not press it to a division, but holding the views I do on the half-time question, I shall feel bound to support it if he does. The constant assertion has been indulged in 21 by the Press, and by people outside, and on public platforms, that the condition of life of the half-timers of Lancashire is one which is directly inimical to their health. As one who has had perhaps a greater experience on the subject than any other Member of the House, I wish to say that the objections which formerly undoubtedly existed in the mills to half time labour have to a large extent ceased, and if children must work at all at the age of 11, 12, or 13 years in doors, there is no employment in this country where they work under better or more healthy conditions than in the modern cotton mills of Lancashire. I have taken the liberty of sending to members copies of a few photographs. One is a group of 12 half-timers, and the other is a group of over-lookers numbering 27, in a mill in my constituency. I have in every case given in the height, weight, chest measurement, and periods of sickness of the children and the men, and I undertake to say that in no condition or class of life or labour could you find other children or men who have passed through the half-time period with less injury than they have. Of the 27 men 20 of them have had no sickness that they can remember, and they began to work, not at the age of 11 years, but at 9. I mention this to disabuse members of the idea that half-time labour is as injurious as it has been represented. I was not present at the debate on the second reading of the Bill, but I read the speech of the honourable Member for the Middleton Division (Mr. Duckworth). The honourable Member was once a half-time worker, and the position to which he has now reached is one that reflects upon him the highest credit. The physique of the honourable Member is a splendid testimony of the healthiness of the halftime system and to the value of the combination of education with industrial training.
§ *SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
I desire to say only one or two words upon the remarks made by the noble Lord, who has raised, in very moderate and able terms, an important question of principle. I quite agree that if you can combine industrial training with general education it is most desirable to do so, and hence our advocacy at all times of continuation schools; but the question of age goes to the very root of this matter. If you remove a child from school at too 22 early an age, you cannot possibly ever recover the time, and waste must ensue, On this point I agree with the noble Lord in saying that if we can show that by such removal or exemption you injure the education of the child itself, then the arguments in favour of this Bill are irresistible. I have had a large amount of experience among Yorkshire and Lancashire institutions in relation to technical, commercial, and secondary training, and I say that the one great and universal regret in connection with these institutions is that the want of primary education renders it very difficult to inculcate technical and commercial instruction. It is the want of general information that is felt, and, therefore, if you lessen the education given in earlier years, you prevent that technical instruction, which is of such paramount importance to this country. I heard my honourable Friend the Member for Stockport, say something about our being pledged to Germany and to other countries at the Berlin Conference. It is not a question of being pledged, it is a question of what is to the interest of our own country; and I think anyone who has studied the course of Commercial competition in these days must know that it is largely the educational advantage held by Germany which has given her the commercial and industrial position she holds to-day. In Germany primary education was commenced with the century under her great Minister Stein; it was commenced in this country as a State system only a quarter of a century ago; and that is the cause to a large extent of the comparative position we occupy to-day. What other countries have given to their children should also be given to the children of this country, for the sake both of themselves individually, and of the nation as a whole.
Representing one of the Lancashire divisions, I feel that this is a most important question. Feeling strongly as I do that to raise the age from 11 at all is a mistake, I shall certainly support the Amendment of my hon. friend the Member for Stockport. We are in many cases fighting for an industry, and fighting for the people of Lancashire; and therefore I shall certainly follow him into the Lobby. I have listened with very great attention to the speech of the noble lord, and it 23 seems to me that we are deciding this question on very imperfect information as to health or as to anything else. If we draw the string too tight, we shall have nothing like evasion of the Act by the large manufacturers, but there will probably be evasions in hundreds of thousands of cases in which it will be very difficult to note what is being done by a child under 12 years of age. For these reasons I advocate that the age should be increased at the present time merely to 11½ years.
§ *SIR A. HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)
It appears to me that this Bill would not be complete without a provision for finding food for those children who are prevented from earning their own livelihood or from assisting their parents in the amount of wages earned.
§ *SIR A. HICKMAN
A very good suggestion, no doubt, but perhaps the hon. Member will point out how that can be done.
§ *SIR A. HICKMAN
The hon. Member can do so when I sit down. Something has been said about technical education, but the great defect in technical education is that it is not of a practical character. But these children who are half-timers are receiving what I consider to be certainly the most practical technical education, for they are actually learning the work which is to fit them afterwards to earn their own livelihood. The returns show that only about one child in 300 leaves school at the age of 12, so that it is not a very crying evil, and this small percentage consists probably of the very children upon whom com-
§ pulsory attendance would press most hardly. Surely in this matter it is better to go by degrees, and not to move in advance of public opinion. The Amendment offers the promoters a fair compromise, and that being so I think they ought to accept it.
§ MR. ARNOLD (Halifax)
Before the Committee proceed to the division, I should like to say a word on behalf of the parents. They resent that a hard and fast line should be drawn, and that they should be left without any discretion at all. The bulk of the parents are opposed to strict legislation on the point.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
Will the Vice-President inform the Committee whether this country is or is not pledged in any way whatever as a result of what was done by the Berlin Conference?
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ON EDUCATION (SIR JOHN GORST)
The British Government pledged itself, amongst the other Governments of Europe, that it was desirable that the minimum age for working in factories and workshops should be 12.
§ *MR. TOMLINSON
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman how it has happened, then, that no Government has thought it its duty to take steps to redeem that pledge?
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
I would point out to the Committee that that is no pledge whatever. It is merely an expression of opinion.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 177; Noes, 18—(Division List No. 161).25
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Birrell, Augustine||Caldwell, James|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Blake, Edward||Cameron, Robert (Durham)|
|Allen, W.(Newc.-under-Lyme)||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Campbell, Rt.Hn.J.A. (Glasg.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bond, Edward||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Bowles,Capt. H. F.(Middlesex)||Carmichael, Sir T. D.Gibson-|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Broadhurst, Henry||Causton, Richard Knight|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Cawley, Frederick|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Bullard, Sir Harry||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Baker, Sir John||Burns, John||Clark, Dr. G.B.(Caithuess-sh.)|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Burt, Thomas||Clough, Walter Owen|
|Billson, Alfred||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Holland, Wm. H. (York, W.R)||Perks, Robert William|
|Colomb,SirJohnCharlesReady||Horniman, Frederick John||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H.Athole||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Colville, John||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Crombie, John William||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Purvis, Robert|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Jones, David Brymnor(Swan.)||Pym, C. Guy|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Randell, David|
|Drage, Geoffrey||Kitson, Sir James||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Duckworth, James||Knowles, Lees||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lafone, Alfred||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Langley, Batty||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Edwards, Owen Morgan||Lawrence, Sir E. D.-(Corn.)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Engledew, Charles John||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Round, James|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumber.)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||Leng, Sir John||Shaw, Charles Edw.(Stafford)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert.||Lloyd-George, David||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Logan, John William||Souttar, Robinson|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Spicer, Albert|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lowe, Francis William||Steadman, William Charles|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Flower, Ernest||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Sullivan Donal (Westmeath)|
|Fry, Lewis||M'Arthur, Chas.(Liverpool)||Talbot, Rt. Hn.J.G. (Oxf'd U.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Ghee, Richard||Tennant, Harold John|
|Garfit, William||M'Iver,Sir L.(Edinburgh,W.)||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Gedge, Sydney||M'Kenna, Reginald||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Maddison, Fred.||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Gold, Charles||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Williams,John Carvell (Notts)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Monk, Charles James||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Gourley, Sir. E. Temperley||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carm'rth'n)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Morley, Rt. Hon. J.(Montrose)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Moss, Samuel||Woodall, William|
|Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Woodhouse,SirJ.T.(Hudders.)|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Woods, Samuel|
|Harwood, George||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wortley,Rt.Hon.C.B. Stuart-|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Ch. Seale-||Oldroyd, Mark||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hazell, Walter||O'Malley, William||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hedderwick, Thos. Ch. H.||Palmer, G. Wm (Reading)|
|Helder, Augustus||Paulton, James Mellor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Henderson, Alexander||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Mr. Robson and Mr.|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Kenyon.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Tomlinson, Wm. Ed. Murray|
|Ascroft, Robert||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-L.)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kemp, George|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Maden, John Henry||Mr. George Whiteley and|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Mr. Pilkington.|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Seton Karr, Henry|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
§ *MR. TOMLINSON
I wish to move as an Amendment, to insert after the word "shall" in line seven the words "except where any bye-laws under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1897, shall from time to time otherwise provide." The object is to give some latitude to the local authorities in applying the provisions of the Bill. It 26 seems to me quite alien to English habits to adapt the same cast iron system of administration to all parts, instead of easing the burden wherever possible. I would only propose to give latitude within certain reasonable limits, but I hold that the very fact that the local authorities have the power of modifying the application of the Bill would act in 27 the direction of developing their energies in carrying out these duties. I do not think it is an unreasonable thing to allow these bodies the latitude I suggest.
