§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said it had been his intention to move Amendments affecting certain of the enactments mentioned in the schedule of this Bill, but by referring to rulings by the Chairman in previous years it appeared to him that the Amendments would not be in order. He wished to say that some of the Acts were extremely important, and he thought the time had come when they should be made part of the statute law of the land. There were fourteen Acts about which there could not be the slightest possible controversy, the Corrupt Practices Act and the Ballot Act being among the number.
The hon. Member is quite right as to the point of order but that means that talking about the Amendment he cannot move is out of order also.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
said he presumed that the Government had had their attention called to the fact that the Sale of Liquors on Sunday (Ireland Act, 1878) was included in the schedule needlessly, an Act having been passed making the law permanent.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ *Mr. JOWETT (Bradford, W.)
moved the omission of the Poor Rate Exemption Act, 1840. At the present time there was a great deal of complaint in every part of the country in regard to high rates. He wished to call attention to the effect which the Expiring Laws Continuance Act had on the subject to which he referred. Up to1840, when the Poor Rate Exemption Act was passed—an Act which lasted only one year—it would have been competent for the board of overseers to have rated every person in every parish and town according to his ability to pay. According to the provisions of the Act 43 Elizabeth such rates had to be imposed for the following purposes, viz. (1) to cover the cost of purchasing materials and tools with which the over seers were to "set the poor on work." (2) To relieve such of the poor as were unable to work, and (3) to apprentice, to some trade or craft, the children who came under the control of the overseers. The Act 43 Elizabeth to which he had referred, when read with a subsequent Act of 13 and 14 Charles II., permitted the overseers to take into account the profits or income of each inhabitant when assessing the amount of his liability to contribute to the purposes named. That provision was, he thought, a very good one indeed, and one that might with; advantage be acted on to-day, especially in view of the unfair system of rating 478 which prevailed at the present time with its many anomalies. There was a great outcry in these days against high rates, but the payment of rates, if the money was wisely spent, was not in itself an evil; but unfair rating was an evil. A man might have to occupy for the purposes of his business very extensive premises and would have to pay heavy rates on the rateable value of these premises, although he made next to no profit, whereas another man who was making large profits might occupy only small premises and thus escape the burden which fell very heavily on the shop-keeping class. According to the system which this Act of Parliament, which was now sought to be continued, set aside, it was possible to lay the burden of Poor Law expenditure on everyone according to his ability to pay. He did not suppose that the Government would agree to the Amendment he had proposed, but he wished to ask for some assurance that the present unfair system of rating should be put an end to as soon as possible, and that some system would be put in operation for tapping the profits of the men who were able to bear the burden. He ventured to suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the time had come when it was necessary, in justice to those who were compelled to occupy extensive premises for the purpose of their business, though they might only be receiving a small income there from, to make part of the local taxation depend on income instead of the annual value of premises, occupied, as seemed to have been the case prior to the passing of the Poor Rate Exemption Act mentioned in the Schedule.
§ MR THOMPSON (Somersetshire, E.)
said he desired to support the Amendment. This Act ought to be omitted from the schedule of the Bill because it was already in effect one of the permanent laws of the kingdom. The Act was originally passed in 1840, and consisted of two sections. The first section was substantially in the form which the 479 hon. Member for Bradford had stated and that section was the operative section of the Act. The second section, which had since disappeared, stated that the Act should only continue till the 31st December, 1841. The Act was renewed from year to year until 1874 when the Statute Law Revision Act was passed, which Act repealed the second section of 1840, and took away the temporary limitations on the latter Act Somehow or other that Act was scheduled in the Expiring Laws Continuance Act of 1875, but he maintained that it did require to be renewed every year.
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. John Burns, Battersea)
said there was some force in the contention made by the hon. Member that there were some Acts scheduled in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill which should be made perpetual. As to the remarks of the hon. Member for Bradford dealing with the question of poor relief and employment, he would point out that these subjects were now receiving the attention of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, and they would deal with them more effectually than could be done at that time of night in discussing the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. The question of the amount of contribution which the Imperial Exchequer should make to the local authorities, which the hon. Gentleman had referred to, was not quite so insignificant as he imagined. The State by Exchequer Grants contributed more than £13,000,000 to some of the purposes to which the hon. Member had referred; and it was a matter of contention with many who held opposite views to the Member for Bradford as to whether the time had not arrived when that amount should be diminished as some alleged in the interest of efficient administration of Local Government. As he had said, so far as Poor Law was concerned these questions were at present before the Royal Commission, but he should be only too pleased to represent the views of the hon. Member to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
With regard to the question of rating, which the hon. Member for Bradford more pertinently alluded to, the question 480 of local rating and imperial taxation was now before the Government in many aspects, and he would take note of what the hon. Member had said in so far as it was possible for the Government by future consideration, and possibly by legislation, to deal with some of the anomalies to which the hon. Member had referred. On those points they would give the subject sympathetic consideration. He did not want to quote the Act on which that discussion was based, but the Act of 1840, to which the hon. Member referred, consisted only of one clause, and that clause contained only ten lines, and many of the subjects which had been raised by both the hon. Members who had spoken on this particular Act, and this particular clause, were not altogether relevant to its purpose and intention. It dealt almost exclusively with rating. It dealt, he admitted, with the question of personalty and realty, which was perhaps the only subject on which it did adequately treat. He would therefore ask the hon. Member for Bradford not to press his Amendment, but to rely upon the general statement he had made, that the subject of Poor Law relief and the unemployed was before the Royal Commission, and the question of rating was under the consideration of the Government. He would represent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the views that had been expressed, and with regard to the general view, which he concurred in, namely, that this Act should not be revived annually in its present form, he would make representations to the Prime Minister to that effect whenever a favourable opportunity presented itself.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said the speech to which they had just listened gave a remarkable emphasis to the suggestion which he urged last night that, if this Expiring Laws Continuance Bill was to be dealt with as the Government had for the first time dealt with it this year, it was quite evident that they would have to take such steps as were possible to the Opposition to secure that in future the Bill occupied a totally different place in the programme of business. They would refer presently to the proposal which the action of His Majesty's Government had immediately given rise to. He found himself very largely in agreement with 481 the President of the Local Government Board in the conclusions at which he had arrived, but his good-natured and courteous stricture upon the remarks made by the hon. Member for Bradford and his hon. friend behind him were not quite justified. His argument was that those questions to which they had referred, that was to say the objects to which local taxation was applied, did not arise under this Bill. Under this Act they actually did arise in the most concrete and offensive form to those who were concerned in the question of local taxation. He heard with amazement the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that the of contribution made by the State to some the objects to which reference was made—the application of the £13,003,000—had no reference at all to the complaint made on the Opposition side of the House, and also the suggestion that that had led to local extravagance aid bad administration, and that the time had come when it ought to be reduced. There was a difference of opinion as to the way in which the State should contribute towards the relief of local taxation, but, so far as he knew, there was no difference of opinion at all upon the main fact that there must be a very much larger contribution from some source. The right hon. Gentleman knew quite well that that was not a contribution by personalty towards realty. It was a sum to which both personalty and realty contributed, and many of them thought that realty contributed in an altogether unfair degree. It was conceivable, however unlikely it might seem at the present moment, that he himself might again at some future day be interested in the passing of an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, and therefore he did not want to offer obstructions to the Government carrying out the business. But right hon. Gentlemen opposite, having chosen this method for a considerable act of Government policy, could not complain if a variety of points were raised which were important to them on that side of the House. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman was one of immense interest, and might very easily have formed the subject of a long debate, but at this period of the session, and at this hour of the morning, it would not be satisfactory to embark upon such a subject. He only wished that the con- 482 clusions at which the right hon. Gentleman had arrived and the sound views which he held had been arrived at and were held by his colleagues, and that they had not found themselves in the position of having to discuss questions of considerable importance at a time which, as the right hon. Gentleman had said, was neither opportune nor decent.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said this Act was the Act under which the rating of the poor was cast upon real estate, and under which the tools of those who were carrying on business were relieved from taxation for the purposes of the poor rats. It was the Act which ever since 1840 had regulated the class of property which should contribute to the taxation of the poor. It would he a great calamity, and a piece of impossible legislation, if at this date a tremendous change were to be made in the whole rating law simply by dropping this Act of Parliament out of the schedule to this Bill. But the position of the Act and the way it was described in the schedule of this Bill were, he thought an illustration of the exceedingly loose way in which this kind of thing was done from year to year. The Act consisted originally of two sections, firstly the operative section, and secondly a section limiting its operation to one year. But in 1873 that second section was repealed. The consequence was that in 1883 the Act which restricted taxation to real estate became an Act of one section, without any condition whatever making it necessary to be renewed. He found in the Schedule that the whole Act was to be re-enacted. But the second section of the Act was repealed in 1873. It was perfectly absurd therefore to say that the whole Act should now be re-enacted. He ventured to think that, seeing that this Act had become perpetual by its second clause being repealed thirty-two years ago, it could very well be dropped out of the schedule.
