HC Deb 13 July 1900 vol 85 cc1475-572

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding 696,407, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department and Subordinate Offices."

*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

There has been some opportunity this session of considering labour matters in connection with the agricultural labouring class with fruitful results, and questions interesting also to miners have been discussed; but with regard to town labour little has been said, and subjects which are annually discussed by trades union representatives at their annual conferences have had little attention at the hands of Parliament; indeed, this Vote affords the only opportunity of raising them. I wish to begin my remarks by thanking the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary for having met us on one point which we put forward in the debate last year. On that occasion we moved the reduction of the Vote and carried it to a division, mainly on the ground of the extraordinary and increasing delay in the presentation to Parliament of the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops, and of the accompanying documents which make it so important to the labour world. The right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to meet us on that occasion, but a month later, at the extreme end of the session, he came forward and voluntarily stated that he could procure a much earlier presentation to Parliament of the Report. He has kept his word, and so far as it was dependent upon him, I believe he more than kept his word, for while last year's Report was only circulated in February last, he promised that the Report should be presented this year as early as May, and he actually sent it to the printers in April; it was only delay in the correction of proofs, and in the printing office, for which he is in no way responsible, which caused circulation of the Report to be delayed until July. However, for what he has done we thank him, and therefore, in dealing with this matter to-night, I have to begin my speech by saying that, as regards the principal question we raised last year, we have been met and satisfied. I come to the Report which has just been laid before Parliament. In perusing it there appear to me to be several subjects which I cannot refrain from examining with some intention of censure. There are three matters with which I think it necessary to deal on this occasion. As to one of them I have little to say. Another relates to the question of phosphorus poisoning, which we have already dis- cussed this session, with Mr. Speaker in the Chair. That discussion took place under limitations which resulted in certain matters being reserved for debate to-night. It also occurred at one o'clock in the morning, and, of course, at a time when we had not this Report. Still, as a report of the debate appears in Hansard,*I shall only deal with it briefly. The only matter on which I deem it necessary to detain the Committee is the question of lead poisoning in china and earthenware manufacture. The Home Office have shown that it undoubtedly believes there has been an enormous improvement produced by its work in this direction; but I cannot admit the improvement, and can find little confirmation of it in the Report which has been laid before us. This is a matter which deserves most careful attention at the hands of this Committee to-night. On the 18th January last there was an interesting speech made by Mr. Rawdon Smith, who is in the confidence of the china manufacturers of this country. As an expert and a specialist he made a speech at the annual dinner of those manufacturers, and when I read some extracts I have made from that speech I think the Committee will agree as to the necessity of carefully watching what is done in this matter. When, for instance, we find such boasts made as that the china manufacturers of this country have broken down the efforts of the Home Office—efforts which we thought had been successfully made—it certainly does seem necessary that we should closely scrutinise what has occurred. At this dinner Mr. Rawdon Smith boasted that the four conditions which the Government wished to impose "were now gone." Lead [he said] could now be used, and it was not intended to restrict it to 10 per cent. Instead of prohibiting the use of raw lead, manufacturers might now use a preparation of lead as soluble as raw….. There was no reason why they should not have the age lowered from fifteen to fourteen for dipping house lads. The Committee will have to consider from the figures which have been placed before it whether it is true, as Mr. Rawdon Smith said, that the reason for retaining the higher age has gone, and I have no doubt that upon that point the Home Secretary will be able to agree with us that there is no reason whatever for * See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxii., page 985. lowering the age. Then Mr. Rawdon Smith went on to say that "by combination they had obtained almost everything"; and he added, I am sorry to say, "Even' credit should be given to Mr. Walmsley" (Her Majesty's Inspector in the Potteries District.) When we discussed this question previously my hon. friend the Member for Battersea, alluding to that gentleman, suggested that, in view of the strong opinions he held, and of the attitude which he had taken up, it would be an advantage if he were promoted to another district, and it was partly in consequence of what we knew of him that we pressed so strongly for the appointment of a woman inspector in that district. Well, Mr. Rawdon Smith says of him that— He gave judicious advice to the Department…. He [Mr. Smith] believed that the potting industry now stood well with the Home Office. Of course, we all wish for every industry to stand well with the Home Office, but, certainly, in regard to this china industry, the speech from which I have quoted makes it all the more necessary that we should carefully scrutinise what has been and is being done. What are the figures as to this extraordinary improvement which we are told has taken place? Immediately after the speech of Mr. Rawdon Smith in January a series of prosecutions took place which were mentioned in this House by my hon. friend the Member for Berwickshire. They were prosecutions of leading firms, and they showed that even among the leading firms in the Potteries the special rules were not carefully observed. That is another matter deserving the attention of the Committee. Early this session the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent, who represents a most important district in the Potteries, and who speaks with special knowledge of the views and feelings of the trade, put some questions which, I think, were intended to show that a great improvement had been effected. In answering those questions the Home Secretary adopted that view, and congratulated the country on the immense improvement which had taken place. He spoke of it as a steady improvement, and we who have been pressing for certain things to be done, and for the special rules to be enforced, of course, naturally hoped for and expected such an improvement. As regards the dry processes the use of fan ventilators no doubt has been I productive of improvement, but I must point out that the figures quoted by the right hon. Gentleman in one of his replies, figures referring to the period since March, are, of course, vitiated by the great lock-out which occurred in March, April, and May. Many thousands of workpeople wore affected by that lock-out, and therefore, in estimating the value of the figures, this consideration must be borne in mind. Now, figures which some of us have had means of obtaining privately have led us to doubt the steadiness of the improvement of which the Home Secretary spoke. We have certain means of obtaining figures from medical gentlemen in the Potteries through the Lead Fund, and these figures appear to be of a very alarming nature when they are looked into. I have no desire to horrify this House by making highly coloured statements. I propose to give the bare statement of facts, and I think that will be sufficient to bring home to the minds of the members of this Committee the serious nature of the matters with which we are dealing. I have some figures which have been supplied by Dr. Prendergast as to cases which came under his notice between 27th July, 1898, and 8th April, in the present year. He had to deal with 290 eases of lead poisoning in that period, and more than half of them were the cases of women. Of these seven wore mad, twelve totally blind, forty-six partially blind, and the rest were mostly paralysed. I merely mention these figures in order to show the grave character of this question.

MR. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)

Are these official figures?


No. They are obtained from private sources—from medical officers of the Lead Fund. I am coming to the official figures presently. I am now merely pointing out the reason why I had grave doubts as to the reality of the steady improvement.

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

The figures are from Dr. Prendergast, who, I have no doubt, will be willing to show his clinical note-book to anyone who desires to see it.


Besides the alarming number and character of these cases Dr. Prendergast points out the terrible destruction of infant life, for, in that same period, he recorded the deaths of twenty-four children of lead workers from convulsions, all these children being under one year of age. Next I come to the official figures. I quite recognise the right of the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent to question any private figures, and I merely used these to show the reasons which weigh with some of us and cause us to view the official document with some jealousy. The tables for the past year will be found on page 375 of the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops. They show in 1896, 1897, and 1898, not a steady diminution but a steady increase. We must take it as admitted that, in spite of the now rules which we are told have produced an immense improvement, in spite of the precautions which have been taken, there has been a steady increase in these three years; 1899 is said to be much better. I have examined the figures for that year—they will be found on page 311 of the Report—and I admit that, at first sight, they do seem to be much better. But the inspectors themselves point out that eleven cases had to be added in connection with litho-transfer works, which were not included on account of a change in the form of the tables, and there is also a note on pages 300–301 of the exclusion of another eleven cases in 1899, which were separate cases of second notifications affecting the same person. On page 312 is noted a new practice in regard to suspension. Before 1899 suspensions did not exist, but now it is the practice of the certifying surgeon to suspend from work an enormous number of persons who are suspected to be suffering from lead poisoning. In view of this practice it is very difficult indeed to deal with the figures for 1899, but I would suggest that the great majority of persons suspended from work must be taken to be persons who have already developed a mild form of lead poisoning. I put a question some time ago with a view to trying to distinguish between the dry and damp processes, and the Home Secretary has been good enough to issue a Return on the subject. It is undoubtedly the damp process which is most productive of disease. In the dry process great improvement has been brought about by the introduction of fan ventilation. But in the other process it is the touching of a damp material which easily leads to lead poisoning. It is, however, almost impossible to carefully distinguish between the two processes as there are a large number of intermediate processes. It will be remembered that in the discussion which took place earlier in the session on the match industry it transpired that matches were sometimes boxed dry and sometimes damp, and the same commingling of processes takes place in the potting trade. The Return which the right hon. Gentle-man has been good enough to give shows the number of cases of lead poisoning in the first five months of the present year. These figures are, of course, affected by the lockout, and they would undoubtedly have been worse but for that lock-out. I do not think they can be said to show improvement; on the contrary, they show deterioration in the present year, as compared with 1899, especially in the case of women. The column referring to the china trade gives nine cases of females in the first five months of this year, as against eight eases in the whole of last year. The figures for the earthenware industry show the cases of thirty-nine women in the first five months of this year, as against eighty-three for last year. The Committee will see, therefore, that the figures are absolutely worse in the first instance, and relatively so in the second. The question of suspensions is dealt with on the last page of the Return, and I find that one hundred and three females were suspended last year, and forty-two in the first five months of the present year More than half of these cases are cases of permanent and not of temporary suspension. The Committee will agree that these figures are grave, and that they hardly bear out the view that that steady improvement has taken place which we anticipated, and which in fad we are told has taken place. In letters which I have received on the subject one point has been raised which I should like to mention, although I do not wish to lay too much stress upon it. Person who have watched these matters have reason to think that the apparently philanthropic practice adopted by some factory owners of appointing their own medical officer to attend their workpeople gratuitously has led to a certain amount of non-reporting, and that the number of case is larger than has been actually reported Manufacturers are more and more adopting this apparently philanthropic practice. Of course, the doctor so appointed does not supersede the certifying surgeon, but the latter not unnaturally may feel some delicacy in examining into a case which has already been seen and reported upon by another practitioner. However that may be in regard to non-reporting, the figures I have given are far from satisfactory. I cannot myself admit suspension from, work as being a permanent remedy. It is a temporary remedy in its nature; it means, after all, in most cases after paralysis, loss of work, and dependence on charity throughout the remainder of life. That is not the remedy that we ought to look to; we must look to the causes of the sickness which can be prevented. I have always thought—and I have said- it previously in this House —that, from the evidence which I have studied, it was possible to abolish the use of raw lead altogether. If it be not abolished, at least the employment of young persons in raw lead process might be prevented. The Home Office has not, up to the present time, followed! the advice of its own experts in regard to fixing the standard of frits, or in excluding children, young persons and women from working in raw lead. There is a great contrast between the circular of December last contained in the Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops and the language used by the Home Office expert himself, Dr. Thorpe, in a lecture delivered by him at the Royal Institution on 4th May this year. At page 13 of the Chief Inspector's Report is found the circular which gives a fresh period of delay as regards the ability to use raw lead: it postpones the adoption of a standard of safety in frits for two years; it permanently allows the use of raw lead in small quantities, and there is no restriction of the labour of women and young persons, as recommended by Drs. Thorpe and Oliver. At page 14 of the Chief Inspector's Re- port it is stated—and the statement follows those in the circular—that "rules are being drafted to carry out the views expressed, above." The statement is very general and vague, and I do not know what it means. I wish to press the Home Secretary on this point. I want to know specifically if those rules which are being drafted are merely rules on frits and glazes, or whether they are more general; and when they may be expected to be issued and become operative, I venture to contrast the Home Office statement with that of Dr. Thorpe, whom they themselves called in a few years ago. Dr. Thorpe, who is the director of the Government laboratory where all these tests are made, used language which is strong though guarded, and I should like to quote to the House a few words from a report of his lecture. I have two verbatim reports of that lecture—one which appeared in the Staffordshire Sentinel the day after it was delivered, and the other since published by the Royal Institution, which is apparently a revised report. In order to be perfectly fair to the Committee, I may mention that there is a slight difference between the two reports, due mostly to literary corrections in the revised one. Dr. Thorpe says— A number of manufacturers … are now producing lead frits, the solubility of which is even below the standard provisionally suggested in the Home Office circular of December. And then he goes on to say— It must be clearly understood that complete immunity from lead poisoning can never be obtained so long as lead compounds continue to be used. The true solution is to be found in the more general adoption of leadless glazes. Leadless glazes of a high brilliancy and durability are perfectly practicable. The revised report says— Leadless glazes of a sufficient brilliancy and durability and adapted to all kinds of ware are now within reach of the manufacturer. Dr. Thorpe concludes by saying— There is no industry in the world so conservative as that of the potter. He praises the great Wedgwood, who took advantage of all the discoveries of science in his time, and he contrasts his conduct with that of the potters of the present day, and he evidently thinks that if the latter followed Wedgwood's example, the result would fee infinitely more to their advantage and the safety of their workmen. I think I have established the fact that the steady improvement that we were led to expect had already taken place is not to be found in the official figures themselves, and the House has some reason to press the Home Office not to depart from their good intentions of a year ago, as they seem to me to have departed, by weakening the circular, but to come up to the standard of their own experts, Drs. Thorpe and Oliver. Perhaps I shall not carry all my friends with me, but, personally, I believe that additional security would be gained for immunity from or diminution of suffering by the adoption of the proposal we made two years ago for the appointment of a permanent woman inspector for Staffordshire. I doubt whether the present inspectors are sufficient in number, and whether a flying visit of an inspector from London is sufficient to check the existing evils. The vast majority of the persons employed in the potteries are women, and we know that women are averse to speaking freely to male inspectors, who, even if sincerely desirous of enforcing the law, cannot get at the facts. It is on that matter that I shall move the reduction of the Vote of which I have given notice. There are other matters regarding phosphorus poisoning and the match trade which I wish to bring before the House before I sit down. At page 375 of the Chief Inspector's Report, and at page ix. of the Introduction to that Report, it is stated that there are "fewer instances of phosphorus necrosis reported in 1899 as compared with 1898." The Committee will remember that the cases in 1898 were unduly swelled by the extraordinary increase caused by the discovery of the previously neglected cases from Bryant and May's, and no comparison is therefore possible. As regards the new rules the Home Office, of course, make the admission in the Report that they are less stringent than had been proposed, but they claim that they are still far in advance of those previously in force. That I doubt. I may say in i general terms that the new rules were framed on a low standard as compared with the suggestions of Drs. Thorpe, Oliver, and Cunningham in their special report to the Home Office. Just as I have complained in the case of lead poisoning, the Home Office have not come up to the requirements of their experts, even before the new rules were cut down. At page ix. of the Introduction to their Report we have the recommendations of the three doctors I have named, but few of these recommendations were adopted by the Home Office in the new rules. As an example of a rule recommended and not adopted I may quote the exclusion of children and young persons from the dangerous branches of the trade. The Report of the Chief Inspector at pages 52-6 gives the rules both as the Home Office proposed them, and as they were issued after arbitration, and members of the Committee can compare them for themselves and judge. A power was inserted by the arbitrator—who, it must be remembered, was the Home Office arbitrator, sitting without the manufacturers'.arbitrator—to suspend the rules, and the effect of that in the case of individual manufacturers is to enable employers to work under different rules, which is the very point to which the Home Secretary himself has most strongly objected. At page viii. of the introduction to their Report will be found the reasons given by Drs. Thorpe, Oliver, and Cunningham for periodical examination. These are that there is something beyond mere actual necrosis; there is the general effect of phosphorus on the system, which can only be detected in time by periodical examination. The Home Office attach the highest importance to periodical examination in regard to lead poisoning, and yet they cut out the rules that relate to periodical examination of the workers in phosphorus. The rules, which were originally weak, were further weakened, and are now out of date. Already Messrs. Bryant and May are working outside the rules, which really apply only to white phosphorus, and are entirely inapplicable to a large branch of the trade. Personally I believe that there is a chance of international action on this subject. The imported matches mostly ignite only on the box, and as regards "strike anywhere" matches Messrs. Bryant and May have shown us that perfectly safe matches can be manufactured. we have in the case of phosphorus what we have not reached in the case of lead—a stage of absolute certainty—the result being that Switzerland, who is in advance of us in these matters, prohibits the importation of dangerous matches. The matter is one of daily trade, and the condition of things disclosed in the report of Drs. Thorpe, Oliver, and Cunningham is such that the Home Office cannot contend that we are in this country up to the level of the Continental countries with regard to the match industry. There is one other point. The Annual Report furnishes a curious illustration as to the non-observance of the law with regard to Sunday labour in factories, especially in creameries. At pages 105 to 108 of the Report it is shown how the law is broken. The Report states that Sunday labour can be avoided, and shows how. It advises that the employers shall be told that the law in the future will be strictly enforced. But the course which is taken by the Home Secretary appears not to be to tell the employers that the law will be enforced, but rather to intimate to the employers that the law may be altered to suit their evil practices. When there is some objection to or some difficulty about applying the law the breaking of the law is encouraged by Ministers meeting a deputation and saying that the law shall be amended to suit their convenience. I thank the Committee for the kindness and courtesy with which they have heard me, and can only say that unless I hear something very different to what I have heard or road up to the present time on the first point I have raised, I shall feel it my duty to divide the Committee. I beg to move the reduction standing in my name.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £96,307, be granted for the said Service.''—(Sir Charles Dilke.)

MR. DRAGE (Derby)

I think the House is to be congratulated upon the admirable speech to which it has just listened, and also upon the fact that although the right hon. Baronet had all the materials to bring a very strong indictment against the Home Office, he has refrained from attacking it upon this subject. For the last three years hon. Members on both sides of the House have joined together in trying to help the Home Secretary and one another to bring about a practical reform, not only in the way of new legislation, but in the administration of the existing laws. The hon. Gentleman on my right will, I hope, presently deal exhaustively with this question, upon which he is a great authority. There are only one or two points upon which I will address the House. One is with regard to the employment of women inspectors. We have continually pressed that question upon the attention of the Home Secretary, and I hope that now, upon the new facts that have been placed before the right hon. Gentleman, he will see his way to bring about a reform upon which we all lay much stress. Another direction in which we may do a good deal is in international action. We have pointed out to the Home Secretary that there has been a great opportunity for bringing about something like united action. I am aware that great difficulties lie in the way and have to be overcome, but a first step must be taken, and I suggest that it should be taken this year by those who represent the Home Office at the conference which is to be held at Paris. The Report that has been issued this year is the best Report, in my opinion, that was over issued by the Home Office, and I should like to say it has saved us years and years of labour. It is a volume of 500 pages, full of all sorts of information, hut I notice that it is absolutely innocent of any sort of index, and in consequence persons who wish to follow the substance of that Report have great difficulty in arriving at the facts and figures. With regard to the right hon. Baronet's suggestion as to the now rules, I think, as they were only issued last year, it is rather early to press the Home Secretary for definite information, although on that point the right hon. Gentleman will, I have no doubt, be able to give us some information later on. The Report is full of information obtained by the right hon. Gentleman from abroad. The Home Office I think has learned a great deal as to legislation and administration and inspection in foreign countries, and if that information could be systematized and brought within the reach not only of hon. Members but also of the large employers, very great steps in advance might be taken without the interference of the Home Secretary in the future. I should like again to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the absolute chaos which exists with regard to legislation affecting the employment of children in factories. I will not weary the Committee with what I said last year upon this point, but will merely draw attention to the fact that the number of statutes upon the Statute-book are perplexing in their variety, and I think some step should be taken by the Home Office to prepare the way for a codification of these statutes, and some effort should be made to bring the entire administration under one Department. Any person interested in the administration of the laws is aware that they go from one Department to another, and that it is almost impossible to get any satisfaction from them. There is one other point with regard to this. The Act introduced by the hon. Member for South Shields will only have the effect of forcing the children into the street, which is most undesirable, unless something, further is done. There are still an immense number of accidents through cleaning machinery whilst in motion, and a great many evils with regard to children in factories, and there certainly ought to be some further information as to physical fitness. These are all matters which the Home Secretary can deal with in his administrative capacity, and if he causes, his inspectors to be more active much can be done. The next point upon which we might ask for the views of the Home Secretary is with regard to the information contained in the present Report with regard to laundries; both as to meal times and sanitation there appears from the Report to be room not only for legislation, but for more active administration in the future. Then there is the point as to the organisation of the staff of the Home Office. We have also here, as elsewhere, to recognise the enormous improvements produced by the Home Secretary and the right hon. Gentleman who preceded him. The right hon. Gentleman was always thought to be extremely disregardful in these matters, but nobody can read the Report without acknowledging that great improvements have been brought about this last year. I really think, except in the case of one or two years when the late Home Secretary was in office, there has rarely been so much done in one year. I find in one case that no less than 29,662 entries have been made of factories and workshops in the register of the Home Office in the present year; that represents an immense amount of extra work, and I think the Home Secretary will have a very strong case upon which to go to the Treasury for assistance in this matter. More staff is required for special inquiry, and the right hon. Gentleman ought to have it. Many other improvements might be made in the administration of the Act, but, to my mind, anybody who reads the Report and compares the work done by the Department of the Home Office with the work done by any other body in Europe will find that the lead inspectors have done remarkably good work. I am aware that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University is going to raise that question. The question of the Truck Acts has already been raised, and I know there are many hon. Members who have studied different matters in the Report to which they will call the attention of the House. I will not trespass on the Committee longer. I should like to say to the Home Secretary that I consider the work done by his Department during the past year shows an advance on what has boon done in any year since the Government came into office.

*MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)

said that in rising to Lake part in the discussion it was very satisfactory be able to look at the pleasing side of the picture, and he wished to join the hon. Member for Derby in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman opposite on the changes which had occurred. In the first place, the earlier issue of the Report was a matter for considerable congratulation. The Report dealt with a wide area, and demonstrated very clearly the great benefit which had been derived from the re-organisation of the Department of which the right hon. Gentleman had charge. But it was not their business only to congratulate ministers upon what had already been done. They must look forward and therefore he turned to look at the other side of the picture. The future, he was sorry to say, was some what dark. There were many points to which he might refer in addressing the Committee, but perhaps he would be most usefully occupied if he spoke on the question of dangerous trades. He did nor wish to be egotistical, but he must refer to the Committee over which he had the honour to preside from 1895. That Committee issued live Reports—the first in 1895, and the final last years. The Committee were given twenty-six trades to investigate, and of these they found seventeen which required special control. Speed rules were recommended for these seventeen trades, but the Committee would be surprised to learn that in only two of them had the recommendations been adopted. How long it would require to put the whole into force at the present rate was a little difficult to ascertain, but he calculated that it would be not loss than thirty-four years. He sincerely hoped that that calculation might be falsified, and that the recommendations would be embodied in special rules long before that time. He would like to give illustrations of the necessity for the embodiment of special rules for the trades which were inquired into, and in regard to which, so far, nothing had been done. He instanced bronzing and paper staining. The questions of air space, ventilation, overcrowding, heated rooms, and flaring gas jets were familiar to every reformer in the House. These were the evils which the Factory Acts were designed to meet. On these evils many eloquent passages had been written, but none more eloquent than were to be found in the Blue-book issued last week as to the difficulty of getting conditions suitable to the health and welfare of young girls whore no dust was generated. How much more difficult must it be in cases where the industry was carried on under dusty conditions, and how much more necessary to have good ventilation, good air space, and no over crowding in industries whore there was dust. Bronzing and paper staining were both dusty industries. Bronze dust was constantly flying about in the atmosphere. He maintained in connection with these industries there ought to be some sort of standard of ventilation. Although a Report on the subject was issued four years ago, nothing had boon done. He should like to read to the Committee an extract from the Report for 1898, where Me. Sydney Smith says— One girl, who had milk supplied twice daily, was suffering from severe nausea, and other symptoms of copper poisoning, at the time of my visit. She had no been employed more that three months. Her mother, whom I after wards saw, told me that previously she had enjoyed the best of health, but since working with the bronze she had suffered from loss of appetite, dizzy pains in the head, constipation, and sickness. These facts were not new. An exactly similar statement of facts was brought before the right hon. Gentleman some time age, and yet, as he had said, nothing had been done. The next trade to which he wished to refer was that of inflammable paints, where there was one of the clearest cases possible for interference by the State. These quick drying paints, which are used principally for ships, have for their base a spirit, instead of oil. He remembered that the Committee took a sample and had it analysed, with the result that it was found to have a flashing point below 45 degrees Fahr. He guaranteed that the atmosphere of that House was more that 45 degrees, and if that was so it could easily be imagined how dangerous such a paint as that must be for those using it. The substance was so inflammable that a gallon of it diffused in the air would make forty-eight cubic feet of air absolutely inflammable. Cases of severe burning constantly occurred. On account of the ignorance of the people substances of this kind were constantly used in confined places, such as bunkers and the holds of vessels, where artificial light was required. The Committee made five distinct recommendations. They recommended that these inflammable paints should not be used (1) in any confined space; (2) where artificial light other than electric light was used; (3) for a longer period than five hours a day, nor more than two and a-half hours at a time; (4) by any young person; (5) by less than three men without the foreman visiting them every hour. With regard to the question of file cutting, the Report issued last week (page 306) says— It will be noticed that in this industry the percentage of severe attacks is highest. The number of chronic cases is very large. The number of cases in which paralysis appears as a symptom is greatly in excess of any other industry, and justifies what was said in the last annual report, that in no employment where lead is used do the symptoms suggest so much incapacitating illness as file cutting. He thought it would be unnecessary to go any further than that, for it must be obvious that file cutting was an industry which ought to be carried on under such rules as would give protection to the workers. Passing to the question of railway accidents inside factories, he said that last year he put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary when an accident occurred inside a works at Sheffield. The right hon. Gentleman said there was a Royal Commission sitting inquiring into the subject of railway accidents, and he thought the question might be dealt with by them. He wrote to Lord James, the Chairman of the Commission, who thanked him for bringing the matter before his notice, but stated that, much as he would like to be able to interfere, he did not think the matter was one that came within the scope of his inquiry. He then brought the matter before the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, who referred him to the Homo Office, but the Secretary of State replied that he had really no jurisdiction over private sidings. In the Committee upstairs on the Railways (Prevention of Accidents) Bill, he referred to what Mr. Whitelegge stated in evidence before the Royal Commission (No. 787) — We do not regard a private siding as coming under the Factory Department, so far as it is outside the curtilage of the factory itself. Mr. Hopwood, who was examined before the Royal Commission, speaking of accidents, said (No. 791)— We think we do not get the whole [cases-reported], because it is not clear under the Act of Parliament that there is any obligation on the part of the company to report them. Yet fifty-six fatal accidents occurred in 1898, and were reported (No. 775). They knew perfectly well that when there was an obligation to report, accidents were some times not reported; and it stood to reason that where there was no obligation to-report, accidents might occur on. factory sidings which they did not hear about at the Home Office. He begged the right hon. Gentleman to take this matter into consideration, because he could not help thinking that this was one requiring; interference. Why had nothing been done? The right hon. Gentleman would probably say that something had been done. He would turn to page 18 of the Report, where, with regard to Bessemer converters, it states— In view of the general compliance with the-recommendations of the Committee it was not considered necessary to take any further steps for the present in the establishment of special rules. The right hon. Gentleman would say they had. got the recommendations adopted without going to the expense of issuing special rules. His argument would be that they should not go to the trouble and expense of issuing rules if they could get what they wanted in this way. If the desired result was secured by the adoption of suggestions and recommendations without friction, delay, and. trouble, it meant that ease was purchased at the expense of uniformity of administration and of security of law. The Home-Office was abrogating the rights of its position; instead of insisting upon the-law being enforced it placed itself in the position of a suppliant, and that was a position it had no right to occupy. He desired also to refer to last year's Report of the chief inspector in reference to the question of bronzing. On page 136 there were these words— Milk is not given to the workers engaged; in the process except in a few cases, though I have been informed by several occupiers that formerly this was the general custom in the trade. Several gave as an excuse for discontinuing the practice—' present trade competition '; none, however, offered any objection to-provide milk if all were compelled to do the same. That was just the point. If all wore compelled to do the same, the thing would bo done. He would like to give another illustration from the same Report— A woman who had been employed for six months, suffering from ophthalmia and eruptions on the face, complained of nausea. I advised the manager to change her to some other work, which has been done with beneficial results. Could a plainer illustration be given? If there had been special rules enjoining periodical medical examination there could not be the slightest doubt that the woman would never have had ophthalmia or eruptions, but as it was, if this inspector had not been one of the best, the woman in all probability would have been going on still. Moreover, if the Homo Office, instead of having special rules, continued to rely on its power of persuasion, employers might at first agree to its suggestions, but if in putting them into operation they turned out to be more expensive than was anticipated the employers might then object and refuse to carry them out. What the public desired and demanded, both in the interest of the workers and in the interest of fairness as between competitive firms, was that there should be uniformity of administration and security of law. Mr. Sydney Smith, of Manchester, illustrates this need in the Report for 1899; he says— At the present time some occupiers seem to think that any trough or bucket is a suitable washing convenience. Working men require educating somewhat in these matters, and will wash themselves, but require a little tempting and coaxing. This, at least, is my experience. If proper accommodation is provided at hand they will wash, but if the accommodation is defective or dirty, or even worse, we cannot blame them if they neglect this precaution. That pointed clearly to the difficulty of the ordinary definition of "suitable and sufficient," which should be mot by special rules. Mr. Jackson, of Walsall, said— Almost all file cutters' shops in this district are low, with bad floors (usually earth), ill ventilated, crowded to their full legal capacity, and the washing accommodation that I have been able to get provided consists generally of a bucket or basin with a tap some distance away. That showed that the inspectors were at a great disadvantage in not having any legal power. Was it surprising that there was great difficulty in keeping the industrial population free from poisoning owing to the trade in which they were engaged? There was another point, and that was one referred to in the final Report of the Dangerous Trades Committee, in regard to deaths or illness reported as being due to causes other than those to which they should really be attributed. The Committee, on this point, reproduced in their report a paragraph from the Report of the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, in which it was stated that certain figures leave no room for doubt that the deaths which are definitely certified as due to plumbism constitute but a small proportion of the deaths really due to poisoning by lead among workers who are exposed to its influence. The Committee made definite suggestions to the Home Office to the effect that when a man or woman died who, during any portion of the three months preceding death, had been employed in any of the known dangerous trades, the death should be reported by the registrar of deaths, and an investigation made in order to ascertain if death had occurred from unnatural causes.

Again, there was the question of certifying surgeons. There were a number of these gentlemen scattered over the country, their duties being threefold: they had to certify children and young persons as fit for certain employments in factories, they had to examine other persons at certain stated periods and certify them as fit or otherwise for employment in certain unhealthy processes; and they had also to examine into and report upon accidents when, under certain conditions, those accidents were required by statute to be reported to them. Apart from the difficulty under which these gentlemen suffered from having no legal right of entry into the factories into which the young persons they had to certify were about to enter, there were other considerations which wore worthy of attention. He disclaimed any intention or desire to cast any imputation upon these gentlemen, some of them eminent, many of them undertaking the duties out of pure zeal for the public service, and generally for very slender or totally inadequate remuneration. Each factory district had its own certifying surgeons, who were invariably, as far as he was aware, chosen from among the local medical practitioners. Their livelihood, if they were high up in the profession, depended upon being employed by the richer people of the district. In an industrial district, such as was to be constantly met with in Lancashire, the West Riding, the Midlands, or the West of Scotland, the richer men were almost entirely connected with the large factories in the neighbourhood, either as managers, partners, or directors. A certifying surgeon was therefore constantly placed in a most difficult and invidious position; he had to choose between certifying as fit for employment those whom he would rather see engaged in a harmless trade, and refusing to certify them, thereby giving offence, very likely, to one of his principal clients. That was an unfair position in which to put any gentleman. There were over '2,000 of these certifying surgeons—in some places, such as Manchester or Birmingham, there wore as many as half a dozen. How could five or six different gentlemen, without a standard to work by, be expected to take the same view of a given set of circumstances? One doctor might think a girl fit to be employed in a dusty occupation, while another, with a higher standard, would say she was unfit. It was thus impossible to obtain uniformity of administration in this admittedly important department of industrial life. He often wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman was fully alive to the benefits to be derived from uniformity of administration, but as he had already touched upon that matter, he would not weary the Committee with a repetition of his remarks. He might, however, he asked what his counter-scheme to the present arrangement would be. He would suggest that, instead of appointing certifying surgeons to each district from each district, there should be an effective medical branch of the Home Office, that Department being so largely concerned in health questions. The excellent arrangement already so admirably inaugurated under Dr. Legge might be extended and developed in order to meet this urgent necessity. There might be a staff of doctors to act directly under the instructions of the Chief Medical Inspector of the Home Office, more particularly with regard to the standard of fitness for employment. Many young doctors of great ability would be willing to serve under such conditions in order to gain the experience which could be obtained in that way. The fees now paid to the certifying surgeons direct should be paid instead to a central fund and go towards the payment of the surgeons. The fund should be administered by the Home Office. Under such a scheme very little outlay, if any, would be required on the part of the State. But even if a part, or even the whole, of the cost had to be borne by the State, the advantages to be gained—namely, the security of having the law administered by an officer in a position of perfect freedom, the almost invaluable statistics which could be collected by such a staff, and the inestimable benefit of uniformity in the administration of those delicate and important duties—would be cheaply purchased.


was of opinion that the House of Commons was a most inappropriate body to discuss the delicate questions which arose in connection with lead poisoning. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean had not only found fault with the figures, but he had also found fault with the Chief Inspector of Factories in the Northampton district. Nobody seemed to satisfy the right hon. Gentleman in that district. They had had a very interesting discussion before on this subject, and not only the inspectors, but the stipendiary magistrate appointed by the late Home Secretary, were found fault with. He could have understood this complaint if the magistrate had been appointed by the right hon. Gentleman the present Homo Secretary, but this magistrate was a Radical, and yet hon. Gentlemen opposite were not satisfied he did not think that full justice had been done to Mr. Walmsley's Report. He said in his Report to the Home Office on the Stoke-on-Tront district— I do not think that the full benefit of the special rules of May and October of 1898 will be felt for some time to come, but with the introduction of the medical examination there has been undoubtedly a considerable improvement in the appearance of those workers who have to undergo such examination. On this point the certifying surgeon will no doubt have assured you of the improvement, but from my own observation one cannot but be pleased with the brighter and more cleanly appearance of the workers in the lead processes. It seemed to him that that was very important testimony coming from the official responsible to the Home Office. He wont on to point out that there were great difficulties in keeping soap and other things on the premises, as there were always a certain number of workpeople who would take them away. He thought Mr. Walmsley's Report was a clear and able one as to the working of the special rules in the Potteries during the year. With regard to articles of leadless glaze, he wished to remind the Committee that, in regard to a great many of them, there was a serious doubt as to whether they did not contain a certain amount of lead in their composition. He thought everyone who knew anything about their manufacture would admit that this question had by no means been solved up to the present time. There was a very interesting meeting held not long ago in Cavendish Square, at which Canon Gore was present. As far as that meeting went he entirely agreed with its conclusions, and he should be glad to see them universally adopted. Following that meeting there was a very interesting letter in the Westminster Gazette, in regard to articles of leadless glaze, and stating where they could be obtained. As far as he had been able to ascertain no answer had been made to that letter in the columns of the Westminster Gazette, and people were still anxious to know whether they could get those articles sold in other shops. There was another important question which had not been referred to, and that was the question of foreign competition. He was perfectly aware that his hon. friend the Member for Derby was anxious that something should be done by international agreement. If that could be done, then by all means let it be done, for foreign competition was a subject which should not be lost sight of in dealing with this question. If the question was to be dealt with practically, by all means let it be dealt with internationally, but in this respect he wished to point out that there were a largo number of restrictions in force at the present time in this country which did not exist in the majority of countries abroad. The result was that foreign countries were allowed to send over here as much ware as they chose, to the injury of our own manufacturers. In his opinion that was very unfair, and was a grave injustice as far as our own manufacturers were concerned. He thought that all foreign manufacturers should be put on the same footing as our own manufacturers, and whilst English manufacturers were subject to all sorts of restrictions, foreigners should not be allowed to disregard them. A great deal had been done by the new rules adopted by the right hon. Gentleman at the Home Office, and what they wanted now was more time for those rules to further develop. These customs of the trade had been going on for a great number of years, and it was very hard indeed to get rid of them all at once. But a great improvement had taken place, and he should like in this respect to quote the figures. In 1898 there were 457 cases of lead poisoning, and in 1899 there were 249 cases. In the first three months of this year there were 62 cases. If the Committee would compare those figures with the total figures for all the other trades in this country he thought they would agree with him that they were not very excessive. It must be remembered that all the lead poisoning done in this country was not done in the Staffordshire potteries, for there was a large amount of load poisoning in other employments in various parts of the country he said that because, in reference to this question, the brunt of the criticisms had been directed to the potteries. If, therefore, they were going to put down lead poisoning they should do so over the whole country, and not simply in the Potteries. They wore all very anxious to get rid of the lead poisoning cases, but very great difficulties existed in regard to the enforcement of the regulations made by the Department. It was found very difficult to get the workpeople to wash as often as they ought to. As a rule they were in a great hurry to got away from their work, and they did not devote that attention to washing that they ought to do. The inspector called attention to the difficulties there were in the way of getting some of the women to wear overalls and other articles for their heads, because the women considered the precautions insisted upon unsightly, and they would not wear them. The inspector called attention to the fact that many manufacturers were indignant, and very justly indignant, at the way in which the women refused to wear what was provided for them at great expense in order to carry out the new requirements. The manufacturers had been put to very considerable expense in trying to meet the views of the Home Office, and he claimed on their behalf that they had loyally carried out the undertaking which they gave to the Home Office.


