§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
By the London Government Act of last year it was provided that no woman should be eligible for the office of councillors or aldermen. This Bill, which is an exceedingly short one, is to alter that state of things. There are at the present time fifteen lady representatives on the London vestries, and this Bill raises a great principle. The Act of last year not only deprived these ladies, who had discharged public duties excellently under statutory provisions for six years, of their rights, but it also limited the choice of selection of candidates, and it deprived us of some of the most excellent representatives that we could possibly secure for the work of London parishes. This does a great in- justice to the great body of women engaged in public work in all parts of the country. I think it will be agreed that this Bill is one which involves a very large principle. There is also another reason which ought not to escape the attention of the House, and it is that the policy of Parliament in this matter has been very vacillating. This 1035 House has not clearly declared what its mind is on the subject, and if any hon. Member will follow me he will feel that I am not exaggerating when I make that statement. It was on the 27th April last year that this matter was first dealt with by a motion brought forward by my hon. friend opposite. He then proposed that women should not be eligible for seats on the Council, and he was defeated by a majority of twenty-three. In order to carry out this decision a motion was made that women should be eligible for all offices, but this was met by an Amendment which provided that women should not be eligible for the office of mayor, and this was carried. There was a further Amendment that women should not be eligible for the position of aldermen, and this was also carried. At the same sitting a third motion was going to be moved that women should not be eligible for the office of councillor, and that also would have been carried if the Government had not come to our rescue and postponed the question until the House should make up its mind definitely upon it. The subject was brought up again on 6th June by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in a full House, and carried by the substantial majority of thirty-five. On the 26th of that same month, in the House of Lords, notwithstanding a very eloquent speech made by the Prime Minister, the clause making women eligible was struck out of the Bill, and it was sent back to us here declaring that women should not be eligible. We dealt with the matter again on 6th July, and on that day this House voted in a sense exactly opposite to what it decided on the 6th June, for it declared that women should not be eligible for these offices.✶ I do not think there is a Member present who does not feel that this record is not very creditable to the House. I have gone into some detail in mentioning this point because it is a type of what has taken place in regard to legislating for women for about a generation. We do not appear to know our own mind, and it is highly desirable that we should arrive at some definite conclusion to-day. Under the Act of 1888, which established county councils,✶ The Hansard references are as follows:— 27th April, 1899, Debates [Fourth Series], vol. lxx., page 743; 6th June, vol. lxxii., page 464; 26th June (Lords), vol. lxxiii., page 537; 6th July (Commons), vol. lxxiv., page 43.1036 the question was left in doubt. The result was that certain ladies came forward for the London County Council, and sat as members; afterwards the matter was brought before the Law Courts, and it was decided that, under the Act, ladies were not eligible, and those ladies had to resign their seats on the Council. In 1894, in the District Councils Bill—which is closely analogous to this Bill—it was decided by this House in an opposite sense, and women were declared to be eligible both for the parish and district councils. There was also some uncertainty about the eligibility of women as members of boards of guardians at that time, but a circular was issued by the Local Government Board, and the result was in favour of women, and a great many ladies were elected as members of boards of guardians. In 1894 women were declared to be eligible for election to the London vestries, and it is those ladies who will now be deprived of their seats under the London Government Act. I think I have made my point, that Parliament has not decided this matter definitely up to the present time. But while Parliament has hesitated to decide, the proceedings in the country have been very remarkable in connection with the progress of women in local government. If we look at all the bodies engaged in the great work of local government in this country, we find that the people recognise the special fitness of women for this work. On school boards, including Scotland, there are 220 women members, and four boards have elected women as chairmen. Besides this some thirty women have been co-opted on technical instruction committees. There are no less than 1,000 women sitting on boards of guardians in Great Britain, and about eighty-five in Ireland. There are ninety-six women who are members of parish councils and 150 members of rural district councils. About forty are members of rural district councils in Ireland, and ten are members of urban district councils. Then there! are these fifteen women who have been i members of the London vestries. I think that record proves that the people are very anxious to select women for these offices. The Government offices themselves have been obliged to fall back upon the assistance of women in carrying out the important duties of local government. This commenced in the time of the late Govern- 1037 ment, when the Home Office appointed women factory inspectors, and now there are seven of them. The present Government have appointed five women inspectors in connection with the Education Department, and that is a new experiment, which I believe has turned out so successfully that there is an , intention of increasing the number to twelve. There are also three women inspectors under the Local Government Board, and I believe the present Government are going to increase their number. Not only do a large number of women engage in this work of local government, but there has been unanimous testimony to the high quality of the work they have done. I will give a quotation on this point from my hon. friend who is going to oppose this Bill. He says "it is quite proper that women should be elected on boards of guardians and school boards, and that on those bodies they do excellent womanly work." That is the testimony of the hon. Member himself. This was the admission made by everybody, both in this House and in the House of Lords, who opposed this provision. Looking at the facts which I have laid before the House, what do we see? We see that there is universal testimony both on the part of the public and their critics to the value of the work that women do. On the other hand an exceedingly small number of women, considering the great number of public bodies, have been elected. We find some difficulty in getting these women to do this work notwithstanding the high appreciation of the value of their services, and on these grounds the House ought to hesitate before it places any stigma upon such excellent public services which have been so much recognised by the public. I ask the House to try and arrive at some definite decision; and how is it to do so? I think it can best do so if it considers what are the main duties which these borough councils have to do, and whether it is analogous to those other duties which women are so admirably discharging at the present time. What is the chief duty which these bodies have to discharge at the present time? Their chief duty is to see that the laws of health and cleanliness are properly administered. A great deal has been said in connection with these councils about their mayors and the new dignities of local government. Let not 1038 all this obscure the essential work which will fall upon those bodies, which is to carry out that great code of laws connected with the health of the people which this House has passed in recent years. Let us look for a few moments at the different departments of this work, and this will enable us to judge whether women will be useful or not in that work. Take the question of housing. The laws with regard to the housing of the poor will have to be administered by these borough councils. We have just had a long, a prolonged, and an unsatisfactory debate upon the housing question. There was a feeling on the part of many Members of the House that we were not really touching the centre of the matter; and as it is with this House, so it is with those bodies which are brought in closer touch with the problem. And why was the debate unsatisfactory? Because we devoted our attention too much to such questions as the length of leases, the cost of building, and the price to be paid for land. But it is also necessary to have a correct knowledge as to the habits and necessities of the people who have got to live in those houses. In dealing with this great question the councils will have to issue bye-laws. They will have to teach the tenants of these houses how to protect properly the property of the landlord, just in the same way as they will have to teach the landlord to provide proper facilities for the; tenants. Bye-laws teaching a variety of details have to be prepared by these local bodies, and they will have to insist upon proper cleanliness and ventilation, and proper facilities with regard to other matters in connection with these houses. But who is to judge in these matters and assist in making these bye-laws and seeing that they are carried out? Who can do that work so well as a woman? The greatest number of the inhabitants of these houses will be women and children; and who is to judge these matters if you deprive these bodies of women councilors? In connection with the Infectious Diseases Act these bodies have very difficult duties thrown upon them. When a case of severe illness of this character occurs it is necessary that the house should be disinfected, and this is not so easily carried out with two or three families in one house. Some vestries have made experiments by providing 1039 temporary homes for the people who are dislodged. Now, who is so fit as a woman to sec about getting the people into these temporary homes? There are other duties in connection with the adulteration of food. Who can be so good a judge as to whether the Adulteration Acts are properly administered as a woman? [An HON. MEMBER: Why?] I am surprised at an hon. Member putting such a question. Women are constantly attending to the food of the whole household and to the children, and they are much better able to judge of the quality. There are also important duties under the Factory Acts which the councils have to discharge. In the administration of the Factory Acts the case of the women must not be overlooked. It may be said that these councils have got inspectors to do this work, and that they can appoint women inspectors. But even women inspectors cannot convey complaints to the council unless they have a woman on the council. There are also questions connected with baths and washhouses. These stately buildings can be seen rising in every part of London. In Islington we have three which are conferring the greatest benefit on the inhabitants. In the early buildings of this kind you would think it was only men who required to have a bath, but since women have been allowed to sit at the council boards, and vestries want women's votes, there are now very properly as large baths for women as for men. The result is, that the girls in the London Board schools form associations for learning to swim, and classes are conducted for a small price at the baths. I can imagine nothing that will do more to develop the physique of the girls of London than the facilities provided for teaching them the art of swimming. The washhouses are even more important than the baths. What man knows what a washhouse is? The public wash-houses are the laundries of the poor. The idea of these washhouses came from Mrs. Catherine Wilkinson, the wife of a working man in Liverpool. She knew and had to endure the difficulty of getting things washed in her humble abode, and she with some neighbours got the use of a cottage in which a copper was provided. Finally, the attention of some philanthropic ladies was called to the experiment, better facilities were provided and some 85 families 1040 washed every week in a little wash- house which was built. The attention of the Corporation of Liverpool was drawn to this, and in 1842 they built the first public washhouse erected in this country. There you have an idea originated by a woman of the working class, who deserves to he remembered in connection with this work and in connection with the development of these most useful institutions in the kingdom. In order that these institutions may be properly developed you should enable the councils to secure the assistance of women. I come to what is, perhaps, the most important duty which these bodies have got to discharge. That is the removal of dust. What man is there who can appreciate the importance of the removal of dust? I confess that, so far as I am personally concerned, although dust seems a great nuisance, everything connected with the removal of it is still more unpleasant. I always feel inclined to argue that the thing should be left alone. That problem never appeals to women in this way, probably because they realise the necessity and the importance of the work better than men can. They realise that if the dust is not effectively removed in London, it will take steps. I may almost say, to remove the people. There is, therefore, a great deal in the work these bodies have to do which men cannot so well discharge as women. I appeal to Members who may be against the Bill to think of the vast area of the work. What is the city, after all? It is only a great house, and just as. the comfort and the amenities of a house could not be developed without the assistance of women, so if we do not secure the same aid in the management of its affairs, the health, comfort, and beauty of the city will deteriorate. There is another question I will deal with briefly. Why should we not admit women to these bodies? I have already quoted one passage from a speech of the hon. Member, and I shall quote him again, because he has given the best, and really the only reason against, the proposal now before the House. These were the words the hon. Member used in the debate on the 6th Juno last year—If their claim to sit on the new borough council is admitted, their ambition will lend them to still higher lights. They will want the Parliamentary franchise, and even other higher privileges. If the House grants the privilege of sitting as aldermen, there is no 1041 logical reason whatever for excluding them from the House of Commons itself.