§ [FOURTEENTH DAY.]
§ Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Main Question [2nd February], "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:—
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign,—
§ "We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Mr. Hardy.)
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydfil)
, in moving an Amendment expressing regret that His Majesty's advisers had not seen fit to recommend the creation of a Department and Minister of Labour, said there was always a difficulty in convincing a large and influential class section of the community that there was such a thing as the unemployed trouble. The assumption was that men who were able and willing to work could always get work. If that were the case there would be no reason whatever for troubling the House of Commons with the question, but unfortunately the assumption was not correct. Further, the theory was sometimes propounded that the unemployed were in the main confined to great centres 452 of unskilled and sweated labour like the East End of London. That also was incorrect. The figures of the Labour Department of the Board of Trade showed that in 1903 the percentage of unemployed of all trades making a return was 5.1. In the building trades (in 1902) it was 4.2, in the shipbuilding trade 5. 5, and in the printing and bookbinding trades 4.6. In 1899 the corresponding figures were for all trades 2.4 per cent., for the building trades, 1.3, for the shipbuilding trade 2.4,and for the printing and bookbinding trades 3.9. The object of quoting those figures was to show the fluctuation which took place in our staple industries. In Lancashire the case was exceptional. The distress in the cotton trade due to shortage of employment was due to circumstances over which unfortunately the House had no control, but he hoped that before long there would be some means of stopping the gambling in cotton options. It was a scandal that speculators should be able to gamble on the Stock Exchange not only in scrip, stock, and shares, but also in the lives and comfort of thousands of their fellow subjects. With regard to particular districts, the condition of the shipbuilding trade was a fair index of the condition of many others—for if the shipbuilding yards were full, the iron, engineering, coal, and various other trades were all benefited—and in that trade, in the districts of the Clyde, Tyne, and Wear, the tonnage under construction showed a decrease of 36 per cent. last year as compared with 1899, and that, of course, meant a considerable reduction in the number of men employed. According to the figures supplied by the principal trades unions, the number of engineers employed in the districts concerned decreased from 19,782 in 1899 to 18,966 at the end of last year, boilermakers showed a decrease of 5,000 in 1903 as compared with 1901, while the shipwrights reported a decrease of 1,520 in the same period. These figures showed that the lack of employment was not confined to the East End of London, but was general throughout the country. Nor was the problem of the unemployed a British question only; it was worldwide in its extent. In America, on the Continent of Europe, and in the Colonies, 453 the same problem faced social reformers and statesmen, and cried aloud for solution.
It would probably be said that alien immigration was largely responsible for the present condition of affairs. It might be that in one or two specific and local cases, such as in the East End of London and in certain parts of Leeds, the foreigner did compete successfully with the British working men, and that in those cases employment for the Britisher might be more plentiful if aliens were scarcer, but that had no bearing whatever on the question he was endeavouring to put before the House. It was not alien competition, but shortage of trade, that caused lack of employment in the shipbuilding, engineering, and iron works, and the stopping of the incoming of aliens was not likely appreciably to affect the gravity of the unemployed trouble. In view of recent discussions, it would probably be said that free imports were responsible for the depression in trade. That was a stronger case. He regarded with considerable appreciation the fact that the ex-Colonial Secretary should have raised this question in the prominent way in which it had been raised of late, as it had directed attention to social and industrial problems which must be faced if our national existence was to be maintained. But the remedy propounded would but increase the trouble of which they complained. In Germany, as against our 4.4 per cent., the number out of work was 11 per cent., and in parts of America, such as the State of New York, the number for certain trades was as high as 17 per cent. The condition of the worker in those protected countries was as the position of the worker here: he got as much for his labour as his trade union and the state of the market could extort or obtain, and nothing beyond. The condition of the German worker had considerably improved within the last ten or twelve years, but the improvement was due almost entirely to the better trades union organisation of the workers, and not to the fiscal policy of the country. Protection, so far from increasing, would materially diminish the amount of employment in the country, and would make life harder for the toilers of the land. 454 Whilst saying that, he must not be taken as accepting the point of view of those who held that free trade had solved our social problem. It had not. Much remained to be done—much that would be in direct conflict with the theories underlying the free-trade agitation. So long as nearly one-third of our population were living either in poverty or on the edge of poverty, the condition of the working classes could not be regarded as satisfactory. Free trade offered no remedy for that state of affairs: it maintained the status quo, but he preferred the status quo, bad as it was, to the horrors which obtained under protection early in the last century.
What were the powers possessed by various authorities for dealing with this question? Local authorities were straining their resources to the uttermost in the endeavour to find work for their people. But that was really no part of the duty of a local authority. Necessary works might be put in hand during periods of depression, but it was usually a costly method of carrying out local improvements. Municipal authorities should be free to carry out their improvements at times most suitable and under the best conditions, and not be more or less compelled to carry out such works during periods of trade depression, in order to tide over the workers who were otherwise unable to find employment. Boards of guardians were the only authorities at present empowered to deal with the question. The foundation of the Poor Law in England was to provide work for the able-bodied unemployed and relief for the incapable and sick. It was no part of the theory of the English Poor Law that relief should be given to the able-bodied. Boards of guardians had the powers originally conferred on the vestries, to the extent that each board might acquire 50 acres of land, establish workshops, equip those workshops with machinery, employ men at wages to carry on manufactures, and sell the produce He submitted that they could do that without any taint of Poor Law attaching to it; that was to say, no disfranchisement would follow. As showing how much England had departed from its ideal in this matter, he might quote an interesting 455 document issued by the Secretary of State as far back as 1694—Mandate issued in 1694 addressed to the Overseers of the Poor and to the Churchwardens for the setting to work of all the poor within your parishes. By virtue of this statute made in the three and fortieth year of the Reign of our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth for the relief of the Poor: These are to will and require you, whose names are here underwritten, that you, together with the Churchwardens of your Parish for the time being, do according to the same statute, take order from time to time, (for this year to come) for the setting to work all the Poor within your parish (as well married as unmarried) that are able to work, and have no means to maintain themselves, nor use no ordinary and daily Trade of Life to get their living by. And also for the placing out as Apprentices all such children within your said Parish as are fit to be put forth, whose parents are not able to keep and maintain them. And also for the raising of a convenient stock of Flax, Hemp, Wool, Thread, Iron and other necessary Ware and Stuff in your said Parish for that purpose; and also for the providing of necessary relief for all such Poor within your said Parish, as are Lame, Old, Blind, Impotent, and unable to work, wherein if you be found negligent, or shall fail to meet once a Month to confer together for the purpose aforesaid, then you are to forfeit 20s. apiece for every Month that you shall be found remiss or careless therein. And therefore see that you fail not in these Premises at your peril.That was a State document issued about 1694. He hoped the day was not far distant when a similar document would be issued to local authorities carrying due punishment for remissness of duty.
What were the trades unions doing to meet this? He had quoted figures showing the number of unemployed among shipwrights, boiler-makers, and engineers. He would now quote the amount paid by them last year, not for strike pay, or superannuation, or sick benefit, but exclusively to those unable to get employment. The shipwrights paid £6,000, the boilermakers £90,000, and the Amalgamated Society of Engineers £22,000. If they turned to the Board of Trade figures for all trades unions in the ten years ending 1901 it would be found that 100 trades unions paid out-of-work benefit to the extent of £3,280,755. Out of their own pockets the trades unions helped their unfortunate fellows to the extent of nearly £3,500,000 in ten years. Surely then the State should have no hesitation in attempting to do its duty when the private individual was endeavouring to do so much. To show the gravity of this 456 question and the importance attached to it by local authorities he wished to refer to a conference held in February last in the Guildhall. At one of its sittings it was presided over by the hon. Member for South Islington, the Member for Cambridge University being also present, as well as a good many dignitaries of the Church and gentlemen prominent in connection with local government. At that Conference there were present 587 delegates, of whom 123 were councillors sent by the various councils. The Corporation of the City of London, the London County Council, and the City and Borough Councils of such important centres as Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bradford, Newcastle-on-Tyne and Wolverhampton were all represented. That gathering sat for two days and certain resolutions were carried. The main resolution was to the following effect—That this Conference (a) realising that the interests of industry are the paramount interests of the community, and that the problem of the unemployed should be dealt with in a sympathetic as well as in a practical manner, urges upon the Government (b) the necessity of appointing a Minister of Labour with a seat in the Cabinet, one of whose duties it shall be to organise a special department of his office to deal with recurring periods of depression and distress, to watch for and to notify indications of approaching lack of employment, to supplement the Board of Trade statistics, to obtain and to disseminate information as to places where work can be had, to help in distributing labour where it is most needed, and, above all, to devise and promote measures for the temporary and permanent utilisation of the unemployed labour of the nation.Then it goes on with recommendations which he would deal with later on. This Conference, representing the boards of guardians and the great city councils of large centres of population, passed this resolution with absolute unanimity, and as their spokesman he suggested the creation of a Labour Department. They passed one other resolution. It was somewhat lengthy, but in view of the importance of it the House would perhaps pardon him reading it. It was as follows—That seeing the President of the Local Government Board has power under existing laws to group parishes and unions to carry out such work as they individually are able to do under the powers conferred on them by Parliament, and as such power is frequently used by the Local Government Board to form 457 districts for dealing with the sick and children, this Conference is strongly of opinion that the Metropolitan area should be formed into one district to be called the Metropolitan District for dealing with able-bodied destitution, and that to this body all the able-bodied applicants for relief should be sent, whether such applicants are vagrants or residents of their respective parishes. This Conference further points out that as each parish has power under the Act of William IV., N2 Chap. 42 to buy 50 acres of land it would be therefore for such a body representing all London and vested with all its powers to buy a considerable quantity of land north, south, east, and west on which to put the able-bodied to work intead of as now to stone-breaking, oakum-picking and the like useless tasks. It is therefore resolved that the Right Hon. Walter Long be asked to at once issue the necessary Order to give effect to these proposals.That was the resolution, and he hoped the President, seeing that this was purely a question of administration, and called for no legislation, would be able without delay to give effect to this scheme. If the various parishes throughout the country were empowered to group themselves together for dealing with this question their combined power would be very much greater than when separately applied.
He now came to the practical remedies. He was afraid that many of those whose sympathies would induce them to deal with this question, were held back by the fact that they believed that there must necessarily be a large and permanent unemployed element as an indispensable adjunct to the present methods of production. The larger the number of men out of work the more easily could wages be reduced, and if the time should come when every man willing to work should have within his reach the opportunity, the effective power of the worker to improve his condition would become very great indeed. Mere temporary dealing with this question was no solution for it, the amount of work to be performed must be permanently and considerably enlarged, and with all due respect to what might be the opinions of others he submitted that it could only be done by turning on to the land of England a very much larger portion of the population than now found employment thereon. The proper cultivation of the soil of Great Britain would to a very large extent solve the unemployed question. So long as trade and agriculture were 458 allowed to flounder along without regard to the national wellbeing then he felt there could be no remedy for the state of affairs which they were now discussing. Every other country in Europe and America was devoting increasing attention and expenditure to the proper teaching and training of those who had to cultivate the soil, and here, whilst they were spending unlimited money in connection with military affairs, they were starving industry and standing idly by while agriculture was going to ruin. That state of affairs should not be allowed to continue. As he had indicated last year very considerable additional powers would be required by local authorities for the acquisition of land, for organising and training labour upon the land, and for making the life of the labourer more agreeable, as it could be made, and thereby doing what had been done in Denmark by this means. There, by this means, not only had the influx of population from the country to towns been stopped, but the flow of population had been actually reversed back again to the country. If that could be done in Denmark with such excellent effect that it improved the condition of the people and brought happiness and wealth to that nation, surely it could be done in this country. He would not dwell upon this aspect of the land question because the facts in regard to it were pretty well known.
He would seek to concentrate attention on a matter that more immediately concerned the Government, and which could be undertaken without loss of time. He referred to the question of afforestation. The total import of wood in all its various forms was something just under £20,000,000 a year. That was a serious matter. He was to this extent in the fullest sympathy with those who advocated fiscal changes, that wherever an article could be produced within our own shores it should be so produced. We should not be dependent upon outside agencies for that which could be produced with profit and advantage at home. The question of timber came well within that category. He would tell the House what was being done in Germany. He found from a report by the British Consul at Stuttgart that out of a total acreage of 459 135,000,000 no fewer than 35,000,000 acres were planted with woods and forests. Two-thirds of that area were owned by the State, and the planting was done by the State direct. It might be alleged that this would involve an expenditure of money. He would come to that in a moment. He wished to point out that in Germany the profits each year from these forests ranged from £15,000,000 to £18,000,000. Surely, if we could, by a judicious expenditure of capital secure a return to the State of £10,000,000, £12,000,000, or £15,000,000 a year in addition to finding our own wood and employing our own labour, that was worth making an effort to carry through. Germany was not the only country that had set an example of this kind. India was also in a like case, and the profits there from the growing of wood were from £5,000,000 to £6,000,000 a year. That had been accomplished since 1863, when systematic planting in India was first undertaken. In Saxony the net profits from what was said to be not very advantageous land for the purpose, after paying the cost of labour and interest on capital, was 38s. per acre. The value of that land for agricultural purposes was only 4s. per acre. The same kind of thing was being done all over European countries, our own colonies and many of the States of America were seriously considering the question, because there was a danger that the wood supply of the world would shortly show a shortage as against the demand. The price was bound to increase unless steps were taken to meet the demand. On 17th January last year The Times said—In India the earlier phases of British rule were as unmindful of scientific forestry as we always have been, and still are in this country. The results were so disastrous and so menacing that in 1864 the Forest Department was established. Dr. Schlich, the Professor of Forestry at Coopers Hill and a member of the Committee whose Report we are considering, gives in the supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica a brief account of the labours of this department. 'The progress made since 1864 is,' he says, 'really astonishing.' Thousands of square miles of Indian forests are now under its control and have been preserved and managed to the great advantage of the climate, agricultural and general rural economy of India. It has been a revenue earning institution from the outset. In the first five years of its existence, from 1865 to 1870, its mean annual nett revenue was 1,372,733 rupees. In the last five years for which 460 returns are given by Dr. Schlich, 1890 to 1895 it was 7,370,572 rupees. The percentage of increase during each quinquennial period from 1870 to 1895 has been 30 per cent., 25 per cent., 52 per cent., 50 per cent., and 45 per cent., respectively.That had been done, by the application of scientific methods under State authority, with the forests of India. Surely the Government under whose auspices this was being done in India might well seriously consider whether something similar should not be done at home. He had mentioned already the Report of the Committee appointed by the late President of the Board of Agriculture whose loss this House deplored. He was a man of large and generous heart, wide sympathies, and intensely practical in his methods—a man who, if spared, would undoubtedly have made the Board of Agriculture an efficient means for aiding in the development of the agricultural resources of the country. Under his auspices a Committee was appointed to consider whether any measures might with advantage be taken by the provision of further educational facilities, or otherwise, for the promotion and encouragement of afforestation and the planting of wood. The Chairman of the Committee was the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs, and it included Members on both sides of the House, and authorities on arboriculture. He would read two of the recommendations of the Committee.
Paragraph 7.As regards the question of the extension of the forest area, it is shown on the highest authority that there is in these islands a very large area of waste, heather and rough pasture or land out of cultivation, amounting in all to 21,000,000 acres on a large proportion of which afforestation could be profitably undertaken. Regular forest book-keeping is rare in Great Britain; but we believe the various estimates of profit obtained from the cultivation of timber, which have been laid before both inquiries, to be substantially correct. These show that excellent returns, even with indifferent management, have often been obtained from plantations formed on land of little or no value for any other purpose.Paragraph 12 said—The present condition of existing woodlands has been repeatedly and clearly reviewed by many eminent authorities. It is the common verdict that timber of the kind and quality imported in such large quantities from the Baltic and similar temperate regions can be grown as well here as anywhere; in fact, it is a matter of common knowledge that European 'red wood' and 'white wood,' so highly esteemed for structural purposes, are yielded 461 by the Scots pine and the spruce, two of the commonest trees of British woodlands. That foreign is so generally preferred to home-grown timber is in no way due to unsuitability of soil or climate, but is entirely due to our neglect of sylvicultural principles.He hoped the House would get some information as to what was being done to give effect to the recommendations of that Committee. He wished to know whether extra facilities for the training of foresters, and extra means for the equipping of suitable establishments for that purpose were being, or were likely to be, provided; whether the recommendation of the Committee that this matter should be undertaken by the State, and should not be left to private individuals, was likely to be acted upon; and whether the waste Crown lands which were suitable for this purpose were being utilised by the Commission of Woods and Forests as the Committee recommended they should be; and whether the Commission of Woods and Forests, or any other Department of the Government, had commenced to collect statistics as to areas presumably suitable for afforestation. If these statistics had been collected the House would then be in a position to know where the work could be commenced. That would be one step at least towards the work being undertaken.
As to the financial side of the question they would probably be told, as they were last year by the President of the Local Government Board, that those who were always preaching economy were at the same time clamouring for expenditure for the carrying out of their own fads and opinions. He clamoured urgently for the expenditure of public money for public purposes, but he did not do so in the sense of asking the State to spend money in any eleemosynary form. It was not charity that was asked from the State. They were endeavouring to get those responsible for the Departments to understand that by the proposed expenditure they were not throwing the money into a sea of blood, resulting from quarrels that never ought to have arisen, but expending it for a purpose which would benefit the State, and also be profitable from a purely commercial point of view. This was investing not spending. Let the House suppose that there was a Government 462 in office sympathetic with this matter and determined to deal with it. Let it be assumed further that of the 21,000,000 acres of land which the Committee in their Report said was available for the purpose, and which was now lying practically idle, the Government acquired 10,000,000 acres. He was led to understand by those who knew, that such land could be acquired for 10s. an acre. A large part of that land was in Scotland and used for game-preserving purposes. There might, therefore, be a difficulty in acquiring it. But he hoped that we had reached a point when the well-being of the working people was of more importance than the sport of American millionaires. He assumed that that land was acquired at 10s. an acre, which would involve a capital expenditure of £5,000,000. The cost of planting would probably be, in this country, £3 per acre, making a further expenditure of £30,000,000, or a total outlay of £35,000,000 for acquiring and planting 10,000,000 acres with trees suitable to be grown in these islands. If that were done it would be a profitable investment. Private individuals had tried experiments on these lines. One specially referred to in various works on the subject, was that undertaken by the head forester of Lord Powerscourt. That nobleman's estate in Ireland was planted and the portion which formerly only produced 10s. an acre for agricultural purposes produced a rent of £1 under timber. But Lord Powerscourt in his testimony admitted that by plantations the value of the surrounding agricultural land had been increased by 25 per cent. The best figures attainable seemed to indicate that forests increased in value at the rate of from 10s. to£1 per acre per annum. Assuming that only 10,000,000 acres were increased in yearly value to the extent of 10s. each, in fifty years that would amount to £250,000,000. In other words, the investment of £35,000,000 would produce a return of £250,000,000. Therefore, from a commercial point of view, there was nothing to be afraid of from an experiment of this kind, while it would give permanent and profitable employment to 150,000 men. In Germany the forest employment maintained 400,000 persons.
He now came to his last point, viz., the establishment of a Ministry of Labour. 463 He knew that there was a difference of opinion, even amongst those who usually worked together on labour questions, as to the advisability of that measure. The chief danger that seemed to be in the minds of some of his friends was, that if a new Department were created, with a Cabinet Minister having a seat on the Treasury Bench, he would be more probably a Minister of Commerce than a Minister of Labour. He quite frankly acknowledged that if it were proposed to appoint a new Department whose duties would be divided between commerce and industry he would oppose such proposal. Already we had a Department specially charged with attending to the interests of commerce. He meant the Board of Trade. He found that Murray's Official Handbook to Church and State" described the duties of the Board of Trade to be—To take cognisance of all matters relating to trade and commerce, to advise other Departments upon such subjects, the Foreign Office in commercial matters arising out of treaties or negotiations with foreign States, the Home Office with respect to the grant and provision of charters or letters patent by the Crown, and the Treasury in matters connected with the Customs and Excise laws; also to superintend the conduct of all Bills and questions before Parliament which relate to commerce, and to exercise some control over all private Bills so far as the protection of the public interests is concerned.The Board of Trade was therefore a Commercial Department of the Government. He proposed, in connection with the Ministry of Labour or Industry, to relieve the Board of Trade of its duties in regard to labour. He would not say one word which would, either directly or indirectly, appear to reflect upon the efficiency of those who were at present in charge of the Labour Department of the Board of Trade. They discharged their duties with consummate skill, with great conscientiousness, and with great ability. He had nothing but praise for the way in which they performed their work. But he contended that an interest so important, so wide-spread, so far-reaching as that of 'labour, should not be confined to a mere corner of the Board of Trade, and should not be treated in the niggardly fashion it now was under a responsible Government. But he asked that a new Department should be called into being, or rather that the present Department should be 464 enlarged, to be specially charged with the responsibility, not merely of collecting facts and figures, but of seeing to the proper administration of existing laws relating to labour. The new Minister should take over duties such as those of factory and mines inspection; and take a part in framing a code of Labour Laws for this country which, instead of being as it now was infinitely behind those of foreign countries and especially of our colonies, would set an example to the world of what a labour code should be. He would not dwell on that side of the new Minister's duties, but confine himself exclusively to what should be or could be done by such a Minister for the unemployed. One section of his Department might be specially charged with the responsibility of attending to the needs of those unable to find employment. Special bureaux should be established all over the country, where a man out of work, and who wanted work, could register his name. In that, there would be a complete index as to the state of employment all over the country. The new office might also seek for and suggest schemes of reclamation, schemes of afforestation, that great public works should be undertaken, especially during periods of depression, under State auspices or authorised by the local authorities affected. They all felt that at the present time the powers given for the employment of the unemployed were inadequate, and that the machinery for carrying out any sensible proposal did not exist. The Labour Department, with these special duties, would be able to advise and assist the local authorities to combine and coordinate the various efforts made to find employment for men out of work. There were a hundred and one ways of making it easier to the local authorities to grapple with this question than they could do at the present moment.
