§ *(9.0.) MR. BEAUMONT (Northumberland, Hexham)
By the fortune of the ballot, but I fear for the misfortune of the adequate treatment of the notice which I now beg to make—referring as it does to the question of serious importance to Trade Unionism and the working classes throughout the country—it has fallen to my lot to draw attention to the law, which, as interpreted by recent judgment in the courts, has thrown doubts on what, for many years, has been held to 278 be the status of Trades Unions as intended by Parliament. I had almost shrunk from attempting to deal with what is a very complicated question, if I had not felt its importance, and it is because I realise the importance and the complication of the question that I wish the Motion had fallen into the hands of other Gentlemen more directly connected with Trade Unions or of some learned Gentleman familiar with the law on the subject. I say so in all sincerity, because it is obvious that the cases to which I shall have to refer are full of technical and legal points with which I cannot pretend to be conversant. I shall therefore merely endeavour to point out briefly what seems to me (as an ordinary man in the street) the present position of the question without attempting to argue the legal questions, and I can assure the House 279 it will be with every desire to be corrected in the mistakes and omissions, which I know full well I shall make.
I think it will be admitted that before the year 1859 the law as to picketing accompanied by peaceful persuasion was very doubtful. In that year, however, a short Act was passed which legalised picketing by peaceful persuasion. This Act begins by reciting that "different decisions having been given "on the construction of the law," then goes on to enact that no workman, "by" reason of his merely entering into an "agreement for the purpose of fixing or" endeavouring to fix the rate of wages," shall be guilty of offences within the meaning of the Act. This Act therefore may be said to have legalised picketing when peaceably conducted. The next Act, I find, is the Trade Unions Act, 1871, which legalised Unions and defined the general position, but which for the puposes of my motion tonight I do not think it necessary to refer to, although I have no doubt it will be referred to in the course of the debate this evening. In the same year—1871—there was passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which repealed all the old-trade combination laws, including the Act of 1859, to which I have just referred, without intending, as I think is admitted, to change the law with regard to picketing peaceably conducted. Amongst other things it provided that no person shall "use violence," "threaten or intimidate, "any person or his wife and children," nor" molest or obstruct "any person under certain penalties. Molesting or obstructing is thus defined—If he watch or beset the house or place whore such person resides or works …or if, with two other persons, he follow such person in a disorderly manner.I do not think I need go any further into that Act. No doubt, in some quarters, it created much dissatisfaction, but nevertheless peaceable persuasion picketing remained legal under it. The charge of the Recorder of London—Mr. Russell Gurney—in the celebrated cabinetmakers' case, was accepted as an authoritative exposition of the law, and it was quoted with approval by Lord Chancellor Cairns in introducing the Conspiracy and Property Act in the House of Lords, in 1875. As I have referred to that Act, perhaps I may be permitted to remind the House what I believe was the origin of 280 it. It was drafted originally by a Liberal Government, when Mr. Lowe was Home Secretary, and was left in a pigeon-hole at the Home Office when Mr. Gladstone rather suddenly dissolved Parliament in 1874. The following year it was fished out, and was introduced by a Conservative Government by Mr. (now Lord) Cross, and no doubt the Conservative Government claimed very great credit therefrom as friends of the working man. That is what I have always understood was the origin of the Act. But however it may be, the Government of the day certainly did obtain great kudos for passing it, and they were thanked by Trade Unions for their action.
This Act seemed to make the position clear, until the case of Lyons v. Wilkins, in 1896. I need not go at length into the details of this case. It will be remembered that men employed by Messrs. Lyons and Sons (who were in the fancy leather trade) struck. Their works were picketed, and the pickets tried to persuade men not to work for Lyons. An injunction was successfully applied for against the officials who organised the picketing. The trial came on in 1897, but as the famous case of Allen v. Flood was before the Lords at the time, the judge (Mr. Justice Byrne) awaited their decision before he gave his judgment. It will be in the memory of hon. Members that this was an action against the Boilermakers' Society for inducing the Glengall Iron Company to dismiss Flood. In the end the jury found that Allen had done so maliciously, and Mr. Justice Kennedy gave judgment with damages against the Trade Union. The decision was appealed against, and the case finally reached the House of Lords, who decided by six to three that Allen had not done any unlawful act. The three dissenting Lords were the Lord Chancellor, Lord Ashbourne and Lord Morris, while the majority consisted of Lords Watson, Macnaghten, Shand, Davey, James and Herschell. In the following year the reserved judgment in Lyons v. Wilkins was delivered, Mr. Justice North making the injunction permanent. The defendants appealed, but Lord Justice Lindley and two others upheld the decision. This decision 281 practically decided against peaceful persuasion, which up till then had been looked upon as legal.
I have only one more, and the most recent case to mention—it is the Taff Vale Railway case, decided in the House of Lords last year, the result of which was to practically lay down that Unions could be sued in their corporate capacity, and their funds made attachable even although only peaceful persuasion had been used. The House will remember the history of this case; certain men engaged by the Railway Company to take the place of strikers being advised by the Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants to return home, an injunction was granted against the Secretary and the Society. The Society appealed and the case went up to the House of Lords, who, last July, reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The Lord Chancellor, in giving judgment against the society, said—That if the Legislature had created a thing which can own property, which can employ servants, and which can inflict injury, it must he taken to have impliedly given the power to make it suable in a court, of law for injuries purposely done by its authority and procurement.I will not attempt to argue for a moment that this is bad law and I admit that it is difficult to contend that the Unions should enjoy all the advantages and have none of the liabilities of a corporate existence, but it certainly does seem to put a construction upon the law which was not intended by the Act of 1875. And, if so, it may fairly be called—with every respect to the judges—" Judge made Law." Some people may object to the phrase "Judge-made Law," but I can assure hon. Members, that, by this Motion, no reflection is intended upon the impartiality of His Majesty's judges. But be the fault that of Parliament, for not haying said clearly what it intended, or be it due to the misinterpretation of the judges as to what Parliament meant, surely it is time that the law should be clearly defined. Heaven forbid that I should say a word which would suggest that I thought that in any contingency strikes were desirable, much less that I should use such language as was used last year both by 282 the right hon. Gentlemen, the President of the Board of Trade and the Colonial Secretary, when for a time the question of a coal strike had hung in the balance. And if either of the right hon. Gentlemen whom I refer to had been here, I should have been glad to have reminded him of the words he used on that occasion—the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary in his speech of the 10th May, at Birmingham, and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade in a speech on the coal tax in this House. But, Sir, it is conceivable that a strike may sometimes be inevitable, but by the recent decisions organised persuasion by men peacefully disposed becomes an actionable, civil wrong for which Trade Unions may be severely crippled, even if the acts done were not authorised by the Executive of the Union, but were committed by irresponsible persons. This surely when Parliament legalised Trade Unions could not have been intended, and it is this which alarms Trade Unions so much at this moment. I observe that there is an Amendment on the Paper, which seems to question whether the law has been changed or not. I have no doubt that that will be dealt with later in the evening, but I believe that the Employers' Parliamentary Council admit that the law has been changed, so that the law calls for reconsideration. I should have thought that everything outside peaceful persuasion was amply covered by Section 7 of the Act in 1875, to which I have referred, but which I will not trouble the House by reading this evening. This Act was passed, as I have reminded the House, by a Conservative Government, presumably on ground, of public policy, and I cannot think that a Conservative Government today will assent to its practical repeal to the disadvantage of the Unions without proposing legislation to take its place, which my Motion calls on them to do. I beg to move the Resolution standing in my name.
§ (9.20) MR. BELL (Derby)
I rise to second the Motion which has been so ably moved by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hexham, and in doing so, I may say that, although I represent a very large body of organised workmen in this country, I venture to suggest that neither 283 in this House nor out of it can anyone bring a charge against me that at any time I have encouraged strikes, or any such trouble as that in the labour world. Now every one knows that Trade Unions, illegal and legal, are of very long standing. Prior to being legalised by the Trade Unions Act of 1871, much mischief was done, owing to the secret conduct of the organisations. The Combination Act of 1825, which was referred to by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion, conferred a certain degree of freedom upon the Unions it exempted from punishment "persons meeting together for consulting upon and determining the rate of wages which the persons present at the meeting or any of them should demand for their work, or the number of hours they should work." Meetings for strikes, or the payment of strike pay, or meetings to protest against the tyranny of foremen, to regulate apprentices, or to protest against sweatings, piecework, or insanitary condition of employment, were all illegal. The presence of any such provisions in the rules made the union an illegal association. They therefore pursued these "illegal objects" in secrecy. Goaded into anger by their secretly nurtured grievances, and the haunting sense of repression, some of the looser spirits broke away, and engaged in some acts of the most deplorable character, and committed shocking outrages. It will be remembered that before the Royal Commissioners which sat to inquire into these matters, Broadhead confessed to the mischief done at Sheffield. This led up to the Act of 1871, which made Trade Unions, previously illegal, sufficiently legal (1) to exempt men from the charge of criminal conspiracy, for merely having membership in them, and (2) to prosecute officials for dishonesty. The promoter of the Act (the then Home Secretary, Mr. Bruce) certainly did not intend to go beyond this. He referred to the discussion of the question of incorporation which had taken place at the Trade Union Commission in 1867. The majority of the Commission urged incorporation. The majority condemned it in the words which I will read—I have the the volume containing this in extenso, but I will read an extract—A very serious question arises here as to whether legislation of a far more comprehensive character is not needed to place Trades Unions on a full legal footing; whether, in fact, a 284 complete statute should not be enacted analogous to the provisions of the Friendly Societies Act and the Joint Stock Companies Acts, and the like, by means of which uniform rules would be framed for the formation, management, and dissolution of these associations; and by which they should be enabled to sue and to be sued by their members to recover from members their contributions or lines, and to be made liable to members for the benefits assured. We are inclined to believe that the time has not yet come, if it ever will come, for any such statute. The amount of feeling which this question arouses on both sides, the great irritation of those who have suffered by Trades Unions, and the extreme jealousy on the part of their members of State interference, would, we are convinced, render the attempt to pass such a measure impracticable. We are far from seeing any certainty that such an Act is even ultimately desirable. Trade Unions are essentially clubs and not trading companies, and we think that the degree of regulation possible in the case of the latter is not possible in the case of the former. All questions of crime apart, the objects at which they aim, the rights which they claim, and the liabilities which they incur, are for the most part, it seems to us, such as courts of law should neither enforce, nor modify, nor annul. They should rest entirely on consent.This the Home Secretary quoted fully, and said—It is in accordance with that opinion that the measure of the Government has been framed.It is clear, therefore, to my mind, that it was not intended that a Trade Union should be made a corporate body as the judgment of the law courts would describe it. The promoters of the Act had not the least notion of making unions legal and suable entities. Therefore, from 1871 to 1901—thirty years—during which period not less than 25,000 strikes and lock-outs must have occurred, Lords, Commons, judges, lawyers, employers, and workmen, all believe that Trades Unions were not suable for wrongs committed by there officers and members. This belief is justified by the fact that during the same period, in the progress of some of these disputes, unfortunately some cases of personal violence and injury to property have been known to occur, in connection with which the offenders have been heavily fined or imprisoned. But the unions have never before been sued, nor has it been attempted to sue them. The Conspiracy and Protection to Property Act of 1875 and the Common Law, give both employers and workmen ample protection from violence and injury to person or property.
