HC Deb 27 April 1903 vol 121 cc548-91

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [27th April], "That, in view of the grave social and public interests involved in the continuance of the industrial dispute at Bethesda, this House condemns the inaction of His Majesty's Government, and declares its opinion that prompt intervention on their part is imperative to arrive at a just and effectual settlement."—(Mr. Asquith.)

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.


This debate has at least proved that there is a great lack of information as to the rights and wrongs and facts of this controversy. I have listened to the President of the Board of Trade, and, although I was not very much impressed by his speech, I understood the chief ground for his refusal to intervene was that there was no great prospect of success. I heard the same phrase with regard to the case of Whitaker Wright. I can only say that if the right hon. Gentleman limits the action of the Board of Trade to those cases in which they are likely to be successful, he limits the action of his Department very much indeed. The whole matter comes to this, that Lord Penrhyn is a very obstinate man. One hon. Gentleman said he was out-of-date, but, however that may be, he has some feudal notions in his head as to how the owner of a business ought to conduct it. Lord Penrhyn said some time ago— I possess the right to dismiss from my quarry any of my men without giving any reason. Lord Penrhyn may own a quarry, but he does not own the men, and that is a fact he does not always bear in mind. The Conciliation Act is fairly clear on this matter, because in the second section it gives the Board of Trade a right to interfere if it thinks fit. The President of the Board of Trade is the person who is to be the judge of the fitness, I do not mean of his own capacity, but of his Department, to interfere. Now, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think it was no use to intervene in this business unless both the employer and the employed asked him to do so, hut the Act, in Sub-section 2, clearly provides that the Board might intervene if either the employer or employed asked for intervention. That seems to show that, on the application of any party to the dispute, the Board of Trade ought to intervene. So that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, if it comes to anything, comes to this, that, as the employer is an obstinate man it is no use to intervene at all; but it was just in order to meet cases of this sort that this Act was passed. The President of the Board of Trade always regards the helplessness of his own Department, and is willing to limit the action of that Department as much as possible. And then, perhaps, he thinks that Lord Penrhyn is a badger with whom he cannot cope, and he thought that if he once began to intervene in cases like this he would always have to interfere, and the contemplation of this huge burden of work on his already overburdened shoulders compelled him to say that he would not place it upon his Department. Now, the hon. Member opposite has not rightly stated the facts in this case. He has not had the facts supplied to him on the highest authority, and I feel certain that I shall convince the House that he is not quite well-informed on certain matters that he gave to the House in the course of his speech.

The first, and one of the most important points of this case, is this—Whether the men are or are not anxious to restore what was called the old quarry committee. The hon. Member said that under the old régime there was a Quarry Commitee, but I would point out that under the old régime, 1874 to 1885—there was not a single strike, and that under the old régime the estate agent of the late Lord Penrhyn himself was the ultimate referee of all matters brought up by the committee. That could not do much harm. The Court of Appeal was the estate agent of Lord Penrhyn himself. Now just let me tell the House, if I may, what the men are asking for at this stage. The hon. Member went back to 1874 for some of his facts, but let us consider the situation as it is now. What do the-men want? Do they want any part in the management of the quarry? Do they want to dictate to the management as to what it shall do? Nothing of the kind. These men now ask for a representative body of the workmen of their own selection to consider and represent grievances. This body is to have the power to appoint an executive committee which is to act for that purpose. They are asking for that committee to consider grievances, and even the workmen in the employ of a peer might consider the grievances of their fellows. To represent them is a different matter, but it would not be too much to say that under certain circumstances they might represent the grievances of their fellows. That is the committee they are asking for, and I submit to this House that that is a legitimate end. To consider the grievances and to represent them. Now the hon. Member for Macclesfield said that the men wanted three months' holiday. I should like to ask him what is his authority for saying that the men ever asked for three months' holiday.


What I quoted was an assertion on the part of the committee, as it existed from 1874 to 1885, that the men ought to have that right.


Will the hon. Member give me the date? I have, since his speech, spoken to a man who has worked in this quarry for fifty years, and on his authority I say my hon. friend is misinformed. He is equally misinformed when he says the men have ever interfered with the official salaries. The point we have to consider is whether the men were justified in 1900 in the action they took. One cause of the lock-out, or strike, in 1900 is fairly deep: seated in that locality. The President of the Board of Trade says this is simply a local affair; he is only able to deal with Imperial questions. But let me tell the right hon. Gentleman that, however local the case may be, justice is the same everywhere. If there is a large industrial unrest, in which he was justified in intervening on that ground, he is equally justified in intervening here. Twelve hundred houses empty—1,400 men gone away from the district. If he knew the men of Bethesda he would not say it was a mere local matter. It is a matter which deserves that he should do something to mitigate the hardships of these unfortunate men. Now one of the terms of the settlement of 1897 which Lord Penrhyn, or Mr. Young on his behalf, agreed with the men was—that they should take back the men. There were twenty-five men who had been on strike not taken back. That was a very great breach of the agreement. I think it was the hon. Member for St. Albans who gave us a definition of roguery and tyranny, and although those are hard words you cannot be surprised if, when two or three thousand men see twenty-five men prevented from going back to their employment they should be somewhat disturbed. Mr. Young told Mr. Williams that they would take all the men back, and asked Mr. Williams to come and see him in six months and tell him if they had not been taken back. In six months Mr. Williams went to Mr. Young and told him that twenty-five men were not taken back, and then he was told that some were old and inefficient and some had been convicted of poaching—one of the greatest offences under the law in some parts of the country, and were therefore not fit to be taken back into the quarry. A curious thing is that some of these men who were old and inefficient men have become more efficient since, although they have not got younger. I do not know why, but I know that under the new régime, when the strikers were on strike, these people were taken back to the quarry. Now that was not the only thing. These men wanted, during the dinner hour, a right to conversation, if not meeting. Now Mr. Young takes a strong view on this matter. He thinks that the men should either work, or eat, or sleep. Those are his own words. Now they were allowed to meet during their dinner hour these strikers who had gone back in order to dispossess the old men, but one of the grievances in the old time was that they were not allowed to meet at that time.

Another grievance of which they complained was one which I will term victimisation. This is a gentler word than those which the hon. Member for St. Albans used, though in the end it no doubt means the same thing. When Lord Penrhyn came into possession in 1885 he said any deputation that came to him must be composed of unionists and non-unionists. The first deputation which went to him was composed of six men, three of each, But the three unionists had notice of suspension, while the three non-unionists served on the deputation with the greatest composure without being suspended. That alarmed the quarry-men. They saw it put a premium on non-unionists in the quarry. Something has been said by the hon. Member for Macclesfield about Lord Penrhyn's attitude towards unionists and non-unionists and he read a letter upon that subject. I asked him to read three or four lines further, and if he had done so he would have found that Air. Young to-day says that they will not recognise the union in any way whatever. This is the difference between unionists and non-unionists—the non-unionist thinks that union is not strength but weakness; the unionists think they should have a committee to represent them, while the non-unionists require nothing of the kind. That is the policy of victimisation, and that sank very deeply into the minds of the quarrymen. The same thing happened in 1897, when four men were dismissed from the quarry, the first being Mr. W. E. Evans, the chairman of the committee. He had worked for Lord Penrhyn for fifty-two years. He was over seventy years of age, and one day he had notice to go and see Mr. Young at the office. This old man walked five miles to see Mr. Young, and when he got there Mr. Young's treatment of him was this—he did not ask for any explanation, he simply said to him, "You must remember this, I have a right to dismiss anybody I like in this quarry, and you are dismissed." Is it any wonder that there is some bitterness against the man who works in that way against the man who has served in the quarry for over fifty-two years? Robert Davis, another member of the committee, was dismissed, and no explanation given. And the two others were dismissed for slight breaches of the Explosives Act, which would have been taken no notice of but for the fact that they were members of the committee. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that that is the right way to conduct a business of this kind? He says he thinks the Board of Trade is the worst conciliator in the world.


No, sir; what I said was that of all the conciliators to deal with Lord Penrhyn the conciliator of the Board of Trade was likely to be the least successful.


He says in a case of this kind that of all possible conciliators the Board of Trade was the worst.


