§ As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.
§ *MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said he moved the new clause standing in his name for the purpose of incorporating in the Bill a section of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1894. The object of the new clause was to exempt from the Bill children who were employed upon the stage, subject to certain provisions. As the Bill now stood children were prohibited from employment after 9 o'clock in the evening. This would interfere with the employment of children on the stage. He was aware that an Amendment to prevent this was moved in the Grand Committee by his hon. friend the Under-Secretary to the Home Department (Mr. Cochrane), and was there rejected. But very considerable concessions had been made with a view to meeting the views of hon. Members who opposed the clause in the Grand Committee, and he sincerely hoped that, not only in the interest of the children themselves, whom he honestly thought should not be deprived of this method of earning a livelihood but also in the interests of the Bill itself, this clause would be accepted. Because he feared greatly that if all children who now found employment on the stage were prohibited from their calling the later stages of this Bill in this House and in another place would be very seriously jeopardised. He was most anxious that a Bill for the regulation of the employment of children should be passed, and that it should be passed this session. It was proposed by this clause that, following the exemptions which were already given under the provisions of the Cruelty to Children Act, 1894, the employment of children should be allowed on a licence granted by a magistrate. These licences were granted in London by the Metropolitan Police Magisrates, and contained very strict provisions. He had been informed that the provincial magistrates in granting these licences also took great care before they granted them at all with regard to the conditions of the licences. At present the licences were required only for children employed in theatres under the age of eleven. But under the Bill as it now 334 stood that age would be extended to fourteen. Now the concessions they had made in this clause are twofold: First of all, the age of complete prohibition is raised from seven to nine years; and second, the duty of seeing that the conditions of the magistrates' licences were carried out, which was now performed by the Factory Inspectors, was given over to the local authorities. So far they have endeavoured to meet the views expressed in the Grand Committee against the proposals to licence children for the stage at all. The hon. Member for South Armagh had an Amendment on the Paper to the same effect as the new Clause now moved, and he (Mr. Akers Douglas) admitted it was down on the Paper before the Government put down their Amendment, but they were of opinion that the Amendment went too far, and so brought forward the one now before the House. He did not think the House generally would desire to deprive the children of their employment on the stage. From inquiries he had instituted he was glad to be able to say that the children now employed were really in the majority of cases well cared for well fed and well clothed, and their education also was well looked after. He thought, therefore, that it would be a very serious blow for the children and their parents, and also to the large number of people who enjoy the amusement and refreshment given to their serves by theatres in London, if the children were no longer to be allowed to pursue their career on the stage. He trusted that the House would agree to the Amendment, and that they would realise that, although the Grand Committee were unable to accept the Amendment moved by his hon. friend a few weeks ago, the Government had gone some considerable distance in arranging the difficulty, and that the Committee would now accept this clause.
New Clause (Incorporation and Amendment of S. 3, of 57 and 58 Vic, C. 41):
Section 3 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1894 (which regulates the employment of children in public entertainments), shall have effect as if re-enacted in this Act. Provided as follows:—(1) A licence under that section shall not be granted to any child under the age of nine years, and (2) any inspector or other officer charged with the execution of this Act shall have and may exercise all the
powers of an inspector of factories and workshops under that section, and that section shall apply accordingly."—(Mr. Secretary Akers Douglas.)
§ Brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
said in the Grand Committee upstairs there had been considerable discussion, and it was there he had first discovered that children—they might almost say babies—of seven years of age could obtain a licence from the magistrate to be employed in the great theatres and minister to the amusement, and, as he understood the Home Secretary to say, to the refreshment of the nerves of the audience. He was bound to say it was at this time that he received his instruction upon this matter from the hon. Member for South Manchester, who exhibited a great state of excitement, and expressed great lamentation to the Committee, and a great condition of horror in the contemplation that young children of seven years of age should be deterred from employment in theatres.
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S. W.)
said he supported his hon. friend when he suggested that the age should be raised. He was quite ready to agree to a much higher increase of age than from seven to nine.
§ MR. BROADHURST
thought the hon. Member was referring to a later stage of the discussion. It was he (Mr. Broadhurst) who suggested the nine years restriction, which was accepted by the Under Secretary to the Home Department. The hon. Member for Manchester had asked with horror what would happen to the British public if children of tender years were precluded from taking part in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." It was that which excited his (Mr. Broadhurst's) curiosity, and then he learnt for the first time that children of seven years of age could be employed in theatres.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman appears to me to be entering into the question of the Amendment which he 336 has on the Paper. The question before the House is the Second Reading of the Clause. After that has been carried, of course, the hon. Member could proceed to move and speak upon the Amendment.
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
said he sincerely hoped that the Home Secretary would not press this Clause upon the House of Commons. It was fairly discussed upstairs, and the Committee resolved almost unanimously that the Clause should not be passed. He thought, therefore, that it was too bad that a Clause of this kind under the circumstances should now be brought before the House by a member of the Government. Of course if the Home Secretary insisted upon the Clause there was no chance of its being defeated, because the Government supporters would vote as they were directed without knowing anything as to the merits of the question. What was really asked by the clause was that theatrical managers should be exempted from the provisions of the Bill, and that these young children should be deprived of the protection which this Bill would afford. There was no reason why these managers should have this special and particular favour at the hands of the Government. So far as the merits went there was a good deal said in the Grand Committee at the time on the whole question. So far as London was concerned the employment of children was merely a question of money. London managers employed children because they were cheap. It was a question of cheap child labour; they were employed in the place of grown-up ballet girls, who required higher wages.