285 I will read Section 7 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1872.Section 7.—Every person who, with a view to compel any other person to abstain from doing or to do any act which such other person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal authority.(1) Uses violence to or intimidates such other person, or his wife and children, or injures his property; or(2) Persistently follows such other person about from place to place; or(3) Hides any tools, clothes, or other property owned or used by such other person, or deprives him of, or hinders him in, the use thereof; or(4) Watches or besets the house or other place where such other person resides, or works, or carries on business, or(5) Follows such other person with two or more persons in a disorderly manner in or through any street or road shall, on conviction thereof by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, or an indictment, as hereinafter mentioned, be liable either to pay a penalty not exceeding £20 or to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour.Attending at or near the house or place where a person resides, or works, or carries on business, or happens to be, or the approach to such house or plate, in order merely to obtain or communicate information, shall not be deemed a watching or besetting within the meaning of this Section.I maintain that that Act provides sufficient protection (as it was intended that it should) for either employer or workman. But I think that the Employers' Parliamentary Council who, I believe, are responsible very largely for this reactionary attempt to put back and thwart the efforts of the Trade Unions during the last few years, suggest that this should be added to the Conspiracy Act, namely, that—Every person who in any street commits any of the following offences shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 40s. for each offence—and for the purposes of this Section 'street' stall include any harbour, railway station, canal, depot, wharf, towing-path, public park, links, common, or open area or space, the strand and sea beach down to the low water mark).And the offences which are specified, are jostling and loitering, standing or loitering on the footway, or sitting or lying, to the obstruction or annoyance of the residents or passengers on the footway or street. And I certainly think that the Employers' Parliamentary Council have been extremely modest, otherwise they would not have stopped at low-water mark on the beach. Again, I find at the Labour Commission of 1894, the question of 286 I incorporation was discussed, and mentioned in both the Majority and Minority Reports. The Majority said—We think that the extension of liberty to bodies of workmen or employers to acquire fuller legal personality than that which they at present possess, is desirable, in order to afford, when both parties wish it, the means of securing the observance, at least for fixed periods, of the collective agreements which are now, as a matter of fact, made between them in so many cases.9. In order to enable trade associations to enter into collective legally-binding agreements, with the consequence that, in case of breach of contract, they would be liable to be sued for damages payable out of their collective funds, it would not be sufficient to repeal Sub-section 4 of Section 4 of the Act of 1871. Even if that legislative incapacity were taken away, the trade associations would be prevented by that want of legal personality from entering into such agreements, or sueing or being sued, except with regard to the management of their funds and real estate.10. It would be necessary that they should require by some process of registration, a corporate character sufficient for these purposes.They added—The evidence does not show that public opinion is as yet ripe for the changes in the legal status of trades associations which we have suggested, but we have thought it to be desirable to indicate what may, as it appears to us, ultimately prove to be, the most natural and reasonable solution, and some at least of the difficulties which have been brought to our notice.The members of the Committee who-appended their signatures to these recommendations were: The Duke of Devonshire, Sir Frederick Pollock, Sir M. Hicks-Beach, Mr. D. Dale, Mr. Leonard Courtney, Mr. T. H. Ismay, Mr. G. Livesey, and Mr. Tunstill. The minority, consisting of Mr. W. Abraham, M. P., Mr. Tom Mann, the late Mr. J. Maudsley, and Mr. Michael Austin, strongly opposed these recommendations and said—One proposal made to the Commission by several witnesses appears to us open to the gravest objection. This suggestion is that it would be desirable to make Trade Unions liable to be sued by any person who had a grievance against the action of their officers or agents. To expose the large amalgamated societies of the country with their accumulated funds, sometimes reaching a quarter of a million sterling, to be sued for damages by any employer in any part of the country, or by any discontented member or non-unionist, for the action of some branch secretary or delegate would be a great injustice. If every Trade Union were liable to be perpetually harrassed by actions at law on account of the doings of individual members; if Trade Union funds were to be depleted by 287 lawyers' fees and costs, if not even by damages or fines, it would go far to make Trade Unionism impossible for any but the most prosperous and experienced artisans. The present freedom of Trade Unions from any interference by the courts of law—anomalous as it may appear to lawyers—was, after prolonged struggle and Parliamentary agitation, conceded in 1871, and finally became law in 1876. Any attempt to revoke this hardly-won charter of Trade Union freedom, or in any way to tamper with the purely voluntary character of their associations, would, in our opinion, provoke the most embittered resistance from the whole body of Trade Unionists, and would, we think, be undesirable from every point of view.The minority strongly opposed incorporation. They opposed what was asked for by the others. From what I have pointed out it was quite clear that up to the Lord's decision in the Taff Vale case there was no idea in authoritative quarters that unions were legal entities, or such an eminent lawyer as Sir Frederick Pollock if he thought so could not have signed the report I have quoted.
Rightly or wrongly, the several decisions of the courts and the House of Lords are now standing laws, which have placed the Trade Unions and workmen on ground absolutely below and unfair compared with employers; and it is with a desire that they may be placed on an equality with employers that I support this Motion. If unions are to be entities to be sued, they must also have the right to sue. I do not seek either, but if we are compelled to have the one we demand the other. As things are at present they are all one-sided. It is illegal for Trade Unionists to issue lists of unfair firms with a view to preventing men from working for such firms, or preventing other people from trading with them. Whereas, on the other hand, employers can, and do, issue black lists, and through the medium of the character-note system they constantly prevent men getting employment with firms which would otherwise be willing to employ them. I know from my own experience that railway companies, as well as other employers, will not employ men until they have referred to their late employers. And we know—at any rate, we have grave suspicion and justification for it—that secret communications go on between the companies. It is illegal for Trade Unionists to strike in order to compel men to join a union, whereas employers constantly discharge men simply because they were members of Trade Unions, and it has been held 288 legal for employers to refrain from trading in order to compel competing traders to join them in combination. I know one or two firms, at any rate, in my own constituency who were direct employers of labour in small factories on whom the Employer's Federation in the particular trade came down and shook and showed ruin to the factory if he did not join the combination. If that is permitted to employers we demand the same right for the workmen. I have here a very concrete case. I do not know whether the hon. Gentlemen opposite will be disposed to cheer the details as I narrate them. In June of last year the men employed at the Amalgamated Rubber Works, Leyland, decided to form a branch of the Amalgamated Society of India Rubber Workers. About sixty were already members of the central organisation, so there was no difficulty in forming a branch. On hearing this, Mr. Baxter (managing director) sent for the chairman and gave him the alternative of leaving the union or being discharged from his employment. The man refused to leave the union, and was discharged along with thirteen others. Now, this is the action of the employers in this particular instance this is the notice they posted up in the watch house window:—The management have been informed that clandestine meetings have been held amongst some of the workpeople for the purpose of forming a union of the society.It has always been the sole desire of the management to deal fairly and honestly with all the workpeople, and the absence of complaint testifies that such object has been attained.The management reserve the right to control their own works, and any employé taking active part, after this date, in promoting any action which shall have for its object interference from outside influence will be immediately dismissed.That was dated the 22nd June, 1901. In order that I may be perfectly correct in the matter I am bringing before the House I communicated with one of the men yesterday. I asked him to let me know if all the men had been employed by now or not, and he writes to me—Six out of fourteen discharged men have thrown up the union and gone back to their work I am sorry to say that it has had a very bad effect upon our branch. Three are working at other trades …three are in Birmingham, and two have not started work yet.…289 That is since June of last year. The men have been treated like this by the employers for doing that which they had a perfectly legal right to do, namely, joining their Trade Union. I say if that is fair for the employers, it is equally fair for the workmen to refuse to work with other men unlees they join the union. And what did the managing director, Mr. J. E. Baxter, when interviewed by a Press representative, say? Why, he said that the men were only dismissed after the publication of the notice warning all who associated themselves with the movement that instant dismissal would be the penalty. Mr. Baxter declared that he was not only lighting the present battle on behalf of the company, but for the whole trade of England.
Now, Sir, that is the action of employers, which I take it is regarded as perfectly legal, but if the workmen do anything of the kind they are "committing acts which are illegal." While the employers are allowed to dismiss men for joining a union, the workmen are not allowed to ask men to join the union. Then, we know that the mine owners and other employers in different trades when they find that the market is becoming glutted with the commodity which they are supplying from time to time place the men on short time. But when the men's union put the men to work for only five days a week in order to restrict the output and keep up the prices—I do not say whether it is right or wrong, we are not discussing the merits of the question—there is an injunction applied for. There is in this way at the present moment an injunction against the miners and a claim by the mine-owners for £70,000 damages. We, the men, have adopted exactly the same method as the employers. They said that the market was becoming glutted and that wages were coming down, and they agreed to stop a few odd days in order to restrict the output. The employers say that is illegal. The men say it is legal, but an injunction is granted, and damages are claimed from the Union for doing exactly what the employers have done times out of number. I say that what is fair for one is fair for the other. It is illegal on the part of the Trade Unions during a dispute to peacefully persuade men not to 290 enter the employment of the firm in conflict with the Union, give them food or lodgings, or pay their fares back whence they came; whereas employers can, and do, not only persuade men to enter such employment, but it is customary for employers on such occasions to advertise' for men and employ agents whose characters are not always above suspicion to go round amongst the slums and pick up men. I am speaking of matters within my own knowledge and experience when I say that these agents go round the slums, pick up men—often by bribing them with drink—and when they have made them half-drunk, misrepresent the facts of the case, give sums of money, pay their fares, and then get them to sign contracts to take the place of the men on strike. And not infrequently they temporarily pay these men higher rates of wages than that which was asked by the firm's own; men in the first instance and refused—the refusal leading to the strike. I say they bring them from the places where they pick them up, paying their faros to the places where they are required to work, and then, on the other hand, if the pickets of the union drop across these imported men and tell them the true facts of the case, putting a different complexion on the circumstances of the dispute to the plausible tale with which the men have been beguiled from their own districts by the employers and their agents, and if the pickets of the union pay the fares of the newcomers back again it is an offence against the law, and damages are straight way claimed against the union.
Now, how do the employers get hold of these men? I dare say members of this House—the majority of whom are employers know very little about all this. They do not interest themselves in the details of their concerns, leaving the management to others. It is their representatives and officials who do the work. Let me read to the House a document which came into my hands illustrative of the way in which men were got by employers. During the Taff Vale strike I instructed a man—for obvious reasons I will not give his name or district—to respond to an advertisement of the railway company in order to ascertain what was being done to obtain men and how it was being done. The man carried out his instructions, and this is his statement:On application at the Free Labour Association office a list of vacancies is read out to the 291 applicant, and then he is asked which position he would like to take up, and after he has informed, he is told to call again and see the general manager. The general manager asks him a few questions, and informs him on what day he will be able to proceed to his new job. Each applicant is told that there is no dispute on, and that there is no fear of one, as they satisfied the union men not long ago that they were no use on the Taff Vale Railway, and also that every man on the railway had been given notice that they must either leave the service of the company, because the company had decided to have no one working for them who were members of the union or any other society except the Free Labour Association.I presume hon. Members opposite will say this is quite fair—that employers are entitled to take that action. I do not deny that employers have a right to do that, but I claim on behalf of the workmen that they have as much right also to state the facts to their fellow workmen as the employers have. Trade Union funds have been held attachable for damage caused by members of the union in the absence of express sanction of such acts by the union Executive, whereas the funds of employers' combinations are not held attachable even when damage has been sustained by individual workmen, and by unions of workmen as the direct result of evidence given to members by executives of such employers' combinations. I have proved damage to the men in the case of the Indian Rubber Company to which I have referred. Yet the Rubber Company cannot be sued for the injury I done to these men. What we complain of is that the new interpretation put on the law by the judges is all in Favour of the employer. And let me say this, in fairness to employers—there are employers and employers—there are honest and honourable employers, and there are dishonest and dishonourable and vindictive employers. There are some who take advantage of the present state of the law—who go to the courts and obtain injuctions and restrain union members from doing certain things am not here to put forward the Taff Vale case, and endeavour to have it tried, here. That will be tried elsewhere, but I would give a fact or two in connection with it in order to illustrate what I desire to impress on Members of the House. During the progress of the Taff Vale strike, two men interfered with the working of a train—a most deplorable thing to do—an act condemned by me and all sensible people. These men were 292 arrested, they were tried at the assizes, and were sentenced to six weeks imprisonment with hard labour. They deserved all they got. I do not complain of that. But the employers now come, because of the action of these men, to claim damages from the union. I say it is monstrous, and it was never intended to be part of the law. A policeman has authority to arrest a wrongdoer in the streets, but if he exceed his lawful authority, he is made liable for damages, it is not the corporation who employ him who are to pay, it is the police officer who is punished according to the offence which be had committed in excess of his authority. Now what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and all we ask for is the observation of the principle embodied in that old proverb. If the law is to be that Trade Unions may be held as corporations, then they must have equal power to sue in their turn. Men often join the unions during a strike for an advance of wages or a reduction of hour's, but when the strike is over they often cease their membership, sometimes because they have gained what they wanted, or in other instances because they are disappointed in not having got what they wished. It is for these men who rush in when there is something to be gained and soon run out again, that the unions are asked to hold themselves responsible. That is the unfair position in which it is sought to put Trade Unions.