No, the least likely to succeed.


Then they are surely the worst if they are least likely to succeed. I should not think the right hon. Gentleman would imagine that the worst were the most likely to succeed. What is the present position in the quarry? Many Members of the House heard the hon. Member opposite read that glorious resolution which he read. It has rarely been my lot to hear such a resolution read in this House. These workmen must indeed be very ill men when they can turn round in the manner in which they have after such a resolution as that. Lord Penrhyn has a very high opinion of his workmen, because when he is asked to allow an interpreter and shorthand writer for the use of his workmen he turns round and says he can take one from among the workmen themselves. I do not know who drafted that resolution, or whether it was inspired, but these men ought indeed to be happy men. Some of them have been shut out of the quarry for fifteen years, and they have now got back. Some of them have been convicted of offences which were a bar to their ever being taken back into the quarry. Now it is said, let them all come in, provided they are not convicted of trades unionism. Public meetings in the dinner hour are allowed, and the committee—we have heard a good deal about the committee, but there is a committee in the quarry now—of, I do not call them blacklegs, but men who have gone in during the strike. The men are now ready to go back under the 1889 settlement. There is only one point for which they stand out. They think that when the labourers have grievances the labourers should be allowed to send representatives to explain their grievances. All the men ask is this, that men in that position should be able to have some authority to speak for them. Is not that a reasonable thing? These men, without exception, are monoglot Welshmen. On one occasion when a deputation came to Mr. Young there was an interpreter, but he was the defendant against whom they had appealed. In that case there were the labourers, who only spoke Welsh, and the interpreter, the man against whom they were appealing, had to interpret the charge against himself. The men have done their best to settle and end this dispute. They have offered to have the matter referred to the Prime Minister, to Lord Rosebery, to the Colonial Secretary, or to any man who was denominated. That shows the fairness of their case. The hon. Member for Macclesfield, in the course of his speech, said, in regard to Sir Edward Clarke's settlement, that the moment Lord Penrhyn heard of the affair going on he at once put a stop to it.


No; I said he protested.


What is the plain state of the matter? It is that the hon. Member has either made a serious charge against Sir Edward Clarke, which he will adhere to, or which, on further consideration, he will, and I think he will, withdraw. Here is a letter dated on the 31st of March from Sir Edward Clarke to Mr. Williams with whom he carries on the negotiations for a settlement.


I have seen no correspondence except between Sir Edward Clarke and Lord Penrhyn.


Possibly that is so. If the hon. Member had, he would not have made the statement he did. The hon. Member's statement is that the moment Lord Penrhyn knew that there was anything on foot he at once protested. This is what Sir Edward Clarke said to Mr. Williams— Dear Williams,—I communicated to Lord Penrhyn the memorandum of terms suggested at the basis of agreement, and your supplementary letter, and I have had the opportunity of explaining and discussing them with him both personally and in writing. He has consulted and is consulting others, and until he has had time to consider their opinions matters must be left at a standstill. Was there ever a more gross misrepresentation of the facts of the case? Let me at once say that I acquit the hon. Member of any intention of misrepresentation.


Oh, if I had had that I should have made precisely the same statement.


If that is so, I will leave the hon. Member and Sir Edward Clarke to settle their own differences.


The intervention was wholly unauthorised.


That is not the point. The point is that Sir Edward Clarke opened up negotiations with Lord Penrhyn, and if Lord Penrhyn had acted as the hon. Member said he acted he would have at once said to Sir Edward Clarke, "I am extremely sorry that you have opened communications with the men, as I have made up my mind not to have anything to do with them." Instead of which Sir Edward Clarke says, "He has consulted, and is consulting others. "It would be extremely interesting to know who the others are, and then we might know why this matter has not been settled. Lord Penrhyn, I submit, in this matter is entirely wrong, and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman has it in his power to act as a conciliator in this matter. He has not done so, however, and the dispute has gone on for three years. I do not know whether he would have succeeded or not, but I say that it was his duty to attempt to succeed. He ought to have grappled with this question. He saw an industrial dispute going on for all this time, and he ought to have done his best to have made terms with one side or the other, and because he has failed to do so I shall certainly support the Motion.

SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

The last speaker who addressed the House has given a very interesting account which has, however, not decided the dispute, because the House must observe that there are two statements which have been made, in which there are not only controversies as to the facts, but disagreement as to the point of dispute. In the very few remarks I shall make, I do not intend to speak either as an advocate of Lord Penrhyn or of the quarrymen, though perhaps, as I once, years ago, enjoyed the hospitality of the quarrymen of Bethesda, I may be allowed to express my deep sympathy with the ruin and misery that has overtaken that once prosperous place. In my view, this is not a local but a national question. National, not so much on account of the number of men employed, as on account of the very important public question which these disputes raise. So far as may be on one side or the other, I am content myself to accept the position taken up by the hon. Member for Glamorgan. The facts that are brought before the House obviously show that somebody is very greatly to blame. But I go further, and say that a national public Department of State, which represents the great bulk of the people, has not only the right to say that somebody is greatly to blame, but also the right, if they can, to find out who that somebody is, and to place the blame upon the proper person, whether it be Lord Penrhyn, or his agent, or the quarrymen. Therefore the House will apprehend that I profoundly agree with the speech made by the hon. and learned Member for Haddington, who claimed that in discussing a question of this kind the House of Commons ought to have before them, not merely the statements of advocates, however able and honest their statements might be, but they ought to also have before them the facts ascertained by some public authority, and what is more, some independent public authority, upon which this House could discuss matters, and upon which this House and public opinion could make up its mind as to the particular party who is to blame. The same sentiment was expressed by several hon. Members who addressed the House on the subject, namely, that we are in the dark. The last two speeches show us how in the dark we are when we find there are two representations of the issue which is before us. We ought to have a public, official, vouched-for, statement of facts on which to form an opinion. If it is true that the President of the Board of Trade has statutory power to make such an inquiry, and to lay such facts before the House, and that he has neglected to use those powers, then I should say that he deserved the censure of Parliament. But has he got such powers? I think his answer was complete upon that point. He first of all represented that an offer of conciliation by the Board of Trade had been rejected by Lord Penrhyn; about that there could not be any doubt what-ever. Now, the offer of conciliation having been rejected, has the Board of Trade power to make proper and efficient inquiry? It is quite true that the Act of Parliament says that the President of the Board of Trade may make an inquiry, but as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, he is not to make a report, and with regard to the making of an inquiry, he cannot summon witnesses, examine books, or take evidence. The real power to make an inquiry is withheld from him, and the power given by Sub-section (a), Section 2, of the Act] is a perfectly illusory and ludicrous power. How are they to appoint a conciliator f Supposing some great and high person of great attainments is appointed conciliator? What could he do? His power under this Act is bounded by this. He is appointed to act as conciliator, to inquire into the facts and circumstances in the dispute by communication with the parties. He has no power to summon witnesses, to take evidence, or to examine documents, and he has only power to communicate. That would leave him entirely incapable of serving any useful purposes in inquiring into the circumstances of the case.

