§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. GRANT LAWSON, Yorkshire, N. R. Thirsk) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1.
In page 1, line 23, to leave out Subparagraph (a).—(Mr. Emmott.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'if' stand part of the clause."
§ MR. LEVY (continuing his speech)
, said he appreciated the fact that the Question he put to the Home Secretary 848 before the adjournment was one which the right hon. Gentleman was probably not prepared to reply to on the spur of the moment. He would repeat it now. Would a man be considered to be able decently to support himself if he came to this country under a contract to work for 1s. or 2s. a day.
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said if a man could support himself decently and knew that he could get employment in this country at fair wages he would undoubtedly pass.
§ MR. LEVY
said that clearly meant that the Bill was not going to protect the British workman as stated by the promoters, but on the contrary would be the means of reducing wages and setting up a system of sweating. He denied that the alien immigrant displaced the British workman, and pointed out that in the year 1881 the number of men employed in coal-mining, the boot trade, furniture trade, and tailoring trade was 852,000. In the year 1901 the number of workers employed in these four industries in which aliens were supposed to be largely employed had increased by 428,000; yet only 37,000 aliens were employed in them, which showed that it was not true that these people were taking bread out of the mouths of the British workmen. The clause in its present form would exclude a large number of the very poorest who were transmigrants, and there by affect the shipping companies bringing them to this country and the railway companies carrying them in this country to the extent of not less than £1,030,000 every year. He hoped, therefore, that the clause would be altered in a humane spirit. Let it not be said that they slammed the door against anyone simply because he was poor.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said the hon. Member who had just sat down concluded his remarks by an appeal to the Committee not to shut the door against aliens coming to this country simply because they were poor. But, surely, if a man arrived absolutely destitute in this country, rather than starve he would be prepared to take work at a wage far below the standard wage 849 of this country, and therefore would not he an influence to keep the standard of wages up to the point which our own people through their trades unions had fixed as fair. If the hon. Gentleman had been acquainted with the actual conditions in those parts of London where the alien was almost paramount he would have known that the trades-union workman was undercut and driven out of the district by those people. The position taken up by hon. Gentlemen opposite was a singular one. They first of all objected to the Bill and accused its supporters of evil intentions merely because they desired to keep up the standard of wages in this country, and then they appealed to the Committee not to shut the door in the face of an alien on the ground of poverty. It was somewhat remarkable to find hon. Gentlemen opposite opposing this Bill, and to find them at the same time saying that if it was not carried it would inflict a great injury on the people of this country, for that was the meaning of the piteous appeal of Radical East End Members and candidates to the Leader of the Opposition. They had apparently quite forgotten the resolution passed by the Trades Union Congress at Leeds, last September, which called upon the Government to pass restrictive legislation in order that the mines of this country should not be worked by foreigners at a rate of wages which was under the tradesunion standard.
The strongest reason for believing that alien immigration would destroy the value of new legislation against sweating, was that it had, as far as East London went, practically destroyed the value of such legislation as now existed. In the alienriddon districts of London the Factory Acts were practically a dead letter. The case need not be stated by him. He was prepared to submit to the Committee—first, the evidence of Mr. Thomas O'Grady, secretary of the London Branch of the Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, who told the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration that "no notice at all was taken of the Factory Acts" by the East End aliens; and secondly, that of Mr. Herbert Evans, Assistant Factory Inspector for East London, who declared before the same Commission that 850 evasions of the law in regard to the hours of employment for children and young women had become "almost systematic." He described how the small alien master shifted his workshop from place to place and pleaded ignorance of the law when prosecuted. That gentleman also remarked that the number of native (British) employers proceeded against in East London for breaches of the Factory Acts was insignificant. As evidence of the temper of the alien population in industrial matters Mr. O'Grady's testimony and that of his colleague, Mr. Armstell, was very striking. They told the Commission how the strike of 1890 (in the boot trade) had resulted in a fair settlement accepted by both masters and men. But the value of that settlement had been destroyed by the alien invasion. Once there was a Jewish branch of the union, but the members dropped off and took to sweating on their own account, employing "greeners" brought over and bought "at cattle price" (as Mr. O'Grady expressed it) working at 50 per cent, less than the rate agreed upon between the masters' federation and the men's union. How could we possibly work a factory code or an anti-sweating law with a population such as this?