[Applause.] The applause which the reading of that sentence has evoked on the other side shows that I have touched really the only objection to the principle of the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] Well, the main one. I, for one, candidly admit that there is very great difficulty in dealing with the question of the admission of women to the Parliamentary franchise. In the first place, the electorate is so large, and the people are in some instances so ill-educated politically, that they arrive at such contrary conclusions that the stability of the institutions of the country is, even with our present electorate, sometimes seriously at stake. Therefore, without going into any question of principle, other questions would arise in connection with the Parliamentary franchise which seem to me extremely serious. It seems to me that the question is totally irrelevant to what we have to decide to-day. The question is, where is the line to be drawn? I will suggest that the line must be drawn at the distinction that exists between these local governing bodies and the central authority. Women cannot vote for Members of Parliament, and therefore they cannot be elected, but they can vote for borough councilors. There is no one who would deprive them of the vote, and as they have the right to vote they should have the right to sit. I suggest that we should rather engage ourselves with the practical view of the question which I have laid before the House. If women have made excellent members of all those bodies to which they have been elected, surely that goes a long way to prove that they would also be useful on those borough councils. There is one other argument I have to mention. It may be said that if we give this right under the London Borough Councils Bill, you will come into conflict with the Municipal Corporations Act. That is the enactment under which the great provincial corporations have grown up, and on none of those corporations have women the right to sit. There is no complete analogy between these municipal corporations and the bodies that will exist in London under this Bill. [AN HON. MEMBER: Why not?] I will say why. in each of these cities— Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham—there is only one body 1042 which discharges the duties connected with the municipal government; but in London we have two central bodies—the City Corporation and the London County Council. The central bodies in those cities ably discharge all the duties connected with the municipal government; but in London, the central bodies only discharge the more weighty and serious duties. They discharge these' duties all over the area of the city, and therefore they are taken away from the scope and cognisance of the borough councils. On the borough councils will devolve all the other duties I have referred to, and in connection with these we should not deprive ourselves of the assistance women can give. Down to 1899 this House always adhered to the principle that the government of London is a difficult, and a different problem from that of any other city in the Empire, the metropolis having grown to such a large extent. That principle has always been admitted by this House. Therefore, I say that no complete analogy can be drawn between London and a provincial municipality. We should not be compelled to follow any precedent which may seem to be found in these cities, but we should learn from our own experience with the view of providing the best possible government in London. I think it would be shameful, and do great injustice, if we did not recognise the excellent work women have done on those boards where they now sit. It is not the principle usually adopted by this House to disfranchise any part of the community without alleging any fault or any failure to discharge the duties that had been laid on them. I believe women in the borough councils will help to develop the better government of London, and for these reasons I move the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Lough.)
§ MR. BOULNOIS (Marylebone, E.)
I am rather sorry that my hon. friend the Member for West Islington has thought fit to raise the question again as to whether women should be eligible to sit on the new borough councils to be elected in London in November next. Personally, I should have thought the question was 1043 practically and definitely settled for some time to come by the emphatic vote given in another place, and which this House did not think fit to object to. The renewal of the question by the Bill of my hon. friend will, if I may say so, tend to raise the hopes of the few women who desire to take part in the administration of these now governing bodies in the metropolis, while they are doomed to disappointment. It is perfectly clear that, even although the Bill may be read a second time to-day in the House—which j I sincerely hope it will not be—it cannot proceed any further. [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] My hon. friend may be able to use his influence with the Government, and get the Bill passed through in a manner which we on this side of the House, at all events, cannot achieve. But it is perfectly certain that, whatever happens here, there is no chance of any change of opinion in another place. The Bill is before us, and it behaves those who are opposed to it to give their reasons for their opposition, and to answer some of the arguments brought forward by my hon. friend. Of course, I am aware it is always more popular to advocate the admission of women to everything and to every governing or administrative body to which only men at present have access. Those of us who feel most strongly on this matter feel really that such a course as is suggested is not only not advisable, but is fraught, I may say, with mischief and danger. Those who are opposed to the Bill must be content if they incur displeasure for remaining firm from the very small section of ladies who desire to sit on these borough councils. For myself, I feel that the vast majority of women in the metropolis are utterly opposed to the idea of women thrusting themselves into places and work for which they are obviously not fit, and I express my view—of course, it is a mere personal view—that, if the door of these borough councils were opened to them by the House of Commons, not the best women would seek admission, but those who belong, if I may say so with the greatest possible deference and respect, to the great pushing and self-assertive section of women. I am not going to dilate upon them. It is sufficient for me to say that they do not belong to the class from which Miss Octavia Hill and Miss Florence Nightingale came. I wish to 1044 ask my hon. friend why it is that he has brought in a Bill for London alone. He said objection would be raised if he included provincial corporations, and one great argument I recollect he used with some effect in the House when the question was discussed last session was that hitherto no woman was eligible to sit upon a provincial corporation. My hon. friend knows perfectly well that if he had brought in a Bill which would extend the liberty to women to sit on the provincial corporations, as well as the London corporations, every Member who , represented a provincial town would put a block down against the Bill. Certainly, if women are to be admitted to the London borough councils, you cannot logically refuse them the same right in the provincial corporations, and the thin end of the wedge having been driven in by this Bill, it is quite clear that the great towns of Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow must ultimately have their proportion of women to serve upon the councils. "Any why not?" of course the advocates of women's rights say. I will come to that later on, but there is really no distinction whatever between these provincial corporations and the proposed London corporations. Why, some of these corporations will govern much larger populations than almost any corporation in the provinces you can name. Therefore, I think his argument with regard to that falls to the ground. I maintain that it will be impossible to have one law in London and another in the provinces. This Bill only goes to the admission of women for aldermen and councilors. I cannot understand why the authors of the Bill should exclude women from the office of mayor. It is stated, I know, that a mayor is extra-judicially a justice of the peace. I do not know that that is any disqualification. At all events, I am right in saying as to the general law that there is an enactment that no lady can act as a justice of the peace. But if the belief of the promoters in the possibility of admitting women to sit on these borough councils is real and genuine, why do they object to the ladies being ultimately mayors? My hon. friend, and those who support him, may be very sure that the natural ambition of women will not stop at being elected as aldermen and councilors, and that they will never rest satisfied until they have the chain of the 1045 mayor round their necks. I maintain that a woman is not suitable to be a mayor, an alderman, or a councilor of these borough councils. The work of these borough councils, with one or two exceptions, which my hon. friend was unite right to allude to, is not the kind which is either attractive to the best kind of woman or suitable to her talents and feelings. My hon. friend has alluded to the fact that women know a great deal more about health than men. i daresay that is true, but I do not know what the doctors say to that. You tell us that they know a great deal more about laundries and washhouses, and I daresay that is also true. My hon. friend; added that they are much more capable in regard to the removal of dust from the dust-bins of London than men. I admit that in some of these minor duties which fall to the lot of the borough councils women may do very excellent work. My hon. friend has left out entirely the great and difficult duties these borough councils have to perform. I would ask the House what ninety-nine women out of a hundred know of road-making, sewer inspection, rate-making, and the adjustment of assessments. Occasionally most important questions with regard to finance arise in those bodies, and although we may all admit that ladies are most excellent housekeepers, it does not at all follow that they are the best judges of the right way to raise money, and I am not at all sure that they are the best persons to spend money in these councils. Then constantly questions must come before these corporations which involve applications to Parliament, and of course it might be extremely pleasant to a Committee to have a lady councilor or alderman before them as a witness on a local matter, but I do not think her evidence would weigh very heavily with a judicial body. I said in a debate which took place in the House of Commons, and my hon. friend has been kind enough to allude to it, that women are most useful in some public bodies—on the school boards and boards of guardians. I do not doubt that they do most excellent work. There are so many women in workhouses and receiving outdoor relief, and there are in the board schools a larger number of female children than male, and these facts indicate at once that on boards of that kind, as everybody must admit, they 1046 do most excellent work; but it by no means follows that because women are useful in one sphere necessarily they are adapted for every kind of work. Personally, I draw the line at these municipalities. I draw the line before the door is opened. Mv hon. friend draws the line after the door is opened. I wish to allude to a remark made by my hon. friend as to the suitability of women to sit on these borough councils because of the question of the housing of the poor. Personally I do not suppose that women are more capable of solving that most difficult question than we are. My own opinion is that they might go further than some of my hon. friends on the other side of the House in what I may say is a socialistic direction, and that they would probably put their hands into the ratepayers' pockets to subsidise out of the rates for this purpose. It is, of course, a very large question, and it seems ridiculous to suggest in this House that women are more capable of solving it than men. If it is really a question of looking after these people when they are in houses, or deciding whether there should be a scullery on this side or a cistern on that side, or matters of pure detail, then I dare say that a woman is as capable of giving an opinion as a man; and all I can say is, if you want opinion of that kind, it is easy to appoint women inspectors. If a woman has a more reliable opinion upon certain details with regard to the erection of these houses, I daresay that in a short space of time under the auspices of friends opposite there will be women architects, and they will be able to say what size of room should be provided for the poor, and so on. I say I draw the line outside the door of these municipalities. If you once open the door of the municipalities I submit that the natural ambition of woman will directly induce her to press towards getting a seat in this House. My hon. friend has alluded to that point, and I should like to say a word upon it. I recollect how shocked and alarmed the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House was when I made the suggestion that the natural consequence of opening the door of these London corporations would be that ladies would demand admission into other governing and administrative bodies. It stands to reason, and everybody must feel, that after clamouring for the Parliamentary fran- 1047 chise, and getting it, they would never rest until they found themselves within Parliament itself. I should like to ask the House what stands between the proposal of my hon. friend and this House. For instance, what stands between the powerful and important Corporation of Westminster and this House? I know of nothing. I name the Corporation of the city of Westminster because, if this Bill is carried, a lady will have the right to sit on that Corporation. But, as I take it, you cannot stop with the corporations of London. You must go into the provinces, and you must logically place women on other corporations and on the London County Council. I recollect that in a debate which took place here on one occasion last session the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton, who was in favour of the admission of women to these borough councils, said he should go no further; he should put his foot down and make no further concessions; he would never admit them to the franchise or the House of Commons; but I predicted, when both he and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife, the late Home Secretary, were in favour of this proposal, although absolutely opposed to giving the franchise to women, that they could not stop there if once this door is opened. I have rather strong reasons against the admission of women to borough councils. There is no doubt whatever that the elections in November next will be fought on party lines by the Progressives of the London County Council. I see a prominent member of that body opposite to me. It is absolutely certain that during the last eleven years they have fought elections on party lines. It seems to me that the political aspect