What we desire is that the Government should bring in a Bill to restore the unions to the position in which they were by the Acts previous to the decision of the House of Lords, or at least to put them on a fair and equal footing with the employers, so that it may be clearly ascertained and properly defined what is legal and what is illegal in their functions, and so that the unions may know what is right and how to avoid that which is wrong. I know of no union which desires to be guilty of an illegal act. It will also assist employers, some of whom are not free from prejudice and vindictiveness, and whose stubbornness is responsible for many of the disputes that have taken place, to know that they could not obtain, and the judges would know that they could not grant, an injunction in respect of every trifling 293 act which the employers may regard as illegal. A similar case to that to which I have been referring was tried last month in New York before Justice Gayner. It was an application for an injunction by Frank Hezog and Lewis E. Ebert, bookbinders, to restrain J. L. Fitzgerald and others from patrolling and picketing streets in the vicinity of the plaintiffs' place of business with a view to inducing or compelling men at work to join in a strike which had been declared. In his decision Judge Gayner said,—This is not a case of the injunction in advance of a trial. No violence has been done to persons or property. Capital and I hour have an equal right to organise, as is now recognised by all sensible people. The Courts should not interfere except in the case of obvious necessity. When Courts and judges of the first instance have gone beyond this it has been an abuse of power.I believe that will apply exactly to the position in which are the Trade Unions of this country at the present time. Trade Unions simply want justice and equality; they want to be on the same platform with the employers. But even with the most favourable legislation Trade Unions can scarce be in the same position as employers, who with their system of secret character notes have an advantage which the workmen's combinations do not, and cannot, possess.
I hope the House will express itself in favour of this Motion, for I venture to say that the two millions of Trade Unionists of this country will not consent to remain in their present position. They will demand this legislation, and if employers are unwise enough to drive back the men to the position in which they were before 1871 I venture to say they will live to regret it. I wish it to be understood that I am not saying this in any sense by way of threat, but the employers know full well that working men can and will have their rights in some way or other, and all they ask for is equality of treatment. With less than that they will not be content. I second the resolution.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Legislation is necessary to prevent workmen being placed by judge-made 294 law in a position inferior to that intended by Parliament in 1875."—(Mr. Beaumont.)
(9.50) MR. EENSHAW (Renfrewshire W)
I regret that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down should have marred his speech by the threatening language with which he concluded his remarks. On the whole, his statement of the case was fair, and no one in this House is more qualified to bring it forward, but I do not hesitate to say that language of the kind to which I refer would make no impression upon me, nor do I believe that it would make any impression on the great body of those who give industrial employment in the country. We, the employers, want no more than the hon. Member opposite is willing to give us namely, equal rights and fair opportunities to carry on our own industries. We want the protection that the law gives us, and we do not want to see that protection denied to those who are in our employment. The hon. Member for the Hexham Division, who has brought forward this Motion, seems to suggest that the Unions should prevail over the Statute Law as interpreted by the Courts. I think that is a somewhat unfortunate proposition to place before the House, and I should like to take exception to the expression "Judge-made law." The laws which are referred to are the Statute Laws of the land—[Hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House, "No!"]—well, a few decisions have been given at Common Law; but the ground of criticism to which this Resolution addresses itself is the Statute Law, and I regret to find it suggested that these Statute Laws are Judge-made. They are made by the Imperial Parliament of this country, and the judges are the administrators and not the makers of the law.
I should like to remind the House that the Trade Unions themselves seem to be of two opinions as to the highest legal tribunal of the country, because at the last meeting of the Trade Union Congress, which was held in September, 1901, the Chairman in his opening address referred to the Taff Vale dispute and to the decision given by the House of Lords. He said—The House of Lords has allowed itself to be seduced into deciding a purely legal question on grounds which were political.295 The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean cheers that sentiment. I do not think it is a sentiment believed in by hon. Members either on this side or that side of the House. But what does the Chairman go on to say with regard to the Workmen's Compensation Act? The House will remember that there was a question as to the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords in regard to that Act, and last year the Lord Chancellor brought in a Bill on the subject. The Chairman referred to the provisions of the Act as having been interpreted in a broad-minded and, generally speaking, satisfactory manner so far as the workmen are concerned. Yes, but I should like to carry that a little further and to remind the House that a Resolution was submitted by the Parliamentary Committee of the Congress bearing on the subject, and carried, I understand, unanimously, and ordered to be forwarded to the Lord Chancellor—That this Committee views with alarm the proposal to abolish the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords in connection with the Workmen's Compensation Act, and calls upon the workers of the country to wire their representatives in Parliament to prevent the Bill now before the House of Lords becoming law when it comes before the House of Commons.The hon. Member for Derby says "that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," and therefore if the decision of the House of Lords in regard to one matter is to be respected, it should be respected in regard to another matter.
§ The Amendment which I have placed on the Paper is moved in no spirit of hostility to the general objects of Trade Unions. I do not suppose there are any employers in this House who do not recognise the perfect right of persons to combine for lawful purposes. We recognise the improvements which have been effected in the position and status of workmen by the operations of Trade Unions, not only in regard to the members of those unions, but in respect of the men outside them. We recognise also their efforts in the direction of the peaceful settlement of difficulties, and their movement in the direction of deciding disputes by conciliation rather than by strikes—a movement which has tended to prevent strikes in many cases 296 during recent years. And we recognise another thing, namely, the value of the Provident Funds which have been established in connection with the unions. In regard to the question of Provident Funds, I notice that the hon. and learned Member for Haddingtonshire, in a speech in the House of Lords in a case which was heard in regard to this matter, urged as one reason for the favourable consideration of the point he was putting to the Lords for their consideration, that the funds of the society contributed for trade and provident purposes were mixed up together, and that the widows and orphans might suffer, if the Trade Unions were suable and held liable for wrong committed. Does not that rest with the Trade Unions themselves? There are many in this House who have criticised the constitution of Trade Unions in regard to this matter. I am not quite sure that in the Trade Unions themselves there are not differences of opinion as to whether the Provident Funds ought not to be separated from those funds which are available for strike work. I rather think that in the deliberations of the Trade Union Congress which took place last year, there were indications of a movement in that direction.
§ However that may be, whilst one recognises the good which has been effected by Trade Unions, I think it does not blind Members of this House and the people of the country to the mistakes which are made, and to the dangers which may arise in other directions. Employers in this country are well aware of the injury done in certain trades by the rigid enforcement of Trade Union rules. The articles in The Times have brought home, I believe, to a large body of the public, more fully than ever before, the danger to many-trades in this country which arises from the restriction placed upon labour by the Trade Union regulations. I do not think that all Trade Unionists themselves regard them as desirable; I think many regard them as blocking the whole system of Trade Unions, and regret them. But, after all, they do exist, and it is well that we should keep them in mind, and regard the action of Trade Unions in respect of these matters with anxiety and apprehension.297
There is no doubt about the meaning of the Resolution before the House, though the language on the Paper is somewhat bold and enigmatical. The right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean and the hon. Member who sits beside him have both Bills this session. That of the right hon. Baronet is the Trades Disputes Bill, and, as I understand, it purports to be founded on recent decisions in certain Cases in the Law Courts. These cases are three. Two of them have already been referred to. One is that of Lyons v. Wilkins, which was heard in the Court of Appeal on September 20, 1898. Then there was the Taff Vale case, which was decided by the House of Lords on July 22, 1901, the decision being that a Trade Union could be sued in its registered name for illegal acts done by its agents under its authority and for its benefit. Leatham v. Quin was an Irish case appealed to the House of Lords, who gave their decision on August 5th, 1901. That case was brought in the Irish Courts under the Common Law to protect a man, between whom and his workmen there was never at any time any dispute, but who was interfered with by the labour union through a third party, who also had no quarrel with his workmen. The whole contention before the House of Lords was that the plaintiff had no remedy against those who inflicted injury upon him. The Lord Chancellor said—
If, upon these facts so found, the plaintiff could have no remedy against those who had thus injured him, it could hardly be said that our jurisprudence was that of a civil community.
These are the cases upon which this Motion purports to be brought forward. The question it raises is that the legal Tights of members of Trade Unions have been injured by those decisions. My Amendment asks the House to say that they are not. If hon. Members will follow the views expressed at the Trade Union Congress, they will see what they are in regard to those cases. The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, in his opening address, said, speaking of the Taff Vale Case—
Therefore in this instance it may be as well to make haste slowly, more especially as the question of picketing has yet to be tried. Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the present position of this matter, and until some definite pronouncement has been given on the subject by the House of Lords, considerable doubt must continue to be felt as to the extent to which picketing can be legally carried.
The decisions to which I have referred were given—one in August, 1898, and two in the summer of 1901, and this speech of the Chairman of the Congress was delivered in September, 1901. Continuing, he said—
When the question has been finally settled, the ground will be cleared and we shall more fully comprehend the steps necessary to be taken in order to safeguard our interest, financially and otherwise.
Further, it is stated—
Your committee are also of opinion that the most vital question has yet to be decided, namely, the question of picketing, and that it is absolutely necessary in the interests of all concerned that the matter should be pressed to an issue in order that the position may be speedily and clearly defined by the highest legal tribunal.
That was not all that took place, because the Parliamentary Committee included in its Report counsel's opinion on the Taff Vale case as follows—
Under the judgment (Lyons v. Wilkins) it would be exceedingly difficult to conduct a strike without any degree of success without doing illegal acts so that the first step to be taken in my opinion should be that the first case where an injunction is sought to restrain persons from picketing should be taken to the House of Lords under the authority of Congress, or such persons as it would authorise, so as to prevent the possibility of anything happening similar to that in the case of Lyons v. Wilkins.
Further discussion took place on the subject, and the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee to the Congress was to the following effect—
In view of the decision of the House of Lords in the Taff Vale case rendering the funds of societies liable in damages for the illegal acts of their agents, this Congress impowers the Parliamentary Committee to take a test case to the House of Lords to ascertain how far picketing may be carried on without infringing the law, and rendering the funds of the societies liable to damages.
Mr. Edmund Browne, counsel to the Congress, was present, and he said—
The most important point in the whole question was where did they stand in regard to picketing, and until they had received the opinion of the highest tribunal on the land on it, it was in his opinion of no use whatever for them to be doing anything in connection with the Taff Vale decision, and that was why in accordance with his advice the Parliamentary Committee had decided they must get a decision in regard to picketing.