The Opposition, he thought, had, at last, that night, grasped the nettle. They had acknowledged that it was an economic question. If hon. Members opposite contended that the true solution of this problem was not a Bill of this sort, but a stiffening of our factory and health legislation, he would ask them to consider the effect that these aliens in large numbers had on great masses of our population. This was not a matter which affected one or two constituencies. At the present moment it affected over a million working-class people in London, and day by day would affect more and more the industrial population of the great towns throughout the kingdom. One hon. Member had pointed out that had we not allowed aliens to come here seeking refuge from political or religious tyranny, certain industries would never have grown up in this country, and he pointed to the great linen industry introduced by the Huguenots. But the 851 hon. Gentleman forgot that the Huguenots brought their wealth and skill and were competent men. They formed no Ghettos and they sweated no labour. The majority of the Alien immigrants of to-day were physically inefficient and were glad to come here to work and to live under conditions which no British workman would tolerate and which the law forbade. When the Huguenots came here they came to a sparsely-populated country, but now it was over-populated and more than two-thirds of the population lived in the towns. Both sides of the House should, in dealing with this problem, endeavour to take a broad-minded and non-Party view, and should remember that if they did not adopt some measure which would exclude the undesirable alien they would create in this country a most deplorable situation, which must result in a strong anti-Semitic movement. It was all very well to talk about its being the traditional policy of this country to give to political refugees a domicile, but if that policy was to be carried to its logical conclusion nowadays, it meant that we were inviting 5,000,000 oppressed Russian Jews to come to this country, and it was idle to say that because a wrong had been inflicted upon these people in their own country, we were entitled to inflict a further wrong upon our own people by allowing them to come here. He sincerely hoped that this part of the Bill would be carried, and that express conditions would be inserted for the exclusion from this country of contract labour which had been refused admission into the United States or elsewhere.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
remarked that during the debate hon. Members opposite had treated the Committee to a good deal of bad law, bad political economy, and bad history. The hon. Gentleman had given the Committee his view of the history of the arrival in this country of the Huguenots, and had described them, as it were, as persons who were fairly well-off, and who came here with well-packed portmanteaux, hat boxes, and Gladstone bags. His own view of the historic movement into this country was that it was not a movement that took place at one particular date—any one year— 852 as the hon. Member seemed to think, but was spread over a considerable period of time. Whether this Bill were a wise one or not, it was impossible in principle to-draw any distinction between the earlier-migrations and the migrations of to-day. The great body of the Huguenot refugees, for instance, who arrived in this country did so under circumstances of great poverty, and their competition was strongly objected to by the workmen of those days. Not long ago he saw some very interesting extracts upon the point in the St. James's Gazette, which he believed was a Conservative newspaper. [Cries of "No."] Then, never mind what the name of the paper was, but he knew it was a Unionist organ, and it published a very interesting account of large meetings, held at that time in the neighbourhood of London, of working-men who protested and memorialised the House against the unfair competition of the Huguenot refugees. After hearing, the Prime Minister's speech, and comparing it with the speeches of some of the Government's supporters, not to mention the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, they could not on that side understand on what ground the Bill was defended. Was it defended on the ground that it would keep out the illegitimate competition of competent and able workmen, or on the ground that it would merely keep out the incompetent workmen? They had a right to ask the Government which horse they were riding, for they could not ride both.
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said hon. Members opposite kept casting flies over the Ministerial Benches to see whether the fish would rise. The other day they tried to catch the shipowners—[An HON. MEMBER: And they rose.] On the contrary, the shipowners were generally satisfied with the Amendments which were put down to meet their views. He ventured to think that those whom the noble Lord had now endeavoured to attract would be equally shy of his inducements. They defended the Bill because they wished to keep out the incompetent aliens, who might become a charge on the country. That policy was clearly laid down, as the noble Lord opposite had admitted, by the Prime Minister. The noble Lord was quite justified in asking him 853 what his views were, and he thought that he had given a distinct Answer to his challenge. Hon. Gentlemen opposite who had taken part in this discussion, had constantly thrown it in their teeth that by this Bill the Government were endeavouring to make a new crime, and that crime was poverty, and that they were endeavouring to keep out of this country all these poor aliens. This sub-section provided that an alien who came to settle here must show that he was able to live as a decent citizen. The Bill proceeded upon the principle that there was no reason why this country should put itself under an obligation to maintain the destitute of foreign countries. He thought not only that aliens who were likely to become a charge upon the rates ought to be kept out, but that those who were likely to become a charge upon charity should be admitted with great caution.
He had been asked whether an alien would be refused admission who had an agreement to work in this country. Of course, if a man could produce evidence to show that he was coming here to enter into an employment at a fair wage, the immigration officer would pass him. There was no desire to keep out any alien who would be able to maintain himself and live up to the public-health requirements simply because he might compete with the labourers of this country. The Huguenots had been referred to, but many of them were people of means, and those who were poor were by no means undesirable aliens in the sense of the Bill, because they had a knowledge of trades by which they were able to maintain themselves independently in this country. Not only so, but they introduced all sorts of new trades, and that showed that they were not undesirable aliens as described in this sub-section.
§ MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
said a large number of figures had been given and there had been a lot of talk about the. Huguenot refugees, but he did not think these things had anything at all to do with the question. It had been said by the other side that the working men of this country were in favour of this Bill. He admitted that the working men were not against excluding undesirables if 854 they could get at the exact meaning of that term. That was to him the gist of the whole thing. What they wanted to know was what was an undesirable so far as the welfare of the country was concerned. It was possible that a man with plenty of money might be more undesirable than a man without a shilling in his pocket. The Home Secretary had let loose in that discussion a very important consideration—that a man might be brought here under contract to work. If a man came here and could show that he had work to do he was, regardless of his character, a desirable.
I am sure the hon. Member does not wish to misrepresent me. My point was this—that if a man coming in here brought a letter showing he could get employment, the immigration officer would not be likely to reject him on the ground that he would not be able to support himself.
§ MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
said that was just what he was trying to say. If there was a dispute in this country an employer could go to the Continent and engage men, no matter how undesirable they were. [Loud MINISTERIAL cries of "No, No!"] Would hon. Gentlemen opposite allow the Home Secretary to conduct his own case? Were hon. Members opposite in confabulation with the Home Secretary when he drew up the Bill? Did they hold a Cabinet meeting? The Home Secretary gave them one Answer and Caliban gave another. There was one hon. Gentleman in that House who had come over here in a tramp steamer with no work to go to and he was supporting this Bill through thick and thin. That Gentleman had been honoured by the Government and they all honoured him, for he bore his title honourably, but, nevertheless, he came over to this country a friendless boy to take the first employment he could get, and yet he was in favour of the Bill, which would exclude men who were in the same category as himself. The Home Secretary had said that all a man had to do was to show the immigration officer that he could maintain himself and his dependents in this country. It was like the old lady's advice that they should never go into the 855 water until they had learned to swim. How could an alien show that he could maintain himself until he had found employment? Did the Home Secretary know why the immigration laws were passed in America? It was because of the contract labour that was being imported. If a man went to New York or any other port and stated that he had got work he would not be allowed to land. He hoped the same principle would not be insisted upon here. The Bill stated that an alien was undesirable if he could not show that he had in his possession, or was in a position to obtain, the means of "decently supporting himself and his dependents (if any)." What was the meaning of "decently?" Who was to be the judge of decency? There were some men whose judgment might be affected by an attack of indigestion after dinner. He had often said that the sentence passed on a prisoner depended on the Judge's stomach. It was quite possible under the Bill for honest, trustworthy, desirable men to be shut out and men whose every action and intention would entirely contravene all dictates of morality to be admitted. The working men of East Finsbury were entirely against the Bill. Scotch miners did not object to alien immigrants if they came of their own accord to seek work.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
said that a resolution was passed by the Trades Union Congress last year, in the following terms—That we urge on the Government to take such steps as shall prevent foreign and unskilled labour from entering mines.
§ MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
asked whether the hon. Member was aware that a man had to serve two years before he could work as a skilled miner. In the mines of Scotland these unskilled men were sent with Davy-lamps in their hands into the mines to the jeopardy of the other workers. All that the resolution required was that the men should be properly trained. We were the greatest emigrating nation under the sun. Our sons went everywhere. But they would be turned back as aliens if measures like this were in operation. What the working men of 856 this country demanded was a fair field and no favour for all classes, whether they reached these shores as steerage or as cabin passengers.
§ SIR CARNE RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said he wished to correct a statement made by an hon. Member for a Division of Lancashire before dinner, to the effect that if the Bill were placed on the Statute-book and aliens were thereby kept out they would deprive the East End of London of the cheap-furniture trade. He rented a factory not long ago to people who made this furniture. They were not aliens at all, though they were of Semitic origin. There was no harm in that. They were financed from the other side, they paid their rent, and that was all he had to bother his head about. It was absurd to say that if the Bill were passed the cheap-furniture trade would leave the East End of London. Statements were frequently made with reference to individual trades, with a view to prejudicing this Bill with the public, which left much to be desired on the score of correctness.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
said the Committee had had a very interesting speech from the hon. Member for Mid-Durham. He thought that was a very encouraging thing in these days when organised labour was asserting for itself in the country a position apart from either of the great Parties. The language of the hon. Member for Mid-Durham showed that he was on the side of what was generous and large-minded, and not on the side of what was narrow, selfish, sordid, and harsh. It was quite true, as the hon. Member had pointed out, that there was the very greatest difference between an individual who sought this country as a refuge, and labourers who were brought here or to the Colonies in batches for the purpose of artificially lowering wages in the labour market. He hoped that difference was thoroughly realised by the representatives of labour and capital on the benches opposite. As had been pointed out, by the hon. Gentleman before dinner, any man who could show that he had a contract in this country, or any number of men who were brought over and could show that they had a 857 prospect of immediate employment, would not be within the scope of the terms of this sub-section in any way.
The Amendment of his hon. friend the Member for Oldham raised a vital issue—namely, whether poverty as such, and unaccompanied by any other disadvantage or disagreeable circumstance, should be a sufficient ground for excluding aliens from our shores. It had been pointed out that a healthy man was not destitute. If he had the intention and desire to work he was not a burden to the community, but an asset. This clause had three or four sub-sections, but the subsection they were dealing with was the only one that could be operative. All the others were shams. Everyone knew that if a man chose to pay a few shillings to secure a cabin passage he would be able to come into this country without let or hindrance at all. Every other disqualification which could attach to an immigrant was provided for in the other sub-sections. Poverty, and poverty alone, was the disqualification provided for in this sub-section. His hon. friend the Member for Greenwich had said quite reasonably that if a man was likely to loaf about the country sleeping under hedges, and not able to maintain himself properly, it was very proper that the country should exclude such a man. But he submitted that such a case would be almost always excluded under other sub-sections.