The hon. Member, not for the first time in the course of our discussions on the subject of lead poisoning, has introduced—and he is generally the only hon. Member to do it —a tone of partisanship, and, if I may say so, committed a breach of taste and good manner's this afternoon in speaking about a drawing-room meeting at which feminine diatribes were indulged in by a lot of well-dressed ladies. In my opinion they could not have been better engaged at that drawing-room meeting than in discussing the means by which their poorer sisters could be exempted from the tragedy of lead poisoning. It may not be as pleasant as sitting on the Terrace or having strawberries at a garden party; but I would suggest to the hon. Member that when the Duchess of Sutherland, who deeply sympathises with the sufferers of lead poisoning, calls a meeting of Members of Parliament, medical men, nurses, and others who are kind hearted and mean well, she is to be congratulated, and I am prepared to congratulate the Duchess and to pat the Countess on the back and say, "Good luck, and God bless your work." In fact, if they hold another meeting, I shall be delighted to attend it and take tea with them. The hon. Member went further. He said that the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean was more fitted for the Society of Arts than for the House of Commons. On this occasion, as on nearly every other occasion, the right hon Baronet has shown his typical knowledge and his characteristic sympathy, which have deservedly given him his world-wide reputation; and if he continues to make such speeches—which according to the hon. Member are only fit for the Society of Arts—every working man in Staffordshire will bless him, and will overlook the sneers and insinuations of the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent. The hon. Member also said that there were only two Members in the House of Commons who knew anything about pottery from the practical point of view. I do not know anything about pottery, but I know, as many hon. Members who defend the industry know also, that it is not necessary that the House of Commons should listen only to a few pundits in order to be able to form an opinion as to the medical and physiological injuries connected with it, and which have been confirmed by every one of the excellent doctors of the Home Office medical staff in their broad and general details. When the hon. Member introduces a Radical stipendiary, I say, with all respect, "Hang him." What has he got to do with the physiological effects of lead poisoning? If the hon. Member will take the excellent Report and Abstract of Labour Statistics prepared by Mr. Burton, who holds a brief. for the employers, he will agree that the statements of the right he 1. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, of the hon. Member for Berwickshire, and of the late Home Secretary have been more than confirmed. I do not wish to deal with any one appointed by the Home Office; I would prefer to leave that to the Home Secretary; but as to Mr. Walmsley, to whom the hon. Member referred, I think it would do no harm if he were transferred to a wider and more useful sphere of operations. The hon.Member also said that a great deal had been done during the last year or two in the pottery districts; but that has been due to the fact that pressure has been brought to bear by the Home Secretary on factory inspectors and on employers. The improvement which the hon. Gentleman admits has taken place is due to the very pressure that to-day he condemns. He urges as a reason why girls should suffer from lead-poisoning that the manufacturers have great difficulty in extending their works, but they have got plenty of space to enable them to adopt means for the healthy conduct of the industry. The hon. Member admits that the special rules have done a great deal of good; but these special rules are the outcome of criticisms in this House, which he has condemned this afternoon. They are the outcome of the pressure brought to bear in this House in the years 1892 and 1893. Irishmen say, "Who fears to speak of' 98?" I am delighted to speak of '93, and the excellent work which was then done by the Homo Secretary. But because the special rules have done so much, is that any reason why we should not abolish arbitration in relation to them, which would carry us ever so much further? The hon. Member used that blessed phrase "foreign competition." I must tell the hon. Member that doctors do not agree with him as regards foreign competition. They have proved to the Home Secretary that in the matter of dealing with lead poisoning our foreign competitors are better than we are, and surely what is good enough for a German is good enough for a Briton, and even if these rules should affect competition to the extent of a few thousands a year, it would not last long. I rely on the skill of our workmen and the energy of our manufacturers to make up for it by adapting their industry to the new conditions. Wherever restrictions have been imposed they have always resulted in permanent benefit. The only thing the hon. Member did say that had either justice or Sympathy in it was his reference to refractory workpeople; but I should like to point out to the hon. Member that the masters are responsible for that. If the lead workers persistently disobey the factory rules, and in so doing impose on themselves and others physical disabilities, let one or two of them be sacked, and that danger will soon be put a stop to. I am done with the hon. Member and will pass from him to a doctor. Will the House of Commons listen to a few facts on the authority of a medical man? The tragedy of this story is almost appalling. There is in Staffordshire a Dr. Prendergast. He is a properly qualified man, and has written several treatises on lead poisoning. He is trusted by the workers, and he is the doctor for the men's Union and their Friendly Society, and as a rule workers select the best men of the medical profession for this class of work. Listen to his story. On 21st March, 1900, at a meeting of Friendly Societies in Staffordshire, Dr. Prendergast made a remarkable speech based on cases not taken from the Daily Mail or any other sensational rag of that kind, but from his own clinical note-book, the result of his two years observation. He had 285 cases of lead poisoning in that period, of which 162 were women. Of these 12 were totally blind, 7 were insane,46 were partially blind; or 65 out of the 162 were either blind, partially Wind, or insane. Of the 123 men 4 were totally blind, 26 were partially blind, and 75 were completely paralysed. I say to the House of Commons that that bald statement from the clinical note-book of that doctor is good enough to justify meetings in every drawing - room in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Of these 285 men and women 170 were either blind, partially blind, insane, or paralysed. Eleven had died, and therefore out of the total 181 were either dead, blind, partially blind, or paralysed. Twenty-one of the 162 women had 80 miscarriages of children due to lead poisoning, and 24 of the children born alive of these women died from convulsions in the first year of their infantile life. These are plain facts from the clinical note-book of a doctor who, from his position, is qualified to speak, and if the ladies of England will continue to hold drawing-room meetings, and if doctors will continue to make speeches of that character, I say, "God bless the ladies, and good luck to the doctors!" Here is another illustration from the same doctor. Speaking of the destructive evils of lead poisoning, he stated that thirty cases had been treated with the electric bath and twenty had been cured, at an average cost of £14 each. If the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent wants to help his trade, let him spend £14 per man who has lead poisoning, in removing the causes that have made lead poisoning possible; and if he does that he will find that there is a saving in running the factories, and there need be no fear of foreign competition. His own speech indicates that these improvements can be brought about by better fans and better ventilation, and I would like to add by higher wages and shorter hours. Are Dr. Prendergast's ghastly figures true, or are they not? The point that concerns me is that there are far too many of these cases of poisoning at the present moment; and it is the duty of the House of Commons to devise some means by which they can be lessened. When I went a few minutes ago on to the Terrace I saw a dream of fair women which might appeal to the heart of any man, and I could not help contrasting these beautiful, well-dressed, fine-set-up, and, I believe, sympathetic women with the condition of the poor women in the potteries, of the same flesh and blood, as pictured by Drs. Oliver and Thorpe; the only difference between them being that the one earns the profit and the other spends it. I am positively convinced that if these fair women on the Terrace could only realise the awful conditions under which their sisters in the potteries are compelled to labour, there is no sacrifice they would not make to improve them. I appeal to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent whether this lead poisoning can be stopped. Let us go to Drs. Oliver and Thorpe. They say that the use of raw lead is not necessary either for colour or brilliancy, and that even where it is necessary it is used in excessive proportion for the production of proper work, that fritted lead can be used, and that for most kinds of ware suitable leadless glazes are now available. I believe that if the Home Secretary, with that kindliness of heart which distinguishes him, would only take up the suggestions of Drs. Oliver and Thorpe, and rigorously enforce them, the number of cases of lead poisoning would be halved in two years. In this way no damage would be done to the trade, and the worst manufacturers would be brought up to the level of the best. All through the doctors' Report there is evidence that they are wrestling strenuously with the bad manufacturers, and the non-enthusiastic inspectors, to bring the trade up to a proper level. The hon. Member for Stoke-on Trent says that all the lead poisoning does not belong to Staffordshire. According to Mr. Burton there were 4,703 workers liable to lead poisoning, or one in every ten, of those employed in Staffordshire. Taking the figures for 1897 and 1898, with their 386 or 400 cases of lead poisoning, it would only take twelve years to have the whole of the 4,703 affected with lead poisoning in one form or another. That squares with Dr. Prendergast, and confirms the Home Office, and is, generally speaking, eloquent of the fact that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent does not know everything about lead poisoning, and does not know much about the Home Office. In the abstract of statistics in the inspector's Report, I find that there were in 1899,],258 cases of lead poisoning in all trades; in 1898, 1,278; and in 1897, 1,214. Making every allowance for suspensions, there has been practically no improvement at all; and there will be no improvement in this evil until the spirit of the speech of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent is crushed out in Staffordshire, until women inspectors are appointed, until the worst manufacturers are brought up to the level of the best, until the recommendations of Drs. Oliver and Thorpe are adopted, until the Home Office rules are enforced most rigidly, until all special rules are got rid of, until arbitration is abolished, and until absolute conditions are imposed on manufacturers from which there shall be no appeal to arbitration, the same as in other industries. I think that in this question of load poisoning the time has arrived for calling an international conference. We suggested it in the Grand Committee on Trade in 1892 and 1893. I know of no subject on which an international conference would be more heartily welcomed by all the nations of the world than a conference which would fix the maximum number of hours for workers in lead, and the exemption of women from labour at certain periods of their lives, and raise the standard of ventilation. If the Government could send Lord Pauncefote to the Hague to an international tribunal to regulate the conditions of war, I see no reason, why there should not be an international tribunal to regulate the conditions of peaceful industry. I leave lead poisoning and come to other branches of the Home Office work. I say it with the greatest pleasure that the Home Secretary has given us this year a Report which fully deserves the encomiums that have been passed upon it. I wish he would in future introduce into it more of these admirable comparative tables and diagrams which appear this year. We want an index, and a medical summary, so that we may get at the facts much more easily than we can now. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean quoted Dr. Rawdon Smith. I do not believe that that doctor is sympathized with by the Home Secretary. Dr. Rawdon Smith delivered a speech which led one to believe that he was pulling the Home Office by the ear, and that whatever he wanted the Home Secretary to do for the manufacturers, he had only to whisper it and it was done. Had I anything to do with the matter,, Dr. Rawdon Smith and his intimidatory language would not be long tolerated; I would be prepared to treat him in the way he deserves. There is evidence of slowness of improvement during the last two or three years in certain branches of the Factory Acts Administration. There is also evidence of the fact that good trade means many deaths. High wages very frequently mean very low vitality. The Home Secretary must see that good trade and high wages, and even indifference on the part of workmen, do not load to breaches of either sanitary laws or factory administration. I would suggest that when trade is good the pressure-on masters and men should increase with the rising prosperity. Whatever else it discloses, the Report indicates that we have not worsened trade or diminished the number of factories and workshops. I wish to direct the attention of the House of Commons to what the cost is of all this good trade and prosperity—to the casualty list not from South Africa, but from the battlefields of industry. Last year 6,531 men met their deaths on our railways, in our mines, and in our factories and workshops, or about 400 more than the year before. Beyond that, the report of the Home Office indicates an enormous increase in the number of accidents. The minor accidents jumped up from 38,335 to 47,989; accidents reported to certifying surgeons showed an increase of from 19,227 to 22,711; fatal accidents, an in crease from 727 to 871. All this indicates that, though much has been done by the Home Office, there is much more to do. We have got to do everything in our power to stop this casualty list. I say that the Home Office should not allow the number of all reported accidents, apart from the 6,531 killed, to jump up from 57,562 to the enormous total of 70,700, as they did last year. Whether we do our duty or not, whether the Home Office officers administer their powers under existing legislation more vigorously or not, of this I am certain: that all doctors are agreed that there are too many deaths and too many accidents, and that lead-poisoning ought to disappear. I rejoice that we have reached the stage when, with hardly a single exception, both sides of the House look upon this disease and slaughter and accident as more or less preventible. Before man made us citizens, great Nature made us man. For the sake of our manhood, we ought to make such statistics as those of Dr. Prendergast impossible. We ought to strengthen the Home Secretary's hands in reducing the terrible tale of disease, injury, and death; and to co-operate with the Home Office in doing everything in our power to place the army of British workmen where it ought to be—in the forefront of industrial production.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)

This question of lead poisoning in the Potteries has been so thoroughly and exhaustively dealt with that I will confine my remarks, for the most part, to the kindred occupation of match making. All that has been said by previous speakers as to the terrible results of lead poisoning applies with equal if not with increased force to the results of phosphorus poisoning. I remember when the hon. Member for Berwick brought a deputation to see the Home Secretary in regard to lead poisoning, I was very much struck by the marked effect on the Home Secretary of the terrible instances presented to his notice, the very women themselves who were in a critical condition. If I may be pardoned for saying so, I think the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent has been somewhat severely dealt with, for some of his remarks in regard to the lead industry were very much to the point and practically true. There are great difficulties in securing a leadless glaze which will be at once effective and certain, and therefore I am not one of those who attack indiscriminately the manufacturers in the Pottery districts. I know that the question of foreign competition comes in, and we should press the Home Secretary strongly to use all his influence in the direction of bringing about an international conference in order that some agreement may be come to among manufacturers here and in. foreign countries as to the use of lead and. other matters connected with the industry. Of late persons employed in the matchmaking trade have been somewhat overlooked, and for this reason: that some, ten or eleven years ago there was a great outcry in the press with reference to the; terrible disease to which those who work, in phosphorus are subject—namely, necrosis, or phossy jaw. The agitation has not been heard of for some time,, owing to the fact that one or two of the largo manufacturers have adopted an amorphous form of phosphorus, and that in these factories the amount of phosphorism generally, and necrosis in particular, has decreased to some extent. With reference to the Report which has. been so highly praised, a remark has been made in regard to the want of an index. We should be glad to have an index, but if the preparation of an index were to delay the issue of the Report until it is practically useless to us, then I would rather do without the index. The new rules which apply to lucifer match-making; have been amended by arbitration, but I would like to point out, as I did on a. previous occasion, that the arbitration is one-sided. Those mainly concerned, the workpeople, have nothing whatever to do with the matter. The Home Office appointed one man, the manufacturers another; then they fixed upon a third,. as umpire. But what occurred when these special rules, of which I have reason to complain, were framed? The manufacturers withdrew their man—a very distinguished Member of this House—and the umpire was told that his services were not required; and the result was that the Home Office nominee sat as solo arbitrator—a gentleman who sat on a previous occasion in connection with the old Factory Acts, and had not the confidence of the workers. Now, we have to protect our workers- -not that I think the manufacturers should not he amply and fairly protected. They are. But these rules were framed, as the Home Secretary himself acknowledged, upon the lowest basis; and then they went before the sole arbitrator, by whom they were whittled down to practically nothing at all. When on a previous occasion I admitted that, in my opinion, the rules, taken as a whole, were a slight improvement on the previous rules, the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean seemed to be opposed to that opinion. Since then I have gone carefully into the matter, and I am prepared to admit that all the improvements in the rules are not of any importance. In the phosphorus industry, as I shall call it, the main conditions which affect the workers are ventilation and cleanliness. In regard to ventilation, we find this extraordinary state of things, Rule 2, after specifying what the ventilation should be, goes on to say, "Unless the use of fans is dispensed with by order, in writing, by the Chief Inspector." Therefore, the absolute power is practically put into the hands of the Chief Inspector of overruling the opinion of the distinguished experts who, after careful inquiry into the case, had framed the original rules. Rule 3 refers to mixing, dipping, and drying —the most important processes in the manufacture of matches. It says that the boxing is not to be done until the matches are thoroughly dry, and then it must be done in a separate room. A distinction is drawn between matches that are dry, and those that are not thoroughly dry. We have it on the authority of the inspectors that it is impossible to frame a definition of a thoroughly dry match. The evidence goes to show that, so far as wax matches are concerned, there is no danger, but in regard to other matches it is impossible to define what is a dry match. It will be seen by these rules that the whole welfare of those who work in phosphorus depends upon the three processes of mixing, dipping, and drying; and in all of these processes the question of ventilation is of the greatest importance. And yet the Chief Inspector has the power of altering the rules regarding ventilation! But really the most important point in connection with the rules is the fact that the periodical examination of the workers by a surgeon has been dispensed with. In the rules we gain a little in one direction, and lose largely in another. There is a gain in the provision of antiseptics for the workers to wash in, but that is as nothing, placed against the fact that periodical examination by a surgeon is done away with, for the latter gives up altogether the question of phosphorism. Much experience has been gained in Germany and Austria in regard to the conditions of the match industry, and in these countries it is acknowledged on all hands—an opinion which, it is important to note, Dr. Whitelegge, the Chief Inspector, himself endorses—that phosphorus has a deteriorating effect upon the constitution generally, over and above the creation of necrosis, or phossy jaw, from which the workers are so liable to suffer. I am prepared to admit that, given the worker who works in phosphorus, who has sound teeth, the chances are altogether against that individual getting phossy jaw if he or she takes the proper precautions, or of their having their general health deteriorated by phosphorism. But it is an undoubted fact that there are cases where the workers have not suffered from necrosis, but have suffered from the general effects of phosphorus on the system. My hon. friend the Member for Battersea has referred to the disastrous effect of it on women in a delicate state of health—a peculiar effect which naturally in the long run leads to the breaking down of the woman's constitution. We find that owing to the periodical examination by the surgeon being done away with, we have the surgeon placed in a secondary position, underneath the dentist. Periodical examination still takes place by the dentist, but no case is brought to the knowledge of the surgeon unless, as it were, the dentist passes it on to him. One other remark in regard to these rules. No. 12 refers to the question of washing. We find here that a trough of enamelled iron of galvanised iron is substituted for the old single basins. Now Miss Squire, Her Majesty's Inspector, in her Report to the Chief inspector for 1898, page 160, uses the following words with reference to this point— There was a determination on the part of many of the women not to wash their faces in troughs used by other women, a determination it was impossible not to respect It is well known that in all these dangerous trades one of the difficulties with which the employers have to contend is the gross carelessness of the employees, and to make them realise the necessity of washing, and the use of various equipments which are essential to those who work in these trades. Take the washing regulations in Rule 12. Almost everybody objected to the trough system, and it was a monstrous thing to introduce that system where the bulk of the employees had a distinct objection to it. I know that one of the points which will be raised by the Home Secretary will be that he has been cramped so far as these rules are concerned. But I would ask that there should be an amendment to the rules and procedure, in order that the standard may be higher. These rules are rendered lower still owing to this system of arbitration in which the employees have no part or voice whatever. All that has been said by previous speakers in connection with the pottery industry applies with even greater force to those engaged in the phosphorus trade, because it has been clearly shown in this particular trade that a remedy is possible, and possible without great difficulty being placed in the way of the manufacturers. We know that the Diamond match manufactory at Liverpool, when first these rules were brought out, came up and gave evidence in favour of the rules, and were quite ready to adopt them; and what is sufficient for one manufacturer should be good enough for another. Yet you give inspectors power under the rules to draw distinctions between manufacturers. What we want is to see all placed on the same basis. I know that in Switzerland and other countries better rules obtain than obtain at the present moment in this country. Therefore I am inclined to believe that if the right hon. Gentleman would make some effort in the direction of an international agreement a good result would be achieved. It is not less desirable when drawing up a new set of rules to see that those rules are not meddled with by arbitration, as they have been on previous occasions.

*MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)

thought, after the very important discussion which had taken place, he might be permitted to draw the attention of the Home Secretary to another subject, to which the right hon. Gentleman had given some attention, but to which he hoped he would give more. The subject to which he referred was that of the fruit-preserving industry, a subject in which he was interested, and with regard to which in the previous session he had the honour to call the attention of the House. It appeared to him that there was a danger of the indulgence with regard to overtime, which was given necessarily to a certain extent, extending to other parts of the same industry, so that what might be a pardonable indulgence, if it was limited to a single class of work, might become unpardonable when ex-tended. On this occasion he desired to confine himself entirely to the evidence of the inspectors of the Home Office itself, and would commence by asking attention to this paragraph of the Report of the past year— The washing of bottles for fruit-preserving is now added to the purposes for which 'overtime' is allowed, on the grounds that 'bottles for fruit-preserving purposes had to be supplied in large quantities at certain seasons, that the dates of delivery could not always be fixed long beforehand, that the washing had to be done very shortly before the time of actual delivery, that overtime under Section 53 of Factory and Workshops Act, 1878 (amended by Sections 14 and 37 of Factory and Workshops Act, 1895) was allowed in several similar cases, etc.' Accordingly, women may now be employed in this from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., or 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., or 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with two hours allowed for meals, and not more than three days in one week and more than thirty days in one year. But then, they may work overtime in other works, and so may have a much larger overtime in the year. That, perhaps, did not sound so bad. But the chief lady inspector (page 266 of the Report) said— No experience since the materials for last year's Report were gathered and summarised has tended to modify my opinion that it is urgently required to bring the fruit-preserving industry, without any exemption, within the general regulations of the Acts. That was the testimony of the chief lady inspector, not an adverse witness. The year had undoubtedly been a year of disappointments to those interested in the fruit-preserving and kindred industries, because they had hoped and expected, after the discussion in the previous year and the sympathy expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and his offer to protect the most unprotected, the children and young women, that this year legislation would be brought in to deal with the subject. The right hon, Gentleman brought in a Bill, it was true, but nothing more had been heard of it. Perhaps the reception it met with did not encourage the right hon. Gentleman to go further; but had the right hon. Gentleman had greater courage and pressed the Bill to a Second Heading, it was possible that Amendments might have been made on which legislation might have been made. As it was, the position was the same now as it was last year, except that a few now rules had been made. No permanent progress had been made, and as the Report for 1899 was necessarily meagre, he was driven back to the Annual Report of 1898 for his facts. Miss Paterson and Miss Deane report that— It is not possible to have an accurate appreciation of the work of a, jam factory without bearing in mind that almost every worker may be employed at one time or another in every part of every process which is carried on in the factory; thus (a) we have found girls employed in pouring hot jam who were employed on the previous afternoon in candying peel, and the previous night in bottle-washing. All very homely occupations, but very exhausting to young natures. (b) We have found little girls carrying and stacking jars of jam, at night, who (luring the day had been employed in making potted meat. So that some children were engaged upon one thing during the day and upon another at night. (c) We have found young girls making confectionery who went daily at the close of their normal hours to work in the jam-boiling room. (d) We have found girls employed in the warehouse in covering and labelling jam, who for two hours in the early morning and two hours late at night, and on Saturday afternoons, were busy bottling fruit. The Committee would see that in all these cases the necessary indulgence which was given for certain purposes was about to be turned in this way into an unnecessary and a harmful indulgence. The Report continued— We have found a woman washing bottles, who, the day before our visit, had been engaged in unpacking and stacking clean jars, frequently attended to the 'gooseberry machine,' and when not so employed peeling onions in the pickle-making room. These are not isolated instances, but are examples of the conditions in the majority of factories. In the subsidiary remarks of one of the inspectors she said— A table of the hours found to have been worked in a large factory in the week previous to our visit, and on the first three days of the week in which we visited. This gives a total of eighty-six hours (actual) exclusive of meals for seven days in one week. Here is a reported example of Sunday labour. The inspectors continued— Owing in part to the moist state of the atmosphere, and the continual dripping of the condensed steam, but still more to the amount of water used, we have found the floors often unnecessarily wet, and in addition slippery with decaying vegetable refuse. No laundry floors equal those of most jam factories for wetness and dilapidation. Again, the existence of an exemption puts these matters beyond control, just when such control is most necessary. So that he was perfectly accurate in saying that this laxity of administration was unfair to those who tried to carry out the law. The better class of manufacturers desired to carry out the law, and would do so but for the laxity of administration, which is only employed by the lower and worst class, which he was sure it is not the intention of the Committee to encourage. The inspectors continued— The repeal of the present 'total exemption' section—which makes it impossible to gauge accurately the full extent of the overwork, while it complicates all attempts to control effectually the conditions under which persons nominally working in 'regulated' departments are employed—would, we believe, be welcomed by the better class of manufacturers. This will leave the special exemption section, permitting sixty occasions of overtime annually for women in these factories, untouched, ft would he well to ensure, in view of this double quantity of overtime, that when this special exemption is claimed, the other special exemption permitting thirty occasions of overtime in warehouses and in bottle-washing cannot also be legally taken advantage of. This would also put an end to the overwork of young persons under eighteen years, which is such a prominent result of the present total exemption. He had now laid before the Committee the whole of the documentary evidence with which he proposed to trouble them. He.thought he had made out a case for, at any rate, greater vigilance upon the part of the right hon. Gentleman. Much might be said for and against the protection of adult men, but what he was contending for was protection for a class whom everyone wished to see protected and who could not protect themselves, and it was with that view he had brought this matter to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman.


The afternoon has been absorbed by an important discussion with regard to saving human life, and the hygiene of workshops, factories, and potteries. I desire to call attention to one very important subject in connection with saving the wages of the workers. I should like to ask for an expression of opinion from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary as to the policy of the Home Office on this matter. We have had now three years experience of the Truck Act of 1896—I desire to say nothing of the Truck Acts of 1831 and 1887, which had for their object the prevention of payment of wages in kind, because I consider those were excellent Acts, and they have been administered for the protection of the workers, and the inspectors and the Governments have been able to stamp out abuses which were rampant in the country so many years ago, which resulted in lowering wages. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean drew attention to the Donegal case, a breach of the Truck Act, 1831, and was justified in calling attention to what has taken place in Ireland in that respect. I should now like to ask the Home Secretary if he would state to the Committee the reason why he has not thought fit to give exemptions to certain important trades in the country which applied for those exemptions in 1897. We know how it came about that the exemption section crept into the Act. It was introduced after the report stage, owing to pressure brought to bear upon the Lancashire Members by the operatives of the cotton spinners. The hon. Member for Stockport, who now sits on this side of the House, had an Amendment to reject the Bill which he withdrew on the understanding that the 9th section should take its place. I have in my hand a list showing fifteen important trades which have applied for exemption, and according to this list only one trade has had exemption given to it—the cotton spinners of Lancashire and Yorkshire. I contend that it is very unfair administration by the Home Office to give one section of the workers exemption under Section 9, and to refuse; it to other large industries where the employers and the employed have applied for it. When the Act passed the House in its third reading I ventured to make a prediction that the Act could not be applied to the heavy trades throughout the country, such as the iron, steel, and engineering trades. That prediction has been fulfilled, because in the heavy industries the Act is a dead letter. I then said that Section 2, which deals with damaged goods, would work hardship on the least united traders of the country, and anybody who reads the Reports of the last three years will see that that is the fact. I desire first to call attention to a test case that was tried in Ireland last year under the Truck Act of 1896, and the proceedings were taken by the inspector, where a factory girl was found talking in the factory and fined. The magistrate upheld the fine, much to the horror of the Home Office. Was it to be expected that women and young girls should work for' twelve hours in a factory without talking? And because they talk they are fined. The girl worked in the constituency of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, but I do not know whether at the time she was discussing his conduct as a Member of this House, But to ask girls and women to work like dumb dogs for twelve hours is, in my opinion, a most disgraceful thing. In respect to Section 2 I must compliment the lady inspectors; I believe we have in them most excellent workers, who have endeavoured to administer and to see that the Act is administered. Miss Squire, who has taken a most active part in the administration, has reported on those matters. In the Report of 1897, she says— Two points have come out with special force in the year's experience of deductions or payments in respect of damage due to bad or negligent. work, or injury by the workers to materials or other properly of the employers. The first, is the highly technical knowledge that must be gradually acquired by Her Majesty's inspectors as to the nature of the work and manufactured materials in the manifold industries under inspection in order to enable them to form as independent, judgment as to what m fact constitutes bad or negligent, work by the employed. The second is the immense difficulty of determining what are the essential circumstances which shall be held to decide the question, what is fair and reasonable deductions —that is, within the outside limits of estimated loss of the employer and (at common law) of the direct natural consequence of the negligence. The actual or estimated damage or loss occasioned by the employers often, where costly materials are used or the process is an intricate one. equals a sum which it would take, the worker weeks or months to earn. Two illustrations may be given out of many cases which have come before me:— In a worsted spinning mill some damaged yarn occasioned a loss of £2 His. to the firm; the damage was attributed to two spinners, young girls earning Ss. 6d. a week. These two were required to pay the sum between them, and to stiller a deduction of 6d. per week each from their wages until the whole was paid. This means to each girl a loss exceeding three weeks wages. Steam laundry washing machine packed costly silk underclothing damaged by a small green bag, got into the machine and coloured the garments. Damage £10. The women responsible earned 2s. 6d. per day. The employer observed there was nothing in the Truck Act to prevent his charging the whole amount to the worker. What I want to know is, whether it was the intention of the Home Office when they passed this second section that these serious deductions should be made from the wages of these workers for any i damage that they might do, or might be held to have done to the goods. Now, in the Report of 1898, Miss Squire further says— Nothing is more striking than the great divergence in practices and opinion with regard to fines. In some factories and workshops long lists are exhibited of rules, each accompanied by a fine for non-compliance, and should these lists be criticised the employer rights for the retention of each fine as if the very existence of the works depended upon it, drawing a terrible picture of the lawlessness and disorder which would prevail were fines not inflicted, while in other factories and workshops of the same class, and where as many or more persons are employed, fines are unknown, and the management tells you there is no need of them. It is probable that the system of lining itself creates the need which it supplies, lie this as it may, it is certain the secret is one of good management. Some managers, foremen, or forewomen seem to maintain order by their mere presence at the works, others only by severe pains and penalties. When the employer has allowed himself to be persuaded to abolish fines his verdict after a trial has so far always been favourable, and it is to be hoped more will try the experiment and thus encourage the growth of honour and esprit de corps among employers. Again, Miss Squire says— Girls' and women's wages are, as a rule, so pitiably low as to leave for margin for making good damage done to work entrusted to them. As instances of charges for damaged work, which, although not equal in amount to the loss occasioned by the employers, are yet not fair and reasonable if the amount of wages is considered, the following may be given—

Kind of Work. Wages Earned. Deduction for Damage.
d. s. d.
One shirt 2 6
Six pinafores 9 5 6
Two doz. hunting ties 5 14 0
Four doz. collars 8 £1
I say that any law which permits an employer of labour to deduct from the wages of girls such large sums as these, in view of the small sums paid in wages, is one which the Home Office should not tolerate but should bring in a Bill to repeal. We had a case tried this year in Scotland, in one of the sheriff courts, and I wish to draw the attention of the House to it, for it is a serious case. This was a. case tried by order of the inspector. A. girl was off work one day due to the illness of her mother. Under the rules on the placard posted up in pursuance of the Truck Act it was provided that if an, employee lost a day she was liable to be fined a day's wages. This poor girl was earning only 7s. a week, and she lost at day's pay in consequence of being off work. That reduced her wages to 5s. 7d. She was fined Is. 3d. for being off, and thus her wages were reduced to the pitiable sum of 4s. 4d. This case was taken into court, and there is an account, of it in this year's Report by the Chief Factory Inspector, at page 279. The sheriff decided in favour of the employers. He held that it was legal under the Truck Act to deduct 1s. 3d. from, the girl's wages. If you make it legal to deduct from this unprotected, girl 1s. 3d. of her wages because she is off a day, why not make the same law applicable to all the professions of this country? I remember some years ago., before I became a Member of this House; I was upstairs attending a Committee in connection with the promotion of a Bill. We had engaged counsel, but that counsel never put in an appearance during the whole time the Bill was going through Committee. He-charged us over £200. We paid for the work, although he did not put his face-almost into the room. Then I ask, if it is fair, if it is the law that you should charge this girl or any worker a fine, and in addition deduct from her wages a day's, pay because she is off work for a day—I ask the House of Commons, even with all its legal power, to make the same law applicable to men upstairs if they are engaged to do work and do not do it. Fine them in the same way and see how the law would work. I daresay barristers would not like a law of that kind. I wish to be very candid with Ministers. It was not legal until 1892 that a workman should be fined for not being at his work at the proper time, but if it has become legal, then I say apply the same law to the Treasury Bench. The Ministers are paid £5,000 a year, which I do not grudge. I believe they are entitled to it. Every day since I have been on these benches a Member comes into the House and puts a question to a Minister who is not there to reply. He is late and the result is he comes in and apologises. Why should he not be subject to the same law? [Laughter.] I say this is no laughing matter. It is a serious matter to thousands. I have got some papers here from the town of Birmingham with reference to a large number of deductions which occurred there, and I call attention to it because it is a most serious matter to workers who are not protected with respect to deductions and fines under the Truck Act of 1886. I come to a case which the Home Office tested last year before the stipendiary magistrate of Birmingham. There you have girls employed in works where they are liable to be fined for what is called "waste." Neither the stipendiary magistrate nor Miss Squire, the lady inspector, knows whether that waste is due to the inferior quality of the steel out of which pens are manufactured or to other causes. But the employers put it down to the girls; and what has been the result? These girls have been fined. A case was taken into court and tried before the stipendiary magistrate. The result was that he held that under the Truck Act the employer was justified in deducting this amount of "waste" from the wages of the poor girls. The result is that a girl earning 12s. a week is in debt to the extent of £2, others are in debt £5, and others £10, and there is no Member from Birmingham who will get up in the House of Commons—at least, they do not—to condemn a law that makes these girls subject to these serious deductions. It is a travesty when you think that we are trying to right things in South Africa—that we are shedding our blood and spending our money to right differences there—while here in Birmingham you have these poor girls working day after day and in debt £10, £5, and £2 for fines. I hold that the wages of a girl after she has performed her labour ought to be as sacred to her as the wages or earnings of any professional man in this country. In my opinion, the only proper settlement of this question is indicated in the Report of last year by Miss Squire. She argues with great force—and I would ask Members of the House to read the Report—that the only cure for this is to do away with the law of fining:, and not permit employers of labour to deduct fines from the wages of workmen while acting as their own judge and jury as to what the fines should be. I speak as one who knows what it is to work for daily wages. I can tell you that I would not permit any employer of labour to deduct from my wages any fine. Every working man has a right to have his wages protected. If an employer is anxious to take from a workman any of his wages, to fine him, or to claim damages, then in my opinion he ought to take him into a court of law. The wages of a workman should be paid to. him in their entirety in the current coin of the realm, and the law should not permit any deductions to be made. In 1891 a case came before Justice Grantham, who decided in favour of this right of deduction. It was, in fact, judge-made law, and I say it ought to have been the duty of the Government, if it were judge-made-law, to have brought in a Bill to prevent employers from deducting from the wages of unprotected workmen the sums which I have pointed out. I have reviewed three years working of the Truck Act; I raised my voice alone in the House of Commons on the Third Heading; and I feel to-day, as then, that no Parliament depending on the votes of a broad electorate such as we have should continue to regard as legal that which I have described, and which I consider to be a scandal on the Statute-book of our country.

MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)

I just wish to say, as one of the Members for Birmingham, that I am always most anxious to look into any hardships or grievances under which workpeople suffer if they are brought to my notice, and to bring such redress as I have in my power. I think the attack the hon. Gentleman made on us poor Birmingham Members was hardly called for.

MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid)

said that if the hon. Member who had just spoken had not seen reports of the cases in Birmingham which his hon. friend had referred to, it was his own fault. If he represented penmakers in Birmingham, it was his place to see that these cases were inquired into without waiting for some one from the north of England to give him enlightenment. He would like to refer to what the hon. Member for Battersea said as to the fear of foreign' competition, because it was a matter which the representatives both of capital and labour should have some regard for. If there was one thing more than another which would enable this country to keep its place in industrial competition with other nations, it was the stamina and energy of its workpeople. It would pay employers to have more regard to cultivating and fostering the strength of the people they engage instead of having regard entirely to the monetary aspect of trade. He was glad to say that where men and women were fully organised in this country, the Truck Act was not put in force so rigorously as where they were unorganised. He preached conciliation and kindness between employers and workmen, and what he would impress upon employers was that where people were not organised and had no effective strength behind them, they should look to the morality of the matter and not impose these fines. It was necessary, before they could fully appreciate the circumstances of the poor workpeople of this country, that they should have tasted the bitter experience many of them had to go through. He had brought before the attention of the Home Secretary the bravery of some miners in a colliery in the county of Durham in the month of February. They risked their lives to save two of their fellows, and he asked the right hon. Gentleman whether it was not possible to arrange for an industrial Victoria Gross to be awarded in such cases. He would be the last man to disparage in any way the bravery of any soldier or sailor, but there were as brave acts done in the mines, forges, and factories day after day as on the battlefield. The right hon. Gentleman replied that there was the Albert medal, and he had done something to war is getting it for the three men in the case referred to. But the Albert medal was not a national recognition. It was awarded by a philanthropic institution, and what he wanted to see was the creation of some national recognition which would be given to those who performed brave acts in industrial pursuits. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to insinuate that the granting of medals to men who had risked their lives would give rise to difficulties and heart burnings. There were no such difficulties when the Victoria Gross was awarded for bravery on the field of battle, and in the industrial world the only heart burnings would be those of emulation and desire to achieve the same reward and re- cognition. Turning to another matter, he spoke in behalf of a number of coroners when he said there was a general desire that jurymen should be relieved from the duty of viewing the bodies of men killed by accident in collieries and other places, where there was no doubt as to the cause of death. He addressed a question some time ago to the Home Secretary on this subject, but he wished the right hon. Gentleman now to give a fuller answer than on that occasion. He wished to know whether anything could be done in the way of altering the law so as to render it unnecessary for jurymen to view the bodies in such cases.

MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, S.)

, who was very imperfectly heard, said it must be apparent to everybody who had listened to that debate that it had been conducted not only with unusual mildness of criticism, but also, as regarded the administrative action of the Home Office during the past twelve months, with something very like unanimity of approval. That was a, circumstance on which he ventured to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, because anyone who had had any experience, however small, of the work of the Homo Office had found it less common to hoar expressions of gratitude for what had been done than criticism for what had been left undone. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University that it was a subject of very great regret that the legislative proposals which the right hon. Gentleman had made had not been brought to a Second Reading discussion, as that would have had the effect of clearing the air, and of paving the way for a measure which many Members, at any rate, would regard as more comprehensive and less objectionable than that which was now on the Table of the House. The only matters upon which he wished to make a few observations were those raised in reference to various branches of dangerous trades, the first being that of lead poisoning. He thought, forming the best judgment he could on the materials now before them, that it was only fair to acknowledge that as a result of the changes which had been introduced by means of special rules and otherwise, there had been a substantial improvement in regard to the matter of lead poisoning. Unless the figures were altogether fallacious, he thought that was practically demonstrated by the official Returns. But, while they welcomed this improvement so far as it went, it was not one on which they could congratulate themselves so long as there existed the state of facts disclosed by his right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean and his hon. friend the Member for Battersea in the figures they had quoted to the Committee. If those figures, the accuracy of which there was no reason to impeach, represented the actual state of things, even after the amelioration which they believed had been introduced by the changes made in the administration of the law, they wore still confronted with an appalling problem in the existence of what they now knew, on medical and scientific authority, to be preventable evils, and which were yet allowed to work this terrible destruction to life and health practically unchecked. He was very glad that on that subject there had not been in the course of the debate a single dissentient voice, unless it was that which proceeded from the hon. Member for Stoke The hon. Member for Stoke seemed to have very peculiar ideas as to responsibility, and to think that his hon. friends ought not to have criticised the action of a particular stipendiary, because he (Mr. Asquith) when in office had appointed him. And the hon. Member seemed to think, too, that he ought to be held responsible for all the things which were said, in his absence, in his wife's drawing-room, Those notions of responsibility which the hon. Member apparently professed——


said he based his remarks on the reports which appeared in the newspapers, it was not a private meeting.


agreed it was not a private meeting, but he was not there. so far as he could judge from the reports, however, it appeared to him that the speeches made were temperate, wise, and practical, and, as his hon. friend the Member for Battersea had said, so far as they were heard by those present and real by those absent, calculated to do a great deal of good. but, the hon. Member having these somewhat singular motions of responsibility, he did not attach quite the same importance he might otherwise have done to the sentiments he, and he alone, had expressed. He thought the figures quoted from Dr. Prendergast, and the state of things those figures disclosed, led to two irresistible conclusions. The first was that the existing code of special rules, excellent, no doubt, as an instalment in the direction of reform, was not sufficiently stringent to effect the purpose which the Home Office had in view. He believed the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary entirely agreed with him in that. He knew the difficulty there was in the necessity of submitting all these matters to arbitration, but, for his part, he was certain that if he were in the right hon. Gentleman's place, he would be prepared to undertake the possible delay, expense, and worry even of a fresh series of arbitrations until he had got these rules into a condition more adeqaate to the necessities of the case, and until—backed up as he was certain the Home Secretary under those circumstances would be by the public opinion not only of the district but of the country at large—he had got behind those rules, for the purpose of enforcing them, something which was really more valuable than the most vigilant activity of the most competent inspector—a well-informed and awakened public conscience. This was the first point they ought to press upon, he was sure, a by no means unwilling Home Secretary. The second was as to inspection. As he said last year, in his opinion a case had been made out, as regarded the particular instance of Staffordshire, where the pottery industry was mainly carried on, for the appointment not of a peripatetic or itinerant, but of a permanent female inspector, a lady who would do, not as the ordinary inspector did—namely, descend from time to time on the district to see what was going on, but one who would be living among the people, accessible to the workers themselves, and able day by day to make her influence felt by constant and vigilant visitation of all the factories and workshops concerned. There was no industry in the country, he believed, in regard to which it was more necessary to have a female inspector constantly on the spot than this one. The workers were, to an enormously preponderating extent, women and young persons: and they had only to listen to the terrible statistics which had been given to the Committee that day to see what a peculiarly deleterious effect this industry had upon women, and particularly in regard to child-bearing and the offspring they produced. If these two things were done—namely, the rules brought up in point of stringency to the view not of enthusiasts or of hysteria mongers, but of grave scientific authorities, who had declared such stringent rules to be both practicable and necessary, and a permanent woman inspector appointed to see that they were properly carried out, he could not help thinking that before they were five years older this terrible plague spot would be removed from their midst. His hon. friend the Member for Berwickshire had referred to the fact that though the Departmental Committee over which he presided for so many years with such an enormous amount of assiduity and attention had advised the Home Office to form special rules for no fewer than seventy-eight industries, in only two cases had any effective steps yet been taken to carry out their suggestions. The right hon. Gentleman might have good reasons for the delay or apparent indifference of his Department, but he was sure the Committee would be glad to know what those reasons were, and, if the obstacles were of a removable kind, what steps the Department were taking to remove them and bring these industries also within the safeguards and protection they so urgently needed. On the general administration of the Department on its industrial side he had a peculiar interest and pleasure in the readjustments the right hon. Gentleman had had it in his power to make during the last twelve months as regarded the functions of the staff and other matters. He earnestly hoped he would be able to impress on the Treasury with increasing emphasis and effect the fact—which he believed was absolutely indisputable in view of the enormous and growing complexity of our industrial legislation, and the largely increased and legitimate interest public opinion now took in seeing that in industries where sources of danger existed those dangers should be obviated or at any rate mitigated—that there was an absolute necessity for providing a much more adequate staff than the Department at present possessed.


said he was exceedingly glad that the criticisms passed on the Department had, on the whole, been so favourable, and, above all, that the Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories, embodying Reports of the other inspectors, had been received with such general satisfaction—Reports which reflected very great credit on the officials concerned. To have Reports containing so much valuable material, not only from, the Chief Inspector, the women inspectors and others, but also from the medical and engineering inspectors, was a matter of considerable satisfaction. To deal with the questions addressed to him, he might say, first of all, that the hon. Member for Mid Durham-was mistaken in supposing that the Albert medal was a private award, or given by private persons. The medal was really the industrial or civil equivalent of the Victoria Cross. He had had the pleasure of recommending in one or two instances that the Albert medal should be given for deeds of great gallantry. Those who had ever been responsible for granting the decoration would agree that in the case of the mining industry, in many of tie accidents which unfortunately happened, it would be exceedingly difficult to select, among the numerous, almost universal, instances of, brave conduct, the men to whom these medals should be awarded. He feared that very often when such a medal was given there were some heartburnings on the part of the friends, at all. events, of some of the other men who had. shown conspicuous bravery. The Albert medal was a national medal in the highest sense of the word, and was given for the most distinguished bravery, and it had always been acknowledged to take the place of the Victoria Cross among the civil population. As regards-the question of the obligation upon coroners' juries to view the dead bodies, he was aware that it aroused considerable interest and that there was some feeling; in favour of relief from this obligation. He was disposed to take this view himself; but when an attempt was made recently to obtain the opinion of coroners, generally on the point, it was found that they differed widely amongst themselves both as to the desirability of any change 'in the law and as to the nature of the change, if any, which should be made.. In those circumstances legislation was scarcely possible. With reference to the-criticisms which had been made upon the administration of the Factory Law, he would take first that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean—namely, as regards lead-poisoning in the earthenware manufactories in the Potteries. He must say that he considered that the improvement had been steady and substantial, though he was free to admit that it had not been all that they could wish. Whether the figures of Dr. Prendergast were good or bad—and it ought to be explained that those figures did not relate to the present time, but to a period prior to the establishment of the Special Rules, and further did not, as he understood, represent only cases actually dealt with by the doctor himself —the fact remained that lead poisoning in the Potteries was a fearful thing, far more serious indeed, even in lucifer match-making, than phosphorus poisoning. He was, therefore, prepared to admit that the case demanded the most urgent attention on the part of the Home Office, in order that everything possible should be done to secure that the industry should be carried on in a manner as little harmful as possible to those engaged in it. They had not been altogether idle in this matter. He admitted to the full that the existing code of rules was not sufficient, but it had done a considerable amount of good. They had been engaged on a new code of rules, which would shortly be published, and which, he hoped, would cany out everything recommended by Dr. Oliver and Dr. Thorpe, with the exception that there was no absolute prohibition of the use of raw lead in every case. The Report would show how they had gone to work. In certain processes none but fritted lead was to be used, and that fritted lead was to be of a certain standard. In other cases, where raw lead was used, it was made incumbent on the manufacturers to show absolute necessity, and very special restrictions would be imposed. He had every hope that the rules would be accepted, and he was almost confident that they would get them without arbitration; but he should go to arbitration rather than that the present state of things should continue. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of inspection and especially as to women inspectors. He could not say too much for the good work done by the women inspectors all over the country. An Inter-departmental Committee on the constitution of the Factory Department had recommended certain increases of staff, including the appointment of one additional woman inspector, and that had been made. The right hon. Gentleman said that there should be one woman inspector resident in the Potteries for some considerable time. There was a great deal to be said on both sides. They were at present, in London, trying the experiment of putting the work in certain cases, e.g. laundries, under one woman inspector; and though he did not know whether he would be well-advised to extend that experiment, he acknowledged, at all events, to the full the principle that there were circumstances where girls and women would confide to a woman inspector what they would not tell to a man. To return for a moment to lead, he and his Department were fully alive to the necessity of doing all they could, and he believed it would be found that in the new code of rules—over which he had been spending much time, with the view to avoiding arbitration—a great step had been taken to make this industry less dangerous to those employed in it.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say when these rules will be published?


could not say exactly, but it would not be very long. He thought he must add this for the manufacturers—in which connection he thought the hon. Member for Stoke had been somewhat harshly treated—that he had found them ready to take advice and to act with the Home Office; and he hoped that it was not a reproach to try to carry them with the Department rather than to impose fresh rules upon them very much against the grain. With reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for Berwick, he was perfectly sensible of the good work he and his Committee did for four years; and if the Home Office had not issued a great many special rules recommended by that Committee it did not follow that the work had; been wasted or the recommendations, ignored. That was especially the case in regard to the Bessemer and certain other processes, where the inspectors in the course of administering the existing provisions of the law were much helped by the Reports of the Committee. With some questions, of course, it was not possible to deal effectively without some such powers as were included in the Bill, which, as had been stated, had not had a Second Reading debate—a debate in which many misunderstandings would have been cleared up, and much help given in all probability to those responsible for that attempt at legislation. In reference to the phosphorus special rules, which had already been debated that session, he was very much astonished to find that so many Members took the view that the new rules had really not been strengthened by arbitration. There were even in comparison with the old rules one or two points in which they were weakened, it was true, contrary to the desire of the Home Office. But he claimed for them that in the first instance they were drawn in the main to carry out the recommendations of their experts. They were to a certain extent altered, but if those alterations were minutely examined they would be found not to have really that importance which was attached to them by some hon. Members. He did not know that he needed to go into them in detail, but taking, for instance, the distinction between the wet and the dry processes he could not say they were in a position to assert that they had the same positive evidence in regard to the injury in the one case that they had in the other. He was not prepared to admit, indeed, either that the rules were materially weakened, or that they were not a considerable improvement upon the rules passed some years ago. It had been said that the use of white or yellow phosphorus should have been prohibited; but he did not see how it was possible to insist upon the prohibition absolutely of the use of this particular kind of phosphorus. Moreover, he might mention that as a result of what had been done there had only been one reported case of necrosis during the past six months, which showed, he thought, that the Department had, to a large extent, got hold of the disease. In the next place the effect of the attention which the manufacturers were compelled to give to the matter by the new rules was that one large firm was known to have abandoned altogether the use of dangerous phosphorus, and that was a very satisfactory state of things; and if it was possible to supply strike - any where matches as cheaply as before without the use of this dangerous phosphorus the public could do a great deal in encouraging its disuse. Some allusion had been made to an international agreement with the idea of doing away with the use of white or yellow phosphorus, and of preventing the importation and exportation of matches in the manufacture of which white or yellow phosphorus was used. He feared that there was not much hope of such an agreement, for those acquainted with the trade knew that they had everything to lose and nothing to gain by such an international arrangement, and he was afraid it was no use trying to find a solution of the difficulty in that direction. Without going so far a field he hoped those hon. Gentlemen who had criticised the rules so closely would give them the opportunity of being tested by experience. He had every expectation of getting them established in all the places where matches were made, and if there should be a loophole in them he felt, from the support they had received in dealing with those matters, that there would be no difficulty in taking any further action which should be deemed necessary. His right hon. friend the Member for the University of Oxford had brought forward the question of the fruit trade. His right hon. friend said that there were a great many things going on in the I am factories which ought not to go on, and he attributed them to the administration of the Homo Office. He thought that was very unfair, on the face of it, because it was owing to the state of the law that these things were going on, and not to the administration. By the law those jam factories were totally exempted from the Factory Acts at certain times of the year. The view of the Government was that whereas it was desirable to allow overtime to be worked occasionally, under proper conditions, when required, e.g., for the preservation of material such as over-ripe fruit, it was necessary to bring them under the Act for all other purposes, sanitary and otherwise; and he need hardly say that he would have taken care that the regulations which the Factories Bill would have enabled him to make applied to the whole of the factory, and not to any detached portion. The present state of the law with reference to these factories was not satisfactory, and they ought to be brought under the Act for sanitary and many other purposes; but, at the same time, there ought to be, within certain limits, powers for extended overtime, so that there should not be a great loss of perishable articles of food. The right hon. Baronet opposite spoke about the creameries in Ireland. he had had a very large and influential deputation from Ireland before him upon this subject before the Factories Bill was introduced. That deputation represented opinions on both sides of the House, and the members of it pointed out the enormous increase of these creameries in various parts of Ireland, and they also urged that they were not in a position to apply all the modern methods of preserving cream. That deputation argued that it was absolutely indispensable to their business that for about four hours on a Sunday the women should be employed to churn cream. He thought they made out a case at all events for careful consideration, and he proposed to take power to give effect to their representations because he thought the effect of enforcing strictly the existing restrictions would be to stop the employment of women altogether, and that would inflict an injury upon a struggling—he would rather say a growing and desirable —Irish industry. he agreed with his right hon. friend that it was most desirable to give no encouragement to Sunday labour; but there were a great many people who made butter on Sundays, and under special circumstances it was not unreasonable to say that for a certain space of time and at certain periods of the year the difficulties of dealing with those perishable goods should be considered and dealt with under proper restrictions. He was not sure that there was anything else to which he needed to reply. He might say, however, that he was simply astonished at the speech made by the hon. Member for Stockton. The hon. Member had always taken a most extraordinary view of the Truck Act of 1896, which was not warranted by a single word in it. The hon. Member had cited several very hard cases, but they were not the fault of the Truck Act of 1896, or any other Truck Act. The Act was introduced to place certain restrictions upon employers, and it was provided that certain acts should be illegal, viz., the imposition of fines and deductions from wages unless they were reasonable. All he had to say was that some of the women inspectors could tell the hon. Member that many very poor working people who before the passing of the Act could not help themselves at all, and had been imposed upon by greedy and dishonest employers, were now provided with a remedy under the Act of 1896. That Act passed through this House as a non-party measure, and the construction which the hon. Member for Stockton had put upon it was totally wrong and perverse. The hon. Gentleman had asked him why he had not granted certain exemptions from the Act under Section 9. The answer was that to grant an exemption is to remove the protection of the Act from the person or trade exempted. The Section provided that the Secretary of State could do this only when he was satisfied that the Act was not necessary for the protection of the persons engaged in any trade; and in order to be so satisfied he naturally demanded the joint assurance of employers and employed. The hon. Member said that only one exemption had been granted. He was right; and the reason was that in only one case had the necessary conditions been fulfilled.


But there was also the case of the North of England Board of Arbitration. Both employers and employed sent a deputation to wait upon you, and asked for those exemptions, and you declined to give them.


said he declined because he was not satisfied that the deputation was thoroughly representative of all the parties, and had shown the Act to be unnecessary.


They represented both parties.


thought he did not need to detain the Committee any longer. He had given hon. Gentlemen opposite the best answer he could, and he was quite aware that he could never convince them.


The right hon. Gentleman has made a very excellent promise as regards the future. Perhaps some of my friends may think, under these circumstances, that I ought not to press my motion to a division. I can only say that, personally, I am so dissatisfied with what has happened that I propose to press my motion to a division as an expression of dissatisfaction with the administration of the Home Office in the past. If the right hon. Gentleman keeps all those promises he has made I may have the pleasure of supporting him in the future.

MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

There is one question mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman to which I desire to allude, and it is a question in which the East End of London is concerned—I allude to the manufacture of lucifer matches, in the manufacture of which phosphorus is used. I do not propose to travel over ground which has already been covered, but I do desire to say that, in my opinion, the new amended rules which have been issued as the result of the arbitration are very unsatisfactory. There are one or two points in reference to them to which I desire respectfully to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention. In the first place, I wish to allude to the employment of children without previous medical examination in the match trade. It is admitted that this is a dangerous occupation, and it is a notorious fact that some persons are much more susceptible to injury than others, and yet there is no provision that before a person enters upon this very dangerous occupation there shall be an examination of any kind, either medical or dental. The rules are complied with if there is an examination within twenty-eight days. The advocate who appeared before the arbitrator for the workmen strongly insisted that the order of proceeding was strangely inverted and that as these were dangerous occupations, it was only reasonable that the medical examination should precede actual employment. Upon the other side, on the part of the employers it was said that this was impracticable because persons were taken on early in the morning, and at other times and under circumstances which rendered it impracticable for a medical examination to precede employment. I do not desire to enter into a discussion as to whether or not any absolute rule that examination should precede employment is or is not under the circumstances impracticable, but I do submit to the right hon. Gentleman that twenty-eight days is an unreasonable period to permit to elapse before either a medical or a dental examination takes place, and I think ten or fourteen days would be quite sufficient. The second point to which I desire to call attention is with regard to the conditions after the occupation has been entered upon. It is admitted that some of the operations are very dangerous while others are less dangerous, and that some are altogether innocuous. In these circumstances it does seem reasonable that provision should be made for a change of occupation, and I think in this respect that we might learn something from the system in other countries. The law of Sweden provides— That no worker may be employed for more than six months at a time in dipping. The law of Austria enacts— That workers shall from time to time be allowed a change of work. A similar rule in our own country was recommended by the expert adviser of the Home Office, Dr. Oliver, who said that there should be a change of occupation for the workers, and that men and women should not be allowed to remain more than a few weeks at a time in any one department. That was the recommendation of Dr. Oliver, the professional adviser of the Home Office. Dr. Oliver refers to the case of adult men and women, but the argument is very much stronger in the case of mere children employed in these operations. I do not mean children within the technical meaning of the Act, but those persons who are in point of years really children. There is a general provision that young persons under the age of fourteen years shall not be fully employed in factories of this kind, but to that general rule there is an exception to this effect, that a child of thirteen who passes a prescribed examination may be employed for certain purposes in a match factory as a young person, and may be fully employed. I think it is very unreasonable that a child of thirteen should be fully employed in some of the most dangerous operations in connection with this trade, and may I point out that the medical adviser of the Home Office says that at the age of thirteen, or thereabouts, there is a peculiar danger from this kind of employment, because he says that, from a dental point of view, a child at the age of thirteen is more likely to be suffering from decayed teeth than in later years. And yet a child may be employed at this age without undergoing any medical or dental examination. This is an important matter, because, in the Report of the adviser of the Home Office with reference to a large London firm, I find it is stated that these children are constantly employed in these most dangerous processes, and are exposed day after day to the poisonous fumes. These children are of the age of thirteen years, and I say that it is an unreasonable thing that the rules should be such as to allow a child of the tender age of thirteen years to be permanently employed in an occupation which is professedly so dangerous as the dipping operation where phosphorus is used. I have ventured to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of these children, and I trust he will give it his careful consideration, and I am sure his natural disposition is fully in sympathy with the appeal I have ventured to address to him.

MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)

I have listened carefully to the reply made by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and it seems to me that he has failed to appreciate what is the real objection we take to the Truck Act. He said, and said very truly, that it was a non-party measure, and he said that the Truck Act was a Bill which he found at the Home Office, and which had been left there by his predecessor. The right hon. Gentleman also states that as the Bill was introduced it met with cordial approval, and that the Bill passed its Second Reading in this House without a division, and it was approved of in speech after speech delivered from this side of the House. But if the Bill had passed in the form in which it was originally introduced we should have had no complaint to make against it; because, as originally introduced, no fine or deduction could be made from a workman's wages unless his assent had been given in writing. That was the form in which the Bill was introduced to this House, and we approved of it because we felt it was a reasonable thing that a workman should be heard in his own interest as to what was considered a reasonable deduction in his wages, and as long as he had the right of being heard he had no complaint to make. That was the form in which the Bill was introduced, but what happened in Grand Committee? An Amendment was moved, I believe, by the hon. Member for -Renfrewshire——


Order, order! The hon. Member will not be in order in discussing the progress of any particular Bill for which the Secretary of State for the Home Department is not responsible. Such a question cannot be discussed in Committee of Supply.


I do not want to discuss that Bill, but I simply wish to state what led to our opposition to the Truck Act—namely, that the Bill as originally introduced did not actually become law, because the Home Secretary was defeated in the Grand Committee by an Amendment which deprived the workman of any right to say whether the contract made was reasonable or not. That is all I wish to say in reference to this point, for that Amendment completely altered the character of the Bill, and that has been the ground of our objection to the operation of the Truck Act ever since it became law. I only wish now to say that personally I was very pleased—and I think there are many people outside this House who will also be pleased—to hear the statement that was made by the Home Secretary tonight, in reply to the appeal made by the hon. Member for Mid Durham, in regard to the Albert medal. I was very pleased to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that the Albert medal might be taken as an equivalent to the Victoria Cross. It is a surprising thing to me, and to many who take an interest in industrial affairs, how seldom this medal for meritorious conduct has been given to the men who have risked their lives again and again in order to save the lives of their fellows. I venture to say that if the right hon. Gentleman is in a position to grant a Return on the motion of any hon. Member of this House showing the number of cases in which the Albert medal has been given for meritorious conduct to the artizans of this 'country, it will be found that the number is very small indeed. And yet, having regard to the numerous cases in which explosions occur in mines, where the rescuing parties are subject to great hardships and exposed to great dangers and almost lose their lives in their attempt to rescue their fellows, I do not believe that there is a single case, oven where a rescuing party have gone almost to the extreme length of losing their lives, in which the Albert medal has been granted. A remarkable case has been referred to in which the men exposed themselves to great danger, and one or two of them remained in an unconscious condition for a considerable time after, and yet all that could be got in a case like this was the medal of the Humane Society. If a man risks his life in saving a gun from the enemy on a field of battle he gets the Victoria Cross, but if you risk your life to save a fellow workman the probability is that you will get no reward at all for the bravery and heroism which you display. The difference in the case of the miner is this; he carries on his occupation far away from the public gaze, in the dark caverns of a mine. When a man goes out to rescue a person from drowning his heroism is seen, and it is emblazoned all over the country in the newspapers the following day. But in the dark caverns of the mines in this country you have similar deeds of bravery displayed, and there is no public recognition of those deeds. Of course you may say this is all sentiment, and I grant it; but, after all, human life is governed by sentiment, and at all events sentiment is something that tends to develop the spirit of emulation in regard to bravery in the minds of the industrial classes of this country. A man whose bravery is recognised is able to hand that token down to his family with pride and admiration, and it tends to develop that same spirit of bravery in his own family which we all desire so much to see cultivated. I sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman may be in a position by-and-by to promise us that some recognition of deeds of bravery may be offered to miners when such deeds are discovered. I know there are great difficulties in the way, and the very fact that the miner carries on his calling far away from the public gaze increases the difficulty; but I think that the officials at the mine may be relied upon to say whether in their judgment any particular deed is worthy of recognition. I hope the right hon. Gentleman may see his way to introduce some token as a recognition of deeds of bravery when they are discovered, either in our coal mines or in our factories and workshops. If that could be done I feel sure that it would do a very great deal indeed in the direction of encouraging acts of bravery amongst the masses of this country.


rose to address the House, when Dr. TANNER called attention to the fact that forty Members were not present.

House counted, and forty Members being found present,


said that the accusations of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean seemed more or less well founded as regarded lead poisoning, although he had not the technical knowledge necessary to judge between the right hon. Baronet and the Home Office. So far as the operations of the Home Office were concerned, there was no complaint to be made on the part of himself and his colleagues in their part of the country. In regard to the wool industry, an attempt had been made to grapple with the question. He did not say that that attempt was by any means complete, but when the representatives of the employers and employed combined together and agreed as to what form of rules should be adopted, the Home Office were at once desirous of putting those rules into practice. The results had been so-far encouraging, though much less so than the friends of the workers had hoped. Further representations would probably have to be made in regard to certain details, but he had no doubt they would receive the same amount of consideration at the hands of the Homo Secretary as those already made had received. For these reasons, he should not feel justified in supporting the motion of his right hon. friend the Member for Forest of Dean, although he had associated himself with him, and hoped again to have the honour, in pressing on the Government for further protection for those engaged in dangerous trades. He should like to say a word on the question raised by the hon. Member for Mid Durham as to an honourable reward being given for saving life. As much heroism was frequently exhibited in our mines, factories and railways, as by the most gallant soldier who had ever won the Victoria Cross on the field of battle. It was the general practice to grant exclusively to soldiers and sailors this valued token of recognition of gallantry, but it was denied as a recognition of the gallant acts performed by the workers of the country. One of the most graceful acts which could come from the present administration of the Home Office would be the putting on a clear and definite footing a system of rewarding these acts of gallantry by an industrial V.C.

*COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)

said the great bravery shown in rescue work by the mining population, could not be exaggerated; but he thought that if a reward of a medal was instituted for such acts of heroism the conditions, which attached to the military V.C. should not be followed. Lord Hardinge had objected to these conditions very much, for the Army. The V.C. was only granted for an act of individual valour, and not given to the whole of a party. There were cases where, in a rescue from a mine, four or five persons were often equally deserving of recognition for the performance of a very dangerous action. He strongly recommended that the con-

Original Question again proposed.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

May I ask, Mr. Lowther, in the interests of propriety, whether you do not think it right in view of the character of the discussion which the hon. Member for Flintshire is about to open, to send a, message to the Ladies'

ditions of any such award should be fair to all concerned.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 61; Noes, 95. (Division List No. 217.)

Allan, William (Gateshead) Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Power, Patrick Joseph
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Horniman, Frederick John Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Jacoby, Alfred James Rickett, J. Compton
Burt, Thomas Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Caldwell, James Labouchere, Henry Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)
Cawley, Frederick Lewis, John Herbert Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Colville, John Macaleese, Daniel Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Crilly, Daniel M'Dermott, Patrick Souttar, Robinson
Dalziel, James Henry M'Ghee, Richard Spicer, Albert
Dillon, John M'Kenna, Reginald Steadman, William Charles
Donelan, Captain A. M'Leod, John Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Doogan, P. C. Maddison, Fred. Tanner, Charles Kearns
Dunn, Sir William Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Molloy, Bernard Charles Wedderburn, Sir William
Fenwick, Charles Moss, Samuel Weir, James Galloway
Flynn, James Christopher Moulton, John Fletcher Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbro'gh)
Gourley, Sir Fdw. Temperley Nussey, Thomas Willans
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Harwood, George O'Connor. T. P. (Liverpool) Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. John Burns.
Hazell, Walter Pickard, Benjamin
Hedderwick, Thos. Chas, H. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Allsopp, Hon. George Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Arrol, Sir William Giles, Charles Tyrrell Myers, William Henry
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Golds worthy, Major-General Nicol, Donald Ninian
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds) Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Pierpoint, Robert
Banbury, Frederick George Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)
Bartley, George C. T. Hanbury, Rt Hon. Robert Wm. Pretyman, Ernest George
Bigwood, James Hardy, Laurence Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Blundell, Colonel Henry Heaton, John Henniker Purvis, Robert
Bond, Edward Helder, Augustus Rentoul, James Alexander
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Henderson, Alexander Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Houston, R. P. Ritchie, Rt. Hon Chas. Thomson
Carlile, William Walter Howard, Joseph Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Howell, William Tudor Seely, Charles Hilton
Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbysh.) Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle Sharpe, William Edward T.
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r) Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Charrington, Spencer Lawrence, Sir E Durning-(Corn) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry) Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Leigh-Bennet, Henry Currie Strauss, Arthur
Colomb, Sir Jn. Charles Ready Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox'd Univ)
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Wanklyn, James Leslie
Cruddas, William Donaldson Lowe, Francis William Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E.(Taunton)
Curzon, Viscount Macartney, W. G. Ellison Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macdona, John Cumming Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)
Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) M'Killop, James Wylie, Alexander
Fisher, William Hayes Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire) Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Middlemore, J. Throgmorton TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Fletcher, Sir Henry More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire) Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Flower, Ernest Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford)

Gallery that it might be desirable that any ladies there should withdraw.


I will cause an intimation to be sent to the Ladies' Gallery.

*MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)

I assure you, Mr. Lowther, that this is not a pleasant task on which I am about to embark. It is nothing but a painful sense of duty which impels me to do so, much against my own inclination. I think the Committee knows pretty well the subject to which I am about to call attention. I refer to the disgraceful condition of many of the streets of London at night time. I ask the House to consider what it is possible for us to do in order to clear our country of what has become a national reproach. Many hon. Members have travelled, as I have travelled, over most parts of the world, and they will bear me out in saying that in no country will you see such sights as are to be witnessed in this metropolis. The State has spent immense sums in primary education, and the children are much better educated than they were a generation ago; but I ask the House, what is the education they get on the streets of the metropolis when they leave school and reach that susceptible age when character is formed? The centre of the metropolis is given up to a carnival of vice every night, and I doubt whether in the whole civilised world such open and hideous manifestation of vice is to be seen as may be witnessed in Piccadilly, Regent's Circus, and the adjacent streets in the neighbourhood of Westminster. Let me read to the House a letter I have received from one much respected, whose name is widely known and honoured. I refer to Bishop Barry, whose church and rectory are in Piccadilly— I am anxious not to exaggerate, but it is difficult to speak too strongly as to the state of things which is there allowed to exist, especially between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. The nefarious traffic in vice is carried on un-blushingly by those who are well known to the police as prostitutes, or as living on the wages of prostitution. Solicitation, especially of the young, is openly practised, sometimes almost to violence. It is all but impossible to walk down Piccadilly at that time without molestation. Rows of cabs stand along the streets, to be hired for conveyance to immoral houses. At times there is open disorder of hustling, shouting, and rowdyism in general, mostly under the influence of strong drink Formal complaint has to be made before this is sufficiently checked by the police. We feel the condition deeply, as a grievance and a scandal. We do not, of course, expect that sensual vice can be eradicated by action of law. But we do think that the constant and flagrant exhibition of vice in our streets, and the presentation of dangerous temptation to the inexperienced, ought to be prevented; and in this we only claim for the metropolis what is already secured in some of our largest provincial cities. Permit me to read another letter from a friend of mine who works among young men, and has exceptional opportunities of knowing the state of London— I understand that to-morrow evening you purpose to call the attention of the House of Commons to the way in which prostitution and solicitation is allowed to prevail in the streets of the metropolis. For sixteen years I have been engaged in work amongst young men in the centre of London, and I have come to the conclusion after a long experience that thousands of young men who yearly fall into immoral practices in the metropolis do so because the temptation meets them at every street corner. It is not once or twice in the course of a walk that a man is solicited for immoral practices, but the principal streets in the centre of London are thronged with fallen women, who in the present day seem to be allowed to carry on their vile business without any restraint whatever. That this is a growing evil is evident from the way in which it has developed in recent years. Ten years ago it was a very uncommon thing for a man to be solicited in the City itself during the daytime, but this is now a matter of frequent occurrence in Ludgate Hill, St. Paul's Churchyard, and Cheapside, while what I think is an equally marked evidence of the spread of this evil is the way in which our suburban roads are now used for the purposes of prostitution. I know from personal experience that even at a distance of eight miles from London, in a very quiet suburb, three or four women are constantly walking up and down in the neighbourhood of the station, soliciting men returning to their homes from business, and I am told that this is true not only in the west of London, bat also in the north, while the way in which immorality is carried on on some of our railways at the present time is a scandal to which attention should be called. It is a well-known fact that the first-class carriages of the District Railway are at night constantly used in this way. As a citizen of London, I do feel that we have a right to demand that what has been done in Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester should be done in London, and that the streets should be cleared of this tremendous evil. There is, however, another aspect of this question which equally deserves attention, and that is the tremendous growth during the past ten years in the issue of publications in which pictures of an exceedingly indecent character are constantly to be found, and I also think that some attention should be given to the fact that the exhibition of grossly obscene pictures in business establishments can be carried on with impunity. I have myself appealed to a London magistrate on this question, and have shown to him copies of publications purchased for sixpence, each of which contained sixteen pictures of women in a nude condition, calculated to have an injurious effect on the minds of young men, and I was assured by the magistrate that as the law stood at present it was impossible to proceed. Trusting that your efforts may meet with much success, and that a blow may be struck at what is, I believe, England's greatest enemy. I have also a letter from Mr. Hugh Price Hughes, of the West London Mis- sion, from which I will read an extract:— From an exceptional knowledge of the social evil during the last thirty years, I have long realised that, while the vice itself can he removed only by moral and Christian influences, the deliberately organised trade in vice ought to be attacked by public authority. There is no doubt that in some respects the condition of our streets is growing worse, especially in consequence of the great increase of foreign tradesmen in vice, and foreign women. There is no difficulty whatever, owing to recent legislation, in dealing with disorderly houses and disorderly clubs when the local authorities are willing to do their duty. The special difficulty in West London arises mainly from two lamentable facts. First, that the existing law with respect to solicitation is so grossly unjust: solicitation by a woman is a crime, but solicitation by a man is no crime at all. Those of us who know the facts are aware that the great majority of fallen women are the victims of weakness, and hunger, and misplaced affection, and moral weakness; only a small minority are deliberately vicious. That these poor wretches alone should suffer, while their betrayers and tempters go scot-free, is outrageous. And many of us feel an almost insuperable difficulty in taking steps against the victim, while the principal offender is positively encouraged by the existing law. Secondly, Greater London is in the unhappy condition of having no control over its own police, so that when the local police make any mistake, as was illustrated in the Cass case, it becomes at once a question of party politics. You know how admirably the local authorities have dealt with this evil at Sheffield, Glasgow, and elsewhere; but there municipal government is not mixed up with Imperial party politics, and the best citizens of all shades of opinion give their moral support to the police, which alone makes police action safe and effective….. There is one thing, however, that could be done at once, and it would have an immense effect. The ever-growing multitude of well known foreign women may be sent home. No foreigner has any right whatever to come to this country for the mere purpose of breaking the law and promoting vice. I think those are very weighty indictments; they are perfectly accurate, and the evil is not confined to a few streets; it is spread over the whole metropolis, especially where there are theatres; and it infests the public parks, except those under the control of the county council, where far better order is maintained. I have travelled in many countries, but I have never seen such open incitements to vice as you see in London, and surely the time has come to attempt a reformation. Now I shall be asked at once, have we any means of successfully grappling with this question? We have examples of what has been done in our own country. I remember when Liverpool was in the same condition as London is to-day. There was no attempt to clear the streets. It was considered the proper thing to tolerate the evil, and the streets were almost impassable to respectable people. We formed a vigilance committee, and at last a large watch committee determined to see the law enforced. We got a bench of magistrates who were determined to back up the police, and in ten years the outward aspect of Liverpool has entirely changed. I do not say that the evil has been removed altogether, but what has been done makes a very great difference to young men who come into Liverpool to learn a trade, and the same thing has taken place in all our northern towns. In Glasgow so complete is the change that it is extremely difficult now to perceive any prostitutes at all. The evil is almost entirely banished. Now, I wrote to the chief constables in these towns: Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and several others. But there are two towns where the change has been most remarkable, and I shall read to the House a few extracts from the letters of the chief constables of those towns and show how that change has been brought about. This is from the Chief Constable of Glasgow— Sir,—I am directed by the Lord Provost to forward to you returns showing the number of prostitutes apprehended during the last two years, in this city, for importuning passengers, and how they are disposed of. The Lord Provost has also asked me to explain to you the method adopted here in dealing with such cases, and I have pleasure in stating to you that we have no difficulty whatever in securing convictions against such offenders, as we are very well supported by the magistrates. Constables of experience, who know these females well, are sent out every evening in plain clothes to follow these females, and they have instructions to arrest and convey them to the office when they are observed importuning. The constables are enjoined to be exceedingly careful and not on any account to interfere with any female unless she is well known to them as a prostitute. The same constables have also instructions to watch for, and if possible detect, men molesting females. These plain clothes constables go on duty every evening at eight o'clock, and in the winter months constables are put along with detectives from 5 p.m. to watch offenders of the kind referred to. If there is any other information you desire I shall be pleased to let you have it. I may say here that I am no party to any difference in the treatment of men in this matter. Well, that is the way in which Glasgow has effected the most extraordinary changes not only as regards this vice but others connected with it. They have suppressed indecent pictures and publications also. Cardiff is another notable instance of what can be done. In that town you have the most mixed, and I might say, perhaps, the roughest population of any town in England. It is, as we all know, a seafaring town and contains a considerable quantity of foreign sailors. Well, here is the letter of the head constable of Cardiff— In reply to your letter of the 17th inst. respecting disorderly houses, etc., I beg to inform you that the police of this town have for the past ten years energetically enforced the law, and have been fairly successful in suppressing immoral conduct in the streets. When a disorderly house comes under the notice of a constable steps are at once taken to have it watched, and when sufficient evidence has been obtained a warrant is issued and the offenders brought to justice. If a conviction follows, the owner or agent of the property is sent an official notice, and if a second conviction is obtained against the same tenant the owner or agent is prosecuted. We have had several cases of this kind against owners of disorderly houses with the most beneficial results, but, as you may imagine, it is difficult to hit the owner. Prostitutes plying their calling in the public streets are arrested by the police and dealt with under the Towns Police Clauses Act for importuning passengers. Prosecutions, however, do not always succeed in suppressing disorderly houses, as the following account will show. A certain district of the town was up to about two years ago a very hot-bed of vice and disorderly houses, and although prosecution followed prosecution it seemed impossible to rid the neighbourhood of objectionable characters, and the difficulty was the greater consequent on the district in question being in the centre of the town and in the midst of many licensed houses. These, as may be imagined, were frequented by the people of this district, and in many cases proved meeting places for them. It was then decided to adopt special police measures to purify the place. These measures consisted of placing on duty at each end of each street a uniformed police constable to observe each house and those who frequented it. The result was that in about a fortnight's time the occupiers vacated their houses, and within three months there was not a single disorderly house in the district. These houses are now tenanted by respectable working men. "With regard to establishments carried on under the guise of massage, we have no houses of this description in Cardiff. The circulation of objectionable illustrated literature in Cardiff has been of rare occurrence, but whenever anything of the sort has been attempted prompt measures have been taken. Only recently indecent mutoscopic prints were seized, and ordered to be destroyed by the justices, and the offender was subsequently indicted at the Cardiff borough quarter sessions for misdemeanour and convicted. The only way to stamp out vice and crime of this character is by energetic police measures combined with a rigorous administration of the law, and even then, where the evil is deep rooted, it is difficult to suppress it. I might tell the House that I have had endless complaints of indecent mutoscopic exhibitions, but I am told the Mutoscopic Company is very careful of the views it sells. But I will give the House a sufficient idea as to how it is possible to support the law and remedy this evil if it is determined to do so. I am quite prepared to admit that London differs from other large cities, and the difficulty of dealing with it is much greater, but that is all the more reason why it should be dealt with. I believe it is still getting worse because the police force is not under local control, but is a quasi-military body under the Home Office. It follows that any unpopularity incurred by the police is at once reflected on the Government. I know that the present Home Secretary is most anxious to abate these evils, but he is fettered by the traditions of the office. But the police are part of the administrative machinery of the Government, and if they happen to make a mistake, as they did in the Miss Cass case, advantage is taken to assail the Government. The police make mistakes in all these towns I have referred to, but the broad backs of the municipalities are strong enough to bear that. The representatives of the people are not afraid. Supposing in a single instance a man was apprehended by mistake for stealing, would the law as to theft afterwards be disregarded and allowed to fall into abeyance? I believe so long as we have the police system as it is the police can only be used in a feeble and ineffective manner. What I would propose would be that the County Council should be authorised to employ a body of inspectors who should go in plain clothes, as in Glasgow, and be confined to dealing with this evil and related evils, such as vile pictures, illustrated papers, books, and advertisements. I believe this policy steadily pursued would make a revolution in the metropolis in a few years. We are aware of the risk that men so employed may he tempted by heavy bribes to shut their eyes to what is going on. This work can only be done by a highly-paid class of men. Then I insist that there should be no inequality of the law between men and women. There is a strong feeling in this country against any legislation which is directed against women which is not also applicable to men.


I must remind the hon. Member that he must bring his remarks within the four corners of this Vote; he cannot suggest special legislation.


I will confine my remarks to the state of things as they exist. I have in my hand a letter from a lady who has spent ail her life in the work of rescue, in which she says— Within the last three or four years I have myself been annoyed by being joined and spoken to (old as I am) in full early afternoon-light on the pavement by the Polytechnic. Another time, longer ago, I was waiting a few minutes for my husband in Lincoln's Inn Fields, he having gone into an office, and could scarcely get rid of the man who spoke to me. I hope one lady will tell you of a man coming up to her on a wet day, and getting his head under her umbrella and terrifying her. I do not hope even to make you realise how terrifying these experiences are to even mature women. When I was superintending a college for working women in London, in a northern square (evening classes) girls used to come in panting and upset by their experiences in coming for their desired teaching. They were hard-working girls who were trying to improve themselves after their day's work—not giddy people. In that same neighbourhood a bad man at one time made himself a general terror. But a brave solicitor tackled him and drove him off. A young lady doctor going home from a midwifery case was insolently joined by a man. Happily she saw a policeman and had the wit to tell the policeman that the man needed protection as he was so frightened of walking alone so late at night. The sarcasm rid her of the annoyance. I have twice beau roughly spoken to by police when in the streets at night, once when looking for a girl who was lost, and once when helping a rescue-worker. This is only relative as showing that the police are prone to take the bad character of women who are out at night very easily for granted. Of course this ought not to be so. And I fear an increase, of this tendency of mind. I hope that a story will be sent to you of a quite ideally quiet and good young lady, who helped her mother in a domestic emergency by taking a little brother out in a perambulator. She was joined by a man, and walked through square after square till she was quite exhausted in the endeavour to rid herself of his company without showing him where she lived. I also hope that you will hear details of a story of a girl sent by her mistress, during day-time, to the post office, spoken to by a man, followed home, written to. In this case the girl told her mistress, and the man was successfully made sorry for his evil conduct. I have a large number of letters of that kind with which I will not trouble the House; but the House will feel that a very large number of pare respectable women are exposed to annoyance from men in a manner which is simply intolerable.


The hon. Member must connect the Home Office with his remarks. He must bear in mind that he is discussing the Home Office Vote, and that it is not possible to go into those questions unless he can connect them in some way with that Vote.


The way I connect them is this: I say that the administration of the police with regard to these matters is very ineffective, and is it not in order to mention such evidence as I have to show it is ineffective?


I should have thought that that would have come upon the Police Vote. Had I known that the hon. Gentleman was not going to connect it with this Vote I should have ruled him out of order long ago. I thought that he was going to say that some action that the Home Office might have taken they had not taken, or that they had taken some action which they ought not to have taken.


May I ask if the Home Secretary is not the responsible head of the London police? As I understand we are discussing a motion for the reduction of the salary of the right hon. Gentleman.


The well-known rule is that you must raise a particular question on a particular Vote. I thought the hon. Gentleman was going to attack the Home Office in respect of some Acts which he apprehended were not properly enforced. He must in some way connect his argument with the administration of the Home Office.


I will ask whether I am in order in mentioning that the Home Office and the Home Secretary do not enforce Lord Campbell's Act as it ought to be enforced. The main portion of my argument goes to show that London is infested with low illustrated papers full of indecent pictures. These are largely circulated among school children. I cannot conceive of anything more fitted to debauch the minds of the young. It seems almost a mockery to talk about giving thorn religious education, and then allow this disgusting trash to be placed in their hands. I have personal experience, having examined it, of the printed rubbish, I cannot call it literature, which is circulated all over London, and I took the liberty of sending to the hon. Members of this House a copy of one paper full of these indecent pictures, and absolutely devoid of any moral sentiment from beginning to end The point I wish to raise is, whether it is not possible for the Home Office to throw more vigour into the administration of the law, and whether it is not possible to put some check upon the villains who scour the picture galleries of Europe to collect the worst garbage and reproduce them in cheap forms for English circulation—the vile publishers who offer twenty-four of such pictures for 6d., and which are advertised in the cheap papers sold to boys and girls. Why is the law not enforced? I might remind the House that I carried through the House, twelve years ago, a resolution to this effect— That this House deplores the rapid spread of demoralising literature in this country, and is of opinion that the law against obscene publications and prints should be vigorously enforced, and, if necessary strengthened. Let me tell the House what happened. After this resolution was passed there was no difficulty. It had a wonderful effect in quickening the action of the police authorities, and led to prosecutions all over Great Britain, and convictions were obtained with ease which could not be obtained before. An immense quantity of the rubbish was destroyed, and some of the chief offenders fled the country. That was a result of a vote of the House of Commons without any change in the law. Now I wish that upon this occasion we could have a similar expression of opinion. The law is strong enough, but I contend it is not put into force. It surprises me that London magistrates refuse to convict in such cases. The Home Secretary has seen some pictures which were brought before the Lord Mayor, and which he refused to proceed against. The silly argument is used that they are works of art. "Art" is used as a kind of charm. It reminds me of the way the Dublin Invincibles disguised the crime of murder by calling it "removal." They talked of "removing" Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke, and seemed to think this took it out of the category of murder. So some sapient magistrates think that if you call the most lewd picture a work of art it becomes sacrosanct. There is a widespread opinion that the Ten Commandments do not apply to art or the drama. I do not think this House or the nation will endorse this opinion. There is one great firm which has been most particular as to the literature with which they dealt—Messrs. W. H. Smith and Sons; but I am sorry to say that of late years there has been laxity even there. It is a remarkable fact that in all matters of this kind it is public opinion which decides what the law shall be. The law should be made more rigid. Related to this trade in obscene pictures is the great abuse of mutoscopic or animated pictures. This wonderful discovery can be utilised to give rational and innocent entertainment, and usually is, but it is also used by ruffians to debauch the young. It is the custom now to take an empty shop into which these machines are put, and to put into the window suggestive or disgusting titles of the views, and then, in order to create notice, children are invited in to look at the machines, which contain pictures of semi-nude women, etc. In my constituency last year we discovered some "penny-in-the-slot" machines which exhibited grossly indecent pictures to boys and girls, and I had many letters complaining of this plague from seaside resorts. Now I am told that many parts of London are plagued with it; I have communicated with the Home Secretary again and again upon this subject. I have done my utmost to get accurate information, and I have made no statement which is not absolutely true. I find a great objection generally raised to prosecutions with regard to these pictures is that they are works of art. They are not works of art at all, but evil and obscene pictures. There is something now going on at Earl's Court Exhibition, where there are mutoscopic exhibitions in different parts of the grounds, and this is what is being shown. I quote from a reliable observer, who says— I visited the exhibition at Earl's Court on Friday, June 29th. Many 'animated pictures,' 'mutoscopic views,' or 'moving pictures' are on view there in various parts of the grounds and buildings, all exhibited by means of 'penny-in-the-slot machines.' The first set of machines visited were advertised to contain 'mutoscopic' views, and a number were labelled with suggestive titles. I put a penny in one machine, and found that it contained a series of pictures of girls in short frocks en- gaged in kicking at a hat which was held above their heads, there being at each attempt a liberal display of underclothing. In another machine of this set, labelled 'The Spider and the Fly,' views were exhibited showing a woman in tights sitting in the centre of an imitation spider's web, and inviting a young man to come to her. He resists at first; but in the last view, rushes forward, evidently to embrace her. There were many other views with suggestive titles. One which I saw was called 'Mixed Bathing Allowed,' and represented women in scanty bathing costumes playing on the beach. I visited another set of machines not labelled 'mutoscopic.' I asked the name of the owner, and was told by the attendant that they were owned by Gordon and Co., whose address I found to be 3 and 4, Pond Place, W. These pictures were the worst I have seen. One set was entitled 'Behind the Scenes of a Paris Theatre,' and consisted of thirteen pictures, which I saw. All of these pictures were objectionable, and many were indecent. One was the picture of a perfectly nude female; another represented a girl undressing in a bedroom; a third a girl with nothing on but a thin undergarment; and many were pictures of the lowest kind of French dancers in indecent and suggestive attitudes. I may add that the attendants at many of these machines are girls. It is entirely forgotten that children must be protected in a different way from' grown persons. The same principle applies to public placards. Many of these are disgusting, and border on the line that would enable a prosecution to be successfully undertaken. To say the least, they are extremely vulgar and brutalising; they are continually feeding the mind of the young with evil suggestions; and they induce a coarse and animal view of life. These pictures remain indelibly photographed on the minds of the young. Why should the young not be protected? Why should city councils not have a discretionary authority to keep the streets, which are public thoroughfares, free from this moral poison? I do not think this House realises what a relief it would be to fathers and mothers if they know that these debasing advertisements could be suppressed. I bring these evils before the House assured of the sympathy of the Home Secretary. I know that he wishes his hands to be strengthened by this House, and I feel sure that if it agrees to this resolution, an era of reform will set in which will be fruitful of good to the rising generation.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £96,207, be granted for the said Service." —(Mr. Samuel Smith.)

MR. SOUTTAR (Dumfriesshire)

I rise to support the motion of my hon. friend, and my excuse for doing so is the fact that for more than sixteen years I have been connected with work specially amongst young men, and that I have had the opportunity of learning the difficulties young men have, especially in the metropolis. It is especially on behalf of young men that I would plead with the Home Secretary. Let me say that neither my hon. friend nor any of us pretends that there is any possibility of preventing sin in the City of London. All that we ask is that the Home Office should make London just as good as other cities are. Some of us who have travelled know the cities of India intimately, and many of us have been in the cities of America, and in the cities on the Continent. I do not hesitate to say that there is no city in India, America, or on the Continent, or even in the provinces of this country that at all approaches to the condition of London. In London we see vice flaunting. Of course, hon. Members will perhaps say that in other countries it is thrust underground. That is perfectly and absolutely true; but from my point of view I think that there is very great danger in the open flaunting of vice.. I came to London myself as a young man of seventeen, and let me say that there are many hon. Members here who have no conception of what the temptations of the people are. They go to preparatory schools in their childhood, they go to public schools in their boyhood, and as they get older they go to the university. In the preparatory school, the public school, and the university they are specially sheltered—although there are many other temptations—from this particular form of temptation. But a young man comes to London and goes into a shop or an office, and having the whole evening to himself he is expected to turn out as soon as the shutters are put up, and he is not expected home till supper time. He is looked upon as a trouble if he remains in the place of business or the homo attached to it, during the evening hours. What place has he to go to except the streets? It has been very well said that the streets are the playground of the poor. I know the truth as regards a large number of the young men who come up from the provinces. Many of them escape the perils around them and become leading citizens in London, but many others—I am afraid a very considerable number of them—are absolutely ruined for time and eternity before they have been six months in the City of London. I know that temptations must abound; but I do think that the Home Secretary, if enabled by the strong opinion of the House of Commons to carry out that which I behave to be in his heart—could arrange that there should be less of this open temptation which so easily catches a young man when he first comes to the City of London But I appeal to the Home Secretary not only on behalf of young men, but also of young women. I believe that if any Member will just go and stand in Regent Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, or Piccadilly during the time that shops are closing, and when the milliners, shop girls, and dressmakers are going home, he will entirely understand my position and sympathise with what I say. He will see there girls who are working very hard, earning, perhaps, 10s. or 15s., or at the outside.£1 a week, who are dressed very sparingly, and sometimes in very poor garments, jostled and thrust into the gutter by women in silks and satins. Can you wonder if girls in that position, if they contrast their position with the position of those others, should begin to consider whether after all it would not pay to become vicious like the rest? Not only is that true of that class of girls, but I think the condition of our streets is a great temptation to all the children of the poor. A working man cannot afford to dress his girls the way these women are dressed, and every woman is naturally fond of good clothing. When the daughters of our poor respectable working-men begin to wander in the streets, and to see how these women are able to dress, can you wonder if that also forms a very strong temptation to them; because, of course, these poor creatures do not see the whole story. They know nothing of the hospital, the awful disease, and the terrible death. All they sec is the good apparel, and all they know of the life of the women walking the pavement is that their condition seems to be much better than their own. There is another reason why I should entreat the Home Office to do something. I know as a matter of fact that in many parts of London the condition of the streets—a condition which is tolerated by the Home Office— is reducing the value of property. I could take hon. Members to whole districts where rents have been reduced 20 and even 30 per cent., and in some places even more than that, and if you ask the house agents why the rents have been reduced they will tell you it is because these particular streets have become the haunts of prostitutes—not to a very great extent, but where a few girls cluster in the evening, perhaps a dozen at most. Yet that one fact has reduced the value of property to a considerable extent. I think these are considerations which ought to affect the mind of those who are in authority. Let me just say one word in conclusion. My hon. friend has spoken of foreign women who come to London. I know as a matter of fact that there is a very great deal more of that than anybody would conceive who had,not studied the question. I will say more—I know as a matter of fact that the earnings of those women are not the earnings of their particular vile trade, but that they depend, and those who support them and brought them over depend, upon robbery and blackmail. There is far more of that going on in London than anybody has any conception of, and for the sake of our young men and young women, for the sake of the owners of property and those who desire to spend peaceful lives, and also for the sake of the protection of the citizens, I think the Home Office ought to strengthen itself in this matter, and make London a place fit to live in.


I do not doubt the sincerity of the hon. Gentleman who moved the reduction of my salary—for the very extraordinary reason that I am not able to control the morals of London --nor the earnestness of the hon. Gentle-man who seconded the motion. I agree with the hon. Members that a great many of the things which are seen in London, advertisements and otherwise, are disgusting. But there is a very great difference between objectionable publications and objectionable exhibitions which come within the law, and those which are merely coarse, vulgar, and, if you like, degrading and demoralising, but which it is not possible at present to prosecute. It is, in these circumstances, rather hard that the Home Office or the police should be attacked, as they have been by the hon. Member who seconded the motion, for not having done more to keep more pure and free from abomination particular streets in London. I should be very glad to know any case in which either that hon. Gentleman or the hon. Member for Flintshire considers the police have failed to do their duty in the way of prosecutions.


I referred to the Home Office in such a way as merely to keep myself within the ruling of the Chairman.


I am perfectly willing to take upon myself the responsibility for the police. Nobody who takes an interest in this question can be altogether pleased with a great many things to be seen in certain parts of London at certain times of the night; but I do not agree that, under the present condition of the law, or under any condition of the law that is likely to be sanctioned by Parliament, it is very easy to remedy that state of things. If you are to clear the streets of women who solicit you must have evidence to take the offenders before the magistrates; and, although the police, who walk about mostly in couples in order to avoid mistakes and charges of blackmail, make every effort to deal with the evil, the private persons who are subjected to annoyance are not, as a rule, willing to come forward, and without their evidence there is very little chance of obtaining convictions. I can assure hon. Gentlemen who take an interest in these matters that I have assured the police over and over again that they will receive every support from the Home Office in taking cases before the magistrates in which there is evidence that there has been a contravention of the law to the annoyance of any person in the street. The figures show that there has been an increase of these charges during the past few years, and an increase of convictions. But the hon. Gentleman spoke of the way the streets of Liverpool or Manchester had been reformed. Even if the law in these cities is the same as in London, that is not the case with Glasgow (also mentioned by the hon. Member), where there is a law which would not be tolerated in London. And in any case in Liverpool a great many persons interested in the state of the streets have banded themselves together, as I understand, and made it their business to bring cases before the magistrates to be dealt with, and that could be done also in London perhaps with the special co-operation of the vestries. To make the police the primary and main prosecutors in these cases is a dangerous thing, but I have instructed the police to give every assistance in their power to persons who bring such charges, and those who bring charges against persons breaking the law will have the entire support of the Home Office. I did not understand the hon. Member for Flintshire to make any charge against me for failing to support local authorities in the suppression of disorderly houses. I did not understand him to say that I could do more in that respect. The police have instructions to give every assistance that can be given to vestries and local authorities in the way of getting evidence for the suppression of disorderly houses. A great deal has been done in that direction in the past few years. For instance, the figures show that in 1898 in London there were 222 convictions in cases brought mainly through the action of the police. The hon. Member for Dumfriesshire referred to the case of those infamous persons who live upon the earnings of these unhappy women, but he failed to give the Home Office credit for the passing of an Act two years ago which so frightened many of these persons that, before it received the Royal Assent, they fled from the country. Moreover, during the two months or so of 1898 during which the Act was in operation there were in London alone thirty-nine prosecutions under it and thirty-three convictions, while last year there were about 200 charges and 130 convictions of such persons. The hon. Member for Flintshire referred to the exhibition of newspapers and photographs of a demoralising and degrading character, and I think there is a great deal of truth in what he says—namely, that much of what is going on in this respect must be shocking to any man or woman who has regard to the morality of the country. But, coarse as many of these publications are, they do not come within the limits of the law as far as I know; while with regard to the living pictures to which the hon. Gentleman has directed my attention there is not one in which, on the evidence which I have been able to get, there is a chance of obtaining a conviction. I do not think the police or myself can be blamed for not prosecuting. The hon. Gentleman sent me an illustrated publication this morning, and I assume that he thinks that paper could be prosecuted with success. I venture to say that no court of summary jurisdiction and no jury would declare the publication to be obscene. They are not very beautiful pictures, perhaps, that are reproduced therein, but I do not think the hon. Gentleman is quite right in setting up his own standard of what he considers immoral and obscene when he blames the authorities for not prosecuting papers of that kind. That is an instance he gave me of the kind of publication which ought to be prosecuted. I have done everything I could within the limits of the law both to protect the streets of London, keeping them as clear as possible of vice, and to give every assistance to local authorities to put down disorderly houses. I have done everything I could to instruct the Public Prosecutor to act where prosecutions could be entered upon with success, and I do not think any reason has been shown why I should depart from the course I have taken. I am most anxious to carry out the law as it stands, and I think that a good deal more could be done if more public feeling were exhibited in deprecation of a good deal that is published and done. But that is a very different thing from bringing new things within the criminal law. I can only assure the hon. Gentleman and his supporters that the police are not insensible of their duty in any respect, and as long as I hold my office I will do my best under advice to deal with that which can be taken notice of. After this assurance I hope the Committee will be content with the discussion which has taken place.


The hon. Member for Flintshire has done what he considers to be his duty in bringing before the House of Commons the condition of the streets of London as viewed by himself. I do not associate myself with the motive that has induced the hon. Gentleman to make the speech and to give the evidence to which we have listened to-night, but I will say this: I think it can be said of all of us, whether we are puritanical or religious, whether we are strait-laced or whether we look at life in a cavalier manner, that we are agreed as to the necessity of London being a clean, decent, healthy, but free city. We all want to save youth, both boys and girls, from contamination. But it is not only in the streets of London that boys and girls are contaminated. I have heard that, through evil influence and bad environment, schools which I need not name have done a great deal more to corrupt certain youths than ever poor boys have been corrupted in the slums of the East End of London. It is evident, also, that religion does not always mean a strict adherence to monogamic rules and a low illegitimate birth rate. I have known countries which were very religious, but whoso illegitimate birth rate was disproportionately high. But without being a puritan and without desiring to restrict,. I believe the hon. Member for Flintshire has made out a case for the law being more strictly enforced, and police administration being more sensibly and more vigilantly pushed forward. Given every latitude that ought to be given to freedom, to disciplined gaiety, to art, to literature, and to the rational enjoyment of a free people in their own way in a rich and large city, I think there is yet much to be done to prevent sheer animalism and brutality and bestiality protruding themselves as they have protruded themselves recently in very subtle forms in the West End of London. I, for instance, do not share the view of my hon. friend about prostitution. I believe that prostitution is economic, social, sometimes industrial, and so far as persons are concerned it is often purely physical. When economic conditions prevent marital relationship, as they often do, concubinage prevails, prostitution exists, and vice and sometimes bestiality follow. You cannot put down prostitution by pious opinion, by religious sentiment, or by calling upon the Home Secretary to send the police to suppress it. But at the same time, when that prostitution assumes the indecent phase it can be seen to assume in certain streets of London, prostitution in its objectionable form has got to be dealt with. I do not want to harry these poor women who ply their dreadful calling with most melancholy features as a rule, whose dress is disproportionately gay, as their real spirits are very low and drab in colour. I should be sorry to see detectives put to watch these people or to worry them in any way whatsoever; but, so far as it is possible to remove and reduce prostitution, I am in favour of it being done. Having said that, it is possible so to organise the public decency of streets as to give liberty, almost licence, and yet keep the young from being corrupted. I am a practical man and a Londoner, and I venture to say there is not an officer in Scotland Yard who knows more of the shady side of London than I do—a cockney lad, born and bred. But we have been able to purge the London parks of not always the poor ruffian, but frequently the well-dressed ruffian, who had sated his appetite in every other direction, and looked upon our London parks and playgrounds as a means to satisfy an appetite I need not refer to. We have done that in ten years—and how have we done it? can remember the time when the parks of the Metropolitan Board of Works were as repulsive and as indecent as a superintendent of police told me, to his shame, the other night, in his opinion St. James's and Hyde Parks are at this very time. How have we done it? We have told our constables they are to do their best to protect the young against these men who molest them. It has been done, and the result is that every London mother can now look upon a London County Council park or open space not only as a playground, but, so to speak, as a moral sanctuary in which her young boys and girls can go and play unmolested. I do not want to give you all the details of how we have done it. Our constables, perhaps, were not too precise as to the spirit and the letter of the law; there were some councillors who, unlike the Home Office, did not hesitate to assist the constables in purging the parks and open spaces of this particular type of person. But there is the fact—those persons have been cleared out, and the parks are free of them. I believe that, by a similar vigorous application of the same conditions of service, the same result could to a great extent be secured in Hyde Park and in some of the streets. Now I come to a statement made by the hon. Member for Flintshire. He quoted Bishop Barry. I wish he had also quoted Bishop Barry's reference to the inefficient administration of the Home Office some two or three years ago, and that he had given the opinion of some of the local people that the police were not doing in that particular district everything they might do. But the hon. Member did not do so. I, however, will venture to say that in this respect the Home Secretary is not doing what he ought to do under the law. Why do I say that? I had the pleasure and honour of helping the late Attorney General one morning in 1898 in getting through a very small Act, which, like many small things, seems to have done a great deal of good. That was an amendment of the Vagrancy Act of 1824.


My own Act.


I agree. I do not want to deny the right hon. Gentleman the authorship. So far as the authorship is concerned I will divide it equally between the late Attorney General and the Home Secretary. But what was the effect of that measure? Immediately after the Act was passed and put into force—within a week—400 French, Belgian, German, and other bullies left London by steamer and returned to the Continent. However charitable we may be to the women who are driven to prostitution from any cause, we have no right to be in any way sympathetic to the ruffians who live upon these women, who not only brutally ill - treat the women, but are also systematic criminals, and who, when they are not ill-treating the women, and living on the proceeds of their degradation, or consorting with thieves, are doing other and worse things. With that type of man we ought to have no sympathy whatever. But somehow or other, during the last two years, these people have returned. Owing to the laxity of the administration of that Act between 1898 and 1900 these men are coming back again, and if the right hon. Gentleman will go to Piccadilly Circus, Charles Street, Duke Street, and George Street—I will run him round myself with pleasure—he will see that some portions of Piccadilly are getting as bad as they used to be. I am not altogether concerned about the prostitute, as I said, but I am concerned in putting down the souteneur and the bully. I am also credibly informed that there is taking root in London a new form of vice, Eastern in its origin, and most animal and bestial in its character. This form of vice has got to be, and can be, stamped out in so far as it applies to the men, and it can be done under the terms of the Act to which I have referred. The right hon. Gentleman said he had not been directly censured by the hon. Member for Flintshire for negligence in these matters. I will have the boldness to say that if the Home Secretary wants to make London decent he should carry out the suggestion I will make to him. Let him transfer the East End superintendents at once for two years from the East End of London, where these things do not prevail, to the A, B, C, D and E divisions; let them come over with their East London ideas of morality and public decency and enforce in the West End what they daily and nightly do in the East End, and he will find that much of the objectionable things the hon. Member for Flintshire has mentioned will disappear. Now, I will come a little closer to the right hon. Gentleman. He wants to know how these things can be stopped. I will make a practical suggestion. He admits that blackmailing is increasing. So it is.


I did not say so.


I think that if the right hon. Gentleman asks Sir Edward Bradford he will be told that that is the case, and the right hon. Gentleman's own Report as to the convictions under the Vagrancy Act will also prove it. The Home Secretary says he is quite willing to do anything he can to check this evil without interfering with the freedom, the gaiety, and. the happiness of this big city. Here is my suggestion. Notwithstanding the fact that they do not always do everything they should, I believe that the Metropolitan Police, after the City Police, are the best police force in the world. I ought to know something about that, as I have come into closer contact with them than any other Member of the House. I let it go at that. After the City Police—who are better paid, are under municipal control, are under a Watch Committee, and the chief of whom is in daily contact with the citizens on the Watch Committee—the Metropolitan Police are the best in the world. But they are not good enough in this respect. In their own journal, the Police Review, you find evidence of things being done by the police which, say what you like, do undermine vigilance, destroy probity, and affect impartiality. If the Home Secretary wants to clear the West End of London of these evils he has got to render it impossible for 1,171 policemen to be compelled to live on a net weekly wage of 21s. l0d. per week. You have no right to ask a young policeman, six feet in height, to live in the neighbourhood of Piccadilly on such a wage. When there are souteneurs, bullies, restaurant and club proprietors, and brothel keepers around him night and day, it is too low a wage. There are 4,366 constables, both married and single, in London getting the miserable wage of 28s. and under per week. If the Home Secretary thinks he can get a man on point duty in Piccadilly Circus from eleven o'clock at night until two o'clock in the morning to walk the straight path of duty, integrity, and probity, on 21s. l0d. per week, out of which he has probably a wife and two children to keep, he is asking too much from a policeman whose lot ordinarily is not a happy one. He should make it a rule that no man employed in the West End district of London should have less than 30s. a week as a minimum, while the special point duty men—and this would not apply to more than 1,000 men—in the A, B, C, D, and E divisions should have not less than 35s. Why do I say 35s.? Because it is well known in the force that married men always make the best policemen. There is a reason for it; we do not want to discuss it. I would always prefer to have married men for this class of work. If the right hon. Gentleman would give these men a minimum wage of 35s. or 30s. plus a lodging allowance, which the men have a right to claim, I am positively convinced that many of the things to which the hon. Gentleman has objected would be removed by mere administrative improvement and efficiency. The right hon. Gentleman may ask me what reason I have for suggesting any increase of wage. Looking at his Report this year, I find 2,000 constables out of 13,000 were reported and punished; 349 were reduced in pay to the extent of from 2s. to 8s. weekly; and 131 were dismissed the force. I want to know why those 2,000 men were reported and punished.


