HC Deb 03 July 1903 vol 124 cc1282-319

As amended (by the Standing Committe), further considered.

Proceedings resumed on Amendment proposed [23rd June] to the Bill— In page 1, line 5, to leave out the word 'any,' and insert the word 'every.'"—(Mr. Tennant.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'any' stand part of the Bill."

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S. W.)

said the reasons which led him to suggest and support the making of the Bill obligatory upon local authorities seemed to him to be still conclusive. On the Second Reading of the Bill he pointed out to the Home Secretary the inconvenience of having in two adjacent localities a different state of the law with regard to these matters. He was sorry that his right hon. friend was not able to be present during the discussion of the Bill in Grand Committee. He himself maintained in Grand Committee, and he still maintained, that if a Bill of this kind was to be satisfactory they must make the administration uniform. If they took two adjacent towns like Manchester and Salford, it would be found that they would raise an enormous amount of hostility to the authority which put this Bill into force if the other authority did not do the same thing. They would raise in the minds of people who did not come under the law a sense of injustice which was most undesirable, and a feeling which was not, at all events, for the well-being of the community. If there was any class of legislation that ought to be made compulsory on the local authority, it was that class which affected the well-being of the people, and for these reasons he thought that it would be much more satisfactory if the law were made compulsory instead of permissive. In Grand Committee his hon. friend the Under Secretary stated certain objections to this course. He pointed out that they might have a local authority making and submitting for the approval of the Home Office ridiculous by-laws which the Home Office would not sanction, and in that way the Department would be put into a position of conflict with the local authority. He admitted there was some force in that argument. It was above all desirable that local authorities should look upon the Departments with which they had to deal rather as their friends than their masters. That argument had some weight with him, but he felt, on the other hand, that it would be a weapon against such a course being adopted by the local authority, inasmuch as public opinion would not be likely to support the local authority making, if he might use the expression, fools of themselves, for that was really what they would be doing. That, however, was not the argument which had led him to take the course he was going to take on this particular Amendment. He understood from inquiries he had made among those who were interested in the Bill, that there was an absolute opinion that unless this Bill was to be permissive there was to be no Bill at all. If that was the case he, for one, was not prepared to risk the Bill for a principle which he thought was very vital, but not absolutely essential. There was this to be remembered, if the Bill was passed in an unsatisfactory form — and he thought it would be passed in an unsatisfactory form if made permissive, and the local authorities did not make use of it throughout the country—they would have an even stronger argument than they had to-day for making it compulsory when they afterwards proposed to have it amended in that direction. In the matter of the regulation of child labour, he could not suppose that this House would allow any abuses of the law to be perpetrated by local authorities without requiring the Home Office, or some Department to see that these abuses, were dealt with. He very greatly regretted that his right hon. friend would not give way on this point, but as it was absolutely a choice between having no Bill at all, or having it permissive, he would, notwithstanding the vote he gave in Grand Committee, and the opinion he still held on the matter, give his vote against the Amendment.

DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)

hoped it was not a choice between a permissive Bill and no Bill at all. That was not the opinion expressed upstairs.


said he did not state that it was the opinion expressed upstairs. He said that was what he understood from inquiries he had made.


hoped the hon. Member's inquiries would turn out not to be well-founded. Upon Clause 2 which raised large conflict in Grand Committee they got the word "shall" introduced by a majority of two. At another stage of the Bill and on another Clause a large majority got the word "may" inserted. They might compel the local authorities to make by-laws, but they could not compel them to carry them out. He reminded the House of what had been the experience in connection with the Education Act of 1870. By that measure it was enacted that local authorities "may" make by-laws, in respect of attendance at schools. Many authorities did not make by-laws and the result was that by the Act of 1876 it was enacted that they "shall" make by-laws. They would have to make two bites of a cherry in this matter also, unless they made the matter compulsory now. If they made it a statutory obligation that local authorities "shall" make by-laws, these by-laws might not be, in the first instance, thoroughly carried out, but the result eventually would be that local authorities would carry out their obligation. He thought the Home Office was a little timorous in dealing with this matter. This Bill was about eighteen months old, and public opinion had gone ahead of it a long way. The Depart mental Committee was quite clear in recommending that certain regulations which were not very exiguous should be laid down. Another recommendation of the Committee was that the local authorities "shall" make by-laws. The mere obligation of making by-laws would develop a conscience on the part of the local authorities. He would suggest as compromise that the Home Office might take away the controversial words "any" or "each," involving as they did "shall" or "may." He had not a shadow of doubt that if they passed the clause in that form the local authorities would feel it to be their duty to make by-laws and carry them out.


hoped that the House would leave the matter free for the exercise of discretion by the local authority. He had looked into the statutes which authorised the framing of by-laws, and he found that with the single exception of the Education Act of 1876, these matters were left open and at the discretion of the local authorities. The Municipal Corporations got power in 1882 to make by-laws regarding matters of local government, and similar powers were conferred by the Local Government Acts. They had been found to be fully efficient. The fact was that they could not drive local authorities which had to act according to public opinion. If public opinion favoured such by-laws they would be adopted, but if public opinion was against them they would not operate in so favourable a manner. He had reason to know that difficulties in connection with the Vaccination Acts were recurring on account of the endeavour to force local authorities in that matter. There was also another difficulty. They could not compel an authority which had discretion in a matter to act according to an opinion other than its own. In the West Riding of Yorkshire, which was an absolutely moorland district, they did not need to have the same by-laws as in large towns. It was quite clear that the by-laws must vary in different parts of the country, and any attempt to build up a uniform system would be utterly impracticable, and disappoint those who wished to carry out this useful legislation. He felt quite sure that in this matter of the employment of children, as in all other matters, it was necessary to proceed carefully and cautiously. They must at once guide public opinion, and not go too far in advance of it. Steady, continuous pressure of public opinion on the local authorities would be far more efficient in the case of education than drastic measures on the part of a central authority.

*MR. THEODORE TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)

said that the question whether the by-laws should vary was quite a different matter from the question whether it should be the duty of all authorities to make by-laws. He understood the legal view to be that, in practice, the word "may" was equivalent to "shall"; but if the Government would accept the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University, no doubt would remain as to the duty of the local authorities to make by-laws. That would get over all the difficulty.

MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)

said he was in favour of the word "may." An hon. Member had spoken very slightingly of local authorities, but he did not pay any attention to the instance which the hon. Member had given in connection with the Act of 1870, because the authority referred to was not a representative body at all. He believed there had never been an occasion in which it was necessary to coerce bonâ fide representative authorities. They could not go in advance of public opinion, and he believed that as soon as the Bill passed into law, all the local authorities, who were always on the watch for new legislation, would make by-laws if they considered them necessary, and if they did not consider them necessary no compulsory clause would induce them to make bylaws. The Departmental Committee reported that they did not propose that the making of by-laws should be compulsory on local authorities, and that it was possible that some local authorities might not make by-laws, or only make them for certain employments. That was a very sensible and practical recommendation; and he trusted that the Government would adhere to the word "may" and not accept "shall."


said that ostensibly this was a drafting Amendment, but a more important question lay behind it, viz., whether the Bill should be optional or compulsory. His view was that it was not advisable to run any risk of setting up a conflict between the local authorities and the central authority. The better way was to persuade local authorities as far as possible to adopt the Bill. If the Bill were made optional at the beginning, he had no doubt the result would be such that the necessity for compulsion would not arise. On the other hand, if the Bill were made compulsory, some local authorities might take up an attitude hostile to it, and fail to carry out its provisions properly. In that case the central government would be powerless. They could bring their horse to the water, but they could not make him drink. During the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife recommended that the matter should be left to local option, as it would be extremely difficult to lay down rules for the whole country when the local conditions varied so much. He agreed with that argument, and he thought it should have some weight with hon. Gentlemen opposite. As to the practical point, the Department with which he was associated intended to send a circular round to the local authorities calling attention to the Bill and the powers which could be adopted under it. He was not prepared to accept any Amendment which would give the Bill a compulsory character.


said he was opposed to the Amendment, on the ground that the local authorities should be trusted to exercise their discretion. Some of these authorities might only be willing to make by-laws applicable to some occupations.

MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)

said that he was anxious not to delay the Bill, and he was conscious that it would be futile to take the division after the statement of the hon. Gentleman, which he greatly regretted. The House, however, should remember that the Government was reversing the decision arrived at by the Committee upstairs. He begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.



Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 5, to leave out the word 'shall,' and insert the word 'may.'"—(Mr. Secretary Akers Douglas).

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2.


moved to omit Sub-section 2 of Clause 2— No licence for street trading shall be granted to girls under sixteen years of age, nor shall any girl under sixteen be engaged in street trading without a licence, In order to insert the following new sub-section— (2) The local authority, in making by-laws under this section, shall have special regard to the desirability of preventing the employment of girls under sixteen in places or under conditions prejudicial to morality. He said this sub-section was carried in Committee by twenty-one votes to eighteen, and he had moved this Amendment in order to meet the views of those who, like himself, wished to regulate the street trading of girls below the age of sixteen, but did not wish to prevent their trading altogether. He thought it would be better to allow the local authorities to frame by-laws in regard to this matter than to adopt a general regulation. In many towns with which he had personal acquaintance it was the custom for farmers to supply milk direct to the inhabitants, and to send it in by girls in the morning. He would be sorry to see so useful an employment stopped, and hence he would leave it to the local authorities to make such regulations as would be in the interests of the girls. That would be preferable to laying down a hard and fast line by general law. There was a desire on both sides to place some limitation on street trading by girls, without absolutely prohibiting it in all cases. Some of them would like to see it stopped in the case of all girls between fourteen and sixteen years of age, but he was going as far as possible towards meeting that desire by moving this Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, to leave out lines 10 to 12, and insert the words 'The local authority, in making by-laws under this section, shall have special regard to the desirability of preventing the employment of girls under sixteen in places or under conditions prejudicial to morality."'—(Mr. Secretary Akers Douglas.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

said the right hon. Gentleman must have dwelt so long in the sweet security of the Home Office that he could not be aware of what was going on in the London streets. He was told by lady trends that it was impossible for a young girl, if she was in any way attractive, to walk through the streets without being spoken to in the most inconvenient and insulting way by men who spent their whole time hanging about the streets for the express purpose of annoying young innocent girls. In the interest of these young girls he should strongly oppose this Amendment, because he believed that it would make matters worse rather than better. He was unable to understand what was meant by suggesting that they would be driving the girls to worse methods. Surely because a girl could not obtain employment on the streets, she did not necessarily become a prostitute. Undoubtedly young girls who traded in the streets were exposed to great physical and moral danger. Let them consider for a moment what the condition of those girls was. They were reaching the most delicate and critical period of human life—the period of puberty, when sexual passions were beginning to work in their systems. That was what rendered this street employment most dangerous. And the physical danger was equally as great as the moral, for it was an age when exposure to inclement weather was most likely to lay the seeds of consumption, and to undermine their constitutions, while long and late hours were calculated to stunt their growth and their physical development. He did not want to labour the point, but he was bound to say he would prefer to raise the age of prohibition up to seventeen or eighteen rather than to lower it.


said he thought the right hon. Gentleman had found a happy solution of a most difficult problem. This matter had been inquired into by a Departmental Committee which received some most careful and thoughtful evidence. It was also discussed at great length by the Standing Committee on Trade, and though there was some feeling in favour of entirely prohibiting street trading by girls under sixteen years of age, they were driven to the conclusion that this was one of the cases in which it was the duty of Parliament to regulate rather than to prohibit. These girls commenced the battle of life under most difficult circumstances, and he felt in this case, as he did in the case of young children employed in theatres, that it was no kindness to them to close every avenue of employment. The evidence laid before the Departmental Committee on the subject was highly valuable. The whole tenor of that given by the witnesses from Liverpool and Manchester was that the labour of these young people ought to be regulated and not forbidden. This was a difficult subject to consider in the House of Commons, for they really must consider what would happen to many of the girls if they were not allowed to pursue these avocations. Many assisted their parents, who were costermongers—a useful and homely if not very elevating employment—and among the labours of Lord Shaftesbury none were more successful than those which had for their object the raising of the condition of the costermongers. Let any hon. Member spend an hour one Saturday afternoon in a street in which costermongers plied their calling, and they would see how young girls assisted in the sales under their mother's eyes. As a rule they were honest, industrious, and properly conducted, and he for one would be sorry to see their calling interfered with, for if they were not engaged in work of this kind the probability was that the young girls would be exposed to far greater dangers, and their condition would be worse than it now was. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the solution he had offered and hoped that the House would unanimously adopt it.


