§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)
said that in asking the House to read this Bill a second time, he desired with the indulgence of the House to state briefly a few reasons why this Bill had become necessary. He did not propose to go at any length into the history of trade unions and their position before the law, he would only briefly say that in the reign of Edward III. Parliament enacted that:—Every person able in body, under the age of sixty years, not having means to live on, and being required, shall be bound to serve him that doth require him, or else be committed to the gaol until he find surety to serve; and if a workman or servant left his service before the time agreed upon he should be imprisoned.In the time of Elizabeth they found Statutes of Apprentices and Statutes of Labourers containing provisions equally infringing on freedom of contract. A master was fined 40s., the labourer was liable to imprisonment for the same offence. Before the passing of the Master and Servants Act, the employer could proceed by way of a warrant, but the workman must proceed by way of a summons; so that the law before it was altered in 1867, was in this state. The remedy against the employer was entirely 205 civil, but the remedy against a workman was entirely criminal. In the year 1871 they had the Trade Union Act, which legalised for the first time the objects of trade unions. That Act, with the amending Act of 1875, became the charter of trade unions; and for the first time an approach was made in the direction of equality at law as between employer and workman. For more than twenty years the law was administered according to the intentions of Parliament. The opinions of employers and workmen, and also of the legal profession, were at one in regard to what actions were legal and what were illegal. Then to the surprise of trade unionists, and he might say to the legal profession, decisions were given in every case limiting the power and action of trade unions. What were the reasons for this change of opinion they were at a loss to know. That it was a great change no one could deny, and that it put a serious limit on the actions of trade unionists was admitted on all sides. That brought him to the first Clause of the Bill, which sought to reestablish the law of picketing as it was understood to be, after the passing of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875. He noticed that the Employers'' Parliamentary Council, in a circular dated 29th April, stated that their object was—To legalise intimidation when trades disputes are in contemplation, or during the continuance.This view of their position he entirely denied. The words of the clause clearly declared their intentions on this matter, and definitely stated their claims. But he thought another part of this circular clearly set forth what were the intentions of the employers. They state that the Court of Appeal decided on 20th December, 1898, that the words—To obtain or communicate information are to be understood in their ordinary and natural sense, and do not cover the totally different procedure of argument and persuasion.Exactly, that was just their point; and it was because they thought that Parliament intended they should have the right to argue and persuade that they pressed for a reestablishment of that right, and it was because the employers desired to prevent them having that right that they were 206 so jubilant at the decision in the case Lyons v. Wilkins. Now what were the intentions of Parliament when it passed the 1875 Act? The Home Secretary of the day, Mr. Cross (now Lord Cross), quoted the remarks of Mr. Russell Gurney, Q.C., at that time Recorder of London, and who, in charging the grand jury in the case the Queen v. Hibbert,. said—Among the acts forbidden by the Act of 1871 was this: The molesting or obstructing any person by watching or besetting any place where his business was carried on with a view to coerce such person to alter his mode of carrying on his business. The question was not whether they had endeavoured to cause them to alter their mode by themselves refusing to work, or by persuading others not to work; that they had a perfect right to do. The more important object that the workers had in view was to inform all comers who, for instance, might have been brought by advertisement of the existence of a strike, and to endeavour to persuade them to join it. All that was lawful so long as it was done peacefully.Mr. Cross endorsed this statement as to the intentions of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1875, not only so, but he afterwards had Mr. Gurney's full address printed and distributed to Judges and magistrates to show them how the Act should be interpreted. So clearly has this contention been impressed on the minds of legal gentlemen, that they had the hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General stating in this House last year that he—Defied any man to show that peaceful persuasion by itself imposed any liability, either civil or criminal. The statute of 1859 provided that peaceful persuasion by itself should not impose any penalty, and that the law as declared by that Statute still exists.The only difference between the right hon. Gentleman and the advocates of the Bill was that he said that his construction of law did exist, and they said it ought to exist. Unfortunately for them the hon. Gentleman did not hold the position which gave him the power to decide what the law was. He would quote another Gentleman whose opinion had great weight at present, because he had the power to make that opinion law. He referred to Lord Justice Kay. This was what he said in his judgment in the case Lyons v. Wilkins—I hold distinctly that it is illegal to picket the works or place of business of a man by persons who are distributed there for the 207 purpose of trying by persuasion to induce the workmen not to work for him any longer, or to induce people who want to work for him to abstain from entering into an agreement with him to do so.There was nothing there about "intimidation," "threats," or "violence."
He desired to give a few instances which arose on this question of peaceful persuasion which came under his own observation. He had in his mind a very important case in the cotton trade. A dispute occurred which was not about wages. They tried, as they always did, to settle the dispute by amicable arrangement. Several joint meetings were held, and ultimately the dispute developed, and the usual advertisements were issued. The advertisements stated that there was no dispute about wages, and that the standard rates were paid, with the result that persons desiring work naturally applied for it. But what were the facts? There were conditions which reduced the wages below the standard rates. It was necessary for the men to be able to meet the people applying for work, and to point out to them that, while it was perfectly true that there was no difficulty about the standard rates of wages, there were conditions which would reduce the wages below the wages paid in the district. That was a reasonable position for the operatives to take up. There was another case in which the employer refused to pay the rate of wages agreed upon by the two associations. A dispute arose, in circumstances in which the employers' association could not blame the operatives. The result was that almost, all the cotton weavers came out on strike. The over lookers were the fathers of some of the girls who had struck. Next day those men were sent for and the employer asked, "Where are your children." The reply was, "They are out on strike with the rest." "Bring them back to-morrow morning or leave yourselves" was the reply. Should employers be allowed to use persuasion of that kind because employees will not bring their children in to work? There was another case of a dispute in which the employer sent agents into Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the adjoining counties and offered workpeople from 5 per cent. to 208 10 per cent. better terms than were offered to the workers immediately concerned, and were the employers to be allowed to offer such inducements? These were illustrations of what occurred in many, if not all, their trade disputes. They did not object to this, but on the other hand, they claimed the right to put their side of the case before these workmen, and to induce them by all peaceable means to come on their side.
He now came to the second Clause of the Bill, which dealt with the subject of conspiracy. The clause in the 1875 Act dealing with this matter was as follows—An agreement or combination by two or more persons to do, or procure to be done, any act in contemplation of, or furtherance of, a trade dispute between employers and workmen, shall not be indictable as a conspiracy if such act committed by one person would not be punishable as a crime.This clause was understood to give to trades unions a position which made the right of combination a reality—The right conferred on two or more to do in combination what it is right for one to do.That was the bed-rock of their position. The sacrifice of this principle would mean that the word "union" would be a misnomer, and the rights conferred upon them by Act of Parliament a hollow sham. Again he would call the attention of the House to the intention of Parliament. He would call again as his witness Mr. Cross, who was the responsible Minister of the Government for the Bill of 1875. He said, referring to a Report of the Commissioners.The ruling of Baron Pollock was also brought before the Commissioners. He is reported to have directed the jury that if several workmen combined not to work with a particular person and refused to work for an employer unless he dismissed that workman, that would amount to a conspiracy at Common Law, a doctrine which would equally apply to masters agreeing not to employ a particular workman unless he left a particular society or union. The Commissioners did not choose to enter into the question whether that is a true interpretation of the law, but say if it is it ought to be changed, and with that opinion we, i.e., the Government, entirely agree.[An HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] An hon. Member cheered that. How did it work out? He would give an instance within his own personal knowledge. He had occasion one night to be up nearly 209 all night owing to sickness at home. He should have been at his work at six a.m.; he was a quarter of an hour late, and was informed that his services were no longer required. He had been an active worker in the trades union movement for fifteen years, but his employer did not tell him that that was the reason why he was discharged. That was typical of scores of cases; the employers were not so foolish as to give reasons why they discharged their men. He did not say it was as common to-day as it was fifteen or twenty years ago.
Was it seriously contended that workmen had not a right to terminate their contracts for any reason which might seem to them justifiable? If so, what was the meaning of the great lock-out of the engineers a few years ago? The workmen did not question the right of the employers on that occasion; why, then, should their right be questioned? It was said that the object of the workmen was to maliciously injure their employer. He denied that. The slightest acquaintance with the facts would disprove that contention. Workmen knew that strikes could only be entered upon as a last resort, and every means were tried before that extreme action was taken, and of all the strikes one might be connected with, certainly one brought about for the purpose of injuring an employer seemed to him to be the most suicidal, and he could not conceive of any set of workmen proposing such a strike, much less any official supporting it. No, Sir. The object of all strikes was to obtain an improvement in the wages or conditions of labour for the workmen, or to resist an attempt to reduce wages or put them in a worse position. Why should it be contended that what was known as a sympathetic strike was illegal? What occurred when an employer endeavoured to keep his machinery going during a dispute? He would give the House a case—the (Hyde) Winders case. The employer there was getting material from another firm. If the employer had a right to supply this material to another employer and thus help to defeat the workmen on strike, surely the workmen making this material had an equal right to say, either individually or collectively, "We refuse to assist you to defeat our fellow-workmen," and 210 to cease work if such action was found necessary, and the trade union also ought to be allowed to put the facts of the case before these workmen, and to ask them to cease work in defence of their fellows. In doing this their object was not to injure the employer, but to do exactly what the employer had done, namely, to get help from other sources. That help might be in the form of money grants, or in secession of work, whichever at the time was the most valuable. This action was said to be conspiracy. But how was this argument applied when dealing with cases which are not disputes between employers and workmen? Let them take the Mogul Steamship Company's case, the particulars of which were well known to the House. That Company sought by a rebate system to crush out all who were outside their "ring." Lord Herschell said in this case—The very object of the defendants was to induce shippers to contract with them and not to contract with the plaintiffs, and thus to benefit themselves at the expense of the plaintiffs, and to injure them by preventing them from getting a share of the carrying trade.Lord James—on the same case, said—Yet it was held by this House, [the House of Lords] that no action could be maintained, for the acts done were not unlawful, and the combination (or ring) was not a criminal conspiracy.How did this agree with the injunction granted by the Court of Appeal in the case Lyons v. Wilkins? One part of the terms of the injunction was—And also from preventing Schventhal or other persons from working for the plaintiffs by withdrawing his or their workmen from their employment respectively.Here they had it laid down that it was illegal to withdraw workmen from a firm who were assisting another firm which was in dispute with its workmen. In the same case Lord Justice A. L. Smith said—If there had been a trade dispute between Mr. Schventhal's workmen and himself, I apprehend that the trade union might have done as regards Mr. Schventhal exactly that which they did as regards Messrs. Lyons, and they might have called his men out. 'There was no dispute between Mr. Schventhal and his men; what the union did was not in furtherance of a trade dispute between him and his men.' That strike of the trade union against Schventhal was illegal.But that action was in furtherance of a trade dispute, and that employer was 211 acting in support of another employer; and it was easy to see that if the workmen lost their right to institute what was known as a sympathetic strike, one set of members might be used to defeat the legal and just objects of another set, who might be members of the same union. In regard to the Motion down on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for South-West Manchester, he had only to say that they looked upon it as a hostile Motion. It was put down originally on account of the Taff Vale case. In regard to the clauses in this Bill he did not admit that there was any necessity for the enquiry suggested. They held on the contrary that Parliament dealt with them twenty-eight years ago, and all that they required at the present time was that Parliament should re-state in clear terms the intentions of law as expressed by the responsible Minister of the Crown in 1875.
In conclusion he had to thank the House for the patient hearing they had given him, and to express the hope that His Majesty's Government would give their support to this very moderate and reasonable request. They desired this alteration of the law, in the interest of the good government of the country. The recent decisions had left in the minds of workmen a feeling that the law was unfair and unjust. The feeling roused by these decisions in the country could only be fully realised by those veterans in their movement who, like his two hon. friends the Members for Morpeth and Leicester, were amongst those who led the men in the struggle which obtained for them those lights which during the past six years had been whittled away.