§ Amendment proposed: In Clause 1, page 1, line 6, after "shall," to insert "except where any bye-laws under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1897 shall from time to time otherwise provide."—(Mr. Tomlinson.)
§ Question proposed: "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, N.)
This is a proposal to give local authorities a certain option. Honourable Members opposite are very fond of local option, and I, for one, do not see why the authorities who represent the parents should not have the power of altering the school age in order to meet the requirements of particular districts. It cannot be said that children engaged in agricultural work are following an unhealthy occupation. On the contrary, the work is healthy, and therefore if the local authorities have the power of judging what is best for them with regard to age, no harm can he done. I think it would be rather unwise not to accept the amendment. It is frequently the ease that parents summoned before local magistrates for not sending their children to school are let off very lightly, and, indeed, they willingly pay the tine because they know the children's earnings much more than cover it.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL
One of the greatest obstacles to educational progress in this country is the extremely low standard mentioned in the bye-laws, and I have noticed some very emphatic words in educational inspectors' reports upon this subject. I very much regret that this proposal has been made, as I certainly fear, that if this discretion is given to local authorities, it will have tendency to destroy the effects of the Bill.
§ MR. ROBSON (South Shields)
It is impossible for me to accept the Amendment. Its object, as I understand, is to enable local educational authorities to lower the standard set up by Parliament. That is rather opposed to the current of all our legislation on this subject, for our efforts have hitherto been directed to induce the local autho- 28 rities to come up to that standard. I doubt very much if any local authorities will avail themselves of the Amendment if carried, in order to fix an age below that appointed by the Act. Does the hon. Member think he will achieve his object by his Amendment? I think I can show him good reasons for not pressing it to a division. The words of the Amendment are that the Act shall apply except where any bye-law under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870–1897, shall otherwise provide. Has the hon. Member tried the experiment of reading the whole of the clauses, so as to get at the meaning of these words? If he does, he will find there are already bye-laws under the Education Acts, made upon the basis of 11 as the minimum age for leaving school. Under this Act 12 will be made the minimum school age, and therefore, in future, if the Amendment is accepted, 12 would be the minimum age, except in cases where the existing bye-laws say it shall be 11. That is a very fair point for consideration, and I would respectfully suggest to the hon. Member that it would be well for him at any rate to defer his proposal until the Report stage.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman opposite whether he has correctly read the Amendment. It seems to me that it provides for future, rather than for existing, bye-laws. Our sympathies are all with education, but I do not think it is wise to lay down too hard and fast a rule. I would give local option to the authorities, and I therefore heartily support the Amendment.
§ SIR J. GORST
Perhaps I may be allowed to say that under the existing Education Acts, the local authorities have no power to make any bye-laws fixing an age standard. All they can do is to fix an educational standard, and there, fore, in my opinion, the Amendment, if carried, would be quite inoperative. The hon. Member had better postpone it till later.
§ *MR. TOMLINSON
I do not follow the right hon. Gentleman in that. If we empower the local authorities to make these bye-laws it surely would be possible, the principle having been once accepted, to provide words making it operative. 29 I do not think the objection of my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan really applies to my Amendment; as he really objects to allowing local authorities to permit children to leave school before they have passed a certain standard.
§ *SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
Surely this is an unheard of proposal. If passed it would have the effect of virtually abrogating, the provisions of the Bill. There would, practically, be no national age standard at all. I hope the Committee will not depart from the principles which at present govern our educational policy by fixing the age limit in Parliament, and giving this discretion to local authorities; and I therefore trust that the Amendment will be strenuously opposed.
§ CAPTAIN PRETYMAN (Suffolk, Woodbridge)
I, too, hope that the Amendment will not be pressed. It is putting too great a strain on many of us, to ask us to vote for it.
§ *MR. TOMLINSON
I do not propose to press the Amendment to a division, and will therefore ask leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. ROBSON
I beg now to move to add the following words at the end of the clause:Provided also that the local authority for any rural district may, by by-law for any parish within their district, fix 13 years as the minimum age for exemption from school attendance in the case of children to be employed in agriculture, and that in such parish such children over 11 and under 13 years of age who have passed the standard fixed for partial exemption from school attendance by the by-laws of the local authority shall not be required to attend school more than 250 times in any year. Such by-law shall have effect as a by-law made under Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, and all Acts amending the same. The local authority shall be the local authority fixed by section 7 of the Elementary Education Act, 1876.The object of this Amendment is to secure that in agricultural districts the children shall give two winters to school, instead of one winter and one summer. It empowers the local authority to extend the school age from 12 to 13. The Amendment is entirely optional, and it is open to the rural districts, if they are so disposed, to ignore it altogether. I hope 30 that they will not, and on the contrary I think that they will act upon it. It is an attempt to apply the principle of summer work and winter schooling which prevails in Germany and Switzerland. The high school age, which obtains in those countries under this system, is not merely acceptable, but it is popular, and those countries would never have reached their present educational supremacy but for the principle which I propose to embody in this Amendment. I know that some of my hon. friends have supposed that in putting this Amendment forward, I am making a concession to the agricultural interest at the cost of the principle of the Bill. But I venture to think that those who have studied it will entertain a different view. It does not at all contract the operation of the Bill, nor is this the first time on which the principle has been raised in connection with it. There are those who have devoted years to the advocacy of some change of this sort, and their reason for doing so is that they have observed the great difficulty of enforcing the present compulsory system in rural districts. Had I brought forward this Bill without seeking, in some practical way, to deal with tins difficulty, I should have been much to blame. Hon. Members have, perhaps, scarcely realised the serious degree to which our compulsory system has failed in the rural districts. Its enforcement depends entirely on local vigilance and on public opinion, and Undoubtedly that opinion is strongly opposed to the exercise of compulsion at those seasons of the year when a child can profitably be employed on the land. An examination of the returns of school attendance in rural districts shows how lax has been the enforcement of the law. Looking down the last returns I note that, whereas one school had been open 338 times, the attendances of various children had averaged from 54 to 64, while a little judicious inquiry has brought to light the fact that some of the children had been actually employed on the land, illegally, by members of the School Board for that district. In another school, out of 422 possible attendances, the returns; show 22, 65, 78, and 98 attendances, while no summons for irregular attendance has been taken out for four years. The principle of recognising the difference between factory and agricultural labour has worked with good 31 effect in both Germany and Switzerland, and I do not see why it should not act equally well in this country. After all, the Amendment may well be described as one enabling compulsion to be exercised, when it can be efficacious, in rural districts. Remember, I am not giving away the principle of the Bill; I am simply taking, in the 13th year, the time given up in the 12th, and it must be borne in mind that in the later year the brain of the child will have become more receptive. I think the Amendment is an indispensable step towards filling up the fatal gap which now exists between the age at which a child leaves school, and the earliest age at which he can be got hold of for the purposes of higher education. Hitherto the agriculturists of England have been the most inveterate opponents of a high school age; they, rather than Lancashire, have blocked the way of progress in this respect. In foreign countries agriculturists are more in favour of a higher school age than people in towns. In Germany and Switzerland we have instances in which the school age runs up to 16 years, and they want to get higher. The motive of that is only partly educational; in Germany and Switzerland, as in England, the agricultural boy is in a great hurry to get away from school in order to run to the nearest town and enter the first mill or shop, but if we had a higher school age accompanied by summer work, we keep the boy on the land until he has learned something of it, and we give him a start in what is the most natural of all employments. That is the reason why, in all the countries of Europe where a high educational standard is insisted upon, we have this principle prevailing in rural districts almost without exception. The reason why it is insisted upon is not only a national and philanthropic one, but because the rural districts have a very sound material interest in it. It is to their advantage that a boy should learn the trade of the land on which he was born, and on which he may possibly remain. It is to the interest of everybody that there should be fair play to every inducement which will stop the steady flow of agricultural children from the villages to the towns. It is as much to the interest of towns as it is to the interest of the country districts, If the agricultural districts of England appreciate the force of this argument, we shall have them demanding 32 a still higher school age. Since my agricultural friends have discovered the virtue of this Amendment, I am astonished to find how many have said, "You may carry up the age to 14 with that Amendment"; and I think we may be able to oblige them later. Those who have hitherto been the enemies of a high school age will in future be its most effective allies. I would wish to ask the indulgence of the Committee to refer to a very important detail in the Amendment, namely, the number of attendances. When I first drafted the Amendment I put down 300 attendances, and it was argued with a great deal of force and with very good evidence that in putting down that number I was not making much of a concession, and that in fact without my Amendment at all, supposing the Bill stood in its original form, the probabilities were that agricultural children would only attend about 300 times between the ages of 11 and 12. An Amendment has been put down by my hon. Friend, the Member for North Hants, fixing the number at 200 attendances. I think I went a little too high, but I think my hon. Friend has gone a great deal too low, and, having taken the advice of those who could speak with authority and experience on educational I was advised that all the purposes of my Amendment would be well met if I put the number at 250 attendances, which represents about half the year. I hope my hon. friends, more particularly on this side of the House, will observe that by giving 250 attendances in each of the two extra years, agricultural children will thereby get 25 per cent. more education than borough children. It will be accepted, as far as I can learn, as meeting the special necessities of the agricultural districts, and I venture to hope that the figure which I now suggest, and which I ask your permission to insert, is one which will save discussion on this Amendment.
Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 12, at the end, to add the words:
Provided also that the local authority for any rural district may, by bye-law for any parish within their district, fix thirteen years as the minimum age for exemption from school attendance in the case of children to be employed in agriculture, and that in such parish such children over eleven and under thirteen years of age who have passed the standard fixed for partial, exemption from school attend-
ance by the bye-laws of the local authority shall not be required to attend school more than two hundred and fifty times in any year.
Such bye-law shall have effect as a bye-law made under section seventy-four of The Elementary Education Act, 1870, and all Acts amending the same.
The local authority shall be the local authority fixed by section seven of The Elementary Education Act, 1876."—(Mr. Robson.)
§ Question proposed.
§ "That those words be there added."
§ *SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
I have listened with pleasure to the excellent statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman. There is no doubt, at the first blush and the first examination of these proposals, that they are essentially a new development of our educational system. To my mind they are none the worse for it, if they are in the right direction, and although we have had many disquisitions as to the benefit or otherwise of the half-time system, we have now at all events before us, a concrete case for discussion and a very important one, which I venture to think will have a very considerable hearing on the educational future of this country. I rise to support the Amendment heartily. I support it from every point of view, not only as one much mixed up with educational affairs, but also from my own knowledge of village rural life. Educationally, socially and otherwise, I think it is a step in the right direction. The great thing we have to consider after all is the success of this proposed change, and if we only could secure that, we ought all to go into the lobby to support it. I think there are many chances in favour of its complete success. What will be the effects on the child, the parent and the State? First, let us take the child upon whom the experiment is to be made. The condition of the child in an agricultural village, whatever the agricultural industry surrounding him may be, whether it be corn growing or fruit growing, is at present most hazardous and uncertain. He never knows when he may be called into the field to scare away rooks or hustled suddenly into school. The amendment removes at once this terrible uncertainty, and in addition gives the child a chance of two more years of school life, not spread over the year in the present haphazard fashion, but restricted to certain periods. That 34 will be of great advantage to the child. With regard to the parent, I believe the Amendment will remove an immense cause of continual friction between the parent and the school attendance officer. Many of the parents have to struggle for existence in rural districts, and this Amendment, if worked well, will have regard to their feelings, instincts, and if you like their prejudices. At present the parents have the school attendance officer always at their elbow. The present Amendment will give them a clear period of the year in which allowance will be made for their children's absence from school, and it will enable them to make clear and definite arrangements for their children's education, and also for their being enabled to earn money. As regards the State, I believe the amendment will be valuable not only to the cause of education in general, but it will remove the large amount of friction and difficulty which now exists between the central department and the rural districts. I am bound to say that in rural districts I have found the strongest objection to any idea of the over-education of children. I remember once attending a meeting to open a large school in a district in England, and I was attacked on the platform because I advocated technical education. Again, this scheme would overcome the enormous amount of prejudice now existing. Parents and children would know what demands were made upon them, and the employer would also know when he could count on getting labour on his farm. I believe it would be of great advantage to our farmers to know when they could command such labour. It is most important to remove the friction which exists between parents and school attendance officers. I know, from my own personal knowledge, that a woman and her children in Kent can earn during the fruit-picking season from 30s. to 35s. a week. It can easily be understood how any family earning that amount can defy the school attendance committee, and pay the fines imposed for non-attendance. I hope this Bill will pass, and believing that it will do much for the future of elementary education in this country, I will give this amendment my most hearty support.
MAJOR BASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I never thought that I should have the honour of addressing this Committee in favour of the 35 proposal of a higher school age in rural districts on this particular day of the year. But my honourable and learned Friend the Member for South Shields has so re-organised his proposal that it is possible for us to find salvation in his views, and do our best to support him. I also imagine that the proposal is acceptable to the Vice-President of the Council, who, I find, has not shown himself so hostile to agricultural interests as I thought he was. As I understand the proposal, it is that children are to be allowed to go to school in the winter and to pick up some useful education in the summer. In the opinion of many of us in agricultural districts, the raising of the age of compulsory attendance has gone far enough. What we have to contend against in the Eastern Counties is not so much low prices, high rates, and foreign competition, as the dearth of agricultural labour and the depopulation of the rural districts. I am not exaggerating when I say there are many towns in the Eastern Counties where the population is less than it was in the time of the Stuarts, and still less than in the Middle Ages. A neighbour of my own had recently to give up his farm because he could not get labour; and the dearth of labour is caused by forcing the pace of education. One of my constituents, owing to the impossibility of getting labour, has been forced—it sounds rather absurd—to milk his cows with a gas engine. I am sorry for the cows, but it is absolutely the case. Agricultural labour has gone up something like 20 per cent, and things are much worse in the agricultural districts than they were five years ago. We had the Agricultural Rating Act, but if you take half-a-crown out of one pocket of a man and put sixpence into another pocket, he does not gain any moral or material benefit. At the risk of incurring the epithet which the honourable Member for Fife in one of his highly elaborated witticisms threw at our heads the other day, of being a "Tony Lumpkin," I have ventured to lay before the Committee my views, which are also the views of my constituents, as to the absolute state of the case with reference to the depopulation of the rural districts.
§ MR. JEFFREYS
I do not like the age being raised, but as the House; on the Second Reading of the Bill, decided that it should be raised, I fear that we 36 must make the best of it. I am glad the hon. and learned Member has proposed this Amendment. After what has been said, not only by him, but also by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dartford, and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-East Essex, I think the Committee will see there is a great deal of unanimity on this question. As the Amendment originally stood, I thought we were getting nothing in the way of a concession, and I therefore put down another Amendment. In the model bye-laws issued by the Department under Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act, it is stated that children between the ages of 11 and 13 years of age who shall be beneficially employed to the satisfaction of the local authority, shall not be obliged to attend school for more than 150 attendances in each year, and when I put down 200 attendances I was therefore giving 50 more than were already allowed. But, as the hon. Gentleman considers that 250 is a reasonable number, I will not move my Amendment. I may qualify what I have said, however, by hoping that we shall not, next year, or in successive years, be forced to raise the age. We are gradually creeping up. A few years ago it was 10 years, now it is 11, and this Bill proposes to make it 2. I am afraid education is incurring the hostility not only of the farmers but also of the working classes of this country, for many labouring men object to the enforced attendance at school of children who are able to earn a little. I only hope the Amendment will, as suggested, keep the children on the land instead of their flocking to the towns as at present. If it does that, agriculturists will put up with the extra year.