said that with him it was a question, not of "some limit," as the Home Secretary had put it, but of absolute and definite prohibition. He could not agree that the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman would conduce towards the result which he believed the whole House had sincerely at heart. The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire had told them it would be better to prohibit street trading by girls up to the age of seventeen or eighteen, and the proposal embodied in the Bill was really a compromise between the views of those who held that the restriction should be upon much older girls and those who were against restriction. The Lord Mayor and Chief Constable of Birmingham both stated that they desired to see the restriction of street trading by girls up to the age of eighteen or nineteen and it was urged that the danger was greater to a girl of eighteen than to one of sixteen years. But the House was accustomed to do things by steps—it did not like to "go the whole hog" at once. Again, if they wanted to keep the streets clear of girls up to the age of eighteen, they must, before they arrivedat that age, teach them some decent calling, or give them some training for an occupation which they could pursue, and if they allowed them to trade in the streets up to the age of sixteen they deprived them of the power of learning any industry. He would like to quote a point or two from the Blue-book, even at the risk of the displeasure of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues. The Chief Constable of Liverpool said— I think in the case of girls it is a considerable danger to them; they come so utterly to the bad in street trading. Sergeant Lloyd of Liverpool spoke in the same terms, and was in favour of entirely prohibiting it. Councillor McCabe of the Watch Committee and the Chief Constable of Manchester both considered prohibition desirable. Mr. Russell, of Manchester, Mr. Thomas, manager of a Home in Liverpool, Mr. Lord, the headmaster of a board school in Manchester, were all against street trading. Mr. Burke, Chairman of the Liverpool Schools Committee, said— It utterly unfits them for any other form of employment. There was a good deal more evidence to the same effect. Indeed, as the Chief Constable of Birmingham said—"once a street trader always a street trader," and if they allowed these young girls to go into the streets at this delicate age, they denied to them the opportunity of being taught the means of earning a livelihood. The majority of street traders developed into loungers, loafers, and thieves.

Upon the question of the future of these girls he would like to bring to the notice of hon. Members the Report of a Committee appointed by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1902: Mrs. Tolerton said— 437.'… Street trading for girls is very bad for the formation of their characters and their habits. A girl, if she is to get work … must have a certain training which the street is entirely opposed to. … They object to the restraint of domestic life.' 439. 'Do you make any distinction between girls trading by themselves and girls with their mothers?' 'It all depends on the character of the mother. I have known cases of children trading with their mothers who were very much demoralised.' 441. Asked whether she thought street trading might be so regulated that girls might trade in the streets without very great danger. 'No, I do not. I say that even with your regulations you would only reduce the danger.' Many societies had made it their business to investigate this subject most thoroughly, and had memorialised the House of Commons or sent resolutions to hon. Members. The Committee on Wage-earning Children had gone into the subject with an energy which commanded the admiration of all of them, and had reported strongly in favour of the I Amendment which originally stood in his own name on the Paper. The Christian Social Union, the Glasgow Charity Organisation Society, and the Glasgow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children were in favour of the retention of Sub-section 2, Clause 2, and the Glasgow Juvenile Delinquency Board were equally anxious that that particular provision should be passed into law. They state— They are specially pleased with the proposed exclusion of girls from trading in the streets. There was, too, in its favour, a resolution passed by the "Women's Co-operative; Guild," representing 16,000 working women. The School Boards of the great cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow had both petitioned in favour of his proposal. The Glasgow School Board state— That they are strongly opposed to the Amendment standing in the name of the Home Secretary as interfering with the usefulness of the Bill. It is their hope that the subsection may be left as it is or in the form now proposed by Mr. Tennant as a new clause. And might he suggest to hon. Members who were not in favour of woman suffrage, that on them rested a peculiar obligation to listen to the voice of women on this subject, expressed in the only manner in which they could express it by memorialising Parliament. This was, indeed, a most important question, and as proving its gravity and urgency, he would like to remind the House that the Chief Constable of Birmingham in his evidence said that of 713 boys and girls who were found trading in the streets in March, 1901, 458, or nearly two-thirds, had been prosecuted for various offences within the previous six months—115 for felony, and 185 for gambling. What was it they were seeking to do? They were not disturbing trade by the position they were taking up; if they were disturbing anything it was vagrancy, which was daily productive of such serious consequences in the streets. As to the proposal of the Home Secretary, how could they "have special regard to a desirability," and who was to be the judge of what were "conditions prejudicial to morality?" The right hon. Gentleman was casting on the local authorities a most invidious task, and one which they would rather not have. The protection the right hon. Gentleman was going to offer to these poor girls was of a shadowy and nebulous character. The House now had a great opportunity of securing a reform, the fruits of which might be reaped in the lifetime of many of them. As there was an opportunity so was there a corresponding responsibility, and he appealed to hon. Members to realise their responsibility, and to remember that the young girls in whose interests they were asked to legislate were the mothers of future generations of Englishmen, on whose shoulders would devolve the destinies of this great Empire.

SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

agreed that there was an overwhelming weight of testimony in favour of the total prohibition of street trading by young girls in the crowded streets of cities, and particularly in the Metropolis. But those who were in favour of giving effect to that opinion were placed by the present Amendment in an extremely difficult position, because the clause as it stood at present was in the wrong place in the Bill. The only effect of the clause as it stood would be rather to discourage the making of any by-laws at all relating to street trading. If a local authority thought fit to make no by-laws girls as well as boys might still trade in the streets; but if they wished to make by-laws the effect of this clause was to compel them to make by-laws excluding young girls from trading in the streets. That might very well discourage some local authorities from acting. He thought that they would all assent to take this sub-section out of Clause 2, and when that had been done they could put it in its proper position. It was mischievous rather than useful in its present position and did not carry out the desire of the hon. Member for Berwickshire. The substitution which the right hon. Gentleman proposed would do no harm, but, on the other hand, he did not think it would do much good; it was one of those benevolent aspirations after better things which sometimes found their way into Acts of Parliament, but which had no force of law and did not very much improve matters. What really ought to be done would be to insert some provision in Clause 3 (General Restrictions on Employment of Children). There stood upon the Paper one in the name of the hon. Member for Berwickshire which he would have been disposed to vote for, and if the hon. Member would move, as a sub-section to Clause 3, that no girl under sixteen should be allowed to trade in the streets, except in accordance with a special by-law passed by the local authority, he would support him.


On a point of order. If the Motion of the right hon. Gentle man now under consideration is carried, would it be in order for me to move this in Clause 3 as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman?


If Clause 2 stands as it is now, or if the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman now under consideration is carried, the House will have affirmed that under certain circumstances street trading by girls under 16 is legal, and therefore the Amendment of the hon. Member for Berwickshire to Clause 3 would be out of order.


But if the House were to omit Sub-section 2 as proposed by the right hon. Gentleman other words could be put in, and then it would be open to the hon. Member to move them on Clause 3.