§ MR. BELL (Derby)
said he rose to support the hon. Member who had so ably moved the Second Reading of the Bill. The historical account given of the laws of combination showed how unfairly and prejudicially they applied against labour in older days, and how in the years 1871 and 1875 this House conferred on trades unions in the country what were then thought to be equal rights with the employers. Until very recent years the employers, the workmen, and the most able lawyers were all of one opinion upon that subject, and it was left for him and the society he represented to be made the first victims 212 of the interpretation of the law by the highest Court in the land. As to the position of trades unions, what was most strange to him was that the law should have taken thirty years to determine whether the trades unions were liable in the manner they were now said to be. All they asked in this Bill was that trades unions should be allowed to picket. It was obvious to everybody that in many cases the picket of three or five was not so much a picket as a deputation. He had been a member of the deputation to the Home Secretary, and he did not notice that the right hon. Gentleman was at all frightened because that deputation consisted of more than one. The employers themselves would not listen to a single individual in the same way as they would to a deputation of a greater number who came with greater force and influence, and in all cases a picket was a deputation. Only the other day the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister met a deputation of 200 or 300 brewers. He could not say whether it was peaceful persuasion or intimidation that they resorted to, to extract from the right hon. Gentleman what he said in reply, but he did not believe that it was by intimidation, but by peaceful means, that they successfully persuaded him to give the reply which he had made. That was the real object of this Bill. There were many men who were unable to put forward their own case. That was one of the chief reasons why the employers of labour would not recognise the officials of trades unions, as they were skilled men who could put the matter forward, while if the matter was left to the employee himself the employer knew that from various reasons his workman was unable to put forward his own case. It was the same with a picket; where a number of men were imported into a dispute, one may not be able to persuade men so much as another. He was as honest as any hon. Member of the House, and would not ask for labour anything he was not prepared to concede to the employers, but they found themselves in this position—that acts which were illegal according to the judges when committed by the workmen were legal when done by the employer in the course of his business.
In the case of the Taff Vale strike the employers employed agents—the 213 agent was the secretary of the Free Labour Association. That agent himself went through all the public-houses of the East End of London collecting men, watched the prison doors and picked them up from there and took them down to Cardiff. They chartered two railway saloons and sent them down. He was advised that they were coming; met them at the station and spoke to them through the window. It was not suggested that he had said anything objectionable or wrong on that occasion, but he persuaded them not to take the places of the men who were out on strike. He told them of the strike and explained the cause of it, and successfully persuaded them not to work. The men replied to him and said their fares had been paid and their expenses had been found, and if they did not work they could not get back to London. He replied that if they decided not to work he would see that their fares were paid to London and their expenses paid for them. Twenty-eight men came out of the saloons owing to his peaceful persuasion, and he chartered the same saloon from the railway as brought them down, and gave them the balance over their fare which went to make a sovereign a-piece. That was said to be a criminal offence that he had committed, and his society was mulcted in thousands of pounds. If the railway people had a right to persuade men to come down to work, he contended that he had an equal right to persuade them not to work. He would give another illustration. An employer objected to workmen because they were members of a union. He had a perfect right to do so. If he did not like to employ union men, so long as he gave them proper notice, he had a right to discharge them, but a trades union man might say, "I will not work with a non-unionist"; and if an employer had 100 men, of whom 90 were trades unionists, who knew that by their union and their organisation their condition had been improved, and they said, "We are not going to work with non-union men," they advised the employer of his having ten non-union men there, and he could please himself whether he got rid of those non-union men or whether the trades union men 214 should cease to work. He submitted that they had a perfect right to do that, but it had been held to be illegal, because it had been alleged that it was doing the ten men an injury, whereas it had only been done to improve their own position.
Then there was the sympathetic strike. A sympathetic strike was illegal because, one section of men working with an employer, those men belonging to a trade union had approached their employer for some change in the condition and terms of their service. Not being successful, possibly a strike had taken place. Their fellows in another department, feeling that they are likely to lose the struggle, also go out on strike in the interests of their own trades union men. Such a strike was illegal, but there was nothing to prevent the employers locking out men when they found one or two other employers whose men were out on strike were not likely to turn the battle against their workmen. Thus when they came to compare the rights of the employers on the one hand, and those of the workmen on the other, the comparison was highly disadvantageous to the trades unions. A firm near Manchester found that a number of their men had joined a union, and notice was given to them that they must leave the union or be discharged. The result was that a number of the men left the union, but others refused; those who refused received notice to leave, and were prevented from obtaining employment elsewhere. If that right was conceded to the employers, surely the workmen should not be deprived of it. The workmen ought to have the same privileges as the employers, and to ensure that they should have them was the only object of the Bill. The Attorney-General had stated—Peaceable persuasion is perfectly innocent in itself, but, it is not so meritorious as to afford relief from the consequences of other wrongs which you do at the same time.All the trades unions desired was that when by peaceable persuasion they succeeded in getting a man to refuse to work for an employer, they should not be held guilty of any criminal offence. Violence or intimidation was sufficiently provided against in the Conspiracy Act. In 1901 the Employers' Parliamentary Council issued a pamphlet in which they urged that the Conspiracy Act of 1875 should be strengthened by the word 215 "street" in Clause 7 being held to include any harbour, railway station, canal, depôt, wharf, towing-path, public path, lake, common, or sea beach down to low water mark. Their modesty was shown by the fact that they stopped at low water mark, but the object was undoubtedly to render absolutely useless the efforts of trades unionists in disputes. If the employers would join hands with the labour representatives and endeavour to arrive at an understanding by which to put an end to disputes, great good might result, but instead of that, both sides spent their time, energy and money in devising schemes to fight each other. That was not in the interests of the trade and commerce of the country, nor was it in the interests of either employer or employed. Labour representatives desired to find some means by which these troubles should be prevented, but if it was necessary to fight them out to the bitter end, and the Employers' Parliamentary Council endeavoured to frame schemes by which the employers would have the upper hand, then the men would have to adopt precisely the same course. What a deplorable state of things it was that both sides should devote their energies to such a purpose! But that was not the object of the promoters of the Bill. They simply asked that they should have the same rights and privileges as the employers in conducting disputes, and he begged to second the Motion for the Second Reading.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Shackleton).
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S. W.)
asked for the indulgence of the House, not because he doubted the wisdom of the Motion he was about to make, but because he recognised the difficulty and intricacy of the subject with which he had to deal. According to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife, the lawyers themselves were unable to understand the state or the application of the law of conspiracy, and it was quite hopeless that he, a humble layman, should attempt to arrive at a definition where so many eminent authorities disagreed. The Second Reading of the Bill had been moved in speeches of great ability and moderation, containing nothing to which 216 the large majority of employers could take serious objection. He would endeavour to discuss the question in the same spirit, and to say nothing that would wound the feelings of the Labour representatives, who would understand, he hoped, that though he disagreed with them, he did so sincerely and honestly. The hon. Member for Clitheroe had put forward instances in which he alleged the law had operated unfairly as between master and workman. Those instances, as stated, appeared most unfair to the workman but the hon. Member had not stated the particular cases that were concerned. The instance in which the hon. Member alleged that he himself was dismissed, ostensibly because he was a quarter of an hour late, but really because he was a member of a trade union, if proved, dealt with a monstrously unfair action, and one which no employer with a proper sense of his duty towards the men or towards himself would for a minute think of doing. The Motion he had placed on the Paper was intended to include not only the points raised by the present Bill, but all the points in dispute between employers and workmen and the Legislature. His contention was that it ought to be known what the law really was, and the law ought to be so drawn as to give a privilege to neither master nor workman, but to deal equally with both. The Trades Unions Congress had sent to Members a statement pointing out how the law affected employers and workmen respectively. Although he was about to put forward a view of the law, it was not his own; he had taken the best advice he could, and while not suggesting he had a large number of authorities for it, he believed it was a view with which the majority of the lawyers present would agree. The hon. Member opposite appeared to confuse two issues, or to compare two things which, according to law, could not be compared—viz., the position of a trade union with that of an individual employer. He should have compared it with the position of the Federation of Masters. So far as the law stood he thought the hon. Member opposite had made a mistake in comparing the two things, for they were not alike. The law ought to be made equal if it was not equal at the present time, and he thought it was 217 rather strange that trades unions had never taken any of these cases into court in order to get a final decision on them.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
Surely some of the large trades unions with large funds at their disposal could well have afforded to risk the costs in a matter so serious. To say that an employer had the right to dismiss a man because he belonged to a trades union, and that he had a right during the strike to dismiss men belonging to the union whereas the men had not the right to persuade men from working for that employer, was certainly not equality between employer and employed. As far as he could understand this Bill, it was proposed by the first Clause to make legal peaceful persuasion. He did not think there was any difference of opinion as to whether trades unions ought to be allowed peacefully to persuade in the way suggested The question came in, however, as to what was "peaceful persuasion." How far ought they to allow both masters and men to peacefully persuade one another to join in a strike. He thought he should carry hon. Gentlemen opposite with him when he said they desired that there should not be any violence or intimidation, and that every man should be allowed to follow his own desires and dispose of his own labour as he thought fit The difficulty he foresaw in this particular Bill was as to whether this Act went farther than that or not. Did this Bill alter the law of common nuisance? It was most important that they should understand that point before they passed the Bill. It was undesirable that they should pass any Bill which did away with the law of common nuisance, which was a great protection to the individuals throughout the country. He wanted to know what construction the courts were going to place upon "peaceful persuasion." They would certainly have a large number of cases brought forward to decide. Would the courts hold that peaceful persuasion was what hon. Gentlemen opposite had put forward, and if the courts did not 218 hold that view, did hon. Gentlemen opposite and their friends intend to come to this House again saying that the law had not been administered as it was intended by Parliament, and that they must pass another Bill to put it right. He was sure they would admit that that would not be a desirable thing; therefore the House ought not to pass a Bill without understanding exactly what it was doing, and they ought to understand the exact limit and extent to which this Bill would allow peaceful persuasion.