of a matter of this kind cannot be left out of consideration. I , should like to ask who in this House would desire to see ladies of refinement and culture exposed to the turmoil and heat of a hotly contested election. [An HON. MEMBER: What about the School Board?] My hon. friend behind me refers to the School Board elections, but these elections have never been fought on party lines. [Cries of "Yes."] I hear a murmur against that. I think I am right in saying that on the last occasion religious questions much more than political questions animated the minds of the ratepayers. But I say that if this 1048 Bill was passed and became law, the ladies we might desire to see sitting on these borough councils would naturally shrink from what I think might be rather a degrading ordeal for them to go through, and the result would be that strong-minded and tenacious ladies would venture into the lists. My hon. friend has stated that what you did last year was to disfranchise those who had already acquired the right to sit on the vestries. It is a remarkable fact that, although during the time these debates were taking place in this House, the elections were going on all over the metropolis for the vestries, although it was stated in this House over and over again that it was desirable to have women sitting on the vestries, and although the public mind was agitated on the subject, there are at the present moment only thirteen sitting on these London vestries. It seems to me rather ridiculous for my hon. friend to say that the people of London desire to see women sitting on these vestries, when at the time there was some excitement about it they only elected thirteen in the whole metropolis. The fact that so few women were elected last year shows conclusively that the public do not consider municipal work a suitable field for women's activities. I do not wish to weary the House by saying much more on the objections to the Bill, because there are other speakers to follow on this side who I have no doubt will deal with the subject more ably than I can. There is an old saying, Ne sutor ultra crepidam. That applies equally to the cobbler's wife as to the cobbler. During the last twenty-five years the field for women's work has been enormously extended and widened.. Everyone admits that during that period they have done most excellent work, and. my advice to them and to those who support their pretensions in the House is, let them rest content with what they have. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
To leave out the word ' now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words' upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Boulnois.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word, 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL (Hertfordshire, Hertford)
I feel that I ought to testify to my strong and earnest opposition to this Bill by stating that, from bad luck, I did not have the opportunity of voting in the snap division which was taken last year upon this question, although I did my utmost, as far as personal friendship would enable me, to oppose it. But I have no particular quarrel with hon. Members and with public opinion outside because they desire to introduce women into all public assemblies, although I disagree with such persons entirely. If they choose to hold that opinion, I can only say that I am diametrically opposed to them; but it hardly comes within the scope of this Bill to deal with any opposition arising from such grounds as that. There are hon. Members of this House and people outside who look forward to seeing women in every possible public position, both political and otherwise. I have no doubt that some persons would like to see a woman sitting in your chair, Mr. Speaker, or a woman in the position of Lord Roberts, or as an archbishop; but that is not the standpoint from which I care to argue, and with which opinion I have no particular quarrel beyond the fact that I am wholly opposed to it. The people I quarrel with are those who say, as was said last year in this House, that while they are opposed to women being put in the position of generals, archbishops, Speakers, and Lord Chancellors, they are not opposed to the admission of women to such bodies as this Bill refers to. We are told that in some years time a further encroachment is to be made, and that women are to be proposed for offices which nobody ever thought of giving to them—it may be they will claim to be mayors, county councilors, or Members of Parliament—and I shall be curious to hear the intellectual logic which may then be employed by advocates of the present Bill to resist these further innovations. Every argument for admitting women to London municipal councils could be used with equal effect in favour of admitting them to county councils. We are told that the object of the creation of municipal boroughs last year was to create somewhat more dignified public bodies than existed before. If they are intended to be more dignified, and to 1050 rank with county councils, magisterial benches, and other assemblies, women ought to be subjected to the same disabilities as they are under on these more influential bodies. I think that argument holds good so far as it goes. If this Bill is carried it means nothing more nor less than the entry of women into public and political life. It must not be imagined that you can stop here, and there is no reason to suppose that they will rest content with this provision. A victory to-day will doubtless encourage them, and we should have in a limited period, unless there is some wave of public opinion against it, women successfully introduced into many of those higher public bodies. The hon. Member who preceded me spoke of the work done by women on these public bodies, but they are not the class of women we should like to see there, for the better class of women would not come forward, largely because of the annoyances which any public election would subject them to. I noticed an interruption from my right hon. friend, the Member for Bodmin, reminding the hon. Member that there were such things as school boards, and that women stood for them at election times. I have had a very considerable experience in being concerned with the selection of candidates for school boards, and I have had opportunities of urging upon women whom I thought might possibly be specially qualified for school board work to stand as candidates for those bodies. I have known more than one lady of the class I should like to see engaged in public work who altogether declined to come forward on the ground that she would have to face a public election and stand on a public platform. There are extremely few women who are willing to come forward and undergo the ordeal of a public election. Most of the ladies who have done much good public work have been able to do that work from outside, independently altogether of membership of these public bodies. The names of Miss Nightingale and Miss Octavia Hill have already been mentioned in this respect. Further back you would find that Mrs. Elizabeth Fry would have been able to do her prison reform work just as successfully whether she was or was not a member of a Prisons Board. I doubt very much whether ladies who are disposed to undertake this 1051 kind of philanthropic work are prevented from undertaking it by being excluded from sitting on public bodies concerned with that work, and you may be sure that all public bodies will give full weight to the opinion of women when their opinion has the value of expert evidence. The class of women we want to see undertaking public work is such as I have mentioned. We do not want to see on our councils mere busybodies who are anxious to have a finger in every pie, and whom I might fairly compare with the ladies whom an eminent surgeon, Mr. Troves, has referred to at the Gape. These ladies are mere busybodies who have no business there, and who interfere with the military arrangements, consume the food, and take up the room which would be useful for the soldiers and for invalided or wounded prisoners. They are not required there, and they go out there for no particular object beyond a desire to constitute themselves amateur nurses. They are in no way comparable to the excellent skilled nurses. I think self-constituted nurses of that kind are just as undesirable in the public interest at the Cape, as are many of the women who seek election on our public bodies. Many alleged qualifications why women should sit upon public bodies have been put forward. It has been urged today by the hon. Member for West Islington that on boards of guardians and school boards women have done very useful work. I do not deny that that is so, but that is not the kind of work which will be required of them on these municipal councils. It is quite right that they should undertake work of that description, but not that they should be foisted on to other public bodies in which much larger questions have to be considered. The work of boards of guardians and of school boards is not at all similar to that of borough councils. On school boards women may be useful in regard to the education of the girls and the infants in the schools, and they are very useful in regard to industrial schools. But with all due respect to the arguments of hon. Members opposite, I venture to say that the influence they possess in this respect can be just as well exercised without being members of these public bodies, and they could not do the work any better if they had seats upon them. This argument applies to many of the points which have been raised in favour of this Bill. 1052 The work which it is alleged women ought to take a hand in can be better done, in my opinion, if they are employed by those bodies to do the work rather than if they are members of the body themselves. The question of sanitation referred to by the hon. Member opposite I have no doubt will be strongly urged by the right hon. Gentleman behind me. I do not say that, as a general rule, women have not an excellent knowledge in regard to the cleaning of houses, but on this account you cannot argue that they know as much about drains and paving and matters which concern a borough council as they do about the cleaning of houses. Let the borough councils by all means employ them as inspectors. On school boards we have found that the women employed have proved themselves to be excellent managers, they have maintained excel-lent discipline and have taught extremely well, but they have generally worked under the special charge of the members of the school board. I had the super- vision of some of these school board centres myself, and I venture to say that I did not unduly interfere with the opinion of the women superintendents, and I was always very much guided by their suggestions. I maintain that in all these matters ladies are much better placed in responsible positions where we can take their opinion than when they come for- ward as members of the board itself. While in special matters of this kind women are thoroughly well qualified for their work—and their excellent influence upon the particular children under their care is highly appreciated—they are not so well fitted to direct the more general administration. I think that the policy of our public boards ought, in the main, to be directed by men, although on particular matters it is desirable that the opinion of ladies should be taken. In my experience, such as it is, of ladies on public boards I have found that although they do a great deal of good and useful work in particular respects, there is always a kind of sentiment pervading their votes which it is often very undesirable to see in public work. I will mention various matters which I think are germane to the question. Suppose there is a question brought forward of a considerable expenditure in a philanthropic matter, you may be quite sure 1053 that the lady members of the board will invariably vote for that expenditure, and they will not scruple to charge the rates to any extent. I do not say that there is not often a good deal to be said for such expenditure, but many of us feel that there are two sides to such a question. Take again, for instance, the question of corporal punishment. Many think that it ought to be abolished, but others say that, as a matter of discipline, it ought to be maintained. No doubt in a matter of that kind ladies would always vote for abolition, and they would not give due weight to the considerations on the other side. Their sympathies would soon be aroused in a case of underfed children, and no doubt there are many underfed children. I am extremely anxious that everything should be done to remedy the unhappy condition of these children, but when a mere mention is made of this question upon a body like the school board you will find that the female members at once take it for granted that the large number of underfed children exist, and they will immediately try and turn the school board into a philanthropic body to remedy this state of things. But it is not the business of school boards to undertake such matters, and though they may lend their friendly assistance so far as they can, it is not their business to feed the children, and their policy ought not to be guided by mere sentiment. There are many more similar cases. We had a discussion here the other night, in dealing with the housing of the working classes, upon cheap trains, and the gist of the proposal was that if a public body thought that a particular district was overcrowded, to avoid that evil the public body should have power to purchase land and insist upon railways being built to it. This was to be utterly regardless of whether or not houses grew up in that particular district. It might have been that railway trains would have had to run to empty houses for many years to come. In such a case as that the ladies would have been almost certain to vote in favour of the proposal, and, as a general rule—there may be exceptions—they would not have given full weight to the considerations urged on the other side. It is because there is in women a disposition to be over philanthropic, if I may call it by that name, that I oppose their having any direct interest as 1054 members of large public bodies, and on that ground I do earnestly trust that this House will not give a Second Reading to the Bill now before it, and that hon. Members will reject it by a large majority. We ought to remember that, as I have already urged, much can be done by employing women in those particular departments for which they are specially fitted even as regards sanitation. Moreover, the majority of London Members, who are more particularly affected by this Bill, have declared against this proposal, and I do not think their opinion should be disregarded. In any case, this is much too large a question to bring forward in a patching-up Bill such as this is. It is entirely unnecessary that a question of this kind, which has already been voted upon by this House and decided by a vast majority in another House, should again be brought up this afternoon; and in view of the many considerations against this proposal which I have endeavoured to urge, I hope the measure will be rejected by the House.
