HC Deb 01 November 1906 vol 163 cc1349-444

As amended, considered.

MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

moved a new clause providing that the Act should remain in force five years. He hoped to be able to put before the House very shortly the grounds upon which he proposed this clause. Whatever might be the opinions in various quarters of the House as to the merits or demerits of the Bill which was now before them for the first time in its present form, there could be no doubt whatever that it would make changes of the gravest and most far-reaching character in the spirit with which laws dealing with trade disputes were administered. It would be agreed on all hands that these great and grave changes were really of so experimental a character that in every quarter of the House there was the gravest uncertainty as to what their final effect would be. Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway had of course considered this Bill most carefully, and they said its effect would be altogether good. It seemed to him that they had regarded the whole of the Bill and the effect it was likely to produce from a somewhat superficial standpoint. Hon. Members below the gangway said that if this Bill became law they would henceforward be able to conduct a strike with the full force of the trade union organisations. They would be able to increase the membership and the funds of those organisations, and by the use of their funds they would be able to commit what the law called "torts" but which laymen prefer to call "wrongs." The Labour Members said that was really all they wanted and so the Bill was good enough for them. That of course was a perfectly comprehensive position. Hon. Members below the gangway would tell them that this Bill would be good for labour and would to that extent be good for capital. It seemed to him that what they had to consider was what the real, final, and fundamental effect of the Bill would be, not upon labour or capital, but upon that delicate adjustment of capital to labour upon which the success of any industrial system depended. As to the effect which this measure was going to have upon the industrial system as a whole, as far as he knew, hon. Gentlemen below the gangway had not given them one word as to what their opinion was. The same thing might be said of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. The Attorney-General had told them at an earlier stage of the discussions on this matter, that in his opinion a Bill such as that which was now before the House would create a privileged proletariat. He had stated that to create what he called a privileged proletariat would be a dangerous thing to do. He agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman to that extent, but he did not agree with his description of the Bill, and he did not believe that it created a privileged proletariat. This was a Bill for giving privileges and immunities to one section of what the hon. and learned Gentleman called the proletariat, and the question was what the effect of the gift of those privileges to a section only of the whole population would be, not upon those sections alone, but upon the whole industrial fabric of the country, which it was the business of the House to consider and regard. As to what would be the effect of the gifts of those privileges upon the whole of our industrial system, not one word or hint had escaped right hon. or hon. Gentlemen opposite. The same might be said of the hon. Gentlemen who sat below the gangway. Some hon. Members opposite held that there was no harm to be expected or anticipated in practice from the Bill. Others said that the effect of the measure would be the usual effect which followed upon granting privileges of all kinds, and that it would not help the position of trade unionism in this country; but that in the end it would hinder it and render it unpopular. Certainly on the broad and main question not one hint had come from hon. Gentlemen opposite, and they seemed to regard the Bill as a sort of sop to be thrown to hon. Members below the gangway. Upon the Opposition Benches there was without doubt a considerable amount of genuine apprehension, not confined to the narrow grounds of one section of labour or capital, which might be ill-founded, but at any rate was sincere, as to the effect the measure would have upon the industrial system of the country as a whole. The effect of the Bill upon trade unionism by itself was in the opinion of the majority of hon. Members very doubtful. [Cries of "No."] He was speaking of the ultimate and real effect of the Bill on labour as a whole, which was even more doubtful than its effect upon capital and labour. These were matters which had hardly been discussed or considered in connection with the Bill, so far as the speeches of hon. Members opposite were concerned. Therefore, one was justified in saying as the question now stood, that this was a matter to be regarded as an experiment. It would be said that the Bill was not really an experiment at all. The argument would be used that it only put the law in the position which for thirty years it was believed to stand in, and that it did not alter the law in these matters unreasonably. That might have been true of the original Bill introduced by the Government, but nobody would contend that it was in any degree true of the Bill which was now for the first time before them. One had only to glance down the margin of the Bill to confirm that statement. Clause 1 they were told was an amendment of the law of conspiracy. By Clause 2, picketing was made a matter for consideration on its merits in each case, but it was a matter definitely sanctioned with all the authority of an Act of Parliament. Clause 3 dealt with a serious liability which existed before, but which was now finally and expressly removed, and by Clause 4 not only were trade unions not to be liable in their funds, but the Bill went further and laid down what had never been enacted before, that an action should not lie and that such and such a rule should apply to an action of that character. Therefore, it was impossible to contend that the Bill was merely a confirmation of what the old law was believed to be. It made a tremendous fundamental and vastly important change, not only in the law but in the spirit of the law, and it enacted changes in regard to which the real and final effect upon the industries of this country was absolutely problematical and totally uncertain. Supposing the Bill became law, what would be its effect? In any trade dispute both employers and workmen so long as they were organised were to have express statutory authority to commit wrongs, because that was the real meaning of the word "tort," and they would have the power to do harm to persons and property without any liability whatever in respect of those wrongs. The old lines upon which the prosperity of this country had been built up were swept away and new-fangled maxims were to be put in their place. How long did right hon. and hon. Gentlemen suppose that they would be able to confine these enormous immunities to trade combinations and trade disputes alone? They would be faced at once with one hundred combinations of all kinds, and upon what principle were right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite going to refuse to other voluntary associations privileges and immunities of the enormous and far-reaching character which they were handing over to trades and industrial combinations alone? The ruin and damage which might be inflicted by voluntary associations were no worse than the damage inflicted by industrial disputes, and why were they going to treat them differently? What would be the result if hon. Gentlemen were forced to extend this principle which now for the first time they were introducing into the spirit of the laws of this country? These difficulties had been forced upon the Committee by the Attorney-General, and they might lead to disastrous results which were not expected by any section of the House. Such were a few of the elementary and uppermost questions which arose upon a cursory examination of the Bill, and it was only these circumstances, and in consideration of the character of the Bill and of its possible and very probable effects, that he asked the House to accept this clause or something very much like it. Now what did this clause do after all? It was not a far-reaching thing, and it did not exactly involve the essential principles for which hon. Gentlemen below the gangway contended. It marked the Bill as an experiment. It would lay down that Parliament considered this was an experiment to which they were ready and willing to give a fair trial, but they realised that it was an experiment, and that it involved changes of so far-reaching a character that they ought to be reconsidered after a reasonable interval of actual experience. The clause ensured that the Bill would have a fair trial for five years, and if that was not considered long enough perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would be able to suggest some other plan. At the end of that period the whole effect, not upon capital or labour, or upon any section of the population, but upon industry as a whole, might be reconsidered if necessary. Hon. Gentlemen opposite and below the gangway surely were not afraid of this proposal? If they believed that the effect of the Bill would be good, then they could have no objection to the Amendment. How could they object to a clause which allowed the Bill a fair field and a fair trial, and if, after a fair trial, and tested by practical experience, the results were really good, he did not understand how, under those circumstances, they could have the slightest fear when it came to be reconsidered by the House. If, on the other hand, it was found to be unsatisfactory, the House would be less disposed to continue an experiment that had proved unsuccessful. That being so, he did not think any real sincere believer in the Bill either could or ought to fear reconsideration of the points he had mentioned. If the Bill was good it was the simplest matter in the world to continue it, but if, on the other hand, the apprehensions proved to be well founded, if it was found that the effects of these gigantic immunities had been bad, that, on the whole, industry had suffered rather than gained, and if—and it was not at all inconceivable—it was found that trade unionism had been the loser by this kind of legislation, he thought the whole House would be glad to be afforded the opportunity which his clause would afford of reconsidering the matter in a proper manner, after the experience of five years of actual and practical working. On these grounds he hoped the House would at any rate extend a fair consideration to what seemed to him a very reasonable proposal. He begged to move.

MR. CARLILE (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)

formally seconded.

New Amendment— That this Act shall remain in force fur a period of five years."—(Mr. Stewart Bowles.)—

Brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."


said the Government did not take the view that this was a temporary measure. They intended it to be a final settlement of a controversy which had raged in an acute form for the last five years. If the measure was going to be attended by all the consequences which the hon. Member for Norwood had predicted it would be well within the competence of Parliament, to repeal it at any time.

MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)

, while sharing the apprehensions of his hon. friend with regard to the provisions of this Bill—the third edition of it—was not sure that the method he proposed of limiting its operation was one which he should invite him to press. Supposing the five years came to an end, and that nothing of a serious character happened in the course of that time, ought they to be prepared to see the experiment repeated, and to look forward with confidence to future developments on the strength of five years' experience? He did not take quite so sanguine a view of the length of time within which the success or failure of the experiment could be demonstrated. He thought we were on the eve of a great development of industrial organisation—not confined to the wage-earning classes, but in the employing classes as well; but he certainly did not anticipate that in the next five years, unless some quite unforeseen event occurred, that they would see that full development. At any rate, he did not think five years an adequate time in which to test this legislation. Of the alternatives presented neither was in the fullest sense acceptable. If at the end of five years the Act was continued in the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, then they might as well make it permanent at once, because experience showed that once a Bill got into the toils of the Expiring Laws Continuance Act it never got out again for the purposes of re-survey by the House. If the second alternative was taken, of re-surveying the question at the end of the term, then he doubted whether this Parliament had any right to put upon itself or upon its successor the necessary consideration of so complicated a question at that particular time. In the third place, to repeal the Bill at the end of five years would not be acceptable to anybody, because everybody must feel that, however unsatisfactory might be the solution proposed by the Government, some amendment of the statutes under which trade unions carried on their work was imperatively required.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, W.)