Yes, if the Question "that these words stand part of the clause" is decided in the negative, and if also the proposal of the Home Secretary is negatived, then it will be open to the hon. Member to move his Amendment on Clause 3.


said he would strongly urge the Home Secretary to allow the words here proposed to be omitted to be negatived, and not to press for the insertion of the words which had been proposed, so that it would be open to them on Clause 3 to insert a sub-section dealing with the matter. He should be most favourable to the entire prohibition of street trading on the part of young girls, provided that such prohibition were confined to streets in populous places. He thought there would be considerable danger in making the prohibition so wide that it would include the case of girls in country towns who sold milk, or flowers, or fruit in the market place, a kind of trading to which there was not only no objection, but which he could conceive to be an extremely desirable employment for children on Saturday afternoons.


said he hoped the Government would settle this matter now, because the proposition now was to put it on to the next clause where the provision was a statutory one. He heartily agreed with his hon. friend with regard to the necessary employment in country districts of girls under sixteen years of age, but the Home Secretary had met that point in the Bill in a manner in which it could not possibly be met in any other way. They all sympathised with the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member for Berwick, but they must be careful, lest in aiming at perfection in one locality they inflicted hardship upon other localities. The vice and difficulty of the Bill was that while a part of it referred to the big towns other parts referred to the country outside the big towns, and, in his opinion, unless they were very careful they would injure the rural districts where numbers of girls were engaged in selling milk or vegetables. From the wide character of the definition clause, every girl under fifteen might be shut out from employment, and, owing to the penalties placed upon employers, this would practically prevent their employment in agricultural districts. In that way they would be harassing and persecuting the poor people in country districts whose condition they would like to see improved, but they must take things as they were and treat them as they were. [An OPPOSITION MEMBER: And let them remain as they are.] No, the Gentleman who said that had apparently not had so much experience of the country districts as he possessed. In some districts they saw children under sixteen selling programmes; in others, children of from twelve to thirteen offering books about the birthplace of Shakespeare—poor children, taking home a few pence to the household. Were they going to put an end to that? Well, he would not. He knew what value a penny or two pence was to a poor family. He advised the House not to try, by Act of Parliament, to override the miserable exigencies of poverty.

MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)

said he did not propose to follow the right hon. Gentleman into the many topics on which he had descanted. At one period, indeed, the right hon. Gentleman appeared to him to approach perilously near to the one prohibited topic, the topic which was apparently in everybody's thoughts, but to which they were not allowed in that House to make more than the vaguest reference.


Do not make fun of a serious subject.


said he wished to reinforce the appeal made by the right hon. Member for Cambridge University—that at this stage they should deal only with that part of the Amendment which, he thought, would have universal assent—the proposal, namely, to omit these three lines, and that they should leave over till the third clause the discussion of the prohibition of this kind of labour and the conditions attaching to that prohibition. He made that appeal in no contentious spirit, because he could not see that the words proposed to be inserted would have any practical effect whatever. To say that the local authority in making by-laws should have special regard to this thing or that thing was merely to offer a kind of Parliamentary advice for which there was no sanction, which every local authority was perfectly entitled to disregard, and which there was no reason to believe local authorities would feel themselves in any way constrained to follow. It was surely better to deal with the matter by laying down a general rule applicable to the country at large, and by then considering, as he himself was prepared to consider with a thoroughly open mind, whether or not certain relaxations should be introduced in order to give local option to particular places in the matter of exemptions of particular trades. He therefore strongly appealed to the Home Secretary to be content for the moment with the omission of these lines and to leave the general discussion over till the third clause.


said his right hon friend proposed that the decision should be taken on the present Amendment, for an obvious reason. Section 3 made certain provisions compulsory on the whole country, but the framing of bylaws by the local authority had now been made optional. As the Bill at present stood, they had a general enactment that no girl under sixteen years of age should be allowed to trade in the streets. Now it would very likely happen that just those local authorities within whose area such trading was no evil at all, and who would wish to make an exception in favour of it, would have taken no steps to frame any by-laws, and would have to draw up a complete set for this particular purpose. Therefore, his right hon. friend considered that the present was the right occasion on which to come to a decision on the general question. What was the real point at issue? They all agreed that street trading was undesirable, but that was as far as they liked to go. After all, many of these girls had to earn their own living, and he entirely disputed the contention that in every case street trading was undesirable. In many cases these girls were exceedingly respectable. Were they to make it impossible for a girl under sixteen years of age to assist her mother in keeping a fruit stall in the street? He asked the House to consider what they were doing. What they really desired was to prevent these girls from engaging in street trading as a cover to something evil—walking about, for instance, in docks or public places in the great cities where it was obviously undesirable that girls should be engaged in trading or should be able to make their trading an excuse for going to. They could not lay down a general provision to deal with the question—they must in these cases leave the matter to the local authorities, who understood the situation. There was something to be said as regards girls under eighteen years of age, but girls under sixteen were already very stringently protected by the Criminal Law Amendment Act. He did not want to labour the point, as it was one upon which most people had already made up their minds. The plain fact he desired to point out was that they must leave it to the local authority to make by-laws restricting the power of these girls to engage in street trading.

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

said if the Home Secretary had taken the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University the House of Commons might have had an opportunity for legislating to-day for the overwhelming bulk of cases of street trading. They might have ruled out the very few instances of rural trading which the hon. Member for Bordesley had in his mind when he made his eloquent but irrelevant speech, but the Home Office had decided not to adopt the sensible course, and the result was that while the House of Commons was extremely anxious, as was shown by the voting upon this Bill when it was before the Grand Committee, to prohibit altogether street trading for girls under sixteen years of age, they were denied the opportunity of doing so. In this case they were going to give local option to the local authority to make by-laws; they were going to give local authorities under this Bill power which had been denied to them in the matter of regulating half-time labour which was made universal, and in the matter of the factories which was also made universal. This ought not to be left to the local option. This Bill ought to be made universal to save these children from temptation in the streets, factories, or workshops. The speech of the Under Secretary for the Home Department supported that view, because he had stated that all street trading was undesirable for girls of under sixteen years of age, and the reasons which underlay that speech were reasons that should compel the House to provide means of preventing it. The hon. Member had quoted the costers, but in the case of the costers, the fathers and mothers sold fruit or flowers in the streets, and possibly the big brother was there also, but the girl was at home looking after the little ones, and to the coster's credit be it said he kept her there. They would not find a coster girl in the docks, and if found in the docks she would be much safer there than selling flowers round the beautiful statue of Gilbert, or in Piccadilly Circus selling flowers and listening to the libidinous conversation of the gentlemen who purchased. He could not help being a London boy, and when he went to Victoria, Charing Cross, and Liverpool Street stations, and saw the girls subjected to these temptations, he held they had no right to allow them to be subjected to the risk of them. What was that risk? He would quote the chief constable of Birmingham. He would go to Birmingham for his facts, and would quote the chief constable of Birmingham because he knew more about this case than all the House of Commons put together. His duty took him into the streets night and day, and he had great sympathy for these girls. He said of the 713 boys and girls who were found selling in the streets in March, 1901, two-thirds of the entire number had been prosecuted for various offences; that 115 had been prosecuted for felony, and 185 for gambling. That reflected a picture of street trading which ought to be rendered impossible between this and ten years hence. The Chief Constable of Nottingham was of opinion that girls under sixteen should be prohibited from trading in the streets at all, but the hon. Member for Bordesley thought that if that was made compulsory, injustice would be done in a few cases. If there was one class of labour which had an opportunity of obtaining better and more moral work and more highly remunerative work than any other, it was girls between fourteen and eighteen, as was shown by the great dearth in domestic service, in café and restaurant service, and in factory work. There was no argument to be applied in support of the few trades touched upon by the hon. Member for Bordesley except the view that there was a disposition in the House of Commons to over-legislate for certain classes of people. He could understand that argument being applied to the case of adult men and women in certain circumstances, but these children were absolutely defenceless and were subjected to temptations to which they had no right to be subjected. He represented a district, mainly working-class, of which a large number were street traders, both men and women, and he ventured to say if their view were expressed in this matter, they would vote in favour of girls under sixteen being prohibited from street trading altogether. In these days, when they heard so much of the deterioration in the physique of the people, in these days when the House of Commons was sympathetically considering how the future men and women should be reared under better circumstances than the present, he might suggest that the best way to get healthy children of the future out of healthy mothers was to save the girls of to-day—the potential mothers of the future—from the temptations which surrounded them in street trading, which was not needed; that being so, they should prohibit it for girls under sixteen years of age as a general rule, and if the House desired to except such trades as the sale of milk and vegetables in the villages of the rural districts they could do so by another clause in the Bill.