Let them take the question whether a person should be excluded from the country on the ground of poverty alone. The question of alien immigration divided itself absolutely into two sections—the exclusion of immigrants in volume and the improvement in the quality of immigration. It was as easy to reduce the quantity as it was hard to improve the quality. The Government had been asked tonight to which of these two courses they adhered. Did they want reduction in the body of alien immigration, or was it an improvement in the quality they were seeking? In regard to quality, the attitude which many on his side of the House had adopted was well known to the Committee. They wished to exclude the undesirable alien. If there was a practical plan, produce it 858 by all means, and there would not be any great objection. Nothing, on the other hand, would be more easy than to reduce the number of alien immigrants. But the necessity must be shown by statistics. Did right hon. Gentlemen opposite deny that there were fewer aliens in this country in proportion to the population than in any other country? It had been denied to-night by one of the most able Members on the Treasury Bench—the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. The hon. Member stated that 75,000 aliens settled in this country last year. Did the Attorney-General make himself responsible for that figure? Was the right hon. and learned Member a party to that assertion? He paused for a reply. He was sorry the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade was not in his place. There were very great disadvantages in the course of debate when members of the Government who occupied positions of importance came down to the House and made highly controversial speeches, and did not remain to hear the criticism, or to answer inquiries which might arise. If 75,000 immigrants came to this country last year, and if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade was right that in the last ten years the increase in the alien population of this country had been 750,000, that was a very serious number. An increase of 7,000 a year would not be a serious question, because the population was increasing at the rate of 400,000, but 750,000 in ten years would indeed be a serious question and would justify some of the enthusiasm of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. If that number had landed in this country in the last ten years, where had they all been accommodated? It was only in particular districts in the country—in Stepney and in the East End of London, in parts of Glasgow and Leeds, that the alien question had produced a problem of a grave and complex character, bat those were only particular districts, and so far as he knew they were the only localities in this country where the question could be said to be real. He admitted that it might be an acute question in these cases, but it was in no sense a national, 859 a racial, or an economic question. Except in these particular places it was a Party question pure and simple, which had been raised to a position of fictitious importance because it was believed to have in it the makings of a Party cry when an election, which was apprehended with some anxiety, was approaching. Even the Prime Minister was careful not to associate himself with the figures his subordinate had quoted, and the Attorney-General wrapped himself up in gloomy silence. The Royal Commission said the nearest approach to accurate information about the number of alien immigrants who settled annually was to be found in the Census Returns, and these Returns stated that the number was between 6,000 and 7,000 and not between 70,000 and 80,000. If those figures were wrong the statement they had heard from the Treasury Bench was most misleading. If the Secretary to the Board of Trade believed that they were correct he could not have made himself thoroughly acquainted with the details of the question on which he professed to advise the House; and if the hon. Gentleman believed that they were not correct, then he would be drawn to a conclusion which the Chairman would not allow him to express in Parliamentary language. He wished to direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that when these grossly inaccurate figures were quoted, no one on the Treasury Bench got up and supported them; but, nevertheless, the Prime Minister, the Minister in charge of the Bill, the Under-Secretary for the Home Department, and the right hon. and learned Attorney-General, instead of putting the Committee right on the matter, all sat there and took full advantage of allowing the House to believe the statements which they at least knew to be misleading.
He should regret to have to put an undue strain on the indulgence of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He would support in the division the Amendment of his hon. friend, because it embodied the simple proposition, on the merits of which the country would have to decide, that in the present state of alien immigration, and in the present state of labour and trsde in this country, 860 mere poverty, as such, should not be a sufficient reason for excluding aliens from our shores. That was a substantive proposition which would induce him to support the hon. Gentleman in the lobby. But he could not resist a passing expression of contempt at the spectacle of a great Party trying to retrieve its shattered reputation by exploiting and aggravating the miseries of some of the weakest and poorest of mankind.
§ MAJOR EVANS GORDON
said he should like to thank the hon. Member for Oldham for the kind manner in which the hon. Gentleman had referred to him and his action in regard to this matter. However, when the hon. Gentleman said that this was a Party question, got up and exploited for Party ends by hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, including himself, then he asked the hon. Member for Oldham how he reconciled that with the attitude of Liberal Members of Parliament, and all candidates for Parliamentary honours on the Liberal side in the East End of London, who had joined in this so called spurious agitation, who had endorsed it on every platform, and had finally begged their leaders in the House of Commons to support the Bill as it stood. Let the hon. Member for Oldham thresh that out with the hon. Member for Poplar. He referred the hon. Member for Oldham to the many speeches made by the hon. Member for Poplar in which the latter had said far stronger things in regard to alien immigration than he had ever ventured to utter in this House or on the platform. He said now, as he had said on the Second Reading, that if they were to be accused of organising this agitation for Party ends, then hon. Members on the opposite side of the House were tarred with the same brush.
As to the question of the figures, he had dealt with that very fully in his speech on the Second Reading. The matter was gone into thoroughly by the Royal Commission, of which he was a member, and they came to the conclusion, after the most exhaustive inquiry, that there were really no satisfactory statistics at all on the subject, and that the census on which hon. Gentlemen opposite now 861 relied, gave in itself no accurate indication of the amount of alien immigration and its effects on the country. The hon. Member for Oldham had very truly said that, as regarded the whole population of the country, this was a very small matter. But it was a very large matter in certain areas. The Daily Chronicle, a paper which represented the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite, said it was no relief to a man who was starving to tell him that the average consumption of food of the 41,000,000 inhabitants of this country was satisfactory; nor was it any relief to tell a district, where the aliens were counted by tens of thousands, that if these were spread over the whole country they would hardly be visible at all. That was precisely the point. It was no consolation to tell the people of Stepney and other districts, that this was a very insignificant matter, and that, therefore, they had no cause of complaint. He maintained that if they had, as they did have, in the East End of London an enormous stream of these people coming from Heaven knows where—if they had got a pressure of fully 80,000 of these people in the East End, then a point had been reached when some restrictions should be made to this invasion.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
asked if the hon. and gallant Gentleman, from his own information, could say what had been the increase of the alien population for the last ten years?