thought the views of the Leader of the Opposition would be listened to with respect not only by his supporters but in all parts of the House upon a question of legislative procedure, and it was quite possible that his hon. friend would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment. He confessed that he had a profound sympathy with the Amendment, and he felt strongly that this was a very special case in which it was not altogether unjustifiable that the House of Commons should say that the matter ought to be reconsidered after a fixed period. It was an experiment which certainly could not be regarded as final. To be frank, it was an entirely new departure in legislation. It contained a principle which had never been sanctioned by Parliament; it was entirely fresh and novel. It came before the House of Commons not recommended by any responsible authority at all. It had not been recommended by the Royal Commission, because that Commission reported strongly against many of its more striking clauses. It had not the authority of the Government, because the Government both before and after they introduced the Bill had delivered the strongest speeches and used some of the strongest arguments which could possibly be used against it. The Attorney-General now said that this was to be a final settlement, but he also said that the original Bill, when it was introduced, was to be a final settlement, but after three or four months consideration of it a complete change had been made in it, and now they were told that another complete change was necessary in order to effect a final settlement. Was it rational to suppose that the third attempt of the Attorney-General was likely to prove more permanent than the other attempts? If it was not permanent, was it not reasonable to say that this measure ought to be considered by Parliament after a reasonable interval? There seemed to him to be a strong logical case for the Amendment of his hon. friend. The House should also consider the nature of the Bill which it was asked to pass. He could not help feeling himself that the principle was not only novel, but exceedingly dangerous. The principle of the measure was that they were to relax the control of the law over certain disputes and differences which existed in certain parts of our social life. They were really abandoning to some extent one of the chief duties of civilised government. What hon. Gentlemen below the gangway asked them to do was this: "Let the State stand aside, and let employers and workmen fight out this question between themselves." That was not an exaggeration of some of the language which had been used in the course of the debates on this question. It was a tremendous and serious departure to ask this House to take. Its real effect was to withdraw from the control of the State a most vital question, and he believed that both employers and workmen would suffer from the Bill. He could not conceal from himself the thought that the people who would suffer even more severely were those who depended upon the industrial prosperity of the country. These considerations should be present in the mind of the House when considering the proposal to enact this Bill as a permanent measure. There were certain hon. Members opposite who entirely agreed with everything that was said about the Bill, but for reasons that he could understand they did not give effect either by speech or vote to their views. He regretted that attitude, and he hoped they would not wake up to find out that some of the causes they held dear had been compromised.


said the only reply that had been given to the Clause moved by his hon. friend was that the Attorney-General could not accept it because he desired to make the Bill a final settlement of the question. Everybody in the House, no matter what their opinions might be, were desirous of effecting final settlement of the question. What they had to consider was whether this Bill would secure that end. What reasons had they for supposing that this measure would be a final settlement? The new clause proposed by his hon. friend covered a sufficient period to give them experience as to whether or not the Bill would work well, and and if at the end of five years it was found that the Bill had not worked well, either from the point of view of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway or from the point of view of the employers, then there would be an opportunity of reconsidering the whole question. He had had the honour of a seat in the House for more than fourteen years, and he had seen a great many Bills brought up in regard to which their promoters stated that they would be a final settlement of the questions dealt with. He thought he was right in saying that there was not a single hon. Member in the House who would get up and say that he could point to any important measure which had ever resulted in being the final settlement of any question. Hon. Members below the gangway had always said that the Bills brought in for the regulation of Irish matters were going to be the final settlement of the Irish question, but the more Bills they passed, the greater had become the question and no final settlement had ever been arrived at. Whatever views they took about this Bill there was no doubt that it was an extremely important measure. The trade of this country, for a variety of reasons which he did not propose to go into, was, except in one or two special instances, not good. He did not wish to delay the proceedings by going into what trades were good and what were bad, but with the exception of Manchester and one or two other places, trade was not good generally. In addition to that question they were face to face with foreign competition. It was undoubted that this Bill would go far to affect trade one way or the other and he thought it would affect trade badly. Hon. Members below the gangway thought it would improve trade, but he thought it would make it worse. What objection could there be to limiting the operation of the Bill to five years? At the end of five years hon. Members could come forward and say, if the Bill had been a success, "You see we were right, our prophecies have turned out true and yours were wrong." In that case the Bill would be renewed and nobody would dare to oppose its renewal. If, on the other hand, the fears of those sitting on that side of the House were correct they would be afforded an opportunity of reversing the position, and saying, "You have proved yourselves to be wrong, now let us go back to our old system before the whole trade of the country is destroyed; let us return to the original state of affairs and endeavour to restore the prosperity which this Bill has destroyed." That seemed to him to be a reasonable proposition, and he was further convinced upon this point because no hon. Member opposite had got up to contend the opposite. The only argument advanced had been the argument of the Attorney-General which had been so ably dealt with by the noble Lord the Member for West Marylebone. The Attorney-General had already proposed three methods of settlement, and, unless he was very much mistaken, the third settlement was not his own but the settlement of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. Under these circumstances he hoped that unless some much stronger reasons than had been advanced up to the present could be put forward the House would accept the clause that had been moved by his hon. friend.

*MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

thought he could remind the House of an important precedent of a temporary Act which did not get itself involved in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, and which did not get itself into such a position that it could not be extracted from that kind of entangling circumstance. The precedent he referred to was the Agricultural Rating Act, and there were some other analogies. That Bill was denounced as class legislation, and he hoped the significance of that analogy would be borne in mind. It led to a good deal of discontent among a large minority in this House, and who could say that the same would not prove to be true in regard to this Bill? He felt that there would be a large number of hon. Members who would be dissatisfied with this legislation if it was passed in its present form. It might be argued that it should be made perpetual and be regarded as a final settlement, because it was what was called labour legislation. As an instance of labour legislation of a temporary character there was the Employers' Liability Act of 1880, which had to be annually continued in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill; and when in 1895 the Eight Hours for Miners Bill passed its Second Reading, and got effectively into Committee, one of the first Amendments accepted was an Amendment limiting its operation to three or five years. Therefore he thought his hon. friend had ample warrant for making this proposal, and whether it went to a division or not the question had been well worth bringing forward.

*MR. R. DUNCAN (Lanarkshire, Govan)

thought that they ought not to commit themselves to any Resolution that this Bill embodied a settlement for five years to come. he knew perfectly well the danger of combinations, whether of employers or employed. Why should they not have an amending Bill, and agree to profit by experience, as wise men always did. They had heard of a Prime Minister, who lived in history as "Finality John," who once said that the course of reform had reached its limit in the nineteenth century and, as King Canute would say, "Thus far and no further." But "Finality John" was no longer looked upon as an authority upon that question. Might he recall to the recollection of the House that on Wednesday they heard a most eloquent and learned speech from the right hon. Gentleman sitting in front of him, but on Friday he had formed an entirely different opinion.


said that after the debate they had had he did not wish to occupy further the time of the House, and he asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*MR. CLAVELL SALTER (Hants, Basingstoke),

who had given notice of a new clause defining the term "trade dispute," said he would not press his Amendment at the present time because he noticed that the Attorney-General proposed to deal under Clause 5 with the definition of the phrase "trade dispute." It was a longer definition than his own and he could not say he agreed with the whole of it, but obviously the matter could not be discussed twice and he imagined that it would be more convenient to take the discussion upon the Attorney-General's Amendment.

*MR. SAMUEL ROBERTS (Sheffield, Ecclesall)

moved a new clause dealing with the limitation of actions against trade unions. He did not think he could do better than to repeat the speech which the Attorney-General made when he introduced this Bill, for the arguments he then brought forward would be within the recollection of the House. He would, however, only trouble the House by quoting one or two paragraphs from the Attorney-General's speech. He was simply dealing now with this particular clause and not with the principles of the other clauses of the Bill. The whole difficulty has arisen on this point on account of the law of agency—the application of the law of agency to trade unions. A principal was liable for the acts of his agent acting within the general scope of his authority. In the case of trade unions there had been in the past a grievance which ought to be remedied, and the Royal Commission reported that, in their opinion, there was a distinct grievance of trade unions arising from the fact that their ramifications and branches extended all over the country. On page 8 of the Royal Report they said— The first is as regards what are known as their 'branches,' which are often in a semi-independent position to the union as a whole or its central executive. It is not unnaturally looked upon as a hardship that the funds of the whole union may be rendered liable by the unauthorised act of some branch agent. The provision in the Government Bill as originally brought forward did provide a remedy in this respect, and it followed out the recommendation of the Royal Commission. The Attorney-General said on that point— We propose so to define the law of agency in its application to these unions that no act can be the foundation of a claim for redress from trade union funds unless it is perfectly clear that that act was authorised by the governing body of the union. Later on the right hon. Gentleman said— Why not say that no action whatever shall be brought?' Just let me ask the House to face the position. The proposition, as I understand it, is that however great the loss that may be suffered by an individual and however unjustifiable the conduct of the union which may occasion that loss may be, even in the case of that conduct which may have been carried out by the funds of the union and controlled by the union, they are not to be made liable for the consequences of that law. The right hon. Gentleman further said— Do not let us create a privilege for the proletariat and give a sort of benefit of the clergy to the trade unions analogous to the benefit of clergy which was formerly enjoyed and which created an immunity against actions in favour of certain sections of the population. He would like also, to quote the opinion of one or two other Members and to refer to the debate which took place last year, when the Bill dealing with trade unions was brought forward by the hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division. During the course of that debate the hon. Member for Mid Durham seconded the Bill, and at the end of his speech he asked for fair play in this matter. He said— Now all he said was 'give us fair play.' He would concede this, if a committee or organisation deputed any man whatever, to do that which might be wrong he had no objection to it being made liable, because it was the union itself which was doing it. But if he went to a place where there was a strike without the sanction of the committee, and urged the men to that which was wrong he ought to be punished, and the funds ought not to be mulcted. The day had come when they should drop all reference to the Taff Vale and other cases. Let the dead past bury its dead. Let them start anew. Let them have a law fair, honourable, and just to every man. Later on in the debate the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his opinion, and he said— The real evil to be guarded against, which had been accentuated and intensified by this decision of the House of Lords, was that the funds of the union might be made liable for the acts of persons who were really irresponsible agents, though their agency might be attributed to the union. If they could once get such a limitation of the law of agency as would protect the union, and, therefore its funds, from the acts of those who were not definitely authorised to bind it, he believed the result of the decision in the Taff Vale case would almost entirely disappear. Those words of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer were absolutely carried out by the clause brought forward by the Government and introduced in such eloquent terms by the Attorney-General. They all knew that influence had since been brought to bear upon the Government to modify that view, but he contended that the whole proposition now was going far beyond what was really necessary. It was giving immunity to trade unions to do any amount of damage both public and private, and yet their funds were not to be liable. The Royal Commission in a paragraph in their Report, said— There is no rule of law so elementary, so universal, and so indispensible as the rule that a wrongdoer should be made to redress his wrong. He was at loss to understand why any person in this country should be found unwilling to come forward and dispute that proposition. Surely it was one of the most elementary propositions that a wrongdoer ought to be responsible for his actions. By this Bill that proposition was entirely disputed. [Cries of "No."] The original Bill brought forward by the Attorney-General amply covered any reasonable grievance which trade unions under present circumstances experienced, and if they were exempted from the law of agency as applied in the Taff Vale case, every grievance they brought forward would be legitimately met. He noticed that the reason given for the change in the Bill of the Government was expressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a speech to his constituents en the 13th October, reported in The Times of the 15th. The right hon. Gentleman was reported to have said— On only one point, namely, the process by which the union funds should be protected, had there been any difference of opinion. He had never disguised his preference for the methods proposed by the Government Bill in the form in which it was first introduced, but the question was highly technical, and upon such a point as that he was not ashamed to give way to the opinion of others whose authority he recognised, always with this proviso, which was completely satisfied by the present form of the Government Bill, that no immunity should be conferred upon any combination of men which was not fully and equally extended on the same terms to combinations of employers. The comment he had to make on that speech was that the difference between the two clauses was not technical, but was a matter of great substance. In the first clause a union would not be liable for the acts of an agent if they protected themselves in the way proposed, but in the present case they were not to be liable at all, whether they protected themselves or not. They were not to be liable if the Committee passed a sober Resolution authorising wrongful acts to be done. Surely that was not a technical matter, but a matter of real substance. Then the right hon. Gentleman opposite consoled himself in the fact "that the same law is to apply to both employers and workmen." He would like to inform him that it was not so at all, because he had never heard of actions being brought by employers against workmen, the workmen were not rich people with property, and therefore it would not be worth while bringing actions against them. [An HON. MEMBER: It has been done in many cases recently.] The Government could not justify their change of front by saying that employers were placed on the same footing as the workmen, for employers did not ask for any such immunity, if they did commit tortious acts they were willing to abide the consequences. He hoped even at the last moment that the Government would go back to their original plan in order to see if that plan would not be effective. In later years it would then be possible to bring in another Bill to amend the present one if necessary in order to make it more successful.