The Member for South Manchester had made a statement that if a child of seven years were not employed it would be impossible ever again to produce "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Those who were as old as he would remember the admirable performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" given by Mr. Charles Kean. He had no children on the stage. The whole thing was performed by adult ballet girls, how were remarkably pretty and who had the 337 merit also of being respectable. That, of course, would be in the early Victorian days, when respectability was still supposed to be attractive. The children who were the subject of this Amendment were of three classes. They had heard up to now only about the first class of children. The first class were those who were regularly employed in London theatres and those of Manchester and Liverpool and other great towns. He had nothing to say against the employment of these children. He believed such persons as Miss Ellalaine Terriss and Mr. Beerbohm Tree treated the children extremely well. They were well cared for and well paid, for their age, and if that was the only class nothing further need be said. But there were two other classes of children of whom the Home Secretary did not know anything. First there were the touring children, and secondly there are the circus children. He had made inquiries about the touring child. They were children who were dragged from town to town, and so far from their being well cared for they were let out by drunken mothers who led them wretched lives, and they were given in charge of the woman who kept the theatre wardrobe or whoever else would take care of them at the cheapest possible price. They were not well paid, not taught at all, and were dragged about from town to town, living under the most miserable conditions and becoming objects of very great pity. He derived that information not from managers but from persons in the profession. He had letters written to him by persons in the profession who read what was being done in Grand Committee. What was true of the touring child was even more so, if possible, in the case of the circus child. He did not approve, in regard to this class of children, that the police magistrate should be the person to license the child. So far as London was concerned it did not so much matter, because no doubt arrangements were made in London by which children were brought up when there was nobody about. But in the country it was a very different thing. The touring company, as a rule, arrived on a Sunday, and the first thing on Monday morning these children were dragged before the police court amid drunken people, thieves, and so forth, to be licensed; and it was extremely undesirable that they should 338 be exposed to the atmosphere of a criminal court. Therefore, in the interests of the children themselves, he thought it was most desirable that the police magistrates should be relieved of the function of licensing them, and that it should devolve upon the local authorities to make such provision for these children as they did over every other child employed in their district. There was no reason why these children should be exempted from the law. The life they led, when they were dragged from place to place and introduced to the atmosphere of a criminal court, was not calculated to make them good citizens. The best proof of that was that no theatrical manager, either in London or the provinces, would allow his own children to be taken about by a travelling company or allow them to go upon the stage until they arrived at years of discretion. On that ground he hoped the House would reject the clause, and that the Home Secretary would allow these children to have the protection which this Bill was intended to give.
§ MR. TENNANT
said the House had been much impressed by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, who for so many years had had charge of the education of the children of this country. He wished to associate himself with most of the remarks that had fallen from him, and the many conclusions he had placed before the House. This so t of legislation was not directed against the good managers. They did not in this House legislate to protect people from good employers. Our factory legislation, so far as it was directed against a class, was directed against bad employers. Listening to the arguments expressed upon this subject upstairs in Committee, one would suppose that these children were of poor parents who could not win bread for their families, and that these children had necessarily to go out in order to earn money. But that was not the case. They were not the bread-winners but the beer-winners. Listening to these arguments one would suppose that the function of the law was to protect the parents, whereas the function of the law was to protect the children. A reverend gentleman in Soho, who was in the neighbourhood of a great many 339 theatres, stated that these children had to be employed in the theatres six or seven hours, and that they had to spend five hours in improving their minds in schools. He would like to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite how many of them would like their children to sit up night after night as these children do, and would like them to undergo these hours of what he might call "organised activity" every day? Mr. Seymour Hicks, manager of a large theatre in London, said that rehearsals might prevent attendance at school, but that when they did, school work would be "squeezed in" either by extra time on that day or by extra time the next day. Is that the right way to deal with the education of our children? The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the public demand for amusement and "refreshment of their nerves," but they ought not to place any such thing before the good of the child. The good of the child was the first consideration in a matter of this kind. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman when he said that the employment of children was mainly a commercial transaction.
§ *SIR FRANCIS POWELL
said that as his hon. friend has referred to the Act of 1894 he might refer to the section of the Act which dealt with this matter. The Act of 1894 especially provided for the most minute investigation of each case. The magistrate was bound to be satisfied as to the fitness of the child for the purpose. He was to be satisfied that proper provision had been made to insure the health and the kind treatment of the child taking part in the entertainment, and he was to see that the hours were not late, that they were suitable to the child, and that the restrictions and conditions were such as to satisfy the Court. He himself was of opinion that there was greater security for the well being of the children under the inspection of the magistrates under those conditions than there could be under any by-law. As regarded the children being dragged about, there was a new investigation in each town, and he was not willing to bring an allegation against the magistrates of the country that they neglected 340 their duty. He had before him the Report of the Departmental Committee which considered this matter, and the evidence appeared to him to be of a singularly weak character. Much of it was hearsay evidence and somewhat sentimental. But he did not think it would be a wise and generous act, nor a humane act, to unduly restrict the occupations of the people of the country. It was their duty to take every precaution that children should not be exposed to risks, and to act in a manner which would be for the benefit of the parents and the welfare of the children.
§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
said it was in the interests of the children of the country that they should not be allowed to stay for long hours in the theatres at early ages. The hon. Member for Manchester laughed.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said it was the issue. The Imperialist Party were always talking about bringing up an Imperial race. How could they expect to bring up an Imperial race if they allowed children of a tender age to work long hours in the theatres? The main objection to this clause was—not that the best theatres in London allowed the children to be ill-treated—but that in circuses and in many low-class theatres in London these children were not treated well. He asked the House to remember this was a commercial matter, or all this talk they heard about the widow was a bogey. What they were asked to pass was a clause dealing with a commercial matter, one by which they hoped to get a profit out of these young children.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said he served on the Standing Committee whilst this Bill was passed through, and he was under the impression that a goodly number of Members did not quite understand what the issue really was. If the House would look at the definition clause they would see that the expression "child" meant a person under the age of fourteen years. Now, 341 that was what they were dealing with to-night. He was not speaking about bye-laws, Clauses 1 and 2 dealt with bye-laws, but Clause 3 dealt with statutory provisions. First of all it said a child should not be employed between the hours of nine in the evening, and six in the morning. That was held to interfere with the managers of theatres in employing children. But the local authority under the same section had power to vary these hours, either generally or in any specified occupation. Let the House consider that this was not a Bill prohibiting a child under fourteen years being employed in a theatre. It was a Bill to prohibit a child from being employed between the hours of nine in the evening and six in the morning. And for the convenience of theatres the local authority might by bye-law vary these hours and permit employment. He failed to see what the Home Secretary meant by his new clause. He thought the only change it made was this, that at the present moment these children must be licensed by the magistrates individually, while under the new bye-law they would have to be licensed by the local authority. It seemed to him that the clause was not required. There had been a great outcry by theatrical managers and other people, and those who had been fighting neither against the rights of theatres nor against the employment of children in the theatres had been charged with Puritanism. [An HON. MEMBER: I never heard it.] No, but he had read it. All he could say was, that he was not in the least ashamed of the charge of Puritanism. He was not a Puritan in the sense that Sir Henry Irving meant, but he was sure Puritanism had done more for England than Sir Henry Irving and the stage had done. And he was not to be deterred by having the word Puritanism flung at him from dealing with a Bill which did not prohibit children from acting in a theatre, but saw that they were placed under proper authority, and that if possible the hours should be such as were good and not bad for them.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said he entirely agreed with his right 342 hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University in opposing the clause. He did not speak particularly as a Puritan himself, but simply as a person who really had at heart the health and morals of these poor little children. Here was a Bill by which all children under the age of fourteen were not permitted to work in factories after nine o'clock. He wished to know why they should make an exception, and why the Home Secretary should step in with a clause to protect and benefit theatres. Surely it was absurd that they should make that exception merely for the amusement of persons who went to theatres. He had himself been behind the scenes of theatres; there was no particular harm, and he had arrived at an age when his morals were not in any way corrupted. But he agreed with those who said that they would not send their own children after nine o'clock to pass an evening behind the scenes. These children were employed mainly at pantomimes. When Sir Henry Irving came forward he spoke only of his own theatre, where there was a solemn tragedy, or something of that sort, going on, but a pantomime was a very different story. Then there were masses of people employed behind the scenes. The children were not ill-treated by any manner of means; they were rather petted; but, without being an excessive purist, he was bound to say that, owing to the language they would hear and to what was going on, though of no particular harm, it was not a place for children. The question was one solely of money. A grown-up girl cost £1 and a child cost 5s. a week. The theatres got the children from respectable persons who had them as apprentices, and who sent them out in gangs of ten, twenty, or thirty. It was said by some that a ballet was not so pretty without children as with them. He did not agree with that. He rather preferred grownup girls. They acted better, and they moved about better. He hoped the House would realise that this was purely a commercial question. Though the children were well-treated in London theatres, very frequently they were not well-treated in the travelling companies, which were got up by persons who had not very much money and who did not pay proper salaries, with the result that the children and the grown-up people got into difficulties in the different towns 343 they visited. The hon. Member for Wigan had said that he would leave it entirely to the magistrates to look into and decide in each particular case.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Yes, but the hon. Baronet praised the law. What did the magistrate know about the matter? Then the magistrates differed enormously in their decisions of these matters. It was not always a question of poverty. These were often the children of dressers and persons connected with the theatres. Theatrical managers had been representing the theatres as a sort of paradise for children; but, as men of the world, hon. Members knew that that was not the case. The hours were often very long—with two performances a day. The morning performance was from two to five, and the evening performance in the case of a pantomime, might be from seven till eleven. It meant about eight hours for them. But then there were rehearsals, which very often took three hours. The House should remember that these children very frequently lived at long distances from the theatre at which they were engaged. What could these children do for their education if they had to work eleven hours? He thought it was infinitely better that they should lay down a general law that no child should be allowed to work after the hour of nine o'clock, whether in the factory or the theatre.
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)
said the position was that they were asked to say that a local authority or magistrate should have the power to license children to perform in theatres at the early age of nine years, and upon that he hoped a vote would be taken by the House. While he did not agree that these children in theatres were always the children of dissolute parents, many of them knew what poverty was, no doubt, and the parents were glad to get the earnings of the children. But he could say this, that often the children employed in some of the theatres went to school next day thoroughly unfit for their work. It was not altogether that 344 they were tired, but they were suffering from nervous excitability, which unfitted them for their work. During the pantomime season these children were doing no good at school at all, and their school life was being wasted. They were thinking always of the theatre or of the next rehearsal—never of their work in school. But when he recollected the conditions under which these children lived he admitted it was difficult to form a conclusion whether the condition of the child or the parents should weigh with the House. The difficulty was not in London; it was with the small companies that went up and down the country and carried with them two or three small children of very tender years. He would do anything he could to stop the possibility of licences being granted to children under nine years of age going about with these travelling companies. He knew that pressure was often brought to bear on the magistrates because the children had often been licensed in half-a-dozen other towns previously. To his mind nothing could be more injurious to girls of tender years than to have to go into some of the dressing-rooms where adults were preparing for the stage. These children travelled from one town to another in winter. They travelled about on the Sunday to get lodgings; they went before the magistrates on Monday morning to get licensed; they were called for a rehearsal—sometimes for two—and then they went to the stage on Monday evening. They were then carried along to another town where much the same conditions might prevail. He could not conceive anything more likely to injure the moral character of young children than this. Nor was there any necessity for it. Why, years ago children were never employed in theatres at all. If they employed older persons they would be better able to withstand temptation than these young children could. The cry of poverty might be overcome by the proper payment of children of maturer years, and it seemed to him that the interest of theatres would not suffer. From what he had seen of these children, and from what he had heard from young adults, who had been travelling children, and who had told him what they went through as children in going about to provincial towns—it was perfectly clear 345 that the records of these little children's lives were so dreadful that if the Members of the House understood what they really were like they would not spend time in discussing this question, but would decide that nine was far too early an age at which to employ these children. If this Amendment was pressed to a division he should be compelled to vote against it. But he hoped they might save such a position as that by a little modification of the Home Secretary's clause. Any attempt to jump in advance of public opinion would ruin the object they had in view. They must be prepared to go step by step, but he did think it was absurd to say that children of seven years were required in theatres, and it was monstrous that justices should ever have granted licences to children of seven years. Girls and boys of nine years were by this clause still to be carried about under these deplorable conditions, and still they were to expect them to be moral and respectable citizens in years to come. If one of them survived an ordeal of this character it was more by chance than by any protection afforded the children by the Government. He hoped the Home Secretary would raise the age of the children a little beyond nine years.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said he desired to support the speech of the last hon. Member. He did so mainly because as a member of the Grand Committee on Trade he had followed the subject under discussion, particularly from the point of view of the hon. Member. In doing so he had in his mind what he suggested to the Home Secretary would happen. He told the right hon. Gentleman that certain managers of London and provincial theatres, claiming to speak for the profession, had regarded this particular Bill as an attempt to handicap theatrical children and to place the theatrical profession in a position of great disadvantage. He reminded the Home Secretary at the Second Reading of the Bill that the sense of the House was in favour of strengthening the Bill rather than of weakening it; and he had warned him to beware of outside agitation carried on mostly by correspondence in the papers, especially 346 in the columns of the Daily Telegraph. He now asked the House of Commons not to be influenced by the agitation carried on by people, mainly managers, whose interests in the profession were mainly financial rather than artistic or dramatic. He had never sat on a Grand Committee on Trade which was so unanimous. They had evidence from Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and all quarters, who spoke with authority on this matter, and the local education authority were also unanimous for the equal treatment of all children. He would ask the hon. Member for Manchester not to always assume that the House of Commons was wrong and that he was right in regard to child labour. The whole of the local authorities who had the education of children under their charge were in favour of the spirit and letter of the Bill as it left the Grand Committee. They were all indebted to Dr. Macnamara, as Chairman of the Schools Committee of the London School Board, who gave special attention to the subject, and brought before them evidence which warranted them in supporting the line they took, the object of which was to raise the tone and standard of child employment, and which met with general approval in the theatrical profession. The issue had been clouded; to use a recent phrase, a "false issue" had been presented to the public. The financial managers in the theatrical profession represented that they wanted to make it illegal for children to be employed at all. That was not so. The only thing the Grand Committee wanted was equal rights for all white children, whether they were engaged on the boards, in the factory, the workshop or the street. It did seem to him that a profession which could afford handsome salaries—and some promoters gave excessively large salaries to some actresses, who were better paid as models than as dramatic exponents—ought not to ask that their profits should be advanced to the detriment of children of the immature age of seven or nine. Would anyone contend that the capacity of a child of seven, whether in a "Midsummer Night's Dream" or "Twelfth Night," was sufficiently developed to give an intelligent interest to the audience in what that child did or said? Frequently they came on, spoke their little part in a wooden sort of way, and off they went. They were 347 mere automatons. It was not done so well as it would be by boys or girls of thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen.
What was more, this attempt to bring children almost in arms on the stage is a modern invention. If the hon. Member for Manchester knew anything about the ancient Greek or Elizabethan drama, he would know that no women or children were allowed on the stage, and that male parts were generally restricted to adults. And had the hon. Member lived in those glorious days he would have been selected on the spot either for the part of Mine Ancient Pistol or Sir John Falstaff. He would be the last person in the world to accuse Mr. Beerbohm Tree of being anything but as kind, as genial, and as generous to the children as he believed he was. With regard to one of the best friends the stage had ever had—viz., Sir Henry Irving—no one would insinuate that a gentleman of his kindly temperament could be anything but kind to children, however old or young they were. It was a mistake to found general laws on the generosity of a few. Laws were for the mean and ungenerous on behalf of the weak. But the point was, that children were engaged in large numbers of London and provincial theatres for a month or two months. Before a pantomime was produced those children very frequently had from two to four hours' rehearsal—from ten in the morning till one or two in the afternoon. They then went home to sleep; they went back to the theatre at 7, and probably did not leave until 11 or 11.30, when they had to take the omnibus, or the County Council all-night tram, home to the woman or man looking after them. When matinées were given these children were seven, nine, and sometimes ten and twelve hours away from home, and he held that in the case of children of from seven to nine years of age it was monstrous that they should allow it, when the same work could be done better by elder boys and girls. The Home Secretary admitted that the age of seven was too low, and the theatrical profession, as a concession to the Committee, were quite prepared that it should be raised to nine. He thought nine was too low. It ought to be thirteen or fourteen at least. In his opinion the magistrates were incapable of doing the work required by the Bill properly. He made no reflection on the magistrates, speaking 348 generally. They did their work exceedingly well and sympathetically. The theatrical profession insisted that the magistrates should grant the certificates and licenses. And why? Because they knew very well that the local authority responsible for looking after the education of all other grades of children, from which the theatrical children ought not to be exempt, were a more efficient body for this particular purpose. They knew the best schools the theatrical children could go to; they knew the line of least resistance both to the public and the children, better than the magistrates. The local authority would in the interests of the children apply the law more efficiently than the magistrates, and that was why the theatrical profession conceded two years to the minimum age, with the gallant Member's hope that the Home Secretary would do what he was sorry to say he had done—attempted to overturn the decision of the Grand Committee on Trade by a decisive majority. He trusted the House would remember what the vicar of the theatrical quarter of Soho said in his letter to The Times—viz., that there was overwhelming evidence that the age was too low, that the education of the children was neglected, and that they were subjected to physical, mental, and moral disadvantage. He knew that the House of Commons was the friend of the drama, and that hon. Members sometimes had a night out, or a night off, at the theatre. This was not a question of the Puritan against the other fellows; it was a matter of their kindliness on behalf of children who where unable to help themselves. He trusted that the House of Commons would endorse the practically unanimous desire of the Grand Committee, and save them from the scandal of theatrical children being employed at the tender ages of six to seven and nine. He had a boy between seven and eight. He was a sturdy youngster, with all his mother's beauty and his father's virtues, but sturdy though he was, he should be very reluctant to see that little lad having to go to Drury Lane at ten o'clock in the morning, and that he himself should have to open the door for him at one o'clock in the morning on his return home from Westminster. They had a right to apply the same doctrine of commisseration to other people's children which they asked for their own.
§ *DR. HUTCHINSON (Sussex, Rye)
said he wished to speak, not as a philanthropist, or as a Puritan, but as one of the few medical men of the House, and to raise his voice against the employment of children in theatres. If there was one class of employment for children which developed their nervous system as against their physical system, it was this theatrical employment. What was wanted in this country was an improvement in the physique of the people, but if we let these little children be brought up in the nervous surroundings of the theatrical stage we would produce a class of neurotics. Therefore he entered his strongest protest against the employment of these young children in theatres.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said that this was a subject in which he had some interest. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman who had put this Amendment on the Paper would learn what a good many of them had learned in Parliamentary life, and that was, the uselessness of endeavouring to bring two points of opinion together which were absolutely irreconcilable; that it was very little use endeavouring to bring about a compromise with opponents of the employment of children in theatres when those hon. Gentlemen had made up their minds that under no circumstances whatever would they have any compromise. The issue as to whether the children should be employed after nine o'clock in the evening, and not before ten o'clock in the morning, was not raised at the present stage. The issue to be decided by the House was whether the jurisdiction of the magistrates was to be preserved, or whether it should be handed over to the local authorities. From a practical point of view there should be no difficulty about it. If they were to hand over the discretion to the local authorities it should be an absolute discretion. There was nothing more necessary in the administration of a law of that kind than that there should be equal administration as between the rich and the poor, and as between locality and locality. Since this matter had been brought to his notice he had taken considerable trouble to inquire, not only in London but throughout the country, as to what happened in regard to children in the theatres. He 350 did not believe that the terrible things that had been depicted really existed. The hon. Member for Battersea had paid a well-deserved tribute to Mr. Beerbohm Tree and Sir Henry Irving, but they were no exceptions to the general rule. The hardship and suffering supposed to be inflicted on children were altogether overdrawn in the accounts given of their employment. Managers were not the inconsiderate tyrants the right hon. Member for Cambridge University had described.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the early Victorian days, when respectability was supposed to be the fashion.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
asked what was the object of the right hon. Gentleman in drawing attention to that matter, except to cast a slur on present theatrical managers?
§ MR. GALLOWAY
suggested that they had better agree to differ. His right hon. friend gave him the impression that he reflected very severely on theatrical managers, who did as a rule treat the children kindly and gave them opportunity for education. It was now admitted that theatrical managers did look after the children. The question the House had to decide was not whether children should be employed in theatres, but whether a now authority should be substituted for the existing authority. In view of the fact that theatrical managers did see that the children were properly educated, and given such a start as would be of the utmost benefit to them in their future careers, he failed to see why they should give to some scientific local authority a power to refuse licences which otherwise the managers would be able to get from magistrates in the exercise of their judicial authority. He hoped the Home Secretary would adhere to the principle of the clause.
§ MR. SPEAR (Devonshire, Tavistock)
appealed to the Home Secretary not to modify this clause. The solicitude for children was, in his opinion, one of the most hopeful features in modern legislation. The restrictions upon the employment of children would cause some inconvenience to agriculture, but in the interest of the children that must be submitted to. He objected strongly to exception being made for employment of children in theatres, employment far more harmful to children than agriculture, and he held that no partiality should be shown for one industry over another. Least of all should there be any partiality shown to the theatrical interest.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said some of the opponents of the clause spoke as if the object of the Government were to impose some conditions which made it easier to employ children in theatres. This was the opposite of the truth. The Bill was intended to protect children in every possible way. But in these matters they must proceed by slow degrees. It would be a monstrous thing to put a sudden stop to the industry by which, after all, a certain number of children were obtaining an honest livelihood. The alteration of the age limit and the powers of inspection given to the local authority increased the protection given to the children and the possibility of dealing with cases of hardship such as
§ had been referred to. One magistrate, Mr. Mead, had drawn up certain rules to regulate such employment of children as he licensed, and if these orders were carried out they would substantially meet the desires of the House. They wished to ensure that these orders would be properly carried out, and this clause, in his opinion, provided that there should be efficient inspection. He hoped the House would agree that it was not desirable at one blow to prevent these children from earning an honest livelihood.
§ SIR BRAMPTON GURDON (Norfolk, N.)
said it had been suggested that agriculturists stood in a different position from theatrical managers because they desired to employ children during school hours, whereas theatrical performances did not interfere with school work. That was a mere quibble, for the children who were employed until half-past ten or eleven o'clock at night could to school not be in a fit condition to at nine o'clock in the morning. Children under twelve years of age ought not to be allowed to earn their own living. He hoped the Home Secretary would give way.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided; Ayes, 139; Noes, 116. (Division List No. 130.)353
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Garfit, William|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby- (Salop|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cranborne, Viscount||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Grenfell, William Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Crossley, Sir Savile||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dalkeith, Earl of||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Bill, Charles||Denny, Colonel||Guthrie, Walter Murray|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx|
|Bond, Edward||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Brassey, Albert||Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Doughty, George||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Butcher, John George||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ.||Duke, Henry Edward||Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Somrst E.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hoult, Joseph|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Fisher, William Hayes||Johnstone, Heywood|
|Chapman, Edward||Flower, Ernest||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Forster, Henry William||Keswick, William|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fyler, John Arthur||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. N. R.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Pemberton, John S. G.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Percy, Earl||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Plummer, Walter E.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. Univ.|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Valentia, Viscount|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkmam||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Purvis, Robert||Webb, Col. William George|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Rankin, Sir James||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Reid, James (Greenock)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|M'Calmont, Colonel James||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson|
|Milvain, Thomas||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Wylie, Alexander|
|Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Mount, William Arthur||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud)||Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Partington, Oswald|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Brigg, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Holland, Sir William Henry||Russell, T. W.|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Burns, John||Joicey, Sir James||Shackleton, David James|
|Burt, Thomas||Jones, William (Carnarv'nshire||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Caldwell, James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Joyce, Michael||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Kearley, Hudson, E.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Crean, Eugene||Kennedy, Patrick James||Spear, John Ward|
|Cremer, William Randal||Labouchere, Henry||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Crooks, William||Langley, Batty||Stock, James Henry|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardign||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sullivan, Donal|
|Delany, William||Leng, Sir John||Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Levy, Maurice||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lundon, W.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Dillon, John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Crae, George||Tomkinson, James|
|Duffy, William J.||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Markham, Arthur Basil||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan)||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Wilson, J. W. (Worcester., N.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Murphy, John||Younger, William|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Myers, William Henry||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norman, Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Foster, Sir Michl. (Lond. Univ||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Sir John Gorst and Mr.|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||O'Dowd, John||Tennant.|
§ MR. BROADHURST
said he did not know whether in view of the result of the division which had just taken place the Home Secretary would be inclined to accept his Amendment. 354 If he showed any signs of a willingness to accept his proposal he would not trouble the House further. It was quite evident from the division that had just taken place that the opinion of the House was 355 in favour of a large measure of further protection for children employed in theatres. He was surprised to learn that children of such tender years as seven should be licensed to take part in theatrical performances. He understood that these children were introduced into the different plays and pantomimes solely for the purpose of administering to the pleasures and amusement of adult audiences. That was a condition of things that ought not to exist, and grown-up men and women ought to be ashamed of desiring the employment of infants for their amusement and pleasure. This class of work could not be defended upon any ground whatever as suitable employment for children of from seven to nine years of age. Before the Grand Committee upstairs he suggested that nine would be better than seven, and the Under Secretary in charge of the Bill agreed with him, and the Government adopted his suggestion and made it nine. It might be said that he ought to be satisfied with that concession. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Hear, hear."] At that time his state of ignorance as to theatre work and the nature of this employment was such that he thought to make the limit nine would be a considerable advance, but since then he had heard so much more about the question that he thought he was perfectly justified in submitting an Amendment substituting twelve for nine as the limit of the age at which children should be employed on the stage. The hon. Member for West Ham, whose authority to speak upon the necessity of rest for children between school hours for the educational purposes could not be denied, had shown to the House with great force how this class of employment excited the brains of the children, and how it absolutely unfitted them for their school work the next day. It had been shown by the hon. Member for Northampton that a child was liable to eleven or twelve hours employment in its profession as an actor. If his hon. friend was right in that contention a child employed in that way had no hours left whatever for education. They could not put a child for four or five hours a day to study in school after it had been employed for eleven hours in the exciting work of rehearsals and performances on the stage.
§ MR. BROADHURST
said the hon. Member for Northampton had shown that a child was liable to be employed for eleven or twelve hours a day. The hon. Member for Northampton had probably had as much experience in these matters as the hon. Baronet the Member for Peckham, and he preferred the authority of his hon. friend. Under these circumstances he submitted with confidence his Amendment raising the age from nine to twelve. He had been severely criticised by a number of actors for interfering with a state of things which enabled children at seven years of age to be employed, whereas no other form of industry or profession was allowed to employ children under fourteen years of age. No case had been made out why a special clause should be given in favour of child labour in theatres beyond and above what was given to other employers of labour. Many of those theatres were great profit-making concerns, and were quite capable of paying the full price for adult labour or for the labour of young persons. In his judgment twelve years of age was quite low enough to allow for this special kind of employment. He did not propose to detain the House any longer, because he was anxious that this Bill should go through. He thought the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department would give him credit for having done his best to promote the progress of this Bill during the Committee Stage upstairs. He was anxious that the Bill should become law, and he only desired to make it better law, and give greater protection to the young. In his judgment, if the Home Secretary would agree to accept his Amendment he would find an almost universal approval, not only in the House but throughout the country, that he was taking a wise and reasonable step. He agreed that it was not wise to make too great a change all at once, but his proposal was a reasonable one, and he hoped the Home Secretary would see his way to accept it.
In line 5, to leave out the word 'nine,' and insert the word 'twelve.'"—(Mr. Broadhurst.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'nine' stand part of the clause."357
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
thought that after the division which had just taken place there was not much use in carrying this question further. The division was a rather remarkable one, but if the Home Secretary could see his way to make some concession on this point he thought that it would facilitate the progress of the measure.
§ *MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said he was never blind to appeals which had behind them the general sense of the House. He understood that in Grand Committee the hon. Member for Leicester himself suggested "nine" as the age. Amid the diversity of opinion he had great difficulty in coming to an agreement on the subject, but in order to show that he was not entirely beyond compromise he would agree to accept "ten."
§ MR. BROADHURST
said that in view of the conciliatory speech of the Home Secretary he would accept the concession made and asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In line 5, to leave out the word 'nine' and insert the word 'ten.'"—(Mr. Broadhurst.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'nine' stand part of the clause."
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Surely the Home Secretary could go a little further. Why had he come down to ten? The right hon. Gentleman said that if he went beyond nine he would get the support of the bulk of the Members of the House.
§ *MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said he had stated nothing of the sort. He said that nine was agreed to as a compromise before the Grand Committee. He hoped the hon. Member would not press this point. He had made a reasonable concession and he could not go further.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said he should move twelve after ten had been accepted. He said these children were mainly employed in pantomimes which did not finish until very nearly twelve o'clock. A great many of the children lived a considerable distance from the theatres, and really it 358 was too much to ask that a child of ten years of age should be kept up in a theatre until such a late hour.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would realise that it was useless to attempt to make compromises with hon. Gentlemen opposite. The hon. Member for Leicester in the Grand Committee agreed to accept the age of nine. Personally, he was quite prepared to go farther than that, but nine was accepted as a compromise. The age had now been extended a year. A limit must be put to these attempts to compromise, and the right hon. Gentleman had better adhere to the provision of the Bill.
§ MR. THEODORE TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
said he was extremely anxious to see the Bill carried. But though the supporters of the measure would rather the age were fixed at fourteen, they recognised what the Home Secretary had said, and were only too glad to accept ten, because they believed the right hon. Gentleman intended to make the Bill as good a Bill as he could and to carry with him the support of as large a section of the House as possible. Personally, the only part of the work of the House he enjoyed was the Committee work upstairs, and he desired to support it in every way he could. There party spirit had been to a large extent eliminated, and these proposals were not made in any party spirit at all.
§ *MR. TENNANT
dissented from the view that there were measures of greater importance waiting to be dealt with by the House. He looked upon the measure under discussion as being as important as any before the House, and to prove his anxiety that it should pass he appealed to the hon. Member for Northampton not to press his proposed Amendment.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
asked whether he would be in order in proposing the insertion of "twelve" in the place of "ten" after the latter limit had been inserted.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said he should first put the Question, "That 'nine' stand part," which he presumed would be negatived by general consent. He would then put the Question "That 'ten' be inserted." The hon. Member could not move an 359 Amendment to that, but if he succeeded in getting it negatived there would be a blank in the clause, and the hon. Member could move to fill that blank by the insertion of "twelve."
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said in that case he would risk losing the limit of ten; therefore he contented himself by protesting against the provision.
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY
said that while he hoped the House would accept the suggestion of the Home Secretary, it must not go forth to those particularly interested in theatrical work that the House of Commons proposed to allow the age to remain at the limit of ten. The proposal would be accepted now, because it was realised that progress in matters of this sort must be by degrees. Fourteen years ago Mr. Matthews, the then Conservative Home Secretary, was defeated because he resisted the raising of the age for half-time labour to eleven, and he was not at all sure the same fate would not have befallen the present Home Secretary had he gone to a division on this matter. He was glad, however, that that had been avoided, but he desired it to be distinctly understood that he reserved his right of moving, in subsequent sessions, a higher age limit than ten.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
supported the view of the hon. Member for West Ham. He believed that if many Members had not thought that the carrying of the last Amendment would have meant the loss of the Bill the Home Secretary would have been defeated. The Bill, he held, would have to be amended in an early session. The House had no right to impose on agriculture and other industries, which did not make the money which the theatrical profession made out of child-labour, a standard of thirteen or fourteen years, and to enable this lucrative profession to put children to work at the age of ten. He hoped that eventually thirteen would be made the minimum age at which children could be employed for theatrical purposes.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Word "ten" inserted.360
§ Clause as amended added.
Clause (Limitation of time)—
With respect to summary proceedings for offences and tines under this Act and any by-law made thereunder the information shall be laid within three months after the commission of the offence."—(Sir Francis Powell.)
§ Brought up, and read the first and second time, and added.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
moved the insertion of a new clause, the object of which was to give County Councils power to delegate their powers of making by-laws to any borough or district council within their areas. If a County Council did not desire to put the Act into force throughout the whole of its area, it could then empower the council of a borough or district to make by-laws suited to its particular needs, without any outside interference. In his own county there was a large watering-place of over 20,000 inhabitants, which, unfortunately, would be unable to make its own by-laws, because at the time of the census of 1901 it was just under the 20,000 limit. But that was just one of the places in which it would be desirable to have special by-laws applicable to its own particular circumstances, and it was to meet such cases as that he moved this new clause.
Clause (Delegation of power to make by-law)—
The County Council of any county may, if it thinks fit, delegate its powers to make by-laws under this Act to any Borough or District Council within its area."—(Sir. Edward Strachey.)
§ Brought up and read the first time.
§ Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY
hoped the Home Secretary would not accept this proposal. It seemed to hold out the prospect of the same confusion as had been experienced in regard to school attendance by-laws, where a multitude of small authorities enjoyed the right of making by-laws, with the result that the by-laws differed in effect and object, and were a source of endless worry to magistrates, confusion to parents, and dissatisfaction generally. One of the merits of the Education Act 361 of last year was that it did away with that condition of things, and he hoped that the same local authority as formed the regulations dealing with children within school-hours would have the duty of laying down the conditions under which the children should work out of school-hours. It was eminently desirable that the power of making the whole of the regulations should be vested in the one authority.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
regretted he could not support his hon. friend. This was a matter which required to be looked at from the point of view, not of a small locality, but of a larger area, such as that of the County Council. It was a matter of considerable importance, requiring a large and enlightened view of policy, and that large view was more likely to be obtained in a County Council than in a District Council.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
pointed out that they were not dealing with such a question as education, which was uniform throughout the country, but with the labour and earnings of the poor, and even the poorest classes. He would look with the greatest apprehension on this Bill if uniformity was to be imposed. In the smaller areas the requirements were altogether different to those in the larger areas. He objected to allowing a central authority to make by-laws for districts they knew nothing about. The Bill would be good or bad according to the nature of the local authority that had to administer it. He had the greatest faith in the councils of boroughs to 362 make by-laws suited to their localities, and unless such a power were given there would be confusion of administration, and great hardship would be inflicted on the children in agricultural districts. He appealed to the hon. Baronet to withdraw his Amendment in order that the matter might be dealt with on the definition clause. He hoped when the House reached that clause the Government would revert to the original proposal of the Bill, which was the only logical provision—viz., that the councils which knew the needs of their localities should have the making of the by-laws.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
thought the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had gone very far beyond the Amendment. The only question raised by the Amendment was whether or not the County Council was fit to make by-laws with regard to every district within its area. ["No."] Surely it was not desirable that in a county where there were thirty different authorities there should be a possibility of thirty different sets of by-laws. That would certainly not be for the convenience of the public, and the confusion and ignorance of the law to which it might lead would probably result in more hardship than the provisions of the Bill. County Councils were not so ignorant of the needs of the different parts of their respective areas as the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think. Under the Local Government Act, the County Councils constantly made by-laws for different parts of the county; and he could not see why, under this Bill, there would be any difficulty in the matter.
§ *MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said he would appeal to the hon. Gentleman not to press the clause. It was not at all necessary, and would only give rise to serious complications.
§ Question put.363
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 14; Noes,
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Helme, Norval Watson||Tomkinson, James|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Joicey, Sir James||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Kearley, Hudson E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Labouchere, Henry||Sir Edward Strachey and|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Philipps, John Wynford||Mr. Markham.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Levy, Maurice|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Flower, Ernest||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Forster, Henry William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. Man'r||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fyler, John Arthur||M'Crae, George|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Galloway, William Johnson||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Garfit, William||Manners, Lord Cecil|
|Bignold, Arthur||Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Bill, Charles||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Black, Alexander William||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Bond, Edward||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Milvain, Thomas|
|Brassey, Albert||Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby- (Salop||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Brigg, John||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Grenfell, William Henry||Mount, William Arthur|
|Burns, John||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.|
|Caldwell, James||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ||Gurdon, Sir William Brampton||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Myers, William Henry|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hall, Edward Marshall||Norman, Henry|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr-Tyd||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Partington, Oswald|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwick)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Chapman, Edward||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Percy, Earl|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hayter, Rt. Hon Sir Arthur D.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Heaton, John Henniker||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Henderson, Sir Alexander||Purvis, Robert|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Somerset, E||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Hogg, Lindsay||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cremer, William Randal||Hoult, Joseph||Ridley, Hon M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Crooks, William||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Johnstone, Heywood||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Jordan, Jeremiah||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Delany, William||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Keswick, William||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Langley, Batty||Runciman, Walter|
|Doughty, George||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Russell, T. W.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan)||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)||Sullivan, Donal||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund, Lyne|
|Shackleton, David James||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Wilson, J. W. (Worcester., N.)|
|Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyneside||Thomas, J. A. (Glam. Gower)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)||Thorburn, Sir Walter||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Spear, John Ward||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Stevenson, Francis S.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Stock, James Henry||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Webb, Col. William George||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
Lords Amendment to be considered forthwith; considered, and agreed to.
§ 228. (Division List No. 131.)365
§ *MR. TENNANT
said that the Amendment he desired to move dealt with the question whether it should be compulsory on local authorities to make by-laws. The Committee upstairs came to the conclusion that it would be wiser to make it compulsory. One of the strongest supporters of that view was the hon. Member for Manchester who, on the Second Reading of the Bill, said that if those regulations were to be made at all it was essential that they should be compulsory. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife on the Second Reading also said that in order to obtain uniformity it was of great importance that the local authorities should be compelled to issue those by-laws. No doubt, the local authorities in the great towns, such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, would act properly; but there were other local authorities which would not conform to the standard that would be set by them. He would be prepared to withdraw his Amendment in favour of the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University, which provided that it should be the duty of every local authority to issue by-laws.
Amendment proposed 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. AKERS DOUGLAS
said that in Grand Committee the word "shall" was inserted instead of "may"; and he now proposed to ask the House to reinsert "may." The word "shall" was inserted by nineteen votes to seventeen; but when the same point arose in Clause 2 it was decided the other way by twenty-one votes to fourteen; and the word "may" was now in Clause 2. On the Second Reading of the Bill the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife said that one of the chief reasons why he supported the Bill was because it was optional, and it was the view of the Government that the County Councils and the urban authorities should not be compelled to make those by-laws. Moreover children might be employed in an industry in one district under conditions which would not require the making of by-laws at all; and he did not think that it was the view of the House that the Bill should be of a compulsory or cast-iron character. He had sufficient trust in the local authorities to leave the matter to them. They were the proper authorities to decide whether or not by-laws were required in their own districts.
§ MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
said he also trusted the local authorities, but the object of his Amendment was to make it quite clear that the local authorities should not disregard the matter, and that it should be the duty of each local authority to decide the matter for itself. Otherwise, some local authorities would be negligent; and it was for them that the law was intended.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said that the question at issue was whether the Bill should be compulsory or not. It was obvious it could not be decided in the few minutes that remained, and he would therefore move the adjournment of the debate.
§ *MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said that that question should be addressed to the First Lord of the Treasury. It was quite clear, however, it could not be proceeded with during the present week.
§ Bill, as amended, to be further considered to-morrow.