§ MAJOR EVANS GORDON
said he had the evidence of his own sense, and the enormously increased and increasing area occupied by foreigners, and he maintained that the census figures, as submitted by the Registrar-General, were inaccurate, although they showed that there were 54,310 alien residents in the borough of Stepney, that all the neighbouring districts were being increasingly affected, and that these great and alarming figures did not take into consideration the children born here of foreign parents. When estimating the total effect, they must take into consideration all the people who were here now who would not have been here but for this immigration. He held 862 that the pressure arising from this immigration was enormous. If hon. Members could see, as he had seen, street after street absolutely depopulated of their English inhabitants and replaced by aliens, then they would agree with him, and all those, irrespective of Party, acquainted with the facts, that the evil had passed all bounds, and that the time had come when they must endeavour to reduce it, and see that only those who were in a position to maintain themselves and their dependents in circumstances of decency were permitted to come here in the future.
Let him refer to the economic aspect of the question. It was said that these aliens did not compete adversely with our own people, but were a benefit both to themselves and to the native community. For the benefit of hon. Members opposite who held that view he would quote a. paper which represented their opinions. The Daily News of June 19th, referring to a district in the West of London, said—Hitherto the presence of Swedes, Austrians, Germans, and the rest, had only augmented the labour army without any serious effect on prices, but recent influxes of aliens had produced a totally opposite result. The price paid for a coat in Soho to British tailors averaged about 25s., and this price has been maintained to the satisfaction of masters and men. Now a decline is apparent, for the alien thinks that less than half that sum is sufficient pay, and in one of the largest establishments an all-round price of 5s. for every kind of coat has just been arranged. Thus the tailoring industry was being undermined by the indiscriminating undercutting of workmen who had no real knowledge of their handicraft—a process which, if it was not stopped, would bring disaster on the country.He contended that that disclosed a state of things which it was the duty of Parliament to consider and take every measure to stop.
They were told that they were going to exclude these people on the ground of poverty alone. He denied that statement. Poverty in itself should be no bar; a man might be very poor and yet make an excellent citizen. On the other hand, a man might be very poor and very bad. They could not generalise on this question. A man might be rich and yet be a bad citizen. What they had to do was to discriminate 863 between the good and the bad. The board set up by the Bill was a tribunal admirably calculated to discover which of the people who came here were likely to be suitable settlers and good citizens of this country. He had seen similar authorities at work at Hamburg, Bukarest, and other towns on the Continent, performing precisely this function of selecting emigrants for America and other countries. Although hon. Members opposite said that it was impossible to make this discrimination they would be surprised with what facility the work of these authorities was performed. There were vast numbers of people here who would not have been allowed to land had they been first examined. The Jewish Board of Guardians were repatriating many of these people because they found that they were absolutely unfit for anything. He held that the machinery which the Bill proposed to set up would be of real and tangible benefit to the people of this country, and to the foreign population also.
§ DR. HUTCHINSON (Sussex, Rye)
said that the position which they, on that side of the House, had taken up had always been the same. They were perfectly willing to consider any Bill to keep out criminals, diseased, idiotic, or otherwise helpless and hopeless people. This Bill, however, was not a practical measure from that point of view. All over the country Tory candidates said that the Liberals misrepresented all questions introduced and carried out by this Tory Government—questions of education, licensing, Chinese labour, and the like. Time would prove that the Liberals had been perfectly right on all these questions. The other day he was down at the Chichester election and there was a huge placard, eight feet by four, with a line drawn down the middle. On one side there was the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition beckoning with a very pleasant smile to a long perspective of aliens to come here; and on the other side of the line there was the right hon. Member for East Fife and an array of British working men with their tools on their shoulders. The legend was, "We have no room for these 864 British working men; we want the men on the other side of the picture."
The Home Secretary said that they did not want to keep out aliens on social grounds, but that they were likely to compete with British workmen. Could misrepresentation go further than that Hon. Members knew well that this Bill would not keep out a single man with health and strength, who was able to compete with British workmen, although it might keep out lunatics, diseased persons, paupers, and criminals. One would imagine from what was said on the Ministerial Benches that there was not a single alien in London except in the East End. There were aliens in the West End as well as in the East End. Take the case of a man who came up to London for a night's pleasure. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, Bishops sometimes did that. He went to a West End hotel, where he was received by a cashier who was a Frenchman, shown to the lift by a German, and a Swiss took him to his room and carried his luggage. He ordered his dinner from a French mailre d'hotel, he was served by a German waiter, and the food was cooked by a French chef. Afterwards he went outside, got into a motor-car driven by a French chauffeur, and visited the Italian Opera. The overture at the Opera was played by a foreign band, and the only man who looked at all like an Englishman was he who played the triangle. He heard the whole opera sung by Italian or other foreign artistes. After the Opera his supper was served in an Italian restaurant, and, lighting a Turkish cigarette, he proceeded to walk home. On his way there, he was accosted in one street by a French courtesan, in another by an Austrian demi-mondaine, and in a third by a German prostitute. There was not a single one of these classes which would be kept out by this Bill, with the exception perhaps of the last, which would displace British labour. He wanted to call attention to the difference between the aliens in the East End and those in the West End. The East End alien served the poor by making cheaper clothes and boots; the West End alien catered for the pleasures of the rich; therefore they heard nothing in these debates about the West End aliens. He 865 maintained that this Bill would not effect the object it proposed to accomplish. It was a mere "shop-window Bill." Although he was entirely in favour of shutting out criminal aliens, this Bill would not effect that purpose.