New Clause:— (1) Where a committee of a trade union constituted as hereinafter mentioned has been appointed to conduct on behalf of the union a trade dispute, an action whereby it is sought to charge the funds of the union with damages in respect of any toitious act committed in contemplation or furtherance of the trade dispute, shall not lie. unless the act was committed by the committee or by some person acting under their authority. Provided that a person shall not be deemed to have acted under the authority of the committee if the act was an act or one of a class of acts expressly prohibited by a resolution of the committee, or the committee by resolution expressly repudiate the act as soon as it is brought to their knowledge. (2) The committee may be a committee appointed either generally to conduct all trade disputes in which the union may be involved, or to conduct any trade disputes of a specified class or in a specified locality, or to conduct any particular trade dispute."—(Mr. Samuel Roberts.)

Brought up and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."

MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)

said the position of hon. Gentlemen opposite differed from that of the Labour Party. He freely acknowledged that the Ministerialists fell into two classes so far as their attitude to this Bill was concerned. There was a considerable number—the majority—who promised clearly and definitely at the last general election that they would support the Labour Party's Bill. They had honestly, as far as possible, tried to carry out that pledge, and he attributed far more effect to the pressure they had brought to bear upon the Government than to that brought by the Labour Party. To that section of the Liberal Party he made no appeal, but there was another section which took a very different view, and took it not on details but on principles. To them he hoped even now, on the Report stage of the Bill, it might not be too late to address an observation. When the subject first engaged public attention, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a speech, and he did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman quite realised the extent of his responsibility in this matter. There were many Liberals, he believed, who were forming a judgment how they should vote on the question, and who naturally attached immense importance to the right hon. Gentleman's utterances on the subject. Their judgment could not fail to be affected by the assurances of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, couched in language so clear, as almost to amount to a menace, that in no circumstances would he allow himself to be intimidated into supporting the Bill as it now stood.




said the right hon. Gentleman shook his head, but, in company with the Minister for War, he clearly declared before the last general election that he did not approve of, and would not assent to, the present proposals.


I do not think I ever referred to the question at the general election, certainly not in any such terms as the hon. Member attributes to me. The only passage, which I have seen frequently quoted, is in an address to the Eighty Club about three years ago. My impression is that last session I supported the Second Reading of this Bill.


pointed out that the right hon. Gentleman supported that Bill in common with many Unionist Members on the Opposition side of the House who thought that some change in the law was necessary, and that the matter should be discussed in Committee. The right hon. Gentleman said when the Bill was being discussed on 10th March, 1905— The real evil to be guarded against, which had been accentuated and intensified by this decision of the House of Lords, was that the funds of a union might be made liable for the acts of persons who were really irresponsible agents, though their agency might be attributed to the union. If they could once get such a limitation of the law of agency as would protect the union, and, therefore, its funds, from the acts of those who were not definitely authorised to bind it, he believed the result of the decision in the Taff Vale case would almost entirely disappear. The Secretary of State for War had said— If the trade unions believed that Mr. Asquith and himself were going to accept at the dictation of the Labour Party Mr. Keir Hardie's proposals, they were very much mistaken. That was what this new clause proposed. The provocative language on this occasion to which he had referred was used by the Minister for War, who he observed left the House at the momont when it would have been extremely convenient for him to explain what he then meant.


He is coming back again.


remarked that what the right hon. Gentleman said was that if trade unionists believed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and himself were going to accept, at the dictation of the Labour Party, the proposals of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, they were very much mistaken. He did not remember ever having heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer dissociate himself from that statement. If it was still the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for War, and the Attorney-General, that the better proposal of the two was the original proposal of the Government, he trusted they might be favoured by some explanation—of principle and not of political expediency— why that had ceased to be their position. The only public explanation given by the Attorney-General of the change of principle appeared to be that so long as the same facilities or rights were given to the associations of employers his chief objection disappeared How could it possibly matter to a man who wished to bring an action against a trade union to recover damages, it might be for an act authorised by their executive council, whether, if he wanted to bring an action against an association of employers, they would enjoy the same immunity? The point of view they had to consider was not that of employer and workman, but of a member of the outside public whom they were depriving of his legal remedy. All that had been done was to increase the anomaly by adding to the number of people who were to enjoy an immunity of which on principle the right hon. Gentleman entirely disapproved. If it was too late to recall the Chancellor of the Exchequer to that better self which spoke before the general election, at least he might condescend to give some explanation of his changed position. No honest Minister would take up the position that the way he originally recommended was only one of two ways when that first way was recommended on the ground of public morality. They had been told by the Attorney-General that if these privileges were given to trade unionists, which no other section of the community enjoyed, those privileges could not long be withheld from other bodies. Was it less detestable to create a privilege for a proletariat than for any other class? That was the gravamen of the charges made against many of the proposals of the late Government. When the late Administration brought forward measures they were frequently told that they introduced a privilege for the Church or for landowners. If that were so it was wrong, but surely it was equally wrong to introduce a Bill which gave privileges to the proletariat. Was it too much to ask that they might be told that night—yea or nay—by the Attorney-General whether this Bill created a new privilege for the proletariat? What explanation had the Chancellor of the Exchequer given of his change of opinion, except that he could not have controlled his party in the division lobby? But to these right hon. Gentleman he appealed without the slightest hope of success. He had no hope that Ministers would abandon the second—no, the third — of the final positions they had adopted.

He appealed rather to the judgment of private Members, whom he would remind of the statement made by the hon. Member for Derby at the Trade Union Conference. The hon. Member then declared that if they were to say that though the Central Executive Council had authorised a particular act, the trade union funds should not be liable, they were going to call into existence a new privilege, for which they could not find any logical defence on the floor of the House of Commons, and which it would never be possible to press home. If anyone could have said that we were behind other countries in respect of this question it might have been an important argument, though it would not have got rid of the objection to the principle. But the experience of those countries where trade unions were most powerful was precisely the opposite. He would appeal to every hon. Member of this House who had not given a definite pledge to support the clause of his hon. friend, which was exactly the same clause as the Government originally introduced. He did not appeal to the Attorney-General, who had from the first been like a rudderless ship, floating about at the mercy of every eddy and wind; but he thought he might say that on the great question of principle involved he had the support of those to whom the Government at first trusted the formulation of this immensely important legislation.


said that before the House rose in August, he explained with great explicitness his own view of the matter, but since he had been challenged to justify the change of attitude which had occurred, he would briefly restate his own position. The Taff Vale decision created universal surprise. For thirty years we had all lived under the impression that the state of the law which this Bill was intended to bring about was the actual law of the land. For thirty years society went on, trade disputes occurred from time to time, but they were conducted, as was admitted by everybody, with a mitigation of temper, and an improvement of method, which were most welcome signs in the industrial history of the country. The terrible consequences which had been depicted as likely to result from giving a "charter of licence" to associations, as well of employers as employed, did not occur. Even the late Government appointed a Commission to inquiry into this matter, thereby showing that they recognised the necessity of an alteration of law after the Taff Vale decision. There was in fact no difference as to the end sought to be attained. The sole question was by what mode we could most easily, effectually, and with least sacrifice of general convenience attain that end. He expressed the opinion immediately after the Taff Vale decision—and it was an opinion from which he had never receded—that the most practical and best way of attaining the object desired was by limitation of the law of agency and the law of conspiracy. It turned out, however, that not only hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, on the Opposition side, but the bulk of those who sat on the Government side of the House, took a different view. In a mere matter of method, however, he did not think there was anything dishonourable or unworthy in deferring to the prevailing opinion of those who after all were the best judges in the matter. This was his position, and he was content to leave it to the judgment of his countrymen. Perhaps it would be asked, "Are you right in thinking that this is a question not so much of principle as of method?" To this his reply was that even if the plan he preferred had been adopted, it might have been urged in the same way that he was making a privileged status for the trade unions. It might have been said that his position was that the conditions under which they carried on their operations were so exceptional that the ordinary laws of agency ought not to apply to them. Therefore this objection, the main objection of the previous speaker in point of principle, applied equally to both methods. He adhered to the statement, at which the hon. and learned Gentleman had rather sneered, that he would never have consented—there the question of principle came in—to such a proposition as was contained in the Bill unless the same measure had applied to associations of employers and associations of employed. In this Bill they were expressly put on the same level. The scheme proposed by the measure in its present form was one which past experience had shown was not accompanied with injurious effects either to employers or employed or to the community at large, and he had no hesitation in heartily supporting it.