I thought the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade proved conclusively what had been said by the hon. Member for St. Albans,—namely, that the Conciliation Act as it stands is a sham. I do not agree with the hon. Member who says it would do no harm. These sham Acts do a very great deal of harm, because they induce people to believe that an Act for the purposes of arbitration has been passed, and it takes six or seven years for the people to find out that the whole thing is a sham. I confess that if the Rules of this House permitted such a thing as a vote of censure which would censure both the Front Benches, I should be much inclined to support it. I do not know whether the House has forgotten the history of this question, but I have not. As long ago as 1875, the last Government of Mr. Gladstone, every year a Bill of Conciliation was brought in, and every year it was denounced by the Opposition of that day as a sham. When it was last brought in it was denounced firstly by my humble self, and secondly by a distinguished gentleman who supported me, namely, the present Colonial Secretary, who also declared that it was a sham. And then what happened? When the next Government came in, the predecessors of the present Government, they passed the present Conciliation Act, which was possibly even weaker and more feeble than that which they had denounced, and which the right hon. Member for Aberdeen had endeavoured to foist upon the House. Therefore, I am justified in saying that the blame must be equally shared by the two Front Benches. There are no means by which the award of an arbitrator can be enforced, and, therefore, compulsory arbitration has been very lightly and very generally discountenanced by all social reformers. But there is something a great deal short of compulsory arbitration, and that is the power for some Government authority to make inquiry and report. That was a thing perfectly possible to do. It is done in a great many countries, and the House of Commons having learned from this particular case how necessary it is that there should be facts on which the House could act, should strengthen the Conciliation Act by giving to the Board of Trade power not only to appoint a conciliator, but to call witnesses before him, to examine them upon oath, to inspect documents, and to make a report to the Board of Trade or to the House of Commons which would represent to the public what the true facts of the dispute were.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

It has been asserted by hon. Members that the quarry committee prevented free access to Lord Penrhyn of the non-union men. It was said that it only represented union men, and that then very properly Lord Penrhyn said he would never renew any agreement by which half his men would not have free access to him. If that was true I would agree to that view. I do not suppose any employer of labour in the kingdom would assent to anything which debarred half his men from bringing their complaints before him. But I would point out that nothing of the kind took place. What Lord Penrhyn wanted was that every man should approach him personally, or that he should get his next door neighbour who was a worker in the same class to do so. That was w hat he wanted to make every quarryman do. But half the quarrymen wanted another system. They did not interfere with non-union men who were willing to come individually to make their grievances known, and then simply because the committee said they represented only their own men Lord Penrhyn said the non-union men were debarred from having access to him. That was a most absurd fallacy. The fact was that Lord Penrhyn hit high and hit low. He said "We will not recognise you as you do not represent all the men," while the committee said they would be only too glad to represent them if he would allow them to do so. They agreed to go outside their constituency and to act for anyone who submitted any complaint to them. The position of the committee was this, that the owner or his agent is saved the trouble of dealing with the 101 petty complaints that are placed before the committee. The late chairman of the committee said himself— If I took up every complaint brought to me, by either union or non-union men, I should be doing nothing all day long but trotting to from the quarry office. And that being so they disposed themselves of nine-tenths of the complaints made to them. These representations were never persisted in by the quarry committee from that day to this, so that the quarry committee never decided on a strike. The mere making of representations to-the quarry manager cannot be said to be interfering with the management of the quarry. It is true that when the quarrymen's agent listens to a complaint which is unfounded, he tells the man that it is unfounded and it is one of the advantages of the quarry committee that nine-tenths of the complaints are stopped from going to the manager; but when a non-union man's complaint is stopped by the committee, that man goes himself to the management and complains that his representation has been refused to be brought forward by the union committee. Lord Penrhyn said to the committee "If you assume to act for the union men, you must and the union committee said "Certainly; we will act for the non-union act for the non-union men also;" men, and are willing to accept their complaints."

The other point urged by the hon. Member was that there was interference with the management of the quarry. I agree with the hon. Member that no employer of men in a quarry or a mine should allow himself to be dictated to by the men as to whether this rock or that seam should be worked. That should be left to the manager of the quarry or mine, but if he refuses to accept good advice offered by the men it is likely he will go into the bankruptcy court. When the hon. Gentleman was challenged to give an instance of interference in the management of the mine he gallantly rose to the challenge, but all that he could do was to quote the minutes of the committee, which minutes had, however, never been put into action. One minute set forth that the committee objected to a bargain being made with less than three men, but will the hon. Gentleman say that that minute was enforced in the quarry? Another minute referred to by the hon. Gentleman was one in which he said that the committee claimed to regulate the salary of the manager, but he did not show that minute had been attempted to be enforced. In fact, the minutes only represented a counsel of perfection, and it is idle to say that the present dispute depends in the slightest degree on any interference with the working of the quarry. Lord Penrhyn regards it as an interference with the working of the quarry when the men state that they consider that they are underpaid, but the public have been led to understand that the engineering working of the quarry is interfered with. That is not the case, and I venture to say that the popular feeling in England would back up the men in their desire to regulate the times of working and the rate of wages paid. I have no doubt that in some of the interviews, or in some letters written to the papers, some reference was made to the fact that the quarry was not paying, but has not that been said before of many other industries, and is it not a twisting of the argument to say that that is a claim to interfere with the salaries of the agents?

Reference has been made to the Dinorwic property, and it was said that a strike took place there in 1886. I knew all about that strike on account of that being my first year in this House, but I had nothing to do with the quarry committee. The right to the internal management of the quarry was never in dispute. That was a matter which I said that the workmen and the employer must decide for themselves. The only question in which the public were interested was where political and religious opinions were made a disqualification for employment; and the strike of 1886 was settled under an assurance that there certainly would be no religious or political disqualification, and that amicable arrangement has been kept to this day. The quarry agent, Mr. Vivian, an uncle of the present Lord Penrhyn, had the goodwill and the confidencee of the men, and when he retired from the management it was with the greatest regret of unionists and non unionists alike. What was the difference between Dinorwic and Bethesda? It was that the arrangement made in 1886 in the former was adhered to, whereas, the settlement of 1897 in the latter had not been adhered to in the spirit and in the letter. I do not know what the motives of Lord Penrhyn or Mr. Young may be, but I do know that the universal belief in the quarry is, that whoever represents the men on the quarry committee or a strike committee is a marked man, and will be dismissed sooner or later. Union men who committed the slightest offence were dismissed at once without the benefit of clergy, while non-union men committed these offences with impunity. Robert Davis and William Evans, who were on the strike committee, were dismissed, and when the manager was asked the reason for the dismissal, the only answer was that no reason would be given. When these strikes were first started the men had no one to represent them at all; they rose like a swarm of bees under a certain impulse. The action of Lord Penrhyn and Mr. Young struck at the very roots of combination, and it was idle for them to say that they were in favour of combination. I hold that these men are claiming only the most elementary right of free men, the right to select whom they please as their spokesman. I do not say that Lord Penrhyn is tyrannical or harsh, but I do say that he adopts a policy which is harsh and tyrannical; and I object to a great nobleman, the owner of this whole quarry, who holds the livelihood of his workmen in his hands, saying to his men, "I will not allow you to elect an independent person to represent your case, or to speak for you, though you may elect a person who is under my thumb." I say that is not reasonable. I do not contend for a moment that Lord Penrhyn adopts that course for the purpose of crushing the men, but it is certain that he has dismissed men because he considered that they used arguments before him which he did not like. It is a practice which obtains in every colliery in the kingdom to have a paid agent of the men to represent their grievances. That is a benefit to both the employer and the workman. The universal experience of every colliery proprietor is that the paid agent of the colliers is more reasonable to deal with than the dissatisfied colliers themselves. I think it is the greatest mistake in the world for Lord Penrhyn to adopt the course he has taken, for he has brought the whole power of the trades unions against him, whereas, had he been willing to concede the simple measure of justice asked of him, the struggle would have been settled many months ago.

MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)

My hon. friend has asked for concrete instances of interference by the quarry committee with the management of the quarry. I need only read the resolutions passed by the quarry committee in 1874 calling for the dismissal of certain men to make room for others who went out on strike. Surely that is interference with the management. The hon. Member said that these resolutions were not put in force. But why were they not? Because they had to deal with a man who refused to allow the quarry committee to put them in force. I find that after the strike of 1896, seventy-one of the leaders of the men were suspended. Of these sixty-seven were re-admitted, while of those not re-admitted, two had been discharged because they refused to comply with the Explosives Acts regula- tions. Does not this very fact prove that Lord Penrhyn has not a "marked" man in his quarry?