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
I am very loth to disturb the unanimity of the Committee, but I venture to think that, in his desire to be conciliatory, my honourable and learned Friend has gone too far. The normal number of attendances is 420, and the Education Department declines to give a grant to any school not open 400 times in the year. My honourable Friend proposed to reduce the number to 300 attendances, but when he further reduces it to 250 I feel bound to make a protest, and to say that if a Chance is offered me I shall divide against the proposal.
§ CAPTAIN BETHELL (York, E. R, Holderness)
The Amendment having received the support of my right honourable Friend the Member for Dartford, I would wish to suggest an Amendment in detail. The honourable and learned Gentleman proposes that the local authority for any rural district may have power to fix the minimum age. I wish to suggest to the Committee that it would be better that the County Council of any county should exercise the power. The County Council would exercise it more impartially, and would consider the demands of any portion of the area concerned. Its members are drawn from varying classes, and from a much wider area, and, I think, for that reason alone, it would be the better authority. But, above all, I would suggest to the Vice-President that the House of Commons has accepted the proposal that County Councils should have a great deal to do with educational questions in the future. The authority proposed to be wielded under the Amendment is legislative, and not administrative, and I would suggest that it would be better wielded by the County Council than by the local authorities. I do not know what arguments induced the honourable and learned Member to put in "the local authority for any rural district," but I hope he will be good enough to consider the arguments I have urged. I would also be glad if the Vice-President would give his views, especially with reference to the second consideration. The Amendment I propose to move is to leave out "the local authority for any rural district," and to substitute the words "the County Council of any county." It might be said that agriculturists are obstinate with reference to education, but educationalists also sometimes display obstinacy and dogmatism.
§ Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, in line 1, to leave out the words "local authority for any rural district," in order to insert words" county council of any county."—(Captain Bethell.)
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment.
§ SIR J. GORST
I hope my honourable and gallant Friend will not press this Amendment. I naturally had some share in the authorship of the Bill of 38 1896, and I was extremely favourable to the county council as the educational authority; but this is a very burning question, and if it is introduced into the discussion on this Bill I am afraid we have no chance of getting through our labours before the end of the session; I therefore hope my honourable and gallant Friend will take the authority as it exists in the Bill, and not raise the general question of educational authority.
*MR. GRANT LAWSON (York, N.R Thirsk)
I also join in the appeal to the honourable and gallant Member not to press the Amendment. In many county councils the agricultural members are in a very small minority, and would not be able to make their influence felt.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment by leave withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
I move that the word "rural" in the first line of this Amendment be omitted. In order to make clear to the Committee the object of my proposal, I may say that I intend to move later to omit the words "to be employed in agriculture" in order to insert "not employed in any factory or workshop." I do not move my Amendment in any hostile spirit to the agricultural interest. In my humble judgment the original Amendment is not only an attempt but a too successful attempt to square the agricultural Members, and those of us who are not occupied in that industry or connected with it are to be the Jonahs to be thrown overboard. I was very much interested in the speech of the honourable and gallant Member for South-east Essex, because when I moved the rejection of the second reading of this measure he was my seconder. What a state of backsliding has now occurred! He informed us in his speech of a few interesting facts. He told us of one farmer who had to milk his cows with a gas engine. I am glad it was not a water engine. He informed us he had found salvation in the Amendment proposed by the honourable and learned Member for South Shields, but I think his position is not one in which to 39 rejoice. The object of my Amendment is to extend the operation of the honourable and learned gentleman's Amendment to all half-timers, not half-timers under the Factories and Workshops Act. It practically admits all half-timers at the age of 11 provided they have made attendances to the very small number of 250. The half-timers not included in the Factories and Workshops Act number 55,000, and if they were subdivided I think I would not be very long in estimating that half of them are employed in agriculture and the other half employed in other occupations which do not come under the Factories and Workshops Act. There is a demand for the services of these children at certain periods, and they may be able to earn a pittance which would be a very great benefit to their parents and themselves. Take the boys employed in country-houses during the three months in the autumn. They are employed as errand boys and in connection with shooting. Why should every other class of boy be excluded from the Amendment in order that the agricultural boy should be included? If my honourable friend sees his way to adopt this Amendment it would apply not only to agricultural children but also to children employed in occupations other than in factories and workshops. I venture to press this Amendment and I shall certainly take it to a division.
§ Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment: In line 1, to leave out the word "rural."—(Mr. George Whiteley).
That the word 'rural' stand part of the proposed Amendment:
§ CAPTAIN PRETYMAN
I hope we shall not further discuss this particular Amendment, as it was not before us on the Second Reading. On the general question, we quite recognise that the honourable and learned Gentleman is anxious to meet the necessities of agriculturists—
The honourable Member must confine himself to the Amendment which has been moved to the Amendment.
§ CAPTAIN PRETYMAN
As regards this particular Amendment I think there are objections to it. In order to make it 40 operative at all, we must give sufficient inducement to school attendance committees to adopt it. The honourable and learned Member who moved the Amendment said it would increase the amount of education in rural districts by 25 per cent. But will the school attendance committees be given a sufficient inducement to bring this Act into operation? I think it is extremely doubtful. The honourable and learned Member seems to assume that under this Amendment children will be able to attend school in winter, and be absent in summer—
Order, order! The honourable Member is not now discussing the Amendment to omit the word "rural."
§ MR. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)
I only wish to raise a technical point. Does the honourable and learned Member mean by the words "rural district" the Rural District Council? because if so he will exclude a large number of farmers. What are technically called urban districts very often contain large rural areas, and it certainly seems to me that the retention of the word "rural" would limit the effect of the Amendment beyond what is intended by the honourable and learned Member.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
I venture to suggest to the honourable Member for Stockport that he should not press the consideration of his Amendment at the present moment, but that he should ask the Vice-President to give it consideration before the next stage of the Bill. I am so anxious that the Bill should pass that I hope the question of the number of attendances will not be reopened. The Clause may not be exactly ideal, but it is something of a compromise which my honourable and learned Friend in charge of the Bill has very wisely put down to meet honourable Members on this side, and which seems to be generally acceptable. I should think it is not necessary to press the matter further.
§ SIR J. GORST
I think that the word "rural" is really not necessary, as long as we keep the word "agriculture" further on in the Amendment.
§ Mr. ROBSON
I was about to rise for the purpose of making an observation which has, however, been now sufficiently made by the Vice-President. I think the word "rural" might be omitted.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
The omission of "rural" will put us in a difficulty when we get, later on in the Clause, to the words "employed in agriculture." If the word "rural" is left out, it will be an extremely difficult matter to determine who will be held to be engaged in agriculture, and it will be necessary to provide some definition as to what the words really mean. I am not at liberty to discuss that now, but it opens a very wide question. I would suggest to the honourable and learned Gentleman that, if the proposal should be workable at all, the word "rural" is to be kept in.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
My noble friend who has just spoken has forgotten the distinction which has been already made in the Act of 1896. I only wish to say on the Amendment that, if an agriculturist has the misfortune to live in an urban district, that is no reason why we should abandon him.
§ *MR. TOMLINSON
It has been put to me as a very great hardship that girls are not allowed to go on half time for the purpose of assisting the domestic work of the household. Education carried beyond a certain point tends to unfit girls for domestic duties, and domestic life, and if a system could be adopted by which girls could devote half their time to learning domestic habits which would probably be most necessary for them in after life, whilst carrying on their education with the other half, it would be conferring on them a very great benefit.