If that is the view of the Trades Unions as expressed unanimously in a resolution, and if that is the view of their counsel,
I think it is a strong thing to come to this House and propose the resolution which is now submitted. In face of this clearly-expressed conviction that they ought to get a final decision of the House of Lords, this House is asked to pass a vague Resolution of this sort, which cannot be otherwise regarded than a reflection on the Law Courts of the country.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he suggests that the Parliamentary Committee are opposed to this Resolution?
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I understood the hon. Gentleman's observations to indicate that the Parliamentary Committee should raise further questions of law before this Resolution was submitted.
§ MR. RENSHAW
What I understand is this, that the Congress last September resolved that the opinion of the highest court of the land, the House of Lords, ought to be taken.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
They were afterwards advised that the case ought to be dropped, and it was dropped.
§ MR. RENSHAW
I do not imagine that there would be any difficulty about getting a case on an early occasion. I should imagine a case might be made for the purpose. The matter is really covered by the Bill before the House, which is to legalise the peaceable conduct of trade disputes. I am not quite sure, in the point of view of the employer, that I should think the measure was calculated to ensure a peaceful settlement of trade disputes. If two men have a fight, and one man has his hands tied behind his back, so far as any injury is likely to occur I should imagine the man with his hands free would regard it as a peaceful conflict, but I do not think that the man with his hands tied and subject to the pummelling of his opponent would be likely to regard it as a peaceful operation. Clause 1 of the Bill would 300 leave the Unions and their officials a free hand to interfere with the liberty of employers and working men outside the Unions—by far the larger number of workmen. It means that business might be ruined and workmen deprived of employment, while the law would afford no protection. Clause 2 would take away a man's right to protection at Common Law in the event of a number of men concerting action to the annoyance and coercion of which the individual would be exposed. The case of Leatham v. Quinn illustrates the hardship which has-been inflicted by the actions of Trade Unions when they have gone beyond the law. Leatham was a butcher who supplied beef to various customers, among others a butcher of the name of Munce, in Belfast. Leatham employed non-union men; Munce employed union men. Leatham was so anxious to continue the employment of his men that he appears to have gone to a meeting of the Trade Union and to have offered to pay the expenses of his men to join the Union. He gave his evidence before the Court, and this was how the judge referred to it in his summing up—'"I had better,' said the Judge, 'give his own words:'—' I said I carne on behalf of my men, and was ready to pay all fines, debts and demands against them, and I asked to have-them admitted to the society. The defendant Shaw got up and objected to their being allowed to work on, and to their admission, and said that my men should be put out of my employment and could not be admitted and should walk the streets for twelve months. I said it was a hard case to make a man walk the streets with nine small children, and I would not submit to it. Shaw moved a resolution that my assistants should be called out. A man named Morgan seconded the resolution, and it was carried. Craig was in the chair, I was sitting beside him. He said there were some others there who would suit me as well. He picked some out and said they could work for me. I said they were not suitable for my business, and I would keep the men I had. They said I had to take them. I said I would not put out my men. Craig then spoke and told me my meat would be stepped in Andrew Munce's if I would not comply with their wishes.'The third clause of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman is a clause which confers on Trade Unions and their officials absolute immunity for acts done during any dispute or strike. That is a most extraordinary provision, and I have no doubt that if the Bill were formally discussed in this House 301 some arguments would be advanced in support of it; but it seems to me that if what is implied in the Resolution of the hon. Member for the Hexham Division is to be anything approaching to the provisions of the Trade Disputes Bill, it would be a very serious thing for the general body of employers in this country.
Mr. Justice Farwell, speaking in the Taff Vale case, said—It would require very clear and express words of enactment to induce me to hold that the Legislature had, in fact, legalised the existence of such irresponsible bodies with such wide capacity for evil,and the Lord Chancellor in his judgment said—If the Legislature has created a thing which can own property, which can employ I servants, which can inflict injury, it must be taken, I think, to have impliedly given the; power to make it suable in a Court of Law for injuries purposely done by its authority and procurement.The provisions of the Bill seem to me to go beyond any possible requirements. If a Bill of this kind were passed, it would constitute an entirely new departure in the labour legislation of this country, and would give rise once more to bitter feelings and serious difficulties between employers and those whom they employ. The hon. Member for Derby, speaking of the Taff Vale case, spoke of certain deplorable incidents in connection with the strike which took place. There were deplorable incidents, and I was very glad to hear what the hon. Member said tonight; but I should like to ask him what does the Union do by way of punishing the members of its body who break the law, as these members broke it. Are they members of the Union today?
MR. B. ENSHAW
I am exceedingly glad to hear it; and I should be glad if every Trade Union in the country dealt with its men as I understand the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants deal with their men where they have been shown to have broken the law of the land. I believe the Trade Unions would enjoy still more the confidence and the respect of the country if that could be held to be the case. I wish to put forward the view which is 302 held; the view not of myself alone, but, as I believe, of many employers who are interested in the industrial progress of the country. I think the question is one of the greatest possible importance. As I understand it, what is aimed at by some of the proposals of the Bill to which I have made reference, is to give practically irresponsible power to Trade Unions.
§ * MR. BELL
On a point of order, may I ask Mr. Speaker whether the hon. Member is in order in discussing a Bill which is not before the House. We are simply asking the Government on their part to introduce a Bill, and very likely, if they consented, they would not introduce it in the terms of the Trades Disputes Bill.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The terms of the motion are wide. I understand that the Bill which the hon. Member is discussing relates to amendments of the law as expressed in the Statute of 1875. I cannot say that he is not in order. If the Bill were on the Order Book, it might be a different matter.
§ MR. RENSHAW
Of course, Mr. Speaker, if the Bill had been on the Order Book I should have refrained from all reference to it, but I understood that the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean had withdrawn his Bill in order that we might discuss the matter freely. I do not wish to give any offence to any of the Trade Union representatives in this House. In the interests of our trades and commerce it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this matter. The necessity of a good understanding between the employers and the employed is essential to the carrying on of our great industries, and our progress in the open markets of the world. The interests of all who are engaged in the great industries of this country are the same. It does not matter whether they are employers or employed. Their interests in carrying on their work, and producing economically and efficiently the articles they produce, is of vital importance to employers and employed. We had an interesting debate the other night upon education, and the hon. Member for Haddington in the course of the debate referred to the alarm felt in 303 this country at the progress made in education in Germany and the United States of America, and the fears and apprehensions felt as to what its effect would be on the interests of the manufacturers in this country. Well, but what is the good of education, and technical and higher education, for the operatives of this country, if they are not allowed to make full and free use of the powers which it gives them? What, too, is the use of new resources in the way of machinery if a restrictive policy is formed which prevents employers getting the benefit of it? Such a restrictive policy is a very serious and dangerous policy, and I am persuaded it is no part of the policy of Trade Unionism, speaking generally, but is favoured by a narrow and, I hope, a comparatively small section. If the trades want to keep in sympathy with the great body of the public, they must once and for all show that they will have nothing to do with it.
One hon. Member, a representative of the Labour Party in this House, who has been to America, can bear me out when I say that in many of the great industrial works in America there is far greater freedom in regard to the exercise of the powers of the industrial workman in his work to do a larger amouut of work, and to be progressive in the character of his work, than is permitted to a workman in this country under the rules and regulations of Trade Unions. Two years ago I was travelling down to Scotland, and in the railway carriage there was a gentleman, not known to me, but who, I found, was the brother of a Member of this House. I had lately added plant in my works, and in going over it I was struck with the large number of American machines I had found it necessary to buy. I was told they were more economical than were those of the same kind which are produced in this country. I related all this to my travelling companion, who said he was not in the least surprised; that a friend of his, engaged in manufacturing a certain class of machinery here, had been so struck with the difficulty he had in competing with America in the same class of goods that he went to America with the object of seeing how they managed. He had hardly got inside the works which he visited there, before he saw six machines being worked by one man. Of course, they must have 304 been a simple class of machine, probably cutters, or something of the kind. The English engineer who was making these observations said: "How is it you are able to work six machines like that; where are the other five men?" The reply was this: "I have not got the other five men, one man is sufficient." Then the English visitor said: "I need to go no further into your works to learn how it is you are underselling me. In my own country I should not be allowed to have one man to work six machines." Those are the dangers involved to the trade of this country, in any restriction of the out put. I do not say that state of things is general, but it exists, and the public are a little apprehensive when Trade Unionists come and ask for those restrictions to be again placed upon it. It is in consequence of the fear I feel that I venture to move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ (10.30.) MR. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)
I rise to second the Amendment moved by my hon. friend, and, considering the short time we have, and the number of Members who desire to speak on this matter, I shall be very short.
I do not second this Amendment in any spirit of hostility to the Trade Unions. I know that if it had not been for the Trade Unions, hours of labour would be much longer than they are, and wages would be very much lower. During all the years that I have been connected with the large works in which I am a partner, we have had a good many fights with the Trade Unions, but I should be very sorry to be without them. I would far sooner have to do with a central and responsible body in the shape of a Trade Union, than be left to an irresponsible body of workmen. If Trade Unions are well and properly managed, it is better to have them than no organisation at all. In all the disputes we have had with our men, I do not think we have had any trouble about picketing or interference with our men, but it is perfectly well known that that is not the casein other parts. It is well known that in other parts of the country where disputes have arisen, Trade Unions have interfered in a manner which I think is very unfair to employers, though it may have been legal. The hon. Member for Derby said all 305 he wanted was equality between employers and employed. I quite agree that employers should not have rights with regard to their workmen which the workmen have not with regard to them, but I do not know that the incident he quoted quite covers the interference of workmen with workmen in other cases. On that point, we have no actual decision which we can say governs the law with regard to picketing. Certain decisions have been given, but the appeals which should have been made by the Trade Union to the House of Lords have not been made, and so long as the law is undefined, it would be idle to set about making a new law for the relations of the employer and the employed. I cannot understand why the Trade Unions have not appealed to the House of Lords, but they have not, and, that being so, I cannot doubt but what there is a want of confidence in the judgment of the House of Lords, because this matter is of such importance to the Trade Unions. I think before we make new laws this great point should be settled. The hon. Member for Battersea called out "No, no," when my hon. friend the Member for Renfrew referred to the interference of workmen in the case of new machinery, but I can state from my own experience that there is a great deal in what the hon. Member for Renfrew has said. I will not enter into details now, but will content myself with seconding the Amendment.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'This House declines to commit itself to fresh legislation on the subject of trade disputes until it is shown that the existing law does not sufficiently protect workmen in the exercise of their lawful rights.'"—(Mr. Renshaw.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ (10.36.) SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
Although this question is one of immense importance, the time that is allowed for us to discuss it is so limited, and there are so many Members who wish to speak upon it, that I shall compress my remarks into the smallest possible space, and in that short time try 306 and unravel the real point of the discussion. In the first place, we have nothing at all to do with any question of violence, or intimidation, or coercion. Nobody suggests that there ought to be anything to interfere with the proper punishment of persons guilty of such offences. We have nothing to do with what is called the restrictive policy—that is, as the seconder of the amendment said, absolutely outside the question. What we have to do with are certain recent decisions and the effect of the law in those recent decisions. Until the year 1898 it was always believed to be lawful to station pickets, in case of a strike, with a view to exercising peaceful persuasion upon workmen. That was the object of the Act of 1875, and it was so declared in the House of Lords by Lord Chancellor Cairns. He declared that that was the object, and the whole profession believed that that was the effect of the Act of 1875. But in 1898 it was decided that picketing for the purposes of peaceful persuasion was contrary to the law. It was "an interference with the ordinary comfort of human existence," as one of the judges said, a phrase very characteristic of the Rhadamanthine attitude of the judges throughout the history of this question. In that case it was decide I that the men were entitled to attend near the works where the strike took place, only for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information. That was the change that was made in 1898. The effect of the change was that pickets might not even, to use the phrase of the employers, enter into any argument with persons approaching or leaving the works. That was one of the first deadly blows given to the effectiveness of strikes by recent decisions, altering what the whole legal profession had always believed to be the law.