DR. FAEQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
If I had the honour of belonging to the other sex, and if I sat listening to what has gone on in this House, I should feel a little sore at the class of arguments which have been used on this occasion by the lords of creation. The hon. Member who has just sat down has made a very unworthy sneer upon women who want to do good and practical public work. Throughout all his observations there runs one principal strain, and that is, the inferiority of women. Women, it is argued, are all very well in their way; employ them, if you like, in subordinate positions, but do not let them aspire to any position in life in which they will venture to compete with the lords of creation up above. The argument is, that we must take care that men shall continue to take the best places in public life. I have listened attentively to this debate from the beginning. My hon. friend who moved the rejection of this Bill gave us, argument for argument and almost word for word, the speech which we have had the pleasure of listening to upon a former occasion. I think one argument he used—and one which will probably be used by the official Minister who will reply—was that you must not disturb a settlement which has been made in another place.
1055 But what does this House exist for? We are always disturbing settlements, and the raison d'être of the whole of our business in life is to disturb settlements, and to go on from one thing to a better, overturning the past and trying to provide something better for the future. My hon. friend said that this was work for which women were obviously unfitted. What has been the history of this question? The chairman of the Edinburgh School Board is a lady, and a thorough good chairman she makes. A lady bearing my own name—Miss Far-quharson—is the chairman of a parish council, and all along the line we find that they are doing very valuable work. Why should they not sit on county councils when they have shown such intellectual capacity? We are told by the hon. Gentlemen opposite that the best women do not want to sit on these boards. I say that the best class of women do want to do this work. The names of Miss Octavia Hill and Miss Nightingale have been mentioned, but I wonder if my hon. friend opposite has studied their history? Miss Octavia Hill has accomplished a great work, and Miss Nightingale went out to the Crimea, with the result that she revolutionised the whole system of our nursing. I venture to say that if these; two women had not been in existence the condition of this country would have been very much different to-day. These ladies did not do their work by stopping at home and writing letters to the newspapers or attending mothers' meetings. We are told that women do not know much about road-making and finance. I am not a married man, nor am I in the secrets of men who are married, but I believe that married men are grateful for the way in which the woman at the head of the house looks after the housekeeping money. Women are good financiers, and if they are elected they will find plenty of useful work to do, and they can do certain public work which men cannot do. It has been argued that the capacity of men and women is exactly equal, but I do not think that. Women are weaker physiologically, and I think that men in open competition with women will always get the best of them. I know that, on several occasions, women have fairly outpaced the men. I remember the time at my old school at Edinburgh when there was bitter opposition to women entering into 1056 the medical profession, but we have got over all that feeling now. I was amused to hear the line of argument adopted by my hon. friend opposite, for all through it is simply one in favour of the superiority of men and the inferiority of women, and the calling into question the capacity of women for public life. All that women want is a fair field and no favour, and they only want to be allowed to compete with men on equal terms. I do not think men need to be afraid, because, as I said before, I believe that in an equal field of competition they will always get the best of it. But there are certain things which women can do better than men. I may allude to looking after the interests of the poor people. Rich people can always get specialists to do whatever class of work they require, and women who go among the houses of the poor get information in a way which men cannot do. Their knowledge of certain forms of sanitation is greater than that of men, and such things as nursing, domestic economy, and other matters are things which no man professes to know. Women have done good work on boards very similar to those on which they are now invited to sit under this Bill. The argument that women must not go into public life because of the noise and clamour of public election is all nonsense. Do we see anything of that kind at school board elections? Why, the very presence of women on such occasions improves their tone, and therefore the contention of the hon. Gentleman opposite is a futile and stupid argument. I am very glad that he has brought this question before the House. If there has been a settlement of this matter, the sooner we unsettle it the better.
§ *MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
I may say that I find myself in agreement with hon. Members opposite, and I intend to support the Second Reading of this Bill. I do so on two grounds— the first is that of gratitude, and the second utility. When one has lived a certain number of years in public life he generally comes to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to take each proposition as it comes and do his best with it. And so I am not animated by the fears of my hon. friend the Member for Hertford, and those who think that if Parliament confers a right, most reasonable in itself, and allows a beneficial change to take 1057 place, we should therefore be bound to support all the outspoken and most determined schemes which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin always advocates with such force in this House. I am not coming forward as an advocate of women's rights, but I ask the House of Commons to exercise a little common sense. The two grounds, as I have said before, upon which I support this Bill are gratitude and utility. As regards the ground of gratitude, it cannot be denied that a great number of women deserve a great deal of consideration for work already done on public bodies in London, and do not deserve to be classed with that unfortunate and unsatisfactory section who have been described as busybodies. I do think that we owe a debt of gratitude to the women who, at great personal sacrifice, and often facing a great deal of public obloquy, have devoted themselves to the very grievous and burdensome task of alleviating the condition of the working classes. The names of Miss Nightingale and Miss Octavia Hill have been mentioned. Many other names might be added whose work is not reported, and who are worthy of great praise in this respect. I know that women of this kind have worked upon the very bodies for which the borough councils will now be substituted. They have done good work upon the vestries and sanitary authorities which are now to be supplanted by the new municipalities. Upon these bodies women have done a great, a noble, and a praiseworthy work, and work which is recognised by us all as being of the greatest practical importance in the past. A change of the law has now taken place. The system of the government of London has been altered; but why, in doing that, are we to deprive London of the benefit of the assistance of women who have done this work so well in the past? The only reply is that, for other reasons, this is more convenient. Now as regards practical utility. We have got to carry out as best we can the laws of public health and decency. I am afraid these are very imperfectly carried out at present in this great metropolis. I often think that, instead of asking for fresh legislation, it would be much better to carry out the laws you have got and put into operation existing legislation. If people would confine themselves more to 1058 that, and not always be asking for additional laws and for the repealing of laws which exist, in my opinion, we should get on a great deal better. These ladies have been for many years past on these very bodies which are now being suppressed, and they will be prevented from carrying on similar work in the future, unless this change is made. I will just read a few remarks which have been made by Miss Alice Busk, who is a member of the Vestry of St. George-the-Martyr, Southwark. She has had twelve years' experience in Whitechapel and Spitalfields in the management of tenement property, and has taken her part in helping to get the poor parish of St. George-the-Martyr into a more sanitary condition. She says—In St George's we inherited the result of years of neglect—that is to say, of scamped work on the part of contractors, and of neglect on the part of our predecessors on the vestry in not looking into matters. The more we learn of the state of things underground the more fearsome it is, for openings up too often reveal sewers not jointed in any way, and laid in a method which is best described as the 'switchback railway' system! It is no wonder, therefore, that our death rate is a high one. I do not propose to give startling details, for I would rather tell of the way in which we are trying to deal with our difficulties.She goes on to speak of the way she worked on the health committee, and she seems to have achieved very great improvement in that respect. In reference to the work of the reception house committee, for which women are specially fitted, she says—The reception house was built to receive the families from one or two loomed tenements while their rooms are disinfected after infectious illness. As the shelters have proved to be failures throughout most of London, we set ourselves to see how we could make ours especially attractive. The subcommittee took great pains in furnishing. There are four two-roomed tenements, which we made into quite model little workmen's homes. We did not omit a cot for the baby—the statistics of our medical officer as to the number of infants that die of suffocation, and of the proportion of these that meet their death on Saturday night, being sadly suggestive. To remove the nervous fear which we knew prevailed with regard to these shelters in other districts, we ladies asked the permission of the vestry to give a ' house-warming' as soon as the building was ready for occupation.Then she describes how these shelters were received by the poor people with acclamation. Here is another example of 1059 the work which women can do. Miss Busk goes on to say—Our boldest venture has been the appointment in 1896 of a woman inspector to measure up and register our very lowest class houses, and to carry out the stringent regulations known as the Tenement Bye-laws. It had been previously held that this was a man's work, but the result has abundantly justified our action, for not only has our inspector kept the landlords up to maintaining these low class tenements in very good condition, but she has also succeeded by her tact and persuasive powers in getting her overcrowding cases abated, so that in the whole time she has been working for us (nearly two and a half years) she has only been obliged to take ten overcrowding cases into court, and nine cleansing cases, and in every case she has obtained a conviction.This is another example of what I call the practical utility of this work. I say that to women of this kind we owe a debt of public gratitude, and why in the name of common sense are we to reject the assistance of these women and take a retrograde step in the great put important work of social restoration? Surely no one can say that in London there is not a great deal remaining to be done in the way of improving our social system. I should be the last person to minimise the glories which our nation has achieved in its external relations, but there is perhaps something in the suggestion of our foreign friends that we must make our own dwellings sweeter if we expect other people to admire us to the extent to which we admire ourselves. But, after all, the greatest honour which a nation can achieve is to be found in the care which it takes of the most helpless portion of the community. It is because I believe that on the admission, or, rather, on the retention of women in such work depends in great measure the real success of local government, that I cordially support this motion.