The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife, who moved the Resolution, was marked with a solemnity which seemed to be rather ecclesiastical. His performance affected me as I might be affected if I saw an Archbishop on the music-hall stage. But the country had not forgotten that the right hon. Gentleman filled the office of Home Secretary a few years ago, and is believed to be anticipating again occupying a high position in the Government of the country. His Majesty's Government fully appreciates the seriousness of the view put forward by the right hon. Gentleman, who to-night has demanded that the Board of Trade shall send down a conciliator. But if Lord Penrhyn is to be interfered with, there are only three courses open—compulsory arbitration, expropriation of Lord Penrhyn, or land nationalisation. The right hon. Gentleman says he will not have compulsory arbitration, and on the other hand Lord Penrhyn will never submit to arbitration the question of the quarry committees. The hon. Member for Carnarvon Burghs would not submit the differences between himself and the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich on education to arbitration, nor would the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife submit some of his differences with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs to arbitration. The party of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Resolution is apt to take a great interest in slates, but what is involved in this slate quarry dispute is not conciliation. It is compulsory arbitration and nothing else. If Lord Penrhyn must submit to a quarry committee, why should a ship's crew not dictate to the captain or engineer, or a committee of railway servants to a board of directors—a committee of agricultural labourers to the farmer that his cow should only be milked once a day, or a stable committee at Newmarket to the owner and trainer of a favourite that it shall not be ridden except by a member of the Anti-Gambling League? The country will take this matter seriously, and I do not believe that any person who has at heart the interest of either employees of labour or of labour itself, will congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the attitude he has taken up to-night. We all know the interest that the hon. Member for Morpeth has taken in labour matters, and we know, too, that the sympathy which he has with working men—a sympathy which working men feel for each other—has led him to take a course which I, at any rate, consider to be injudicious. I can tell him, however, that if Lord Penrhyn's quarries were situated in the counties of Northumberland or Durham he would not have the slightest difficulty in dealing with his workmen. It is not Lord Penrhyn who is at fault. He is perfectly ready to deal with his men. I would remind the House that in no slate quarries in Wales is any quarry committee tolerated. For instance, there is no such committee in the Festiniog quarries. Yet Lord Penrhyn is held up to execration because he will not allow a standing committee in his quarries. In the North of England we have a better way of arranging these disputes, and there is no pretension on the part of the men's unions to dictate as to the management of the collieries. It is provided that in the event of any change being made in the management of an undertaking no stoppage of work by the workmen shall take place. I say that the attack on Lord Penrhyn is totally unjustified. Not a tittle of evidence has been produced in the course of the debate to show that he is an unjust employer. I would not stand up in this House to defend a man whom I consider to be a harsh landlord, and I would like to point out to my hon. friends opposite the very dangerous nature of the weapon which it is sought to put into the hands of the Board of Trade. It is a weapon which some day may be used against the workmen. Surely working men have more to gain by freedom from the interference of Parliament than employers have. I think we shall be doing the greatest injustice not only to Lord Penrhyn but to the working men of England if we pass this Resolution. It would be better for the House to allow Lord Penrhyn to work out his own salvation with respect to his quarries, confident that no injustice will be done to a single man that works there.


The hon. Gentleman who last spoke has made at least one observation which I think will carry conviction to the minds of most hon. Members of this House, and that is, that this is a matter which goes far beyond the case of Lord Penrhyn. What then becomes of the contention of the Prime Minister that there is only a trivial matter in dispute. This question is important, because the dispute is one which is devastating a whole country side. It is injuring the trade of the country, and it is having the effect of introducing foreign slates which otherwise would never have obtained a footing in our markets. The hon. Member has had a good deal to say about the quarry committee. But will it be believed that the workmen themselves have made it clear over and over again to Lord Penrhyn that they have not the slightest intention of claiming the re establishment of the quarry committee?




It is specifically stated in a letter from the men to Lord Penrhyn in September last that they are not going to raise the point. Their words were— Your Lordship has stipulated that there shall be no discussion on any proposal to restore the old quarry committee. To this we agree Yet the hon. Member opposite, who is supposed to be specifically briefed with the whole of the facts by Lord Penrhyn, comes here and makes a statement which is not correct, and which has been repeatedly repudiated by the men. Further than that, they authorise me to say here that they do not propose to again raise the question of re-appointing the quarry committee.


Lord Penrhyn in reply to that letter from the men, expressed his regret that there was no recognition of the fact that the negotiations were to be preceded by a distinct understanding that the claim to re-establish the quarry committee had been abandoned.


said there was an earlier letter from the men expressing their willingness not to make any mention of the quarry committee.


But not one following the letter from Lord Penrhyn.


Surely it is not possible to have anything more specific than the words I have quoted. On September 20th the men wrote, with reference to the specific condition laid down by his Lordship as to the understanding on which the interview was granted, that they were willing to omit any reference to the question of the quarry committee and to confine their representations to the basis of the 1870 settlement. Surely it is impossible to have anything more clear than that. It is significant that while we are complaining of the action of Lord Penhryn during the last few years, hon. Members on the other side have to go back a period of thirty years to find cause of complaint against the men. The hon. Member has defended the action of Lord Penrhyn in dismissing the men's leaders, and he said that two very prominent ones were discharged because of some breach of the Explosives Regulations. I have been told there was no such breach on their part. Mr. Young, the manager of the quarry, wrote a letter to Lord Penrhyn on the 11th June, 1899, in which he said "Just before my return Mr. Pritchard suspended two men—both fire-brands." Are these the explosives referred to by the hon. Member? Mr. Young does not make any concealment of the cause of their dismissal, for he says that the discharge of these fire-brands will have a very good effect. I should like to make one or two observations with regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Macclesfield, because he is the one with whom we have mostly to deal in this matter. He spoke the mind of Lord Penrhyn and of the management of the quarry. One thing he said which I think may point towards peace. I understand that he has made the declaration that as long as the men frankly give up the notion of a quarry committee, Lord Penrhyn is perfectly prepared to meet them. I am authorised to make the statement on their behalf that they will frankly give up every notion of the quarry committee. They have said so before, but if there is any misconception about it they say it again now. They have no notion of setting it up. But there were one or two things I was sorry to hear the hon. Member say. He said the questions we are discussing to-night are the questions which were disposed of by the jury in the recent libel action. How did he propose to prove it? He quoted a statement from the appeal of my hon. and learned friend to the jury. But he knew perfectly well that the counsel for Lord Penrhyn expressly repudiated the notion that that was the matter in dispute. The hon. Member knew that the Lord Chief Justice repeatedly said that they were not the questions at issue. Why did he withhold that fact from the House of Commons? I think it is very unfair that he should attempt to lead the House of Commons to believe that the verdict of the jury was upon the questions we are now discussing. Then there is a statement of the hon. Member with regard to the quarry committee. He put forward what appeared to be some preposterous claims set up by the quarry committee. Does he mean to say that the quarry committee passed a resolution demanding and pressing upon the management the concession of three months holiday for the men?

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

That is what he said.


I must say this is carrying the thing a little too far.


Every single statement I made I quoted from the minute book of the quarry committee. The hon. Member should see the book if he doubts it.


I ask the hon. Member again, because I am speaking after conversation with a member of the quarry committee. Does the hon. Member really mean to induce the House to believe that these men, through their representatives, seriously claimed three months holiday? I think we are entitled to ask that. Since I do not get an answer, let me at once say that it is an absolute and unmitigated falsehood.


I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but I really cannot sit still under that kind of thing. I would not take a charge of that sort from any man in the world. The quotation from the minute-book is as follows. (Hon. Members: What date? The date I cannot give, but the minute-book is between 1874 and 1885— Matter to be put before' the galleries. Holidays for three months to whoever wishes it, and every man to have his bargain on his return. I ask the hon. Member please to withdraw the word "falsehood."[Cries of "Withdraw."]


If the hon. Member used the term falsehood with reference to the hon. Member for Macclesfield——


I have said I did not.


The hon. Member's language was ambiguous, or I should have called him to order at once, but I understand him now to say that he did not use the word with reference to the hon. Member.