The right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean, he understood, objected to the proposal that there should be a new Cabinet Minister. The right hon. Baronet thought that there should be rather a reduction in the present number. His reply to that was that the increase in the number of Government Departments was a necessity arising out of our complex and growing civilisation. The more we extended our area, and the more our influence and 465 activities increased the greater became the demand for adequate and proper supervision. With a small country, a small Ministry would be sufficient; but where the interests of commerce, labour, and education, and the like, became so great as they had become in this country, then that economy of labour which was recognised by all industrial authorities, and which made for efficiency, namely, subdivision, should apply to Governments as well as to workshops. Each Minister should be called upon to do one thing, and be held responsible for the intelligent doing of that thing. Therefore the argument that we should not increase the number of Ministers did not apply to his proposal in the least.
As to the cost, he hoped no Member on either side of the House would mention that as an obstacle. If a thing was desirable the money could be found. He admitted that the expenditure of the country was alarmingly great, but he repeated that was because the money was spent in a wrong direction, which did not add to our greatness, which added doubtful elements to our strength, and which threw a burden on the community for no adequate result. What he and his friends pleaded for was that money should be spent in such a way as to give comfort and happiness to the oppressed and heart-weary, and give to every man the inalienable right of man—the opportunity of earning an honest living by his own labour. They asked that the resources of the State should be used to bring about that result. All down through the ages the pathetic figure of a workless man had been commented on. He was the human Christ whose crouching figure bore the accumulated sorrows of our complex civilisation; who was always being sacrificed and crucified in the interests of commercial greed. Surely in these days of abounding wealth, the time had come when some determined and systematic effort should be made to remove this reproach of strong men and women being found hungry and homeless. Scarcely a week passed that we were not horrified to read of men and women committing suicide simply because they were workless and starving. What a reproach it was! We often spoke scornfully of the dark middle ages, but in those 466 dark middle ages there was not that horrible kind of trouble which we now experienced. There was generally a rude plenty all over the land, and the monasteries gave shelter to the poor. He feared that in days to come it might be said that the present age of wealth and great commercial prosperity was the really dark age, because men were allowed to die through the lack of employment. He would conclude with one quotation from a speech made by the late Lord Salisbury in May, 1895. In this speech at Bradford Lord Salisbury said—You know the difficulty of the unemployed is rising in the south. There are vast masses of men who have no evil will, against whom no harm can be stated, who have only this one wish, this one demand—that the labour which they are prepared to give should be accepted, and bare sustenance given them in place of it, and to whom it has been necessary, from sheer want of employment to give them, to return a disappointing answer. We pass those things over. We express them in brief language. We do not take note as the information flies rapidly under our eyes. We do not take note of what misery, what despair to men, what utter despair to women and children, what physical suffering is involved in those frightful facts. I feel that as long as the problem of the unemployed presents to us the features it has shown during the last winter, we cannot say that our conscience as statesmen and politicians is discharged if we do not vote for an attempt, at all events, to solve it with the utmost time and the utmost energy in our power. … He did not say that he had any patent or certain remedy for the terrible evils which beset us on all sides, but he did say that it was time they left off mending the constitution of Parliament, and that they turned all the wisdom and energy Parliament could combine together in order to remedy the sufferings under which so many of their countrymen laboured.That appeal he endorsed, and he asked the House of Commons as representing the nation, and representing, as it professed to do, the glory and greatness of the Empire, to turn its attention from the Imperial aspect of the case and to come down to the domestic aspect, and to see that every man born within the shores of these Islands should at least be provided with an opportunity of working for that living which he could not do without. He begged to move the Amendment which stood in his name.
§ ME. CROOKS (Woolwich)
said that after the masterly and eloquent speech of his hon. friend, who, it seemed to him, had covered the whole ground so far as 467 the economical aspect of the question was concerned, he might be permitted, perhaps, to deal with the personal aspect of the whole business. It was frequently said that in this country of ours the people were divided into two classes—those who were willing to work and those who were willing to allow them to do so. That being so, he thought they were entitled to come face to face with the powers that be, and to ask them to provide an opportunity to work for those who were willing to do so. There were two or three classes of unemployed in this country. He would deal with but two. He would not deal with the rich unemployed; they had been animadverted upon pretty strongly during the last two or three days. But when the Minister responsible for this Department came to reply presently he would, no doubt, begin to argue that the Poor Law as it now stood was well able to cope with any exceptional distress. He would also say, no doubt, that they needed fiscal changes. It had perfectly truly been asserted that we had still to realise that the penny loaf was dear if one had not a penny with which to purchase it. Yet the proposal now before the country was to raise the price to three halfpence by putting a tax upon the commodity, in order to give the working man a better chance. The ex-Colonial Secretary indeed had gone further, and had asserted that they ought to have a responsible Minister who could survey the whole labour world and find work for the working men of the nation. The surprising thing about it was that the Government proposed to settle the unemployed difficulty in the Transvaal by introducing half a million of Chinese, in spite of the fact that, according to the information we already possessed, there were thousands upon thousands of willing workers out there who, however, could not naturally be induced to work for a mere animal existence, and who, therefore, from the Government point of view, were to be excluded from any consideration in that House or anywhere else. They would also, no doubt, be treated to the argument that men were unwilling to work, they would have pointed out to them the loafer who did little or nothing, and who was an endless expense to the whole community. It would further be said that the willing 468 worker could always find work to do. That, however, was not true, and that it was not true was recognised by the Local Government Board, which, from time to time, issued Orders to the boards of guardians to find "useful" work for able-bodied paupers. What character of work was thus provided? These able-bodied paupers were housed and fed better than the liberty loving workman, and in return they were called upon to pick a fixed quantity of oakum. Was that a lucrative investment of labour? No, the truth was that not infrequently people were paid to bring the oakum to the workhouse, and after the paupers had picked a ton the material was returned free of charge to the firm which had sent it in, and the cost to the ratepayers for that amount of work thus done was not covered by a less sum than £10. Surely that could not be called "encouraging" useful labour.
They had vainly tried to induce the Local Government Board to help them to deal with that class of men, whom he preferred for the moment to call the flotsam and jetsam of the labour world. They had also asked the Board to assist honest attempts to provide useful employment for honest workmen, but they were always met with stories such as one of which he happened to be the originator. They were told of a man who applied to a foreman of some works for employment, and who, on being informed that there was difficulty in finding work for those already engaged by the firm, replied that what he would do would not make much difference. Of course, originally the application was made by a man who was applying for piece and not day work, but still the story was told as applying to day employment in order to impart the sting to it. Then, again, there was the man they were so frequently reminded of who, when he woke up in the morning asked his wife if it was raining, and who on receiving a reply in the negative put the further inquiry, "Does it look like rain"? To that the answer was "No," and he promptly rejoined, "Then I wish it was Sunday." This was the class of men who made it so difficult for them to deal with the unemployed problem. He had long been agitating to get established 469 some organised system of dealing with the unemployed, and occupying the position he did in connection with one of the big unions he had often been blamed by these loafers because he had declared that he desired to provide work for the worker, and not to provide assistance for the loafer. Whenever any suggestion was made to the Local Government Board as to a solution of this problem, a series of inquiries were addressed to them, and they were finally asked whether it would pay. Again, if an enterprising board of guardians made any practical suggestion for dealing with able-bodied paupers, they simply got the reply that the Department were seriously considering the question. That was the invariable reply, and he thought that if he were the head of the Department he would have that answer printed instead of taking the trouble to write it time after time.
A man in the house would, if the guardians broke the law, at once say he would report them to the Local Government Board. This sort of man took his discharge when a ship came into port, and went and fought his better brother who was trying to keep a house over the head of his wife and children, and being neat and clean he was usually given the preference over his better brother; he got his day's wages which he spent in drink, and then at night came back to the house and said he was a destitute person, and then if the guardians refused him admittance he said he would report them to the Local Government Board. His board of guardians had refused them, and had sent them down to Hadleigh Farm, where the Salvation Army was doing such excellent work, to do field work, but when they got there they used to say they did not think they liked the look of that and went away, and with the outfit with which the guardians had presented them they paid their way back to town. One man who did this they took before the magistrate, and charged him with neglecting to maintain himself, he then said he was willing to work, he was only too anxious to work, but they had no work to give him. He assured the House that if the able-bodied man went into the workhouse, every hour he remained there he became more degraded and demoralised. Under the present workhouse system, with its 470 habitual casuals, it was difficult to compel wasters and tramps to work; but if the Local Government Board would unite districts and enable guardians to take land, and put their flotsam and jetsam on to the land, and give them power to keep them there, something might be done to make useful labourers of them. [A Voice: Chinese labour.] He knew that meant an alteration of the law, but the House had already assented to the proposal to keep Chinamen in a compound. He would appeal in this matter to the Empire builder. It was estimated that there were 30,000 tramps on the road, and 61,000 able-bodied paupers in England and Wales. Surely if 30,000 of these men could be trained to a useful knowledge of agricultural work, "they would be a useful class of man to send to Canada. He was strongly of opinion that if the guardians could compel able-bodied men to work on the land they would get rid of the tramp element very quickly, because if it was known that there were colonies where these men could get useful employment the promiscuous charity by which they were more or less maintained would be stopped. Everything that was done now played into the hands of the habituals, and not into the hands of the unemployed who were genuinely anxious for work. With the creation of a Department and Minister for Industry much could be done, as much ought to be done, to assist the deserving. Most people engaged in industry could tell within two or three years what was going to happen, and such a Department would be able to foresee events, at all events, to a certain extent, and to make some provision to meet distress.
As to thrift, it was all very well to save on £18 a week, but it was a very different matter when the wage was only 18s. They could not make such a show upon that as one could desire. There was a phrase in that part of the town in which he was connected that summed up the situation exactly. That phrase was, "We are in and out regular." In his experience there always had been a lot of casual labour, and so far as he could see there always must be; it was the old, old story that in that neighbourhood they knew only too well "Monday plenty, Tuesday some, Wednesday little, Thursday none, never mind Friday, we shall draw our 471 money on Saturday." That was the average life of the British workman. The accumulation of wealth in the country did not pan out to the advantage of the working man. In times of industrial depression, the man who went without was the working man, and his wife and children. He had nothing but the Poor Law to fall back upon; and the moment he touched that it demoralised and degraded him. There was a general impression that when work fell off the first man to be discharged was the old man. That was not his experience. He lived among his own people, and in times of depression the first man to approach him was the comparatively young man. He was discharged because he had lost time and had not paid attention to his work. The next man to be discharged was the old man, but he had been diligent at his work, and his master endeavoured to keep him on as long as he could. When the old man came along things were awfully bad. The old man called in October or November when trade was falling off; and then had before him a hard winter with absolutely nothing except what he got from his trades union. Notwithstanding all the attacks on them, trades unions did something to help men in distress. Indeed, 61 per cent. of the expenditure of trades unions went in benefit to the sick and unemployed. At the commencement of the winter the old unemployed man was a simple, kindly, obliging person who said he would be satisfied if he could only get three days work a week. He would say he was about to move from three rooms into two. At election times that man was told he was the backbone of the British Empire, and that his fore fathers fought and bled to make this country. That man made aheroic struggle to keep his little home over his head. One thing went, then another, not for the father or the mother, but for the children. He himself heard a mother say, "It is no use telling young children that father is out of work. They don't know anything about it, and we have no right to inflict the burden on their little minds." Watch the man who was kindly pleading for work in October through the winter. In February he was demoralised and degraded and a bully. He would say he 472 was an Englishman, and if something could not be done for him, it was time there should. On writing to the President of the Board of Trade, he himself would be told that the matter of employment was still under the consideration of the Department. A right hon. Gentleman said, and he agreed with him, that labour was not a section or a class. It was the whole nation; and the nation had to depend on it. The well-being of the whole nation was dependent on the Government. In his childhood and early manhood he believed that Parliament existed for the express purpose of protecting the weak and the helpless, and seeing that no one went without the common necessaries of life, and that the country was made a little brighter and better. Later experience however, convinced him that Parliament looked after the people who were well able to look after themselves. The well-being of the people should be the first consideration of the Government.
What could a Minister of Industry such as his hon. friend suggested, do in a time of industrial depression. Indeed, such a Minister should not wait for a time of depression, for after all, statesmanship claimed to foresee many things which, however, were not always foreseen. When a man in private employment broke down, his employer might say he could not help it, and that he had the Poor Law to fall back upon; but with Parliament it was different. A Minister of Industry could send to any governing body in the country when there was a dearth of employment and ascertain what work could be undertaken (1) for the locality if a loan on reasonable terms were advanced; (2) at the expense of the county rate; and (3) at the expense of the National Exchequer. Throughout Great Britain there was considerable work remaining undone, which, if done, would provide employment and be a benefit to the whole community. Look at the rivers. Many of them were silted up because some person or other could not afford the expense. If they were cleared and embanked their value would be increased, and the work would give employment. Then there was the reclamation of slab and 473 waste lands and the encroachment of the sea on various parts of the coast might be prevented. These works could be taken up in times of industrial depression, as they could be dropped when the position improved. Assume that there were 10,000 men idle on the Tyne. The Minister of Industry would send down an inspector to inquire into the work that was proposed and on his report the Minister would decide whether it should be undertaken at the expense of the locality or of the National Exchequer. It would be the duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to earmark a certain sum of money, in such years, for dealing with the unemployed during times of depression. Surely it would be better to give a man honest work than charity, which was always demoralising and degrading. He himself did not know how it felt to have a lot of money. He did not back horses; but if a man backed the right horse he would imagine he would say "Easy come, easy go." The same thing applied to charity. When a man got so low down, degraded by want of employment, he lost his manhood, he did not care what became of him, and simply swilled beer whenever he could get it. He believed the House was not only sympathetic but desired to be practical. It wasted an awful lot of money every year in experiments, but here was an experiment really worth making. By the creation of a Department that should organise work throughout the length and breadth of the land and keep docketed in its proper place, for use in emergency, information which could be availed of in periods of commercial depression, the blood and sinew of the people could be kept up, instead of things being allowed to go until the people were so degraded that they were unable to do work when offered it. Something should be done for those who could not help themselves. He asked the Government to accept the Amendment. It was not a vote of censure; it simply called the attention of the Government to a slip of the memory in drawing up the King's Speech. That was nothing to be ashamed of; the best of men sometimss did the same thing, and he hoped now that they had been reminded of it they would have the 474 moral courage to stand up and accept the Amendment.
At the end of the Question, to add the words,' And further we desire humbly to express our regret that, in view of the distress arising from lack of employment, Your Majesty's advisers have not seen fit to recommend the creation of a Department and Minister of Labour fully empowered, inter alia, to deal effectively, acting in conjunction with local administrative authorities, with such lack of employment, mainly by the execution of necessary public works, afforestation, and further by encouraging an increase in the numbers of those employed in agricultural pursuits.'"—(Mr. Keir Bardie.)
§ Question proposed: "That those words be there added."
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping),
said he wished it had been possible to treat this as a non-Party question, but that was absolutely impossible because no Amendment to the King's Speech could be accepted by the Government. The precedent quoted of a few years ago was not one they would be inclined to follow now. One would have thought that upon a question involving so much misery and suffering it would have been possible to treat it from a non-political point of view, but a long acquaintance with the House of Commons convinced him that it was impossible that such a question as that brought forward by the mover of this Amendment could be treated on non-Party lines. They had listened with the greatest interest and sympathy to the speeches made by the hon. Members for Merthyr Tydvil and Woolwich, which were moderate in their character, and obtained the respectful sympathy of both sides of the House. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil with quiet dignity, and the hon. Member for Woolwich with a good deal of that humour which characterised him, showed that they were dealing with one of the most painful subjects, namely, the misery and suffering of what had been described as "the submerged tenth." Those speeches had produced the greatest possible effect upon this House, and sympathy from the Ministerial Benches was just as great as upon the other side of the House. They had been told of the hard case of the man who wanted work, and was willing to work but could not find employment, 475 and that the cause of honest labour was prejudiced by the existence of an undeserving class. Unfortunately the latter must always be a disability under which labour suffered, but as long as such men as the hon. Members for Battersea, Merthyr Tydvil, and Woolwich were prepared to tell working men that they did not plead for the idle scoundrel and the drunkard, he was sure there would always be sympathy for the deserving class. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil did not dwell upon the faults of the Poor Law, but the hon. Member for Woolwich did. Anyone acquainted with the outline of the Poor Law must be aware of its inability to cope with all the distress and misery that arose from time to time. Both sides of the House, when in power, did their best and adopted any fresh laws and rules for the better conduct of Government Departments that were possible and seemed to them to be wise. It was very easy to chaff a Government Department by quoting the familiar reply that "the matter was receiving the serious consideration of the board." That might lend itself to laughter, but it was often very true and the Local Government Board were frequently trying to solve problems which every day got more pressing. Every man who was worthy of being a Member of Parliament must agree with the view that charity degraded a man and the workhouse was the worst possible abode for any man who was willing to work. On that point he thought both sides of the house were absolutely agreed. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil said there were 12,000,000 of unemployed in this country.
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
What I said was that there were 12,000,000 in poverty and on the verge of poverty, whilst 5 per cent. of the total number of workers were out of work.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD
said perhaps he might be allowed to refer to some other Jemedy, and no doubt the hon. Member opposite would prefer even the condition of things he had described, to life under the old system of protection. Even those like himself who viewed with favour the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham never dreamt in their wildest moments that it was possible that they would ever 476 revert to those days which he agreed were painful and terrible to the people of this country. Such a thing would never be tolerated and the working classes of this country were never likely to be reduced to the pain and suffering which they went through in the old days. The hon. Member opposite had suggested municipal workshops as a remedy. He was afraid that after the trial of that remedy in France they would not be tempted to adopt anything of the sort in this country. Sometimes he had had occasion to feel that he could not accept all the doctrines of trades unions either as useful to trade or as making the way of the workmen or the masters smoother. But they all recognised the fact that trades unions had played a most important part in this country, and were more likely to play a greater part in the future. Without trenching upon what must naturally be delicate ground he had always understood from the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the trade of England at the present time was in the most flourishing condition, that there was no need for any attempt at fiscal reform, and that matters if left to themselves would remedy themselves. They had heard from the Labour Members facts about the want of employment and distress amongst the working classes, and he hoped he should have the pleasure of hearing what the hon. Member for Battersea had to say upon this question. They must eliminate the waifs and strays and the jetsam and flotsam from the class of men they were talking of. He should like to hear from hon. Gentlemen opposite whether they recognised the fact that there were many thousands of men at the present time out of employment, and, if so, they were only echoing in a still more marked manner than the Member for West Birmingham the contention that all was not well with our trade at the present time. They never protended that the trade of England was ruined, but it was not as prosperous as it should be. Hon. Members opposite said that the ex-Colonial Secretary's proposals were not likely to benefit the workmen, but at all events the right hon. Gentleman had put forward a concrete proposal which he had had the courage to lay before the country, whilst on the other hand very few remedies had been put 477 forward by those who opposed the Member for West Birmingham's scheme. The hon. Gentleman opposite had proposed the creation of something like penal Chinese colonies, but he did not believe the House was likely to* accept such a remedy.
With regard to the agricultural labourer he might say that farmers had been visited with the most disastrous winter and spring that most of them could remember. Consequently, they had to add that to the disadvantages under which they were labouring at the present time. He thought they ought also to have some regard for those men who toiled with very little reward in the country, and whose future was often the most miserable that it was possible to conceive. The agricultural labourer dragged out a miserable existence upon insufficient wages and amid unhealthy surroundings, and he was worthy of the sympathy of the House. At the present time there was very little hope for the agricultural labourer. The resources of the farmer were exhausted by misfortune, and the population from which they used to draw the best men for the Army and Navy were in a deplorable condition. Were they going to leave the agricultural labourer with his scanty wages and miserable home without attempting, at all events, to do something for him. So long as they left the agricultural labourer to flounder along there was but little hope for them. With regard to the question of afforestation he agreed that there was a quantity of wood used in this country imported from abroad which might be grown with advantage, if with profit, in this country. He did not, however, think they could compare the great tracts of land in Germany and France, where there were huge areas covered with pine, with the lands in England. He did not believe for one moment that the land in England could be profitably employed for the purposes of afforestation. For instance, they could hardly take the moorland of Scotland as likely to afford remuneration to the man who afforested such land. They should also remember that the amount of labour employed per acre on afforested land was very much less than on land under corn or crops of any description. It should not 478 be forgotten that the Government had always been searching for land upon which to conduct Army manœuvres, and a certain amount of open space was absolutely necessary for this purpose. The hon. Member for Woolwich said that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would probably tell them that this evil arose through want of thrift amongst the working classes. If there was more employment and more constant work thrift would be increased because the wretched man would have something to put away. The hon. Member for Woolwich also said that the President of the Board of Trade would probably tell them that 30s. a week was a princely income, but he did not believe that anyone would advance that theory for a man who had to keep a wife and five children. He agreed that the tasks set in workhouses were not a remedy which ought to be applied to the unemployed. He wanted to see in England employment for every man, and a state of things under which no man would have to look about for work which he was ready to do. Those who had spoken upon this subject had proved to them absolutely that there was depression. He echoed that sentiment and believed in it, and it was because hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House believed that trade was not flourishing that they had ventured on a course which they thought was absolutely necessary to remedy this state of things.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
said he did not think that there was any need to mix up the question of fiscal reform with this question. Nobody, not even the most hide-bound Cobdenite, would argue that in the matter of trade all was for the best in the best of all possible worlds; but he and those who thought with him did argue that the proposals of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham were likely to do harm rather than good, and to lead to a diminution rather than an increase in the amount of employment. If it could be proved that those proposals would lead to increased trade and employment, hon. Members on the Opposition side would be the very first to adopt them. They had listened with great interest to the very 479 moderate speech of the mover of this Amendment, and they had also listened with especial interest to the racy speech of the hon. Member for Woolwich. This was not in any sense a Party question. He thought neither Party had up to now faced the facts and attempted to deal with them in a broad and generous spirit. They all admitted that the matter was one of urgency and importance. It was of urgency, because each recurring winter there was great distress among the unemployed in the different parts of the country. Fortunately there had been an open winter this year, or, at all events in London, there would have been a very great deal of distress. There was one point to which the House ought to pay some attention. His hon. friend had called attention to the fact that the great trades unions of the country had in the last ten years spent upwards of £3,000,000 in relief to the unemployed, thus enabling them to keep their homes together while they were out of employment. He could not go into that question now, but the whole of the trades unions were absolutely threatened, and unless this House came to the conclusion that in view of recent legal decisions, legal protection should be given to trades unions, he was afraid that the sums which had hitherto gone for the relief of the unemployed, would go into the pockets of the employers in the case of industrial disputes and strikes. This was a serious matter, for, after all, it was the trades unions which had helped to keep down the number of the unemployed.