*SIR J. STIRLING MAXWELL (Glasgow, College)

said he felt very strongly opposed to the proposal put into this Bill by the Grand Committee, and was glad that the Government had decided to take it out. It struck him that the hon. Member for Battersea had argued his case entirely from the condition of things in London and Birmingham, and while he listened he could not help wondering why the power of local authorities to make bylaws could not meet this case. He did not think that local authorities would fail to deal with this subject if they had the power to deal with it. It seemed to him, that in this kind of legislation there was one thing they overlooked. The House ought to bear in mind that, if they overstepped the line which divided what was necessary from what became tyrannical, they would incur the danger of bringing the whole of this class of legislation into discredit. In his opinion this provision overstepped that line, and therefore he should vote against it.


thought there was some obscurity of view as to what was street trading. He doubted whether the delivery of milk would be regarded as coming within the definition. In any case, the definition was confined to large towns ["Oh"]—and there was no reason why that should not be made clear. All were agreed that there was more objection to girls trading in the streets of big towns, particularly at night, and he would suggest the adoption of the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University that all towns of, say, over 20,000 inhabitants should be scheduled as places in which such trading was prohibited. In small towns and villages the force of public opinion was more direct, and there were not the dangers that undoubtedly attended such trading in populous centres. The testimony from all the large towns was in favour of prohibition, and he hoped that, before they reached Clause 3, some agreement would be come to by which licences would be forbidden to girls under sixteen in towns of over 20,000 inhabitants.

MR. SEELY (Lincoln)

said the House were practically agreed that street trading by girls under sixteen should be stopped in the big towns, but that to prohibit it in smaller places might cause a certain amount of hardship. Under these circumstances he suggested that the clause should be dropped, and the Amendment of the Home Secretary not inserted. It was said that the provision was intended as a finger-post for the local authorities. He was not in favour of finger-posts in Acts of Parliament, and the voting on this clause would probably act as a finger-post in the wrong direction. If the clause were now omitted, provision could be made in Clause 3 for permitting, under proper safeguards, street trading by girls under sixteen.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

regretted the Home Secretary would not allow this matter to be discussed on Clause 3, as it was really a question of whether or not there should be absolute prohibition. Whatever limitations were necessary or desirable could be imposed upon the general restriction, and the case of the small towns or rural districts would thus be met. By universal consent, street trading was a dangerous course of life for children to follow; it prevented them getting regular occupation, it cultivated habits of carelessness and idleness, and it contributed annually a large proportion of the juvenile offenders who were convicted Primâ facie, therefore, street trading was a pursuit which should be discouraged. This was a matter in which the House ought to be influenced largely by the weight of the authorities who knew the actual condition of things with regard to the dangers and temptations which beset these children, and, going by their opinion, he thought the House ought to introduce something more stringent than the timorous advice which this Amendment would give to the local authorities.


said he could not accept the suggestion that they should postpone the discussion on this question until Clause 3. To do so would be to entirely upset the principle on which the Bill proceeded. He had pointed out, over and over again, the object and the value of the voluntary principle, and he must oppose the suggestion that this point should be made compulsory and be dealt with in Clause 3. He did not suppose that the local authorities would fail to make proper by-laws, and those authorities knew best what was good for the children in their districts. He could not therefore accede to the appeal made to him on general grounds. If he did so they would only have a longer discussion on the point on Clause 3, and probably lose all chance of passing the Bill this session.


said that inasmuch as Clause 3 was mandatory, the present point was the place in which any provision such as that suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University should be inserted. He believed the Government desired to go as fur as they could in the direction of preventing street trading by children without inflicting the hardships to which reference had been made. He suggested the insertion of words to the effect that "no licence for street trading shall be granted to girls under sixteen years of age unless the exceptional conditions of the locality seem to require it,"

Question put, and negatived.

Question proposed "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."


thought the words "streets or public places" were much preferable to the words "places or conditions prejudicial to morality," and he moved their substitution.


said that being anxious to get on with the Bill, he would accept the Amendment.

Proposed Amendment to the Bill amended, by leaving out the words "places or under conditions prejudicial to morality," and inserting the words "streets or public places."—(Dr. Macnamara.)

Question put, "That those words as amended, be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes, 178; Noes, 98. (Division List No. 138.)