§ *MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford has done good service in recalling to the House what is the real question before it on this occasion. He has found that this is not a question of an abstract principle, but that it is a concrete issue. He has pointed out that it is not a question of giving women some position which they do not now possess, but that it is one of taking away from them a position which they now occupy. Upon the question of the ability with which 1060 women have done their work, I do not propose to enter. I do not believe that even the most extravagant opponents of this measure will hesitate to admit that the work which has been done by women in local government already is work which merits the recognition of Parliament and of the nation. Nor will I enter upon the question of any abstract right which women may possess. These are considerations which do not commend themselves in argument to this House. This House is a concrete-minded body and likes to look at questions upon their merits. But there are other considerations which weigh with me as with the hon. Member opposite, and these considerations may be shortly put as follows: in the first place, it is in the highest degree desirable that we should increase, as far as we possibly can, the field from which we are to draw the people who are to represent the public in the affairs of local government. It is not quite so easy to find sitable and public-spirited representative to fill one of those offices. It is not just the simplest thing to find somebody free from the reproach of having an axe of his own to grind and who has got sufficient public spirit to throw himself into the work without the suspicion that he will be actuated by some consideration other than the public interest. I, for one, should regret very much if this House were to go out of its way to narrow the field from which these public positions are to be filled. It will be said, and said with force, that after all the question which is raised here is one of enlarging the rights which women are entitled to claim in respect of these matters. It will be said that this is a proposition to so enlarge the claim of women to sit on these bodies that it is akin to a proposition for giving them access to town councils as well as borough councils. [An HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] Apparently the hon. Member assents to this view. What we have to do with in London is something different from ordinary town councils. Up to the time of the passing of the Act of Parliament women were taking part in the work of the vestries, and doing an amount of the public business the value of which is not challenged. It is not a question of demanding something new; it is much more a question of removing them, from a sphere which they have occupied with 1061 conspicuous usefulness; and when it is said that the passage of this measure will open up to women a claim to enter public life in town councils my answer is that you have brought yourself face to face with the problem whether for the purposes of the work which women have to do you will liken the new borough councils to what they do not at all resemble— part of the ordinary corporations of this country, or whether you liken them to what they really are—a great and improved organisation for dealing with the work of the whole of London. We are not dealing here with the analogy of the town councils. It is open to those who choose to draw that distinction and say that they vote for the admission of women to the new borough councils on the simple ground that women have hitherto been doing useful work in London, and they do not choose to take any step which would prevent them doing it in the future. But there is another class of objectors. Members enter the House when a division is called and ask what it is upon. They are told "Women suffrage," and they vote accordingly. But that really is not the issue; it is not an abstract question of the right of women to full municipal suffrage in any sense in which they have not had it up to the present time, it is a question whether it is desirable that women should sit upon local governing boards of a strictly limited order. It is a question which was solved long ago when they were admitted to school boards, parish councils, and district councils, and the affirmation of the principle has been attended by substantial public advantage. Here is no abstract principle, it is a question to be decided upon its merits, considering it in relation to the needs of London and the fitness of women for the work. I am not going to argue it; I regard it as res judirata. People may say that Parliament, after all, ought to lay down some restrictions, and consider to what extent it should go in allowing women to take their place among the citizens of the country. I for one dislike Parliament attempting to lay down abstract principles. Surely you can leave these things to public opinion. Why try and fetter the discretion of the electorate? If there are foolish virgins or married women who wish to meddle with these matters without experience, and who are likely to bring confusion into public affairs, public opinion may 1062 be safely left to decide on the claims of particular candidates, but if Parliament refuses this amendment of the law it will stir up a sense of injustice among women, who will not cease to agitate until they get their rights, as they call them. Public opinion will decide whether women are fit to do certain work, and it will not elect a foolish woman a second time. By refusing to pass this Bill Parliament will be creating an official barrier which will prove to be no lasting barrier at all, but will raise a real case of injustice which we shall not be able to resist on a future occasion without imperilling our reputations for good sense. It has been said that this matter was settled last session. We had three divisions; in one there was a considerable majority for the women, and in the other two the majorities were against them. But I remember how those majorities came about, and I deny that what we did last session represented the deliberate and final opinion of the House of Commons on this matter. It represented only a snap conclusion; a conclusion which might have gone one way or the other, according to the hour at which the vote was taken. There are, I know, strong feelings on this question, but I appeal to hon. Members not to deal with it as an abstract principle, but rather to look to the necessities of London, and at the good work which women have done in these matters in the past.
§ MR. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
Although this is a Bill to enable women to sit on the new London municipalities, I observe that, with one or two exceptions, all the Members who have spoken on it sit for other than London constituencies. The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire seemed to be under the impression that anyone who opposed this Bill cast an aspersion upon women. I am a strong opponent of the measure, and I certainly have no desire to pass any aspersions upon women, or to deny that in many different walks of life they are as capable as—and, in some instances, more capable than—men.
§ MR. BANBURY
I accept the explanation, but I thought it advisable to make the observation because there are many 1063 Members on this side of the House who oppose the Bill, not because they do not think women are equal with or superior to men, but because they have a conscientious belief that they are not fitted to sit upon these councils, and because also they foresee that such a step may lead to a further extension of women suffrage. The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire complained that the arguments used last session were being repeated to-day. No doubt they are, but surely they are still relevant to the issue we have to decide. With regard to the divisions which took place last session, two were no doubt scratch divisions, but the third one certainly was not of that character, for 357 Members voted in it, or only six fewer than voted for the Second Reading of the London Government Act, 1899. But this was not the division which really decided the question; that was taken on 6th July, when 423 Members voted and the majority against was not thirty-five but sixty-nine. The questions we have to decide are—first, are women suited to sit upon these particular councils; and second, would the effect of this Bill, if passed, be to advance the cause of women suffrage? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford has said it is not a good argument to say you must not do something right because something may follow which is not right. But I would point out that if this Bill passes the advocates of women suffrage in this House would have much stronger grounds on which to advance their claims than they have at the present moment. Again, as to the eligibility of women. If this Bill passes what will be the result? We know that borough councils are elected by popular suffrage, and though unquestionably in London these elections are not attended with such riotous scones as were of common occurrence years ago, no one who has gone through a contested election can deny that there is a good deal of excitement. There are women who would not care to face the turmoil of a political election. These borough council elections are sure to be contested on political grounds; there will be political organisations at work, and if you allow women to come forward I think it is obvious they will have to take an active share in political matters. That, I hold, is not at all to be desired. Apart from that the question arises, what is the chief work that will be done by these borough 1064 councils? We know, of course, that women have done good work in many of the directions which have been mentioned in this debate. But if we allow women to sit upon these borough councils I do not sec how we can prevent them from sitting on the municipalities in the provinces. Now a great part of the work of the municipalities, both in the provinces and in London, has to do with finance. Whether or not hon. Members think that the municipalities of to-day are doing good work, no one will deny that the debt of the municipalities is increasing very rapidly. I believe it is now something like £250,000,000, and while during the last fifteen years the National Debt has been decreasing enormously, the debts of the municipalities have been increasing at a much faster rate. What would be the result of having women as councillors? Women undoubtedly are sentimental, and there is no doubt that their keen sense of right and duty, added to their sentimentality, compels them to advocate any cause which they may take up, utterly regardless of any consequences that may follow. It is conceivable that if a project came before a body on which women were in a majority, a project against which nothing could be said except that this was not an ideal world and that to carry it out would cast a burden on the ratepayers which they would not be able to bear, such a body would be guided by the excellence of the project rather than by considerations of finance. It seems to me that that might easily happen. An hon. Member has alluded to the good work women have done on boards of guardians, and he also stated he could see no reason why they should not act as inspectors. In that matter I perfectly agree with him. I think that women would do much better work as inspectors than they could upon these councils. Then, again, a contractor, I believe, is not allowed to sit upon a municipality with which he has a contract; but, if women could be elected, such a contractor's wife might, if she had a house in her own right in the district. The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire says that women ask for no favour and only for a fair hearing. Then if all that women ask is to compete with men on equal ground, why should they not sit in this House? Such a step in the direction of female suffrage would, I think, be very disastrous. It has been said 1065 that the best women do not wish to come forward. Whether that is so or not, only thirteen, I am told, availed themselves of the privilege in the case of the London vestries between the years 1894 and 1899. That, surely, is not a very large number in a population of over five millions. But the real question is whether we are to alter the whole social life of the country. To admit the thin end of the wedge, as is now proposed, would be an extremely unfortunate course, and I hope the House will reject the Bill and reaffirm the principle at which it arrived after much consideration last year.