The second Clause of the Bill largely altered the law of conspiracy. He always thought that law was an Act of Parliament passed years ago, and he thought he should have no difficulty in turning it up and in understanding what it meant. He was under the impression that if that Act was not clear there would be some standard work to explain its contents. He found, however, that the law of conspiracy was a law which practically had grown up by usage, and by the general sense of justice in the community, and, though there had been Acts passed regulating this, it had largely been interpreted by the justice and common sense of the Judges of the Courts. This law was necessary for the protection not of the trades unionists as opposed to masters, or of masters as opposed to trades unionists, but for the protection of every section of the community. Therefore they ought not to alter that law without very serious consideration, and they ought not to make so drastic a change as this Bill would make without more information than they had before them at the present time. There were many things which might be lawful for one person to do, but when done by a combination of persons it became illegal. There was the famous case of Gregory v. the Duke of Brunswick, in which an actor had been hissed off the stage by two or more persons, and it was held that, while it was right for one person to hiss or hoot, it became wrong and illegal when the same thing was done by a combination of individuals. This was part of the law of conspiracy, and he wanted to know if this Bill would interfere with that law, and enable such things to be done.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said he was not going to be drawn into a legal discussion on that point, because the right hon. Gentleman was as great giant in such matters as he was a dwarf. In the case of a controversy between large and small employers would that be called a trade dispute? He did not think that even lawyers would be able to say that in such a case it would be a trade dispute. What would this law allow the large employers, or combination of employers, to do to the small employers? It would allow them to coerce and bring pressure to bear not only on small employers, but upon their customers, and upon everybody who bad dealings with them. The large employers could say to their workmen, "If your fellow workmen do not stop working for this small employer we will dismiss the whole lot of you." If that was an accurate view was it right that they should give such tyrannical power to a large combination of employers? At the present time the whole tendency of trade was towards those large combinations, and it was becoming more and more difficult for the small employer to right his battle against them. They would be doing a grievous injury if they put the small employers' liberty in jeopardy, and in the hands of the large combinations of employers. As a rule, the management of these large combinations was mostly in the hands of the person who promoted them. Therefore it meant practically placing in one man's hands this great power, and, he thought the House ought to think very seriously before it passed this Bill. Of course this measure would give the workmen these powers in the same way. He did not think they would wish to have them, for they would see how they might cut both ways and be used against as much as by them. Therefore, they ought to understand before they passed the second Clause, just as they should understand before passing the first how far they were going and what the alteration of the law would result in, for if they did not so understand it, they would run great risk of in- 220 flicting serious injury on the trade of the country, and, after all, the prosperity of the trade of the country was as much the interest of workmen as employers. He hoped that nothing he had said would lead anyone to suppose that he had any hostile feeling himself to the proper combination of men in trades unions. He believed that the trades unions of this country had worked great benefit not only to the workmen but to the trade of the country. He believed that a man had a perfect right—and the House ought to see that that right was preserved intact—to combine with his fellow workmen to get such advantages for himself as he might be able to obtain by legitimate means. He believed that as time went on the leaders of the trades unions in this country were realising more and more that their interests were not hostile to, but identical with, those of the employers. The hon. Member opposite claimed that the recent decisions of the Courts had altered what was the intention of Parliament in 1875. That might or might not be well founded. He could state on the authority of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife, that the law as it at present existed was in a state of chaos so far as conspiracy was concerned.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said there were many points in the recent decisions which had never got further than the Court of Appeal. They had never been decided by the highest tribunal of this country. He admitted the difficulty of taking some of these cases to the House of Lords—difficulties on the musters' side and the workmen's side. But was it not absurd, when the law was admittedly in a state of uncertainty, that they should begin to amend it without thoroughly understanding the amendment they proposed to make. Let the House remember that no serious alteration of the law, as between employer and employed, had ever been made without an inquiry first being held. The great Act of 1875 was preceded by a very exhaustive inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddingtonshire, who had made a special study of this subject and was 221 one of the highest authorities upon it, said in a speech delivered on the 21st January—A Bill had been brought forward by the trades unions which sought to set matters right by an amendment of the definition of 'conspiracy' which would make everything lawful when it was done by a number of men if it would have been lawful when done by one man. But he thought there would have to be a great deal of careful consideration before the House of Commons would be persuaded that this was the true remedy… What he would like to see done was for a Royal Commission to be appointed. It should consist of three experts, say two of the most eminent of the Judges and a layman who had great experience of these things and took a large, wide, and fair view of them. He would ask this Commission to say whether the present decisions could stand together, and if they could not stand together, what were to be the principles to be laid down as the real principles in these matters. He would also like the Royal Commission to take up the definition of picketing, and to amend it, providing always for the liberty of the subject by securing that what was done did not amount to a nuisance. That was his idea of the remedy for the present situation, which was a very serious one.He believed the right hon. Gentleman was right as to the necessity for an inquiry before the House proceeded further in this matter, and he moved this Motion. He appealed to the Government to grant an inquiry. There was not unnaturally a prejudice against Royal Commissions, because they were very often appointed to postpone the consideration of subjects. He did not ask inquiry for that purpose. He did not know what special form the inquiry should take, but it should be carried out in such a manner as to enable the House to obtain a report speedily, so that the matter might be dealt with. The hon. Member for Derby had accurately stated that there was a feeling of unrest among the working people of the country in regard to this question. The great trades unions felt that they were treated wrongfully by the law. He hoped an inquiry would be granted and that, as the result of the report received, a Bill would be produced which would deal with the questions referred to. Until that was done they might feel assured that the unrest would prevail, and so long as it prevailed, they were jeopardising the prosperity and the welfare of the people of this country.
§ MR. LYTTELTON (Warwick and Leamington)
seconded the Amendment. Though he was against this particular Bill 222 he agreed that the law relating to trade combinations required amendment, presenting, as it did at this moment, some confusion, and also some hardship to the trades union sections of the country. He was convinced that an inquiry was necessary, for he was not fully satisfied in his own mind that the amendment which was required was in the direction of the extension of the powers of the trades unions so much as in the restriction of the power of federation by employers. He thought it was precipitate at the present moment, especially in view of the great trend of opinion in America, and, he believed, in France also, against the enormous power wielded by great trusts of capitalists, to say that it was necessary to increase the power of trade unions in order to bring them up to the power of the employers. But the law, in his view, operated harshly against trade unions. This was not a new opinion on his part. Ten years ago he wrote a pamphlet pointing out the effect of the decisions then recently given in the cases of the Mogul Shipping Company v. M'Gregor, and Temperton v. Russell, In the Mogul case a ring of shipowners combined to raise freights, and to constitute a monopoly. A dissentient shipowner declined to join them, and they made an agreement to force him to join them, and to boycott him if he did not join. Among other methods of inducing him to join the ring they refused to have commercial intercourse with any agent who dealt with him. That conduct was justified by the judgment of Lord Justice Bowen in the Court of Appeal. He ruled that—The just cause or excuse for inflicting ruin on the dissenting shipowner was that instinct of self-advancement and self-protection which is the incentive of all trade.In other words, to ruin a man for the purpose of ruining him alone is illegal, but to ruin him because you want his trade is legal! There had never been put in more precise language the extremity of the old Ricardian doctrine. He was not going to quarrel with it for a moment, or to argue that it was wrong. He would not be qualified to do so. Anybody might read the judgment and judge for himself. Now, that was the meed of justice which was awarded to the federation of employers. Contrast that with the decision in the case of Temperton v. Russell. A firm of builders refused to follow a certain 223 trades union's injunctions. To coerce them the trades union ordered another firm to cease to supply the first firm with materials. That other firm refused, and the trades union procured other people to boycott the dissentient and, among other means of coercing them, to refuse to enter into contracts with them. In both these cases, it was found that there was no personal ill-will. Now, these were very similar cases, so far as he could see, leading to similar consequences. In both cases there was a combined conspiracy—or, to use a neutral term, a combination to ruin another person because he would not join a federation in one case and in the other would not follow the trades union regulations. In the one case, that of the shipping combine, the action of the employers was justified by the courts because the capitalists had as their object "profits." That was, he thought, the plain way of summarising that "instinct of self advancement and self-protection which is the incentive of all trade." Profits had to be made; and the word "profits" cast an ægis over the combination to ruin another. But what was the object in the second case? Dismissing all verbiage, the object was "wages"—which were the profits of workmen If he might venture to quote the neglected pamphlet to which he had referred—Both operations being for the benefit of their own market—in the one case 'profits,' and in the other case 'wages,' why is the capitalist combination merely an incident in the war of combination carried to the bitter end, and the combination of the trades union a malicious and illegal conspiracy?He ventured to ask that question ten years ago. It required answering, for, of course, the decisions had not tended to improve the state of things that existed at that time, but rather had emphasised and accentuated the state of things which he then deplored. The House must not, for a moment, suppose that he ventured to criticise the Judges who made these decisions. Still less, that he cast the slightest doubt — it would be monstrous to do so—on the integrity and good faith with which these decisions were made. Manifestly this was a resolution of the controversy, almost centuries old, in which one class of persons regarded any combination with these objects as deplor- 224 able, and the other regarded it as legitimate "self-advancement and self protection which is the incentive of all trade." But he trusted the Labour Members, who had brought forward their case with such ability and such moderation, would pardon him if he said that he felt a substantial doubt whether the Bill which they proposed was not a movement in the direction rather of exasperating the situation by giving greater power to the combinations than already existed. He agreed that you must make the combinations of labour and capital equal, and unless you restricted the power, as the Americans were about to do, of these federations and great combinations of capitalists, you must increase the power of the trades unions. That was, he thought, a necessary consequence. But he asked them to consider well, before they asked this House, in order to redress a wrong which they felt existed at the present moment, to sanction methods which would tend to stereotype that wrong in the legislation of this country, rather than, as he ventured to hope might be the case, that both parties to this tremendous struggle should be hampered in their power to cause misery and ruin all round. With great deference he ventured to think that this Bill went too far.
Substantially the first Section of the Bill, if put in common terms,—and he thought it would startle some of his friends on the other side were it put in common terms—was that for the purpose of picketing the common law of nuisance must be repealed. [Cries from the OPPOSITION Benches of "No, No."] Yes, that was his opinion. He did not wish to shirk this for a moment. In his humble opinion the law of picketing might be amended in favour of the trades unions without such a consequence. Even so conservative and excellent a judge as the late Mr. Russell Gurney, the Recorder of London, in charging the Grand Jury in, I think, 1869, stated definitely that peaceful picketing was within the law. That learned judge was only stating definitely what all men believed applied to civil and criminal proceedings—that peaceful picketing was legitimate. He did not want to mention his name, but he was informed by a very distinguished person, long a Member of this House, that on a Saturday afternoon in July or August in 1875 the Conspiracy Bill came back from the House of Lords to the House of Commons, 225 and it was alleged that Lord Cairns had stated in the House of Lords that peaceful picketing was legal. Someone said—Then why not insert that proviso in the Bill and make it clear?Mr. Gathorne Hardy replied.No, the Lord Chancellor said it was not needed.That showed how the existing state of things had arisen. Of course, he thought that everybody would agree that the Act of 1875 was passed rather to relax the stringency of the law against trades unions than to increase it. Might he suggest—and this was a mere suggestion, made with great deference—that if you defined picketing as only a collection of three or four people with the view of watching and for the purpose of communicating with or of persuading others, then that would avoid the difficulty about repealing the law of nuisance, and would definitely state on the face of the Statute-book what you wanted to legalise and what you did not. These were matters which deserved most serious consideration by the House, and by people who were not protagonists in the dispute. Therefore he most earnestly agreed with his right hon. and learned friend the Member for Haddingtonshire that there ought to be a body which should have the power of resolving such doubts as did exist as to what was the law at the present moment, and also of recommending what changes should be made in the law in favour of absolute justice and equality between employers and employed. He wanted to make a single observation upon Clause 2 of the Bill. It said that—An agreement or combination by two or more persons to do or procure to be done any act in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute shall not be ground for an action if such act when committed by one person would not be ground for an action.His right hon. and learned friend opposite, who had studied this question closely, well knew that that was a very significant departure from the rules of the Conspiracy Acts. What was effected by the Conspiracy Acts was to make innocuous bona fide disputes as between workmen and employers, but in the course of those disputes this most wholesome limitation was omitted altogether from Clause 2, with the result that you 226 might have a federation of employers combining to crush small employers and combining to crush individual trades unions, which none of them in the House wished should be done. He respectfully and earnestly desired the Home Secretary, before he committed himself to legislation such as was proposed by this Bill—which although only consisting of two clauses—he did not wish to speak offensively of them—appeared to have been conceived under a panic and from a sense of exasperation of what its authors believed to be a wrong—whether the right hon. Gentleman would not consider the possibility of appointing a Commission, very small in number, and not of partisans, which might quietly discuss the whole question under review. He begged to second the Amendment.
Amendment proposed—To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'this House declines to consider a Bill dealing only with certain points affecting trade disputes, in as much as it considers any legislation on such a subject should deal with the question as a whole, and when Parliament is in possession, by the report of a Royal Commission or otherwise, of satisfactory materials for the purpose.'"—(Mr. Galloway.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS DOUGLAS, Kent, St. Augustine's)
said he was unable to support the Second Reading of this Bill, which he believed went beyond even the intentions of its promoters; but he congratulated the mover upon the clearness and the moderation of his speech, and hoped he might assure him that he had proved himself a powerful acquisition to his Party in the House and a most acceptable exponent of their policy to the House generally. He had stated, however, that the object of the Bill was to re-establish the law as it was in 1875, and as it stood before the recent decisions. But the Bill went far beyond that, and really proposed to exempt picketing from all liability to proceedings for nuisance so long as the picketing—in other words "to watch, beset, etc."—was merely attending and watching near a 227 person's residence, place of business, or works for the purpose of peacefully obtaining information or communicating information, or for the purpose of peacefully persuading any person to work or abstain from working. These words sounded extremely guileless; but in his opinion the danger of the clause was not in these words. "To peacefully persuade" brought no one at present within sight of the law; but the common law as to nuisance would be overridden by the clause by exempting from the consequences of their acts any person who "attends at or near a house merely for the purpose of communicating information or peacefully persuading any person to work or to abstain from work." Now in carrying out these objects a person might be liable under the common law for an action for nuisance; but under the Bill, as long as he was merely carrying out these objects, he would be exempt. In other words, the danger of the clause lay in the fact that all liability to proceedings for a nuisance, whether civil or criminal, public or private, would be done away with if only the persons who would otherwise be liable could show they merely desired "to peacefully obtain or communicate information or peacefully persuade." So great was the magic of these words that, in combination with the occurrence of a trade dispute, they would relieve from all liability to the ordinary law of the land. "Picketing or watching or besetting" merely for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information was at present exempt from the criminal law under the Conspiracy Act of 1875; but if this clause were passed persons could commit any nuisance to others, could; injure them in their business; could, for instance, collect such crowds as would obstruct their passage to or from their houses or works, and by pleading a trade dispute, they would be exempt from all liability, civil or criminal. To take an illustration, if a man called at one's house and endeavoured to obtain entrance and an interview with the occupier by a gentle application of the knocker, it could not be said that any great annoyance had been caused to that occupier; but if forty or fifty or a hundred persons came at all times within the 228 twenty-four hours and made frequent applications with the same weapon of summons and offence, this would not be a desirable attention; and yet such delicate attentions would be allowable if their motives could be held under this Bill to be that of peacefully obtaining or communicating information. The hon. Member who seconded the Motion in an extremely able speech had rallied him on the question of deputations. He readily admitted the softness and the pleasantness of the methods which the hon. Member and his friends pursued when they came to see him on these deputations, and he had no complaint to make against the "peaceful persuasion" by which they, on these occasions endeavoured sometimes successfully to obtain their ends. But the case would be entirely altered if they came, not only once and by appointment at a particular hour, but all day and in their hundreds and thousands instead of in the limited number which, it was generally conceded, was the best manner of promoting successfully the cause they had to commend to the Minister.
§ MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said he only gave that as an illustration—possibly an extreme one; but the hon. Member must admit the soundness of the comparison. The clause would confer on trades unions immunity from the general law against a nuisance which his right hon. friend the Member for Haddington had defined as being none the less an illegality whether committed by a trade union or by a duke. He agreed with that definition, and he certainly thought that if the Bill were passed the remedy at law they now had as regarded a nuisance would be done away with. Under the existing law, persons might be peacefully persuaded provided the method employed did not constitute a nuisance to other people; but if they legalised persuasion as proposed in the Bill that safeguard would be gone, and not only individual liberty, but public order, might seriously suffer. Clause 2 purported merely to exempt from civil liability a combination of persons who should do any act in connection with a trade dispute where there would be no liability if the act were done by one person only. So far as the criminal law was concerned in 229 disputes between employers and work-men, the Conspiracy Act, 1875, already provided for this, us it laid down that an act should not be indictable as a conspiracy when, if committed by one person, it would not be punishable as a crime; But this Bill went much farther than the existing law, because it would extend the exemption not only to trade disputes between employers and workmen, but to all trade disputes, including those between different sets of employers, between trusts and individuals, and between an employer and workmen who were not in his employ, in all those respects the Bill would extend the existing law. The principle of law that acts not actionable if done by one person might become so if done by combination among several, was well settled and was based on sound reason, for a combination might make oppressive and dangerous that which if it proceeded from a single person would be harmless. The Bill proposed to take away the safeguard of the existing law so far as acts done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute were concerned. For these reasons he thought the House would do well to accept the advice of his hon. friend the Member for Leamington, who urged that the House should pause before it hastily passed a measure of this kind.
He had endeavoured to state briefly the objections to the Bill. But there was another general objection which he thought worth mentioning, and that was, that the House generally held itself, to be against privileged legislation. Surely this would be legislation for a privileged class, because persons engaged in a trade dispute, and they alone, would be given a privilege. He did not see why one class of His Majesty's subjects should, for a particular purpose, be placed in a better position than the rest of the community. While he sympathised to a great extent with the objects of the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading, he deprecated any hasty and ill-considered attempt to get over the effect of certain recent decisions of the Courts. Any such alteration of the law would be fraught with far reaching and dangerous effects, altogether apart from the question of trade disputes. In the debate on the subject on the 14th 230 May last year, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddington concurred in thinking that a case had been made out for an inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddington still held to that view; but he gathered from a recent speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife that he had somewhat altered his view. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife whether it would not be better, for the objects they all had in view, that the question should be fully and carefully considered by a competent body, before any legislation ensued. For his part he was not disposed to vote for the Second Reading. He would vote for the Motion of his hon. friend who declared that "this House decline to consider a Bill dealing only with certain points affecting trade disputes, inasmuch as it considers any legislation on such a subject should deal with the question as a whole, and when Parliament is in possession, by the report of a Royal Commission or otherwise, of satisfactory materials for the purpose." Last year when his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked to grant an inquiry, he expressed the readiness of the Government to assent to such a request, subject to a case for it being made out by the result of an appeal to the House of Lords, then understood to be pending or contemplated. The case had not gone further, but opinion on both sides of the House, as well as in the Press and the country, had considerably advanced. There was a desire that people should know what the actual state of the law was at the present moment. It was a wish that he did not himself entirely share, because he believed that the law was known by those who had to administer it, and those were the people to declare what the law was. But he thought a case had been made out for an inquiry, so that those who desired an alteration of the law should be able to state what alteration they desired, and those who felt that they had been hardly treated by the recent decisions should have an opportunity of placing their grievances before a Commission On the report of that Commission Parliament would be in a better position 231 to legislate and put an end to the unhappy state of feeling on this subject in certain portions of the country. On behalf of the Government he was quite prepared to promise that inquiry. As to the form the inquiry should take, it might be desirable to take time to consider. He would hear more in the course of the debate as to the general desire of the House; but he was certain it ought not to be an inquiry made by a Committee of this House, which by the nature of the case would be apt to deal with the subject in a party sense. He did not think a Committee of the House could help doing so. Hon. Members were perfectly aware how Committees of the House were selected. Certain hon. Members were taken from each side; and, accordingly, with such a body they would be likely to get a Party vote on a question which should be above Party. He proposed that the inquiry should take the form of a Commission. It was surely desirable that on an inquiry of this sort there should be placed those who were best able to give guidance as to the legal aspect of the question, and who would be more impartial exponents than could be found in this House. He would therefore urge on the House the desirability of accepting the Motion of his hon. friend, and of concurring in the view that a Commission should be appointed.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E)
I listened with much respect and attention to the speech of the Home Secretary, and I had some difficulty, when the right hon. Gentleman came to the close of his remarks, in understanding either why he opposed the Second Reading or why he is going to support the proposal of a Commission of Inquiry. As regards the Bill itself, all the objections the right hon. Gentleman took were objections, not of principle, but of detail, what we are accustomed to call Committee points; and when the right hon. Gentleman assented to the suggestion of a Royal Commission, I was still more surprised when I heard his declaration that the law was perfectly well known. I do not think it is well known to anybody except the Secretary of State himself. There are many of us compelled by the necessities of life to indulge in the litigation of these questions who would be very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman if he would impart to us 232 the secret which at present is locked up in his own bosom. It is the first time in my experience that I have ever known a Minister assent to a Royal Commission to inquire into the state of the law on the ground that the law was perfectly well known. If it is well known and not satisfactory, it is obviously the duty of the Government to assent to proposals for the Amendment of it, or to make proposals of their own instead of favouring the dilatory machinery of a Royal Commission. The Amendment of the hon. Member for South-West Manchester does not admit the necessity for any legislation at all, and that is the reason I shall vote against it. I do not withdraw in the least anything I have said in past debates or outside the House, that it is desirable we should have a general revision and codification of the whole of this branch of our industrial law; and, as a preliminary to that task or to its successful accomplishment, it may be necessary to have some form of inquiry by experts. But that does not get rid of the duty which I hold is incumbent on the House when specific points are brought forward where the experience of the persons concerned has shown that grievances exist, to deal with these grievances as they arise, and in such a manner as to remove the cause of dissatisfaction. I decline entirely to allow the merits of this particular Bill to be complicated or confused with the more general question of whether there ought to be an inquiry into the law of trade disputes or not. I think that this Bill is exciting, judging from the communications which reach us, a great deal of exaggerated and unnecessary alarm, and I venture to say that it is a modest and fragmentary measure. My complaint of the Bill would be not that it does too much, but that it does a great deal too little. It covers a very small corner of the area of possible amendment of the law; but that is no objection to it if, on the whole, it covers it in a satisfactory way, with reference to principles which the House will accept. It is ridiculous to say that piecemeal reform in a matter of this kind should be rejected until you can arrive at a general settlement in connection with all the vast and complicated problems of our industrial system.
233 In the first place, let me point out to the House what the Bill does not propose to do, for I think there is a certain amount of misconception about that. In its present shape, at any rate, it does not propose to do anything in the way of reversing or modifying the celebrated decisions of the House of Lords in the Taff Vale case. I think the promoters of the Bill have wisely abandoned any intention whatever of attempting to deal with that matter; because, although that decision was unexpected alike by lawyers and laymen I do not think it would be expedient from the point of view of combinations, either of the employers or of the workmen, that those who are in favour of their effective existence and vitality should attempt to ask Parliament to lay down a policy of this kind, that large trade organisations, possessing large funds, and directed by a controlling authority should not be responsible for the unlawful acts, if they be unlawful acts, shown to be committed by their agents, if they be really their agents, within the scope of their authority. I do not think it would be in the interests of the trade unions or the employers' combinations that that principle should be affirmed. What is it that the Bill does do? It deals only with two topics—the question of picketing and the question of combination. As regards picketing, it is incontrovertible that the Royal Commission of thirty years ago and the Legislature which passed the Act of 1875, deliberately intended to legalise picketing as an instrument of industrial warfare, provided that it was carried on within legitimate limits. There can be no question or doubt about that. Nor can it be doubted that the effect of some recent decisions of the Courts has been, if not altogether to frustrate, at any rate very largely to cut down the intention of the Legislature and to make the exercise of this instrument which the Legislature intended and declared to be lawful, practically unworkable and impossible. These decisions have altered the state of things, and upon the construction which the judges have put upon the Act of 1875, I do not myself believe it to be possible for a strike, however intelligently directed, and however, great the anxiety of the persons direct- 234 ing it to keep within the limits of the law may be, to be conducted by picketing at all. The suggested legislation on this point is not intended to bring about a new state of things, but to restore the effective exercise of a right which the Legislature, thirty years ago, at the instance of a Conservative Government, and the common consent of all parties in the State, deliberately conferred.
Various objections have been taken to the provisions of the Bill. I am not responsible for the Bill, and I do not profess to justify every word of the drafting; but the points which have been selected for criticism both by my hon. and learned friend the Member for Leamington and the Home Secretary are exactly of that class which the House should be trusted to deal with in Committee, in order, let me point out—for this is the essence of the matter—that the Bill may be brought into accordance with the express declarations both of the mover and seconder who have told us what their intentions are. If this first Clause were passed in its present form, I do not think it would be held by the Courts of law to legalise any form of picketing which was in itself a nuisance. The Home Secretary tells us that in the view of those who advise him this clause proposes to protect, persons from liability for a comn on law nuisance. I do not agree with him. Suppose persons engaged in picketing were so engaged in circumstances which constituted an un awful assembly. Does anyone suggest that this clause would protect them from either criminal or civil proceedings? Suppose they were to assemble for the purpose of peaceful persuasion in excessive numbers or at unreasonable hours, or in other conditions which inflicted unnecessary discomfort and annoyance on the persons to whom their solicitations were addressed, does anyone suppose that this clause would protect them from actionable liability? I cannot conceive it for a moment. But supposing it were so, it is a mere question of drafting; because the promoters disclaim in the most express terms any desire to surround the privilege or right of picketing with any of these annoying incidents. I cannot imagine that anything would be easier when you have the Bill in Committee than either by proviso 235 or by qualifying words in the clause itself, to make it clear that this—I will not call it extension but reinstatement of the right of picketing—is clearly to be limited by the condition that it is not to be carried on in such a way as to constitute a nuisance at common law.
As to the second Clause dealing with combination it is in some respects the more important clause of the Bill. Here again I venture to think, with all respect to hon. Members opposite, that the objections taken are not to principle but to draftsmanship, machinery, and detail. What are the circumstances which made it necessary to invoke the intervention of the Legislature in this matter, and what are the conditions subject to which that intervention ought to take place? I summarise them in this way. In the first place the effect, I do not say the intention, of recent decisions of the Courts of law has been to curtail and cut down the right of combination which the Legislature intended to recognise and ratify in 1875. Practices which for twenty-five years have been constantly resorted to, with the full belief on the part of all concerned that they were legal, are now declared by the Courts of law to be beyond the bounds of legality. That is a very serious matter, and the House should look at it not merely from the point of view of employer and employed. After an experience of over twenty years, the exercise of this right of combination on the one side and the other has been found to be the only satisfactory alternative to industrial anarchy. If you make the effective use of that right dangerous, and subject it to all kinds of unforeseen disabilities on the part of a person resorting to it, you are not making in the direction of industrial peace but of industrial war, because, both as regards employers and employed, if you leave the matter as it used to be left, when combinations were regarded as conspiracies and punished as such, to individual and sporadic action, you will have the worst possible consequences in the ill adjustment of industrial disputes or in resort to intimidation. The right of combination is an interest of the largest possible kind, which all persons engaged in industry are equally bound to respect. But, further, these recent decisions have shown an actual inequality in the application of the law as 236 between combinations of employers and combinations of employed. It is impossible to contrast the decision as my hon. friend did in the Mogul case, with that in Temperton v Russell — without seeing that a different principle is applied to the right of combination as between the one set and the other set of parties. On this point I would venture to urge strongly upon the House as a reason for legislation that this is a matter which the Legislature ought to keep in its own hands and not leave to the Judges. I do not speak with any disrespect of the Judges, or impute any partiality in a matter of this sort; but these are very delicate questions. They affect great social and economic interests and sentiments; and you are throwing an unfair burden on your Judges if you expose your judicial tribunals to possible suspicion and misapprehension in a sphere from which they ought to be excluded, and if you, as a Legislature, do not clearly lay down in express terms the rules which the Judges ought to apply in disputes of this kind. It appears to me that this is eminently a case where the Legislature ought to take the responsibility upon itself.
After dealing with those general considerations let me say a word in regard to the particular provisions of the second Clause. Its effect is that an agreement of a combination between persons is not to be actionable if the thing which they combine to do would not be actionable in the case of one person. I agree with the remark which was made by, I think, the Home Secretary, that it is possible there may be cases when an act done by a single person is completely different in its social and moral character from the same act done by a combination of persons. A thing which when done by a single individual may be of no weight or significance at all—which is, at any rate, incapable of producing any serious disturbance of the rights of other people—may, when done in combination with other persons, become a very formidable thing. Here again I say, as I have said in reference to the first Clause, if there is any ambiguity in the draftsmanship let that ambiguity be removed, and let it be made clear that the intention of this second Clause is not to legalise acts done by more than one person when those acts amount to a nuisance. 237 I do not think any one of my friends concerned in the promotion of this Bill would in the least object to that being made perfectly plain; but subject to that limitation, which I agree is not required, but which may very legitimately be expressed, is it not a sound principle, as a rule, that acts ought not from a civil point of view to be made actionable when done by more than one person which are not actionable when done by one person? It is quite true that competition, when it takes the form, as it must take the form, of combination, is bound by the very nature of the case to result in injury to the person who, in the race or rivalry between competitors, has to go to the wall; but so long as competition is the competition of one person against another, there is no question in point of law that that is a perfectly legitimate thing. Competition when it takes the form of combination is also said by the Courts to be legitimate, provided it acts by measures which fall within the very vague cover of what is called "lawful excuse." Let me illustrate this for a moment. I, as an individual, may undoubtedly lawfully persuade or try to persuade A., a workman, not to work for B., a particular employer, and by way of inducing him to do so, I may, with equal lawfulness, refuse to work with him. No one disputes that. Now suppose that instead of being a single workman I am a member of a group, and I desire to obtain the same result. May this group combine to persuade A. not to work for B.? Then—a still more difficult question—may they, as the law now stands, combine to refuse to work with A. unless he agrees to their persuasion? I doubt it very much. I am disposed to think that, as the decisions of the Court, or, at any rate, the dicta, now stand, the mere fact that those persons are combining together to do what it is admitted that an individual might do perfectly legitimately if he did it by himself, may be held to make the thing, if it results in damage, a conspiracy and subjects them to an action. Is that right? I am assuming, as I am entitled to, that no unlawful methods are used, no pressure in the sense of intimidation, and no violence or anything of that kind. If this clause is passed into law, the law as between the individual and a group of individuals 238 would be assimilated and put on the same foundation.
I pass then to the question of motive. This, again, is a very important matter. Nothing is clearer in point of law, as I am sure every lawyer in this House would agree, that, as regards civil liability—and we are dealing with that exclusively here—for a wrongful act, the motive of the doer of the act is wholly irrelevant. But the moment you come to these trade combinations the House of Lords has laid down an entirely different rule, and says you may look to the motive. That has had a most paradoxical result, because what it comes to is this. If, as in the Mogul case, the motive of the persons entering into the combination is a purely selfish one, to increase their own interests and profits, the combination is lawful; but if the motive is an un selfish one. if, in other words, a body of trade unionists, seeing a dispute going on between two other persons and having their sympathies excited on one side as against the other—if they, in order to bring pressure on one of the parties concerned, enter into a combination, they themselves having no direct or personal interest in the matter at all, the combination may become unlawful and they may be liable to an action. I am not travestying the decisions of the Court in the least when I say that that is what they suggest. I ask the House again, is it right, as a matter of public policy or common sense, with that differentiation of motive, to distinguish in point of law between the civil liability in the two cases?
There is one other point which seems to me to justify legislation of this sort. It is the application to cases of this kind of the law of principal and agent. The moment you get a trade combination—take a trade union, but the case of an employers' federation would do equally well for my purpose—the moment you get a combination of this kind and start from the principle which the House of Lords has laid down, and which this Bill does not in any way propose to displace, the principle that the combination ought to be liable for the acts of its agents, we see the enormous difficulty of carrying out effectively anything in 239 the way of a trade dispute. My hon. friend the Member for Derby can tell us, for he has had a rather bitter experience in this matter. He is sitting there at the centre, with his executive committee, controlling and directing the power of the union, which consists of tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of men, doing everything he possibly can by direct instruction and such supervision and control as he can exercise to see that there is no unlawful excess on the part of the subordinate agents. Almost by the very necessities of the case, with a large, loosely ramified organisation extending over an enormous tract of country, he finds the union itself is made corporately responsible, and the funds of the union liable to be drawn upon, for the absolutely unauthorised and perhaps prohibited acts of some obscure and not very well accredited agent. That might happen equally well to the employers, for it is not a question of one side alone. But I am sure that the Legislature, in dealing with the new state of things created by large industrial combinations, ought to recognise this—and it would be very easy in Committee by a modification of this clause to get statutory recognition of the fact—that you must have a more limited and rational application of the ordinary principles of the law of agency. I think I have said enough to show that everything advanced in the way of adverse criticism upon this Bill could be sufficiently dealt with when it comes into Committee. I do not in the least commit myself to the language either of the first or the second Clause, any more than I committed myself when I voted for the Second Reading of the Irish Land Bill, or any more than I did on that occasion—that memorable Friday—in regard to a Bill as to the details of which every Member who spoke, I think, agreed that they were unworkable, illusory, and absurd, and as to which we were told that in voting upon it we were only voting upon the principle of compensation or no compensation. I venture to say that we have a great deal better reason to-day to act in that way, when we have a Bill which meets an admitted defect in the law, which, in so far as it meets it inadequately, or inappositely, can be amended or remoulded in Committee, and which if, with the proper 240 Amendments, it be passed into law will, I believe, help to make effective that right of industrial combination which is essential to industrial peace, without transgressing the legitimate boundaries of industrial freedom.
§ MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife seemed to indicate that this difficult question in regard to combination ought not to be dealt with unless it was preceded by a thorough inquiry. The measure now before the House was fragmentary. There was nothing more important in our law than the question of combination, and there was no subject which was more likely to raise, under certain conditions, heated discussion. He thought it followed from that, that of all legal topics it was one which ought only to be discussed and decided after full consideration of all the circumstances, and the discussion ought not to be approached in connection with what was admitted to be a mere fragmentary Bill. This question, as the right hon. Gentleman had truly said, was not one entirely of workmen on one side, or of employers on the other. The law applicable to combinations involved matters relating to industrial peace or industrial warfare, and it applied equally to workmen and employers, and they ought to give it most careful consideration before embarking on any Bill of this kind. He would not deal with the question whether the Home Secretary was right when he said that the law was well known. He had his own view as a lawyer as to how the law stood at the present moment. He looked upon the Member for Haddingtonshire as the greatest authority in these matters, and he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that if any lawyer were asked at the present moment as regards the particular conditions of a particular strike, or of a particular combination of employers, whether what was proposed to be done was lawful or not, he would have great difficulty in replying. Too much at the present time was left to the Judge, and too little definition laid down by the him to deal subject-matter. In considering whether this Bill if passed was likely to lead to industrial warfare or to industrial 241 peace, he entirely agreed with two propositions stated with admirable lucidity by the hon. and learned Member for Warwick and Leamington. In this question of combination they must consider whether combination had not been allowed to go too far in certain directions. The hon. and learned Member referred to two well-known cases—the Mogul case, and the case of Temper ton v. Russell. No one could consider present industrial conditions, whether as regarded workmen or employers, without feeling that the point made by the hon. and learned Member was worthy of serious attention, viz., whether in some directions the right of combination must not be curtailed, or, at any rate, defined, because it was undoubtedly a power which might be used by either side in a coercive and oppressive manner. What were the proper limitations they should bear in mind if they were having an inquiry upon a great subject of this kind? He entirely dissented from the view of the right hon. Gentleman that this great topic, involving such matters of difficulty, could be dealt with in the present Bill. He assumed that the leading consideration would be this—and he thought it really reconciled what it was thought to be difficult to reconcile in the various judgments — what they waited to give was the least interference with individual liberty, provided that they recognised to the full the right of legal combination. The various cases in regard to which difficulty existed might be reconciled on the understanding that there had been a desire to prevent the right of combination being carried to such an excess that it could be used coercively or oppressively so as to interfere with the legal rights vested in the individual. He would press that principle home as regarded both employers and workmen. Without saying whether or not the Mogul case was rightly decided, he felt very strongly that the right of combination amongst employers ought not to be carried to the extent of unfairly oppressing the smaller employers, and although he thought that combination amongst workmen the most fruitful source of industrial peace, if properly utilised, yet he was not prepared to sanction any extension of that principle which would allow a 242 trade union to act coercively and oppressively towards a workman who was not a member of the union. These matters, which, after all, were those that came before the Courts, required the most careful consideration—not such as could be given under the terms of this Bill, but consideration of a much wider character. In support of his view he would quote an essay in the Contemporary Review, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddingtonshire, that a proper determination upon this extremely important topic could not be arrived at unless they had some impartial tribunal to consider the whole matter—by which was meant a tribunal consisting of persons who were not, either politically or industrially involved in the contest. In substance he thought that suggestion was met by the proposal the Home Secretary had made.