§ MAJOR RASCH
The honourable Member for Stockport has just reproved me for supporting the Amendment. My position is absolutely the same whenever agricultural interests are concerned. We ave often asked for bread and have been offered a stone, and have been lucky if the stone were not cast at our heads. We have had this Amendment offered to us; it will be of some practical use to us, and we are not ashamed to accept it.
§ Question, "That the word 'rural stand part of the Amendment," put and negatived.
§ Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment: In line 3, to leave out the words "to be employed in agriculture," in order to insert the words "not employed in any factory or workshop"—(Mr. George Whiteley)—instead thereof.
That the words 'to be employed in agriculture' stand part of the proposed Amendment.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
I quite agree that the word "rural" is not necessary at all; but the words I now propose will make the Amendment much more workable. It will create less friction and difficulty, and will enable a large class of children during the summer months to earn full wages instead of half-time wages as at present. I appeal to the honourable and learned Member as to whether he cannot accept the Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I would ask my right honourable friend the Vice-President of the Council what is his conception of the word "agriculture" in this connection. We are engaged in passing an Act of Parliament, and we have got to be exact. I suppose it will be the duty of the magistrates to say what children are or are not engaged in agriculture. I wish to know what would be the advice of the Vice-President as to the interpretation of the word. For example, would driving a herd to market be agriculture; if so, would helping to keep the beasts in order in the market place be agriculture; would feeding chickens be agriculture; and if not, why not? I want to know where the honourable and learned gentleman would draw the line; I think an Act of Parliament ought to be precise, and ought to give more guidance as to what it means. I would ask my right honourable friend, whose business it will be to administer this Act, or who at any rate will have to give advice in its administration, to say what he considers to be the meaning of the word "agriculture."
§ SIR J. GORST
If Parliament should pass the scheme in its present form it would be for the magistrates to determine what is meant by "agriculture." As to 43 the illustrations which have been given by the noble Lord, I should think most judges would very easily determine that such operations were connected with agriculture. If there is any doubt about
§ it, the matter can be referred to the High Court.
§ Question put—
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 245: Noes, 26. (Division List, No. 162.)45
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Douglas, Charles M.(Lanark)||Kitson, Sir James|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Drucker, A.||Knowles, Lees|
|Allen, W.(Newc. under Lyme)||Duckworth, James||Labouchere, Henry|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lafone, Afred|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Dunn, Sir William||Langley, Batty|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Edwards, Owen Morgan||Lawrence,Sir E.Durning-(Cor)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Engledew, Charles John||Lawson, John Grant(Yorks.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lawson, Sir W.(Cumb'land)|
|Baillie, Jas. E. B.(Inverness)||Evans, Samuel T. (Glam.)||Leng, Sir John|
|Baker, Sir John||Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||Llewelyn,Sir Dillwyn-(Swan.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lloyd-George, David|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Loder, Gerald W. Erskine|
|Barlow John Emmott||Finch, George H.||Logan, John William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Long, Col. Ch. W. (Evesham)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Fisher, William Hayes||Lorne, Marquess of|
|Bethell, Commander||Fison, Frederick William||Lough, Thomas|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lowe, Francis William|
|Biddulph, Michael||FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bill, Charles||Flower, Ernest||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Billson, Alfred||Fry, Lewis||Lyell, Sir Leonard|
|Birrell, Augustine||Garfit, William||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverp'l)|
|Blake, Edward||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||M'Arthur, William (Corn'l).|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. H. J.||M'Ewan, William|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Godson, Sir Augustus Fdk.||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Gold, Charles||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin, W.)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John E.||M'Leod, John|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gourley, Sir Edward T.||Maddison, Fred|
|Burns, John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe|
|Burt, Thomas||Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsb'y)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Middlemore, John Throgm't'n|
|Caldwell, James||Griffith, Ellis J.||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Gull, Sir Cameron||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Gunter, Colonel||Monk, Charles James|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.J.A.(Glas.)||Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmart'n)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Hardy, Laurence||Morgan, W. Prit'h'd (Merth'r)|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Harwood, George||Morley, Rt. Hon. J.(Montr'e)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Ch. Seale-||Morrison, Walter|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hazell, Walter||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Clark,Dr.G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Morton, Ed. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Helder, Augustus||Moss, Samuel|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hoare, Samuel(Norwich)||Myers, William Henry|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hobhouse, Henry||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Colomb, Sir John C. Ready||Holland, W. H.(York, W. R.)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Horniman, Frederick John||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Colville, John||Houston, R. P.||O'Connor, Jas.(Wicklow, W.)|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Howard, Joseph||O'Connor, T. T.(Liverpool)|
|Cornwallis, F. Stanley W.||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Hutton, Alfred E.(Morley)||Palmer, Geo. Wm.(Reading)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Crombie, John William||Jacoby, James Alfred||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Currie, Sir Donald||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Johnson-Freguson, Jabez Ed.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Jolliffe, Hon H. George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Dillon, John||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Kenyon, James||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Spencer, Ernest||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts.)|
|Price, Robert John||Spicer, Albert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)||Steadman, William Charles||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Purvis, Robert||Stevenson, Francis S.||Wilson, Hy. J.(York, W. R.)|
|Randell, David||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Redmond, J. E.(Waterford)||Talbot, Lord E.(Chichester)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Richardson, J.(Durham,S.E.)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxf'd.U.)||Wilson, Jos. H.(Middlesbro')|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Tennant, Harold John||Woodall, William|
|Roberts, John H.(Denbighs.)||Thomas, A.(Glamorgan, E.)||Woodhouse,SirJ.T.(Hudersf'd)|
|Robertson, Herbert (H'ckney)||Thornton, Percy M.||Woods, Samuel|
|Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Usborne, Thomas||Wortley, Rt. Hn.C. B. Stuart-|
|Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wallace, Robert (Perth)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. E.J.||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)||Warr, Augustus Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Smith, James P'rk'r(Lanarks.)||Weir, James Galloway||Mr. Robson and Colonel|
|Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Lockwood.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Heaton, John Henniker||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter|
|Ascroft, Robert||Henderson, Alexander||Rutherford, John|
|Bowles, T. G.(King's Lynn)||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Cawley, Frederick||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Tomlinson, Wm. Ed. Murray|
|Fergusson, Rt.Hn.Sir J.(Man)||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Whiteley,H. (Asht'n-und'r-L.)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Rt. Penrose-||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Maden, John Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gedge, Sydney||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Mr. George Whiteley, and|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Pilkington, Richard||Sir William Coddington.|
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
I beg to move, in line 4, after "agriculture," to add "or any operations connected therewith." The words I suggest seem to me to make the clause more workable, and they will cover all the cases mentioned by the noble Lord. In effect, my proposal will widen the scope of the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ *MR. GILES (Cambridge, Wisbech)
My object in placing upon the paper the Amendment which stands in my name was to give expression and effect to the resolutions passed by the Isle of Ely County Council and numerous other public bodies against the Bill. I am very anxious, and I am sure a great many honourable Members in this House are also anxious—not that education should be retarded, but improved; and on behalf of the agriculturists of North Cambs. I repudiate the idea that farmers are against education itself. What they desire is that education and employment should go hand in hand. I should be disposed to withdraw my Amendment if I thought the number of attendances would be fixed at 250 instead of 300, 46 and if I thought such a proposal would be accepted by honourable Members opposite. (Opposition cries of "Yes.") If that is so, I shall withdraw my Amendment, for I feel that the concession which the honourable Member for South Shields has made is a very great one to the agriculturists; his Amendment in their favour has my hearty support, and I believe it will be one means of making education more popular in the rural districts.
Amendment proposed, in line 6, to leave out all after "shall," and insert
be entitled to a certificate or certificates of exemption from attendance for any period or periods not exceeding three months in all during any one year, if it be shown to the satisfaction of the local authority that the local authority that the child will obtain suitable employment during the periods of exemption, and if, in the opinion of the local authority, the child has made good attendance prior to such period."—(Mr. Giles.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ *MR. GRAY (West Ham, N.)