§ MR. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
The hon. Gentleman, who always deals with great fairness with this question, has rather withdrawn the debate from the practical ground on which it was based by the right hon. Member for Oxford University and the hon. and learned Member for Haddington. The hon. Member's arguments were of a very general nature, and, I venture to think, should not influence the House largely in the matter. He has spoken of changing the whole social life of the country, and he seems to fear the developments that might arise. But I am inclined to believe that we may well leave our successors in this House to deal with future questions as they arise in a practical spirit. This is not a question of a new privilege, it is a question of the retention of a right or power which is at present in the hands of women. The limitation of the number of women who have availed themselves of the right to thirteen surely disposes of the hon. Member's suggestion that an immense number of incapable or unsuitable women would rush into the London vestries. The capability of those women who have entered is beyond all doubt, and in reference to that one must not forget the good work done by a lady inspector in St. George's, Southwark, work which stopped the spread of infectious disease by reconciling the inhabitants to the removal of their families from the small tenements in which it had broken out. I agree it cannot well be said that this question was finally settled by the divisions which were taken last year. The Bill as sent from this House to another place contained a clause enabling women to sit on these boards. That right was preserved to them in the House 1066 of Commons. In another place the clause was struck out, and in the closing days of the session the measure again came before the House of Commons. Many hon. Members feared that if they voted against the Lords Amendment they might lose the Bill altogether. Under those circumstances it is not to be wondered at that the Lords Amendment was passed by a considerable majority. I am confident that many hon. Members who voted on that occasion voted simply because they feared the Bill would be lost if the Lords Amendment were not agreed to. It was simply a compromise, and no one could regard that as a settlement of the question. It has been suggested that women are not capable of dealing with financial questions. I certainly do not think that that has been found to be the case in connection with their work on boards of guardians or on the vestries. In conclusion I would point out that the extreme desire of all parties has been to secure a largo number of fit persons to perform the duties incumbent upon the new councils. It is an admitted fact that there are a large number of capable women who have served London well upon the vestries. Is it not a desirable thing to take advantage of their capability and willingness? Is it not a mistake to insist on women ceasing to give their services for the benefit of the community? These are the questions which the House has to decide to-day, and I venture to say that if the Bill is rejected it means that women are not to continue doing the work which they have done in the past with general approval.
§ MR. RADCLIFFE COOKE (Hereford)
If their arguments are worth anything, the promoters of the Bill should support the application of the Bill to the whole country. To listen to some speeches, one would suppose that until five years ago, when ladies were first permitted to sit upon vestries, ladies could do no good for the community at large. There is no evidence before the House to show that the thirteen women who sat on the London vestries were, in consequence of having sat on the vestries, better able and qualified to do the various good acts which have been related of women ever since women existed. Was it not until women were elected on the London vestries that they first showed their 1067 qualifications for benefiting the poorer communities? Did they not find scope for their energies as district visitors? Did ladies not visit the workhouses and other institutions? Are we to cast a slur on them and say that they can do no good because they are not eligible us councillors and aldermen? It has not been shown yet that the thirteen vestry women of London were better qualified to perform their philanthropic duties because they held public office. An hon. Member has referred to the case of the working woman at Liverpool who took the initiative in establishing washing places for the poor. Was she a town councillor or an alderman? Would her work have been better done, would she have initiated those charitable institutions with greater success, had she been a member of the council? Another hon. Member spoke of the qualifications of women for following a dust-cart; he said they would be unable to deal with dirt and dustmen. I do not think these are the arguments we ought to have before us. This is merely an appeal to sentiment; it is an endeavour to persuade people that they ought not to vote against philanthropy; it is a suggestion that because women have shown certain good qualities in the past they are entitled to have these honours thrust upon them. But really this Bill is brought forward because it is a step which is likely to meet with the least line of resistance. If the arguments of the hon. Member are worth anything we ought not to have this Bill limited to London alone. Are there no poor in our great cities who would be benefited by the philanthropic efforts of ladies? Are the poor in Sheffield, Glasgow, and other great cities different from the poor in London? Are there not tenement houses in these cities as well as in London, and are there no ladies working to relieve their occupants? And why are not their labours recognised in this Bill, if their good work would be furthered by making them councillors or alderwomen? You are afraid to do that, because you think it would be too big a measure and would be rejected. But you come here to-day with a small measure, because you say the circumstances are of a peculiar nature. The argument is used that for six years thirteen ladies have been members of London vestries, and you come from the particular to the general and say that for 1068 six years these thirteen ladies did not do badly, and that therefore the system must be thoroughly established. If this concession, or whatever you call it, were demanded by women, why do we not see them in the lobbies of this House today? I have been through the Lobby on one occasion when the Women's Suffrage Bill was being discussed, and I escaped. I went through the Lobby to-day, and I saw only one or two ladies, who were not of that attractive type with which we are familiar when the franchise is in question. My right hon. friend the Member for Bodmin and many others are familiar with the manner in which the franchise question is supported. My right hon. friend and others are acceptable persons at the drawing-room meetings at Peckham and Notting Hill. We know how much is made of these meetings. If the front drawing-room is full it is a magnificent display of public feeling, and when the doors are thrown open and the little back parlour is also nearly full, it is quite a national demonstration. We have no national demonstrations in favour of this Bill; it is not worthy of them. Women want something more, and it is brought forward just as a little step in the direction of the franchise. Those who have been in the habit of attending ladies' meetings—I have not lately attended any, but I did some twenty years ago— know that the admissions of the ladies themselves are very different from the statements made in this House, and when any concession on any point is given, women always state among themselves that they regard it as only a step towards their ultimate goal—this House. It is natural that that should be so, because is it not common knowledge that if you give a woman an inch she will want an ell? I am not going to delay the House any longer, because I think this question is in course of practical solution. Anyone walking through the streets of London can see how much taller women are than men, and there are physical reasons which will make man take a back seat.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. T. W. RUSSELL, Tyrone, S.)