Agg-Grardner, James Tynte Buxton, Sydney Charles Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg.) Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ. Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas
Bain, Colonel James Robert Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)
Baird, John George Alexander Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.
Balcarres, Lord Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Cranborne, Viscount
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. Worc Cripps, Charles Alfred
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Charrington, Spencer Crossley, Sir Savile
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Churchill, Winston Spencer Dalrymple, Sir Charles
Bignold, Arthur Clive, Captain Percy A. Dickson, Charles Scott
Blundell, Colonel Henry Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E. Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.
Bond, Edward Coddington, Sir William Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.
Bowles, Col. H. F. (Middlesex) Cohen, Benjamin Louis Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers
Bull, William James Collings, Right Hon. Jesse Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge
Fardell, Sir T. George Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed. Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Ritchie, Rt Hon Chas. Thomson
Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r Lonsdale, John Browniee Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Ffrench, Peter Lowe, Francis William Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft Robinson, Brooke
Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth) Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Macdona, John Cumming Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Flannery, Sir Fortescue M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Round, Rt. Hon. James
Flower, Ernest M'Calmont, Colonel James Royds, Clement Molyneux
Forster, Henry William Majendie, James A. H. Rutherford, John (Lancashire
Fyler, John Arthur Manners, Lord Cecil Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander
Galloway, William Johnson Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Gardner, Ernest Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n Sharpe, William Edward T.
Garfit, William Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Mitchell, William (Burnley) Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)
Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elginand N'rn Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.
Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire) Spear, John Ward
Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby- (Salop Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.) Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc Morrell, George Herbert Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Goulding, Edward Alfred Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Grant, Corrie Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute Stone, Sir Benjamin
Groves, James Grimble Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath Strachey, Sir Edward
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Myers, William Henry Stroyan, John
Gunter, Sir Robert Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy O'Doherty, William Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Hare, Thomas Leigh Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.
Hatch, Ernest Frederick G. Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Tully, Jasper
Healy, Timothy Michael Pemberton, John S. G. Valeutia, Viscount
Hermon-Hndge, Sir Robert T. Percy, Earl Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Hickman, Sir Alfred Platt-Higgina, Frederick Wanklyn, James Leslie
Hogg, Lindsay Plummer, Walter R. Warde, Colonel C. E.
Horner, Frederick William Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E. (Taunton
Hoult, Joseph. Pretyman, Ernest George Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.) Purvis, Robert Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Pym, C. Guy Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)
Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Laurie, Lieut.-General Ratcliff, R. F. Wodehouse, Rt. Hn E. R. (Bath
Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Rattigan, Sir William Henry Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th) Redmond, William (Clare)
Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R. Reid, James (Greenock) TELLERS TOR THE AYES—
Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Remnant, Jas. Farquharson Sir Alexander Acland-
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Renwick, George
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Duncan, J. Hastings Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Edwards, Frank Jordan, Jeremiah
Ambrose, Robert Elibank, Master of Lambert, George
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy. Emmott, Alfred Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.)
Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Farquharson, Dr. Robert Leigh, Sir Joseph
Brigg, John Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith Levy, Maurice
Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh) Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Lough, Thomas
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Flynn, James Christopher Lundon, W.
Bryce, Right Hon. James Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Hemry Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Burns, John Furness, Sir Christopher MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Caldweil, James Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Goddard, Daniel Ford Markham, Arthur Basil
Channing, Francis Allston Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd Morley, Charles (Breconshire)
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark Harmsworth, R. Leicester Moulton, John Fletcher
Crombie, John William Hay, Hon. Claude George Murnaghan, George
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Newnes, Sir George
Dalziel, James Henry Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside) Partington, Oswald
Dillon, John Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)
Doogan, P. C. Jacoby, James Alfred Pirie Duncan V.
Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Weir, James Galloway
Rickett, J. Compton Sullivan, Donal White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Rigg, Richard Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Thomas, F. Freeman (Hastings Wilson, Chas. H. (Hull, W.)
Roe, Sir Thomas Thompson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n N. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Russell, T. W. Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.) Younger, William
Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland) Trevelyan, Charles Philips Yoxall, James Henry
Schwann, Charles E. Tritton, Charles Ernest
Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln) Wallace, Robert TELLERS FOE, THE NOES—
Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan Sir John Gorst and Mr.
Shipman, Dr. John G. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Tennant.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 34, to leave out Sub-section 7."—(Mr. Secretary Akers Douglas.)

Question proposed, "That the words of the sub-section, to the word 'shall,' in line 35, stand part of the Bill."


said he hoped the Home Secretary would agree to leave in those words and insert some modification in the sub-section which would be agreeable to the House. After a child under fourteen had been at school twenty-seven and a half hours a week, it ought not before and after school hours to be allowed to work more than twenty-five hours a week. One-third of the children who worked out of school were employed for more than twenty-five hours a week. He was prepared to modify the subsection in order to provide that it should not apply to children who worked in a factory or workshop, because their case was met by other legislation.


said the objection to this subsection was that it had been found impossible to carry out a similar regulation in the administration of the Factory Acts, because a weekly limit of hours could not be enforced. Also the limit of twenty-five hours would interfere with work under the Factory Act, as the half-timers worked from twenty-seven to twenty-eight hours, and, in some cases, thirty hours one week and twenty-five hours the next. Moreover, he was informed not only by agriculturists, but also by the Agricultural Department, that this sub-section would have a serious effect in the agricultural industry. He thought the best course would be to omit the whole sub-section.

Question put, and negatived.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5.

SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)

moved to add at the end of Sub-clause 1 the words, "provided it is proved that such person is aware of the age of such child." He said he wished to safeguard persons who employed children who were apparently over sixteen years of age, but, in fact, under sixteen. Very often a boy who might look sixteen years of age was often not more than thirteen or fourteen. In case a farmer employed a boy upon the statement of his father or mother or guardian that he was sixteen years of age, that farmer ought not to run the risk of the penalties proposed by this section. He was very anxious to see the Act put into force, but innocent people should not be fined in this, manner, and the consequence of this course would be that local authorities would refuse to put the Act into operation. He thought there would be the greatest disinclination on the part of English County Councils to put this Act into force unless it was made clear that those employing children on the strength of the statement of their parents or guardians ran no risk at all. At the present time there was great difficulty in the way of getting children between fourteen and sixteen years of age, and if they put more restrictions in the way of people employing those children the difficulty would be increased. With the view of making the Act work more smoothly, he begged to move his Amendment.

Amendment proposed to the Bill. In page 3, line 23, at the end of Subsection (1), to insert the words, 'Provided that it is proved that such person was aware of the age of such child.'"—(Sir Edward Strachey.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."


said the Amendment had only just been placed in his hands, but as far as he had been able to consider it, he did not think it was necessary. It had not been found necessary in other Acts, and he did not see why an exception should be made in the present Act. He would, however, consult with his experts, and if it was necessary, and not exceptional, he would consider its insertion in another place. His own opinion was that it was not necessary.


said he would accept the assurance given by the Home Secretary, and he asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said the proposal contained in Sub-section 2 might lead poor people whose children were at work during the day into a great deal of trouble. He wished to; restore the words which appeared when the Bill was first drafted. It was not advisable to mix up the crime of work with the crime of cruelty or bad treatment. This was quite a different offence to that of parents being charged with cruelly neglecting their children.

Amendment proposed to the Bill. In page 3, line 25, to leave out from the word 'sixteen,' to the word 'he' in line 27, and insert the words 'causes or knowingly permits a child to be so employed.'—(Mr. Jesse Collings.)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


said the effect of this Amendment would be practically to restore the clause to its original form. The clause was amended in this way after considerable discussion, and as it stood it was more effective, and in substance differed very little from the word, suggested by his right hon. friend.


thought the Home Secretary might agree to insert the word "knowingly," which was originally in the Bill.


said that in order not to take up further time he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said the next Amendment standing in his name on the Paper was merely a drafting Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 27, after the word 'liable' to insert the words 'on summary conviction.'"—(Mr. Secretary Akers Douglas.)