The second, and even more serious, change was this. A Trade Union is a club as much as it is a trade organisation. It does conduct strikes, but its chief work is of a different character, It is that of conferring benefits, administering sick funds, pension funds, unemployed funds, widows' funds and so forth, on a very large scale. Now hitherto, until the year 1901, it was always believed that Trade Unions could not be sued, nor 307 could their funds be made liable in an action at law in respect to any illegal act done by stray members of the union. So fixed and firm was that belief that in the year 1901 the Court of Appeal decided that a Trade Union could not be sued, giving expression to the universal belief in the legal profession on the subject. But on appeal in the year 1901, the House of Lords held that a Trade Union might be sued and that all its funds might be appropriated to meet that judgment; that a wrong committed in the course of a strike by some ill-willed and obscure person—one of many thousands of men—might result in the taking of funds which had been dedicated to charitable purposes. That was the position in 1901.
Exception has been taken to what has been called judge-made law. The hon. Member who made that observation is not perhaps aware that nearly all the law of this country has been made by the judges. They are the masters and make the laws as much as they administer them. They declare the common law, and where there is no precedent they evolve the law from a sense of justice and from principles in the best way they can.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
These cases are not statute law, but common law desions. Let me put these decisions together and look at their consequences, and see what is the result. Strikes are a deplorable incident, and everybody laments them, but they are sometimes necessary, and they are the only weapon the workmen have. The law now is this, that you cannot attend near a factory peaceably to persuade men to support a stike, although the employer may persuade as many other employers as he pleases to join him. The Trade Union, if such an offence is committed, are liable to damages to the full extent of the compassionate funds which they have laid by in the form of benefits. If that be the case, it seems to me that there have undoubtedly been grave innovations in the law during the last three years, and what I understand the Trade Unions to ask for is the restoration 308 of the state of things that existed before. Let the law be restored to what Lord Cairns announced was the intention of the Act of 1875.
There is one other matter. There have been decisions which have construed conspiracy in a sense very unfavourable to the workman. I am not making the slightest reflection on the judges. I know quite well the judges are desirous of acting impartially according to the law, but it is an unfortunate circumstance that, in two notable cases recently decided, the liability for conspiracy has been construed very narrowly in the case of employers and very widely in the case of workmen. It is an unfortunate circumstance that in the case in which the workmen were concerned the point was construed very narrowly. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the case of Quinn v. Leatham. He need not have done so. No one would defend the action of the men whose conduct was referred to. It was abominable, and, if the law did not permit of it being checked, the law ought to be altered. But that is not the point here. No one complains of the judgment as a judgment. What is complained of is the loose and dangerous, one might almost say the slippery, language used in regard to the meaning of the term "conspiracy" in the speeches of some of the noble and learned persons who gave the judgment. There were sentences or dicta of the most dangerous and far-reaching character.
That is the position. What is the position of the hon. Gentleman in answer to it? He has not really met any part of the point in the case. He spoke of intimidation, but all he said was that he understood the Trade Unions themselves thought there ought to be a further decision. The Trade Unions are supporting this Motion; they are the persons who are bringing it forward. They were advised that they ought to take a case to the House of Lords—I believe there was a case pending—but they were subsequently advised that they had no chance at all on the decisions as they then stood, and therefore they did not go on. The point is this. These things are really an unjust encroachment upon what have hitherto been believed to be the legal rights of the Trade Unions, and what were intended to be their rights in the year 1875. Why should it be delayed 309 by bringing some case not yet in existence before the various courts and pursuing it to the House of Lords? What is asked is that the law should be made fair and just in the sense in which Parliament thought it ought to be some thirty years ago, and there is no necessity for obtaining any more decisions of the House of Lords, or for tempting any more of the as I think—rather unwise expressions of opinion which are scattered throughout the judgments.
§ (10.50.) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY, Inverness Burghs)
I have listened with interest, as I always do, to my hon. and learned friend the Member for Dumfries, but I confess the sentiment he expressed in the concluding part of his speech took me somewhat by surprise. He seemed to indicate that there was one law of conspiracy for the masters and another for the workmen.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
On, no; I do not think the Attorney General should say that. I said, and I mean every word I said, that I was perfectly certain that the Judges desired to do what is right and just according to the law, but that it was an unfortunate circumstance that in the case in which the masters were concerned a much wider interpretation was placed on the term "conspiracy."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am very glad to know that I misunderstood my hon. and learned friend. He knows, as does every other lawyer in the House, that the law of conspiracy for master and for man is exactly the same. There is not the slightest ground for any man saying that there is one law for the master and another for the man. I am glad to have on that point the high authority—and there could be none higher—of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dumfries. I think the judges have a little reason to complain of the terms of this Resolution, and of some of the things which have been said about them. I do not intend to dwell upon the phrase of the hon. and learned Gentleman with regard to the "loose and slippery "terms of some of the judgments. That phrase slipped from my hon. and learned friend in an unguarded moment. But I would refer to the terms of the Resolution, which has been drawn up in cold blood, and, I 310 presume, after consultation with all the authorities in this matter—That legislation is necessary to prevent workmen being placed by judge-made law in a position inferior to that intended by Parliament in 1875.It is impossible for anyone to say that that Resolution is not couched in somewhat slighting terms towards the judges. What is the object in saying that all our law is Judge-made? If the Resolution means anything it means that the judges have so dealt with the law as to set up a new law of their own which is not in conformity with the intention of Parliament. That is to say, they have altered the law. The judges are a much abused body. I think they deserve a little sympathy. We set them the most difficult statutes to construe, and I have heard that even the judges sometimes retaliate upon this House, and complain of the way in "Rich those statutes are drawn; but if every time a decision is given which does not exactly agree with the views of hon. and learned Members as to the construction of a statute, we are to have in this House a Resolution about "Judge-made law" and the "intention of Parliament," I think the lot of our judges will be a very unenviable one. For myself, I think the Amendment of my hon. and learned friend is a sensible one. If you are to rush into fresh legislation every time there is a decision, or, as in this case, dictum, with which you do not agree, you will never get the law settled. Nothing tends more to uncertainty in the law than a perpetual succession of fresh enactments. You had better get your one statute settled in meaning before you set to work with fresh legislation, and it is in that sense that I shall certainly support the Amendment of my hon. and learned friend. The attitude towards the House of Lords taken up by some Members who so ably represent-the Trade Unions is rather amusing. It is quite clear that they go on the principle of judging by results. When the House of Lords, in regard to Workmen's Compensation, gave a decision which they liked there never was such a tribunal: but when a decision is given that they do not like, it is a judgment influenced by political and not legal considerations. The House of Lords needs no defence from me. Anyone who knows that tribunal is aware that in giving decisions 311 in the one case and in the other they are influenced solely by a desire to arrive at the correct interpretation of the law.
The hon. and learned Member for Dumfries, if I rightly apprehended him, expressed a desire that we should have legislation to undo the decision of the House of Lords in the Taff Vale case. He wants a short Act of Parliament stating that "the decision in the Taff Vale case is hereby annulled," and declaring that the law is the other way. I really think that any hon. Members who may be carried away by my hon. and learned friend's eloquence on this point cannot have understood the decision in the Taff Vale case. In that case the decision of the House of Lords had absolutely nothing whatever to do with the question of picketing. The only point decided in that case was that a Trade Union is liable to be sued for acts done by its officials within the scope of their authority my hon. friend says that the House of Lords decided that the Trade Unions were liable to be sued for the act of any stray member. The House of Lords decided nothing of the kind. I really think that, as a punishment for that statement, my hon. and learned friend deserves to be put through a course of reading and examination in the judgment in that case. What the House of Lords decided was that the ordinary law of the land applied to Trade Unions as to everybody else. They did not introduce any exceptional law for the case of Trades Unions; they decided that where those who constitute Trade Unions employ officials, for the acts of those officials within the scope of their authority, within the scope of their duty, they are liable, just as any other employer is liable for the acts of his servants. That is the whole decision in the Taff Vale case. That anybody should get up in this House and, in the interest of anybody, however respectable or useful, propose that that decision should be repealed by legislation, to me simply astounding. The Trade Unions are simply associations of individuals; they are not corporations. It would be a marvellous thing if an association of individuals were to be at liberty to employ servants and officials for the purpose of doing a certain class of acts relating to trade disputes, and yet not be liable in the case of injury being done by those acts. That the decision in 312 the Taff Vale case in the House of Lords was strictly limited has been recently illustrated by a case in the courts in which it was laid down that a Trade Union can be made liable only for acts done by its authority. The case was tried by Mr. Justice Walton the other day, and the learned judge, after finding on the facts that a wrong had been done and the plaintiff injured, held upon the evidence before him that the Trade Union could not properly be taken to have authorised the act, and dismissed the action against the Trade Union, but decided against the "stray member "—to use the hon. and learned Gentleman's phrase—who had done the wrong. What then becomes of the contention that there is any special hardship on Trade Unions under this decision? Whether that decision was right or wrong upon the facts is a matter we have not the materials for deciding, and which may possibly be dealt with elsewhere, but it is an illustration establishing beyond all doubt, if there could be any doubt on the point, that the House of Lords have never applied to Trade Unions anything but the ordinary law which applies to every other person. For myself, I entirely object to any privilegia being enacted for any class of individuals or for any class of associations.
It was suggested that the decision in the Taff Vale case was contrary to the intention of Parliament when it passed the legislation of 1871. I think that suggestion was made by the hon. Member for Derby, and, as I am referring to him, I may congratulate him and the hon. Member for Hexham on the ability of the speeches in which they placed this Resolution before the House. Still more may I congratulate the hon. Member for Derby on the possession of the quality of discretion. When my hon. friend proceeded to comment on the Bill in which the proposals lying behind this Resolution were put in concrete shape, he got up and objected. That was a most discreet objection from his point of view, for when propositions of this kind are laid before the House they are tolerable only when they are left in a vague, abstract, and undefined condition. As soon as they appear in a Bill they are open to the criticisms which my hon. friend made, and to which the hon. Member for Derby so discreetly objected.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The hon. Member could take no objection when Mr. Speaker had ruled the point in order. I feel satisfied that if hon. Members will take the trouble to look into the matter they will find that there is no ground for supposing that the decision in this much canvassed case is in any way contrary to the intention of Parliament. What was said when the legislation of 1871 was under consideration was that it was not desirable that the internal affairs of these unions should form the subject of litigation. It was not intended or desired that a Trade Union should be incorporated so that it could sue its members or its members sue it. It was not desired that a Trade Union should have the right to get an injunction against a workman, deposing of his labour as he pleased if it were in contravention of the rules of the society to which he belonged, and it was not desired, on the other hand, that the workman should have the right of bringing a Trade Union into court in order to have their domestic difference there adjusted. In the words quoted by the Home Secretary, Mr. Bruce, on February 14th, 1871, from the report made by Mr. Frederick Harrison, who was a member of the Commission which sat shortly before the legislation was introduced—The affairs of Trades Unions should rest entirely upon consent,and that principle is embodied in the 4th section of the Act of 1871. There are elaborate provisions there guarding against the possibility of any litigation in connection with the affairs of a Trade Union as between the society and the members who are its constituent elements. But all that has no application whatever to the case of wrongs done by a Trade Union to a third party, and the suggestion that there was anything in this decision contrary to what Parliament intended in 1871 really rests upon a want of attention to what was said in the course of the debate, 314 and to the terms of the Act which embodied the intention of Parliament at that time.