I was under the impression—I am subject to correc tion—that in making the statement I said it was not in reference to the hon. Member. What I say is this. I have not seen the minute-book, but I have the statement of a prominent member of the quarry committee, and if the hon. Member puts it forward that the whole of the men made a claim for three months holiday, I say it is absolutely untrue. Here is an action in which all these charges against the men and the Committee were investigated; it is extraordinary that this statement was never made there! I still say that the men never put forward this claim. I do not know what the hon. Member has in his possession, but this does not appear in the copy of the minute-book I have seen. The hon. Member has it as it has been given to him; I do not say that he is responsible for any mistake or misrepresentation; but I should like to know if the hon. Member has the original. These copies are translations. Who made the translations? It is a matter for comment that this charge was never put forward against the men under circumstances where there was an opportunity for investigating it. These questions have all been introduced by hon. Members opposite. The question before the House is the action of the Government with regard to the Penrhyn dispute The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University suggested the practicability of bringing a vote of censure against both Front Benches. I think that would be a rather popular Motion. But let us take them in turn, and deal first with the present Treasury Bench, because they have the responsibility now. This Motion of censure is not confined merely to administration. The right hon. Gentleman says they ought to legislate by means of a more effective Bill. I quite agree, but let us first of all demonstrate that the present Act is ineffective. Let us exhaust the possibilities of this Act to begin with. The right hon. Gentleman has overlooked the fact that the Board of Trade could bring the parties together. Is not that very important in view of the statement made by the hon. Member for Macclesfield with regard to the quarry committee? That is exactly the sort of misconception that the Board of Trade might have removed if they had taken action. It is perfectly true that this is a matter of considerable importance outside the district itself. It is not merely a question of the distress in Bethesda, or that a once thriving community is withering away. It is all very well to talk about the present prosperity of the quarry. Lord Penrhyn appeared by counsel before the Quarter Sessions to have his assessment lowered because he was not making the money he used to out of the quarry. The slate trade throughout the kingdom is suffering. Slates which had hardly a chance before are pouring in from the Continent and America, and once they get in it will be very difficult to keep them out. It is a matter of the greatest possible importance to the whole of the community. I hope that nothing has been said in this debate to prevent the possibility of conciliation. I would ask the Prime Minister to remember that the most exasperating statements have been made by hon. Gentlemen on his own side of the House. The men have been perfectly willing, and are still willing, to meet Lord Penrhyn, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, to consider whether he cannot see his way even now to suggest to Lord Penrhyn that he should meet his men.


In the short time I shall occupy the time of the House, it is not my intention to pursue the particular line of argument which has been followed during the evening sitting. The question of the respective action and the merits of the conduct of Lord Penrhyn and the workmen is, no doubt, one of great interest, and I am not surprised that it should have been much discussed to-night; but it is not the question which the Motion of my right, hon. friend brings before the House on this occasion. That question is whether the Board of Trade has been well advised in the action it has taken, or the inaction it has followed, in this matter. I have two observations to make on the speech of the President of the Board of Trade, The first is this. I think it was regrettable that he expressed a rather ungenerous view of the action of the men in regard to this matter. He implied that they had been slow in appealing to the Board of Trade. He went on to analyse their motives in delaying their application, and he implied, in fact, he almost stated to the House his opinion, that their motive had been to assist themselves and their friends in the raising of money, and that therefore they were practically insincere in their appeal to the Government to interfere. I think that that was not a right observation to make, and I do not think there is any justification for it. The justification, at all events, seems to me to be destroyed by the fact that a considerable time before they made this appeal to the Board of Trade the men had themselves asked for arbitration, which proves their sincerity, and their perfect confidence in their own case. But then the right hon. Gentleman twitted the Opposition with their conduct in having brought forward this Motion at all. He represented us as being anxious, if we could, to bring a vote of censure against the Government, and having greedily laid hold of this comparatively small and local matter for that purpose. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that in that he is entirely mistaken. If we wanted materials for votes of censure we have an embarras des richesses. I am one who has never been able to see any particular advantage in numerous votes of censure, even where Parties were more evenly divided than they are at present. I have been myself a humble member of a Government which had to meet votes of censure almost every week, and sometimes more than one in a week, and in observing the effect I have never been able to discover that the Opposition who indulged in these frequent and prolific votes of censure did any good for themselves by them. In our present position, with such a majority against us as we have, I have never been able to see that we should go out of our way searching for votes of censure. But this is a perfectly clear and distinct case, as we think, of avoidance of duty on the part of a public Department, and I am not aware of any other means that we have of bringing it in a definite, formal, and peremptory-form before the House than by such a Motion as my right hon. friend has made. The right hon. Gentleman went on with his picture, and he imagined what would happen if we succeeded in ousting the Government with this Motion. His imagination led him to portray a Government formed from this side of the House endeavouring to deal with this question, and he expressed his anticipation that we should find it impossible to deal with it because we should encounter, as he has had to encounter, the stubborn will of Lord Penrhyn; and he pictured us, therefore, with all the responsibilities of the Empire upon us, as unable to get over this little difficulty with this one determined man. I do not think that was a very flattering picture, not only of us, but of the British character, for a Minister of the Crown to draw, and I can assure him that I think that if such a concatenation of circumstances were to occur we might find some way of dealing with the matter. ["How?"] other than that of the right hon. Gentleman, which is to stand shivering in the presence of Lord Penrhyn, unable even to venture to approach him with a view to introducing the element of conciliation into this deplorable dispute. ["How?"] This concatenation of circumstances has not yet arisen.

I have said that I am not going into the question of the relative degrees of blame that may be attachable to the one party or the other in this dispute. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for Macclesfield, who often appears in the rôle of advocatus diaboli [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh")—I am entirely wrong there, because he has not been the advocate of the accuser, but of the accused person in each case. He often appears here as the advocate of a prominent personage in whom he is interested, or whom he represents, and he discharges that duty with great effect. I do not wonder that he has made a strong case to-day. If I were to make an observation on the case he has made out, I should say he has made too strong a case, because if matters are of such a rosy hue as he has painted them, and if it be true that Lord Penrhyn's only points of difference with his late employees are the question of the resuscitation of the quarry committee and the possible displacement of the men now at work, if these are the only two points, they are out of the way already, for we have it on authority that neither the one nor the other point is insisted upon by the men. Here let me point out, not only that there are these grounds of agreement, but that they would have been at once discovered if there had been that bringing together of the parties which it was the duty of the Board of Trade, in our opinion, to have brought about. We say the Department ought to have used the powers it possesses, and we naturally contrast the action of the Department in the present case with that pursued at the end of 1896, and the beginning of 1897. But we remember that in those days the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was President of the Board of Trade, and that right hon. Gentleman, if he will allow me to say so, has on many occasions appeared as the good fairy of the Government. He has often led them out of trouble. I admit that he does not display the usual attributes and properties of a fairy; we see neither wings nor wand; but again and again he has acted in that capacity. He has been in many offices, and in every one he has left behind him traces of his conciliatory spirit. When the Party opposite resolved to take the great and fatal leap of giving self-government to the counties, they looked about for some one who would lend the sweet influence of the magistrates and loose the bonds of County Councils, and they found him in the right hon. Gentleman who was President of the Local Government Board. Then a few years ago the Government, thinking for decency's sake it was right to make some attempt to check the worst developments of drunkenness, again found a champion to engage the leviathan of liquor in the right hon. Gentleman, who had become Home Secretary. Then, again, the Government are troubled with a tax of an unjust and irritating character which in some dream of inter-colonial relations of a new kind they had introduced; how and where are they to find any one who will rid them of this Old Man of the Sea? They then made the right hon. Gentleman Chancellor of the Exchequer. We are not astonished to find that it was in his time at the Board of Trade that that Conciliation Bill was passed which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University speaks of with such contempt, although he voted for it as a Member of the Government, and I have not heard that he offered resignation of his office in indignation at the imbecility of the measure. When that Bill passed it was the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer who conducted the negotiations my right hon. friend the Member for Fife has described.