Had the Government considered it necessary to discuss what is known as the women's question on the Second Reading of this Bill I do not think I would have been selected to 1069 state their views. I am not going to dilate on woman's suffrage or any of the other questions which have been introduced during the debate. I have not in the least concealed what my opinions are on the subject—they are recorded in the division lists of this House; and what over I may say or do on this Bill I do not intend to give up one iota of the convictions I hold on these questions. But I am not quite sure that I agree with all that has been said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Islington in ' moving the Second Reading of this Bill. The House was not so full then as it is now, and I would like to take it back to some of the statements made by the hon. Gentleman. He gave a history of the proceedings in connection with this question last year. He said that the proceedings of the House had been vacillating in regard to it, and he went further and said that they had not been very creditable. He told us that there had been several divisions in the House, and that Members had voted first one way and then another, and in order to remedy that he proposes to have another division, to put the House into a still more vacillating condition, and make confusion worse confounded. That is apparently what he means by calling on the House to divide on this Bill to-day. Nor am I quite sure that I altogether agree with the case the hon. Gentleman sought to make for the Bill. As to what he said about ladies as members of boards of guardians and school boards there can be no question. I have adequate knowledge of the enormous services rendered by women on poor law boards; but what are the duties that are cast upon them? The case there, in my opinion, is absolutely clear. They have to deal with children, for example; with questions of dietary; questions of clothing and bedding; in short, they have to deal with what may be properly described as the management of a home. It will be admitted at once, even by the strongest opponents of the women's question, that women are better equipped to perform these duties than men, and the same may be said with regard to school boards. The argument in these cases is absolutely complete, and the excellent work which women have done on boards of guardians and school boards is fully appreciated not only by this House, but by the public. Then the hon. Gentleman referred to the work which women are 1070 doing in public Departments of the State. That is quite true. He referred to the Local Government Board, and I shoule like to point out to him that we havd women inspectors, but that they are rigidly confined to duties which they are pre-eminently qualified to discharge. We have inspectors under the Local Government Board for boarded out children and for the Poor Law Schools; that is manifestly a duty which women can perform better than men. But so far as the public Departments of the State are concerned I think the hon. Gentleman will find that women are not called on to perform general duties, but are confined to specific duties for which they are most admirably fitted. The hon. Gentleman left out one argument which is stronger than any he used. The Local Government Board nominates women members of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, and that is a stronger point for him than that of women inspectors. I want to ask the House whether the same case can be made out for women on these new councils. I think that case can be made; but has the hon. Member made it? Take the question of the housing of the working classes or the administration of the Infectious Diseases Act, or the question of baths and washhouses. What did the hon. Member say about the housing question? He said that women were better qualified to consider the question of bye-laws than men. I am at a loss to understand how that can be made out. I will tell the hon. Member what takes place. I do not think municipal corporations consider bye-laws at all. They fall back on the Central Department of the State and rely on the model bye-laws that are supplied. I utterly fail to see why women are better qualified than men to consider a bye-law.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Take the question of the adulteration of food. The borough councils have very little to do with it. What is their duty? Simply to sanction prosecutions. The real duty is discharged by the inspectors, who have to go from shop to shop and test the quality of the food, and institute prosecutions. My only objection to the local authorities in the question is that they do 1071 not sanction prosecutions as often as they ought. The hon. Gentleman has made out an irresistible case for women inspectors, but not such a strong case for women councillors. So much for the speech of the hon. Gentleman in opening this debate. Now, I voted last year for women councillors, and under opportune circumstances I should repeat that vote. The real position, however, is this—after an exciting controversy in this House and in another place this question was decided last year. I will not talk about a final settlement. I am not going to be so foolish as to use that phrase about any Act passed here or anywhere else. There can be no final settlement of any question in any session of Parliament. But the real question which the House has now to decide is, I submit, not whether women are fitted to be borough councillors, but whether the decision that was arrived at last year by both Houses of Parliament ought, in fact, to be reversed and upset before the Act has actually come into operation. That is, I submit, the real question the House ought to consider. The hon. Member for Haddington stated that this House prided itself on being a practical assembly. We all have a good conceit of ourselves, I suppose, but I am going to bring the hon. Member's statement to the test to-day. This session of Parliament is now near the close of its second stage, and I ask any hon. Gentleman who knows anything of the procedure of Parliament, what chance has an opposed Bill of a private Member at this period of the session? If we are a practical assembly, let us look at things in a practical light. I say nothing now about opposition elsewhere, but opposition is keen enough on both sides of this House to prevent this Bill travelling any further, if its Second Reading is taken to-day, and therefore as a practical assembly I do not see why we should take that step. On this ground, and on this ground alone— that the question was fully discussed and considered last year, that a settlement was arrived at under which the Bill was passed—the Government consider that the settlement, which was arrived at after a great deal of conflict and controversy, ought not to be upset within twelve months of the date on which it was made. It is a question, no doubt, on which great difference of opinion exists on both sides of the House, and is 1072 therefore a question which the House will have to settle for itself, the Government contenting themselves with pointing; out the facts of the situation.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
My hon. friend the Secretary of the Local Government Board finds himself, no doubt, in very embarrassing circumstances. I listened with a good deal of interest,, with some sympathy, and some degree even of commiseration, to his speech, but I was astonished at the conclusion which, by way of advice, he read out on behalf of the Government—namely, that we are to vote as we like. But the Government seem to have instructed my hon. friend to say that inasmuch as a. settlement was made last year it would not be politic to open it now. I am sorry that those who devised these words were not here to listen to the speech of my hon. friend the Member for Hereford. He is no friend of this Bill-He has got a good robust intellect of his own, and does not generally conceal facts from himself, and he very openly and candidly said that the settlement of last year was no settlement by the House of the question itself. What did happen? We voted on the question in a confused way in Committee; we then appointed a day to vote on it again, and we had a, large majority in favour of the retention by women of eligibility to sit on those boards. The Bill went up to the Lords,, and there, by a very large majority, the clause which we inserted was struck out, and a disability clause put in its place. When the Kill came back to this House the question arose as to whether we should assent to what the Lords had done, and my right hon. friend the Loader of the House, who had voted three times in favour of allowing women to attain their eligibility, argued as to the propriety of assenting to the Lords Amendment, in order to escape embarrassment and to save the Bill. He voted himself in that sense, and carried with him, with the assistance of the Government Whips, a very large number of Members on this side, who voted for the Lords Amendment simply in order to escape embarrassment and save the Bill. That is what my hon. friend now says was a settlement of the question. It was nothing of the sort. It was a provisional settlement in respect to that Bill, but on the merits of the case there was no settle- 1073 ment whatever. We have now an opportunity given of pronouncing on the merits of the case in a detached and separate form. My hon. friend said that we could not advance this Bill, but I do not give up hope; we will get this division first, and then we can see what we can do afterwards. After having listened to almost all the debate I am free to confess that I have heard little but what I have heard before in this House, but I should wish to recall one or two arguments which have been used in favour of this Bill. The great and substantial argument is this, that we are proceeding on no abstract lines; we are not working in vacuo as to the eligibility of women to discharge this or that function; we are instituting no comparison between the qualities of women and of men. We take our stand on the fact that for five years in the vestries of London women have been eligible to sit, that they have been chosen, and have sat, and have done good work, and that the electors ought to have the power to re-elect them if they wish. The vestries under the Act of last year have been changed in name much more than in form into the municipal boroughs of London, and the question is whether we will deprive women of the power of sitting on these councils which they enjoy on the vestries, which they have exercised with advantage and which the electors wish them to retain. We only propose to give the electors the power to re-elect women if they chose, and, of course, if they do not wish to re-elect them the whole thing comes to nothing. If the electors wish to elect ladies to represent them on the borough councils, which are the successors of the vestries, and if women are fitted to discharge the work, why should we not preserve for them the eligibility they now possess? Something has been said about the boroughs having to discharge higher functions than the vestries. What are these new functions which the borough councils are to have and which the vestries have not? The councils will have to do with finance; the vestries have to do with finance; and the greater part of the work of the borough councils will be exactly the same as that of the vestries which they will succeed, and the question is whether opportunity should not be provided to enable women to repeat on the councils the good work they have discharged on the vestries. The admirable speech of my right hon. friend the 1074 Member for Oxford University was convincing to all who heard it, and deserves the closest study. The work that women have done has been largely with reference to such questions as the housing of the people. We had a great deal of discussion quite recently on that subject. It has been recognised as one of the greatest problems of our time. It is specially urgent in London, and in respect to that question women have shown their capacity not merely as inspectors but as councillors in instigating, creating, and developing new forms of work and new forms of activity. My hon. friend said that women should be inspectors, but that they need not be councillors, and he referred to the duties of the borough councils in connection with the adulteration of food, in which he said the inspectors did the work, and the public authorities only too slowly instituted prosecutions. That is the very kind of work which a woman councillor would instigate and encourage her brother councillors to undertake. We want women members of the vestries in order to encourage the male members to do their work, which they are ready enough to do when it is pointed out to them. It is for that reason that the addition of women is so valuable. In 1894 women were made eligible to sit on vestries, and all that has happened since is a confirmation of the wisdom of the step then taken, because experience has fully justified it. There is only one other argument which really requires mention. I pass by the argument of the thin end of the wedge, and others, which have really nothing to do with the matter, and also the observations of the hon. Member for Peckham, who talked about the whole order of society being upset by making women eligible to sit on these councils. But another argument was used. It was said, "If you really believe that women would be such valuable members of the borough councils of the metropolis, you ought to bring in a Bill making them eligible to sit on borough councils throughout the kingdom." There is one answer to that— namely, that we are practical men trying to secure a practical object, and that time is short. In the next place, the work of the borough councils in London will be entirely different in range and character to the work of other borough councils throughout the kingdom. The borough 1075 councils of London are subordinate bodies, and part of their functions, which other councils exercise themselves, are taken over by the London County Council. For my own part, I should be quite ready to watch the experiment, and if the case is proved by the experiment we are not going to stop at it. This Bill is a simple measure. It desires to secure that eligibility which the House affirmed last year, and which we gave up, not on its merits, but in order to save the London Government Bill. That eligibility should be preserved, and any breach of continuity should be prevented in the good work which women are doing. My right hon. friend the Member for Oxford University has told us that the Bill is to preserve the positions which women now hold on the vestries, that it will enable them to sit on these councils in the future if the electors choose to elect them, and to continue the good work which has distinguished them during the last five years.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
This question has been fully debated this evening, was fully debated last year, and I intervene now for one reason only. My right hon. friend who has just sat down is very well known to the House as a strong and consistent advocate of Women's Parliamentary suffrage. I have not the good fortune to agree with my right hon. friend on that subject, and ever since I have been in this House I have voted on every occasion against it. Therefore I take the liberty of saying now why I conceive it to be my duty to give my vote in favour of this Bill. My right hon. friend may be a suspected witness, my hon. friend the Member for Haddington may be also considered a suspected witness, but on this point I am not a suspected witness, because I have always been opposed to granting the Parliamentary suffrage to women, and I shall continue to be so. Why, then, do I intend to vote for this Bill? Because it appears to me to have nothing to do with the question of the Parliamentary suffrage for women, and because I see two very clear strong reasons for it. In the first place, it proposes to keep open the field of eligibility, which we should narrow if we took away from women the right they now enjoy for doing this work. The House ought to remember that women can exercise 1076 that right up to the 1st of November next, and after that they will lose it under the provision of the Act of last year. But if this Bill is now passed we will avoid that breach in the continuity of their work. I think that, prima facie, it is very undesirable to narrow the field of choice which the electors have. If the electors consider that women discharge these functions well, why should they be not allowed to elect them as in the past? It has been amply proved that women are fitted for this work. The Secretary to the Local Government Board admitted that himself, and every hon. Member who has spoken has practically admitted that women do this work extremely well, and I would appeal to those hon. Members who know the good work that women have done on the vestries in connection with sanitation, housing, and other matters, to consider well before voting against this Bill. But the real argument against this Bill is what is called the thin end of the wedge argument. I am sure that hon. Members who are going to vote against this Bill are not going to vote against it because they think women are not fitted for the work, but because they think it is a step towards what they very much dislike—namely, giving women the Parliamentary franchise and admitting them into this House. I would deprecate both those results, but I have heard this argument used so often that I have at last been led to the conclusion that it is used to distract attention from the real facts of the case. It is not used because people suppose that the House will go on from one thing to another, but because it is the easiest way of opposing this measure. This House is not the slave of logical uniformity, and it is perfectly well able to draw a distinction between continuing the good work which women have done in the vestries and transferring them to a sphere so absolutely different as the work done by this House. For that reason, and because I believe that we are taking no step whatever towards Parliamentary franchise for women, that I intend to vote for this Bill and give it my cordial support.
§ MR. ARNOLD (Halifax)
I regret very much that this Bill has been brought forward, and I would also regret to see this House pass it. The reason is that for years I have most heartily desired that the Parliamentary franchise should be given 1077 to women ratepayers. That question has been discussed many times, and the main argument against it is what the right hon. Gentleman has described as the thin end of the wedge argument. It is supposed that if we give the Parliamentary suffrage to women they will go from one thing to another until they will at last be claiming to have seats in this House. I think feeling in this country is decidedly against that, but I believe also that the feeling of the country is in favour of giving the Parliamentary franchise to women ratepayers. In answer to the argument of the thin end of the wedge, I have always said that women for years have had the privilege of voting for municipal councillors, and although they have had that privilege, and have used it to the great advantage of the community, yet they never attempted to claim seats in the municipalities for themselves. They have never asked for that, and I do not think they want it. Let any hon. Member recall to his mind how many ladies there are in his constituency who would wish to occupy seats on the municipalities. He would find that there is perhaps one, and no more, and, even if there were lady candidates, the great majority of the women voters would not vote for them. Our reply to the thin end of the wedge argument was that, although the women had a municipal suffrage, they did not aspire to seats in the municipalities. If the House passes this Bill that argument will disappear, and the argument against Parliamentary suffrage for women will be stronger, and I do not think the women will be ever able to obtain that privilege. For that reason I will vote against this Bill.
§ MR. TRITTON (Norwood)
As one of the Unionist Members for London who intends to vote for the Second Heading of this Bill, perhaps the House will allow me to briefly explain why I will do so. First, as to the suitability of women to sit on these councils. That has been amply demonstrated, and no further words are needed. There is one important reason, however, which has not yet been mentioned, and that is that women have much more time to attend to these municipal matters than men. I know something of the London vestries, and the bulk of their Members are, like myself, business men, who have their own businesses to look 1078 after, and they try to manage the affairs of the vestry after a long day's work. Women, on the other hand, have much more time and leisure, and also, I think, more zeal and enthusiasm for the work. As to the desirability of allowing women to continue the work they now discharge in the vestries, I would remind the House that we have passed a Municipal Act for the better government of London, and' I do not think that we shall get the better government of London by dismissing women from its municipal bodies. I know the importance of the housing of the working classes question in London, and, speaking as a London Member who has its interest at heart, I say it is one of the most difficult problems we have to face. It appears almost beyond the wit of man to solve, and why should we not have the combined wisdom of men and women in order to find a solution for it? There are some hon. Members who seem to be chiefly desirous, —I have a certain amount of sympathy with them—of establishing women's rights. But we are now dealing with women whose chief aim is to disestablish women's wrongs. They have worked in the cause of the poor for many years; their hearts are touched at the terrible state of things they see, and the awful surroundings amid which working men and women have to bring up their children. There are many good ministering angels going through the slums of London for years and making things better and brighter. If such women desire to sit on these municipal councils are they not to be allowed to do so? If the poor wish to elect one of them are they not to have the power? I believe that it would tend to the better government of London if they had, and with all my heart and soul I will vote for the Second Reading, because I believe women on these councils would bring a wholesome, sweetening influence to bear on London, and would tend to the happiness and prosperity of the poorest and weakest of Her Majesty's subjects.
§ SIR BLUNDELL MAPLE (Camberwell, Dulwich)
I should like to ask hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House to support the Government in rejecting this Bill. The Government, it is true, say that they will leave the party free to vote as they like, but I contend that the reasons 1079 against the Bill are as strong this year as last. The whole number of ladies on the vestries is only fifteen as compared with 1,600 other members, and therefore, so to speak, there would only be half a lady for each municipal body. There is no reason why we should put ladies on these important London boroughs, many of which will be ten or twenty times the size of some provincial boroughs, and not put them on councils throughout the length and breadth of the land. It is much better that a lady should act as an inspector instead of being a single member in perhaps a council of seventy-two, where she would have very little voice in the assembly, but where her presence would interfere immensely with the action and comfort and sometimes the conversation of other members, and one can under-
§ stand circumstances where the younger members would be paying attention to the lady members rather than to the arguments being used. The Government have left this an open question in a sense, but I am given to understand that every member of the Government is going to vote against the Bill. I hope hon. Members on this side are not going to be misled. The arguments used in favour of this Bill are nothing less than the claptrap of the Radical party, who want to secure the support of the ladies at the November election. I trust this party will vote against the Bill.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 248; Noes, 129. (Division List No. 135.)1083
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Crilly, Daniel||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Crombie,.John William||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampst'd)|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Daly, James||Hogan, James Francis|
|Asher, Alexander||Denny, Colonel||Holland, William Henry|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Dillon, John||Houston, R. P.|
|Atherley Jones, L.||Donelan, Captain A.||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Doogan, P. C.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Doughty, George||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Duckworth, James||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Baker, Sir John||Dunn. Sir William||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Ellis, John Edward||John stone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn W. W. B. (Hants.)||Emmott, Alfred||Joicey, Sir James|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Evans, Sir F. H.(Southampton)||Jones, William (Carnarv'nshire)|
|Bethell, Commander||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn Sir U|
|Bill, Charles||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Billson, Alfred||Ffrench, Peter||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.|
|Birrell, Augustine||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kilbride, Denis|
|Blake, Edward||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Kitson, Sir James|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Langley, Batty|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Flynn, James Christopher||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)|
|Bond, Edward||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H.|
|Brigg, John||Fry, Lewis||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Gibney, James||Leng, Sir John|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Goddaid, Daniel Ford||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'nsea)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gold, Charles||Lloyd-George, David|
|Burns, John||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Burt, Thomas||Gourley. Sir Edw. Temperley||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Graham, Henry Robert||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Caldwell, James||Green. W. D. (Wednesbury)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Cameron, Robert (Dunham)||Gray, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Lyell, Sir Leonard|
|Campbell, J. H. M.(Dublin)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hammond, John (Carlow)||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Harwood. George||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Cawley, Frederick||Haslett, Sir James Horner||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hayden, John Patrick||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||M'Cartan, Michael|
|Commins, Andrew||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Healy. Timothy M. (N. Louth)||M'Killop, James|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin|
|Maddison, Fred.||Purvis, Robert||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.||Randell, David||Talbot, Hn. J. G. (Oxf' d Univ.)|
|Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Reckitt, Harold James||Tennant, Harold John|
|Mather, William||Redmond, William (Clare)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Mellor, Col. (Lancashire)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Robinson, Brooke||Thornton, Percy M.|
|More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Robson, William Snowdon||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Ure, Alexander|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. J. (Montrose)||Round, James||Wallace, Robert|
|Morris, Samuel||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Morrison, Walter||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Samuel, J. (Stockton on Tees)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Wason, Eugene|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert, Gray C.||Sannderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Murnaghan, George||Savory, Sir Joseph||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Sehwann, Charles E.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Sidebottom, T. Harrop (Stalybr.)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Oldroyd, Mark||Sinclair, Capt John (Forfarshire)||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|O'Malley, William||Smith, James Parker (Lanaks.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robt. Torrens||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Palmer, Sir Charles M.(Durham)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)||Souttar, Robinson||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Parnell, John Howard||Spencer, Ernest||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Spicer, Albert||Woods, Samuel|
|Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Philipps, John Wynford||Stanley, Sir Henry M. (Lambeth)||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Pickard, Benjamin||Steadman, William Charles||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Stephens, Henry Charles||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Pilkington, Sir Geo A. (Lanes SW)||Stevenson, Francis S,||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Pinkerton, John||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Strachey, Edward||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Price, Robert John||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Priestley, Briggs||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Mr. Lough and Mr. Tritton.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Howard, Joseph|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Jackson, Rt. Hn. W. Lawies|
|Arnold, Alfred||Drage, Geoffrey||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. Join||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Knowles, Lees|
|Balcarres, Lord||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Labouchere, Henry|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Faber, George Denison||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Fardell, Sir T. George||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H. (Bristol)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manch'r)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Finca, George H.||Long, Rt. hon. W. (Liverpool)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Fisher, William Hayes||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Boscowen, Arthur Griffith-||Fletcher, Sir Henry||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Forster, Henry William||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Foster Colonel (Lancaster)||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Butcher, John George||Garfit, William||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Gedge, Sydney||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.)||Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Morgan, Fin. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Gunter, Colonel||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Coddington, Sir William||Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Myers, William Henry|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Hardy, Laurence||Pease, Sir Joseph W.(Durham)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Harrington, Timothy||Penn, John|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Helder, Augustus||Percy, Earl|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Henderson, Alexander||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Houldswoith, Sir Wm. Henry||Pilkington, R. (Lanes, Newton)|
|Powell, Sir Frances Sharp||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Ed, Jas. (Somerset)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Williams, Colonel R, (Dorset)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Stock, James Henry||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Thorburn, Sir Walter||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R.(Bath)|
|Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlepool)||Tollemache, Henry James||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Vincent, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield)||TELLERS FOE THE NOES—|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir W. H.||Mr. Boulnois and Mr. Evelyn|
|Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wanklyn, James Leslie Cecil.|
|Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)||Welby, Lt.-C.A.C.E.(Tauntn)|
Bill read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc."—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Debate arising, and it being after half-past Five of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Thursday, 14th June.