§ MR. SUMMERBELL
asked permission, after the statement made by the President of the Local Government Board, to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. H. H. MARKS (Kent, Thanet)
moved an Amendment for the purpose of omitting Section 3 from the Employers' Liability Act, one of the Acts mentioned in the schedule. The hon. Member said that Section 3 of this particular Act limited the amount of compensation which a workman could recover under the Act to the estimated earnings of a person in the same grade during the three years preceding the injury. The words of the section were—The amount of compensation recoverable under this Act shall not exceed such sum as may be found equivalent to the estimated earnings, during the three years preceding the injury, of a person in the same grade employed during those years in like employment and in the district in which the workman is employed at the time of the injury.Clearly the intention of the Act was to remove the obstacle to common employment, and to give the workman, as Section 1 of that Act said, the same right of compensation and the same remedies against the employer as if the workman had not been in the service of that employer who now engaged him. If, however, the workman had not been in that service, there would have been no statutory limit to the compensation which he could have recovered for the
§ injuries caused to him by the negligence of others. At this time, and in view of the great progress made in the matter of compensation to workmen, this section of the Act might usefully and profitably be dropped at this stage. It would be observed that a stranger injured by that same accident of negligence could recover to an unlimited extent. It was only the workman who was restricted in respect of the amount of compensation he might demand. If the Act was continued, as proposed in the Schedule, and Section 3 only was dropped, the general effect of the Act would be preserved, but the workman would be put on the same footing as the stranger, so far as the amount of his compensation is concerned. It was for that reason that he moved the Amendment, which he ventured to commend to the favour of the Committee.
In page 4, line 9, after the words, 'the-whole Act,' to insert the words 'except Section 3 thereof."—(Mr. H. H. Marks.)
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 16; Noes, 241. (Division List No. 493.)485
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Finch Rt. Hon. George H.||Starkey, John R.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lane-Fax, G. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Liddall, Henry||H.H. Marks and Mr. Watson|
|Craig, Capt. James (Down, E.)||O'Niell, Hon. Robert Torrens||Rutherford.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Acland-Hood,Rt.Hn.SirAlex.F.||Brigg, John||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Agnew, George William||Bright, J. A.||Clarke, C. Goddard|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brocklehurst, W. B||Cleland, J. W.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch||Brooke, Stopford||Clough, William|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Bryce, Rt. Hn. James (Abred'n)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs||Cogan, Denis J.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Burke, E. Haviland-||Collins, Sir Wm. J.(S. Pancras, W|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Corbett, C.H. (Sussex, E. Gr'st'd|
|Barnard, E. B.||Byles, William Pollard||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Beaumont, Hn. W.C.B. (H'xh'm||Cavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C.W.||Crean, Eugene|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r H'ml'ts, S. Geo||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Crombie, John William|
|Billson, Alfred||Chance, Frederick William||Crosfield, A. H.|
|Boland, John||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Brace, William||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.|
|Delany, William||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accringt'n||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Lehmann, R. C.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Dillon, John||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Har'ch||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Dolan, Charles Joseph||Levy, Maurice||Renton, Major Leslie|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'h|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mptn|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne||Lough, Thomas||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Wals'l||Lupton, Arnold||Robinson, S.|
|Elibank, Master of||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Erskine, David C.||Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Esmonde. Sir Thomas||Maclean, Donald||Runciman, Walter|
|Essex, R. W.||Macneill, John Gordon Swift||Russell, T. W.|
|Evans, Samuel T.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland|
|Everett, R. Lacey||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Arthur, William||Scott, A.H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Crae, George||Seddon, J.|
|Ferens, T. R.||M'Kean, John||Shackleton, David James|
|Ffrench, Peter||Maddison, Frederick||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Sheehy, David|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launcest'n||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Marnham, F. J.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Gilhooly, James||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Gill, A. H.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Ginnell, L.||Meagher, Michael||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Meehan, Patrick A.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.|
|Glover, Thomas||Meysey-Thomson, E. C.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Micklem, Nathaniel||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Mooney, J. J.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Ches.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Gulland, John W.||Morpeth, Viscount||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Halpin, J.||Murnaghan, George||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Murphy, John||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hammond, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Summerbell, T.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Nicholls, George||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd||Nicholson, Charles N. (Donc'r)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harrington, Timothy||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe|
|Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Norman, Sir Henry||Thompson, J.W.H. (Somerset, E|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Toulmin, George|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tip'rary Mid)||Verney, F. W.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hedges, A. Paget||O'Doherty, Philip||Ward, W. Dudley (S'thampton|
|Holme, Norval Watson||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Henry, Charles S.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Watt, H. Anderson|
|Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon.,S.||O'Grady, J.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Hare, Patrick||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||O'Malley, William||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Mara, James||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carm'rth'n|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Paul, Herbert||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Joyce, Michael||Pollard, Dr.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Winfrey, R.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Price, C.E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Priestley, W.E.B. (Bradf'd, E.)|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Radford, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Lambert, George||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Lamont, Norman||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro||Pease.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Reddy, M.|
moved to include within the Schedule of the Bill the Peace Preservation (Ireland) Act, 1881. The hon. Member said he must preface his remarks by trying to impress upon 486 the Committee the great difference between the action of the Government in dropping from the schedule a measure of first-class importance and the plain and sensible course of perpetuating for another 487 year a measure which had been in operation for the last twenty-five or thirty years. All Members would agree with him that when a first-class measure had been perpetuated from year to year since 1881 it had established a strong claim to be continued, and the necessity of that Act had, so far as he could ascertain from reading carefully the journals of the House, never been seriously questioned. If they considered the hour of the evening and the importance of the measure, and the fact that the House had been engaged that day in a most important debate on the Education Bill which had left Members exhausted, he thought it would be generally regretted that this Bill had been brought on in this way.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
on a point of order, asked whether there was any precedent for the course now being taken in regard to the schedule of this Act, having regard to Section 1, which read—The Acts mentioned in the schedules of this Act shall to the extent specified in Col. 3 of that schedule, be continued until December 31st.and so on. He submitted respectfully that the principle upon which the Second Reading of this Bill was obtained was that they affirmed the principle as to Acts mentioned in the schedule, but that they did not affirm upon the Second Reading any principle as regarded any other Act which was not mentioned in the schedule. He would further remind the Chair that it was not merely that principle that they affirmed, but that those Acts should only be continued to the extent of the number of years to which they were mentioned in Column 3 of that schedule. He respectfully submitted that before a new precedent was started upon an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill—a Bill which was always in the hands of the Government—some reason should be given for the course now being taken. Otherwise he submitted that they might have on an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill every Bill that had been repealed in the revised statutes. The revised statutes contained something like 800 Acts, and was it to be tolerated that 488 it should be the right of an hon. Gentleman without notice, and in respect of a measure as to which they had affirmed the principle that the Acts only in the schedule should be considered, to come down to the House and say that as regarded 500 or 600 Acts any one of them might be re-enacted, including perhaps the Penal Laws (Ireland) Act, under which an Irishman was not allowed to learn to read or write, and there was to be no Catholic religion in the country, or perhaps an Act for calling back the Stuarts to the throne, or repealing the Protestant succession.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
respectfully submitted that he was raising a point of most tremendous constitutional importance, that it was a new point, not to be settled, by the mere method of interruption, and that if the Chairman took it upon himself, if he might respectfully say so, to allow a Resolution of this kind without consulting the authorities of the House, they might be landed in future in discussions of the most extraordinary character. He put this to the Chairman: Would he tolerate the moving of an Amendment recalling the Stuarts? Such an Amendment would not be tolerated, as being outside the scope of the Bill, and he respectfully suggested that the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member was out of order.