The practical proposals of the Amendment were threefold. In the first place, the hon. Member desired the creation of a special Department which would deal with labour problems; in the second place, he desired to give the State power to deal with such questions as afforestation; and, in the third place, he desired to give greater power of combination to local authorities to deal with questions affecting the unemployed especially, and to give them power for the acquisition of land in order to enable them to find employment as necessary. He agreed that if this question was to be dealt with at all effectively, it must be dealt with to a certain extent under the control of a 480 central Department working through the local authorities. He could not see what objection there could be on the part of the Government to giving greater powers of combination and grouping to the different local authorities, in order to enable them to deal more effectively with this question than they were able to do at present as individual bodies. It was not possible to have this matter properly dealt with by isolated local authorities. If one local authority dealt with it, and a neighbouring authority neglected it, the only result was that there was a greater rush of workers into that particular district, to the disadvantage of those who were attempting to deal with it on a proper basis. This was more especially the case in regard to London. He should like that the President of the Local Government Board had power to combine the different borough councils and others into one body for such purposes. He very much doubted whether under existing Statutes he had that power. He thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to have the power conferred on' him of dealing with the question in London, and of giving to the local authorities the power of combining and organising for this and other purposes. The argument in favour of treating London as a whole in this matter was a very sound one, for it was already recognised as a whole under the Equalisation of Rates Act. He thought there was very considerable feeling in favour of extending that system still further. Thanks to the ordinary circumstances affecting a great community, some parts of London had become and were becoming ever richer and less populous and others poorer and more populous and unless London was dealt with as a whole there was danger of an unjust weight falling on the poorer parts to the relief of the richer. His hon. friend desired that these grouped bodies should have power to acquire land in order that work, and especially test work, might be carried on under the authority of municipal labour departments for the benefit of the unemployed during periods of special depression when they were not able to obtain other work.
The hon. and gallant Member for the Epping Division said that the 481 hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment advocated municipal workshops.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD
said that what he stated was that the hon. Member who moved the Amendment advocated the giving of power to local districts to give municipal work.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he heard the hon. Member read extracts in regard to municipal workshops in other countries, but he did not understand him this afternoon to advocate municipal workshops here, though he might have done so on other occasions. What the hon. Member advocated was the taking of people out of the towns and putting them on the land in different parts of the country. That was a very different matter altogether. He was aware that municipal workshops had been tried and that they had certainly failed, very largely because they had not been carried on under proper inspection and because the result of their having been opened in certain places had been to attract labourers from other parts in order to go into these municipal workshops. Harm had been done in that way by attracting labour away from where, in the ordinary way, it might have been employed to places where it was artificially in demand. The work proposed by his hon. friend in connection with the grouping of local authorities would not only provide for the unemployed but might he made reproductive. With regard to afforestation he must congratulate his hon. friend the Member for the Leith Burghs, who was chairman of the Commission on that subject, on the fact that he had shown in his own person that afforestation could be carried out on business lines and made profitable. There was, at all events, no objection in principle to very considerable steps being taken on the lines indicated by the mover of the Amendment. Several recommendations had been made by the Commission, and if they could he carried out they would certainly lead to a considerable amount of employment and to the supply of this country with raw material for our own manufactures. Only a day or two ago a Question was 482 asked in regard to Government subsidies for the growing of cotton in different parts of the Colonies. He was glad to hear both sides of the House cheer the proposition. With regard to the fiscal question, free-traders quite as much as retaliators were in favour of growing raw material as far as possible within the Empire. If what his hon. friend the mover of the Amendment proposed could be done on a proper and sensible basis he would endorse the proposal. That was a particular and practical matter with which a Government department could deal.
With regard to the proposal for the creation of a Department of Labour he would like to say that he did not agree with his hon. friend in the view that there was room for a single department to deal solely with labour questions. He had some sympathy with the Amendment and desired to vote for it, but he wished to guard himself against being; committed to the actual proposal that there should be a separate and distinct Department of Labour. He thought, however, that there was great room for a rearrangement of the offices of the Board of Trade and the Local Government Board and the creation of new departments in their stead. He was one of those who were strongly in favour of the creation of a Commercial Department. But besides this he would like to see the creation of a department, one of whose principal functions would be to deal with labour questions. His hon. friend the Member for Woolwich had referred to the duties of such a department when created. He thought everybody would admit that it would be an advantage if the labour portion of the Board of Trade was transferred to the Local Government Board and if that department were made more powerful than it was at present. No one had any desire to throw any reflection on the work of that department in the past. So far as it had opportunity it had done most admirable work. But if such a department as he had suggested were created it might have considerable effect in dealing not only with the unemployed question in towns but also with the position of the agricultural labourers, with whom they all sympathised. Though he did not 483 suppose that the proposals in the Amendment would be an absolute remedy for the lack of employment, he held that they would be a real palliative for evils which they all admitted to exist.
§ * MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR (Essex, Romford)
said everyone would sympathise with the object of the Amendment, and although it had been explained that it was not intended as a vote of no confidence in the Government, there was no doubt that if a division took place and if the Amendment were carried it would be regarded as a vote of censure on the Government. He thought we already had enough Government departments, and the only question was how they should be adequately administered and brought up to date. The seconder of the Amendment had said that the officers of the departments should be adequately paid. The hon. Member would find that the officers of the Board of Trade consisted of a Comptroller-General with a salary of £1,200 a year, an assistant labour commissioner, and about twenty other gentlemen whose salaries ranged from £700 to £1,200. He did not think that anyone would say that this particular department was up to date, or that it formed a bureau wherein everyone who was seeking employment might obtain information where that employment could be found. He would point out that the real remedy was to appoint a Minister of Commerce and Industry. At the present time there was a Committee sitting and considering the various forms of work that might be undertaken by such a department with a Minister at its head.
§ * MR SPEAKER
The Amendment is only about a Minister of Labour The hon. Member is now discussing the Board of Trade and a Commercial Department.
§ * MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
I am now discussing the commercial intelligence branch of the Board of Trade.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member has a notice of an Amendment on that point. If that is reached he will have an opportunity of discussing it, but he cannot discuss it now.
§ * MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said he had very little hope of that Amendment being 484 reached. He would confine himself to the remarks made by the mover and seconder of the Amendment before the House. He reminded the House that a proposal for the appointment of a Minister of Labour was made in 1893. He would point out to the hon. Member who moved the present Amendment that it would be a very difficult thing indeed to have a separate Minister to deal with the Factories and Workshops Acts, the housing of the I working classes, and probably old-age pensions, and various other matters which pertained to industry apart from the Commercial Department of the Board of Trade. He thought there must be a sub-division of that important work. They had heard that commerce, trade and industry went hand in hand, and that one could not exist without the others. It was imperative, therefore, to recognise that the question was essentially a complex one. It was admitted on the other side of the House that the trade and prosperity of this country were not so great as they might be. He had heard also that the number of unemployed was on the increase, and that there were 12,000,000 either in want or on the verge of starvation. Would a Minister of Labour be able to deal with this matter without being in absolute touch with the matters which were now dealt with by the Board of Trade? Surely the Board of Trade required a head who would deal exclusively with statistical information with regard to labour? In the north of England it was noted last year that in some towns there were numbers of unemployed, while only a few miles away factories were working half time owing to the owners not being able to get men for them. With regard to the agricultural classes, hon. Members were aware that it sometimes happened that crops were allowed to lie on the ground because farmers were not able to get sufficient labour. People did not care to take labour which was inadequately paid. The House was moved by the appeal of the hon. Member for Woolwich as to the wastefulness of this. It was, he thought, in great measure due to the fact that trades unions made such hard and fast rules with regard to labour that many people in winter were not more employed. They all recognised the admirable work done by trades unions, but 485 he thought it was unfortunate that they did not permit men, however good they might be, to accept a higher wage than other men who were less competent. If one man did double the work of another he did not receive double the wage the other man received. He would suggest to his hon. friend that if he could amend the rules so that the good workman would receive a little more than the bad workman he would do something to improve the conditions of labour.
§ * MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said the minimum was very often the maximum. He did not know the exact amount paid to a carpenter, but he would suppose that it was 11d. per hour, and that the ordinary wage paid to a labourer was 7d. per hour. He considered that the difference was enormous, and if 11d. was the wage necessary to keep a family, 7d. was not. His point was that there were carpenters and carpenters. In taking a building contract an employer struck an average, and paid not more that 11d. per hour, though he might very often find among the men one who was worth 1s. 3d. or 1s. 4d. per hour. But if he paid that man 1s. 3d. or 1s. 1d. per hour he would find that he would have the greatest difficulty with the trades unions.
§ * MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said he would give an example. He had a man in his employment to whom he paid 1s. 3d. per hour, because he considered he was worth it, but this gave great dissatisfaction to the others and they left. When work was resumed he had to pay these men the same wage all round.
§ * MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR
said it was not that they had not got every sympathy with the lot of those who could not obtain employment, but he did not think the hon. Member would attain the object he had in view by moving an Amendment which was practically a vote of censure 486 on the Government. They knew the admirable work done on the Continent for trade and commerce, especially in France, where, likewise, a Government department dealt with the differences that might occur between employers and employed. He certainly thought that the question should be thrashed out as to whether the Board of Trade was an efficient department and up to the times. He himself thought that it was not an efficient department, and that as at present constituted it was impossible for it to deal adequately with all questions relating to commerce, industry, and labour. It ought to have various sub-departments, and if his friends, who had this question deeply at heart, would force on the Government an inquiry as to the various functions of the Board of Trade, they would do more good probably than by the vote of censure.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
said he should certainly hesitate to support a proposal to create a new department, but he would strongly support a representation to the Government showing that certain departments had not done what they might have done for labour At any rate, there was one industry, that of afforestation, which must be directly promoted by the State, if labour was to obtain its full advantage from it. This was a subject in which he had long taken a practical interest. He had served on two inquiries in connection with it. That were the facts? We imported timber and timber products of the value of nearly £30,000,000 a year. Our home production of timber was small; he thought it amounted to only 2,000,000 tons a year, and the value was not large, because there had been no instructions in the art of growing timber in this country. They could not increase timber growing by protective tariffs, because tariffs did not teach the people how to grow timber. As a matter of fact timber preferences were the last to be taken off. There was a considerable protective duty on timber till 1860, but the heavy duties on the timber taught us nothing, and left no mark behind on our woodlands, which were the despair of anyone interested in them. He excepted a few parts of England which were under coppice. There were portions of beech coppice in 487 Buckinghamshire which showed a profit of £2 an acre. He also knew one or two patches in Scotland where timber was properly grown. The area available for timber growing was enormous. In his own country there were between 19,000,000 and 20,000,000 acres, only one fourth of which was under agricultural occupation; the rest was rough pasture and heather. In England the rough pasture and heather amounted to 5,000,000 acres. He always regretted that under the Land Purchase Act of last year nothing had been done for State afforestation. He was sure that timber could not be properly grown in this country unless the State took direct action. It must provide facilities for teaching, and hold woodlands of its own, properly managed. Private owners were not disposed to lay out money in the afforestation of waste land, because the capital had to lie too long before it came again. Moreover, it was impossible to get good timber without continuous good management. There was no example in this country of a succession of private owners who had managed their woodlands successfully, and therefore there was an opening for State action.
In Germany, 1,000,000 of the population were dependent on the production of timber, and 3,000,000 were dependent on the manufacture of timber and timber products. In the Southern German States there were 1,000,000 acres returning a net income of £1,000,000, which showed the result of State action, and good management. It had been shown quite clearly that owing to the exhaustion of the best American forests, and the excellent way in which timber could be grown here, that it would be an act of common prudence to make provision for a large extension of our woodlands. If a remedy was to be found for the present state of things in this country, it could not be provided by the existing departments. A Forestry Department should be created with power to buy land, and plant it. He believed there were 10,000,000 acres in this country which could be put under timber to produce £1 per acre. We imported a great deal of wood-pulp, and £18,000,000 worth of coniferous trees, which he believed could be perfectly well produced at home. He was perfectly confident that if suitable 488 areas were afforested we might have a population of 750,000 dependent on those employed in the woodlands, and the raw material thus provided would feed great industries, which would support an even larger population. There had been a great diminution of late years in the rural population in this country, and the same process had been going oh in France and Germany. He knew of no other means of restoring the people to the soil except through afforestation under a State department.
§ MR. DAVID MACIVER (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
said he hoped they would not go to a division on this subject. Many of them who sympathised with the subject under discussion would not vote for what was practically a vote of censure on the Government. He wished to say a word or two in connection with the mistaken arguments which had been used on certain details and statistics quoted during the debate. These statistics were misleading, unless accompanied by explanation. In Germany, France and the United States there were no workhouses; in Great Britain there were workhouses, as they knew to their cost. If the unemployed in the workhouses (he did not include the unemployable) were added to the statistics it would immensely increase the number of unemployed in this country. It was a matter of common knowledge that the statistics of the unemployed in Germany, France, and America were not to be depended upon. Those who were engaged in businesses like his own got more than a glimpse of what took place behind the scenes. Steamers were cosmopolitan; they traded not only with England, but with all other countries in the world. His own business was done principally with Argentina and the other South American Republics. The carrying lines to these countries, British as well as foreign, worked under an agreement in regard to rates, which were so arranged that no country had any advantage over the other; but the foreigner was protected in his home market, and was beating us, in his opinion, out of the field. He had only recently returned from a business visit to Brazil and Argentina, and he had seen a notable change there 489 during the last two years. The manufacturing business, which used to give employment to our own people, was now done for themselves by these countries.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order. The hon. Gentleman is not in order in discussing the fiscal question. The subject of discussion is not the causes of the want of employment but whether a Minister of Labour and a Department of Labour should be appointed.
said that he did not wish to be out of order; he only wanted to show that the facts which came under his own personal knowledge afforded grounds for his contention that the Board of Trade should be so strengthened as to enable it to include an adequate Department of Labour rather than that a separate Ministry of Labour should be set up.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
said there was no one on that side of the House who did not recognise the importance of the subject under discussion, or who did not sympathise with everything that had been said by the hon. Member for Woolwich. But as the Amendment to the Address was, by the Rules of the House, a vote of want of confidence in the Government, no one on that side of the House could vote for it, even if they supposed that the Amendment moved from the other side of the House would achieve the result they desired to bring about. He had heard the greater part of the speech of the hon. Member for Woolwich and he congratulated him on the extremely able and moderate manner in which he had put his case before the House. The views laid down by the hon. Member emphasised the position always held on that side of the House, viz., that the real aim and object of everyone who had the welfare of the working classes and of the whole community at heart was to endeavour to find permanent employment for the people. He was surprised that the hon. Member for Woolwich should have proposed that there should be compulsory detention on the land.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
said he perfectly understood that the hon. Gentleman only wanted to put men who would not work on to the land and compel them to work. The question for consideration was whether the appointment of a Minister of Labour would bring about that abundance of employment which was a real need. Such a Minister could do nothing unless he used public money in creating artificial employment; whereas what we wanted was genuine remunerative employment in a natural way. It would not be in order for him to go into the question of fiscal reform, but he would like to say that in his opinion the speech of the hon. Member for Woolwich was the strongest he had yet heard delivered in favour of the policy of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. Many on that side of the House were prepared with a remedy for want of employment in a natural way, while gentlemen on the other side were not prepared with or desirous to find a remedy. As to the question of afforestation the hon. Member for Leith said that one reason why private enterprise had failed in this direction was that for a long time it must be a dead loss. He would point out that if it was a dead loss to the individual it must also be a dead loss to the State, and he did not think the present was a good time for locking up money If the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman were carried out the capital involved would remain unremunerative.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
said that the State was not in a different position from the individual; and during the period that the capital remained un-remunerative, the interest would have to be paid, and there would be no return. He did not think that at present it was opportune to allocate sums of money which could not be profitably used. Trade was bad, and there was no money in the country. That was one of the reasons why he and his hon. friend were endeavouring to make trade better. Hon. Gentlemen opposite who wished to take money from one pocket and put it into another were really doing a great deal to 491 destroy that confidence in capital which was desired. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Woolwich referred to the reclamation of waste lands. He knew something about that question. He knew a man who had spent about £100,000 in reclaiming 4,000 acres, and the result was he practically ruined himself, because when the bad times came, and when wheat went down, it was impossible to use the land properly, and he had no return for his capital. If the scheme of the hon. Member for Woolwich were adopted, with the price of wheat what it was, the only result would be that the money would be lost. He only intervened because he wished to show that his hon. friends and himself were just as anxious to help the working man as the hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
said it was a great pleasure to him to find from what had been said on both sides of the House that there was a very large amount of human feeling and keen sympathy with the objects of the Amendment. If they differed at all, they differed only as to method. He remembered reading in the Report of the Poor Law Commission of 1844 about parish farms. It was a most deplorable story. His colleagues on Boards of Guardians in Cheshire had, from time to time, a hankering to return to the old system, but he himself had always said it would be an extremely dangerous policy to undertake. Men who worked on parish farms did as little as they possibly could, and the result was almost invariably that the contagion spread through the parish, and the surrounding parishes, and that other labourers adopted the same as the labourers on the parish farm. He did not think that Boards of Guardians were the best class of employers, and on that point he differed from his hon. friend who moved the Amendment. He was greatly interested in the remarks of the hon. Member for Leith Burghs. The late Dr. Hunter was possessed of an intellect which was equally accurate and luminous. He satisfied himself by a study of the question that if he could only obtain a fair allocation of Scotland's share of the National Debt, he would be able to pay if off in two generations out of the profits 492 resulting from the reafforestation of the Highlands, in spite of the fact that he would have to pay interest while waiting for a profit. He was amazed that a business-man like the hon. Baronet who had just spoken should think that an investment which was spread over twenty years, and which did not pay a dividend, was lost. He was aware that the hon. Baronet turned over his money daily, and made a profit. Others, however, were accustomed to lay out money for years in the sure and certain hope of ultimately obtaining a dividend; and they had no reason to grumble. He sympathised very greatly with the suggestion that the superabundance of the population should be transferred from the towns to the rural districts. He believed that the country would very greatly benefit from such a transfer. He very frequently travelled between Liverpool and London, and certainly the land along that route did not look overcrowded. There was plenty of room. He intended to vote for the Amendment, because by doing so he would be doing his best to bring about an improved sense of proportion with regard to public affairs. If hon. Gentlemen could only realise the importance of devoting the best of their thoughts to the consideration of the condition of their own people, they would be acting wisely and well. He was not sure that the method proposed in the Amendment would be the best to achieve its purpose. He wished, instead of creating a new department, that all departments of the Government would be impressed with a due sense of the value of the ideas of his hon. friend who moved the Amendment, and that they should all realise that it was of the very greatest importance that they should help the poor people of this country to help themselves, first by education and then by improving their physical condition. Many hon Gentlemen opposite, and also many of his hon. friends, were sportsmen, and knew the saying, "The more trees the more salmon." The fact that salmon were diminishing in Scotland was the result of cutting down the trees; and if the Highlands were reafforested it would not only give labour to the people, but would also provide more sport. It was always 493 the case if a step were taken in the right direction, an extra benefit, which was not calculated upon, would follow. Although what he had said might, to some extent, be inconsistent with the actual words of the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman moved in an extremely moderate speech, and a kindly sense of human feeling, he would vote for it.
§ MR. J. H. LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
said he did not intend to follow the hon. Gentleman opposite into the realms of fiscal tariff, or what happened in South America, but he wished to make a few remarks on one aspect of the question which he had ventured to raise on several occasions in the House in past years. That was the question of reafforestation. He had the honour of serving on a Departmental Committee on the subject; and he was sure they all deplored the loss of the Minister who appointed that Committee. He was one of the most business-like Ministers who had ever sat in the House of Commons, and if he had lived he would have done much to promote the object he had at heart when he appointed that Committee. The question of reafforestation was one in which Wales was deeply interested. One witness before the Committee gave it as his opinion that Wales, in proportion to area, had more land available for profitable planting than any other portion of the United Kingdom. In past times Wales was covered with great forests, which were a source of profit and employment, and which furnished timber for building many of the most famous ships of the Navy 100 years ago. The quality of the timber was considered far better than that produced in any other part of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, that state of affairs had ceased to exist. For years past they had been urging the Government to do what they could to provide a remedy. He believed the Government could do a great deal in the desired direction. Experiments had been undertaken in certain areas in Wales which were to a great extent successful, and what they asked was that the Government should not wait thirty or forty years in order to see whether those experiments were a complete and final success, but that they should at once undertake 494 work on a very large scale. The hon. Baronet opposite said that the work would be unremunerative, but the difference between the State and the individual was that the State could afford to wait. The State never died; and had not need to take questions such as had been raised by the hon. Gentleman opposite into consideration. The State had to look to the future; and when they considered the enormous wealth forests would be to the State they would realise how greatly reafforestation would increase the national wealth. Germany one hundred years ago was at its very lowest point, and seemed to be threatened with overwhelming ruin; but Germany declined to sacrifice its forests on any account whatever. Reafforestation would make the land more profitable; and it would also be a source of employment. Moreover, it would give work at a period of the year when it was most needed, as the greater part of the work would be done at a time when other employment was scarce; and it would therefore help to fill up the labourers' year if steps were taken in the direction indicated by his hon. friend. Moreover, it was healthy work; and if men could be kept in the country engaged in healthy employment it would be a very great advantage. It was not alone the mere growing of trees that had to be considered, but the wood industries that invariably followed. Mr. Parry, the water engineer of the Liverpool Corporation, gave interesting evidence on the subject before the Departmental Committee. He said that the catchment area of the Corporaton had been planted with trees; and as it was a long distance from railway communication a wood industry was set up, the volume of water flowing for the reservoir being utilised for the generating of electricity. In that way a profitable wood industry was established in the vicinity of the New Forest. It was in ways such as that that the forest industry could be made profitable. There were 26,000,000 acres of waste land in this country, a great portion of which could be utilised for this purpose. Timber to the value of £30,000,000 was imported every year, and of that £18,000,000 was spent on coniferous timber, which could be suitably grown in this country. The question was a great problem, which the Government would act wisely and well in tackling in a bold 495 spirit. There were common rights in many of the waste lands which were of very little value, and which might be expropriated for the purposes of forestry, thereby adding not only to the profit and employment in the district and to the beauty of the country, but also making it easier for the commoners to rear their sheep. He trusted the Government would take this matter up. They had already made some small tentative attempts; but he hoped they would be able to deal with the matter in a bold manner.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
said that as an Irish Member he desired to convey to the House the Irish view on this question. His hon. friend who had just spoken said that there was proportionately more land in Wales suitable for reafforestation than in any other part of the United Kingdom. He was not certain that that statement was absolutely accurate. He believed that there was a greater proportion of such land in Ireland. He was a Member of the Forestry Association of Ireland, which had provided much useful information on this subject, and Ireland was perhaps the least wooded country in the world, and at the same time it required more wood than most other countries. Owing to the action of the Gulf Stream, the climate of Ireland had been degenerating for fifty years. In former times the whole country was covered with wood; and the part which was now in the country was the remains of the old forests. He remembered speaking to an old man in Galway, whose father told him he could walk ten miles on the branches of trees in Connemara. The absence of trees was one of the reasons why the climate of Ireland was so wet; and it was held by scientific men that if the country was proper!}' wooded and properly drained the temperature could be raised two or three degrees. This was a matter to which the Government should give consideration, as if the climate went on degenerating they would all have to live in Noah's Arks. He was recently studying the report of the Department of the New Zealand Government charged with the management of the forests in that country. Lessons could be learned from new Colonies which appertained to the general prosperity of the United Kingdom. No 496 question should be approached in a more serious manner than the question of reafforestation. In France one province had been reafforested with most beneficial effects, not only as regarded employment but also with reference to the health of its inhabitants.
§ MR. FIELD
said he would not enter into the fiscal question, although if he did his views might not be very different from the views of the hon. Baronet. He only wished to point out that Ireland had a greater interest in the question of reafforesstation than England, as there was a greater want of employment. The people in Ireland were mainly agricultural; and anything that provided the Irish agricultural labourer with employment ought to be seriously considered. One of the reasons why the rivers in Ireland were dammed up was because of the rain rushing down from the hills carrying the alluvial soil with it; and that rendered the country less fertile. If there was a sufficient quantity of wood in the country that could not happen; and the country would also produce much better crops. From all those points of view he heartily supported the Motion before the House.
He might here refer to another matter which he desired to bring before the House, the cotton corner in Lancashire and Yorkshire. No more important question could come before the House, and he was surprised that hon. Members representing the divisions concerned had not raised it. It was to his mind extraordinary that an individual body of men operating between England and America should be allowed to shut out from employment thousands of persons, and bring disaster upon the cotton operatives of this country. This Amendment had his hearty commendation, and he could not understand it being regarded as a vote of want of confidence. Surely if the King's Speech omitted to mention a particular subject of great importance such as this was it was only right to call attention to it. There was a general consensus of opinion that something ought to be done 497 to provide employment for the people, and hon. Members on both sides of the House ought to be able to co-operate in the endeavour to see how such a state of things could be brought about. He suggested that the President of the Local Government Board should accept the Amendment and the nappoint a Committee to report as to what was the most feasible measure for carrying out the idea of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil.
§ SIR WILLIAM TOMLINSON (Preston)
thought the subject of the Motion was a matter of agreement, but when it came to be in the House he did not think the remedy of a Labour Department would go any great way to meet the difficulty of certain kinds of want of employment. This was really a question of how work was to be found to enable men to earn a wage, and if they considered the question thoroughly they would see it was impossible to give any Labour Department the machinery to deal with such a matter. Besides distress from general causes there was the distress from the deplorable conditions of agriculture, and the distress arising from such conditions as were now affecting Lancashire. In Lancashire what was wanted was a remedy that would operate in a far shorter time than any remedy to be expected from the institution of a Labour Department. At the same time the question was a pressing one, and ought to be dealt with in some way or other.
§ MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)
said he did not think he should be doing his duty to his constituency if he allowed this opportunity to pass without calling attention to one fact in support of his hon. friend's contention. The condition of many of his constituents at Bethesda illustrated the necessity for concentrating more power in the hands of a Minister, or strengthening a Department. The House would remember that on several occasions he had raised the question of a terrible dispute which had taken place in his constituency. That dispute was now ended, but its evil effects were left behind. In Bethesda there were now 1,237 skilled quarrymen out of employment, although the strike was over. Over 400 of those men were men 498 who had worked in the quarry for three-fourths of a lifetime. They were skilled labourers, and not like men who did casual work. They were very decent citizens, yet they were practically at the mercy of one employer, and the President of the Board of Trade during the dispute had confessed himself helpless owing to the limitations of the Conciliation Act.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Bristol, S.
said the debate on the Address, which had begun in some storm and stress, was concluding peacefully with an interesting, if somewhat discursive, debate. Both proposer and seconder had brought this subject before the House in speeches of great moderation and also of considerable force. With regard to most of the conditions of life which they described there would be found no difference of opinion in any quarter of the House. They knew these things existed, and regretted them. It was only when they came to consider the proposed remedy that acute differences must develop themselves, both in the House and outside. If the Amendment had simply stated that there was a condition of things which it was most desirable to deal with, it would have been one to which, if it had not been for the constitutional practice of the House in matters relating to the Address, no one need have offered opposition; but it was impossible to accept the declaration that a Department of Labour would be, if not a complete, a very effectual partial remedy for the state of things complained of. It was impossible for the Government to accept such an Amendment. The Government did not think there was any necessity for such a Department, or any reason for thinking that if the existing Department were to be strengthened, if it required strengthening, it could deal with the real difficulty which the hon. Gentleman and his friends had put before the House. He did not think the hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr had treated the Department quite fairly in this matter. The hon. Member knew perfectly well, and no one better, how hard it had striven in the past, and how hard it was now striving, to help guardians in their schemes for reclaiming 499 the destitute, against reproach for their justifiable caution in taking time to consider seriously one large scheme which would devolve expense on the whole area of London. It was their duty as trustees for the ratepayers of London generally to consider carefully any scheme to make London one area for the purposes of the relief of the unemployed. Only two practical suggestions had been made in the debate. One was the creation of a Labour Department, the other afforestation. He had waited with great curiosity to hear what would be the precise advantages of a Labour Department over the two existing Departments—the Board of Trade and the Local Government Board. He heard nothing until it was suggested that a Labour Minister should make certain inquiries with a view to the establishment of Imperial workmen, county workmen, and local workmen. Was this practicable? The organisation of works which would have to be suspended with the revival of industry was not a practical suggestion, and would not really contribute to the improvement of the industrial conditions of the people. The same must be said of afforestation. It had always been the view of the House that where such work was remunerative, private enterprise would undertake it. It was impossible to believe that, were such work undertaken, it would really meet the "unemployed" difficulty which confronted them to-day. Only a small portion of the men who complained of being out of employment would be suitable for it. There was no difficulty at present in the agricultural districts, for there was plenty of work for men who were agricultural labourers.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
repudiated the idea, so far as his constituents were con- 500 cerned, that the agricultural labourer's income was represented by 12s. a week. Putting aside the worthless class so amusingly described in the debate, for whom the wisdom of establishing even a kind of penal colony was doubtful, he asked whether anybody believed that either by the establishment of State farm colonies or village land appropriations, or any other means suggested in the debate, the difficulty under consideration could be dealt with in any measurable way. There was no power under which Boards of Guardians could employ men either on the land or in any other kind of work without making them paupers.
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
There is a considerable difference of opinion among competent authorities on the point whether persons employed for wages and having to sue for wages have to be regarded as paupers.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he did not know how far the hon Member intended to go when he said there was a considerable difference of opinion, but in 1893 the law officers of the Crown gave an exhaustive opinion on the subject, which wound up—We think that all these Acts being intended for the relief of the poor, that relief in the form of wages would be parochial relief so as to disfranchise the recipient.That was the opinion of the then law officers of the Crown—the late Lord Russell of Killowen and the late Lord Rigby—and he feared it must be accepted as conclusive on the point as to the power of guardians to give relief which had not in its trail the taint of pauperism and the penalty of disfranchisement. He would remind the House that for more than fifty years the administration of the Poor Law by the guardians had been carried on upon 501 principles which were entirely consistent with that opinion. They had done their best to confine the action of the guardians to the relief of destitution and distress, and to prevent them working on every kind of enterprise. Nobody would suggest that we should go back to the state of things which existed in the old days of Protection—no one would like to go back to the days which preceded the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834; and anything which would weaken that administration and turn Boards of Guardians aside from their proper sphere of work, which was the relief of destitution, would do a great deal more harm than good to the wage-earning classes of the country. As to afforestation it would no doubt be a good thing to have more forests in this country, but he could not say if it would pay to embark on such a policy, neither could he see why the State should make so large a change in its policy as was suggested in the Amendment by creating a Labour Department. Speaking for himself, for his colleagues, and for the permanent officials of his department, he might say that there existed among them all the strongest feeling of sympathy with those who suffered from these great difficulties in the industrial world, and the greatest possible desire to meet the local authorities more than half way. With that one desire at heart, they only differed as to the means of bringing it about, and it was because he so differed with the hon. Gentleman as to his methods that he felt he must resist the Amendment.
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman intended to accede to the request for a united parish of London.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said the question was one of immense importance, and the 502 change proposed was so great that he was afraid he could not carry out the suggestion without much more consideration than he had yet been able to give to it.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
said that the mover and seconder of the Amendment might take a good deal of satisfaction to themselves on account of the tone of the discussion and the spirit of the remarks of the President of the Local Government Board. Personally he proposed to say a few words only on the domestic aspect of the proposals of the hon. Member for the solution of a problem the gravity of which the right hon. Gentleman had fully recognised. He had very great sympathy with the object which his hon. friends had in view in proposing the establishment of a Department and Ministry of Labour. Anybody who had been confronted with industrial questions in any of the public Departments would agree with him that the present administrative system was seriously defective, first of all in the duplication of functions, and next in the conflict of jurisdiction. First of all there was the Home Office, which was primarily connected with the Department of Labour, in asmuch as it was concerned with factories, workshops, and mines. Then they had the Board of Trade, which had to look after railways and shipping and some other branches of industry; next there was the Local Government Board, which had under its supervision the work of sanitary Land Poor aw authorities, which branched out into other parts of the industrial problem, and finally there was the Board of Agriculture, which dealt not only with agriculture but with the fisheries. All would agree that this was a most unbusiness- like system, and that the existing state 503 of things was uneconomical as regarded the expenditure of labour and unsatisfactory as regarded simplicity and uniformity of administration, and therefore, in so far as the hon. Member's proposal was a proposal in the direction of simplification and readjustment, he believed there would be no difference of opinion upon it. As regarded the other side of the question—the side which concerned the local authority—they had endeavoured, on the whole with success, to secure freedom of local administration with a certain amount of indefinite and very elastic central supervision and control. It was a very difficult problem and one which could only be solved by a good deal of give-and-take on both sides; but he thought that somewhat more intimate relations might be established between the central authority and the local authorities.
In the case, for instance, of factory and workshop administration, they had on the one hand a number of central inspectors appointed by the State, and on the other hand in respect to many questions of sanitation, particularly in workshops, they had to rely largely on local administration and inspection. It was most important that these two entirely different sets of local authorities should be brought into harmony with one another and secure co-operation of action both in principle and detail. A still more important aspect of the question was that of the powers of the local authorities themselves. He had always held the view that they could not be too liberal and elastic in giving to local authorities the power of experiments in matters of this kind. They heard a great deal in these days about the supposed evils of municipal trading; but the remedy for those evils, if there were evils, and the 504 safeguard against risks—and he did not deny that there were risks in the application of the money of the ratepayers to industrial and other experiments—lay in the long run with the ratepayers themselves. It had always been the case in the past, and assuredly it would be in the future, that if their resources were spent in a wasteful and speculative manner the ratepayers themselves would, in the long run, take vengeance on the persons responsible. [Cries of "No."] If they did not it was their own look out. But he was very anxious that they should give the widest possible latitude of experiment to the local authorities, and he thought that in London in particular, where the division between the areas of the various authorities was to a large extent purely geographical and artificial, they ought to recognise more and more that they were dealing with one large area which had common interests—interests which, though one area might benefit more than another, were really common to the whole community. As regarded the powers of local authorities in the employment of labour to meet special emergencies, he hoped that the Local Government Board would favour wherever they could co-operative action by those local authorities. A question had been put with reference to an application in this direction for Poplar, and the answer had been given that no decision had been come to on the subject. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would give at any rate indulgent and fair and broad-minded consideration to the representations made to him by the local authorities in that respect. He believed that this debate had been of very great value in bringing out the essential community of purpose which existed among them all in relation to these matters, though they 505 might differ as to the precise terms of the Motion. In so far as it affirmed the necessity for further simplification of administration in industrial affairs and a wider latitude of powers for the local authorities he would give it his sympathy, as he believed it would have the sympathy of the great majority of Members of the House.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said he only wished to point out that the local authorities were greatly interested in arriving at some solution of this problem. He presided some time ago at a meeting, in the Guildhall, of representatives of these authorities, at which there was a general concurrence of opinion that the difficulty which now arose was in a large measure the result of the diversity of local authorities and boards which had to deal with it. He hoped that the mover of the Amendment would be satisfied with the sympathetic expressions of opinion of the President of the Local Government Board, especially as there was at this moment a Committee sitting to consider the allocation of duties between various public Departments. A Motion had already been carried in the House for the creation of a Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and he hoped that one outcome of the debate would be the establishment of a Ministry, not merely
§ to look after commerce which involved the means of employment, but also the means of obtaining employment by the dissemination of information and by joint action on the part of the local authorities. Probably by a considered Motion or by bringing in a Bill after the Committee already referred to had reported, a solution might be found for what was, undoubtedly, a most pressing and urgent problem.
§ * MR.TENNANT (Berwickshire)
asked for information as to what was being done by the Committee on the co-ordination of work between the Board of Trade, the Home Office, and the Local Government Board, which was appointed last year. Was it to be reappointed, and when was it likely to report?
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
said that the Committee, to which the hon, Member referred, was sitting at the present time, and he hoped that their Report would be submitted before long.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—-Ayes, 151 Noes, 231. (Division List No. 6).509
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Cremer, William Randal|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Burke, E. Haviland||Crombie, John William|
|Allen, Charles P.||Burns, John||Cullinan, J.|
|Austin, Sir John||Burt, Thomas||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Caldwell, James||Delany, William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cameron, Robert||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Bell, Richard||Causton, Richard Knight||Doogan, P. C.|
|Black, Alexander William||Channing, Francis Allston||Dunn, Sir William|
|Boland, John||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Edwards, Frank|
|Brigg, John||Cream Eugene||Ellice, Capt E. C (SAndrw'sBghs|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Roche, John|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Rose, Charles Day|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||Runciman, Walter|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Markham, Arthur Basil||Russell, T. W.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Mooney, John J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Ffreneh, Peter||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Field, William||Murphy, John||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Newnes, Sir George||Sheehan, Danel Daniel|
|Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Gilhooly, James||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John||Norman, Henry||Slack, John Bamford|
|Grant, Corrie||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hammond, John||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Dowd, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)||Wallace, Robert|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Mara, James||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Labouchere, Henry||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lambert, George||Partington, Oswald||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Paulton, James Mellor||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accriugton)||Pirie, Duncan V||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Long, Sir John||Power, Patrick Joseph||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Huddersf'd|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Price, Robert John||Young, Samuel|
|Lloyd-George, David||Reddy, M.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Lundon, W.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Redmond, William (Clare)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Keir Hardie and Mr. Crooks.|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rickett, J. Compton|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Rigg, Richard|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Roberts, John H. (Denbigh.)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bousfield, William Robert||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F (Middlesex||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Davenport, William Bromley|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Brymer, William Ernest||Denny, Colonel|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bull, William James||Dewar, Sir T. R (Tower Hamlets|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.)||Digby, John K. D. Wingheld-|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cautley, Henry Strother||Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A, Akers|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Worc.||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Chapman, Edward||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Charrington, Spencer||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Coates, Edward Feetham||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Mich. Hicks||Coddington, Sir William||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Flower, Sir Ernest|
|Bignold, Arthur||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Forster, Henry William|
|Bigwood, James||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.)|
|Bill, Charles||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Fyler, John Arthur|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Garfit, William|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Gordon, Maj. E. (T'r Hamlets)||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Gosehen, Hon. George Joachim||Lowe, Francis William||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Macdona, John Cumming||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Maconochie, A. W.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Gretton, John||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Manners, Lord Cecil||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Spear, John Ward|
|Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich)||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Fredk. G.||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.|
|Heath, James (Staffords., N. W.||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M ' Taggart|
|Helder, Augustus||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stock, James Henry|
|Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.||Morrell, George Herbert||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Mount, William Arthur||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Horner, Frederick William||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Nicholson, William Graham||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hunt, Rowland||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Tuff, Charles|
|Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Percy, Earl||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.||Pierpoint, Robert||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Plummer, Walter R.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Purvis, Robert||Wilson, John Glasgow)|
|Kerr, John||Pym, C. Guy||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Kimber, Henry||Randles, John S.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rankin, Sir James||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Ratcliff, R. F.||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monmouth)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks., N. R.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
, (seated, and with his hat on) asked if there was any precedent for closuring the debate on the Address when notice had been given of twenty-four further Amendments.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I am afraid I cannot answer that question, not having counted the number of outstanding Amendments either now or on previous occasions, but there are plenty of precedents for the closure when a considerable number of Amendments have been shut out.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 232; Noes, 139. (Division List No. 7.)513
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Anson, Sir William Reynell|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Alisopp, Hon. George||Arnold-Forster, Rt.Hn. Hugh O|
|Arrol, Sir William||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fitzroy, Hn Edward Algernon||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Manners, Lord Cecil|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Flower, Sir Ernest||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Forster, Henry William||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Fyler, John Arthur||Milner, Rt Hon. Sir Fred'rick G|
|Balcarres, Lord||Galloway, William Johnson||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Gardner, Ernest||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Garfit, William||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christen.||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gordon, Maj. E. (T'r Hamlets||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc||Mowbray, Sir Robert Cray C.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Murray, Rt. Hn. A Graham (Bute|
|Beach, Rt, Hn. Sir Mich. Hicks||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Graham, Henry Robert||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Greene, Henry D (Shrewsbury||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Bigwood, James||Grenfell, William Henry||Percy, Earl|
|Bill, Charles||Gretton, John||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hall, Edward Marshall||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Hamilton, Marq. of (Lnd'nderry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col H F (Middlesex-||Hardy, L (Kent, Ashford)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bowles, T Gibson (King's Lynn||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Purvis, Robert|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich||Pym, C. Guy|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Randies, John S.|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J A (Glasgow)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Carson, Rt Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Heath, James (Staffords., N W.||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Holder, Augustus||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cavendish, VCW (Derbyshire||Henderson, Sir A (Stafford, W||Richards, Henry diaries|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hope, J F (Sheffield, Brightside||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green|
|Cecil, Evelyn Aston Manor)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Horner, Frederick William||Roberet, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A (Worc||Houston, Robert Paterson||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Howard, J (Midd., Tottenham||Rollit, Sir Albert Kayo|
|Chapman, Edward||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Coddington, Sir William||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Kerr, John||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Kimber, Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Knowles, Sir Lees||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Spear, John Ward|
|Gust, Henry John C.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monmouth)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks., N. R.)||Stock, James Henry|
|Denny, Colonel||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Dewar, Sir T R (Tower Hamlets||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Douglas, Rt Hon. A. Akers||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lowe, Francis William||Tuff, Charles|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H (Sheff'ld|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Macdona, John dimming||Walrond, R. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Maconochie, A. W.||Welby, Lt.-Col, A. C. E (Taunton|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Willox, Sir John Archibald||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Wilson, John (Glasgow)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hardie, J. K. (Merthyr Tdyvil)||Partington, Oswald|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Hayden, John Patrick||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Austin, Sir John||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Price, Robert John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Reddy, M.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth, C. B.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Black, Alexander William||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Boland, John||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Brigg, John||Kilbride, Denis||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Labouchere, Henry||Roche, John|
|Burns, John||Lambert, George||Rose, Charles Day|
|Burt, Thomas||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Runciman, Walter|
|Caldwell, James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Russell, T. W.|
|Cameron, Robert||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Leng, Sir John||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Causton, Richard Knight.||Lewis, John Herbert||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lloyd-George, David||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, W.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Crombie, John William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Crooks, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sheehy, David|
|Cullinan, J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Slack, John Bamford|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Delany, William||M'Kenna, Reginald||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Murphy, John||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||Newnes, Sir George||Wallace, Robert|
|Ellice, Capt. E. C (SAndrw's Bghs||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Norman, Henry||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||O'Brien, Patrick, (Kilkenny)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Huddersf'd|
|Field, William||O'Donuell, John (Mayo, S.)||Young, Samuel|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Dowd, John|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John||O'Mara, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Edward Strachey and Mr. Rigg.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Hammond, John||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)|
Question put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ Resolved, "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:—
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign,—
§ "We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and 514 Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors and Members of His Majesty's Household.