§ MR. CROOKS (Wcolwich)
said that hon. Members opposite claimed that the whole East End supported themselves and this Bill. He really did know a little about the East End, so much so that on the night of the Second Reading four supporters of the hon. and gallant Member for Stepney, who had been dining in the House, too well, but not wisely, had cried to intimidate him on the railway platform of Westminster Bridge Station, under the impression that the Bill was introduced for the express purpose of preventing overcrowding, abolishing sweating, reducing rents, and expelling the alien out of the East End. But for a belief of that kind this Bill would not be looked at in the East End of London, and to say that it would accomplish that object was not only wrong, but it made the measure a sham. If the hon. and gallant Member's speech was in the Bill, then he thought that they might all agree to it. It was a magnificent speech from their standpoint; but that the Bill would carry out the views of the hon. and gallant Member was another story. It was a Bill for the convenience of the rich, and provided another law for the inconvenience of the poor. They were led to believe that this Government was going to lessen sweating and overcrowding, and that it was going to send the people out into the country. Had they never heard of "greeners," who supplied capital to bring over aliens, 500 at a time, who shortly found their way to Colney Hatch, there to be maintained at the expense of the English ratepayers? He did not believe that this Bill was going to send one of these people back to their own country. Of course, he insisted that the sacred right of asylum for political and religious refugees should be maintained. When this Bill had been in operation two years and no alien had been turned out he did not think he would care to change places with hon. Gentlemen opposite. The nation was hungry for genuine legislation for the amelioration 866 of the lot of the people, and to waste time on a measure like this was positively abominable. He knew quite well what were the needs of these people, and to take any notice of leading articles published in the local papers imploring them not to offer any opposition to this Bill would make them as criminal as the promoters. The whole thing was a sham, and he protested against it.
COLONEL WILLIAMS (Dorsetshire, W.)
said that scarcely any of the speeches which had been delivered by hon. Gentlemen opposite dealt with the Amendment now before the Committee. [OPPOSITION cries of "Order" and "Withdraw."]
If I thought that any of those speeches had not been in order I should have called the speakers to order.
said that he had no intention whatever in what he had said of casting any reflection upon the conduct of the Chairman. With regard to the argument put forward that this was a very small Bill the reason for that was to be found in the fact that hon. Gentleman opposite defeated a Bill last year which was a much more drastic measure than this. He hoped the Government would soon treat the Bill as it ought to be treated, and would not allow the vexatious opposition which was being offered to it to continue.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said the Member for Durham had given utterance to the view which was generally shared by the leaders of labour on the imposture which the Committee were now discussing. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who represented Stepney said that there were no satisfactory statistics on the alien question. The statistics were sufficient to prove that between 7,000 and 10,000 per annum was the maximum number of arrivals in the United Kingdom from abroad; the census, indeed, put the number at from 6,000 to 7,000. The hon. Member for Stepney stretched figures one way and manipulated statistics the other. The only parallel to the misrepresentations of the real facts 867 of the case put forward on this Bill was supplied by the Prison-Made Goods Bill, which was twin brother to this measure in imposture and deceit. He appealed to the hon. Member to say whether, if this Bill were carried, there would be a single alien excluded from Stepney who could settle there how. Whilst the war continued between Russia and Japan there might be 1,000 or 2,000 Russian refugees driven by political persecution to accept the hospitality of the East End of London. Were hon. Gentlemen opposite in favour of excluding political refugees from Russia and religious refugees from the East who were flying from a tyranny which we ought to approve of them escaping from. The hon. and gallant Member for Stepney talked as if this was a burning question in London as a whole, but it was only a burning question when the object of this Bill was misrepresented. The electors of the East End were told at a recent election that this Bill would remove the pauper aliens who were now depriving them of their work and their liberty, and that it would put an end to sweating. It was not true that the Bill would stop sweating. It was not true that the poverty-stricken people who found refuge here deprived us of our liberty. The people who deprived us of our liberty were the wealthy foreign aliens consorting with the sons of those who came over with William the Norman. To talk of this Bill stopping sweating was to repeat only a vulgar, low election cry pandering to the ignorant.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said that the effect of this sub-section would be to raise up racial feeling such as they had not experienced for two or three centuries. Sub-section (a) would not keep out the souteneur, the foreign criminal, the men who, in the main, were found in the neighbourhood of Soho, Regent Street, and Piccadilly, and who, presuming on our hospitality, plied a dangerous calling for an immoral end. That kind of scoundrel did not come in the steerage. He stole an English countess's jewels at Berlin, 868 or a first-class passenger's ticket at Calais or Dieppe, looked like a German count, and talked like a foreign waiter. There was no need to pass Sub-section (a) for such people, even if it would exclude them. Let the Bill of Lord Alverstone a few years ago be pat into force for them. The hon. and gallant Member for Stepney would exclude, not such persons, but the poorer people who came prepared to work for their living. The poor German nurse girl lured to London by an advertisement was to be refused admittance, but Mrs. Bradley Martin was to be admitted. The Swedish stevedore, poor, strong, and healthy, was not to be allowed to work among his fellows if he did not hold a certificate, but the Bill would allow such an alien to come in as he who came, wealthy with other people's money, and on Thursday gave a dinner at the Savoy Hotel at a cost of £3,000, and at the rate of £125 a head. Such a man the Bill would not touch, though he did more to damage the moral fibre of rich and poor than 100 honest stevedores competing for work at the docks. The Bill was not needed. The best intellects among the Conservative Party were opposed to it. It would drive the Jewish people from one of their last sanctuaries.