As to the Bill under discussion, he could not assent to the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife as regarded either its present construction or possible modifications. For instance, the right hon. Gentleman stated that it was not intended to deal with the Taff Vale decision, but he devoted the latter part of his speech to that very topic, and declared that one of the great considerations in this question was whether trades unionist officials, sitting in some central position, ought to be responsible for actions taken over which they had no practical control. He agreed as to the importance of that proposition, but he would ask whether, taking that as one of the most important points involved in the question of combination, could it be dealt with under this Bill? It had been purposely excluded from the Bill, no doubt as a matter of tactics, in order to get rid of a question of much difficulty; but when they were considering this matter as a whole ought they to exclude a matter of that kind? Was it not one of those questions which ought to be taken into consideration by any Government worthy of its name? He was perfectly certain that no solution of this question could be adequate and satisfactory unless this was properly considered and dealt with, and it could not 243 be done under this form of Bill or in Committee on this Bill at all. There were various other considerations which could never come forward in Committee upon this particular Bill. He agreed they ought not to have Judge-made law upon a question of this sort; they should have rules and regulations laid down by Parliament. But he would ask the right hon. Gentleman—Had there ever been any case where they were seeking to reverse or review the decisions of the highest Courts where it had not been done after previous inquiry? In other cases where this important subject matter had been approached it had been done after previous inquiry. This question should be dealt with as a matter, not of form, but of substance, and on such a difficult topic it would be most dangerous to accept the Second Reading of the Bill on the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that these matters could be dealt with and put right in Committee.
The right hon. Gentleman had also put forward the view that the Bill would not sanction peaceful picketing if it produced some wrongful act which on other grounds would be illegal. He differed entirely. Peacefulness was not the test of legality or illegality, of whether or not a particular act was a wrongful act. Peaceful picketing might do the greatest possible harm to a third party who was entitled to protection against such wrongful acts. It could not be right to allow peaceful combination to proceed to such lengths that those who used it for their own purposes might do irremediable harm to parties who were not concerned in the dispute at all. That was inconsistent with the fundamental principles of individual liberty, and yet it would be allowed under this Bill. It was not a question of the intention of the men; the Bill had to be taken as it stood, and, as drafted, it would legalise the worst form of wrong. He agreed with much that the right hon. Gentleman had said with regard to the law of conspiracy. He did not think it was a proper understanding of that law that what one person might legally do, two persons could not do because they formed a combination. He believed the law to be this—that certain acts which were inoflensive if done by one person, became necessarily offensive if done by 244 two or more persons. But that was not the way in which the question was raised in the Bill. If that was the legal principle, Clause 2 was framed on an entirely wrong basis. The clause could not be modified, because, from top to bottom, it was framed on a wrong conception of the law, and therefore applied a wrong remedy. There were various incidental and minor matters to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, but he would make this appeal. They were dealing with one of the most important questions as regarded our industrial life; they wanted to bring about industrial peace by a fair system of industrial combination. The whole matter ought to be thoroughly inquired into, and he hoped the House would not sanction the Second Reading of this Bill, which was fragmentary in its character and did not go to the real basis of the difficulty, and which would not allow that thorough inquiry without which no legislation ought to be framed as regarded a great question of this kind.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
expressed his regret that the Home Secretary had announced his intention to resist the Second Reading of this Bill, and described the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman as inconsistent with that which the Colonial Secretary adopted upon the Bill of the hon. Member for York, when he told the House that they ought to consider only the principle of a Bill when the question was its Second Reading. He did not take the same view as the Home Secretary, who wished to have an inquiry, which might last a considerable time, and which, with a strange want of confidence in the House of Commons, was not to be entrusted to a Committee of the House, but was, he supposed, to be conducted by some of His Majesty's Judges. The two points dealt with in this Bill were ripe for settlement. It had been freely admitted that the law was in substance unjust as laid down in recent decisions. Nobody could doubt the inequality; everybody admitted the confusion. He was not prepared to support now, or at any time, tyranny between employers and workmen, or between one class of workmen and another, but the phrases that were used about coercing the will of the employers or of other workmen concealed the true nature of a strike. A strike was a deplorable calamity wherever it happened, 245 but it was admittedly necessary sometimes in industrial conflicts. And what did it amount to? It amounted to nothing in the world except the employer or the workmen, as the case might be, coercing the will of the other side. The workmen put pressure on the employer in the hope that loss of profits would induce him to come to terms; the employer acted in the same way against the workmen, endeavouring by the pressure of necessity or want to drive him to comply with his will. The whole business of the State was to "keep the ring," in order that there might be fair play between the contending parties. Obviously, violence, molestation, and intimidation wore not fair methods in any such fight, and no one would desire to defend them. For many centuries the law treated the combination of workmen for the betterment of their position as a crime in itself. That was fought against, and at length beaten down. The Act of 1875 did two things—in express terms it authorised picketing, and it gave a rule of conspiracy. That rule was that nothing which was not punishable if done by one person should be punishable if done by two persons. But these clauses, beneficial as they were, were restricted to the criminal law, because it never occurred to anybody that a civil remedy would be applied or be applicable in these matters, nor was there any attempt to make the civil law applicable until 1901. A quarter of a century after the passage of the Conspiracy Act a decision was given by the House of Lords making trades union funds liable in damages for acts done in connection with the union. At that blast of the judicial trumpets the walls of Jericho absolutely fell, because the previous protection had been restricted to the operation of the criminal law. By the application of the civil law a new weapon was brought into play, and the whole of the trades union funds, provided by the men themselves, not merely for strike purposes, but for every kind of compassionate allowance, were unexpectedly made liable in damages. The Act of 1875 authorised picketing for the purpose of obtaining information. When the Bill was in the House of Commons an Amendment, authorising picketing for the purpose of persuasion also, was resisted by the Home Secretary of the day on the ground that it was 246 superfluous, that picketing for peaceful persuasion was absolutely lawful, and that there was no cause to make it lawful by Act of Parliament. That view had been upset by the Court of Appeal, so that the law required amendment in that respect also. In 1899 Lord Justice Cave said—I hold that it is illegal to picket the works or place of business of a man by persons who are distributed and placed there for the purpose of trying by persuasion to induce the workmen of that man not to work for him any longer, or to induce people who want to work for him to abstain from entering into an agreement with him to do so.Therefore, that which, since 1875, had been supposed to be and was meant to be, the law had been overridden by the Court of Appeal, and the right to combine, which, by successive statutes, had been safeguarded so far as criminal purposes were concerned, was now in grave jeopardy so far as the civil law was concerned.
Declarations of eminent Judges, which were often referred to as mere obiter dicta, had become so numerous, and the Judges so important, that, taken together, they constituted a grave menace to the right of combination. Lord Lindley had gone so far as to say that a strike could not be made effective without more being done than was lawful. That was the whole position put in a nutshell. Under these circumstances he thought they ought to inquire what the Bill before the House proposed. It did not propose to touch the decision of the House of Lords by which union funds were made liable in damages—although he believed the men had not abandoned their position on that point. The Bill simply proposed to make picketing for the purpose of obtaining information lawful in civil as well as in criminal proceedings, and also to make it lawful for the purposes of peaceful persuasion, as was avowedly intended when the Act of 1875 was passed. This Bill was to correct an omission in the Act of 1875, and to remedy a construction put upon that Act which was contrary to the intentions of the framers of the Act. It had been said that under the first Clause, as so drawn, it would be possible to create a nuisance. Personally he did not believe that that was a right construction; but such an intention was disavowed by the promoters of the Bill, and in any case the 247 question was one to be dealt with in Committee. If there was any reasonable doubt as to the meaning of the clause, surely the right course was to insert whatever words were necessary in Committee to prevent the clause having that undesirable effect. As to the second Clause, it was almost word for word taken from the Act of 1875, except that the latter Act referred to criminal proceedings and this Bill referred to civil proceedings. The reason why certain words which ware contained in the Act of 1875 had been left out was because they were clearly only applicable to criminal proceedings. In the same way, the right course was to insert words in Committee, if that was necessary, in order to guard against the dangers which had been indicated. The Home Secretary might have approached the matter in a little more confiding spirit towards those who were advocating this Bill. What was aimed at was simply to repair omissions and correct errors which had arisen since the Act of 1875 was passed; and he thought it a great pity that the House was not to have an opportunity of doing so in a further stage. The House had had enough of Royal Commissions. His shelves were covered with Blue-books containing the evidence and reports of the Royal Commissions, Select Committees, and Departmental Committees, on every conceivable subject. If the law was not ascertained now—and the Home Secretary said he thought it was—it was very easy to ascertain it by study, or by consulting those who wore competent to advise. Controversies between different parties to trade disputes had been going on for fifty or sixty years, and there was hardly a distinguished statesman who had not taken part in them. All the material was thoroughly known, and all that was wanted was that the Government should come resolutely forward and say, "This is the border-line beyond which we will not allow combination to go," to declare that policy to the House and give it effect. Why should this Bill not go to a Second Reading in order to do that? If there were any Amendments which the Government thought necessary, let them be propounded. The Government had the means at hand of carrying them, and it was much to be regretted that this business was to be shelved again. Even if a Royal Commission were appointed, it 248 could not tell them anything which they did not already know. If the Government insisted on defeating the Second Reading, he thought they would have cause to repent it. If the constituencies believed, as he knew they ought, that the Government were simply trifling with an important subject, he hoped they would make no difficulty about expressing it.
§ MR. LLOYD WHARTON (Yorkshire, W. R., Ripon)
said he was glad he had been fortunate enough to have heard the speeches of the mover and seconder of this Bill, because they were both speeches well worth listening to, and the working men of England might congratulate themselves upon having two such good representatives as the hon. Members for Clitheroe and Derby. The hon. Member for Derby said that he would do everything in his power to prevent strikes, and he had done so more than once by conciliation and straightforwardness. How were they to deal with this Bill? [An HON. MEMBER: "Vote for it."] The first clause was the Picketing Clause. If this clause had placed the legality of picketing in an ascertainable shape that could be dealt with by the Courts he should have had very great difficulty in opposing the Second Reading, but the clause as it stood was an impossible one. It provided that—I. to shall be lawful for any person or persons, acting either on their own behalf or on behalf of a trade union or other association of individuals registered or unregistered, in contemplation of or during the continuance of any trade dispute, to attend for any of the following purposes at or near a house or place where a person resides or works, or carries on his business, or happens to be—(1.) For the purpose of peacefully obtaining or communicating information.(2.) For the purpose of peacefully persuading any person to work or abstain from working.Under that Clause as it stood it would be perfectly lawful for 500 men to stand outside a man's house so long as they did not commit any actual assault upon him. Would anybody tell him that that would not be tyranny and oppression to a workman. It was the duty of the House of Commons to protect workmen from the tyranny of illegal combinations. He should have no difficulty whatever in voting against the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
said he hoped that a few words from an Irish Member would not be out of place on this occasion. He represented a constituency which contained a large proportion of the population to whom this Bill would apply. He regretted that the promoters of this Bill had not been able to extend its scope to Ireland, although he intended to support the Bill. He thought that the great agrarian combinations in Ireland required the protection of the law just as much as the trades unions. He believed that every Nationalist Member and hon. Members opposite representing Ireland would have great pleasure in supporting the Second Reading of this Bill. He could not understand on what ground worth a moment's attention, the Second Reading of this Bill was resisted. He had listened to the speeches of the mover and seconder of the Motion rejecting this Bill, with great pleasure, but he wished to point out that they both admitted the existence of an inequality in this matter, and they agreed that the person unequally treated was not the employer but the employed. A democratic House of Commons elected upon a household franchise would be incurring a grave responsibility if, in the face of this fact, and admitting that that inequality existed, it rejected this Bill. There were hundreds and thousands of workmen affected by this inequality, and there fore the House should decide to pass this Bill into law with such Amendments as might be required. A Royal Commission had been suggested, but upon this point he shared the views of the hon. Member who had just spoken. As they were all aware, when it was desired to have legislation postponed upon a particular subject one of the favourite devices was to propose a Royal Commission. When a Royal Commission was appointed it generally took three or four years receiving evidence, and then additional time was required to enable it to make up its mind about the report. After this they often found that there was a minority report as well as a majority report, and often independent members of the Commission were not satisfied with either report, but presented special reports of their own. The final result was, as a rule, that, instead of clarifying men's minds the general result was more confusing. But supposing this particular Royal Commission was going to be an 250 exception to every other, what was there to prevent the Government, after assenting to the principles of this Bill, appointing their Royal Commission. He did not see any difficulty in the matter, and from the point of view of those who thought there was some justification for the principles of the Bill, he thought the measure might be affirmed by the House, and it might constitute a direction to any Royal Commission which might be appointed. He preferred legislation on the definite lines of this Bill, and he really did not understand on what grounds it could be resisted after the admissions that had been made upon both sides of the House. Peaceful picketing was to be legalised, although it was supposed to have been legalised thirty years ago. If peaceful picketing was to be legalised, and if it had been legalised already, if Members on both sides admitted that it ought to be legalised, why not read the Bill a second time, and insert some words to meet the case in Committee? It seemed to him that the Bill was clear enough already.
He was very much interested in the remarks which had been made by the hon. Member for South-West Manchester upon the law of conspiracy. He said he had tried to find out what that law was, and he stated that he thought there was some standard work in which he could find a definition of the law of conspiracy, but he failed, and so would all men until the law was changed. If be had been Diogenes with his lantern, or if he had been an Argus with a hundred eyes, or if he had had a powerful microscope, he would have failed to see what this law was, because the law of conspiracy varied from generation to generation. Now it was one thing and the next day it was another, and this was due to the fact that each Judge thought he had a right to view it from his own individual point of view, and applied the law as he understood it. The result was that they got contradictory judgments even in the House of Commons. Two cases had been referred to by the seconder of this Motion of inconsistency in regard to this matter of the decisions of the Courts of law. In one case everybody thought they had got some light and leading as to what 251 was the law of conspiracy from the Lord Chief Baron, one of the ablest of lawyers, but it turned out in the House of Lords that he was wrong, and even the House of Lords in apparently similar cases had given distinctly contradictory judgments. The law of conspiracy was a tangle which nobody could easily unravel, and it was a mystery which nobody was able to fathom. Something was, therefore, wanted amid the dangers to public liberty and the rights of workmen to check the ravings of this law, which was a remnant of the old days, when the object was to suppress liberty and not to promote it. He should have great pleasure in supporting the Second Heading of this Bill.
§ SIR ALFRED HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)
said he had had some fifty years experience as an employer of labour, and he had always found trades unions most advantageous and convenient. He believed that they prevented many more strikes than they promoted, and he had certainly found it much more convenient to deal with the organised body representative of the men than with individuals or sections. This Bill was practically the upshot of the Taff Vale decision. Taking that decision it was laid down most clearly that men had a perfect right to strike, and to persuade others to do so, as long as they did not perform illegal acts. The Taff Vale decision was based upon the fact that illegal acts were done with the sanction and by the action of the amalgamated society—such acts as causing the men to strike without notice and preventing them by farce from carrying on their work.
§ MR. SPEAKER
ruled that the hon. Member was out of order in discussing the question of the liability of trades union funds.
§ SIR ALFRED HICKMAN
said he believed they would never have heard of this Bill but for the recent legal decision as 252 to the liability of trades union funds. When a man had paid into his trades union for thirty or thirty-five years for the purpose of providing himself with an old age pension or sick benefits he did not wish to see the fund jeopardised.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member is proceeding now to argue a point which I have ruled is out of order.
§ SIR ALFRED HICKMAN
believed the Bill did not go far enough. If trade unions kept their sick and pension funds quite separate from their strike funds, and passed rules prohibiting illegal acts, and providing that any violation of these rules by a member of the executive should be followed by instant dismissal and exclusion from any benefit from the funds, then he thought the sick and pension funds should have legal protection.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I must again point out to the hon. Member that that is not the question under debate.
§ SIR ALFRED HICKMAN
said he would not, of course, pursue that subject further. What he was desirous of doing was to show that the Bill was incomplete and to urge that by referring the matter to a Select Committee it would be possible to deal effectively with the whole subject. The advocates of the Bill, and notably the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife, had admitted that they could not support the Bill as it stood. ["No, no."] Assuming that to be so the arguments of the hon. Member for South Manchester were absolutely convincing. He thought it would be a great misfortune if so important a question were dealt with piecemeal. There was no great hurry for legislation on the subject, for they were not likely soon to have another Taff Vale case, and it would therefore be the best plan to have the whole question dealt with thoroughly, completely, and satisfactorily. On these grounds he should support the Amendment.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
said that everyone who had listened to 253 that debate from the commencement would be struck with the great advance which the opinion of the House of Commons had made on this subject. A year ago the mere demand for an inquiry seemed to shock the general sense of the majority of hon. Members opposite, but the discussion which had since taken place—outside rather than in that House—had produced a state of things which to his mind was much more satisfactory. Three counter propositions had been made to that Bill. First there was the general one for a Royal Commission. Then there had been put forward the suggestion by the hon. and learned Member for Leamington, in a very interesting speech, whether the reform should not take the shape of restricting the powers of the great capitalists instead of enlarging the powers of labour organisations, and finally there was the criticism as to the nature of the Bill. He desired to point out, however, that to his mind none of the grounds put forward were tenable as objections to the principle underlying the Bill. It was obvious that there was a great deal of difficulty and confusion as to the state of the law; and that was largely because matters had been referred to lawyers which were not within their province. Lord Watson, one of the greatest judges who ever sat on the English Bench, often, almost passionately, protested against the Courts being called upon to lay down abstract propositions as to what the conduct of men should be. What might be a peaceful act if done by a simple individual might become a formidable menace if committed by a multitude, and he believed that the obscurity of the law had arisen from attempts on the part of Parliament and of Judges to lay down abstract propositions dealing with questions of that nature. It was impossible, for instance, to say beforehand whether a particular act would or would not constitute a nuisance. It was not the combination to do it but the character of the act done which was important. Much confusion had been introduced by mixing up the combination to do an act with the result on its nature of an aggregation of persons doing it, and this had led to an erroneous view of the combination clause of the present Bill. He entirely 254 approved of an inquiry by experts into the state of the law; but there was no reason why the innocent amendment of the law proposed in the Bill should not be objected to as the Amendment before the House proposed. There had been the very greatest divergence of opinion among the judges as to the policy of trade unions and trade combinations, and as to the relations between employers and employed; but these questions all belonged to the field of economics and not of law. While he would not submit the question of what the law ought to be to anybody but Parliament itself, he approved of an inquiry of an expert character, by one or two great lawyers, into the state of the law and its underlying principle. But the Amendment declined to proceed with the Bill in the absence of the report of a Royal Commission.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said that the words "or otherwise" were specially inserted in the Amendment to cover such an inquiry as the hon. and learned Member suggested.
§ MR. HALDANE
said that the inquiry must be of a very carefully defined and scientific character, and it was indispensable to have a full and complete survey of the law. The Amendment covered anything. What they had to do was to vote on the principle of the Bill, and the alternative to its acceptance was its rejection in favour of an inquiry by a Royal Commission which might consist of anybody or anything, "or otherwise." The propositions contained in the Bill seemed to him to be of a very innocent character indeed. He doubted whether Clause 2 would change the law in any degree; and he was sure that it would do none of the extraordinary things which had been suggested. The true principle, as it had always seemed to him, and the principle which would have emerged clearly had it not been for the duty which Parliament had put on the Judges of working out artificial distinctions about matters which were not matters of law but matters of fact—the true principle ought to be that anybody should be at liberty to do anything he liked, whether in the nature of combination or picketing, provided he did 255 not do what was oppressive to his neighbour, or what was in the nature of what the law called, a nuisance, a thing which the law had always refused to define except by the judgment of a jury or a tribunal of fact. He was aware that it was not an easy thing to recast the law in such a fashion as to give it that simplicity, and to separate fact from law in that careful fashion; but the more they inquired into the law the more would it appear how the confusion had arisen; and, while he thought that the proposal of the Government to have an inquiry into the whole matter was a useful proposal, he could not for the world see what objection could be taken to Clause 2 of this Bill, which did not touch the principle he had laid down, and did not make anything lawful which at the present time was unlawful. Then, again, in Clause 1 there was a definition of peaceful picketing which was not only what was laid down by Lord Cairns as to what he believed was intended to be made law under the Bill of 1875, when it was under debate, but which also embodied the opinion of a minority of Judges sitting in the Court of Appeal. As he had said, there were two propositions before the House. The one asking for a Royal Commission practically involved the rejection of the Bill But they were all agreed that it was desirable to go forward in this matter. Most of them approved in substance the principle underlying the Bill. Some of them felt it did not go far enough, but, at any rate, it was unobjectionable. He entirely approved of the proposal of the Government to have a proper inquiry, but he was not satisfied that the Amendment provided the necessary safeguards against evils to which he had alluded, 256 and therefore, on the present occasion, he should vote for the harmless and innocent affirmation of the principle that the present state of the law was thoroughly unsatisfactory.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
I promised my hon. and learned friend near me, who, from many points of view, is the person most fitted to deal with the hon. and learned Gentleman, and other Gentlemen who have spoken, that I would say nothing in my speech at all hostile to the great profession of which he is a distinguished ornament, and I mean to adhere to that pledge. I hope, however, that he will not think that I am breaking it when I say that the various legal utterances which I have heard on both sides of the House have left me hopelessly confused as to what is the true interpretation of the Bill of which we are now asked to pass a Second Reading. A certain number of very highly qualified gentlemen have told us that the first Clause of the Bill is intended, and successfully and adequately intended, to put the law into precisely the position in which Parliament intended to leave it in 1875—in other words, to make the law what an Amendment moved by Mr. Mundella would have made it, an Amendment not carried simply because it was declared to be unnecessary by the present Lord Cranbrook, who was then Home Secretary. If that is so, I am surprised that the framers of the Bill went so far beyond the language of Mr. Mundella himself. After all, the language of Mr. Mundella is present to their minds, it has been referred to constantly on both sides of the House during this debate, and it must have 257 been fairly familiar to them; and if they only meant to carry out Mr. Mundella's Amendment, I cannot imagine why they did not adopt Mr. Mundella's words. They have gone far beyond those words; which suggests, at all events, a suspicion that, in framing Clause 1, they did mean to go a good deal farther than Mr. Mundella meant to go, or than the Parliament of 1875, or the then Home Secretary wanted to go. But I quite admit that, whoever is right in this dispute as to the meaning of Clause 1, that clause could probably be modified in Committee so as to reduce it precisely to the proportions of Mr. Mundella's original proposition and Lord Cranbrook's original policy.
When, however, I come to Clause 2, can the same thing be said? On Clause 2 the lawyers have differed even more fundamentally than on Clause 1; and I confess that the last utterances of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down filled me with astonishment. Most of us thought that Clause 2, whether right or wrong, was, at all events, a most important, if not a revolutionary, change in the law. The right hon. Member tells us that, so far as he can see, it makes no change at all. Why we should vote for a Bill which makes no change in the law at all, or a fundamental clause of which makes no change at all, I do not know. At all events, I admit that it would bean innocent and innocuous proposal if it really had only the effect which the right hon. Gentleman ascribes to it. But my hon. and learned friend near me, whose opinion I am bound to take in these matters, and I believe every other lawyer in the House except the right hon. Gentleman takes a different view of the consequences of Clause 2. For example, my hon. and 258 learned friend near me holds not only that Clause 2 effects a great change in the law, and as he thinks, and as I think, a very injurious change in the law, but that it is incapable of modification in Committee, and that its vices are fundamental. I am informed that if Clause 2 were passed, the well-known and very shocking case, as I think, of Quinn v. Lcatham—a case quite undefended by any Gentleman sitting in any quarter of the House—I am informed that the perpetrators of that great social crime would be perfectly untouched. [Cries of "No."] Well, at all events, that is what I am advised by one of our great legal luminaries. Allow me to remind the House what that case was, and no one will suspect me of giving it as a specimen of what trade unions do. It is not a specimen; it is, however, an unhappy case of what one particular trade union did in one particular case, and it shows what is possible, although it is unlikely to recur. An employer had in his employment union men and nonunion men. The union to which the union men belonged, determined that the employer should no longer be allowed to employ non-union men, and in particular they required him to dismiss from employment a particular non-union man. The employer wont to the union and adopted an almost apologetic attitude. He said that all his men were prepared to join the union; that he was prepared to pay the fines or penalties inflicted on the non-union men, and, in all respects, if the union would accept the non-union men in his employ as members, he was prepared to go on with only union men. Unfortunately the leader of this particular union took a different view of the situation. He refused to allow this unfortunate workman to join the union. He said that he must walk the street for 259 twelve months as a penalty for not having joined the union before; and when the employer pleaded that this unfortunate man was a husband and the father of a family, and that this meant misery and starvation not only to him, but to those dependent upon him, the hearts of the trade union officials were not moved, and they pursued their horrible policy to its extreme conclusion, and set all their influence at work to ruin this employer until he had conceded the cruel terms which they exacted.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes, it was an Irish case, in Belfast; and I am sure it was a case which gave more pain to my hon. friends opposite who are Labour representatives than it did even to Gentlemen sitting on the other side of the House. But what I wish to say is that if that kind of thing is to be made unpunishable by Clause 2, that clause really is an alteration in the law which requires most careful and critical examination in this House. And I am informed that the vice of Clause 2 is fundamental in the structure of that clause, and is not to be easily amended by any mere alteration of its wording. I now ask the House whether, if these difficulties occur in the interpretation of the Bill before us, and as to the policy we ought to pursue, is it not wise, before attempting to deal with this very difficult and complicated side of our social and industrial life, to hold an inquiry? I listened with the greatest regret to the attack made by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dumfries Burghs upon Commissions.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
I did not attack Commissions; I only said there were a great deal too many of them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
At all events, the hon. and learned Gentleman said there were too many of them. I think the service which is done by Commissions in guiding this House and public opinion is enormous. It is perfectly true that one almost staggers under the number of the volumes of evidence which such inquiries leave behind them. It is also true that no one endowed with less than Titanic industry can gain from these vast volumes all the valuable ore which is to be obtained from them. Nevertheless, in the Reports of these Commissions, irrespective of the evidence, there is a mass of valuable information and advice given to the public which cannot be exaggerated. I would ask the House this—Has the time not come when an inquiry into the changes which have taken place in the whole of our social and industrial circumstances has become urgently needed? What we all desire to aim at, I hope and believe, is the maximum of individual liberty which can be attained without preventing these combinations which in themselves are, I admit, great guardians of liberty. But observe through what phases we have gone. The original person whose power was to be feared was the wealthy individual employer and it was found that the unorganised workman really had not a fair chance in dealing with the single rich employer on whom he depended for his weekly wages. That was the first evil that had to be met; and, in meeting it, this House abolished the old unjustifiable 261 law against combination and gave workmen the power to combine. It is not now the rich individual employer who is able to act oppressively against his employé. The two classes whom I think now require our protection are the small employer and the unorganised labourer. The great combinations of employers can perfectly well hold their own against the great combinations of workmen, and the great combinations of workmen can perfectly well hold their own against the great combinations of employers. But I fear it is not so under modern conditions, either with the small employer or with the small unorganised trader on the one side, and the unorganised workman on the other; and I think some of the cases I have seen of oppression by great bodies of organised capitalists against their smaller brethren, and, I must add, the action taken by great bodies of organised workmen against some of their unorganised fellow-workmen, do seriously militate against that industrial freedom which we all desire to further and foster. This leaves a new condition. It is an entirely new phenomenon. It is within the lives and memories of the Gentlemen to whom I am speaking that these great combinations have grown up. But the modern system of combining capital, whether in the form of huge trusts or otherwise, and the vast extension of such combinations as that of which the hon. Member for Derby is at the head, are comparatively modern phenomena, and they have to a large extent grown up since the House dealt with the subject of combination nearly thirty years ago. Do you not think the time has come when these novel conditions require further investigation, and when the House should have before it the result of such an investiga- 262 tion before it attempts to settle all this vast and complicated question? There always has been an inquiry before any great change in the law on this point. There was an inquiry before the earlier legislation of 1875, and also before the legislation of 1871. Is not the practice of our predecessors one that we may well follow, seeing that the change in industrial life in the past thirty years has been so much greater than the change which took place in the preceding thirty years?
I do not complain of this Bill because it docs not deal with the whole subject; but I do not think we should deal with a fraction of the subject unless we have some general idea of the way in which we should deal with the subject as a whole. Let the House remember that we are not going to decide in the division about to take place whether this Bill is to become law in the present year. Every human being knows that it is impossible for this Bill to be passed into law during the present session. The real question before us is not whether the Bill is to pass this session, but whether we ought to have an inquiry before legislation takes place. I very respectfully say that I am going to base the vote I propose to give in favour of an inquiry, not merely and not principally upon the fact that Clause 1 of the Bill seems ambiguous in its purport, nor upon the ground that Clause 2 of the Bill, if it is rightly interpreted to me by those whose legal verdict I accept, would apparently revolutionise some of the law in respect of certain kinds of trade disputes in a manner I should regard with great alarm. It is because lam quite certain that if this House is going to take in hand, as it shortly will have to take in hand, a reconsideration of the whole position as regards combinations of 263 workmen and of employers and of capitalists—before it takes in hand that great subject it ought to do what its predecessors have always done, namely, to consider, through a Commission, in the light of novel circumstances, of social changes, of great economic changes, what ought to be the principles and lines of its future action. For these reasons I feel no misgivings as to the course I am taking. No vote given to-day will hasten or hinder the progress of the hon. Gentleman's Bill, for it cannot become law this session; and those who vote against the Amendment are casting their decision against that cautious policy which I am sure the
§ House ought to adopt before it embarks on any topic so difficult, so delicate, touching so many interests, both of employers and workmen, and going to the very root of our whole industrial life. Surely we ought to have the advice of those who are able to give it, not in the course of a Friday a ternoon, not influenced by this or that political consideration, but in a spirit of absolute impartiality.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 226; Noes, 246. (Division List No. 77.)265
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Delany, William||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale|
|Allan, Sir Wm. (Gateshead)||Dewar, John A. (Inverness, sh.||Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc. Stroud)||Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Ambrose, Robert||Donelan, Captain A.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Doogan, P. C.||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E.|
|Austin, Sir John||Duncan, J. Hastings||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Dunn, Sir William||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Elibank, Master of||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Ellis, John Edward||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Emmott, Alfred||Hutchinson, Dr. Chas. Fredk.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Hutton, Alfred E. (Mortey)|
|Boland, John||Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Jacoby, Sir James|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Joicey, Sir James|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Jones, David Brynmor (Sw'nsea|
|Brown, George M. (Kdinburgh)||Fenwick, Charles||Jones, William (Carnarronshire|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Joyce, Michael|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Ffrench, Peter||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Field, William||Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Burns, John||Fitzmaurice, Lrod Edmund||Kitson, Sir James|
|Burt, Thomas||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Langley, Batty|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal W.|
|Caldwell, James||Flynn, James Christopher||Lawson, Sir Wilfred (Cornwall|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Henry||Leamy, Edmund|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Fuller, J. M. F.||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Gilhooly, James||Leng, Sir John|
|Cawley, Frederick||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Levy, Maurice|
|Chamberlayne, T. (Southmptn||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Godson, Sir. Aug. Frederick||Lloyd-George, David|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gordon, Maj. Evans (T'r H'mlts||Logan, John William|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Grant, Corrie||Lough, Thomas|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Griffith, Ellis J.||Lundon, W.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Crean, Eugene||Hammond, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Cremer, William Randal||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Crombie, John William||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||M'Kean, John|
|Crooks, William||Harrington, Timothy||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Cullinan, J.||Harwood, George||M'Killop, W. (Sligo North)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Pemberton, John S. G.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Philipps, John Wynford||Sullivan, Donal|
|Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh N.||Pickard, Benjamin||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe|
|Mooney, John J.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
|Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Price, Robert John||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Moss, Samuel||Priestley, Arthur||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Randles, John S.||Thomas, F. Freeman (Hastings|
|Murphy, John||Rea, Russell||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Reckitt, Harold James||Toulmin, George|
|Newnes, Sir George||Reddy, M.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Tully, Jasper|
|Norman, Henry,||Redmond, William (Clare)||Ure, Alexander|
|Norton, Captain Cecil William||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Wallace, Robert|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Rickett, J. Compton||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|O' Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.)||Robson, William Snowdon||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Roche, John||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Runciman, Walter||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Russell, T. W.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|O'Dowd, John||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland||Wood, James|
|O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)||Schwann, Charles E.||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (H'ddersf'd|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)||Young, Samuel|
|O'Shee, James John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Palmer, George Wm. (Reading||Shipman, Dr. John G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Partington, Oswald||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Mr. Shackleton and Mr.|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Bell.|
|Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Acland-Hood, Cap. Sir Alex F.||Butcher, John George||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon|
|Aird, Sir John||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Glasg.||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Uni.||Doughty, George|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Carlile, William Walter||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Cautley, Henry Strother||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon John||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Egerton, Hon A. de Tatton|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Chapman, Edward||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Charrington, Spencer||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Barry, Sir Fras. T. (Windsor)||Coddington, Sir William||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Flower, Ernest|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Forster Henry William|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Fyler, John Arthur|
|Bigwood, James||Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bill, Charles||Cranborne, Lord||Garfit, William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans|
|Bond, Edward||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Gordon, Hn. JE. (Elginand Nairn|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Crossley, Sir Savile||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Midx.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.|
|Brassey, Albert||Davenport, William Bromley-||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Grenfell, William Henry|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Dickson, Charles Scott||Gretton, John|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Bull, William James||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Dimsdale, Rt, Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd nd'rry||Massey Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, As'ford||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Milvain, Thomas||Seely, Maj. J. E. (Isle of Wight)|
|Heath, Arthur H. (Hartley)||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Heath, James (Staffords., N. W.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Helder, Augustus||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Som'rs't, E.||Morrison, James Archibald||Smith, H. C. (North'mb, Tyneside)|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Mount, William Arthur||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand|
|Hoult, Joseph||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Spear, John Ward|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Howard, John (Kent, Fav'rsham||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Stroyan, John|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Parkes, Ebenezer||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Keswick, William||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Kimber, Henry||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Knowles, Lees||Penn, John||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm.||Pilkington, Col. Richard||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts)|
|Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks. N. R.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Purvis, Robert||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Ratcliff, R. F.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Wilson John (Glasgow)|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Lowe, Francis William||Renwick, George||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Richards, Henry Charles||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Robinson, Brooke||Younger, William|
|M'Calmont, Colonel James||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Ed'nburgh, W.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Royds, Clement Molvneux||Mr. Galloway and Mr.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Lyttelton.|
|Manners, Lord Cecil||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Resolved: That this House declines to consider a Bill dealing only with certain points affecting Trade Disputes, inasmuch as it considers any legislation on such a subject should deal with the question as a whole, and when Parliament is in possession, by the report of a Royal Commission or otherwise, of satisfactory materials for the purpose.