MR. LYTTELTON (St. George's, Hanover Square)

said he was not likely to impute to his right hon. friend anything dishonourable, but he wished to express his profound difference from him when he regarded his change of front as a technical matter and not as a change of importance. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly right in saying that for thirty years a certain condition of the law was believed generally by the legal profession to exist. That was the only argument in favour of these proposals. He himself agreed that after that decision the law should be made clear, but the only change that was required in the law was one, not authorising the doing of wrong, but providing that those who were not responsible for the wrong should be immune from the results of its commission. That was the original proposal, but now for the first time in the history of the English Legislature it was proposed that people should be able deliberately to authorise the commission of wrong, and should not be civilly responsible. He regretted that the Members of the Labour Party should, the first time they were able to use their power, ask the House not merely to give them a privilege, but a privilege which involved the right to break the moral law. That was what they had asked the Government to do, and what the Government had now resolved to do. Whereas formerly there was to be a prohibition of actions of tort against trade unions except in certain circumstances, there was now a prohibition of all actions against trade unions. ["No."] Under this Bill there was a prohibition, he repeated, of all actions against trade unions, and there was even a prohibition of an ordinary action for injunction, because the Bill did not merely refer to trade disputes. If a trade union thought fit to enter the house, even of another, and use it for its own purposes for the time being, no action for ejectment, no action for damage, no action for nuisance would lie. Had hon. Members reflected what they were doing, and had the House really reflected on the extraordinary flimsiness of the appeal which had temporarily satisfied the conscience of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

The right hon. Gentleman said he had brooded on this matter for three years, and that to-day he held the firm position he took upon it then. He held that opinion so tenderly to-day that he was going to vote against it. What had altered the opinion he took up three years ago and held a few months ago? The right hon. Gentleman said that what had satisfied his conscience was the fact that the immunity was to extend not merely to trade unions but to federations of employers. Let the right hon. Gentleman consider what the effect of that was. The Federation of Employers did not ask to break the law. They did not ask for a Parliamentary enactment to break the law. Therefore they had these two parties confronted. One asked Parliament to sanction their breaking the law, and the other did not [Cries of "They break it without"] and that being so, would any hon. Member get up in his place and say when two people were confronting each other, one of whom wished in the contest between them to commit a fraud and the other did not, that it would satisfy anybody adjudicating on the rights of the question to say that his conscience was satisfied because they could both commit fraud? The thing was too flimsy to stand. But let them look at it from the point of view of all those who stood outside a trade dispute, but who might be vitally injured by it. How was their position affected by the fact which had proved such a salve to the conscience of the right hon. Gentleman? It accentuated their grievance. In the future they were to have immunity given not merely to trade unions to injure people without risk or remedy but to the Employers' Federation, and the difficulty of the third party who stood outside the dispute altogether was largely increased. This was a deplorable moment to put forward such a claim on behalf of the body of trade unionists so soon after the concession of workmen's compensation and the privileges which they were all glad in this House to extend to them.


It was a right, not a privilege.


It was a right which was entirely novel; a right which imposed for the first time an obligation on an industry to make good the injury caused sometimes even by a man's own negligence. [Cries of "Oh."] He knew what he was saying. That legislation was beneficent legislation for the working classes of this country and they had benefited from it, and he was sorry they should have come forward so soon after and claimed for themselves as against others privileges which were not founded on right but were undoubtedly based on wrong.


said that as his name had spread largely abroad during the last few weeks, he wished to define what exactly was his own opinion. For a long time past he had been strongly interested in this question. They were all agreed that trade unions must be differentially treated. They were differentially treated in the year 1871 by the first Act. They were originally illegal associations, being in restraint of trade, and Parliament intervened and put them in a privileged position. The Unionist Government followed this up in 1875 and 1876 by putting them into a further privileged position. It was believed for thirty years that trade unions could not be sued. The right hon. Gentleman said, "You are to be placed in a specially privileged position." "You" meant the trade unions. What was a trade union? It was an association of persons— it did not matter whether they were engaged in labour or anything else—who had subscribed certain funds for certain purposes and appointed a committee to look after certain interests. Those funds were subscribed by people living in the most distant parts of the country—such as the railway servants, who were spread all over the country—and it was obvious that they could not take an active part in the management of the funds. Obviously they were bound to leave it to the committee to manage the funds. The rules allowed the funds to be used in giving strike pay, and also provided that the funds were to be used for sick pay and benefits of various kinds. The short position was this. The funds had been handed over by the persons who subscribed them, without the slightest authority for their being used for illegal purposes. They were subscribed to keep people when out of employment, even during a strike. There was no illegality in that. What happened? For the first time, contrary to the expectation of the Court of Appeal, contrary to what had been believed—he did not deny the justice of it; from the point of view of abstract law he accepted the finding of the highest tribunal—the House of Lords, the highest tribunal of the law, said the Acts of 1875 and 1876 had not done what they ought to have done and what it was supposed they had done, namely, left the trade unions incapable of being sued in an action for a wrong at common law. That was the position of the trade unions at common law—that an action could not be brought against them for any of these things, and it was believed that the Act of Parliament had not altered that status so as to give a trade union such a corporate capacity as to enable it to be sued: The House of Lords reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the injury that might be done to industry by this Bill. He ventured to say that nothing had done such injury to industry as the sense of injustice and wrong that had been engendered in the past. The feeling of bitterness which had been introduced into this matter was such that it became necessary that any Government should undertake to try and amend the situation. It created a situation which it was essential should be dealt with, and he never heard any situation dealt with more clearly than this was dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman himself during the life of the late Parliament when he rose from the Treasury bench and pointed out the injustice the law had caused, and undertook to deal with the question. He presumed when right hon. Members opposite appointed the Royal Commission presided over by Lord Dunedin they intended to do what Conservative Governments had done before and to put the trade unions into a further privileged position. What they would nave done he did not know. He took part in the debates at the time and he was anxious to bring on some amendment on the lines of equity. He accepted the equity of the argument that they must deal with the trade unions now that they were declared to be incorporated by placing them in a differential position. Otherwise they would defeat the very purpose of those who originally framed the statute. Nobody supposed that at common law such an association could he sued, and Parliament abstained from saying in actual terms that they were going to be incorporated. He thought the best way of dealing with the situation was not to repeal the Act of 1871, which would have to be repealed now in order to insure their not being incorporated, but to interfere in a radical fashion with the doctrine of agency as applied to these trade unions. Just let them consider what the agency was. He contended that the trade unions never intrusted these funds to the committee for improper purposes; they were intrusted to them for proper and legitimate purposes. But the technical rule of the law, the necessary rule no doubt, was that the maxim of respondiat superior applied. That said that the man who was superior must answer, and according to technical law and the technical rules which were necessary it made the superior or principal, who in this case was the trade union, liable. It was necessary to deal with that because the principal in a trade union was a very different person from any other principal. Trade unionists lived all over the United Kingdom and they could not come together to control these matters. It therefore seemed to him that the proper way was to limit the law of agency in a way as radical as anything that this Bill contemplated. It would prevent actions being brought against trade unions in cases of ordinary principle. Nothing was done by the late Government to carry out the report of the Royal Commission.


It was not issued.


said he did not doubt that had it been issued the right hon. Gentleman would have taken some step, although they never knew in what form the matter would have been dealt with. In the course of the election he made a statement on this subject and he stood by it. The hon. Member for Merthyr, in terms which he did not think too conciliatory or agreeable, had said strong things about having his own way about the then Trade Disputes Bill, and he answered that the hon. Member for Merthyr might do what he pleased, but he for his part should take his own way and should not move. He was perfectly free to take his own way. His purpose was to put the trade unions in a position which would restore the status quo. Whether he did it by a revolution in their case of the law of agency—which would have been just as great a revolution as any clause in this Bill—or by any other method was a matter for him; it was not intended to be for the hon. Member for Merthyr or anybody else. When he came to it he found a good deal of discussion, and the enormous preponderance of opinion was for doing the thing in the simplest, though possibly the least logical way— not by cutting into the law of agency, but by simply saying you are not to sue the trade union. That being the general view, it was all one to him how it was done. The one course mounted to the same thing as the other. He was free to confess that he thought the simplest course was the one which had been adopted. It amounted to exactly the same thing in the long run. They simply put the trade union in exactly the same position as everybody believed it to be in. He might have thought that one way was the simplest fashion of attaining that end, or he might have thought that another way was the best, but that was not a matter of other than technical interest, and if his clause had been adopted it would have been denounced just as strongly by hon. Gentlemen opposite as the present clause was. The clause that had been chosen redressed a great injustice, and, let them say what they liked on the balance of advantage or disadvantage, there was no man who had surveyed the situation since the Taff Vale judgment, and had realised the amount of ill-feeling and social disturbance which the state of the law had made, but would agree with the right hon. Gentleman opposite in a speech he made some years ago, that there were few questions more urgently demanding the interposition of Parliament.


said what he stated on the occasion referred to was that so far as he could then survey the situation great abuses arose through the tyranny of both trade unions and federations of employers, and that if he had the direction of legislation in the matter he would curtail both.


said he was afraid that in whatever form they had proposed to deal with the matter the result would have been the same. Until they faced boldly the conclusion that it was only because of a technicality that a trade union could be sued at all they would never get out of the difficulty, and, accordingly, this clause was introduced to deal with the matter in the shortest, simplest, and most effective manner.

MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)

said the first point in the speech to which they had just listened, and to which he would take exception, was the statement that in whatever form the Government had endeavoured to alter the existing state of things as regarded the trade unions it would have met with exactly the same opposition. The answer to that statement was to be found in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman himself. The right hon. Gentleman had regretted that the Report of the Royal Commission was not out in time to enable His Majesty's late Government to deal with the very question about which the right hon. Gentleman had just spoken. This point was by far the most important and most contentious in the Bill. But they who were opposed to the Government's present proposals and supported the clause now before the House had at least the satisfaction of knowing that they were supporting the view which represented the mature and deliberate opinion of the Cabinet itself. He believed a change of front like that executed by the present Government in this matter was altogether unprecedented in our political history. It was quite true there had been occasions when Governments, actuated by new facts or new arguments, had altered a vital principle of their Bill. But that was not the position here. This point had been before the House for five years. The Government deliberately represented to the House that one course was right and another wrong. There had been Governments also which had been compelled to give way as regards their own opinion even on important points because of the opinion of the majority of their own followers, but there had never been a Government which, to use a colloquial expression, had "given itself away" so openly and so shamelessly. What was the explanation? "There" [pointing to the LABOUR Benches] was the explanation. In this Parliament, for practically the first time, an extraneous body had forced itself into the solid substance of the Liberal Party. A wild animal—if he might use a simile without any disrespect, for he felt none, towards the hon. Members to whom he alluded—had tried to plant itself on the domestic hearth of the Liberal Party. How were they to deal with it? They might have risen in their anger and tried to drive it away. That would have been dangerous. So they adopted another plan They had made a family pet of it, or tried to do so. And during the whole time they had been in office right hon. Gentlemen on the Government bench, and especially the most important of them, had been chiefly employing their time in stroking the ruffled fur of this new inmate, and the more they stroked it the more it growled. And this new concession was a sop intended to prevent the growl being changed into a bite. It was true that some children of the family, one adopted son especially, had been kicking against this arangement; but what the future developments might be must be between right hon. Gentlemen opposite and the hon. Member to whom he referred. He had dealt so far with the Cabinet as a whole. He would now take the case of the right hon. Gentleman himself. He thought that the part played by individual Members of the Cabinet was still more remarkable than the change of front on the part of the Cabinet itself. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to some correspondence addressed to him by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, and to a reply which he had given in an address to his constituents in Scotland. He was afraid that the right hon. Gentleman had not refreshed his memory by referring either to the correspondence or to his own speech. The right hon. Gentleman now said that he meant to be perfectly free in dealing with this question. The right hon. Gentleman was entirely wrong. The point at issue in the letter was the very point at issue in the discussion now; the very proposal now being discussed was the proposal which the right hon. Gentleman then described as a preposterous proposal. The right hon. Gentleman challenged the Member for Merthyr to go to Haddington. These were brave words; the Member for Merthyr did not go to Haddington; Haddington had gone to the Member for Merthyr. The attitude of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been the same. Up to to-day, however, there was one difference. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had been doing a great deal of thinking aloud, but his thoughts on this subject he had kept to himself. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was bolder; he went to his constituents and defended the change of view he had taken on two grounds—first, "it was only a difference of method." But the Attorney-General, speaking for the Government, said that this proposal would create a class privilege; so that in the eyes of hon. Members opposite whether a class privilege was or was not created, was simply "a difference of method." What, then, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite would constitute a difference of principle?


I never proposed to create a class privilege—that was created in 1871.


said the words he had quoted were used by the Attorney-General. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer had another argument. The right hon. Gentleman, using words almost as strong as those he used at the general election, said that— Nothing in the world would have induced him to grant this unless the same thing had been given to the masters. He had said that apparently seriously, without a smile on his face, but no one knew better than the right hon. Gentleman how absurd the suggestion was. The contention of the right hon. Gentleman amounted to this: that here was an evil, and he would on no account permit it to come to pass unless the area of the evil was extended. It was bad, but it became good the moment that it was made twice as bad. There would be something in it if these two classes embraced the whole population, but trade unionists and employers combined embraced only a fraction of the population—at the very outside not more than a quarter—and the right hon. Gentleman proposed that the other three-quarters should be subjected to control by two bodies, which were outside the law, and that they should be ground between the upper and lower millstones of capital and labour. He believed there was not a Member representing trade unionism who was not now in favour of this proposal, though the right hon. Gentleman who sat opposite said on one occasion in dealing with this very point, that trade unionists would not be so unjust as to claim a privilege which would obviously be a class privilege. He did not think on that occasion the right hon. Gentleman showed that knowledge of human nature which he generally displayed. No man could be a judge in his own case. When even the right hon. Gentlemen who sat on the front Ministerial Bench had shown in the last week that they were willing to push through anything which would add to their own power, how could they expect trade unionists to act differently from other people? Though, of course, they were in favour of getting increased power, as everybody was, surely that was no reason why this House, which ought to represent not one class but every class, should give these special privileges. Although these right hon. Members whom he had quoted had changed their minds he could not doubt that there were some among them who looked with apprehension upon the result of this Bill. One effect, he thought, would inevitably be to lessen the control which leaders of trade unionists had upon their own organisation. The hon. Member for Derby, speaking of the Taff Vale decision, which was the cause of all this trouble, had said that if the executive had not defied the law it would not have happened, and if the executive had obeyed their own rules there would have been no Taff Vale question, and no Taff Vale decision. Were they more or less likely to obey the rules when the sense of responsibility was taken from them by the passing of this Bill? He believed many hon. Gentlemen opposite were prepared to support this proposal, because they felt that in any dispute capital had the best of it, and that even with this change labour would not be on an equality with capital. That might be an argument for State intervention in trade disputes, but it was not an argument for placing one class above all others in the eyes of the law. There was another consideration he would like to put before the House. Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway claimed that they represented exclusively the labouring classes, and that anything which was to the benefit of their unions was of necessity for the benefit of labour as a whole. That was a claim he had always disputed. Speaking broadly, he said these hon. Gentlemen represented not the working-class as a whole, but the aristocracy of the working-classes. He said advisedly that the interests of the skilled artisan were not identical with the interests of unskilled labour in this country. He instanced the unfortunate labour dispute now taking place on the Clyde. In those yards where men were out of work there were skilled workmen receiving a larger amount of pay for one day's work than the unskilled labourers for a whole week's work. In what way were the wages of the unskilled labourers to be raised? It could be done only in one of two ways—either by taking a larger share from the profits of capital or making more equality between the wages of the skilled and unskilled labourers. The amount from profits was limited, and for that the skilled workmen would compete for their own class. Therefore the interests of skilled workmen were diametrically opposed to the interests of unskilled workmen. In completing that argument he would only use the words of the Attorney-General himself. He put these two grounds. These were almost his words, if not his exact words: "Are you sure that in removing an injustice from one class you are not inflicting a greater injustice on some other class of the community?" He would like to conclude by making a statement which, he was afraid, after what he had said, would not be accepted readily, but be made it because it was true. He had no hostility to trade unions. He knew the employing class as well as others, though he had never had any interest himself as an employer of labour. He believed they were like other classes—neither better nor worse—but he would be very sorry to see the working-men of this country deprived of the advantage which combination gave in dealing with employers. He would be sorry to see the individual workman driven to make his bargain with the individual employer. For that reason he would have been in favour of a Bill on the lines of the Report of the Royal Commission, but that was no reason why they should put one class or two classes in an entirely exceptional position, above the law of the country. He was not opposed to the Bill as a whole; there was much in it that he would gladly vote for. He was opposed to this proposal because he honestly believed it would press most hardly, not upon the capitalists—they would take care of themselves—but on the unorganised and unskilled labour of the country.


said that in the eloquent speech they had heard from the hon. Member there were several references to utterances of his in connection with the introduction of this Bill. He had had many occasions to reflect on what he then said, and he had had frequently called to his attention quotations which had been liberally made from his remarks. Unfortunately, some of the arguments in his speech seemed to have furnished material for attacks which hon. Members opposite had made upon the Bill, but he thought when that speech was considered with the occasion in connection with which it was made, there was no reason why he should regret or withdraw a single statement in it. If hon. Members would bear with him for a moment while he gave a plain statement of the case which he submitted for the consideration of the House, they would see that if he had said less or said more than he did say he would have been guilty cither of disrespect to the House itself or of disloyalty to the Government of which he was a humble Member. The hon. Member for Dulwich had expressed the hope that he would not be provoked into using as strong language as he said he himself had been guilty of in the remarks he had made in connection with this measure. But the hon. Member had used language which, he trusted, far exceeded any licence he might have allowed himself in dealing with the question. He had charged the Government with shameless conduct, saying they that had created a new precedent in our history, and were giving birth to a privilege for which there was no parallel in our administrative annals.


; I beg pardon; I never said that.


Perhaps the hon. Member did not say that, but his argument largely tended to encourage the opinion and certainly, as he understood, the argument of some hon. Members, and particularly of his hon. and learned friend behind him, went quite that length. Of course it was quite right that he should, in this matter, have been chosen as the head and front of an offending Administration, and that the political jeremiads they had heard on the moral infirmity which had been, as their critics thought, exhibited by His Majesty's Government should have derived point and piquancy by their personal application to him. His right hon. and learned friend the Member for Dublin University had told them that no blandishments of office, however alluring, would over have induced him to be a party to the conduct with which he reproached the Government. He believed that statement was absolutely sincere, and he believed so the more readily because it was clear that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had entirely forgotten the circumstances under which this Bill was introduced. Let him remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the House. He pointed out the grievance which this Bill was intended to remedy. He showed that the funds of unions had boon held liable for the unauthorised acts of their officials, and he clearly indicated to the House two remedies which he thought might be applicable to that condition of things. The first remedy was to amend the law of agency so that no chargeability should arise except in connection with the authoritative Acts of the executive bodies which controlled the affairs of trade unions. The other method was to restore to these unions the immunity which, for thirty years, they had enjoyed in general legal estimation and which, according to the decision of the Court of Appeal, they had enjoyed as a legal right. Well, he expressed to the House with candour and with frankness, as he trusted those who hold his office always would do, what he thought were the objections to which the second of these proposals was open, and he did not recede from any of the observations he then made. He still thought that the first method, which was that embodied in this clause, would have been the preferable mode to adopt, but surely, as he pointed out then, it was a question for the consideration of the House. He declared that while these were his views he was no pedant. He was prepared to accept and consider the clearly expressed opinion of the House in reference to the alternative proposal, and if he might invite hon. Members opposite to look at this question for one moment in a sense of fairness, was it not eminently a question for the House? Was not the Parliament of 1906 just as competent to continue the charter which the Parliament of 1871 created as the earlier Parliament was to create it? If, in the Parliament of 1871, special treatment was accorded to trade unions, if the charter which was described by hon. Gentlemen opposite as a charter of privilege was then given to them as the Court of Appeal held and as universal legal opinion held, and if for thirty years they had not abused the trust placed in their hands, surely it was quite competent for the Parliament of 1906 to continue that privilege for an indefinite future. The House had, he thought, settled that question. In every quarter of the House—the benches behind the Government, the benches below the gangway on this side, the benches below the gangway on that side—there had been as strong a body of opinion in favour of this solution of the question as had been expressed in any previous Parliament in regard to any proposed legislation brought before them. What was suggested that he ought to have done or that the Government ought to have done? They ought to have said, "There is the grievance, it shall either be treated according to our methods or left an open sore." Well, to adopt such a course would be to be guilty of the pedantry he sought to repudiate. If the grievance, if the sore was there, surely the true and statesmanlike mode of treating this question was to say: "We will adopt the method which we do not think is the best, but which is the method the House, as a whole, is prepared to accept, and which will put an end to the grievance." He supposed he was guilty of weakness. He supposed the Government were chargeable with weakness. But which was the true weakness — a weak obstinacy which adhered to an original and impracticable proposal, or the assumption of a position which involved them in sitting and listening to reproaches which were heaped upon them, and of change of mind, of policy, and of vacillation. Of the two forms of weakness he, for one, would rather be charged with the weakness of honestly stating that he preferred one method, but that he abandoned it in favour of another method because the latter was preferred by the House as a whole, and that the object of their policy was the statesmanlike object of going as far as legislation could fairly and properly go in order to meet the views of those in whose interest it was proposed.

*MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)

said that as one of the wild animals who previously had been considered a very mild person he ventured to say a few words in this most interesting debate.


I did not apply the term "wild animal" to the hon. Member.


said he was quite certain of that. The hon. Gentleman had not been a trade union leader. If he had been he would know that they had to hear harder words than those. Might he, on behalf of his friends who sat beside him, and his colleagues on the other side—for whom, including his right hon. friend the Member for Morpeth, he spoke in this matter, saying they were agreed in accepting the proposition which the Government had brought forward to cover the grievance which they felt? There was no dissension in their ranks in this matter. Might he say also how thankful they were for the manly speech they had just listened to? He honestly thought the Attorney-General had shown courage in facing this matter as he had done. They were told that there was to be protection for the wrong-doer, and that the policy of getting at trade union funds instead of at the guilty person was the preferable one. He was speaking for forty odd trade union officials in this House, and he could say that they felt that the best course to prevent breaches of the law was to make the men who broke the law responsible individually. As he had said in Committee he said now, whether it was a man put on picket duty or a member of the Executive Committee of his union who wilfully broke the law, he ought to bear the responsibility for his action rather than put the responsibility on irresponsible men. That was the policy of the Conservative Government in 1875; it was the policy of the Liberal Government in 1871, and he, and those for whom he spoke, believed that it ought to be the policy of the Liberal Government to-day. It had been suggested that by this action they were asking for more than the ante-Taff Vale position. The right hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, had said that the ante-Taff Vale position was fully understood; that there was no dispute amongst learned gentlemen as to what it was until the House of Lords' decision; but then the right hon. Gentleman went on to make the statement which showed what the cleavage was between hon. Members on the two sides of the House — that "in some measure" that position ought to be restored. The Labour Party were against those who only desired to restore the ante-Taff-Vale position "in some measure." Was it a noble thing for any hon. Members to take advantage of a legal decision to whittle down the rights which members of trade unions had enjoyed for thirty years? There was no reason why the full position should not be restored to them. On all hands there was no question as to the position the trade unionist had held and the way they had used it. As he had already stated, it had been said that they were claiming something more than the ante-Taff-Vale position, but he distinctly maintained that they did not ask to be relieved of any liabilities imposed by Section 9 of the Act of 1871. On all commercial transactions and in everything connected with property they said that the ordinary law should be applied to them. The hon. Member for Dulwich had referred to the shipbuilding dispute on the Clyde. As to the facts stated by the hon. Member he was not able to judge. The hon. Gentleman had said that skilled men employed in Clyde yards earned more in a day than the unskilled in a week. That might be some reflection on their employers, but let him say that the unskilled men in that district might have been somewhat to blame, because he was informed that they were practically unorganised. The hon. Member, while stating the large amount earned by the skilled workmen, did not refer to the deductions which had to be paid out of their wages to certain men who worked for them. The full facts on that point ought to be known. However, he would insist that it was to the interest of those unskilled workmen that this Bill should become law; and he did not think that the hon. Gentleman would have the support of the unskilled workmen in opposing it. As a matter of fact, the Trade Union Congress was composed of almost equal numbers of skilled and unskilled workmen, and if any class of workmen wanted this Bill more than another it was the unskilled men. Indeed, they had suffered more from the Taff Vale decision than the skilled men. Again, they were told that the employers did not want to do illegal things; that they did not want the privilege which this Bill conferred upon them of being put on an equal footing with their workmen. In his opinion there ought to be equal privileges, but things were done every day by the employers which, if done by workmen, would soon be stopped. What was the position of the men? They could not do things in secret; everything was necessarily open when 50,000 or more men were involved. Everything was speedily made known to the employers by their agents or others; but the employers worked in secret. Acts which trade unions were prevented from doing by law to-day were being committed by employers. He did not say by every employer. He had a document in his hand which proved that such was the case, in one instance at any rate. This was a letter from the Employers' Association in the engineering trade to the secretaries of local associations in reference to a strike of moulders in the Halifax districts and was as follows— Dear Sir,—A strike of iron moulders in the Halifax district is on. The iron moulders recently gave notice of a demand for an advance in wages of 2s. a week. A conference was held and the workmen decided to cease work on the expiry of their notice. They have done so. The wages rate is 38s. per week. Signed, Thomas Biggot, Secretary. The letter itself was just an ordinary letter of advice, but there was a memorandum which stated — When writing your members it is desirable to advise them of the strike in general terms, and a list of strikers should be enclosed without remark. And that memorandum was not attached to the letter in the ordinary way. Then there was a list of the names of the 170 men affected sent all over the country. Not one of those men need apply for work anywhere. There was no law to stop that sort of thing, for it was done secretly. When these men applied for work they were asked what their name was and where they came from, and then were informed that no workmen were wanted. That meant that if they did not accept the employers' terms the men must starve. Let there be no mistake about the attitude of the Labour Party. They believed that the Government position was the right one. It was a question of method —a method which organised labour had adopted after long years of consideration and experience. If the Government had seen their way to listen to the practical side of the question as well as the legal, and if the House decided in their favour, who could complain? He wanted the House to remember that practically this measure had been passed after Second Beading debate on three occasions, and always by increasing majorities—on the last occasion by a majority of 350. The Labour Party were going to support the Government in the position they had taken up in every sense of the word.

*MR. HERBERT (Buckinghamshire, Wycombe)

said that they had heard a deal of declamation on the other side of the House about trade unions being in a privileged position. It occured to him therefore to ask if they approved of the existence of trade unions or would suppress them if they could? If the value of trade unions was admitted, it was even waste of time to declaim about privilege; it would be more useful to turn their attention to the real practical point what privileges they were to have. Trade unions were of necessity privileged institutions. Under the ordinary law they would be illegal associations; and they could have no existence unless special legislation were passed in their interests authorising their existence. Indeed the very Amendment of the hon. Member was one which would place trade unions in a privileged position, setting them as regards the law of agency in a position more advantageous than any other body or person. No doubt the clause of the hon. Member was drawn upon an intelligible principle, viz., that a principal was responsible for the acts of his agent, and they had heard read out with considerable unction the words of the Royal Commissioners, in which they pointed out the universal application of that doctrine. That doctrine was perfectly proper but it depended solely upon considerations of public policy, because nobody could suggest that a principal who had instructed his agent that he was not to perform a particular act was morally responsible for the act of that agent if he went against his instructions. He claimed in support of this Bill the declarations of the ex-Colonial Secretary that he only wished to see trade unions made responsible when they were morally responsible. Could it be said that the member of a trade union numbering many thousands was morally responsible for every act of the committee of that body, acting in defiance of the conditions under which they were appointed? It came to be simply a question of public policy, and it might well be that in the case of trade unions, stronger considerations might arise which might make it proper in their case to depart from the general rule and not make them liable for the acts of the Committee. There was a great deal in what had been said by the hon. Member for Clitheroe that they were much more likely to get the affairs of trade unions conducted without rashness if the individuals who took action were made

personally responsible, instead of being put in the position of feeling that they had at their back the whole of the funds of the society and could fall back upon them. It seemed to him, however, that the argument which could be drawn from public policy was an extremely strong one in favour of the Government proposals. If members of trade unions found that their contributions were, owing to rash acts of the officials, diverted from the purpose for which they were contributed, e.g., were paid away in damages instead of being applied to their legitimate objects, they would refuse to join the unions. And if they desired, as he did, to see trade unions strong, it seemed to him a necessary condition that they should free the trade union funds from liability for wrongful acts of the Committee. On the whole he thought the proposal of the Government was the best.