Amendment agreed to.


moved to leave out Sub-section 4, which provided that in lieu of ordering a child to be sent to an industrial school the Court might order the child to be taken out of the charge or control of the person who actually had the control or charge of the child, and committed to the care of some fit person who was willing to undertake the same until the child reached the age of sixteen years. Here it was proposed to take a child out of the control of the parent and send it to some other person to take care of it. That meant that if children violated the by-laws connected with work the parents were liable to lose them. That was a very strong order. A Departmental Committee had already reported that interference between parent and child for anything short of cruelty would produce worse evils than those it attempted to remedy. For cruelty and bad treatment they had ample provision already under the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Acts, and therefore this provision was absolutely unnecessary. Having regard to the fact that there was power to send the child to an industrial school, which was, in his opinion, a strong enough power, he did not think the additional provision was at all necessary. It was an interference with parental authority which this House ought not to sanction, and he would ask the Government whether they were not creating fresh crimes rather rapidly. Although the surroundings of some of the poor people were not what they ought to be they did their best. Fancy a charwoman going out to work, and upon returning home finding her child taken a way from her and sent to someone else to look after, and she would be obliged to pay so much a week towards its maintenance! If a parent thrashed or starved a child they had ample power to deal with the offence under the Cruelty to Children Acts, but if a parent broke a by law through letting a child go to work it was not the same kind of crime, and ought not to be punishable in any circumstances by depriving parents of their children.

Amendment proposed to the Bill. In page 3, line 34, leave out Sub-section (4)."—(Mr. Jesses Collings.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'provided,' in line 40, stand part of the Bill."


replied that this provision, which was inserted in Grand Committee, created no new crime. A child was often more offended against than offending, and all the sub-section did was to give power to the magistrate, if he saw fit, to place the child in the care of an uncle or aunt, sister or grandfather, if such person was willing to undertake the charge, instead of committing the child to an industrial school.


asked the Government to introduce similar proceedings into the houses in Belgravia. He asked permission to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 40, to leave out the words 'Provided that,' and insert the word 'and.'"—(Mr. Secretary Akers Douglas.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 13, at end, to add the words '(2) Where an employer is charged with any offence under this Act he shall be entitled, upon information duly laid by him, to have any other person whom he charges as the actual offender brought before the Court at the time appointed for hearing the charge, and if, after the commission of the offence has been proved, I the Court is satisfied that the employer had used due diligence to comply with the provisions of the Act, and that the other person had committed the offence in question without the employer's knowledge, consent, or connivance, the other person shall be summarily convicted of the offence and the employer shall be exempt from any fine. (3) When it is made to appear to the satisfaction of an inspector or other officer charged with the enforcement of this Act, at the time of discovering the offence, that the employer had used all due diligence to enforce compliance with this Act, and also by what person the offence had been committed and also that it had been committed without the knowledge, consent, or connivance of the employer, and in contravention of his order, then the inspector or officer shall proceed against the person whom he believes to be the actual offender in the first instance without first proceeding against the employer.'"—(Sir Francis Powell.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 7.


moved an Amendment with the object of preventing officers of the local authority from entering private dwelling-houses. He said this was a new clause which was introduced in Grand Committee, and it appeared to him that it would give power to any police officer to enter any poor man's house where children were suspected of being at work at a time when they ought not to be employed. That was a very great power to confer on a police officer, and he thought it would be very hard on poor people in this country that they should be harassed to death, not on account of any crime, but because, perhaps, they might be keeping their children up knitting or sewing. If he could get a teller he would tell against this proposal. It was a farce in these circumstances to call a poor man's house his castle. The Prussians had a proverb "Poverty is no crime, but it is ten times worse." This country was tending towards the adoption of that idea in its legislation. To be poor was an offence in the eyes of some. He wished they could do away with poverty and its sad incidents, but, while they had it, let them not turn poverty into a crime or ten times worse. They would never propose such legislation for the dwellings of any other class of people. He moved—

Amendment proposed to the Bill— In page 4, line 17, after the word 'place,' to insert the words 'not being a private dwelling-house.'"—(Mr. Jesse Collings.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


said he could not accept the Amendment. He entirely sympathised with the view of the hon. Gentleman with regard to a man's house being his castle, but what were they going to do? Were they going to prevent an officer who was armed with a magistrate's warrant from entering a dwelling-house where the Act was being contravened?

MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)

said it appeared to him that this was a specimen of legislation of the grandmotherly kind. Apparently the State was going to assume the entire responsibility of bringing up families. He thought legislation of this kind was entirely contrary to the general opinion of the country. Every man ought to be master of his own house, and so long as no crime was being committed in it no one should have a right to go into the house without his consent. He strongly deprecated this ridiculous proposal, and he thought the Committee should set themselves against this grandmotherly system.


said he quite understood the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bordesley Division, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet. They defended the right of an Englishman to do as he pleased in his own house. That claim would include the right of a man to thrash his wife, to starve and sweat his children and sweat other people's children in his own house. The supporters of the Amendment sympathised with the poor no doubt, but he did not believe that what they proposed was an intelligent method of securing that the children who would be the next generation of adults should not be sweated. He was very glad that the Government had not given way on this matter.


said if the previous Speaker had known the two hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House longer he would not have cast aspersions upon them. The Amendment went very much further than he thought was desirable. It would, in fact, prevent the carrying out of the Act where it was well known offences were being committed. He asked whether the words in the clause were the best that could be put in to carry out the object in view. He was sure it was not the intention of the Government, or of his right hon. friend the Home Secretary, to injure the Bill, but the words seemed to carry the matter further than was intended. While there should be absolute power given for the carrying out of the Act, he did not think every local authority should get power to obtain from a magistrate an order for an officer to enter a dwelling house because the authority might have the idea that the law was being broken.

LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)

said if the hon. Member for South-West Manchester had been longer in the House he would not have been guilty of the discourtesy of implying that his hon. friend the Member for the Radcliffe Division had cast aspersions on the Members for Thanet and Bordesley. In former years the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet had often charged the right hon. gentleman the Member for Bordesley with supporting grandmotherly legislation. It was a touching spectacle—although it had its comic side—to see these two right hon. gentlemen now sitting together on the same side of the House reproaching others with a desire to introduce grandmotherly legislation. With regard to this particular Amendment the Home Secretary had pointed out that if it was accepted it would destroy the value of the Bill. Clause 7 was one on which the whole Bill turned, and if the Committee refused to give power to have the warrant of a magistrate executed inside a dwelling-house where children might be employed, they would reduce the whole of this legislation to an absolute farce. He was very glad

that the Home Secretary had made up his mind to resist this Amendment.


said there were three trades which were carried on extensively in the home, namely, file-cutting, match-box making and brush-making. He should certainly support the clause as it stood.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 15; Noes, 252. (Division List No. 139.)