The present head of the Board of Trade says that in the days in which we live that course cannot be followed, that there cannot be any more appeals made to men or masters to meet together with the assistance of the Board of Trade in order to try if a dispute can be settled. He says that there is no obligation laid upon the Board of Trade, but that it is left to their discretion. Yes, Sir, but that discretion is subject to the review of Parliament, and it is expected that Parliament, by compulsion if necessary, will see that it is carried out. The right hon. Gentleman then says:— What is the use of it when there is no prospect of success? How does he know that there is no prospect of success? How can he realise what the influence would be of the two facts to which I have referred, that the men neither insist on the committee nor on any disturbance of the existing working? Are there not cases, which my right hon. friend has quoted, where with but the authority of this poor Act, so contemptible in the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman below the Gangway opposite, and with but a paltry prospect of success the very best results were obtained by this process? And supposing the worst happened, and Lord Penrhyn rudely rejected the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman and steeled himself against the words and efforts of conciliation, would the Conciliation Act be in any worse case than if it had been laid up in lavender as it is now? Has the right hon. Gentleman considered what the effect of his attitude is? It is the most detrimental course that could be followed, this discreet quiescence, a quiescence that very easily becomes acquiescence. What could happen that would be more likely to encourage the contumacious workman, or the stubborn and headstrong employer, to resist any attempt at conciliation than that they should know that all they have to do, according to the precedent the right hon. Gentleman has established, is to declaim in public that they will not accept his interference, and then the right hon. Gentleman and his Department will leave them alone? My firm belief is that a strenuous and courageous proposal for conciliation, such as was made in 1896, if it had no immediate effect would, at all events, throw the burden of responsibility so completely on the refusing side as to exert a great influence towards a settlement. Was there ever such a concourse of authority as we have in this case? Here is a dispute which is going on with the calamitous results which have been described to the House. It is of old standing; the want of confidence between the parties is of old standing, at all events; you have the highest local authority urging conciliation, you have the Lord Chief Justice of England, who has heard the whole case, the jury in the case, and Lord Penrhyn's own counsel, all expressing the opinion that a very little effort would overcome the difficulties so that the quarrel might be brought to an end. Are all these things to be frustrated simply because in 1896 Lord Penrhyn would not allow the conference to be held under the conditions then laid down? I agree with those who have said that this is no ordinary trade dispute, no mere local difference about wages, hours of labour, or the management of a trade. I venture to say that this is as much a land dispute as one of any kind. These men who are involved have built their own houses, in some cases with their own hands; they have from father to son acquired a particular skill in a peculiar trade, so that while they are unfitted for most other occupations other men are little fit for this trade. In that way they have acquired a sort of moral-tenant right in the life from which they are now shut out. [An Hon. Member: By whom?] By whose fault? That is what we want to know. I pronounce no opinion upon it. [A laugh.] I suppose the hon. Member who laughs would pronounce an opinion upon it; he does not want any inquiry, he has made up his mind long ago. The House of Commons and the public generally ought to know much more about the real facts of the case before they come to any conclusion in the matter; and for my part I decline to give any opinion. But I urge the necessity of an inquiry at the instance of the Board of Trade in order that we may know the facts. The question is a large one. It is not made less important and less serious, but more serious, by the fact to which I have referred—that it introduces the rights of the landowner into the ordinary questions of a trade dispute. To let matters go on as they are would be the worst possible service, not only to the interests of the workers but to the interests of the capitalist and the landowner. Therefore it is that we use to-day the only means in our power to urge upon the Government to take such steps as are open to them for putting an end to a disastrous situation.


Mr. Speaker, I do not know that the right hon. Gentleman has contributed any very powerful arguments in order to induce the House to make up its mind on the merits of the dispute which has occupied so much of our time this afternoon, but at all events I did hope, during the first quarter of an hour of his speech, that I should be able to congratulate him upon having given the third of the many speeches which have been delivered to-night, but only the third, which is really relevant to the issue before the House. The right hon. Gentleman who initiated this debate confined himself, a mid the cold approval, I think, of his friends [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh.']—the cold admiration which I entirely share, to the strict issue before us, which was whether the Government was or was not to be condemned for its action or inaction in respect to the Bethesda dispute, and the studious moderation with which the right hon. Gentleman developed his thesis I am sure won admiration from both sides of the House. When my right hon. friend near me came to reply he also confined himself to that issue—whether the Government was or was not responsible for any failure in settling that dispute, whether they had or had not used to the utmost advantage the powers given to them by Parliament. But after those two right hon. Gentlemen had spoken not one single Member of the House until the right hon. Gentleman rose, addressed himself to the vote of censure on the Government. The question fell—or it rose—from a vote of censure on the Government to a vote of censure on Lord Penrhyn. The right hon. Gentleman was relevant during most of his speech, but there was one considerable lapse in the middle of it in which I really thought he was proposing the toast of my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer at a public dinner, and I really felt inclined to get up and interrupt the right hon. Gentleman at that part of his speech and lead off with "For he's a jolly good fellow." I do not think a single word of the right hon. Gentleman's elaborate eulogy was a bit in excess of the merits of the subject of it. The only reason why I introduce this topic at this hour of the evening is to point out that the right hon. Gentleman must have had very little to say against the Government as a whole when most of his time was occupied in praising a very prominent individual member of the Government. I am the more surprised because the right hon. Gentleman gave us to understand in the earlier part of his speech, replying to the criticisms passed by my right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade on the fact that this really was rather a trivial theme for anything so important as a vote of censure, that Gentlemen on that side of the House have a perfect embarras des richesses of subjects on which they would wish to move votes of censure. Is it not rather an unfortunate thing that, having this vast number of possible selections, the actual subject chosen is one on which only three relevant speeches can be made, and that one of those relevant speeches should be chiefly devoted to a eulogy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when it is the demerits of the President of the Board of Trade which are under discussion? I am sure that, if the right hon. Gentleman would only do me the honour to consult me as a friend on these matters before he selects the subject of a vote of censure, I would give him far better advice than that which he is disposed to follow.

Now, may I, following the good example of the right hon. Gentleman, for a moment bring back the question from Lord Penrhyn to the Government? The purpose of this Motion is of course, to condemn the President of the Board of Trade, and through him the Government, and we are really driven back to the purport and intention of the Act which it is the President of the Board of Trade's business to administer. May I remind the House that not ten minutes ago the right hon. Gentleman told us that this dispute was a land dispute, and may I read to him the preamble of the Act which he thinks my right hon. friend ought to put in force? It is "an Act to make better provision for the settlement of trade disputes." So the right hon. Gentleman quarrels with the President of the Board of Trade for not putting into force an Act for the settlement of trade disputes in a dispute which he himself calls a land dispute. [Opposition cries of "Oh."] I do not want to press the point, but the right hon. Gentleman opposite did make that observation, and that observation does call for the reply which I have ventured to give it. But, of course, there are much more important issues, and the issue, as far as the Board of Trade is concerned, is this. The Act is a Conciliation Act. It leaves absolute discretion to the Board of Trade to use the Act for the purpose of conciliation—not for the purpose of compulsorily settling disputes, not for the purpose of informing the public mind on the merits of disputes, but, to the best of its ability, acting with tact and judgment, with knowledge of the intentions of both parties to the dispute, to intervene when, but only when, the responsible Minister thinks that intervention may lead to some settlement. Now does any human being believe that the intervention of the Board of Trade, howsoever well meant, howsoever tactful, would have brought Lord Penrhyn and his quarrymen closer together than they have been? We have two crucial experiments before us which enable us to form some kind of opinion on that subject. We have, in the first place, the example of my right hon. friend, my well and properly praised friend, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who made this experiment in 1897 with the best intentions, and made it with energy and ability, but whose efforts, as everybody admits, and as he would himself be the first to admit, did not succeed, unfortunately, in settling the dispute. But we have a much later experiment, that of Sir Edward Clarke, Lord Penrhyn's counsel, a man whose capacity and ability are well known to everybody here. He, having been Lord Penrhyn's counsel, and intimately acquainted with all the facts of the case, did make the attempt, and also failed. Now is there the smallest ground to suppose that where the Government failed in 1897 and where Lord Penrhyn's counsel failed in 1903 any object in the direction of conciliation would be served by the further intervention of the Board of Trade? But then it is said in answer to that, that after all my right hon. friend might have failed, but he would, in the first place, have got a report on which the public might have formed some judgment, and, in the second place, he could have done no harm whatever, and might conceivably have done some good. Well, let us just consider both those propositions.