§ MR. WALTER LONG,
on the point of order, said the hon. and learned Member, in the somewhat extensive remarks he had addressed on a point of order to the Chair, had made The substantial foundation of his argument the fact, as he alleged, that the Motion of his hon. and gallant friend was raised without notice. He begged leave to suggest to the Chairman, who happened to have 489 been in the House at the time, that when the second reading of the Bill was moved he (Mr. Long) intimated that a Motion of this kind would be made, that the Minister in charge of the Bill agreed to that suggestion, and that the consent of the Speaker in the Chair was given to that arrangement. He suggested, therefore, it was obvious there had been sufficient notice.
With regard to the question of the Amendment being without notice it is our rule in Committee on a Bill those Amendments may be received without notice. Therefore, so far as that point is concerned, I do not think I need deal further with it. With regard to the main point submitted by the hon. and learned Gentleman, I have considered the matter very carefully, because I believe this is a precedent, and naturally I have given it a great deal of attention. I must remind the Committee that this is an expiring law. It will expire, I suppose, on the 31st December, unless it is renewed. That, of course, puts it in an entirely different category from that of any law which expired even twelve months ago. Under those circumstances, although it is a precedent, I think as this is an expiring law I must allow a discussion with regard to this particular case. I may say that I have fortified myself by consulting the authorities of the House with regard to this matter, and that they concur in the view I have expressed.
§ MR. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)
Should I be in order in moving to add an Act rejected by the Scottish Law Reunion Bill?
Not unless it is an expiring law, left out for the first time by this Bill. Nothing else can possibly be covered.
§ MR. T.M. HEALY
I submit that the only thing relevant to the present discussion would be that there will be something in the state of Ireland in the next twelve months to require the continued existence of this Act.
submitted that after the interesting point of order which had been raised, the Committee would agree with him that this was a most important point, and deserved the careful attention of the House. It was necessary, in case hon. Members had lost sight of what the Act under question was, to recall its provisions. In the first place, notwithstanding the statements constantly put forward in the House, it was not in any way a Coercion Act in any sense of the word. Therefore he hoped that hon. Members would not think that Ireland was under this Act labouring under a measure of coercion which did not exist elsewhere. The law might be applied to the whole country, but he would like to point out with regard to Clause 1 that for it to come into force it was necessary for a certain part of the country to be proclaimed. By Clause 3 the Lord-Lieutenant by and with the advice of the Privy Council in Ireland might make orders prohibiting or regulating the importation and sale of arms in Ireland, and he was empowered to take such action as he thought necessary to maintain law and order in Ireland. No one could read that Act right through without seeing there was nothing in it except what was necessary to carry out its primary objects. Why was the Government desirous at that period of the session of dropping this Act out of the schedule of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill? He did not suppose anyone could say definitely what their reasons were. They knew, however, that the Leader of the Nationalist Party had had on the Paper an Amendment to read the Bill that day three months, and they also knew that when the Peace Preservation Act was dropped out of the schedule the hon. and learned Member withdrew his Amendment. Putting two and two together, he believed he was right in assuming that pressure was brought to bear by the hon. and learned Gentleman and his followers on the Government to take this particular measure from the schedule of the Bill. The Question which immediately presented itself was whether the state of 491 Ireland at the present time was such as to warrant the dropping of the Act. He did not think there was a single Member of the House who would accuse him of a desire to cast aspersions upon Ireland. He stated emphatically that it was only with pain and sorrow that he had to recall any outrage which had taken place. Still he had felt it his duty, representing as he did isolated people of a different persuasion from hon. Members below the gangway, to call attention to these outrages by Questions across the floor of the House; and to give the Government of the day an opportunity of answering those Questions as they thought fit. He was not going back to past history for any considerable time, but he was going to take a few instances of the last few days, and ask hon. Members to judge for themselves whether it was right to repeal this Act, though he did not suggest for the moment that to do so would give rise to a flare up all over the country, or anything of that kind. All he contended was that the answers received to Questions put from those Benches deserved consideration at the present time, He had called attention that day to the case which occurred at Macroom, an outrage on a man and his sister who were going to Cork, the facts of which were admitted by the Chief Secretary. In another of those Questions he ascertained from the Chief Secretary that in a case in Monaghan, where the police were trying to have the issue of a warrant of possession shifted from their shoulders to the special bailiff, the man received instructions from the Government—
said he was not going to detain the Committee long, and he would pass on. He would refer next to the case at Athenry. The right hon. Gentlemen said he was informed by the police that on the night in question such and such occurred. He also stated that twenty-five extra policemen were stationed there at the present time. A small town like Atherny needed twenty-five extra policemen to maintain law and order! The right hon. Gentleman also stated that in the East Riding of Galway 492 there were thirty-four cases of partial boycotting going on at the present moment. He was not going to weary the Committee a with all the cases of partial boycotting which came to his ears. In isolated cases of boycotting there was often, he admitted; a difficulty in making sure that the facts were as stated, but personally he had always done his utmost to make sure he was not asking a frivolous question. He thought, however, the cases he had put to the right hon. Gentleman showed that in various parts of the f South and West of Ireland there was an unsettled state of things, and that the police in different parts of the country required to be augmented by others—twenty-five in the case of the East Riding of Galway. He noticed also, and this was the last question he should refer to, the change of the constabulary after the Loughrea eviction. All these cases were being watched most cautiously and carefully, not only by those outside the disturbed areas, but by isolated men and women in parts of the country where police protection was required, and where boycotting and intimidation, and so on, were rife. He maintained that in the case he had mentioned there was sufficient justification for saying that Ireland at the present time was not ready to run the risk of taking away from the Lord-Lieutenant in Council the power given under the Act which it was proposed to drop. He could not conceive the Government's motive in striking out with the pen this Act from the Bill, and pushing the Bill through at 1.30 a.m. at the fag end of the session, and after the House had been discussing another measure of great importance. His next point was that even if Ireland, south and west, and north and east, was settled and quiet, and in the same condition as Scotland and Wales at the present time, peaceful and law-abiding, it would be very difficult to persuade them what harm it would do to the country to continue this measure, which was introduced by the late Mr. Gladstone in the year 1881, and had gone on to this day, without, as far as he could ascertain, causing very much inconvenience or discomfort where people were law-abiding and peaceful. Possibly the argument was that the Act was a dead letter and was no longer required. 493 If they began to study too closely the details of such Acts as were no longer required they would find a mass of measures which it would be impossible for the House in a session of Parliament to examine and put out of the Statute Book. That argument, therefore, fell to the ground. Out of pure curiosity he turned up a measure, a statute of 1772, whereby any person who set fire to one of His Majesty's dockyards was to suffer the penalty of death. He knew quite well that of these old Acts some were quite useless, but the onus would rest in this case of showing that the Act was no longer necessary. He would like to refer to one remark made by the hon. and learned Member for North Louth on the Second Reading of the Bill. He said that the measure was introduced in order to maintain law and order among the Orangemen in Ulster.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The hon. Member has misunderstood me. I said it was renewed in 1886 for that purpose.
said he accepted the correction at once, but if it was maintained in 1886 to preserve law and order among the Orangemen in the North of Ireland he would say on behalf of the whole order of Orangemen that they had no objection to its remaining on the Statute-book for another 100 years. He hoped, therefore, the hon. and learned Member would not press that point any further as the reason for the Act's remaining on the Statute-book. He thought that the step which the Government had taken in this matter was one of the most important they had taken this session. He looked upon what they had done as practically the first shot in the Home Rule battle, which they would have to fight next year.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."494
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
said he was anxious to address a few words to the Committee, but he would promise that they would be brief, and they certainly would not lead to any excitement. His hon. friends and himself desired that this matter should be discussed without any excitement, or any trouble arising from a discussion. The first thing he wished to say was upon the remark of the hon. and gallant Member as to the pressure which he thought had been brought to bear on the Government. It was interesting to remember the fact that every year since 1890 they had moved the exception of this Act, and that on every occasion they had been supported by Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite. The Government were, therefore, bound to take the first opportunity of giving effect to the pledges given every year. Let him remind the House what the Bill was. The hon. and gallant Gentleman was not quite candid, if he would allow him to say so, in his representation of it to the Committee. He represented it as a mere measure to regulate the sale of firearms. Yet under it any person carrying or having, or reasonably suspected of carrying or having, any firearm or ammunition might be arrested without warrant by any constable, and on the issue of a warrant any person suspected of having arms in his house might at any hour between sunrise and sunset have his house broken into for the purpose of search, for the Act specially provided that the person desiring to search the house might break into it. The penalties on anybody contravening the Act were three months hard labour, which might be imposed by a court consisting of two resident magistrates. The licence which the Act provided to exempt persons from its penalties was to be given by a resident magistrate. This was the small law for the purpose of regulating the sale and use of firearms. It was really the most audacious Coercion Act which was ever enacted for any country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin had said he regarded it as a mere police regulation, and that instead of exempting Ireland from it he desired to extend the Act to England. He never made that suggestion when he was a responsible Minister.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I know the hon. and learned Member never desires to misrepresent anyone. I quoted yesterdays the words I used when I was Chief Secretary for Ireland.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said what he meant was that when the right hon. Gentleman was a Minister in power in the country he never made any proposals to extend the Act to England. He should like to see the Minister of any Party in the State come down to the House of Commons and propose for the people of England a Coercion Act of that character, that the Englishman's house, which was his castle, could be broken into on suspicion, of a man's having firearms, end that if he was found to have firearms he might be sent to prison for three months hard labour by two deputies of the Crown. That was not a mere Act of police regulation for the sale of firearms. It was a gross form of coercion which would not be tolerated in this country for an hour. It was a form of coercion which ought not to be imposed on the country as a matter of course by an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. It was entirely wrong to say that the Act had been renewed from year to year for twenty-five years. He would give the history of the Act as far back as 1881. In that year it was put in force for five years by an Act passed in all its details and through all its stages in Parliament. In 1886 again a special Act was introduced to renew the Act for one year. In 1887 it was renewed by a special Act, the Crimes Act, for five years, and the first time since 1881 it had ever appeared in an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill was in 1892, when it was put into that Bill and carried by Lord Salisbury's Government, by the present Leader of the Opposition, the very day before Lord Salisbury dissolved Parliament in June of that year. It was not true, therefore, that the Act had been renewed from year to year as a matter of course. It was never put into an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill until it was done by the present Leader of the Opposition. It might be asked why it was not repealed when the Liberals came into power in 1892. The answer, from his point of view, was that the Liberals 496 came in to pass an Home Rule Bill for Ireland, and Irish representatives of that day did not ask them to complicate a task, heavy enough as it was, by repealing this Act or the Crimes Act. They gave the then Government every licence to continue the Act for a year or two in consideration of the fact that they were introducing a Home Rule Bill. The Tories came back again into power and they had gone on year by year renewing this Act in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. This was not a measure which ought to be passed as a matter of course in an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. If they were going to pass coercion law for Ireland they should introduce it and justify it, and not simply endeavour to pass it by putting it into the schedule of an Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. A serious Coercion Act of this kind could not be justified except by reference to the state of Ireland, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman admitted that by the line of argument which he adopted. He was not very confident in the way he dealt with this point, but still he did endeavour to say that the state of Ireland at this moment was such that it would be risky and dangerous for the Government to let this Act lapse. What was the state of Ireland so far as crime was concerned? The Saturday Review the other day gave some remarkable statistics of Irish crime. It showed that the police could scarcely discover any criminals; that the prisons were almost empty; and then it went on to say that roughly speaking the criminals in Ireland were in proportion only about twelve to every thirteen in England and three to every five in Scotland. The British Parliamentary estimates for 1905 were drawn up on the basis of there being 120 more prisoners per day in Scottish, prisons than in Irish prisons.It seems, therefore,the article went on—that there is no possible justification for the newspapers which continually represent Ireland as in a lawless condition. Not only is it peaceable, but the law is better observed than in England.It would be said that these were the criminal statistics of last year. Let him give a test of the immediate moment. The judges were now on 497 the Winter Assizes of Ireland, and he had before him the charges they had delivered in the four cases covering the whole of Ireland to their Grand Juries. This was a general gaol delivery, and in the whole of Ireland with 4,500,000 of people all the cases only amounted to 169. By a strange coincidence half the number came from the province of Ulster. Let him not appear to be unfair in that remark. He knew that a great city like Belfast in Ulster would naturally increase the proportion. But Dublin was also a great city in Leinster and, making every allowance they liked for the great congregation of people in Belfast, it was remarkable that there were as many cases from Ulster as from the whole of the three other provinces put together.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said he was only quoting the present figures, and after all if they were considering whether it was dangerous to repeal this law the thing that really mattered was the state of things now. Mr. Justice Madden pointed out that the group of counties which he was dealing with consisted of twelve counties and the city of Waterford. The number of cases to be investigated was thirty-one or a little over two for each of those jurisdictions. He did not attach much importance to the fluctuations in the statistics periodically presented to judges. He observed that in some counties concerned there was a slight increase and in others a decrease, though the number of cases was about the same as that presented on the occasion of the last assizes held in Waterford. What was a more important matter was that these cases were almost all of an extremely light character. They represented a class of crime which must occur in any community so long as human nature remained what it was. A great number of the cases were offences of the most ordinary kind. Then he went to Ulster, and he found that Mr. Justice Kenny, in addressing the Grand Jury in Belfast and dealing with the crime of nine counties and the city of Belfast, pointed out that 498 there were eighty Bills to come before them. He went on to say that—The only serious case which he had to try was a charge of riot. The accused persons seemed to have belonged to the Orange Lodges, and formed part of the drumming party which marched through the town. The conduct of the rioters as disclosed in the depositions seemed to have been outrageous to a degree. As to the general condition of the counties the report of the police in all cases stated that it was satisfactory. In the Counties of Down, Armagh, Donegal, Fermanagh, and the City of Londonderry, there had been a decrease in the number of specially reported cases. In Belfast he regretted that there was a substantial increase of cases in which private houses had been broken into and robbed. But on the whole he might say that the counties were in a peaceable state, not presenting any undue proportion of criminality.He came now to the Winter Assizes in Connaught, opened the other day in Sligo by Justice Gibson, and the learned judge said his duties would be unusually light. There were altogether only ten cases to be tried from five counties and none of them of a serious character. Taking the great Province of Munster he found that Justice Wright said there were forty cases to be investigated, most of them of a very simple character. In Clare there were few cases of assault. Limerick county was also found to be tolerably immune from crime, and so forth right through, and Justice Wright concluded by saying that the state of the counties with which he was dealing was free absolutely not only from serious crime, but to an extraordinarily satisfactorily extent of the ordinary crime which, as one of the judges said, was inseparable from great communities where people were herded together. There was no question then about the fact that Ireland was in a state of extraordinary peace and crimelessness. He resented very much certain imputations which were made upon Ireland and no