Bond, Edward Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham
Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Flower, Ernest Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.) Mr. Jesse Collings and
Healy, Timothy Michael Plummer, Walter R. Mr. Powell-Williams.
Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside) Robinson, Brooke
Horner, Frederick William Tully, Jasper
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Garfit, William
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.
Bain, Colonel James Robert Cranborne, Viscount Goddard, Daniel Ford
Baird, John George Alexander Cripps, Charles Alfred Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.
Halfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Crombie, John William Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby- (Salop
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Crossley, Sir Savile Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Dalrymple, Sir Charles Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Dalziel, James Henry Goulding, Edward Alfred
Bignold, Arthur Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Grant, Corrie
Blundell, Colonel Henry Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign Gray, Ernest (West Ham)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Dickson, Charles Scott Groves, James Grimble
Bowles, Col. H. F. (Middlesex Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill
Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis) Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C. Gunter, Sir Robert
Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.) Doogan, P. C. Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton
Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Dunn, Sir William Hamilton, Marq. of (Londond'y
Bryce, Right Hon. James Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart Hare, Thomas Leigh
Bull, William James Edwards, Frank Harmsworth, R. Leicester
Burns, John Elibank, Master of Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.
Caldwell, James Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Hay, Hon. Claude George
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg) Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-
Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan) Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Farquharson, Dr. Robert Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.
Causton, Richard Knight Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed. Henderson, Sir Alexander
Cautley, Henry Strother Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r Hogg, Lindsay
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Hoult, Joseph
Channing, Francis Allston FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.
Charrington, Spencer Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Hutchinson, Dr. CharlesFredk.
Churchill, Winston Spencer Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)
Clive, Captain Percy A. Flannery, Sir Fortescue Jacoby, James Alfred
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Forster, Henry William Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Coddington, Sir William Furness, Sir Christopher Joyce, Michael
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Fyler, John Arthur Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Galloway, William Johnson Kennedy, Patrick James
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Gardner, Ernest Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh
Labouchere, Henry O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)
Laurie, Lieut.-General Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Smith, Hon. W.F.D.(Strand)
Law, Andrew, Bonar (Glasqow Parkes, Ebenezer Spear, John Ward
Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.) Partington, Oswald Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Lawson, JohnGrant(Yorks.NR Pease, H. Pike (Darlington) Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Pemberton, John S. G. Stewart, Sir M. J. MTaggart
Leigh, Sir Joseph Percy, Earl Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn, M.
Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S. Pirie, Duncan V. Stone, Sir Benjamin
levy, Maurice Platt-Higgins, Frederick Strachey, Sir Edward
Lloyd-George. David Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stroyan, John
Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Pretyman, Ernest George Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Price, Robert John Taylor,Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Purvis, Robert Tennant, Harold John
Lough, Thomas Pym, C. Guy Thompson, DrEC.(Monagh'nN
Lowe, Francis William Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Thomson, F. W. (York, W R.)
Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale) Ratcliff, R. F. Tomlinson, Sir Wm E. M.
Lucas. Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth) Rattigan, Sir William Henry Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lundon, W. Reid, James (Greenock) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Macdona, John Cumming Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries) Valentia, Viscount
Maclver, David (Liverpool) Remnant. James, Farquharson Vincent, Col. Sir C. EH.Sheffield
Macnamara, Dr.Thomas J. Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Wallace, Robert
M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Renwick, George Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
M'Calmont, Colonel James Rickett, J. Compton Wanklyn, James Leslie
Majendie, James A. H. Ridley, Hn. M. W (Stalybridge Warde, Colonel C. E.
Manners, Lord Cecil Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green) Wason, E. (Clackmannan)
Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe Rigg, Richard Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Markham, Arthur Basil Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas.Thomson Weir, James Galloway
Martin, Richard Biddulph Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Welby, Lt.-Col.A.C.E(Taunt'n
Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F. Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) White. Luke (York, E.R.)
Maxwell, Rt HnSir H.E (Wigt'n Robertson, H. (Hackney) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh. Roe, Sir Thomas Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)
Mitchell, William (Burnley) Ropner, Colonel sir Robert Wilson, Chas. H. (Hull, W.)
Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Round, Rt. Hon. James Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
More, Robt. Jasper (Salop) Royds, Clement Molyneux Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Morgan, Hn. F.(Monm'thsh.) Russell, T. W. Wodehouse, Rt.Hn.E.R.(Bath
Morrell, George Herbert Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Moulton, John Fletcher Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong
Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Samuel. Herbt, L. (Cleveland) Younger, William
Murnaghan, George Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln) Yoxall, James Henry
Murphy, John Sharpe, William Edward T.
Murray, RtHnA.Graham (Bute Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Shipman, Dr. John G. Sir Alexander Acland
Myers, William Henry Simeon, Sir Barrington Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
O'Doherty, William Smith. Abel H. (Hertford, E.)

said that he had endeavoured to improve this Bill, but what had been done to-day had very largely taken away from any success they had in Grand Committee. He did not think the Bill was worth very much now. He begged to move—

Amendment proposed to the Bill.

"In page 4, line 26, at end, to insert the words, 'Proceedings may be brought by or in the name of any officer of the Corporation or County Council, or by an officer of the school attendance committee, or by a constable.'"—(Mr. Tennant.)

Question proposed, "That those word be there inserted in the Bill."


said he could not accept this Amendment, because it would introduce a difficulty in carrying out the Act if he did. The words of the Amendment had a limiting and not an extending effect. At present as the Bill stood any person might take proceedings, but if these words were accepted they would limit the power to certain specified officers, and exclude the possibility of private persons or other proper officers taking proceedings.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7, agreed to.

Clause 8, agreed to

Clause 9

Amendment proposed—

"In page 4, line 37, to leave out the word 'rate,' and insert the word, 'fund.'"—(Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.)

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 4, line 40, at end, to add the words, 'Provided that a County Council shall not raise any sum on account of their expenses under this Act within any borough or urban district the Council of which is a local authority under this Act.'"

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 10.


moved' an Amendment to leave out the word "means" at the end of line 17 and to insert "the Council of any county, or municipal borough, or urban district". He regarded this Amendment as a most important one. They were now for the first time in their legislation providing that the great mass of the population of England should have no power to administer their own by-laws. He thought he could make it clear to the Government that that was not only a bad thing in itself, but a bad thing in the interest of the administration of this Bill—

And, it being half-past Five of the clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), stood adjourned

Bill, as amended, to be further considered upon Monday next.