As regards the report, what value would a report be made under an Act which gives no power to summon witnesses, no power to examine witnesses on oath, no power to examine any man who does not wish to be examined, no power to bring both parties in the dispute before them? The report of an inquiry of that kind might have some merits, but whatever merits it might have, it would evidently be perfectly incapable of bringing the facts before the public which would enable it to form a fair judgment on the point. If it is replied to that, that supposing Lord Penrhyn had refused to give his-evidence before the conciliator he would have brought his own fate upon his head, and would be himself responsible for any public misapprehension, I would point out that, whether or not Lord Penrhyn would then have deserved his fate, justice would not have been done, the public would not have known how the facts lay and be in a position to form any fair judgment on the subject, and the very object hon. Gentlemen opposite have in view would not have been served. If their object is to turn this Conciliation Act into an Act of Inquiry, then you must modify it profoundly; you must give powers of compulsion to the conciliator, who will be a conciliator no longer, but a judge with all the power and independence of a judge. But if you do that you will require a new Act of Parliament, and will profoundly modify the legislation which you deliberately adopted. May I remind the right hon. Gentleman further, that when he looks forward to making these modifications in this or some other direction in regard to the Act, he is running directly counter to the disclaimer made by the mover of the Motion, who initiated this debate by saying that he desired no modification of the existing law. I would beg the House to bear in mind that the existing law was intended to be a voluntary law in every respect, as regards both employer and employed, and that if you mean to keep that principle, you cannot turn it even into a law for a Court of compulsory inquiry, much less for a Court of compulsory arbitration, but that if you choose to leave the safe ground on which Parliament has placed this measure you will be driven, step by step, first to making the existing Act an Act enabling you to have compulsory inquiries, and then an Act for enabling the Court to give a compulsory decision. I see no safe ground on which you can pause before you come to that ultimate conclusion—a conclusion to which every party in this House, the representatives of labour no less than the representatives of capital, is reluctant to come. But if you once say that whenever either party to a dispute appeals to the Board of Trade you are to have an inquiry, and if that inquiry is to be of use, you must compel both parties to come before you, you are driven the entire length to an entirely novel and revolutionary system which, instead of this purely voluntary system of conciliation, will give you compulsory arbitration. That really, I think, exhausts the narrow part of the controversy which has been touched on in con- nection with the vote of censure. It is not my business to go into that larger field of controversy which deals with the merits, not of the Government, but of Lord Penrhyn.

I must say one word upon the existing: Act of Parliament. My right hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University, in an interesting, ingenious, and most characteristic speech, told us that this Act, worked in the voluntary fashion in which the Board of Trade is working it, was a sham and delusion. If my right hon. friend will read the Report of the Board of Trade as to the working of the Bill, he will, I think, withdraw from that statement. The number of cases which the Board of Trade have dealt with since the Act came into force has been very great, and no less than ninety-six disputes in the eight yean which have elapsed have been settled by this voluntary machinery.


They would have been settled without the Act at all.


I think not Let my right hon. friend read the Report of the Board of Trade. But it is certainly true that conciliation is of no use until the people concerned wish to be conciliated. You cannot bring the parties-together until they have some inclination to be brought together; and you cannot make them friends until some scintillation of friendship has begun to spring up. That process requires a little assistance sometimes, and it has been most successfully given by the Board of Trade under this Act; and I do not think that we ought to undervalue what the Act has. done, or can do, simply because it cannot do, and was never intended to do, much more difficult things—things we should all like to see accomplished, but the machinery for accomplishing which it is not easy to devise. As to Lord Penrhyn, I have only one thing to say. As far as I can make out from the most interesting and brilliant speech of my hon. friend the Member for Macclesfield—a speech listened to by his friends with sympathy and admiration, and by his opponents with admiration and even with some sympathy—as far as I understand from that speech, Lord Penrhyn's only quarrel with the quarry committee is that that committee did two things, neither of which ought to be done, it will be admitted, by any committee which professes to represent the general interests of the workmen as a whole in any business whatever. In the first pi ice, the committee are alleged to have interfered with the management of the quarry—a thing most deleterious from the business point of view; and, secondly, it is alleged that they did not represent the workmen as a whole, though they were supposed to. I understand that Lord Penrhyn has no objection to there being a committee of trade unionists in his quarry provided that they only represent the trade unionists, and that if there is to be a committee professing to represent the men as a whole, that committee cannot and ought not to be drawn from the trade unionists alone. Such a committee must represent every class of workmen, organised and unorganised, in the quarry. The next proposition is that Lord Penrhyn is the proper judge of the number of men who can best carry on the business in his own quarry, and he can-not be expected to bring in men who have been in his employment, but who are so no longer, either by unduly increasing the number of men in his quarries or by turning out the men already in his employment: I do not think I have miss-stated the case, and I do not believe there is a man on either side of the House, Conservative or Radical, trade unionist or employer, whatever his opinions may be, or whatever his social status may be, who differs from either of those propositions. If that be so, this debate, which has served so few purposes, may possibly have served the purpose of clearing the atmosphere on this subject. And I am emboldened to think that this statement of Lord Penrhyn's opinions, which I have collected from those who have spoken on his behalf, will stand cross examination, because I gathered from my hon. friend's speech that it was advanced in court. He could have been cross examined in court, and was not cross examined upon it.

MR. ROBSON (South Shields)

Lord Penrhyn never in any way whatever assented to the formation of a trade union in his quarry. Lord Penrhyn was challenged to state the form or nature of organisation he would allow to any committee or body on behalf of the men, and he could not state it. It is an absolute novelty to say that he is willing to allow a committee, but not a particular quarry committee.


Perhaps I was wrong to have travelled outside the vote of censure to the subject which has engaged the attention of the House of Commons throughout this debate. But the point, as I understand it, is this. Lord Penrhyn has no objection to the men belonging to a trade union. He has no objection to his workmen organising themselves as they please, and therefore it follows necessarily that he has no objection to those members among his working body who are trade unionists. What he does object to is the trade union committee or the committee representing the trade unionists, professing to represent the whole body of workmen. And though it is not my business to offer an opinion on the point I think Lord Penrhyn is perfectly right, and I believe everybody else thinks so too.


On that point, yes.


Then the subject on which we have been quarrelling all night is a subject on which we appear to be agreed. But how about the subject on which we have not been quarrelling at all—the merits of the Government? Is it really worth while to invoke all the machinery of a vote of censure in order to deal with what at the very worst is a mistaken exercise of discretion in a matter in which really the House at large can hardly be a judge of what sound discretion is? You give to the President of the Board of Trade for the time being a most difficult and delicate duty, the right exercise of which depends on a nice judgment of the forces concerned, of the intentions of the employer, of the views of the employed. And then you make that nice exercise of discretion the subject of the clumsy analysis inevitable to a Parliamentary debate! I think you are doing a great deal by controversies of this kind to ruin the value of an Act which has done great service, and I do not think this House gains, and I do not think the country gains, by bringing these personal and trade disputes into the arena of party politics. Let us suppose for a moment that the rights of the case are with Lord Penrhyn. Let us suppose that hon. Gentlemen opposite themselves thought that the rights of the case were with Lord Penrhyn and not with Lord Penrhyn's late employees. Should we have a vote of censure in favour of a single employer, or is the machinery of a vote of censure never to be used except in favour of large numbers and against an individual? I look with great distrust on these proceedings. It was the hon. Member for Carnarvon who said just now with perfect truth that his true antagonist was not the Gentleman sitting on this bench, but my hon. friend the Member for Macclesfield. He was right. And what does that mean? It means that the whole party machinery of this House has been called into play to decide whether the representatives of the men in a particular dispute in this House are right or the representatives of their employer. That is bad for the House of Commons. It is bad for the party system. It is bad for the trade and economic conditions of the country, and I greatly deplore that the right hon. Gentleman, in the exercise of his undoubted prerogative of choosing out of the embarras des richesses the number of things on which it was worth while to attack the Government by all the elaborrate machinery of a vote of censure, should have thought fit to select this one topic, the whole brunt of the controversy on which has turned on the merits of one single individual in the management of his own property. I do not profess to any knowledge of this dispute. I only wish it could be brought to an end. I only wish that all the unhappiness and misery to which it has inevitably given rise could, as by the fairy wand of my right hon. friend, be suddenly brought to a conclusion. But, Sir, nothing of that kind is gained; we make no step in the direction of that progress by turning this unhappy local dispute into a topic on which Parties are to try their strength, and by which, I suppose, it is intended