man ought to be surprised if occasionally his colleagues or he gave vent to their indignation. They felt the most intense indignation at Question time when day after day Questions were asked about houghing cattle and all sorts of crimes of that kind up and down, here and there, through Ireland—Questions asked with the manifest object of creating the impression that those crimes were prevalent and that Ireland was in a state of horrible and 499 disgusting crime. He put it to the Committee what would be thought of him if he came down to the House and asked a Question of the Home Secretary, say, every time he saw in the paper a case of mutilation of cattle in England. He ventured to say that the whole opinion of the House would condemn his conduct, and Members would say he was animated by a desire to blacken the character of the people of England. Since these Questions about Ireland had become so prevalent in the House people had been sending him cuttings from newspapers in England and asking him why they did not retaliate. Only a couple of days ago he got this—December 2, James King, a labourer, remanded at Newport, to-day, charged with laming a cow.What would have been thought of him if he put a Question on the Paper to the Home Secretary to ask about that, with no possible object in the world except to create a prejudice against the people of this country? Most of the cases that were brought up day after day in these Questions—as the Chief Secretary admitted—were bogus cases. In most of the cases the answer of the Chief Secretary had been a denial of the truth of the facts alleged. But even if they were all true, was it to be supposed that crimes of that kind did not occur in every country occasionally? And in face of the general state of crimelessness in Ireland, was it not a cruel thing for Irishmen—all the Orange representatives in that House were not Irish, he knew, but many of; these questions came from Members who were Irish—was it not a cruel thing for them to take that action, the only possible effect of which must be to create a false impression in the minds of the people of England that they were a nation almost of savages and that their country was covered with crime. One of the most remarkable things in the whole country of Ireland at present was that the goals were all being shut up. In many cases they were turned to better and more useful purposes. They had no prisoners to go into the gaols. He had quoted the criminal statistics for the last year. He had quoted the charges of the judges and he pointed to the fact that the prisons were 500 being closed all over Ireland, and he asked one thing in conclusion. Of course I it could not be openly avowed in this House, because it would not only be very discourteous but he thought it would be out of order, that the hon. Gentleman above the gangway thought that they desired to repeal this Coercion Act in order to facilitate the commission of crime in Ireland? Let him ask the Committee whose interest was it to preserve the peace in Ireland? Let him look at it from a very low standpoint, from a mere political standpoint, from the point of view of expediency. They were told that there was to be some legislation proposed for their country in the future in the direction of giving the people the control of their own affairs. Was it in their interests that there should be crime in Ireland? Was it not the interest of the opponents of that legislation? So far as they were concerned their interest was to maintain the peace. He would tell the Chief Secretary that this Act they were now dealing with was never worth the paper it was written on as a preventative of crime. It was ridiculous. Did they think that if a man had made up his mind to commit a murder that he would be afraid to risk three month's imprisonment for carrying a gun without a licence? He did not believe this Act ever prevented any single crime in Ireland, but in many cases it was most vexatiously operative. Would it be believed that there were only six counties in the whole of Ireland that were not proclaimed under this Act? He himself was an habitual criminal. He invited the Attorney General to prosecute him if this Act remained. He had all his life been familiar with the use of fire-arms and in the possession of fire-arms, and he possessed fire-arms in proclaimed districts. He had never asked for a licence from a magistrate and he would not do it. And he now gave information against himself and they might prosecute him. But they would not prosecute him because such a prosecution would expose the absurdity of the Act, and turn ridicule on the Act. But they refused licences right and left to poor farmers. He had got within the last few days a whole lot of letters from people who had been refused licences. He would allude to one only. Here was a gentleman who asked for 501 a licence and was refused, and then he got up a memorial to show what a good character he was. This memorial was signed not only by the High Sheriff of the County and the Ex-High Sheriff, the Members of Parliament for the County, and nearly all the Justices of the Peace of the County, but by the Chairman of the County Council, the Chairmen of all the public boards, the two Protestant Rectors, and the Catholic Priests, but most extraordinary of all it was signed by the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and Lord Mayo both joined those other people in asking for a licence for this man, and the licence was refused. Was anything so ridiculous ever heard of? It had its ridiculous aspects, but it had its serious aspects, and he asked the House in justice to Ireland to scout this attempt to re-enact in the schedule of this Bill a gross Coercion Act which no Englishman would tolerate in his own country for twenty-four hours.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)
said that after the long speech already made he might be allowed to make some reply. The hon. and learned Member began his speech in a very unusual role by assuring the House that he would introduce no heat and no excitement into the discussion. That was perfectly natural. He had got all he wanted. He had got this Act left out of the Continuation Bill, and naturally he was perfectly satisfied and prepared to smile upon the Government and bless them in every possible way. But if he said that he would introduce no excitement and no heat into the discussion he acted in a very peculiar way if he wanted to carry out that promise when he charged the Unionist Members with continually making accusations at Question time which they knew to be false. That was the effect of his accusation—bogus charges at Question time. He could only throw back the retort on the hon. and learned Member that he knew that to be a bogus charge against the Unionist Members. [An Hon. Member: What about the horse?] He would come to the horse by-and-by. But if the hon. and learned Member and his friends were prepared to smile on the action of the Government, he 502 (Mr. Corbett) and his friends would be absolutely untrue and disloyal to their constituents and to those who were scattered throughout the South and West of Ireland and who held their own views, if they did not protest in the strongest manner they could, even at this late hour, against the action of the Government. This was an Act which had been renewed from year to year, at all events for some twenty-six years past, and it had now been dropped without one word of warning and without one sentence of explanation from the Government. The Prime Minister explained in a very brief and conciliatory speech that it had only been dropped by mistake. Well, it was a kind of mistake that ought not to happen and the kind of mistake of which they ought to have some kind of explanation. Everybody knew what the explanation really was. It was simply the dictation of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, to which his hon. and gallant friend had already referred, in stating that he would oppose this Bill altogether if this particular Act were not dropped out. And as they all knew, the hon. and learned Member and the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil were now the real masters of the situation in this House. They had a kind of dual ownership in the frightened occupants of the front Government bench. What did this Act really contain? Its object was to prevent the carrying of arms in disturbed districts of Ireland. It was very difficult to convey to English and to Scottish minds what that really meant. [An Hon. Member: Hear, hear.] It was all very easy for hon. Members representing English and Scottish constituencies to laugh, but if they lived in a lonely farm house in a solitary part of Ireland and if by paying the rent regularly those hon. Members had fallen under the sentence of the Land League, they would not be so ready to laugh as they were now. If that horrid tyranny of the Land League, which cut off many persons from all intercourse with their fellow men, were directed against hon. Members, and if, in addition to that, the hon. Members who had just laughed were sitting by his fireside with his wife and family, and a shot came through the window, he would not laugh as he 503 had just been doing. Both parties had found this Act to be an absolute necessity to the Government of Ireland in the past, and what change had occurred to make it a reasonable thing now to drop it out of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill? He thought some light was thrown upon that subject at Question time to-day. The hon. and learned Member referred to bogus Questions and said the Chief Secretary for Ireland had continually replied to Questions put from the Unionist Benches by saying that the charges made were untrue. The hon. and learned Member knew if he was present in the House today and yesterday that that statement was absolutely incorrect. He knew that over and over again the Chief Secretary admitted to-day that the charges were absolutely accurate, and in one case the only qualification he made was that there was partial boycotting in a number of cases, instead of absolute boycotting. He did not know what partial boycotting meant. He knew the right hon. Gentleman in one case admitted that an unfortunate man living in a lonely part of Ireland had to go under police escort to get his food brought in from a number of miles away, and that seemed to be a very clear case of boycotting, although it might be described by the Chief Secretary as only partial boycotting. An hon. Member had referred to the horse. After all it might be a subject for humour in the House of Commons, but this unfortunate mare was very cruelly wounded according to the statement made by the Chief Secretary in his answer to-day. He knew that the Chief Secretary went on to explain that the horse was comparatively valueless and probably was not worth more than £1, but it was pointed out to him at the time that there was no reason why a poor, unfortunate, comparatively valueless horse should be subjected to torture. Whatever ambiguity there might be upon the Government Benches, there was at all events no ambiguity about the Nationalist Party. He said that to their credit. In cold, calm, and calculating tones the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had on one occasion assured the House that if there was the slightest chance of success he would advise his 504 countrymen to throw off the English yoke.