With regard to this Amendment, I should like to make one observation. I am heartily 47 in favour of its principle, and I am certain it will work well, but I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Council whether he can furnish some estimate of the number of attendances now actually made by children who have passed the exemption standard. I want to see how this standard of 250 attendances will compare with the attendances made now by children under similar conditions. I want to draw attention to a practical difficulty which is, that there is no provision that these 250 attendances shall be made. There is no guarantee that these attendances will ever be made, and I should like to know if they are not made, what steps the Education Department can take to bring any local authority to book which does not secure that the children in its district makes the stipulated number of attendances.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
I value this measure and this Amendment not so much for the benefit which it will confer upon the rural districts, but because it recognises for the first time in the history of the educational movement that there is to be a difference drawn between children in the country districts and children in the urban districts.
§ CAPTAIN PRETYMAN
The average age now is about 11 years and 6 months at which a child leaves school, and exemption begins when the child has attained a certain age. The minimum age is 11, and it is proposed to raise it to 12. The Amendment says—Shall not be required to attend school more than 250 times in any year.I suppose the honourable Member means a school year. It may happen that in October a child at 11 years and 6 months old passes the standard which entitles him to exemption, and that child will have made the 250 attendances which he has to make under this Amendment. He will, therefore, become free to work during the months of November, December, January and February. That child will have very little benefit indeed, whereas another child would be able to be away for the whole time. I think it is right, and in the interest of the community, that children should be allowed to follow a healthy outdoor occupation during the 48 period they are attending school. This is a Bill which I agreed with in principle, and which I am anxious to see passed into law. We must, however, remember that this is an adoptive Amendment, and if it is to be adopted by the local authorities it must be workable, and I think it would be in the interest of the country districts. Difficulties may of course arise which will require to be discussed and be considered by the Education Department, and I think it is very unfortunate that a measure of this sort could not be taken up by the Education Department. This Amendment raises difficult and complicated points which I hope the honourable Member who has introduced the Bill, and the Vice-President of the Council, will most carefully consider between this and the Report stage. If this is done I think it will be a most valuable measure for all concerned.
§ SIR J. GORST
It would scarcely be possible within the limits of the time at the disposal of the Committee to discuss the details of the operation of the Amendment. I may say that this Amendment has been carefully considered by the experienced officials of the Education Department who are conversant with the working of the Education Acts, and, without entering into detail, I may say that it is their opinion that this particular Amendment is workable; and that by the bye-laws that will be made under it the general intentions of the Committee in passing this Amendment can no doubt be carried into effect.
§ Question put, Amendment negatived.
Amendment proposed—in Clause 1, page 1, line 12, at end, to add,—
Provided also that a child shall be entitled to obtain partial exemption from school attendance on attaining the age of twelve years if such child has made three hundred attendances in not more than two schools during each year for five preceding years whether consecutive or not."—(Mr. Rutherford.)
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
The existing law provides that a child shall pass a certain standard of education; if you withdraw, that child before it obtains that certificate you are deemed to be acting in contravention of the existing Act, and you are liable to a penalty. It 49 seems to me that there is some difficulty with regard to the proposition of my honourable, friend, and unless the section I have referred to is repealed difficulties may ensue.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I may explain very shortly the object of the Amendment I now rise to move. I think that where the local authority are satisfied as to the poverty of the parents they should have power to enable a child to be allowed to work half time. The honourable and learned gentleman assures me that the present Act gives all the protection needed for poor families, the number of which he appears to think is very small. I believe, however, that these very poor parents exist in greater numbers than honourable Members opposite suppose. The result of my inquiries and the investigations I have made lead me to believe that this Act, unless some saving clause of this kind is introduced, may be made the means of cruelty and of injustice also. I, for one, have always been in favour of raising the age of children, provided that some provision is made for meeting such difficult cases as are contemplated by my Amendment. On this question I go much further than the National Union of Teachers, for I have advocated the extension of the principle of compulsion not only until 13 years of age, but in evening schools until the age of 16. After 13 a child should only be allowed to work the whole day up to 16 on condition that a limited number of attendances at a night school up to that age was insisted upon. Under the present system I believe that a great proportion of the money we spend on education is so much money wasted, and I believe that unless our system of elementary education is followed up at the night schools it will be little use, and our expectations will never be realised. I must, therefore, press my proposal to a division, although if it can be shown that my contention is wrong I will withdraw my proposition, because I do not want to obstruct the passing of this Bill, which I believe will be, on the whole, the means of doing great good to he children.
Amendment proposed, after the words last inserted, to add the words:
Provided also, that if it is shown to the satisfaction of the local educational authority
that the earnings of any child above the age of 11 years are necessary, by reason of the poverty of the parents, to the maintenance of the said child, the said educational authority may in such cases grant a certificate exempting such child from the operation of this Act:"—(Colonel Mellor):—
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. ROBSON
In a very few words I hops I shall be able, satisfactorily, to meet the point raised by the honourable Member who has moved this Amendment. I gather that he accepts the statement of the law which I submitted by reference to a well known authority, where it has been laid down that the poverty of the parents is a reasonable excuse under the Education Act of 1870 for the absence of the child from school and his presence at work. There seems to be an idea that there is an unconditional law of compulsion in England, but that is not so. There is a law of compulsion, but it depends upon the absence of a reasonable excuse, and the poverty of the parents has always been held to be a reasonable excuse. The words of the Bill are much more elastic and suitable than either of the two Amendments to deal with poor parents. The honourable Member raises a further point; he refers to the Factory Acts, and he wishes to know how they will affect the case of poor parents. Now the Factory Acts forbid a child to work during the whole time up to the age of 13, but they do allow him to work halftime up to the age of 13, provided that a certificate of exemption from school attendance is obtained. The honourable Member says it may be that the educational authorities will not be able to force the child to go to school between the ages of 11 and 13, and he asks will a child be still able to do so under the Factory Acts between the ages of 11 and 13? Under the Factory Acts a child can go to the factory at the age of 11, after my Bill passes, if there is a reasonable excuse for its exemption from school attendance, provided it produces a certificate of exemption from the education authority. That authority, in the case of a poor child, cannot force the parents to send it to school, and in such a case the education authority would desire that the child should go to the factory. It would be to the advantage of the education authority, in such a case, to give a certificate at 11 51 years of age, by which the child would not only be able to absent itself from school but could go straight to the factory. I hope the honourable Member will accept my assurance on this point. The view I have expressed I have arrived at after a very careful consideration of the law, and I trust that he will withdraw his Amendment.
§ SIR J. GORST
I could not put the case more clearly than the honourable Member opposite has done, for his views are entirely in accordance with those of the Education Department. If the honourable Member himself had not risen, I was prepared to say that the Amendment of my honourable friend, though good in principle, was quite unnecessary, because, under the existing law, everything he seeks to carry out by this Amendment is already provided for.
If the local authority has power, notwithstanding this Act, to allow children to work, it also has power to prevent children working. That being so, it appears to me that the Bill is quite as unnecessary as the Amendment.
§ *Mr. TOMLINSON
If this Bill passes without this Amendment there will be no power to allow a child to go half-time in a factory, though he may be allowed to take up desultory employment.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
I withdrew my Amendment earlier in the discussion because I felt that this matter would be fully discussed at this stage, for I look upon this as a very important Amendment indeed. I do not at all agree with the argument of the honourable Member opposite that all the necessary provision is made by the existing law. If it is provided for, what harm can there be in introducing this Amendment, the effect of which will be to make the point clear? Why does the honourable Member opposite object to having the thing made perfectly clear?
§ MR. ROBSON
I do not wish to introduce this Amendment, because it would be more disadvantageous to poor parents than the existing law. The Amendment would require the poor parents to make a declaration of pauperism in order to gain an advantage which they already possess in a more suitable form under the existing law.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
Representing here a Lancashire constituency, I am going to do my best in the interests of the Lancashire industry. I do not think we ought to be pressed to withdraw any Amendment which we think is fair and just, and we do not regard this Amendment in the light which the honourable Member opposite has thrown upon it. The Amendment has all the elements which should recommend it to the Committee, and there never was a more reasonable Amendment drafted. In cases where the poverty is really so great that the parents cannot properly maintain a child, such child should be permitted to go to work. There arc, no doubt, cases existing where the father may be ill, and the mother is obliged to remain at home to look after him. In such a case the work of a child is of great importance, although some honourable Members opposite apparently think that half-a-crown a week is not much to bring in. Such a sum, however, is of very great importance in the conduct of such a household to secure the means of livelihood. Are we going to say that a child shall not be allowed to work under any circumstances whatever? I think the honourable Member in charge of this Bill, with his great majority, ought not to oppose this Amendment, and thus render our position a difficult and disagreeable one. As he is strong, so he ought to be merciful, and he ought to withhold his "bowels of compassion" somewhat. I do press this point, and I hope the honourable Member will press his Amendment to a division, for it is a most important one, and will have a very far-reaching effect.