I must ask the hon. Member to keep nearer to the Amendment, and not make a Second Reading speech.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said he wished to point out that Sub-section (a) would only exclude the poor Jews who sought refuge in this country, and as a labour leader he protested against this denial of the right of asylum. Let every man come who was prepared to work on fair conditions. The Factory Acts and the trade unions would ensure fair competition. Let rich Jews among the Party opposite remember that what was their lot forty years ago was the lot of others of their nation to-day. Let the Conservative Party beware of stimulating a race feud that must have effect against the rich Jews, too many of whom were, for political and mercenary motives, endeavouring to catch British votes. If the race feud came, it would be against the Jews, not of Stepney, but of the central district and the west. He appealed to, 869 the Conservative Party not to adopt a doctrine that was adverse to the best interests of the British people and foreign to their instincts as a free community. The men who were voting for this Bill employed Poles in Scottish mines, Lascars in British ships, and Chinese in South Africa.
§ SIR CHRISTOPHER FURNESS (Hartlepool)
said it had been said that the voice of the shipowner had not been heard against this particular proposal in the Bill. He wished to say that he supported the Amendment because he felt that if Sub-section (a) was passed as it appeared in the Bill it would be a very serious matter for the country. He had known men of the class that would be excluded under the sub-section who had become respectable citizens and who, so far from displacing labour, had extended the area of employment and had created new industries which had been of great benefit to the country at large. There was another view which they might take of this matter. It was only a session or two ago that the House was informed that the Government had guaranteed a subsidy of £2,000,000 to the Cunard Steamship Company.
§ SIR CHRISTOPHER FURNESS
said his only object in mentioning that question was to show how deeply the country was interested in maintaining the large emigration trade between this country and the United States of America, and
§ had he been permitted to proceed with his argument he could have shown that a direct disadvantage would accrue to the country at large in regard to any interference with this immigration. He regretted that the Secretary to the Board of Trade had encouraged the statement which had been made throughout the country that these immigrants had seriously affected labour in this country. He had stated that 75,000 immigrants arrived in this country in 1901 and had remained here. He wished to state most emphatically that no such number as 75,000 immigrants remained in this country during the year 1901. He was anxious to see every good honest workman employed, but he ventured to say that this country could never have afforded the employment it gave to-day had it not been for these very foreigners who, in the first instance, displaced British labour for a short time, but who, after living in this country some time, had become respectable citizens and had revived old industries and created new ones. It was for these reasons that he desired to say how strongly he felt with regard to this sub-section. He was as anxious as any Member in the House to exclude undesirables from our shores, but in attempting to achieve that object the Committee should take care that they did not deprive the country of the benefit which these people conferred by aiding and encouraging trade and manufacture.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 215; Noes, 158. (Division List No 227)873
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Buxton, Sydney Chas. (Poplar|
|Anson, Sir Wm. Reynell||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Campbell, J. H M. (Dublin Univ.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.|
|Arnold-Forster, Bt. Hn. H. O.||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bignold, Sir Arthur||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Big-wood, James||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Bill, Charles||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Bingham, Lord||Chamberlain, Rt Hn J A (Worc.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chapman, Edward|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bond, Edward||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Coates, Edward Feetham|
|Balfour, Bt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Brassey, Albert||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Brodrick, Bt. Hn. St. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christen.||Brymer, William Ernest||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Bull, William James||Cross, Herb, Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lamont, Norman||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Ridley, S. Forde|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lawson, Hn H. L. W. (Mile End)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir J. C.||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Legge, Col. Hn. Heneage||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Doughty, Sir George||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Long, Col. Chas W. (Evesham)||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Long, Rt. Hn W. (Bristol, S.)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fellowes, Rt. Hn. Ailwyn Edw.||Lowe, Francis William||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Manc'r||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H (Renfrew)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lucas, Reginald J (Portsmouth)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. Alfred||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Arthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||M'Iver, Sir Lewis(Edinburgh W||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lanes)|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Forster, Henry William||Majendie, James A. H.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Malcolm, Ian||Stock, James Henry|
|Gardner, Ernest||Markham, Arthur Basil||Strutt, Hn. Charles Hedley|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Marks, Harry Hananel||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Gordon, Maj. Evans (T'rH'm'ts||Milvain, Thomas||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Goschen, Hn. George Joachim||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Tomkinson, James|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds||Morpeth, Viscount||Tuff, Charles|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Morrell, George Herbert||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Morrison, James Archibald||Tumour, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Vincent, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Mount, William Arthur||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. H.|
|Heath, Sir Jas. (Staffords. N. W||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Nicholson, William Graham||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Hope, J F (Sheffield, Brightside||Percy, Earl||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und Lyne)|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Pierpoint, Robert||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hunt, Rowland||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Plummer, Sir Walter R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York. E. R.)|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks|
|Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T (Denbigh)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W.||Purvis, Robert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Kerr, John||Pym, C. Guy||Wylie, Alexander|
|Keswick, William||Randies, John S.|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Rankin, Sir James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Boland, John||Causton, Richard Knight|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brigg, John||Cawley, Frederick|