§ MR. CORBETT
said this was a laughing matter to the present House of Commons, which was even amused by the statement by the Leader of the Nationalist Party that if he saw the slightest chance of success he would appeal to his countrymen to take arms against Great Britain. The hon. and learned Member did not deny it
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I did not say it. Those are not my words. I said against the system of Government against coercion such as this and against your rule.
§ MR. CORBETT
said he heard the hon. and learned Member state that if there was a chance of success he would advise his fellow countrymen to revolt against this country. Having heard those words from the hon. and learned Member himself, delivered in an absolutely calm, cold, calculating tone, he thought it would not only be unfair to the Loyalist minority in Ireland but unfair and disloyal to Great Britain and the Empire as a whole if they were to put a fresh weapon into the hands of the hon. and learned Gentleman's followers by omitting, as the Government proposed to do, this safeguarding measure from the Expiring Laws Continuance Act.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. Bryce, Aberdeen, S.)
said the hour was so late that he did not think he ought to give any encouragement for an undue prolongation of the debate, but he must begin by saying that he thought the two hon. Members who had protested against the action of the Government had given him very little to answer. One hon. Member complained that they took this method of dropping the Act. What other method could they take? It was not necessary to bring in a repealing Bill. They had taken the only possible method of dealing with the matter. The hon. and gallant Member for East 505 Down who moved the Amendment, began by endeavouring to suggest that the action of the Government was due to the course taken by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in putting down his proposal. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford informed him—and indeed he need not have been told—as far back as July of the view he and his friends entertained about the Bill. What he did in putting down his Motion made no difference to the action of the Government. He knew three or four months ago that the course which had been taken might be expected. The hon. and gallant Member had referred to the cases of trouble, which occasionally had happened in some parts of Ireland; or the need for extra police in some other parts, but he had not endeavoured to show that what had happened in those cases was prevented by the present Act. He did not establish any connection with it, or with the fact that the police did not consider the work of process serving proper to them under the provisions of the Act. The hon. and gallant Member did not appear to have realised that this was not a case in which an Act, because it was in force, necessarily carried the presumption that it should continue. It was for the hon. Members to show that the state of Ireland was such that the Act should be continued, and they had made no attempt to do so. There was only one real argument advanced by the hon. and gallant Member, and that was when he said the other day that this was the opening of a bloody war which he expected in the north of Ireland. He thought no prophet ever occupied so favourable a position as the prophet who was able to fulfil his own prophecy, Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member intended to inaugurate that civil war. If he did not, he thought there was every reason to believe the prophecy would turn out false. What were the facts of the case? This was an Act which was originally passed as a piece of temporary legislation. It was never meant to be permanent. It was passed in 1881 in time of great excitement and great disorder. It was passed then for a period of five years in the hope that at the end of that period it 506 would no longer be necessary. At the end of five years, although things were not so bad as in 1881, it was still thought necessary to renew the Act. Then the Tory Government coming in, it was again renewed, but after that it had been continued from year to year in the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. Surely that showed that the Act was never intended to be permanent. It was intended to be dropped as soon as it was possible. Had it become possible to drop it? One way to ascertain that was to compare the present circumstances of the country with the circumstances when the Act was first passed, and when it was renewed in 1886. He did not deny for a moment that there was still trouble in some parts of Ireland. There were parts of Ireland where there was deficient respect for the law. There were parts of Ireland in which there was some boycotting and resistance to the processes of the law. These things were deeply to be regretted, and it would be idle for him to overlook them. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had called attention to the charges of Judges, and to the comparative statistics of crime in England and in Ireland, and he could give the hon. and learned Member one figure which he thought was probably more conclusive as regards that comparison than any yet mentioned. He had ascertained that in England the percentage of indictable offences was twenty-six for every 10,000 of the population, while in Ireland it was only twenty per 10,000 of the population. He had also got a few figures which showed the comparison between the state of crime in Ireland now, and as it was in 1881 and in 1886. In 1881 the cases of violence against the person in Ireland were in non-agrarian cases 739, and in agrarian cases 298, a total of 1,037. In 1886 there were 502 non-agrarian cases and seventy-four agrarian cases, a total of 576. In the first ten months of 1905 the non-agrarian cases had fallen to 241, and the agrarian cases to twelve, a total of 253, while in the first ten months of the present year the total non-agrarian cases had fallen from 241 last year to 214, and the agrarian cases from twelve to seven. The general agrarian offences of all kinds, including threatening letters, stood in 507 1881 at the alarming figure of 4,439. In 1886 they had fallen to 1,056. In the first ten months of the present year they had fallen to 207. He thought that drop from 4,439 offences to 207 was a very remarkable testimony to the change in the condition of the country, and of itself raised a strong presumption that the legislation which was only passed as a temporary measure, justified, if at all, by the exceptional conditions in 1881, had no authority of any kind in its favour in 1906. The state of Ireland was obviously not what it was when the Act was originally passed. It was also true that such unfortunate features as still remained were confined to parts of Ireland. He wanted the Committee to understand that that which at one time was general over three-quarters of the country was reduced to a few spots where it was declining, and where he hoped before long it would entirely disappear. Then what was the use of the Act? It was no use at all, he thought, for preventing agrarian murders. He had never heard of anyone who wanted to shoot an obnoxious person and could not find a gun to do it with. It was no use for preventing boycotting. It had nothing to do with boycotting. What led a great deal towards its enactment in 1881 was the fear of a possible political rising, and he thought he could safely say there was never a period in Ireland when such a thing was more totally removed from any probability whatever. After reading, as he was bound to do, reports of what was going on in all parts of the country, he thought he might say that the fear of anything in the nature of serious political disturbance, or organised resistance to the law, was altogether chimerical. The conditions of the country had now so completely changed that he thought they had no longer any right to retain an Act passed under different circumstances, and with other objects in view. He thought the remedy for the occasional disorders which existed in some parts of Ireland—though he was glad to be able to confirm the hon. and learned Member in his reference to the reports of Judges at Assizes—was not to be found in exceptional legislation. They had long ago declared their view that the true remedy was to be found in a different policy altogether, and it 508 would have been surprising if they had not endeavoured when in office to practise that which they repeatedly avowed when in Opposition. The true remedy for whatever remained to be effected in social order in Ireland was to create a sense of responsibility in the people, to give them a feeling that the law was their own, and ought to be their friend and not their enemy, to give them a sense of the value of social order, to make them realise that the more peaceful and orderly a country became the greater its material prosperity. These views and principles had been the views and principles which they had tried to apply during the last twenty years, whenever they had had an opportunity, and the further application of those principles was the surest basis to build on in the future.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he did not intend unduly to occupy the time of the Committee, nor did he think it necessary or desirable that the debate which had been very naturally raised from his side of the House should be prolonged. The right hon. Gentleman and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had entirely mistaken the grounds of the objection to the action of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman's defence rested on two facts. One was the improved condition of the country. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on the fact, which was the consequence of many years administration of the country by the Unionist Party. At all events at the conclusion of that reign the right hon. Gentleman was able to produce his very favourable statistics. He did not think, however, the right hon. Gentleman realised the strength of the tyranny which still pressed, under his own administration, on scattered people in the South and West. In anything he did in the House or outside he had only one desire, namely, to see the hopes entertained by the right hon. Gentleman realised, and the prospect he held out for Ireland attained, for all must wish to see peace reign in the country. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had quoted him as having referred to the Act not as a coercive measure, as the hon. and learned Member described it, but as a Police Regulation Act. That was not his own description. It was the 509 language used by the present Secretary of State for India when he was dealing with the question as Chief Secretary for Ireland, and when he absolutely repudiated the idea that this leglisation had anything to do with coercion. The right hon. Gentleman laid it down very clearly that the Act was an ordinary police regulation. He was challenged by the Leader of the Irish Nationalist Party as to his statement that in his judgment legislation of this kind would be much better extended to the whole country than limited to parts of it. He would go further and say he always thought the weak point in the administration of this Act was its somewhat arbitrary application to certain counties, and not its general plan. He was bound to say the figures did not indicate the hardship the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had described. He had only the figures for 1905, and those figures showed that, although between 6,000 and 7,000 licences were granted, only 8 per cent, were refused, and there were only three cases of search during the whole of that year. That at all events showed that no very great hardship was being inflicted on the people of Ireland by the administration of the Act, whatever its object might be. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had told them that in his opinion the time had come when the Act ought to be left out of the Bill now under consideration. He confessed he thought it would have been more in accordance with precedent if the right hon. Gentleman had contented himself with withdrawing the proclamation for a year, and then dropping the Act at the end of that year, if he thought it right to do so. It was at all events a remarkable fact that this great measure of coercion, which formed so important a part of the coercive statutes, had been used by the Chief Secretary for Ireland himself, since he came into office, and as recently as the month of November. He had seen
§ in the Dublin Gazette proclamations by which the Government of Ireland, under the direction of the Chief Secretary, and with his consent and approval, withdrew from people who had been granted licences, the licences to carry arms this act of cruel coercion being the work of the present administration since they had been in office. It did not look as if the Act had been such a dead letter as the right hon. Gentleman would not have them believe, nor did it look as if, notwithstanding the prosperity attending the administration of the right hon. Gentleman, it had been free from the coercive measures of which he spoke. However, they had made their protest from that side of the House. They had stated their reasons why they believed the action of the right hon. Gentleman premature, if not ill-advised. He certainly did not want to be a prophet of evil. He would much rather join in the anticipations to which the right hon. Gentleman had given expression. Time alone could show whether his hopes rested on a solid foundation. The right hon. Gentleman could not wonder if they from time to time criticised his action, and watched the policy of his administration but neither the right hon. Gentleman, nor hon. Members representing the Nationalist Party of Ireland, were entitled to claim that because they raised from time to time questions with regard to vital matters, and called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to what they believed reliable information as to the condition of the country in different parts, they were one whit behind them in their heartfelt desire that there might come to Ireland a time of peace and prosperity.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 28;Noes, 194. (Division List No. 494.)513
|Balcarres, Lord||Doughty, Sir George||Liddell, Henry|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Long Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hamilton, Marquess of||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C.W.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hunt, Rowland||Meysey-Thomson, E. C.|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Staveley-Hill, Henry (staff's)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)||Captain Craig and Mr.|
|Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel||Hugh Barrie.|
|Sloan, Thomas Henry||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Starkey, John R.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Agnew, George William||Ginnell, L.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Done'r)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Gooch, George Peabody||O'Brien, Kendal (Tip'rary Mid)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Gulland, John W.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Halpin, J.||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Hammond, John||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Harrington, Timothy||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Beaumont, Hn. W. C.B. (H'x'm||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Grady, J.|
|Benn, W. (T'w'rHamlets, S. Geo||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Hare Patrick|
|Boland, John||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Malley, William|
|Brace, William||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Mara, James|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hedges, A. Paget||Paul, Herbert|
|Bryce, Rt. Hn. James (Aberd'n)||Helme, Norvel Watson||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)|
|Bryce, J.A. (Inverness Burghs)||Herbert, Col. Ivor (Mon., S.)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Higham, John Sharp||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hobart, Sir Robert||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hogan, Michael||Priestley, W. E. B. (Br'df'd, E.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Radford, G. H.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Illingworth, Percy H.||Reddy, M.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jowett, F. W.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Clough, William||Joyce, Michael||Renton, Major Leslie|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Kearley, Hudson E.||Richards, Thomas (W. Mon.)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Laidlaw, Robert||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpton|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Corbett, C.H. (Sussex, E. Gr'st'd||Lambert, George||Robinson, S.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lamont, Norman||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accr'gton)||Runciman, Walter|
|Crean, Eugene||Lehmann, R. C.||Russell, T. W.|
|Crombie, John William||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Levy, Maurice||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Scott, A H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Delany, William||Lough, Thomas||Seddon, J.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Lupton, Arnold||Shackleton, David James|
|Dillon, John||Lyell, Charles Henry||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Dolan, Charles Joseph||Maclean, Donald||Sheehy, David|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Wals'l||M'Arthur, William||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Crae, George||Sinclair, Rt. Hn. John|
|Erskine, David C.||M'Kean, John||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Maddison, Frederick||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Essex, R. W.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Evans, Samuel T.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stanley, Hn. A Lyulph (Chesh|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Marks, G. Croydon (Launcest'n||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Marnham, F. J.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Meagher, Michael||Sullivan, Donal|
|Ferens, T. R.||Meehan, Patrick A.||Summerbell, T.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Micklem, Nathaniel||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Mooney, J. J.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Morgan., G. Hay (Cornwall)||Thompson, J.W.H. (Somerset E|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Murnaghan, George||Toulmin, George|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Murghy, John||Verney, F. W.|
|Gilhooly, James||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Ward, W. Dudley (South'mp'n|
|Gill, A. H.||Nicholls, George||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Watt, H. Anderson||Williams, Llewelyn (Carm'th'n||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|White George (Norfolk)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|White Luke (York, E. R.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)||Pease.|
|White Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