I think the hon. Member is rather anticipating the Vote for the Police Force.


It is exceedingly difficult for me, having been asked by the Home Secretary to give direct instances, to keep within the strict technical ruling, and I should personally be very much obliged if you would allow me to reply to the right hon. Gentleman. I see no other way of doing it.


was understood to say he had not made such a request; all he had said was that he was prepared to support the police in carrying out the law.


My answer to that is, that the only way you can have the law carried out efficiently is to put these constables in the position I have indicated. I am quoting these instances in which the law has been broken, and I want to know what breach of the law it was that caused the right hon. Gentleman to dismiss 131 policemen last year.


I think that is a matter of detail which must come upon the detailed Vote for the Metropolitan Police.


Then as I cannot enlarge upon this particular point, I should be driven to prove that the Vagrancy Act and nearly all the sixty Acts under which the Home Secretary administers the London police force are not so well enforced as they should be, simply because it is impossible for a London constable to be virtuous on 21s. l0d. per week. I now come to another point. I am not only concerned with the police in relation to vice and indecency; I have a complaint to make about the way in which the police law is evaded in regard to coffee-stalls at nighttime. I am not talking of bona fide coffee-stalls, but of those innumerable coffee-stalls that are springing up, especially where prostitutes most do congregate, which give an excuse for disorderly people to gather, and which are a centre of rows, trouble, assaults, and so forth. If the police were better treated and better paid they would be able to deal with these conditions better than they now do. I have in my hand protests from the Lambeth Vestry, the Rotherhithe Vestry, and the Walworth Vestry, from a conference of local authorities held upon the condition of London streets at night time, and they all side with me in saying that if the police and the Home Secretary did their duty more vigilantly, many of the objectionable things we have witnessed could be abolished. My last point is strictly germane to the question. The Home Secretary must know that in the Police Review, which is filed and bound most religiously at the Home Office, and which is read by every member of the force, the best officers are saying there is a condition of things going on in regard to the Metropolitan Police Force that makes for dereliction of duty and brings about on the part of the police an obligation to the club proprietors, restaurant keepers, and publicans in the West End of London. What is that? It is the touting of tickets for the Metropolitan Police Orphanage, for police excursions, and many other things connected with the police. The practice is denounced by the men's own journal. I will tell you how it is done. A policeman is told off to go to a West End club, a restaurant, perhaps a brothel under the name of a club. He says to the proprietor, "Take £5 worth of tickets for our Metropolitan Police Orphanage, will you?" The proprietor, anxious to be on good terms with the police, takes the tickets, and what does he do? He says, "I do not want to go to this; you take the tickets back again." The tickets are taken back again, and there is the charge in the Police Review that tickets which have been paid for once are sold over and over again, and the men make money out of them. The effect of this is that the club proprietors, publicans, and brothel-keepers have indirectly the police under their control. Stop the police doing this kind of thing. If you do not stop it, the things the hon. Member for Flintshire has complained of will go on; the system will extend and deepen until we will have in London what you can see in the "Tenderloin" district of New York, where the chief inspector, when I was there five years ago, admitted making £10,000 a year by blackmailing the gambling hells and prostitutes in that district. Stop this practice; make it illegal; dismiss the first constable or officer found doing it in connection with the orphanage, cricket club, or anything else. If you do that, and raise the wages to 35s. a week, you will do a great deal towards purging the police force and removing many of the evils complained of. I have one other suggestion. Get rid of your four chief constables. You have four chief constables getting about £4,000 a year. You do not want them; they are superfluous; they interfere with the superintendents; they are unnecessary; they are mischievous. Get rid of them, and the money you save can be used for raising the wages of the constables. You should also see that your superintendents of police go about not in the plain clothes they now do. What is the chief merit of the superintendent of police in a provincial town? It is that everybody knows him; he is in uniform; and if a shopkeeper is molested in any way by roughs he goes straight up to the superintendent and says, "Put a man on here." We never see the superintendent of a division in London; he is either burying himself in musty documents in his office—which a fourth-rate constable could do—or he is riding about in a dogcart in civilian clothes, and nobody knows him. Let the superintendents walk about each of the thirty divisions of London, known to the people, accessible to every vestryman, guardian, and county councillor. If he brings himself into contact with the people great good will be done. As you, Sir, have decided that I cannot go further into the details of police administration; as I am not allowed to quote the numbers of the Police Review dated 28th July, 1899, May, and so forth, which confirm every statement I have made; as this is not the opportunity of giving detailed suggestions as to how Scotland Yard could be improved and the police force generally made more efficient, I will conclude by saying that you have got a good police force, but that force is being "militarised" too much. The best police force is a civilian force; I believe the best chief constables are lawyers who have the judicial mind and the civilian instinct——


The hon. Member is now clearly diverging from the Vote under discussion.


Very well, Sir. I will conclude by asking the right hon. Gentleman to pay deep attention to the suggestions I have made, and not to accept every puritanical suggestion of my hon. friend the Member for Flintshire. If the right hon. Gentleman is at all inclined to doubt any of my statements, and would like a personally conducted tour to prove every one of my assertions. I shall be delighted to oblige him. He may rely upon this, that the streets of London will never be as pure as they ought to be until my suggestion with regard to the minimum wage of the constable is carried out, so that he may not be so liable to the temptation to which too many succumb.


The hon. Member for Battersea has made a very serious charge against the London police force. Of course it is a charge I cannot accept, and I have no knowledge of its truth; but I will examine into the statements which have been made. Mean-while I repudiate them most warmly.

SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)

thought those who lived in London and had children and young acquaintances must feel ashamed of the condition of things in the streets. They knew how these matters were treated in Scotland, and his hon. friend the Member for Flintshire had instanced Sheffield, Manchester, Cardiff, and other large towns as symbolical of what London ought to be. He thought a great deal more ought to be done in London to suppress bad literature, which was very harmful and hurtful to the morals of the young. In these matters they represented their constituencies, who were quite as anxious as they were that something should be done, and it was their duty to urge upon the Government the necessity of doing something to suppress these vices. They were all perfectly well aware of the disgraceful things they saw in shop windows, which were exhibited practically uncontrolled by the police, for they were photographs and drawings of what they deemed impure and immoral. They should strengthen the hands of the Home Secretary in dealing with these matters, and he believed that was the intention of the hon. Member for Flintshire, who did not move this reduction simply to catch a party vote. He congratulated his hon. friend upon bringing forward this motion, and he was glad to hear that he did not intend to put the Committee to the trouble of a division. A great deal more required to be done in the way of suppressing this vice, and he trusted his right hon. friend would not relax his efforts in that direction.

*MR. H. J. WILSON (Yorkshire, W.R., Holmfirth)

None of us expect to make people moral by Act of Parliament, but you can do a very great deal to remove temptations to immorality by legislation and administration, and that is all the hon. Member for Flint requires to be done. I want the Home Secretary to make himself acquainted with the administration of some of the large towns in the North of England, and if he does he will find that there are more ways and means under the existing law than those which have been adopted in London. If he would acquaint himself with what is going on in large northern towns he would find a much better state of things, and he would derive very great benefit from it. Action of different kinds has been taken elsewhere to deal with this evil. We are getting more particular every day in regard to the dangers arising from bad food, drink, and milk, and I know not what besides, and I do not see why we should not become more alive to the dangers to the moral and mental condition of the people which now prevail. If the Home Secretary will give me his attention for one single moment I want to impress upon him the necessity of making himself acquainted with the administration adopted in other towns in the North of England where he might get some hints which might be applied with advantage to the administration of London.

MR. SPICER (Monmouth Boroughs)

If I understood the reply of the right hon. Gentleman correctly it seems to mo to be that so far as the law permits the police are doing all that is possible in London to suppress this evil. If that is the case surely it is a strong reason why the law should be strengthened.


The hon. Member will not be in order in discussing that point.


I am criticising the Home Department in connection with the Home Secretary's powers, and urging that if his powers are not sufficient he should come down to this House and ask permission to strengthen them.


The legislation to which the hon. Member alludes is the action of this House and not the action of the Home Secretary. All that the hon. Member can discuss is the action of the Home Office upon this question.


It is very difficult to keep within your ruling, Mr. Chairman. I think we ought to be deeply indebted to the hon. Member for Flintshire for bringing up this matter. We know that it is a disagreeable question, and we who have lived in London all our lives are beginning to be ashamed of the administration of the streets, and we hardly know where to begin to try and remedy the evil. I feel indebted to the hon. Member for Flintshire for having had the moral courage to bring up this question in order that the House may consider it. I trust this debate will not be without influence in stimulating the new borough councils to try and put down this terrible evil.

MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

I do not intend to prolong this debate upon the topic which has been generally discussed, but I think my hon. friend has been amply justified in raising so serious a subject, and no one recognises more than I do the practical work that has been done by the Home Secretary under the several headings he has mentioned, and especially under the Vagrancy Act, and in regard to massage houses where several prosecutions have been undertaken. But I wish to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to a certain class of advertisements which are deliberately inserted in newspapers. It is a question which goes to the very root of society, and one which it is most desirable we should check. I am informed that powers do exist for cheeking and dealing with this evil if sufficient proof is obtainable that these practices are improper and immoral. Immediately after attempting to deal with this question myself I received a large number of communications, and among them was one from a gentleman in the South of England. He had visited his young nephew, and found in his room a heap of disgusting illustrations, and things of the kind to which his hon. friend had referred, and they contained a very large number of those infamous advertisements to which I drew attention at that time, and in which I had the sympathy of the Home Secretary. These people were absolutely making money out of the encouragement of a certain vice by blackmailing unfortunate women. Seeing as I have seen within the last few months these things actually exhibited in shop-windows in many parts of London, I think we ought to have some assurance that this particular matter is engaging the attention of the Home Office, and that some steps are being taken to send special inspectors to investigate cases of this kind. I think we ought to have some assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that this question will be dealt with, and if his powers are not sufficient to deal with this class of advertisements which are scattered broadcast all over the country, I think it will be very satisfactory for the House to learn that the question is engaging the attention of the Home Office, and that he will attempt to carry out some legislation to deal with it.


The subject of which the hon. Member has spoken has been engaging my attention. I have had a good deal of advice upon the subject, and I am informed that even where the law is quite sufficient, the difficulty is to procure evidence. So far as the question touches newspaper advertisements, it is a rather serious matter to deal with. I admit that at present I have no remedy, but I have certainly not lost sight of the matter, and I am most anxious to meet what I conceive to be a growing evil. As a matter of fact, I have had more than one draft Bill for the purpose before me; but the difficulties are very great.


I beg leave to withdraw my motion to divide the House, and I thank the Home Secretary for the sympathy with which he has replied. I believe that very good results will come from this debate. Probably when the Home Secretary has time to deal with the question he will do so, and perhaps he will take into account the remarks of the hon. Member for Battersea in dealing with the delicate work which requires to be done. I beg to thank the House for giving me this opportunity of raising the question.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

said there were one or two other matters in connection with the office of the Home Secretary to which he wished to refer. There was a sum of £65,000, which had been expended upon the inspection of factories and workshops. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would see that the post offices of the country were inspected regularly, properly ventilated, and kept in a sanitary condition. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could manage to co-operate with the Post Office authorities in this matter. Then there was the item of £315 a year paid to an inspector, and £210 paid to an assistant inspector under the Cruelty to Animals Act. He wished to call attention more particularly to the question of vivisection, which was a very serious one. He believed there were at the London University College twenty gentlemen who were licensed vivisectors. The consequence was that there was a lot of unnecessary torturing of animals and a great many cruelties carried out in these experiments. He understood that some 236 dogs and cats had been operated upon. Some of these animals were allowed to recover consciousness after being disembowelled, and to make observations electricity was applied to the end of the nerves. That was a sort of thing which ought not to be allowed. He did not say that vivisection was not necessary in the interests of medical science, but he did say that the system of torturing dumb animals should either be stopped or minimised as far as possible. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to see that these inspectors did their duty more than they had done in the past. He was afraid that a large amount of cruelty had been carried on, and it was impossible for the inspectors to do their work thoroughly under the system which they adopted. The inspectors ought to make surprise visits to these places, for it was not enough to intimate in advance that they would visit certain places at a certain day and hour, with the result that everything was prepared for the inspector and his assistant. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would give him some assurance that he would have this matter looked into as far as he could, so as to stop this cruelty to dumb animals. On the 20th of March this year he asked the right hon. Gentleman a question as to whether omnibus conductors were empowered by law to demand payment of the fares before the completion of the journey. In regard to these omnibuses, they were constructed to carry twelve persons inside and not thirteen; but when the inspector came inside to look at the tickets there were thirteen passengers, which was one more than the law allowed. Surely it was the duty of the Home Secretary to put an end to this infringement of the law. It was a very serious annoyance to passengers to have to pay their fares before they reach their journey's end. He would like to ask how the right hon. Gentleman would like an inspector to open the door of his carriage and ask him for his carriage licence. He felt that it was a great piece of impertinence on the part of 'bus conductors to demand the fares in advance. It was a practice which was growing in London, and which was getting worse and worse. The conductor had no right to demand payment of the fares in advance. What would they think if when they jumped into a cab the cabman demanded a shilling before he started? In answer to his question on the 20th March the Home Secretary said he had no power to interfere, but he had written to the Commissioner of Police with reference to the payment of bus fares in advance, and that official had replied, stating that omnibus conductors were not empowered by law to demand the payment of the fare before the termination of the journey. He wished to know whether the Home Secretary or the Chief Commissioner of Police was right. The inspectors wore an intolerable nuisance. When he was asked to show his ticket, he refused to do so, because he objected to play the spy and the detective on omnibus conductors, who worked sixteen or seventeen hours a day at a very small wage. That was not his business, and it was not fair, perhaps, on a cold day when a passenger was buttoned up to the chin to be asked to show his ticket, and to have to take off his gloves to do it. He wanted the Home Secretary to stop that annoyance. It was increasing every day, and by and by people would begin to think it was the law, and perhaps the omnibus proprietors would have a Bill brought before Parliament making it compulsory on passengers to show their tickets. Of course, when it became compulsory he would fall in with the law, as he did in the case of tramway companies, which had Parliamentary powers in the matter. But omnibus inspectors had no right to annoy passengers in that way, and the Home Secretary ought to make it his duty to see that the public were protected from the annoyance, and that they should have as much peace and calm and time for reflection in an omnibus as if they were in their own private carriages. At present there was no peace, and an hon. Member coming down to the House in an omnibus was unable to think over the next move to further the interests of his constituents. He hoped the Home Secretary would not remain dumb like some of his colleagues on the Treasury Bench, because if he did he would be compelled to divide on the Vote. He trusted that he would not be put to such a painful necessity at such a late hour.


With regard to omnibus conductors, I have already informed the hon. Gentleman that I have no power to interfere. The hon. Gentleman knows that the statutory rights possessed by tramway companies are very different from the rights of omnibus companies. If the hon. Gentleman has any wish to ascertain the law he has the ordinary means of testing it, but I am advised that I cannot interfere officially. As regards the administration of the Vivisection Act I am satisfied, having examined the matter very closely, that with a view to the restraint of cruelty the Act is carried out in accordance with the intention of Parliament. We have endeavoured, and I think with success, to get really good men who understand the work, and take a personal interest in it, to see that the Act is complied with, and, as the hon. Member will see from the Report, surprise visits are frequent. Every care is taken in the issue of licences under the Act.


said the right hon. Gentleman had given no information with reference to inspectors on omnibuses. The omnibuses were only licensed by Scotland Yard to carry twelve passengers inside, and when an inspector came in he broke the law by making the thirteenth, and it was the duty of the conductor to hand him over to the nearest policeman. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that he might take an action at common law, but who would incur law costs in such a matter? Passengers should be protected from annoyance by the authority issuing the licences, and as the right hon. Gentleman had not given any answer on the point, he would move the reduction of the Vote by £50.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £96,357, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Weir.)

MR. MADDISON (Sheffield, Brightside)

said he hoped his hon. friend would not press his motion to a division. It was always a luxury for him to vote against a Minister's salary, but he could not accept that luxury at the price offered by his hon. friend. The request of his hon. friend for peace and quiet in a London omnibus was a supreme joke. It was a very good thing that passengers should be asked for their faros during the journey. What ah abominable nuisance it would be if every passenger had to pay his fare at, for instance, the Bank. That was really asking too much, and if his hon. friend pressed the motion to a division he would certainly vote against him. With reference to inspectors, what inconvenience did they cause to the ordinary passenger? He would not vote for the reduction of the right hon. Gentleman's salary because certain hon. Members thought that all the fares should be collected at the end of the journey, and because they objected to omnibus inspectors.


said he was really surprised at his hon. friend. If he had lived as many years in London as he had he would not have talked as he did. He did not object so much to the conductor asking for the fare, but he objected strongly to the inspectors. His hon. friend might vote against him if he liked, but he would stand on principle, and he would continue to do so as long as he was a Member of the House of Commons.

The House divided:—Ayes, 11; Noes, 101. (Division List No. 218.)
Channing, Francis Allston Macaleese, Daniel Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Crilly, Daniel MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Tanner, Charles Kearns
Doogan, P. C. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Flavin, Michael Joseph Provand, Andrew Dry burgh Mr. Weir and Mr. Havelock Wilson.
Griffith, Ellis J. Steadman, William Charles
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Fisher, William Hayes Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Anson, Sir William Reynell FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose- More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fletcher, Sir Henry Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.) Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Morton, Arthur H A. (Deptford)
Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds) Gedge, Sydney Moss, Samuel
Banbury, Frederick George Giles, Charles Tyrrell Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)
Blundell, Colonel Henry Godson, Sir Augustus F. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Goldsworthy, Major-General Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Brigg, John Gordon, Hon. John Edward Nicol, Donald Ninian
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Peel, Hon. Wm. Robert Wellesley
Burns, John Greville, Hon. Ronald Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Burt, Thomas Gull, Sir Cameron Purvis, Robert
Butcher, John George Gurdon, Sir William Brampton Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Caldwell, James Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm. Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Carlile, William Walter Hanson, Sir Reginald Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson
Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir E. H. Hayne, Rt. Hon Charles Seale- Russell, Gen. F S. (Cheltenham)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh) Horniman, Frederick John Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wor.) Houston, R. P. Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Charrington, Spencer Howell, William Tudor Sandon, Viscount
Coghill, Douglas Harry Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Colomb, Sir J. Charles Ready Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Curzon, Viscount Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Stanley, Hon Arthur (Ormskirk)
Dalkeith, Earl of Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.)
Dalziel, James Henry Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Thornton, Percy M.
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool) Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunt'n)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Macartney, W. G. Ellison Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macdona, John Cumming Wylie, Alexander
Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Wyndham, George
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) M'Leod, John Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd. Maddison, Fred. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Finch, George H. Martin, Richard Biddulph Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F

Original Question proposed.


On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, there is a Member in the Aye lobby who refuses to vote.


If an hon. Member refuses to vote there is no power to make him vote.


He remains in the lobby.

DR. TANNER (Cork County, Mid)

said that a large amount of money was

MR. HAVELOCK WILSON (Middlesbrough)

said in his opinion his hon. friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty had reason for complaint, and he could not take the view of his hon. friend the Member for the Brightside Division. He travelled on a line of buses from the Monument to Brixton, and no fares were taken until the end of the journey, and no inconvenience was caused.

Question put.

being taken under the Vote. He observed that the salary of the legal assistant was £1,500, whereas it was only £1,460 last year. He referred to the matter because he desired that expenditure should be cut down—

It being midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.

House adjourned at two minutes after Twelve of the clock till Monday next.