|Asher, Alexander||Bright, Allan Heywood||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Brown, G. M. (Edinburgh)||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert H.||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Byce, Rt. Hon. James||Cogan, Denis J.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen||Burke, E. Haviland||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Burns, John||Crean, Eugene|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.||Buxton, N. E. (York, N R Whitby||Cremer, William Randal|
|Bell, Richard||Caldwell, James||Crombie, John William|
|Benn, John Williams||Cameron, Robert||Crooks, William|
|Black, Alexander William||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Cullinan, J.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lambert, George||Reddy, M.|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway)||Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W.)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roche, John (Galway, East|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles||Levy, Maurice||Runciman, Walter|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lough, Thomas||Russell, T. W.|
|Duffy, Wm. J.||Lundon, W.||Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Lyell, Charles Henry||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Edwards, Frank||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Ellice, Capt E C (SAndrew'sB'ghs||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Seely, Clias. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Crae, George||Seely, Maj. J E B (Isle of Wight)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Kean, John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||M'Kenna, Reginald||Sheehy, David|
|Farrell, James Patrick||W'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N. E.)||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Mooney, John J.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Moss, Samuel||Sullivan, Donal|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Muldoon, John||Taylor, Theodore C (Radcliffe)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Murphy, John||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Toulmin, George|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E (Berwick)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Ure, Alexander|
|Hammond, John||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid.)||Wallace, Robert|
|Harcourt, Lewis||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Brien, P. J (Tipperary, N.)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Harwood, George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Dowd, John||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Malley, William||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Chas. Fredk.||O'Mara, James||Wills, Arthur Walters (N Dorset|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.|
|Joicey, Sir James||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Perks, Robert William||Young, Samuel|
|Joyce, Michael||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W||Power, Patrick Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Kilbride, Denis||Priestley, Arthur|
|Kitson, Sir James||Rea, Russell|
§ MR. BRIGHT,
in moving so to amend Sub-section (a) as to throw upon the authorities the onus of proving the inability of a person to obtain a livelihood, said the important constitutional point raised by the Amendment had been to a certain extent dealt with on an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for King's Lynn. Under the clause an alien would be refused admission to the country if he could not show that he was in possession of means of decently supporting himself; that was to say, he would be held to be guilty of poverty unless he could prove his innocence. That was an absolute inversion of the law, customs, and traditions of the country.
said that, haying considered the matter, he did not consider the question to be covered by the Amendment referred to. The Amendment of the hon. Member for King's Lynn dealt with the plan of procedure of the immigration board, whereas the present Amendment referred to the immigration officer.
§ MR. BRIGHT
said he had no intention of re-debating the question further than to point out that his Amendment raised a concrete case. Although, as the Prime Minister had stated, the Bill was one of administration and did not deal with civil rights, the fact remained that an administrative Bill should not over-ride civil rights. The country was governed by precedent, and what was done to-day for aliens might be done to-morrow for our own countrymen. He begged to move.
In page 1, line 23, to leave out from the word 'if' to the end of the line, and insert the words 'it can be shown that he has not in his possession or is not in a'"—(Mr. Bright.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said they were dealing not with any question of the administration of the criminal law, but merely with an inquiry into a simple question of fact, and what the Committee had to determine was upon whom it was most convenient the burden of proof should rest. If the alien had means in his possession it would be easy for him to prove it, whereas it would be practically impossible for the immigration officer or the board to prove that he had not means. Any business man would say that the proper way of dealing with the matter was to put the burden of proof upon the alien.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
said the argument as put forward by the Attorney-General was general in its application, but surely the right hon. Gentleman would not assert that a lunatic should be required to prove that he was a lunatic, an idiot that he was an idiot, or another person that he had been sentenced in a foreign country. It was clear that in all such cases the onus of proof must be on the officer making the charge. Why, then, was it unreasonable to apply to this particular sub-section the same principles that would have to be applied to other sub-sections? The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be extremely anxious to make the ordeal of these unfortunate people as severe as possible, and apparently he came to the House with no other object than to put the screw on the most miserable members of the human family. If there was any means by which he could make their lot harder and their burden heavier, the right hon. Gentleman did not hesitate to avail himself of it. It was obvious that whether before the immigration board or the immigration officer aliens were to have short shrift. The Prime Minister had stated that what was wanted was a rough-and-ready method of dealing with aliens, that it was a matter 876 of administration and not of justice, and he certainly seemed to have got an Attorney-General who had thoroughly imbibed the principles of the Bill, and was ready to turn his legal talents to no better purpose than the finding of arguments to justify such a measure.
§ MR. DALZIEL
asked what kind of instructions were to be given to the immigration officer as to the amount of money an immigrant should have in his possession before being allowed to land. Was the amount to be £10, £15, or £20? He presumed that some instructions would be given, as it was surely not to be suggested that the immigration officer should have a perfectly free hand in the matter. Had the Government conceived the possibility of an agency being established in this country for supplying the immigrants with the necessary amount of money to enable them to land? There was nothing whatever in the Bill to prevent immigrants being met by an agent and receiving from him a loan sufficient to comply with the financial conditions to landing. These were matters which ought to be dealt with at the present stage, and the Committee were entitled to know what instructions would be given to the immigration officers who would have to deal with the circumstances when they arose.
§ And, it being Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday.