§ *MR. BELL (Derby)
I am sorry to have to detain the House for a few moments with the discussion of another subject, altogether different from that which we have been discussing to-night. It is a subject on which I believe I shall be able to elicit the practical sympathy of all hon. Members of this House, having regard to the very long hours we have been obliged to work this week in this Assembly. The question I am going to raise is as to the operation and administration by the Board of Trade of the Hours Act of 1893. The Hours Act of 1893 was the result of a Royal Commission, which sat for about, I believe, two years, to inquire into the hours of employment of railway servants. The Act was then passed as the result of that inquiry, its provisions being framed to give power to the Board of Trade in order that they might without friction or labour troubles inquire into the hours worked by railway servants upon complaints laid before them. I find now that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade on 15th June last, when the Estimates were being discussed, made a statement which was not absolutely correct, and he will, I am sure forgive me for saying this, for I do not in the least impugn his veracity. The statement he 1076 made was doubtless in accordance with the information and advice supplied to him. The right hon. Gentleman, in replying to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen, eulogised the railway companies for the manner in which they themselves were reducing the hours of their employees, pointing out that for the year ending-July of this year—the report of which was published on the 3rd of August—it is shown that there were forty-one cases reported to the Board of Trade during the twelve months ending July.
§ *MR. BELL
Yes, July last year. Now, I know the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly earnest in what he said, and that the Report was prepared by a gentleman in whom this country had absolute confidence, but who unfortunately is now deceased. I refer to Sir Courtenay Boyle. He states in his Report that—The Report shows a continued decrease in the number of complaints made. The exact number of such complaints received during the year ended 27th July, 1900, was 41, as compared with 46 in 1890, 76 in 1897 and 156 in 1895. The steady fall in the number of complaints which has lasted continuously since the last-named year, may, I think, be taken as indicating a tendency on the part of the railway companies to watch the effect of the revision of hours and themselves to adjust their tables of working hours without waiting for representations from the Board of Trade.What I desire to call the attention of the Board of Trade to particularly is that that is not quite correct as to the reason why so few complaints were laid before the Board of Trade. The fact is that the men themselves who are compelled to work these long hours have got sick of laying complaints before the Board of Trade, in consequence of the extraordinary delay which occurs in the Department in making inquiries into them. Whilst I could enumerate scores, if not hundreds of cases I have simply selected one from each of several railways as typical cases for the consideration of the President of the Board of Trade. On the 22nd February, 1900, I laid before the Board of Trade a complaint on behalf of the shunters of the Lancashire and 1077 Yorkshire Company. This was acknowledged on the 23rd of February by the Board of Trade. They were asked for a further reply on the 8th of August. On the 11th of August they wrote to say they were in communication with the company. They were again asked for a reply on the 1st January, 1901, and on the 7th of January they wrote to say that they were still in communication with the company. No definite reply has been received up to this moment. Why is it that in the case of a complaint made on the 22nd February, 1900, there has been no reply made up to the 15th August, 1901? That is a case affecting one centre on the Lancashire and Yorkshire. Then there is a case of "long hours of signalmen at Nottingham Great Central." The Board of Trade was written to on the 5th September, 1899, and the complaint was acknow ledged on the 6th September. They were again written to on the 1st of August, 1900, and acknowledged the further communication on the 3rd August, and their reply was received on the 7th of August, 1900, and the result was that the hours were reduced from twelve to ten per day. In that case it took eleven months to elicit a reply. Here is another case, on the London and South Western. "Long hours of platform staff on London and South Western Railways (Sundays)." Representations were made to the Board of Trade on 20th July, 1899. They were acknowledged by the Board on the 22nd July. On the 18th August the Board asked for further information, and that was sent on the 23rd August, the communication being acknowledged by the Board on the 25th August. No reply coming to hand, a further representation was made on 20th November, which representation was acknowledged on the 22nd November. Further representations were made on the 20th July, 1900, and the Board's final reply was dated 26th July, the result being that the intervals of rest were increased before and after the long turns. It took over twelve months to obtain that reply from the Board of Trade. On the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway there is one cabin in which the signalmen make longer hours than are safe even in the interests of the public, much less 1078 in the interests of the men themselves. The men complained. The Board of Trade was communicated with on the 28th of September, 1899. The letter was acknowledged by the Board on the 29th of September; further information was asked for by the Board on the 6th of October, and it was sent on the 2nd of November, and acknowledged by the Board on the 4th of November, 1899. No less than twenty-three months have elapsed since representations were first made, and no reply has been yet received.
In this matter of long hours during the past week or so hon. Members themselves have had a striking experience of its ill-effects, and they will at any rate sympathise with these men for whom I am pleading. I have made numerous complaints on behalf of engine-drivers and goods guards, and these are men who hold very important posts, as everyone knows. Here is a specimen of the hours of work of engine-drivers and firemen on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway amongst other complaints received. On Monday, 18th March, in the Wigan shed the men worked 11hrs. 50mins.; on Tuesday, 13hrs. 45mins.; on Wednesday 13hrs. 50mins.; on Thursday, 13hrs. 15mins.; on Friday, 14hrs.; and on Saturday, 12hrs. 10mins., or a total of 78 hours 50mins. for the week. These are the hours of the engine-drivers and firemen who have to work our railway business. If hon. Members in this House get so fagged out after ten or eleven hours work, what must be the condition of these men who work the locomotives on our railways if they are kept at work longer than twelve hours a day? I know that at the present time there are a large number of men on our railways who are kept at work for twelve, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen hours a day continuously. It is in view of these facts that I urge the President of the Board of Trade to apply the provisions of the Act of 1893—that I ask him to make the conditions under which these men work better than they are under the powers he already possesses for that purpose.
I desire particularly to call attention to the statement in Sir Courtenay Boyle's Report that there were only forty-one complaints made during the twelve months ending July, 1900. Well, I myself laid before the Board two specific 1079 instances in which there were a greater number of cases of long hours than are contained in the Report altogether. I made a representation to the Board on November 1st, 1899, as to the long hours worked by the goods guards at Sheffield on the Midland. The statement I made was that in the previous week eighteen guards worked upwards of 100 hours. On 8th November the Board replied that there was nothing in my letter to show that the representation was authorised by the men concerned, and asking whether the complaint was made at the request of the men. On the 10th of November I wrote to the Board to the effect that it was not absolutely necessary, in accordance with the powers conferred on the Board by the Act, that the men themselves should make the complaint. The first section of the Act of 1893 says—If it is represented to the Board of Trade, by or on behalf of the servants, or any class of servants of a railway company," etc.It is clear from those words that it is competent to me or to any Member of this House to make representations on behalf of the men. If any hon. Member finds or is of opinion that the engine drivers or guards or any other class of employees on a railway have been working longer hours, or are working longer hours than they ought to, he has a right under this Act to lay a complaint before the Board of Trade. But the Board of Trade desired to know from me whether the representation made was authorised by the men concerned, and I replied that the complaint was laid by the secretary of the Sheffield branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, and that complaints by him were regarded as authentic by me. That was on 10th November. On the 30th of that month, 1899, further representations were made by me to the Board to the effect that in the previous week fifty-nine goods guards had worked upwards of 100 hours, and that one man had worked 126 hours. This was in the month of November, let it be observed, in the midst of foggy weather. At one station alone fifty goods guards work upwards of 100 hours, and one of them 126 hours in one week. In these two instances, in one month of the year 1899 I made representations to the Board of Trade showing that sixty-eight 1080 goods guards had worked excessive hours—upwards of 100. This cannot have received the attention of the Board, otherwise they would not have set forth in their Report that only forty-one complaints were made in the year ending July, 1900. I have here another typical case of the hours of signalmen on the London and North-Western Railway. Representations were made to the Board of Trade on the 19th February, 1901. They were repeated on the 4th June, 1901. On the 8th of June a reply was received, which read as follows—With reference to your letter of the 4th inst. on the subject of the hours of duty of some of the signalmen employed at Longsight, I am directed by the Board of Trade to state that they inquired into this case, but that the circumstances disclosed did not appear to warrant further action.In regard to this let me remark as to railways generally that there is reason to fear that too frequently incorrect information is given to the Board of Trade by the railway officials. They do not compare with the statements which come from the men themselves, and I think it would only be fair that the two sides should be made known in order that either one, if it is inaccurate, should be corrected.
There are further instances I wish to point out—and I may here remark that it is a strange thing that so much of this trouble should emanate from the London and North-Western Company. Why this is the case I am unable to say. But it seems to me that the fault lies either with the railway companies or the Board of Trade, or both. I hope to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade as to whether it is with his Department, or with the railway companies, that the fault lies in regard to this extraordinary delay in obtaining decisions in regard to complaints of long hours of service on our railways. I made a representation on behalf of the wagon examiners employed by the London and North-Western Company at Newark and Doncaster. These men have to deal with moving vehicles and their occupation is most dangerous, but, nevertheless, though the Act of Parliament was passed in 1893, it has taken till April of this year for the Board of Trade to find out that they cannot act in the case of men who are 1081 wagon examiners, though they are not employed on premises belonging to the London and North-Western Company, they are employees of that company, and work London and North-Western traffic at Newark and Doncaster. To my mind, the spirit of the Act was, and is, that the men employed by the company should be under the Act so far as hours of employment are concerned, without drawing the line so fine as it endeavoured to draw it in this particular instance. The Board of Trade pointed out to me that they could not act, as they say—for the reason that the employees in question were not engaged in working the traffic on any part of the lines of the company by whom they were employed.'I wrote again, and on 19th April they replied and promised to follow the case up. Mr. Hopwood said in his letter—I am, however, to add that the Board will give renewed consideration to the matter, and, should it appear desirable, will be further advised therein.This opposition has simply been raised by the London and North-Western Company or the Board of Trade to find out the interpretation of the particular words in the Act of 1893, "engaged in working the traffic on any part of the lines of the company.'" It is with a view to facilitating matters a little more in this direction that I have felt myself obliged to trouble the House with these few remarks to-night. I think it most extraordinary that from twelve to eighteen months should be occupied in ascertaining whether or not the men employed in the signal cabin at a particular station are working excessive hours or not. I do not for a moment believe that all this unnecessary delay is due to the Board of Trade. I am familiar with the process of negotiating with the railway companies, and I find that this is one of the best cards they have to play—this delay in the negotiations. Rightly or wrongly they believe—and I believe rightly with many people—that if they delay long enough in negotiation those who negotiate with them will get sick and tired of the whole business and let them have their own way. That is the exact position with regard to the hours of labour of railwaymen. It is not the fact that the number of complaints have 1082 become fewer because the railway companies have been so considerate as to reduce the number of hours. I have pointed out that in two instances sixty-eight men have worked upwards of one hundred hours, and that in itself is enough to prove what I have said.
And now I feel compelled to call attention to the exceedingly heavy number of railway accidents that occur on our railways. We have been discussing tonight for a considerable time the number of men killed and wounded in South Africa. I am bound, before we terminate this session, to say a word or two on behalf of those who are killed and wounded in our industries in this country, and particularly those killed and wounded on our railways. These accidents on our railways are continually progressing. There has been a very heavy increase last year, though since July, 1899, we have had an Act for the Prevention of Accidents to Railway Servants. I am not going to dwell on that for any length of time. I know that Lord James of Herefordis considering the rules drafted by the Board of Trade, but in regard to these rules, as in regard to the provisions of the Hours of Labour Act, I am afraid that the railway companies are impeding the action of the Board of Trade. In the matter of the rules they are pressing on the Board of Trade too many amendments. Their action is the same with regard to all measures which pass this House which are intended for the amelioration of the condition of their employees. They do everything they can to prevent their successful operation. The time has come when something should be done by the Board of Trade to bring pressure to bear on these people to compel their co-operation in the saving of the lives and limbs of railwaymen. I will not trouble the House with reference to all the railway accidents, but a return has been made out bearing upon those which occur in connection with thirty-six different grades or sections of railwaymen employed. One-third of the fatal accidents and more than half the accidents resulting in injury to railwaymen occurred in connection with six grades only out of the thirty-six. In the case of the capstan men we find that last year one in every 131 was killed, and 1 in 11 was injured; 1083 in the case of yardsmen 1 in every 165 was killed, and 1 in every 58 was injured; in the case of the shunters 1 in every 197 was killed, and 1 in every 12 was injured; in the case of the goods guards 1 in every 267 was killed, and 1 in every 15 was injured; of the drivers 1 in every 673 was killed, and 1 in every 33 injured; and of the firemen 1 in every 789 was killed, and 1 in every 27 injured. No less than 181were killed and 2,667 injured in those six grades. One in 391 of the whole number was killed, and 1 in 26 injured. I find that in these six grades there are 70,759 men employed. The same companies employ 68,661 mechanics—just 2,000 less than the number of men employed in the six grades I have enumerated. Of these 68,661, only 19 were killed and 47 injured, or 1 in 3,613 killed and 1 in 1,461 injured. I mention these figures to draw attention to the fact that the mechanics are under the protection of the Factories and Workshops Act, and that they are better protected than the men employed in these more dangerous trades connected with the railways. I mention them to press on the Board of Trade the necessity of doing all they possibly can to facilitate the operation of the new rules. It should be remembered that the injuries sustained by our railwaymen are not slight injuries, and between the war and the railways I am afraid that ere long we shall have half our male population going about our streets cripples. In the six grades with which I have been dealing I find that 31 lost legs or feet, 14 arms or hands, and 19 fingers or toes. Two grades were the principal sufferers in these respects, namely, shunters and goods gaurds. Of the shunters, 9,244 in number, 47 were killed and 693 injured. Ten lost their legs or feet, 2 lost their arms or hands, and 4 lost their fingers or toes. Of the goods guards, 14,720 in number, 55 were killed and 877 injured, 12 lost their legs or feet, 5 lost their arms or hands, and 7 lost their fingers or toes.
Now, this is too serious a matter to be allowed to slip by, and I certainly think that everything that can be done should be done to prevent these horrible accidents on our railways. I am not going at this hour—half-past one o'clock—of the morn- 1084 ing to put before the House all I had intended saying. We on the railways advocate shorter hours, and I will apply the principle we profess to the best of my ability. I am, however, forced by the exigencies of the occasion and the importance of the questions with which I have to deal, to avail myself of this opportunity. And I must say a word or two in reference to replies the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has given on one or two occasions to myself and several other Members as to automatic couplings on our railways. He has said that the matter has not been lost sight of. Well, it has been within sight for the last twenty years, but I trust that during the next twenty years it will come much closer to the view than it has been in the past. I am afraid that the accidents which occur are not all accurately reported. Some accidents occur through the coupling pole which do not get reported at all as coupling accidents. I have here one or two cases in point to show that accidents occur which are primarily due to the want of automatic couplings, though they are not reported as coupling accidents. One poor fellow was killed at Newark on the 4th August. He had to run with the brake by the side of the wagons and was forced to carry his coupling pole with him. He was not in the act of coupling, or uncoupling, but it appears from the evidence given at the inquest that the accident was due to his shunting pole getting between two broken pales of a fence or gate attached to the checker's hut. It was pointed out that where the truck was passing a space of eighteen or nineteen inches only would be left. The man was thrown down under the wheels of the wagon he was guiding. The accident was not reported as an accident due to coupling or uncoupling, but the instrument which, in the absence of automatic couplings, he was obliged to use in coupling operations, was the primary cause of the accident. The accident, therefore, should have been called a coupling accident. I have another case here which will show that the Act of Parliament as it was passed is not made a proper use of by the Board of 1085 Trade. It is a case in which an accident undoubtedly took place, but in which the Board say they cannot interfere, because nobody was killed. It is not only in fatal cases that inquiries ought to be made. I want to see inquiries made before people are killed, in order to prevent fatalities. The case I am now referring to took place at Kircaldy Harbour, on the 10th April, 1901, on the North British Railway. It was on a mineral branch line. The branch line is on a falling gradient of one in forty part of the way. The engine which works on the line is only fitted with a hand-break. No break-van is used. The guard has to fix sprags in the wagon wheels. On the morning of the accident the guard only succeeded in fixing one sprag, instead of three. The train gained speed and got out of the men's control. The fireman had to jump off the engine to hold a pair of catch-points over, in consequence of the boy who does this usually not being on duty then (5-10 a.m.). The train ran right over the pier into the water (at any rate the engine and some wagons did so), and the driver had to jump off. The train consisted of an engine and six wagons. No one was injured. I asked the Board of Trade to hold an inquiry, but Mr. Hopwood on the 18th April replied that—as this accident occurred on a mineral line and no person was injured, it is not one that the company are required, to report to this Department.I maintain that accidents such as this should be inquired into. The driver in the case I have referred to was a fortunate fellow, and had a happy escape, but if he had remained on his engine, and had gone into the harbour with it, he would in all probability have been drowned, and an inquiry then would have taken place. I want to know what is the use of an Act to prevent accidents to railway employees if we have to wait until some one is killed or injured before an inquiry is held? I find in Major Druitt's report of the locomotive boiler explosion on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway at Knottingley, on March 11th last, that the inspector reports—The main cause of the explosion was the use of an unsuitable material for the fire-box stays, some of which were defective at the time of the explosion.1086 I have put several questions to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade as to this matter, and the House will agree that according to this report I was perfectly justified in so doing. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company have adopted a new system, and I find no fault with the economy of the company in that respect. I do not complain of their using a more powerful engine and working it at high pressure, but what I wish to make clear is that this company have eight or nine more engines of the same class, and that the men complain that the pressure is so high, and the material used in the construction so bad, that a great deal of leakage occurs, and the drivers could not work the trains properly. This engine exploded, two poor fellows were blown to atoms, and an inquiry was held by Major Druitt, who has given as the cause of the accident the employment of unsuitable material. Well, I should like to ask whether or not the Board has made inquiries, or proposes to make inquiries, in respect to the other engines of the same class belonging to the company, to find out if the stays of those engines are made of the same material as those of the engine that was destroyed? There ought to be some such inquiry before any more men are blown to pieces. It is very unfortunate indeed that these things do occur. I know they can be prevented, and in connection with this particular engine I refer to I think the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade will remember that I put a question to him on the subject six weeks ago. Before this engine exploded she was leaking so badly that the driver on one occasion had to take his train into a siding, unable to get steam enough to work it home. And because this occurred—not through his own negligence, but owing to the bad construction of the engine, as was amply demonstrated six weeks afterwards when she blew up—the result of his leaving his train and taking his engine to the shed empty was that the driver was reduced in the company's service to the extent of 1s. or 1s. 6d. a day. And he is in that reduced position to-day, and all because he could not work his engine. The blowing up of the engine, surely, is sufficient proof that 1087 the man was innocent on that occasion. The last point I have to put to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade is as to whether it is not possible for him to get his inspectors to present their reports of inquiries with greater despatch. It was important that this should be done, as it was now be coming the practice or custom for the railway companies to delay reinstating men. In this way, if anything happens, and there is reason to think that the men are to blame, they are suspended whilst a Board of Trade inquiry takes place, and they are not reinstated until such time as the Board of Trade publishes its Report. In this way, six weeks, or two months, or ten weeks, or three months may pass before the Report comes; the men are suffering a loss of wages all the time, and then, when they are reinstated, even if the Report of the Board of Trade is not unfavourable to them, the sum of money deducted from wages during this long period is too much for the companies to hand back to the men. The treatment of the men is not, by any means, such as the railway companies say it is, and therefore I can only seek to apply the same remedy to their grievances as the companies themselves apply—that is to say, make the best use of this House in the endeavour to secure the best possible conditions for the men employed on our railways. I find that the chairman of the Chatham and Dover Company (Mr. Forbes) complained bitterly at the half-yearly meeting the other day that the men were nursed too much by the Board of Trade. He said they were wet-nursed by the Board of Trade. I can assure him and the House that the contrary is the case. The men are not wet-nursed by the Board of Trade. It is in the case of the companies that the wet-nursing is practised. I maintain that in the very instance I am dealing with, namely, the delay in furnishing the reports of the inspectors who make inquiries, is a wet-nursing of the companies. I am not inventing this charge myself, but I hold that I have quite as much ground for saying that the companies are wet-nursed as Mr. Forbes, one of their chairmen, has for saying that the men are wet-nursed by the Board of Trade. This chairman says at a shareholders' meeting that they are in such a helpless, powerless condition 1088 now that they can only look to Parliament to help them. Well, the companies have a fair stock of directors and shareholders in this House, and they advocate the taking of measures to increase their number. I think if the railway companies find it to their advantage to have directors in the House, the men are in duty bound to look to securing a similar advantage in the interest of the safety of their own lives and limbs. They are bound to make every use of every Act of Parliament passed for their protection, and to secure the good offices of the Board of Trade wherever and whenever they can, in order to improve the conditions of their service.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The hon. Member for Derby has addressed himself mainly to two subjects, namely, the Hours of Labour Act and its administration by the Board of Trade, and the Railway Accidents Act, and I will deal briefly with each of these. The hon. Member has called attention to the fact that the applications under the Hours Act have undoubtedly diminished, almost from the first hour in which the Act was passed. That diminution is attributed in the Report of the Board of Trade to a tendency on the part of the companies themselves to adjust the hours to a reasonable length, and I think, notwithstanding what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman, that that is the real reason why the applications have diminished so much in number. There were only forty-one applications last year, and I doubt whether for the year ending in July last there will have been half that number. The hon. Member attributes this diminution to quite a different cause, namely, to the delays of the Board, and the disgust of the men at the delays. Undoubtedly the hon. Member has adduced some instances in which the time taken in negotiation between the Board and the companies has seemed to be inordinately long. I am not prepared to discuss these particular cases; I could not do so without referring to Papers and studying the actual course of negotiations which have taken place; but I would remind the hon. Member of this. If the Board of Trade on full investigation made an order, and the company did not obey it, there is what is equivalent to an appeal to the Railway 1089 Commissioners. The Board of Trade itself is powerless to enforce an order except throgh the Railway Commissioners, and if what is equivalent to an appeal to the Railway Commissioners were resorted to by the companies, I am afraid that the delays would be greater than they are at present. The officials of the Board of Trade have been able to obtain a satisfactory settlement in a very large number of cases, and in no case has it been necessary to enforce their order through the medium of the Railway Commissioners. This I say to the credit of those officials. As to the particular cases the hon. Gentleman has mentioned, I would say that if there has been undue delay in a special case it would be well that he should make an appeal. I would then examine that case, and, if necessary, and I thought there had been undue delay, I would take care that steps should be taken to hasten the proceedings, but so far as I am aware I have had no personal appeal from the hon. Member with respect to any of these cases. I hope that in future he will appeal to me personally on the subject, and I can assure him that the appeal shall have my best attention.
Now I conic to the question of accidents. The hon. Member has admitted that so far as, the drawing up of rules under the Accidents Prevention Act of last year is concerned, there has, since the beginning of this year, been no undue delay. I think he is cognisant of what is passing, namely, that we are doing our best to come to an arrangement with the railway companies by which the draft rules already published shall be accepted as far as possible, either in their original or in a modified form, by the railway companies, so that all appeal to the Railway Commissioners provided for under the Act may be avoided. But there are one or two other matters that the hon. Member has referred to. There is, for instance, automatic couplings. The position with regard to that is this—I think I stated it the other day in reply to a question—it is simply that any couplers which may be adopted, automatic or otherwise, must be capable of being adapted to all railways, so that traffic belonging to one company may be run on the line of any other company. To secure this uniformity, it is desirable 1090 that the companies themselves should be satisfied as to what is the best form of coupler. They are making experiments at the present moment with various kinds of couplings, and until these experiments have been carried further than they have gone at present I do not think it would be wise for the Board of Trade to put in operation the powers they possess under the Act. But as the hon. Gentleman has said, I stated the other day the course which I proposed to follow. If after experiments and a certain lapse of time nothing of a satisfactory character is accomplished by the railway companies, it will be necessary for the Board of Trade to intervene in some way or other. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have not lost sight of the matter.
The next point of the hon. Member was a complaint as to the Board of Trade having been asked to inquire into an accident, but having declined on the ground that there had been no loss of life or injury to limb. In this matter I may say it is for the Board to comply with the law as it stands. If we were to go further than that, and inquire into the causes of all accidents, we should require to have a regular army of inspectors, and we should be destroying the responsibility of the companies on which the safety of their working depends. So far as I am able to judge, I do not think it would be desirable to introduce, in the case of railways, a system of inspection similar to that in use in the case of factories. I am sure it would throw on the Government Department a task which it would be almost impossible to undertake. I would illustrate that by reference to the explosion which lately occurred on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The cause of that explosion appears to have been the weakness of the material of which the stays in the fire-box were composed. The hon. Member would appear to suggest that the proper course to adopt would be to inspect the locomotive before an accident happened to see whether or not they were properly constructed, so that accidents of this kind could be avoided. But such inspection would be impossible—
§ *MR. BELL
No, no. What I suggested was that something should be done in the case of the engines of the 1091 same class as that which exploded. I said that the railway company had a number of engines of a similar class, and I wished to know what steps were to be taken to ascertain whether or not the fire-box stays were made of the same material.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I do not think we could do more than we have done—that is, to report in the case of the accident, and to call the attention of the company to the fact that the accident arose from the weakness of the material of which the stays were composed. Of course, the companies in all these cases take notice of the reports, and I have no doubt they will take steps to remedy the weakness wihch the inspector in this case has discovered. I believe that already they are doing that, and are substituting for the amalgamation or alloy of which the stay is composed a copper stay. The only other matter dealt with is the despatch in publishing the reports of the inspectors. I am not prepared to admit that there is any unnecessary delay. If the hon. Member studies the reports on these accidents—and I am sure he does—he will see that they are of a nature which require a considerable amount of labour on the part of the inspectors. The report as to the Lancashire and Yorkshire accident itself is one evincing the great care and labour bestowed on the inquiry by the inspector. I do not believe there is unnecessary delay, but here, again, if he can show me that this is the case—if he will confer with me personally—I will certainly look into any case submitted to me, and do all I can to reduce the delay in making the reports. I will reduce it to the smallest possible point.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
May I venture to make an appeal to the House to bring this discussion to a close. As we all know, the strain on the House has been very great. We have sat now for three successive days for more than twelve hours each day. Everyone whom I am addressing knows that it is the general wish that we should separate on Saturday, but that can only be done by getting through this and other Bills on the Order Paper to-night. I hope that will be done without throwing on the officials and ourselves a really intolerable burthen.
§ MR. ROCHE (Galway, E.)
said he desired to make two observations with reference to the question raised by his hon. friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool. At the same time he desired to acquiesce in the request made by the right hon. Gentleman, and would confine his remarks to the question of the evicted tenants on a particular estate which he knew very well, namely, the Clanricarde estate, and he trusted he should be able to prove that the Plan of Campaign was in no way responsible for the conflict which had taken place between Lord Clanricarde and his tenants, and that the tenants did everything which any impartial tribunal would expect of them in order to avoid a conflict.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
How does the hon. Member make that question bear on the salary of the Chief Secretary or on any other Vote? The hon. Gentleman cannot now discuss the land question.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Legislation cannot be discussed on the Appropriation Bill; it must be a legislative matter.
§ MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
said that in the absence of the Chief Secretary he would ask the Attorney General for some information with reference to the man McGoohan, who was one of his constituents. He had been pressing that case on the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General for some time, and he admitted that they had met him very 1093 fairly. They had decided that the man was unfairly convicted and that he would be given substantial compensation. He now wished to know what was the amount of the compensation. The man was charged with cutting the tails off cattle and that offence was proved against him by a police sergeant named Sheridan, whom the Dublin Castle authorities since discovered was a scoundrel and who was dismissed from the police force.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON, Londonderry, N.)
said that the question the hon. Member asked was precisely the question which his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary had refused to answer.
§ MR. TULLY
said that that was what he complained of. He wished to know whether the compensation would be on the scale of that granted to another innocent man in his constituency named Hepburn, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life for a crime of which another man afterwards admitted he was guilty. Hepburn was released, and got a couple of thousand pounds compensation for the imprisonment he had suffered. Would McGoohan be compensated on the same liberal terms?
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that the Chief Secretary had stated that the man would get compensation, but it was obviously undesirable to state the amount.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
desired to direct attention to a question of legal procedure which had occurred in Ireland during the last few days. Everyone knew it was impossible to convert to Protestantism either a Catholic or a Jew without expending more money than it was worth, but there appeared to be in England a faction which was determined to spend large sums in endeavouring to convert Irish Catholics. On the 26th June last an evangelistic platform was pulled down in the county of Wexford and some farmers were charged with pulling it down. They were dis- 1094 charged by the local bench. What happened? Did the Government wonder why law and order were held in such contempt in Ireland or why no Irishman expected anything like fairness in such matters. Nearly two months had elapsed since those men were discharged, and on Monday last the local resident magistrate, Sir Robert Paul, was passed over and a gentleman named Meldon was brought down from the county of Wicklow to the town of Wexford, where he visited the local sessional prosecutor, Mr. Cooper, and between the two of them they concocted warrants against the men who had been discharged from custody and who would have attended on summonses. At three o'clock in the morning a posse of police twenty or thirty in number dragged those ten farmers from their beds and brought them in cars not to their own petty sessions district at Ferns but to Gorey. Meldon stayed in Wexford all night although his residence was in Bray and proceeded by the 10.15 train to Gorey, the Crown Prosecutor travelling with him in the same carriage. As soon as they arrived a special court was assembled and the ten men were brought before it over the miserable question of a Wexford hut. What did Meldon do? The Commissions of the Justices of Peace as he understood had expired owing to the six months which had elapsed since the demise of the Crown. He supposed Mr. Meldon's commission had not elapsed but however that might be, he sat as a special court in Gorey, and the men applied for an adjournment in order to have professional advice. Meldon, who knew that the local magistrates would get resworn if he gave any time, refused to grant an adjournment longer than up to Friday but he said that for the convenience of the accused he would adjourn the case to Ferns, where he would sit alone and return the men for trial at the next winter assizes, so that they would not be tried in Wexford at all.
They were asked to respect law and order. It was impossible. He had tried to do it, but it was no good. These instances were of importance only because they were symptomatic. When you are prepared to go these lengths over the petty question of whether a 1095 man should preach the Gospel in his own extraordinary way, how could a man expect that the law would be administered fairly and decently when the great question of landlord and tenant came up? It must be remembered that the Irish had an educated clergy. But these fellows were converted on the Monday, and you sent them down to convert Catholics on the Tuesday. They heard their vulgar accents and their bad grammar; they heard them shouting the name of God in what, to his mind, was a blasphemous manner—all this in the midst of a population with an educated clergy, and who reverenced the name of God. Was it surprising that the people rose against this abominable spirit? He regretted that they threw over this Gospel tent, or this blasphemy Inferno, as he would prefer to call it, but could that be wondered
§ at? The Protestants of England, who expected their name to be respected, sent down into an area in which he had no jurisdiction a paid minion to re-try these men, to drag them out of their beds at three or four o'clock in the morning, to arrange the nice intricacies of the law in order to enmesh them and send them off to a foreign venue at the next winter assizes. And this was done in the name of law and order. That law and order would never get respect from the Irish people. They despised it. Those who did these things in the name of law and order would only cause law and order to be despised, and their own names, however high they were, would be despised in addition.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 141; Noes, 49. (Division List No. 476.)1097
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Fisher, William Hayes||Lucas. Reginald J. (Portsmouth)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.)||Macartney, Rt. Hon. W. G. E.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gardner, Ernest||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W (Leeds||Gordon. Maj Evans- (T'r H'mlets||Malcolm, Ian|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.)||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Beach. Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Bignold, Arthur||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Maxwell, Rt. Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n|
|Bill, Charles||Greene, W. Raymond-t Cambs.)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gretton, John||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Brassey, Albert||Groves, James Grimble||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hambro, Charles Eric||Morgan. David J (Walthamstow|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Banbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Caldwell, James||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Mount, William Arthur|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Murray (Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Helder, Augustus||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Horniman, Frederick John||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Purvis, Robert|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Randles, John S.|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a||Ridley. Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Colville, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Robertson, Herbert. (Hackney)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Keswick, William||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lawson, John Grant||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Seely, Capt. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Long. R Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lowther, Rt. Hn J W (C'mb Penr)||Spear, John Ward|
|Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk||Tollemache, Henry James||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk Mid|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Valentia, Viscount||Wodehouse. Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Sturt, Hn. Hvmphry Napier||Walker, Col. William Hall||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Thomas, J. A. (Glamorgan, Gow.||Williams, Rt. Hn J. Powell- (Birm.|
|Thornton, Percy M.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York. E. R.)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Loamy, Edmund||O'Mara, James|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lundon, W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||M'Govern, T.||Reddy, M.|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cullinan, J.||Murnaghan, George||Roche, John|
|Delany, William||Murphy, John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Dillon, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Thompson, Dr E C (Monagh'n, N.|
|Duffy, William J.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Tully, Jasper|
|Field, William||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Doherty, William|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
Bill read a second time and committed for to-morrow.