A forcible argument was put forward as to the effect this would have upon what are called benefit funds, funds intended to make provision for members in old age or for their wives and families in the case of their death. I would call the attention of the House to the fact that in 1871, on April 4th, my right hon. friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed that the benefit funds should be separated from the funds to be used for what I may call fighting purposes—for the purpose of a Trade Union as distinct from the purposes of a benefit society. What was the answer of the Home Secretary, Mr. Bruce? He said that no Trade Union would stand it.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The hon. Member cheers that. If that is the attitude of Trade Unions, in the name of common sense how can any Member on the other side get up and say it is a hard ship that in consequence of the liability of a Trade Union, as of any other subject, for wrongs committed by it, its funds should be liable? I do not presume to say what is the proper course to take in this matter. It has occurred to me that it would be a great advantage to separate these funds, but I do not presume to dictate on that point; the hon. Member knows more about it than I do. But what I do say is that if trades unions deliberately elect to blend these funds it is preposterous for them to get up and say it is a hardship that these funds should be made liable.
The urgency of the case for declaring the liability of Trade Unions for wrongs done by their authority may be understood by reference to the case of Quinn v. Leatham in the House of Lords. As long as the right of action for a wrong was confined to a right of action against the individual it was absolutely worthless. In most cases the individual would be a man of straw, and however grievous the wrong, and however substantial the damages to which the injured person was entitled, he would get no fruits whatever 315 from the judgment. But as soon as it is established that the body which really really authorised the act is liable, there is a real remedy given to the man who has been wronged. What were the facts iilustrated by the case of Quinn v. Leatham? My hon. and learned friend read a passage in which the plaintiff, Mr. Leatham, describes his interview with the officials of the Trade Union. He had in his employ several non-union men. One man called Dickie, a man with a large family, suited him, and had been in his employ for some time. The Union said, "You must dismiss that man because he does "not belong to our society." Mr. Leatham went to a meeting of the society and said, "I will pay all his fees for him and all my other men; all I ask is that they should be admitted to the society, so that I may be enabled to keep them in my employment because they suit me." But they said, "No; they are to walk the streets for twelve months as a punishment for not joining the society."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
Nobody defends it, but it is a good illustration of the sort of acts which require to be kept in check. I may point out to my hon. and learned friend who interposed that that case was carried to the House of Lords, where it was established that such action was illegal.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
Beitso, but the Trade Union appealed, and I believe my hon. and learned friend opposite appeared for the respondents in that case, and succeeded in vindicating the law, upon which I congratulate him. Mr. Leatham said to the Committee—It is very hard that a man with nine children dependent upon him should be compelled to walk the streets for twelve months.They said, "Well, we will tell Muntz who has dealt with you for some twenty years that he is not to deal with you any longer, and that if he does we will call out his men also." Muntz wrote a letter 316 which I will read to the House. He wrote to the secretary of the union that—He could not interfere by bringing pressure to bear on Mr. Leathern to employ none but society men by refusing to purchase meat from him as that would be outside his province and be interfering with the liberty of another man.Surely that was the only attitude for Mr. Muntz to take up. He could not, however, stand the pressure put upon him because he was constrained to send a telegram as follows—Unless you arrange with society you need not send any beef this week as men are ordered to quit work.That is the sort of tyranny which no one will defend, and now it has been clearly declared to be illegal. But if the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean, became law, it would extend absolute immunity to action of that kind. No one would defend such action, and no one would say there should not be some redress for it. The Bill of the right hon. Baronet would take away all redress of such action and no one can deny it. Such actions are more wanting in sincerity, and unless you have the strong hand of the law behind you to intervene in suitable cases you may depend upon it these things will be done, and such wanton tyranny will occur over and over again.
I think there is one proposition upon which we are all agreed, and it is that workmen have a perfect right to combine just as employers have. There is also another proposition with which I think we are all agreed, and it is that neither employers nor workmen have any right to coerce other people. There ought to be absolute freedom for men to work or not to work, as they think fit. Every man should be at liberty to dispose of his own labour, and I hope this House will never be hurried into giving its ascent either in the form of a Resolution or a Bill, to any proposal which will tend to diminish that liberty which we at present enjoy. There is another proposition which I am sure will be assented to in every part of the House, and it is that the law with regard to combination is exactly the same for employers as for employed. If anyone will take the trouble to look at the definition of "Trade Union" in the Act of 1875, he will find that it applies to combinations 317 of employers just as much as workmen. It is said that you will interfere with peaceable persuasion. I say without fear of contradiction from any of my hon. and learned friends in the House, that peaceable persuasion by itself never imposes any liability, either civil or criminal. I defy any man to show that peaceable persuasion by itself imposes any liability, either civil or criminal. The Statute of 1859 provided that peacable persuasion by itself should not impose any liability, and that law as declared by that statute still exists, although the statute itself is not enforced. But, of course, it does not follow that if peaceable persuasion is coupled with such acts as occurred in the case of Quinn v. Leatham, if peaceable persuasion is accompanied by such acts, or by acts which constitute a nuisance at common law, that immunity is to be extended to such cases. What you have to deal with in the cases where this question has arisen has not been peaceable persuasion by itself, but it has been peaceable persuasion coupled with what is known as watching and besetting the house of the person to be affected by it. Picketing may, of course, be be carried on upon such principles, and in such a way as to constitute a serious nuisance, and I not think any hon. Member would deny that if his house was watched and beset by a number of men relieving one another and going on week after week and month after month this would amount to serious nuisance. Peaceable persuasion is perfectly innocent in itself, but it is not so meritorious as to afford relief from the consequences of other wrongs which you do at the same time. This has been laid down in the case which has so often been referred to of Lyons and Wilkins. In the final judgment given in 1899 it was laid down—That to say it was caused by an attempt possibly to persuade other people would afford no defence though persons may be peaceably persuaded, provided that the method employed is not a nuisance.There is one further observation that I wish to make and it is that, in order to be criminal, watching and besetting, or picketing, as it is generally called, must be with a view to compel some one to do some act or to abstain from doing something with a view to compelling some other person, and there has not been a single case in the Criminal Courts in 318 which anyone has been held to be guilty of a crime under the Act of 1875 who would not have been liable under the terms of the charge of Mr. Russell Gurney in 1875, and which has been more than once referred to in this case. There has not been a single case in the Criminal Courts in which anyone has been held guilty of a crime otherwise than in accordance with that decision. [An HON. MEMBER: This is a matter of civil right.] I will deal with the civil aspect too, but for the moment I am talking of universal liability. I have pointed out, and I challenge contradiction, that there is not a case where any one who is guilty of crime would not fall within the charge of Mr. Russell Gurney. In 1891, in a well-known case, it was held that the word "intimidate" must mean intimidation in the shape of threatening physical violence or something of that kind. It is perfectly true that in the case of Lyons and Wilkins, which my hon. friend has referred to, there are passages giving a different effect to the Act of 1875. In the first place, as my hon. and learned friend has pointed out, that was a civil action, but if anyone will take the trouble to look at the final decision given in that case in 1899, he will find that the majority of the court in that final decision distinctly held that, apart from the statute altogether, watching and besetting, or what is commonly called picketing, had been carried on to such an extent as to constitute a nuisance at common law.
Now, Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly possible that some of the dicta in the case of Lyons and Wilkins may require further consideration, but the decision itself cannot be quarrelled, and we have pretty good authority for assertaining this, because when an appeal to the House of Lords had been entered, that appeal was, upon advice, withdrawn. If any one is dissatisfied with the decision which has been laid down by the judges, the courts are open to them, and an appeal may be brought. What is the remedy? The remedy is the answer which was referred to in the resolution, arrived at on the advice of counsel, by the Trade Union Congress held in September last year. I should like to call the attention of the House to the 319 terms of the Report of the Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress held at Swansea in September, 1901. I find that this was reported in the Scotsman of Tuesday, September 3rd, 1901. The Parliamentary Committee, in their Report in reference to the Taff Vale case, say—They lost no time in placing the matter in the hands of their advising counsel. That gentleman came to the conclusion that, as the result of their judgment, it will be exceedingly difficult to conduct a strike with any degree of success without doing illegal acts. So that the first step to be taken, in my opinion, should be that the first case where any injunction is sought to restrain persons from picketing should be taken to the House of Lords under the authority of the Congress or such persons as it would authorise, so as to prevent the possibility of anything happening similar to that in the case of Lyons v. Wilkins.On the second day of the Congress, Mr. Steadman made a Motion in accordance with this view, and Mr. E. Browne, counsel to the Congress, made a speech, in which he said—The most important point in the whole matter was, where did they stand in regard to picketing, and until they had received the opinion of the highest tribunal of the land on it, it was no use whatever for them to be doing anything in connection with the Taff Vale decision, and that was why, in accordance with his advice, the Parliamentary Committee had decided that they must get a decision in regard to picketing.I am bound to say that I think that was very sensible advice, and in the resolution which the Congress agreed to, and which was approved of by the Parliamentary Committee upon the advice which was given to them by their counsel, a very sensible, course indeed was taken. That resolution was accepted by the Congress, and what is the meaning of this change of tactics? The appeal to the House of Lords is abandoned, and it has been abandoned because it is found that the decision itself cannot be quarrelled with; and then, forsooth, on the strength of certain dicta which occurred in the case, certain propositions of law laid down, but which are not necessary for the decision, because, as was pointed out just now, there are other grounds on which the decision might be supported, as is shown by the determination to abandon the appeal. It is on the strength of this dicta that this House is invited to rush into fresh legislation. I trust that the House will not 320 think of adopting any Resolution of this sort. In the Amendment of my hon. friend the House is invited to say that—This House declines to commit itself to fresh legislation on the subject of trade disputes, until it is shown that the existing law does not sufficiently protect workmen in the exercise of their lawful rights.It is only upon such principles that we can get the law settled upon secure and safe foundations. If every time a judge says something which you do not like you pass a fresh law, you may depend upon it that the law will soon be in a state of chaos. If the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean got his Bill I carried, I venture to say in the course of twelvemonths after his Bill became law, there would be quite a crop of grievances in the decisions of judges in construing chat measure. When it is shown that there is a case of injustice let us deal with it, but not till then.