I am afraid I cannot accept the interpretation of the law on this subject which the hon. and learned Member in charge of the Bill has just put before the Committee. I may state, for the information of the Committee, 53 that I put the hon. Member's views on this point before a thoroughly competent authority, who for years past has had the duty of administering the Education Acts, and with the permission of the Committee I will read what he says on this subject.Local authorities may (as Mr. Robson stated to you) in case of poverty grant exemption from attendance at school under Bye-law 2 at any age, and allow employment of any kind, other than that under the provisions of the Factory and Workshops Acts. But a certificate can not be given under Bye-law 5b, under any circumstances, till eleven years of age has been attained, and the required standard of education passed, and so employment under any of the Labour Acts is debarred, however poor a family may be. If you raise the age the power of the local authority will be curtailed accordingly.The object of my Amendment is to correct this disability where factory labour is concerned, and as at present advised I feel that I must press it to a division.
§ MR. DUCKWORTH (Lancashire, Middleton)
I should have voted for the Amendment if I had not felt that the ordinary law of the land was adequate, but feeling assured that that is so, I think it is the crux of the whole affair. But although it may have been the law of the land, I believe it has not been generally known, and has certainly not been understood to be the law in Lancashire. After this discussion it will be understood that, by the ordinary law of the land, exemptions can be made, and it will be known that the poverty of the parents is a reasonable excuse why a child should go half-time to school. I do not, therefore, see any necessity for this Amendment.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
I desire to know whether the local authority is barred from initiating a prosecution in cases where poverty is known to exist or whether it would be necessary for the parent to be prosecuted before the law will enable him to obtain exemption for a child on the ground of poverty.
§ MR. SETON - KARR (St. Helens)
I should like to state briefly what my views are on this matter. So far, I am not quite clear in my own mind as to whether the effect of this Amendment is met by the existing law. The right honourable Gentleman has practically said "those are my sentiments." I want a clear explanation from the right honourable Gentleman as to the operation of the present law, and I want to know whether it does really meet the point of this Amendment. I am in doubt about it, and it is a very important point, and unless I can get a clear explanation from the right honourable Gentleman on this point, I for one shall vote for this Amendment if it goes to a division. I think this House has gone quite far enough already in preventing parents from enjoying the legitimate fruits of the labour of their children. I cannot account for the extraordinary and feverish anxiety displayed by some honourable Members opposite in endeavouring to rush this Bill through this afternoon. I am not very much in love with the Bill at all, because I think it goes a little too far—
Order, Order. The honourable Member is now discussing the principles of the Bill, and he must confine himself to the Amendment.
§ MR. SETON - KARR
I do attach great importance to a practical explanation by the right honourable Gentleman, and I trust that he will give it to us.
§ MR. HERBERT WHITELEY (Ashton-under-Lyne)
I do not speak for the purpose of offering undue or factious opposition. I think that this is an Amendment which, in the interest of the Bill itself, the promoter would do well to accept. He says that this Amendment would not make the right of exemption 55 more obvious to the people of the country than the existing law; but I assure him that that is not the case. I speak from intimate experience, and I do not believe that it is understood in the least among the working people that they can get exemption for their children by pleading poverty. I urge the honourable Member to let this provision come in and make the point clear to all. The mere fact of its being put in the Bill will emphasise the law as it exists.
I would support the opinion expressed by the honourable Member who has just sat down. It seems to me to cover the ground entirely. If the Amendment is on all fours with the law, why cannot it be accepted and put into the Bill? My experience is the same as that of my honourable friend who has just spoken, that the present state of the law is not understood, at any rate in Lancashire. The magistrates and the Committees of the Local Authorities do not act upon it. In practice they say that no person, whether pleading
§ poverty or not, will be allowed to send children into the factory until they attain the age of 12. To do away with that misunderstanding, I appeal to the honourable Member in charge of the Bill to accept the Amendment, because I believe that without it the Act would be absolutely unworkable, and poor people would not be able to send their children to the factory in a straightforward way.
§ MR. SETON-KARR
Before the Committee go to a division I wish to point out that we have not received any definite statement as to the existing law. The honourable Member who introduced the Bill first said that the object of the Amendment was provided for by the existing law, and in that he was supported by the Vice-President; but when challenged upon the point he said the Amendment proposed to do something to which he objected. My point is that these statements are contradictory, and I want some definite statement on the subject.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 63; Noes 229.—(Division List No. 163.)57
|Arnold, Alfred||Gedge, Sydney||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Ascroft, Robert||Gibbs, Hon. V (St. Albans)||Maden, John Henry|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Bethell, Commander||Gilliat, John Saunders||Monk, Charles James|
|Biddulph, Michael||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bigwood, James||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Pilkington, Richard|
|Bill, Charles||Gunter, Colonel||Pym, C. Guy|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Rutherford, John|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Bowles,T.Gibson(King's Lynn||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Jackson, Rt.Hon.Wm.Lawies||Spencer, Ernest|
|Cawley, Frederick||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Clarke, Sir Edward (Plym'th)||Kemp, George||Usborne, Thomas|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kenyon, James||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und.-L.)|
|Cox, Irwin Ed. B. (Harrow)||Knowles, Lees||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Cross, H. Shepherd(Bolton)||Lafone, Alfred||Wylie, Alexander|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Duckworth, James||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fergusson,Rt.Hn.SirJ.(Man.)||Leese, Sir J. F.(Accrington)||Colonel Mellor and Mr.|
|Finch, George H.||Llewelyn, Sir D. (Swansea)||George Whiteley.|
|Fison, Frederick William||Loder, Gerald Walter E.|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Flower, Ernest||Montagu, Sir S.(Whitechapel)|
|Allen, W.(Newe.-under-Lyme)||Fry, Lewis||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Garfit, William||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Gibbs, Hn.A.G.H.(City Lond.||Morgan, W. Pritchd.(Merthyr)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Ashton Thomas Gair||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morley, Rt. Hn. J.(Montrose)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert H.||Gold, Charles||Morrison, Walter|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Morton, ArthurH.A.(Deptf'd)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Morton, Edw.J.C.(Devonport)|
|Austin, M.(Limerick, W.)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir J. Eldon||Moss, Samuel|
|Baillie,James E.B.(Inverness)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Myers, William Henry|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Gourley, Sir E Temperley||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Baker, Sir John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Green, W D.(Wednesbury)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Connor, Jas.(Wicklow, W.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gull, Sir Cameron||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Billson, Alfred||Hardy, Laurence||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Birrell, Augustine||Hayne, Rt. Hn. C. Seale-||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bond, Edward||Heaton, John Henniker||Palmer, Sir Chas.M.(Durham)|
|Bowles,Capt.H.F.(Middlesex)||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Palmer, George Wm.(Reading)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Helder, Augustus||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Henderson, Alexander||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Burns, John||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Pease,HerbertPike(Darlingt'n|
|Burt, Thomas||Hobhouse, Henry||Pease, Joseph A.(Northumb.)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Holland, Wm. H (York, W.R.)||Perks, Robert William|
|Caldwell, James||Horniman, Frederick John||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasg.)||Houston, R. P.||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Howard, Joseph||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.J.A.(Glasg.)||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Carew, James Laurence||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Price, Robert John|
|Carvill,Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Jacoby, James Alfred||Priestley,Sir W.Overend (Edin|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Clark, Dr.G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Purvis, Robert|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Johnstone, Heywood(Sussex)||Randell, David|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jones, D. Brynmor(Swansea)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Jones, Wm.(Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, John E. (Waterf'rd)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Kitson, Sir James||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Colville, John||Labouchere, Henry||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Langley, Batty||Roberts, John H.(Denbighs.)|
|Cornwallis,FiennesStanley W.||Lawrence, Sir E. D.- (Corn.)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Robertson, Herbert(Hackney)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Leng, Sir John.||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Crombie, John William||Lloyd-George, David||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walt'r|
|Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Logan, John William||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lorne, Marquess of||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lough, Thomas||Sinclair, Capt. John (F'rf'rsh'e)|
|Dillon, John||Lowe, Francis William||Smith, James Parker (L'n'rks)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Douglas, Charles M.(Lanark)||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Drucker, A.||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Souttar, Robinson|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Spicer, Albert|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Arthur, Charles(Liverpool)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.||M'Arthur, William(Cornwall)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Edwards, Owen Morgan||M'Ewan, William||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Engledew, Charles John||M'Ghee, Richard||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||M'Iver, Sir L.(Edinburgh,W.)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||M'Leod, John||Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Ox. Univ.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Maddison, Fred.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Thomas,Abel (Carmarthen,E.)|
|Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Middlemore, John, T.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wallace, Robert(Perth)|
|Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Williams, JohnCarvell(Notts.)||Woods, Samuel|
|Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Willox, Sir John Archibald||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Warr, Augustus Frederick||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)|
|Weir, James Galloway||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-||Wilson, John (Govan)||Mr. Robson and Mr. Ban-|
|Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Woodall, William||bury.|
|Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)||Woodhouse,SirJ.T.(Huds'f'ld)|
§ Question proposed—
§ "That clause 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
I now move to leave out Clause 1. It is an entirely different clause from what it was at the beginning of the afternoon's debate. I think in its new form it deserves the most careful scrutiny of the House, and I do not think we should evade that duty. If the hon. Member in charge of the Bill will accept my motion and reject the clause, I will abstain from any further opposition—[laughter]—I cannot understand the laughter of the honourable Members. The opposition which I have offered to the clause has been actuated by no other feeling than that of the interests of the constituents I represent. The clause proposes to raise the age of half-timers to 12 years, and I consider that in the highest degree undesirable. I want to ask whether there has been any demand for the change proposed from the employers of the country, from the working classes, from the children which it seeks to befriend, or from any great body of the public. ["Yes."] This Committee knows that there has been no demand whatever for such a Bill as this. [An honourable Member:—"Question".] My honourable Friend says "Question." This is a very great question, which will have to be very fully debated in the House. There has been no demand for the Bill from the employers, because they are aware that it would disorganise their business. 60 There has been no demand for it from the working classes, because they are perfectly well contented that their children should be brought up in the same manner as they themselves have been brought up. They are desirous that their children should enter upon work and should be able to earn money as they themselves did, and gain experience in their early years. There has been no demand for the Bill from the children of the country, for every Member acquainted with children knows that the children of working families at the present time eagerly look forward to the period when they can leave school and earn some money. I would say that if this Bill were to be decided upon by those who know best the whole subject of debate, it would be lost by a very large majority. The Bill has been demanded by one section of the community, and one section alone: by the National Union of School Teachers. The Cotton Factory Times, in an article the other day, says that this Bill means misery and suffering to widows and orphans, and that the agitation in support of it has been carried on only to put money in the pockets of the schoolmasters. The whole question has been pressed on the House by the National Union of School Teachers, who would like to lead the House captive, bound hand and foot, on this matter. That is an undignified position for the House to be in—
§ Question put—
§ "That the Question be now put,62
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 263; Noes 26.—(Division List No. 164.)63
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Langley, Batty|
|Aird, John||Edwards, Owen Morgan||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lawrence, Sir E.Durning- (Cor|
|Allen,W.(Newc. under Lyme)||Evans, Sir Sam. T.(Glamorg.)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Evans, Sir F. H.(South'ton)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Leng, Sir John|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro(Leith)||Llewelyn,Sir Dillwyn- (Swan.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Finch, George H.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Hy.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Fisher, William Hayes||Logan, John William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fison, Frederick William||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick W.)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lorne, Marquess of|
|Baillie, Jas. E. B. (Inverness)||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Lough, Thomas|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Flower, Ernest||Lowe, Francis William|
|Baker, Sir John||Fry, Lewis||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Garfit, William||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Gedge, Sydney||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Gibbs, Hn.A.G.H.(C. of Lon.)||Lyell, Sir Leonard|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Gilliat, John Saunders||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Biddulph, Michael||Gold, Charles||M'Ewan, William|
|Bigwood, James||Goldsworthy, Major-General||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Bill, Charles||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||M'Leod, John|
|Billson, Alfred||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Maddison, Fred.|
|Birrell, Augustine||Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley||Manners, Lord Edward W. J.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Green, Walf'rd D. (Wedn'sb'y)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Bond, Edward||Gretton, John||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Midd'x.)||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Gunter, Colonel||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Monk, Charles James|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)|
|Burns, John||Hardy, Laurence||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Burt Thomas||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carm'rthen)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Harwood, George||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Caldwell, James||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale.||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose)|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Heaton, John Henniker||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glas.||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Helder, Augustus||Moss, Samuel|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Henderson, Alexander||Myers, William Henry|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cawley, Frederick||Hobhouse, Henry||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Holland, W. H. (York, W. R.)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Clarke, Sir Ed. (Plymouth)||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Houston, R. P.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Howard, Joseph||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Colston, Ch. Ed. H. Athole||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Palmer, Sir Ch. M. (Durham)|
|Colville, John||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Palmer, Geo. Wm. (Reading)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glas.)||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawes||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Cornwallis Fiennes, S. W.||Jacoby, James Alfred||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Ed. T. D.||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Pease, Her. Pike (Darlington)|
|Crombie, John William||Johnson-Ferguson,Jabez Edw.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Dalbiac, Col. Philip Hugh||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Pender, Sir James|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Joliffe, Hon. H. George||Perks, Robert William|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Dorington, Sir John Ed.||Kenyon, James||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Douglas, Charles M.(Lanark)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Drucker, A.||Kitson, Sir James||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Duckworth, James||Knowles, Lees||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Labouchere, Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lafone, Alfred||Price, Robert John|
|Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)||Smith, Jas. Parker(Lanarks.)||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Priestley, Sir W. O.(Edin.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Souttar, Robinson||Weir, James Galloway|
|Purvis, Robert||Spencer, Ernest||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Pym, C. Guy||Spicer, Albert||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Randell, David||Steadman, William Charles||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts.)|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Stevenson, Francis S.||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Richardson, J.(Durham,S.E.)||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)||Wilson, Hy. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Sutherland, Sir Thomas||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Roberts, John H.(Denbighs)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Robertson, Edmund(Dundee)||Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'd U.)||Wilson,Jos. H. (Middlesboro')|
|Robertson,Herbert(Hackney)||Tennant, Harold John||Woodall, William|
|Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Thomas, A.(Carmarthen, E.)||Woodhouse,SirJ.T.(Hudders.|
|Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.||Thomas, Alf.(Glamorgan, E.)||Woods, Samuel|
|Russell, T. W.(Tyrone)||Thornton, Percy M.||Wortley, Rt.Hon.C.B.Stuart-|
|Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Wylie, Alexander|
|Scott, Chas. Prest.(Leigh)||Vincent, Col. Sir C.E. Howard||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Shaw, Charles Ed.(Stafford)||Wallace, Robert (Perth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Sidebotham,J. W.(Cheshire)||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Mr. Robson and Sir Lewis|
|Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||M'Iver.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pilkington, Richard|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Hatch, Ernest Fredk. Geo.||Rutherford, John|
|Bowles, T. G.(King's Lynn)||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.(Caithness.)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray|
|Coddington, Sir William||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-und'r-L.|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Kemp, George||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|FitzGerald, Sir Rob. Penrose-||Maden, John Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||George Whiteley and Mr.|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albn's)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Ascroft.|
Question, "That Clause 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ And, it being after half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again upon Wednesday next.