to serve some obscure party object in the perennial controversy between the two great Parties of the State.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 182; Noes, 316. (Division List No. 70.)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Grant, Corrie Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick) Norman, Henry
Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud) Griffith, Ellis J. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Ashton, Thomas Gair Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Nussey, Thomas Willans
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)
Atherley-Jones, L. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Barlow, John Emmott Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Barran, Rowland Hirst Harmsworth, R. Leicester O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Harwood, George Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Partington, Oswald
Bell, Richard Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D. Paulton, James Mellor
Black, Alexander William Helme, Norval Watson Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Blake, Edward Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Perks, Robert William
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E Philipps, John Wynford
Brigg, John Holland, Sir William Henry Pirie, Duncan V.
Broadhurst, Henry Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Price, Robert John
Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh) Horniman, Frederick John Priestley, Arthur
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Humphreys-Owen, Arthur U. Rea, Russell
Bryce, Right Hon. James Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. Reckitt, Harold James
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Redmond, William (Clare)
Burns, John Jacoby, James Alfred Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries
Burt, Thomas Jones, David B. (Swansea) Rickett, J. Compton
Buxton, Sydney Charles Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Caldwell, James Joyce, Michael Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Cameron, Robert Kearley, Hudson E. Robson, William Snowdon
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Kitson, Sir James Roe, Sir Thomas
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Lambert, George Rose, Charles Day
Causton, Richard Knight Langley, Batty Runciman, Walter
Cawley, Frederick Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Russell, T. W.
Channing, Francis Allston Layland-Barratt, Francis Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Cremer, William Randal Leigh, Sir Joseph Schwann, Charles E.
Crooks, William Leng, Sir John Shackleton, David James
Dalziel, James Henry Levy, Maurice Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Lewis, John Herbert Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)
Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign Lloyd-George, David Shipman, Dr. John G.
Delany, William Lough, Thomas Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Devlin, Chas Ramsay (Galway) Lundon, W. Sloan, Thomas Henry
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Dilke, Rt Hon. Sir Charles MacVeagh, Jeremiah Soares, Ernest J.
Doogan, P. C. M'Crae, George Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (North'nts
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) M'Kenna, Reginald Stevenson, Francis S.
Duncan J. Hastings M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Strachey, Sir Edward
Dunn, Sir William M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Sullivan, Donal
Elibank, Master of Mansfield, Horace Rendall Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)
Ellis, John Edward Markham, Arthur Basil Tennant, Harold John
Emmott, Alfred Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)
Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Mooney, John J. Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower
Fenwick, Charles Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Tomkinson, James
Field, William Moss, Samuel Toulmin, George
Fitzmaurice. Lord Edmond Moulton, John Fletcher Ure, Alexander
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co. Murphy, John Wallace, Robert
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Nannetti, Joseph P. Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)
Fuller, J. M. F. Newnes, Sir George Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Warner, Thos. Courtenay T. Whiteley, G. (York, W. B.) Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd
Wason, E. (Clackmannan) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax) Yoxall, James Henry
Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Weir, James Galloway Williams, O. (Merioneth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur
White, George (Norfolk) Wilson, Fred W. (Norfolk, Mid
White, Luke (York, E. R.) Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Compton, Lord Alwyne Gunter, Sir Robert
Aird, Sir John Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Guthrie, Walter Murray
Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hall, Edward Marshall
Allsopp, Hon. George Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge Hambro, Charles Eric
Arkwright, John Stanhope Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim, S Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld. G.(Midx
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Cranborne, Lord Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy
Arrol, Sir William Cripps, Charles Alfred Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Hare, Thomas Leigh
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon Sir H Crossley, Sir Savile Harris, Frederick Leverton
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Cubitt, Hon. Henry Haslam, Sir Alfred S.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Cust, Henry John C. Haslett, Sir James Horner
Bain, Colonel James Robert Dalkeith, Earl of Hay, Hon. Claude George
Baird, John George Alexander Dalrymple, Sir Charles Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)
Balcarres, Lord Davenport, William Bromley Heath, Jas. (Staffords., N. W.
Baldwin, Alfred Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts Heaton, John Henniker
Balfour, Rt. Hon A. J. (Manch'r Dickson, Charles Scott Helder, Augustus
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Henderson, Sir Alexander
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds Digby, John K. D. Wingfield Hickman, Sir Alfred
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C Hoare, Sir Samuel
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Hobhouse, Rt Hn H (Somr s't,E.
Barry, Sir Fras. T. (Windsor) Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Hogg, Lindsay
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Doughty, George Horner, Frederick William
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj. Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry
Beckett, Ernest William Duke, Henry Edward Houston, Robert Paterson
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Howard, Jn. (Kent, Fave'h'm)
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham
Bignold, Arthur Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Hudson, George Bickersteth
Bigwood, James Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Bill, Charles Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.) Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred
Blundell, Colonel Henry Faber, George Denison (York) Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton
Bond, Edward Fardell, Sir T. George Johnstone, Heywood
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed. Kemp, Lieut -Colonel George
Boulnois, Edmund Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.
Bousfield, William Robert Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh
Bowles, Lt-Col. H. F. (Middlesex Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Keswick, William
Brassey, Albert Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Kimber, Henry
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas King, Sir Henry Seymour
Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.) Fison, Frederick William Knowles, Lees
Brymer, William Ernest FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.
Bull, William James Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Laurie, Lieut.-General
Burdett-Coutts, W. Flannery, Sir Fortescue Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow
Butcher, John George Flower, Ernest Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)
Campbell, Rt Hn J A (Glasg.) Forster, Henry William Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)
Carlile, William Walter Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks, N. R.
Carson, Rt. Hon, Sir Edw. H. Fyler, John Arthur Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)
Cautley, Henry Strother Galloway, William Johnson Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Gardner, Ernest Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.
Cavendish, V C W (Derbysh.) Garfit, William Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gibbs, Hn A. G. H (City of Lond Lockie, John
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Chamberlain, Rt Hon J (Birm Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin amp; Nrn Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham
Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J A (Worc Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.
Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry Gordon, Maj Evans-(Tr. H'ml'ts Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Chapman, Edward Gore, Hn. G. R C. Ormsby-(Salop Lowe, Francis William
Charrington, Spencer Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)
Churchill, Winston Spencer Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Goulding, Edward Alfred Lowther, Rt Hn. J W (Cum. Penr
Clive, Captain Percy A. Graham, Henry Robert Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Coghill, Douglas Harry Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed. Macdona, John Cumming
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs MacIver. David (Liverpool)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Gretton, John Maconochie, A. W.
Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready Greville, Hon. Ronald M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool
M'Calmont, Colonel James Platt-Higgins, Frederick Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)
M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'rgh, W Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire) Pretyman, Ernest George Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.
Majendie, James A. H. Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Malcolm, Ian Purvis, Robert Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Manners, Lord Cecil Quilter, Sir Cuthbert Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Martin, Richard Biddulph Rankin, Sir James Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxfd Univ
Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Rasch, Major Frederic Came Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H E (Wigt'n Ratcliffe, R. F Thorburn, Sir Walter
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Rattigan, Sir William Henry Thornton, Percy M.
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Reid, James (Greenock) Tollemache, Henry James
Milvain, Thomas Remnant, James Farquharson Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.
Molesworth, Sir Lewis Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Tritton, Charles Ernest
Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Renwick, George Tuke, Sir John Batty
Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridqe) Valentia, Viscount
Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
More, Robert, Jasper (Shropsh Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson Walker, Col. William Hall
Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'shire Robertson, H. (Hackney) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Morrell, George Herbert Robinson, Brooke Warde, Colonel C. E.
Morrison, James Archibald Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Webb, Col. William George
Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton
Mount, William Arthur Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts)
Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Round, Rt. Hon. James Whiteley, H.(Ashton-u.-Lyne)
Muntz, Sir Philip A. Royds, Clement Molyneux Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Williams Rt Hn J Powell-(B'h'm
Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Myers, William Henry Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.
Newdegate, Francis A. N. Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Nicholson, William Graham Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)
Nicol, Donald Ninian Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (B
O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Seely, Maj. J. E.B. (Isle of Wight Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Seton-Karr, Sir Henry Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Sharpe, William Edward T. Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
Parker, Sir Gilbert Shaw-Stewart, H. M. (Renfrew) Wylie, Alexander
Parkes, Ebenezer Simeon, Sir Barrington Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Pease, H. Pike (Darlington) Skewes-Cox, Thomas Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside
Pemberton, John S. G. Smith, James Parker (Lanarks) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Penn, John Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Percy, Earl Spear, John Ward
Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)

Resolution agreed to.