Motion made, and question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said he knew that a man who rose to speak at that hour of the night was looked upon either as a criminal or a nuisance. He wanted, however, to move his Resolution the previous night, and was told by the Speaker to move it on the present occasion. Out of respect to the Speaker he asked now to be allowed to carry out his instructions. He asked for the exception of the Vaccination Act of 1898. His reason for doing so was that under that Act people were being inoculated with what was called pure glycerinated calf lymph. His objection was that it was not pure and that it was not lymph. It came from a diseased calf, and every day there were fatal cases resulting from its use. Anyone who went into the matter and saw the amount of misery and pain produced by this process which was now going on would not laugh when the question was raised. A fine young soldier named Geall, who was perfectly healthy and strong, went into Caterham Barracks the other day. He was a new recruit, in the Guards, he believed. This man was vaccinated, and in about six days he was dead. The doctor certified that he died from blood poisoning. Blood poisoning was one of the results which was known to follow the insertion of calf lymph in the human blood. If they read the books of the great vaccinators they would find a list of the things in the lymph. Among them were the. same streptococci and staphylococci which were in pus. They were flesh-destroying organisms which were a cause of blood poisoning. Within a few weeks another man named Morriss, at the same barracks—another fine young man in perfect health—was vaccinated and died within a fortnight of the operation. This should not be treated lightly. There was a child, killed early in the year, and the evidence showed conclusively that that child was killed with Government calf lymph. There was a little baby vaccinated in the Liverpool lying-in hospital, and j in a few days it was dead. They would understand that no baby could be 514 legally vaccinated unless that baby was perfectly well and in good health. Therefore this baby being perfectly well was vaccinated, and in a few days it was dead, and they saw what the cause was, There was an experience in a village in Lincolnshire. There was a little baby there whose parents did not want it to be vaccinated, but after it was six months old that little baby must by.law be vaccinated, or else the parents were fined. The baby was vaccinated with Government calf lymph, and in four days it was dead. In another village a baby was vaccinated and it died as a result. The flesh had rotted from its cheeks and rotted from its arm and it; died of septicæmia following upon vaccination. Hon. Gentlemen might laugh. It was very funny, but the people who lost their babies did not think it funny. Those little children died in horrible tortures. His wife saw a little baby vaccinated and the matter was running down its cheeks and the little baby was in torture. When she saw it next the nerves in its eyes had been destroyed. There was an account of a soldier a short time ago who was vaccinated, and the verdict showed that he died from the result of blood poisoning following vaccination. The face and features of that man had all rotted away. His face fell from him, and if they read the account of the inquest they would see that it was the result of vaccination. This was done with pure glycerinated calf lymph and it was a thing that they might expect if they had in any way studied the effect of that lymph. After Jenner discovered calf lymph he abandoned its use, because it proved dangerous, and then they used a kind of humanised lymph, and the use of that was continued almost exclusively until 1898 when this Act was passed. Why did we go back to calf lymph? [Cries of "Question."] This was the question. They were discussing an Act which provided amongst other things for conscientious objections. If this Amendment was passed they would go back to the ante-1898 law when vaccination 515 with humanised calf lymph was still in force.
The hon. Member must confine his remarks to the Act which he desires should not be renewed and he has not done so. He is speaking about babies being vaccinated who could not be vaccinated except by consent of their parents, and the hon. Member must confine himself to the Act as it stands.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said with all respect this was an Act which instituted vaccination with calf lymph, and he was speaking of the effect of calf lymph and comparing its effect with the effect produced by humanised lymph. If this Act was repealed they went back to the humanised lymph. It was under that Act that vaccination was now carried on. This matter had been very carefully inquired into, and a well-known authority had said that calf lymph produced symptoms in the nature of syphilis. It was admitted by the most eminent surgeons that calf lymph when inoculated in human blood would produce symptoms which were indistinguishable from syphilis. He objected to that Act under which that poison was introduced into human blood. He would describe some of the effects of vaccination as given in a medical book of good repute. Among the more usual complications were lassitude, catarrhal diarrhœa, fever and convulsions with infants, and bronchial catarrh. Those were the complications which they might look for in favourable cases. Among more serious complications were cutaneous eruption, multiplication of vesicles, syphilis, excema, and pemphigus. He did not know whether hon. Members knew what pemphigus was. It was a kind of blood poisoning which destroyed the flesh and made one a horrid sight. There were other very important consequences of using glycerinated calf lymph. 516 Dr. Jackson Clarke, a most eminent surgeon, had found in vaccine matter organisms which were indistinguishable from a similar animalculeæ found in cancer—a disease which was now increasing by leaps and bounds. He would specially direct the attention of hon. Members from Ireland to this, because it was in Ireland that cancer, since the introduction of calf lymph, had gone forward at an alarmingly increased pace. When they took that in conjunction with the fact that similar organisms were found in vaccine and in cancer, he asked the Committee to consider whether, pending further information upon this important subject, it would perpetuate this system of vaccination with calf lymph, considering that the number of deaths from cancer was fifty times as great as the number of deaths from smallpox. What was the use of incurring the greater risk for the sake of minimising the lesser? The question arose then, was the present system of vaccination of any use? Since this system of calf lymph vaccination came in there had been a great agitation in the country amongst Government vaccinators had officials of the Local Government Board, and others interested in vaccination, to force the Government to adopt the system of re-vaccination, and a deputation waited upon the Local Government Board in 1903 and urged it upon them.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said his remarks dealt with the effect of the glycerinated calf lymph, and he would show the relevance of his argument in a minute.
§ MR. A. L. STANLEY (Cheshire, Eddisbury)
Is the hon. Member entitled by mentioning glycerinated calf lymph to drag in a general 517 disquisition on vaccination? He is attempting to bring himself in order in a technical fashion, whereas the subject is really beyond the scope of this Act.
I must say that the line to be drawn between glycerinated calf lymph and vaccination by other lymph is a very difficult one to draw. All I can say is that I am listening to the hon. Member very carefully.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said he did not want to trespass upon the good nature of the Committee every long, and the interruptions of the hon. Member was only a type of the difficulties that they had to deal with on that subject. They dreaded to have the facts mentioned in Parliament.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said he was about to say that the leading pro-vaccinators said that primary vaccination was a farce and a deception, and that sentiment was re-echoed by the President of the Local Government Board in the last Government. This primary vaccination, which was in force by this Act, was rather a danger. It made people imagine that they were protected when they were really not protected, because the theory was that they were not protected unless the vaccination was quite recent. Then what was the use of forcing primary vaccination on the whole nation when it was absolutely no use in the presence of an epidemic, without re-vaccination? But the right thing to do was to give up this vaccination. It was absolutely useless. It did not save a single life, and never had done. In a recent epidemic of small pox in Leeds 88 per 518 cent, of the cases were persons who had been vaccinated, and some had been vaccinated more than once. Nor had vaccination any effect on the death-rate. The death-rate of 17 per cent. in the Metropolitan Asylums Hospitals in 1902 was the same as it was 100 years ago, when there was no vaccination at all. And it had been shown that the death-rate depended entirely upon treatment. Though he was somewhat afraid lest, if he pursued this matter into great detail, he would be ruled out of order he would just put his point shortly. In the late epidemic in Gloucester the municipality huddled people into a small hospital with insufficient accommodation, and they died at the rate of 54 per cent. And then came down a medical officer of the Local Government Board and kicked up a row. They got a new hospital, and the death-rate immediately fell to 10 per cent. Then came a gentleman from Derby who knew an enlightened method of treatment with ointment, and the death rate fell to 2 per cent.
§ MR. MOONEY (Newry)
wished to submit that the Act that they were now supposed to be discussing was an Act providing for the vaccination of children within six months after their birth. How could the discussion have any relation to the vaccination of people over that age?
said the discussion was not in order on the vaccination of people over that ago, but the general question of vaccination did necessarily arise, and he did not feel that he ought to stop the hon. Member on that.
§ *MR. LUPTON
said that people contended that the great redaction in 519 small-pox prevalent at the present time was due to vaccination, but, to-day in England and Wales there were 25,000,000 people who were practically unvaccinated, according to the definition of the pro-vaccinators themselves; that was to say, that the vaccination was over ten years old. And yet there was very little small-pox in the country at the present time.
§ Schedule r greed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; read the third time, and passed.