§ *(11.20.) MR. HALDANE
I think it is to be regretted that the Attorney General should have devoted so much time to controverting propositions about which there has been no controversy from this side. No one in the course of this debate has defended the proceedings of the trade union in the case of Quinn v. Leatham, and nobody has assailed the result arrived at by the judges in that particular case. But what we have said, and what the Attorney General has not controverted, is that the principles of law as laid down by the judges are in a state of confusion because different judges could not agree among themselves. In a very few moments I will show the House what I mean, and I will conclude with an appeal to the Government upon this matter. Speaking for myself, I am quite inclined to make a present to the Attorney General of the Taff Vale case if he will undertake to initiate legislation which will put the law as to conspiracy upon a more satisfactory footing than it is at the present time. I will defy the Attorney General or any other lawyer to tell what the position of those who have to conduct a strike is at the present moment. The effect of this judgment has been to make it an impossibility to conduct a peaceable strike in a legal fashion. In this the Attorney General 321 himself is my witness. Take the case, for the moment not of conspiracy, but of picketing. The Attorney General, after telling us a great deal about the criminal law, gave us his view about Lyons and Wilkins, and he told us that there were two views. He said that one judge took one view of the case and the other judges took another view. I have here an extract from the judgment of Lord Justice Kay, who laid down that watching the premises of Messrs. Lyons with a view to compelling them to come to the terms which the union had fixed, was a direct violation of the section, if there was that sort of communication which amounted to the most peaceable persuasion, as distinguished from the bare imparting of dry facts; and yet by other people we are told that it is legal to send people to communicate with the workmen for the purpose of persuasion. It is perfectly true that Lord Justice Vaughan Williams took rather a different view, but nobody to this hour knows what is legal with regard to picketing, for there is obscurity as to whether the law allows even peaceful persuasion. In what is known as the Mogul case the House of Lords declared that a combination which I will now describe was lawful. The great shipowners, including the P.&O. Company, being minded to put out of existence certain ocean "tramp" steamers which were reducing the rates, not only made offers to carry those cargoes at a less rate, but they actually went to the shipping agents and said: "If you deal with those 'tramp' steamers we will boycott you." That is what may be done by the capitalist as held to be lawful by the House of Lords which is the supreme tribunal. A great deal was said about it at the time. When you come to the case of Quinn and Leatham, which is a perfectly right decision on the facts, you hear a great deal said by a different set of judges which indicate that they did not agree with this view. Lord Justice Lindley laid down the law to the effect that for the officials of a Trades Union to tell the employer that if he would not come to their terms they must call out their men who were working for him, was illegal. Therefore for the officials of a Trade Union to go to an employer and say "we wish you to give certain terms, and if you do not we shall be compelled to call 322 out our men who are working for you," according to the law laid down in Lord Justice Lindley's judgment would be an illegality, and not only so but it would expose those joining to commit it to a prosecution for a criminal offence. How can you say that the law is in a state of harmony in regard to what is laid down for the ship-owners and what is laid down for Trade Unions? I agree that the judges do their best, but different judges take different views, and if you try to harmonise the decisions of the House of Lords itself in the three great cases of which we have heard so much, you will find it impossible for any lawyer to tell the unfortunate officials of a trade union what they may do and what they may not do.
In this state of things, what is the plain duty of the Government? I agree that they are not called upon to initiate heroic legislation. I am not going to discuss the policy of the Taff Vale case, and I am not going to discuss the liabilities of Trade Unions, but I may say that I do not agree with all that the Attorney General said about the intention of those who framed the Act. I have read Lord Aberdare's speech, made when this policy was laid down, and adopting the lines of the separate Report made by Mr. Frederick Harrison and the Commissioners who agreed with him in which it was stated that Trade Unions were not to be incorporated. Let us now deal with what is infinitely more important, and that is the state of absolute confusion in which the law is at present, owing to the different decisions as to what constitutes legal conduct on the part of workmen. Surely, without doing anything heroic, the Government can do something towards what is called the codification of that part of the law which deals with conspiracy. A Union cannot at this moment conduct a peaceable strike in a legal manner according to these decisions, if what is laid down by-Lord Justice Lindley is the law of the land. This was not the effect which at the time the law was passed it was contemplated that Trade Unions should get. But that is not a matter of Statute law. It is what has been said by certain judges to be the common law, which is far more important in this matter than the statute law. You have 323 a very difficult task before you in declaring what the Common law really is. But attempts to make such a declaration are actually in existence. These form part of the draft code which was drawn up by the late Sir James Fitzstephens, and which now repose in the pigeon-holes of some Government office. Surely it is possible for the Government to ask one of our great Judges to preside over a small Commission to report upon the whole matter and submit to Parliament a code of principles and a clear statement which will enable Parliament to lay down what the law of conspiracy is to be. Until you do that you will have a feeling on the part of people, who do not know the difficulties of the law, doubting whether the judges are not laying down that law in a partisan fashion. The judges are coping with a very difficult matter upon which Parliament has given them very little instruction. Surely it is better to allay that feeling in a way that plain men can understand and give people the sense that Parliament has done its best to put the mode of conducting in a peaceful fashion these great industrial complications which from time to time must arise, into terms that plain men can understand. If the Government will promise to take steps to appoint a small Royal Commission to codify the law of conspiracy and picketing so far as it embraces this question, I for one will promise in exchange not to vote for this Motion.
§ *(11.35.) SIR J. ROLLESTON (Leicester)
As the representative of a constituency in which this question is of great interest and upon which I have received numerous representations, I have no hesitation in saying that there can be no doubt that recent decisions have considerably altered the relations of those engaged in manufactures, and that they have disarranged the mutual interests of employers and employed. But however one might be disposed to agree with the spirit of the Resolution, I cannot congratulate the proposer upon the language employed. I do not know how Members of this House can be expected to express disapproval of the decisions of the highest tribunals in the State, although I freely and fully admit that these decisions have resulted in bringing to the front matters well worthy of reconsideration and re-adjustment.
324 In my opinion these matters are too weighty and too important to be discussed on a chance Resolution in this House, and I earnestly hope that the Government will agree to the recommendation of the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down, and appoint a Committee to inquire into them, and for the purpose of giving fuller and calmer investigation to the many delicate questions involved than can be given to them in this House. I hope that we who wish fairly and justly to represent the mutual interests of two great classes may not by a division be placed in a position of hostility to one side or the other on a great question in which conciliation and agreement might, after fuller discussion and examination, be arrived at. If such a committee were appointed I feel sure, that the time would be well spent having regard to the great commercial interests of this country.
§ *(11.37.) MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
I hope there is not going to be any attempt made by hon. Members to shelter themselves behind the Judges. There seems to be an inclination to object to this Motion be cause of a phrase it contains—"Judge-made law." The question at issue is whether the law is to be so straightened out as to be understandable by the judges who have to interpret it. The Attorney General made much of the decision of Mr. Justice Lindley in Wales, but either he is not aware of, or he conveniently overlooked, the fact that a decision given since that in Manchester completely contradicts the decision in the Welsh case. It has now been decided by two judges of equal standing, first, that Trade Union funds are not liable, unless the act under which the action arises has been committed by a responsible official of the society, and carrying out the decision of the society. In the second case, it has been decided that no matter how irresponsible the individual may be by whom the act is committed, the Union funds are liable for damage in consequence of that act. Now that is a very serious state of affairs. May I remind the House of what took place during a strike? In a picketing case 325 tried at Blackburn these facts were brought out in the course of the evidence and they are not to be denied. The employers had employed agents of provocation to go among the men on strike and among the pickets and incite them to the committal of illegal acts, and if these agents had succeeded, and the pickets had gone beyond what is now called the law, the Union funds would have been held liable for any action arising out of their illegal conduct. It is true that there is one law for employers and employed, but there are two ways of interpreting it. We do not accuse the judges of being consciously biassed, but we say emphatically that the judges, being human, are influenced by their environments, and that they unconsciously lean towards the employers in giving judgment, and we ask that the law be made such that it cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted. May I read to you what is proposed by the General Federation of Trade Unions of this country, which includes all the organised workmen. It asks an amendment of the law on two points, and here are the words in which it puts forward its claims—First, a Bill to define the liability of Trade Unions; and that no action shall lie against a Trade Union for the recovery of damage sustained by any person whatever by reason of the act of a member or members of the Union unless it be proved that such member or members were acting with the directly expressed sanction and authority of the Trade Union rules.Surely that is a reasonable demand to make. It admits that where a trade union official does an illegal thing within the scope of his instructions the fund shall be held liable, but relieves the Union funds of liability where an illegal act is done by some irresponsible member. In regard to picketing, all that it desires is that it shall be lawful for workmen to attend at or near any place where there is a dispute for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information, or for the peaceful persuasion of workmen to refrain from entering such employment. It appears from what the Attorney General says that that is already the law. I hope I have shown the House that there is some confusion in the minds of the judges concerning it, and all we ask is that the Act shall be so amended that the judges shall not be able to misunderstand or misconstrue its meaning. We ask that peaceful persuasion shall be legalised.
326 One case which came before the courts was this: Two members of a Union visited a "blackleg" in his own house for the purpose of trying to persuade him by peaceful argument to refrain from continuing at work. They were tried and had to pay damages to settle the case and avoid being sent to prison. With the law in that condition, and with the interpretation of the law in that condition, it is the merest nonsense to say that peaceful persuasion is legal in connection with picketing, and all that the unions ask for, I repeat, is that the funds shall not be attachable for the illegal act of irresponsible members, and that peaceful picketing shall not be, as at present, a penal offence leading to the imprisonment of members and the depletion of the Union funds.
§ (11.45.) MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)
I think it would be very undesirable that the results of the evening's debate should be entirely thrown away, and I venture to make an appeal to his-Majesty's Government. Having listened to the arguments, and this being in no-sense a Party question, I hope the Government will make some kind of response to what I think is the general feeling of the House: that the law is in a confused and unsatisfactory state. I do not know how it ought to be finally defined. The fact is this, and we cannot dispute it. Parliament in 1871 and 1875 laid down what it then believed to be a fairly satisfactory code for the regulation of these labour societies. Since that time we have had several decisions of the judges, and particularly during the last three years, which it is no exaggeration to say no one could have anticipated or foreseen even ten or fifteen years ago. In the first place we have had a decision—I do not say whether it is right or wrong—that the funds of a Trade Union are liable for the acts of any person shown to be a authorised agent of the Union. On the other side we have had, if not a decision, at any rate, the dicta, that picketing, not accompanied by unlawful acts of violence, or menaces, and which takes the form of the mere conveyance of information is also illegal. I do not hesitate to say that human nature 327 being what it is, and the economic conditions being what they are, no strike can be lawfully conducted in which the pickets confine themselves to the giving of information. Assuming that they are trying to regulate their action by all possible restraint that the law imposes, they must persuade or solicit those whom they are trying to influence. In the question of the funds of the Trade Union and the question of picketing, which are two questions which eminently require further consideration and legislation, and as regards the law of conspiracy in its recent application to trade disputes, the judicial development of that law by the House of Lords has led the country to 'Conclusions from which every one would have shrank twenty years, or even ten years ago. Under these circumstances could not the Government agree that a case has arisen and a situation has developed itself in which it is eminently desirable that we should have some further investigation of the question. I do not understand any of my hon. friends who have supported the Motion to have wedded themselves to any particular proposal or to have said that trade disputes should be settled in any particular way. What they say is that in the present situation, the question ought not to be left to the decision of the judges and to the irresponsible development of of the law by judicial tribunals, but that it is pre-eminently a question for Parliament. I am not going to indulge in any reflections on what is called "Judge-made law." A good deal of our law is Judge made law, and it is a good thing that it is. But, as regards a question like this, which goes down to the very roots of the I economic and social conditions of the I people, Parliament and Parliament alone should be the real judges. By universal admission, it follows from the speeches on 328 both sides of the House that the law is in an unsatisfactory, confused, and I think I might almost say, chaotic state, and may we not hope to elicit from the Government some admission that the time has come for further inquiry with the view to ultimate legislation, which shall make Parliament the House of Commons, and the House of Lords the real judges, and not leave the matter entirely to the judges. If we could get some assurance of that sort from the Government, I think we should be prepared to allow the Resolution to drop, but unless we do I think we must persist in the Resolution which declares that Parliament and Parliament alone is responsible.
§ *(11.50.) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. RITCHIE, Croydon)
The right hon. Gentleman has made a very moderate and very proper appeal to the Government with regard to two points belonging to the same question. He says that the law with regard to financial liability ought to be inquired into, and also that the law of conspiracy as interpreted by the judges ought to be inquired into.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
With regard to the first question, the financial aspect, does the right hon. Gentleman say that the decision which has been arrived at is, in his opinion, an improper decision; I am sure any one who listened to the speech of my hon. and learned friend the Attorney General must have felt that any allegation that the law was different in regard to the workman from what it is with regard to the employer was not consistent with the facts of the case; neither would 329 anybody spy that, when any unlawful acts are done or authorised by any body of persons, that body of persons ought not to be financially responsible for any damage that might be sustained. Therefore, I cannot myself see upon what ground any inquiry is necessary in regard to that particular question. With regard to the other point the right hon. Gentleman cannot quote, cannot give a single instance, I think, in which, upon the merits of the case, there has been any decision with which he can find fault. I do not think he can; and there certainly has not been one single case adduced in the discussion which shows that the decision, so far as the merits of the case are concerned, has been in any respect a wrongful decision, or contrary to the law or the wishes of Parliament, My hon. and learned friend the Attorney General took case after case and showed that the operation and action of Trade Unions in these cases was action which went far beyond any question of peaceful persuasion. I will go this length with my hon. friend. If the Trade Unions were to take a test case to the House of Lords as was recommended by their own central body, and it was found by the decision of the House of Lords that the law was in a condition which was unfair to the working classes, then I think His Majesty's Government would be quite ready to consider as to whether or not some inquiry should not be made into the law with a view, if he likes, to some further legislation with the object of clearing up any doubtful points that might arise. But so far as we have gone at present there does not seem any reason why the Government should interpose. The Amendment which is before the House does not say that no amendment of the law is necessary, but it 330 suggests that before the Government is called upon by Parliament to propose any alteration of the law, some steps should be taken by the aggrieved persons to get the decision of the highest tribunal in the land as to what the state of the law is, and I think the House would be well advised, either in accepting the Amendment of my hon. friend behind me, or in not going to a division on the matter, because it is clear that the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken and His Majesty's Government do not very materially differ. Let us have a decision of the highest tribunal—the House of Lords—showing that an amendment of the law is necessary, or that further inquiry may be desirable. If the result of the proceedings should be to show to Parliament and His Majesty's Government that the law is in a state of confusion, then it would be for the Government to take some action, whether by inquiry or otherwise. We should not shrink from making inquiry if we thought it was necessary, but nothing has been shown to-night, which in the opinion of the Government calls for the inquiry which the right hon. Gentleman desires, and no case has been adduced, either from the financial or the conspiracy point of view, which shows that there has been any decision either on the one or on the other, which is contrary to the wishes of Parliament, or contrary to the justice of the case.
(11.55.) SIR H. CAMPELL-BANNER-MAN (Stirling Burghs)
The right hon. Gentleman said he thought that there was very little difference between the two sides of the House.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Well, between the Government as represented by the right hon. Gentleman and my right hon. friends who have taken part in the debate. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] Well, between the two right hon. Gentlemen, if that suits the Home Secretary better. I differ from him entirely. It is not a question of those individual points which have been brought before the House, it is not a question in regard to which you can go from one to the other and ask each Member to decide for himself whether or not he accepts the clause as it is at present interpreted by the judges. What has been proved, and proved tonight up to the hilt, is the state of confusion in which the law now stands, which in itself requires the intervention of the Government. Besides that, I will venture to go a little further and say that the right hon. Gentleman must be very blind to the state of feeling in the country if he is not aware that there is a very strong sentiment on this subject—a very strong feeling indeed. When he
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Duncan, J. Hastings|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Carlile, William Walter|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Cawley, Frederick||Elibank, Master of|
|Asquith, Rt Hon Herbert Henry||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Ellis, John Edward|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Emmott, Alfred|
|Austin, Sir John||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidst'ne|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Craig, Robert Hunter||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Cranborne, Viscount||Eenwick Charles|
|Bell, Richard||Crean, Eugene||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)|
|Blake Edward||Cremer, William Randal||Ffrench, Peter|
|Boland, John||Crombie, John William||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Bond, Edward||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Flower, Ernest|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dalziel, James Henry||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Burns, John||Delany, William|
|Buxton, Sidney Charles||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Gilhooly, James|
|Dillon, John||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Caine, William Sproston||Doogan, P. C.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Caldwell, James||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Green, Walford D. Wednesbury|
§ asks us to wait until, in the course of some months or years, a further decision has been taken, he knows he is practically opposing a non posmmus on the part of the Government to that which has been asked for. I regret very much the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman has taken up in the face of the most conciliatory and reasonable proposal of my right hon. friend who preceded him. But as he has refused to give that inquiry which would have satisfied the feelings of those interested in the matter, we shall, of course, support the Resolution.
§ (11.47.) Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 199; Noes, 177. (Division List No. 173.)
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Kenna, Reginald||Roche, John|
|M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Markham, Arthur Basil||Runciman, Walter|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lrd G. (Midd'x||Mather, William|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Montagu, G. (Huntindon)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Mooney, John J.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Hardie, J. Kier (Merthyr Tydvil||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Moss, Samuel||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Murnaghan, George||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford|
|Harwood, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Norman, Henry||Smith, HC (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Smith, James Parker (Lunarks.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Spencer, Rt Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.)||Stanley, Ed ward Jas. (Somerset|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'rary Mid||Sullivan, Donal|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Sw'nsea||O'Dowd, John||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen E.|
|Jones, William (Carnarv'nshire||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon. N.||Thomas, F. Freeman -(Hastings|
|O'Malley, William||Thomas, J. A. (Glamorg'n Gower)|
|O'Mara, James||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Kearley, Hudson, E.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Labouchere, Henry||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Langley, Batty||Partington, Oswald||Tally, Jasper|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Leamy, Edmund||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Pemberton, John S. G.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||Power, Patrick Joseph||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Levy, Maurice||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Priestly, Arthur||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Logan, John William||Whiteley, George (York W. R.|
|Lough, Thomas||Randles, John S.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Lundon, W.||Rea, Russell||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (H'dd'rsfi'd|
|Reckitt, Harold James|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Reid, Sir R. Thresbie (Dumfries|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rickett, J. Compton|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Rigg, Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|M'Crae, George||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Mr. M'Arthur and Mr. Causton.|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F.||Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Charrington, Spencer|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Bignold, Arthur||Coddington, Sir William|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brassey, Albert||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Brown, Alexander H. (Shrops.||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Butcher, John George||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Denny, Colonel|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Cavendish, V. C W. (Derbyshire||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant|
|Dyke, Rt Hon. Sir Willam Halt||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Renwick, George|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Ridley, Hon. M. W.(Stalyb'dge|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lonsr, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lowe, Francis William||Round, James|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)||Rutherford, John|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Finch, George H.||Lucas, Col. Fras. (Lowestoft)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas, Regd. J. (Portsmouth)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Fison, Frederick William||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Macartney, Rt Hn W. G. Ellison||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Macdona, John Gumming||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Galloway, William Johnson||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Garfit, William||Maconochie, A. W.||Spear, John Ward|
|Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (Cityof Lond.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (E'in burgh, W||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Gordon, Hn J. E (Elgin & Nairn)||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Stroyan, John|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Manners, Lord Cecil|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Greene, Sir EW (B'ry S Edm'nds||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shewsbury)||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Fredk. G.||Tuffnell, Lt.-Colonel Edward|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Mitchell, William||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Gretton, John||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morgan, David J. (Walth'stow)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Morton, Ar. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Mount, William Arthur||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'derry||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Helder, Augustus||Nicholson, Wm. Graham||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (T'nton|
|Henderson, Alexander||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Willonghby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Horner, Frederick William||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Hoult, Joseph||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
|Parker, Gilbert||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Peel, Hon. Wm. R. Wellesley||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Penn, John|
|Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Mr. Renshaw and Mr. Banbury.|
|Knowles, Lees||Purvis, Robert|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Pym, C. Guy|
§ (12.10.) Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Buxton, Sydney Charles|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bell, Richard|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Blake, Edward||Caine, William Sproston|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Henry||Boland, John||Caldwell, James|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
|Austin, Sir John||Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Cawley, Frederick|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Burns, John||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 174; Noes, 203. (Division List No. 174.)
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Joyce, Michael||Priestley, Arthur|
|Crean, Eugene||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Cremer, William Randal|
|Crombie, John William||Randles, John S.|
|Labouchere, Henry||Rea, Russell|
|Langley, Batty||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Reddy, M.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Delany, William||Leamy, Edmund||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Dillon, John||Levy, Maurice||Rigg, Richard|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark||Logan, John William||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Lough, Thomas||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Lundon, W.||Roche, John|
|Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Elibank, Master of||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Ellis, John Edward||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Runciman, Walter|
|Emmott, Alfred||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Crae, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Schwann, Charles E.|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||M'Kenna, Reginald||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Ffrench, Peter||Markham, Arthur Basil||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Mather, William||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Mooney, John J.||Smith, HC (North'mb, Tyneside|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Moss, Samuel||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Flower, Ernest||Murnaghan, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Flynn, James Christopher|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Gilhooly, James||Norman, Henry||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomas, F. Freeman-f Hastings|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomas, J. A (Gl'morgan, Gower|
|Green, Walford D (Wednesbury||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Tomkinson, James|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Toulmin, George|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'rary Mid||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tully, Jasper|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Connor, James (Wicklow. W.|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Harwood, George||O'Dowd, John||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||O Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Mara, James||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Woodhouse, Sir J. I (Huddersf'd|
|Helme, Norval Watson|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Holland, William Henry||Palmer, George Wm. (Heading)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Partington, Oswald|
|Paulton, James Mellor|
|Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Mr. M'Arthur and Mr. Causton.|
|Jones, D'vid Brynmor (Swansea||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Jones, William (Carn'rvonshire||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Baird, John George Alexander||Bignold, Arthur|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Baldwin, Alfred||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Bond, Edward|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Brassey, Albert|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christen.)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Arrol, Sir William||Banbury, Frederick George||Brotherton, Edward Allen|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.|
|Butcher, John George||Helder, Augustus||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Henderson, Alexander||Parker, Gilbert|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Pease, Herbt. Pike (Darlington)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Penn, John|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hogg, Lindsay||Percy, Earl|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire||Horner, Frederick William||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hoult, Joseph||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Chamberlain, Kt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Purvis, Robert|
|Charrington, Spencer||Pym, C. Guy|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies|
|Coddington, Sir William||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Collings, Kt. Hon. Jesse|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Keady||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Renwick, George|
|Cranborne, Viscount||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Knowles, Lees||Ritchie, lit. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Round, James|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Rutherford, John|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawson, John Grant||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Seely, Maj. J. E. B (Isle of Wight|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Sir William Hart||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Spear, John Ward|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Lowe, Francis William||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants., W.)||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stroyan, John|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir I (Mane'r||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxfd Univ.|
|Finch, George H.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Fison, Frederick William||Macartney, Rt Hn. W. G. Ellison||Tomnlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Macdona, John Cumming||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Maconochie, A. W.|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W|
|Garfit, William||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Gibbs, Hn A. G. H (City of Lond.||Malcolm, Ian||Walrond, Rt Hn. Sir William H.|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Manners, Lord Cecil||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Milner, Kt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Welby, Lt.- Cl. A. C. E.(Taunton|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Mitchell, William||Welby, Sir Charles G. E (Notts.)|
|Greene, Sir E. W (B'ry Sedm'nds||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Morgan, David J. (W'lth'mstow||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gretton, John||Morrell, George Herbert||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. E.)|
|Mount, William Arthur||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Murray, Rt Hn. A. Grah'm (Bute||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn L'rd G (Midd'x||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Hardy, Laurence (K'nt, Ashford||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mr. Renshaw and Mr. Wolff.|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."340
§ It being after Midnight, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Adjourned at half-past Twelve.