Question put, "That the clause be read a second time."

The House divided:—Ayes 79; Noes, 372. (Division List No. 363.)

Arkwright, John Stanhope Fell, Arthur Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield
Balcarres, Lord Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Nield, Herbert
Baldwin, Alfred Fletcher, J. S. Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Balfour, RtHn.A.J.CityLond.) Forster, Henry William Parkes, Ebenezer
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington)
Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester) Haddock, George R. Percy, Earl
Beach, Hn. Michael HughHicks Hambro, Charles Eric Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hamilton, Marquess of Rawlinson, John Fredk. Peel
Bowles, G. Stewart Hardy, Laur. (Kent, Ashford) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Boyle, Sir Edward Harrison-Broadley, Col. H.B. Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bull, Sir William James Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hills, J. W. Smith, F. E.(Liverpool, Walton)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Hunt, Rowland Smith, Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)
Carlile, E. Hildred Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H Starkey, John R.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Keswick, William Stone, Sir Benjamin
Castlereagh, Viscount Kimber, Sir Henry Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cave,George King, Sir HenrySeymour(Hull) Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G. (Oxf'dUniv
Cavendish, Rt.Hon. Victor C.W. Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm. Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lane-Fox, G. R. Thornton, Percy M.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Turnour, Viscount
Coates, E. Feetham (Lcwisham Lockwood, Rt.Hn. Lt.-Col.A.R. Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-
Courthope, G. Loyd Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (DublinS Younger, George
Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Craik, Sir Henry Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Dalrymple, Viscount Magnus, Sir Philip
Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers- Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Faber, George Denison (York) Morpeth, Viscount
Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.) Adkins, W. Ryland D. Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Ainsworth, John Stirling Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)
Acland, Francis Dyke Alden, Percy Ashton, Thomas Gair
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Horridge, Thomas Gardner
Astbury, John Meir Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Davies, Timothy (Fulbam) Hudson, Walter
Bating, Godfrey (Isle ofWight) Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hutton, Alfred Eddison
Barker, John Delany, William Hyde, Clarendon
Barlow, John E. (Somerset) Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Idris, T. H. W.
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Illingworth, Percy H.
Barnard, E. B. Dickinson, W.H.(St. Pancras,N Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Barnes, G. N. Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Jackson, R. S.
Beale, W. P. Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Jacoby, James Alfred
Beauchamp, E. Dobson, Thomas W. Jardine, Sir J.
Beaumont, Hn W. C. B(Hexham Dodd, W. H. Jenkins, J.
Beck, A. Cecil Donelan, Captain A. Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Bell, Richard Duckworth, James Jones, Sir D. B. (Swansea)
Bellairs, Carlyon Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Benn, Sir J Williams (Devonp't Duncan, Robert(Lanark,Govan Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)
Benn, W.(T'w'r Hamlets,S. Geo Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Jowett, F. W.
Berridge, T. H. D. Dunne, Maj. E. Martin(Walsall Kearley, Hudson E.
Bertram, Julius Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Kekewich, Sir George
Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford) Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Kelley, George D.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex Maldon) Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Billson, Alfred Elibank, Master of King, Alfred John (Knutsford)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Ellis, Rt. Hn. John Edward Laidlaw, Robert
Black, Arthur W. (Bedfordsh.) Erskine, David C. Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster
Bolton, T. D. (Derbyshire, N.E Eve, Harry Trelawney Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)
Boulton, A. C. E. (Ramsey) Everett, R. Lacey Lambert, George
Bowerman, C. W. Fenwick, Charles Lamont, Norman
Brace, William Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)
Bramsdon, T. A. Flynn, James Christopher Layland-Barratt, Francis
Branch, James Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Henry Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)
Brigg, John Freeman, Thomas Freeman Lehmann, R. C.
Bright, J. A. Fuller, John Michael E. Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwch
Brocklehurst, W. B. Fullerton, Hugh Lever, W. H. (Cheshire,Wirral)
Brodie, H. C. Gibb, James (Harrow) Levy, Maurice
Brooke, Stopford Gill, A. H. Lewis, John Herbert
Brunner, J. F. L.(Lancs.,Leigh) Ginnell, L. Lough, Thomas
Brunner, Rt.HnSirJT(Cheshire Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John Lundon, W.
Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs) Glover, Thomas Lupton. Arnold
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Gooch, George Peabody Lynch, H. B.
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Grant, Corrie Macdonald, JM(Falkirk B'ghs)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Mackarness, Frederic C.
Burnyeat. W. J. D. Greenwood, Hamar (York) Maclean, Donald
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J,
Byles, William Pollard Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Macpherson, J. T.
Cairns, Thomas Gulland, John W. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S
Cameron, Robert Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton MacVeigh, Chas.(Donegal, E.)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. M'Callum, John M.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hall, Frederick M'Crae, George
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard K. Harcourt, Rt. Hn. Lewis M'Kean, John
Cawley, Frederick Hardie, J. Keir(MerthyrTydvil M'Killop, W.
Chance, Frederick William Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Cheetham, John Frederick Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) M'Micking, Major G.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Harrington, Timothy Maddison, Frederick
Churchill, Winston Spencer Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Mallet, Charles E.
Clarke, C. Goddard Harwood, George Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Cleland, J. W. Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)
Clough, W. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Marks, G. Croydon(Launceston)
Clynes, J. R. Haworth, Arthur A. Marnham, F. J.
Coats,Sir T.Glen(Renfrew, W.) Hay, Hon. Claude George Massie, J.
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Hazel, Dr. A. E. Masterman, C. F. G.
Collins, Sir W. J. (S.Pancras, W Helme, Norval Watson Meagher, Michael
Corbett,C.H.(SussexEGrinst'd) Hemmerde, Edward George Meehan, Patrick A.
Cornwall. Sir Edwin A. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Menzies, Walter
Cotton, Sir H.J. S. Henry, Charles S. Micklem, Nathaniel
Cowan, W. H. Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Molteno, Percy Alport
Cox, Harold Higham, John Sharp Mond, A.
Craig. Herb. J. (Tynemouth) Hobart, Sir Robert Money, L. G. Chiozza
Cremer, William Randal Hodge, John Montagu, E. S.
Crombie, John William Hogan, Michael Mooney, J. J.
Crooks. William Holland, Sir William Henry Montgomery, H. G.
Crosfield, A. H. Hooper, A. G. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Crossley, William J. Hope, W. Bateman (SomersetN Morley, Rt. Hon. John
Dalziel, James Henry Horniman, Emslie John Morrell, Philip
Morse, L. L. Roberts, Chas. H. (Lincoln) Thomasson, Franklin
Murnaghan, George Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Thorne, William
Murphy, John Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Tomkinson, James
Myer, Horatio Robertson. Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee Torrance, Sir A. M.
Nannetti, Joseph P. Robertson, SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd Toulmin, George
Napier, T. B. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Trevelyan, Chas. Philips
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Robinson, S. Ure, Alexander
Newnes, Sir George (Swansea Robson, Sir William Snowdon Verney, F. W.
Nicholls, George Roe, Sir Thomas Vivian, Henry
Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r Rogers, F. E. Newman Wadsworth, J.
Nolan, Joseph Rose, Charles Day Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Norman, Henry Rowlands, J. Walters, John Tudor
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Runciman, Walter Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Nussey, Thomas Willans Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Nuttall, Harry Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland) Ward, John(Stoke-upon-Trent)
O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Wardle, George J.
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.) Schwann, SirC.E. (Manchester) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Scott, A.H(Ashton-under-Lyne Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)
O'Grady, J. Sears, J. E. Waterlow,D. S.
O'Kelly, James(Roscommon,N. Seely, Major J. B. Watt, H. Anderson
O'Malley, William Shackleton, David James Wedgwood, Josiah C.
O'Mara, James Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford) Weir. James Galloway
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Shaw, Rt, Hn. T. (Hawick B.) Whitbread, Howard
Parker, James (Halifax) Shipman, Dr. John G. White, George (Norfolk)
Partington, Oswald Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Paul, Herbert Sloan, Thomas Henry White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Paulton, James Mellor Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Pearce, William (Limehouse) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester) Snowden, P. Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Philipps, J.Wynford(Pembroke Soames, Arthur Wellesley Wiles, Thomas
Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Soares, Ernest J. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Spicer, Sir Albert Williams, Llewelyn(Carmarth'n
Pirie, Duncan V. Stanger, H. Y. Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Pollard, Dr. Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh. Williamson, A.
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Steadman, W. C. Wilson, Hn. C.H.W.(HuIl, W.)
Price, C. E.(Edinb'gh, Central) Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Radford, G. H. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) Wilson, J. W.(Worcestersh. N.)
Rainy, A. Rolland Strachey, Sir Edward Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Raphael, Herbert H. Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Stuart, James (Sunderland) Wood,T. M'Kinnon
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro' Sullivan, Donal Woodhouse,Sir J T(Huddersf'd
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Summerbell, T. Young, Samuel
Redmond, William (Clare) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Yoxall, James Henry
Rees, J. D. Taylor John W. (Durham)
Renton, Major Leslie Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Richards, Thos. (W. Monm'th) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt' Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Richardson, A. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.
Rickett, J. Compton Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr

in moving "that this Act shall not extend to Ireland," said he was not acting in any spirit of hostility to the trade unions. It was a common device of hon. Gentlemen opposite when conducting elections to pose as the champions of the Party of Labour, and to say that the Unionist Party was not. That he denied. He maintained that the Party to which he belonged had by their legislation proved the greater friend of the Labour Party. He was glad to believe that it was the recognised view throughout the country that trade unions in the past had proved most beneficial institutions. He would be sorry if in the future they should not continue to be so. He was in a position to say, in connection with the industry with which he was connected, that the moderate and beneficial influence exerted by the leaders of the trade unions had led to strikes being avoided again and again. If this Bill ever came into force, the leaders of the trade unions, he feared, would place themselves in a dangerous position with regard to their followers, and they would not be able to exercise that pressure on those for whom they were acting that hon. Members below the gangway had been able to exercise upon the Government. He thought this Act should not extend to Ireland. He did not believe that there was a universal demand in Ireland that this Act should come into operation there. It was obvious that "trade dispute" was a very wide term, and with regard to Ireland, special difficulties might arise. He could conceive an interpretation of "trade disputes" which might lead to an accentuation of the difficulties between landlord and tenant, a result which he was sure that no one in the House desired to see. Another most important point was that there was a system, which he believed was only in vogue in Ireland, known by the name of "boycotting." It was perfectly clear that if this Act came into force in Ireland those who engaged in boycotting would be immune from the law. That would be a most anomalous position, and although he was sure that hon. Members in this House would not, it could not be denied that there were men who would take advantage of it if they found that they would be immune from the law, and that the Act extended to boycotting. He therefore hoped that the Attorney-General would see his way to accept this clause, although he (Viscount: Castlereagh) was not in a position to exercise that pressure which his hon. friends below the Gangway had exercised with such success.

New clause— This Act shall not extend to Ireland."— (Viscount Castlereagh.)

Brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."

*MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)

said it was not often that a layman desired to take part in a debate on a lawyers' Bill. But this Bill, though it was of a technical character, raised questions of principle affecting the fundamental rights of citizenship. He did not propose to deal with larger questions but to confine himself to the new clause. This clause which stood on the paper in the name of the Attorney-General declared that, "in this Act and in the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, the expression 'trade dispute' means any dispute which is connected with the employment or non-employment, or the terms of employment, or with the conditions of labour of any workman." It seemed to him that the whole complexion of the Bill was altered by that clause. It was no longer a mere Trade Disputes Bill., It would also embrace in its scope agrarian combinations in Ireland. It would affect the relations between landlord and tenant indirectly in this way, that any person employed as a labourer by an obnoxious landlord or an unpopular tenant, would lose the protection of the law he had hitherto enjoyed, and the door would be open to every form of boycotting and intimidation. Those who remembered the history of the Land League and who lived through those old bad days would remember how the League always claimed that it should be treated as a form of trade union, that agrarian warfare should be regarded merely as a trade dispute, and the Plan of Campaign as a strike. This Bill would arm an agrarian league with almost precisely the same powers as were exercised by the Land League. Nor must it be forgotten that in Ireland boycotting was not merely a rare and desperate expedient to be resorted to in highly exceptional circumstances. It had become a policy and principle of action. It was a blight upon honest industry, nor had a more terrible engine of oppression ever been invented. It was quite true that it had fallen into disuse for some years past, but quite recently it had been revived again in the case of the grass lands in the west of Ireland. Could there be a more unfortunate thing at the moment when the Government hoped to effect a peaceable land settlement in Ireland, than to bring into operation a law which might prove so dangerous an instrument in the hands of an excitable peasantry? He was the only Unionist Member now in the House who had lived in the south of Ireland through the days from 1879 to 1887 when the Land League exercised their fatal power. He had lived side by side with men, rich and poor, who had groaned under that tyranny, and yet were silent, voiceless, and helpless to throw it off. He knew the phrases under which boycotting was veiled, "exclusive dealing," "peaceful porsuasion," "moral pressure"; but he also know the realities—the social ostracism, the hunted life, the ruined business, the maimed cattle, the children debarred access to school, the living refused the necessaries of life, the dead denied a coffin and a grave [A NATIONAL MEMBER: "Repeat that in Kerry."] He had said the same thing in Kerry when it was more dangerous to say it than it was now, and he would repeat it in Kerry to-morrow if he were there.

MR. DELANY (Queen's County, Ossory)

It is a slander.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

It is worse than a slander; it's a lie. ["Oh, oh."]


Order, order. The expression which fell from the hon. Member for Cork and which reached my ears I think he must know is not permissible. I ask him to withdraw it.


In deference to your ruling, Sir, I withdraw it, whatever my opinions are.


continuing, submitted that it would be a disastrous lesson to Ireland that one class should claim immunity from the law, and be free to oppress all others, and that without the risk of a halfpenny of damages. In conclusion, he remarked that it was a fine prelude to the Home Rule Bill for the Government to bring in such a proposal as this. Was it not a sinister comment on their intention to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas?

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

said it was not unnatural that after the speech delivered by the hon. Member he should want to say a few words. The hon. Member's speech had come as a rude shock to him—that the hon. Member on that occasion should lay out for himself the utterly unworthy role of standing up as an Irishman and slandering his own people. What was the House to understand from the speech of the hon. Member? His speech was a prelude to a possible discussion on Home Rule next year. There was no reality in his speech except that apparently he desired now at this time of day to renew the slanders which. had been dead for twenty-five years. He drew a picture which never was true, even twenty-five years ago and which, so far as the present state of things was concerned, was a ludicrous travesty of the real facts and a gross slander upon the people whom he had spoken of as savages.


I have said nothing of the kind. [Cries of "Withdraw."]


The hon. Member for Waterford having imputed words to the hon. Member for Cambridge University which were not uttered by him, ought not those words to be withdrawn?


I think the hon. Member is mistaken. The hon. and learned Member was only drawing an inference from what was said, and did not use the words as a quotation.


continuing, said the hon. Member had said that his fellow-countrymen were guilty of mutilation of cattle and persecuted in life and even in death. If that was not a description of a savage he did not know what it was. The hon. Member had said he lived among these savages in the county of Kerry that he had lived on good terms with these people who, although they differed altogether from his political views and creed, had treated him with courtesy and neighbourly good feeling. For the hon. Gentleman to come down to this House and speak of them as though they were no better than savages, was a disgraceful and unworthy part for him to play.


asked the Speaker if it was in order for one hon. Gentleman to charge another hon. Member with playing a disgraceful part. If that language was allowed to go on he did not know where it would end.


I would not be quite certain that the hon. Member has not used the word himself. Whether that be so or not, I do not soc any reason to call upon the hon. Member to withdraw.


I wish to explain that I have never used the word "disgraceful" as applied to an hon. Member. I may use it: in future though.


continuing, said he could conceive no conduct more unworthy and disgraceful than for a man to come to this House as the hon. Member did from Ireland, which he knew was in a state of profound peace, and where he knew there was less crime than in Scotland, England, or Wales, and endeavour to prevent the House giving to the people of Ireland the same rights and privileges as to the people of England on the ground that the former were guilty of crime and outrage and the conduct of savages. It would be bad enough in an English Member who did not quite know what he was talking about but when it was done by an Irishman who said that he lived in the country, and who therefore knew how utterly false it was, his conduct in his (Mr. Redmond's) opinion was unworthy and disgraceful. He had risen simply for the purpose of making a protest against this prelude to the discussions that would be raised on the question of Irish reform that might be introduced by the Government in the coming year. This was the plan of campaign that was to be set on foot to raise again the base passions and absurd calumnies of twenty-five years ago. He was glad to say that a change had come over public opinion and public knowledge since then in reference to Ireland, and this plan of campaign would fail. he wondered what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Belfast would say? he represented the workmen of Belfast. He had been returned by those who constituted the trade unions of Belfast. Was he going to join in this attempt to deprive the workers of Belfast or Dublin or anywhere else of the rights and privileges which the House was about to confer upon workmen in England? This cry had come from an Irishman who could not get a seat in Ireland, and a noble Lord who sat for an English constituency. It would not appeal to representatives of workers even who sat as Unionists in this House. The Irish Party had done their best in the past for working men in this country, and he was sure that English working men representatives would not tolerate this attempt to deprive Irish working men of the privileges which they were getting, especially when that attempt was made under cover of a calumny such as they had just heard.


said he did not rise to touch upon the question whether or not trade unions, strictly so-called, in Ireland ought, or ought not, to com within the provisions of this Bill. That was not the point of his hon. friend's speech. They all knew, and regretted that in Ireland the industrial element was comparatively undeveloped as compared with England. It was true that his hon. friend used strong language, that he painted his picture in no soft or attractive colours. But the question was whether the picture he painted was or was no true to the facts of Irish life, or some aspects of Irish life in the memory of even the younger Members of the House He confessed that he had no aquaintance with what was going on in Ireland at the present time. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: You never knew.] But he was told by gentlemen who had higher pretensions to knowledge of Ireland than he claimed that there were parts in which at all events some of the charges levelled against it might unhappily have some foundation in fact. NATIONALIST cries of "No, no."] That was a subject, however, on which he thought the ordinary machinery of Question and Answer in the House would be capable of eliciting information from the Minister responsible for Irish Government; but that the picture painted by his hon. friend had boon true in the past was absolutely certain. ["No," and NATIONALIST cries of "Piggott" and "Sheridan."] No cool observer would ever doubt the truth of that picture, but that it was universal over Ireland at one time neither he nor his hon. friend would assert. There were, however, large parts of Ireland where the picture was absolutely true in all its lineaments. he firmly believed that there had been an enormous improvement in the last twenty-five years, and he believed that it had been steadily going on. he was one of those optimists who thought that the progress was not going to stop within our lifetime, but that the time would come when that crimelessness which in certain respects the hon. Member rightly claimed for the agricultural districts in Ireland, would extend to all matters of dispute between Irishmen, and that the conflicts among the different classes in the community would not be sullied by the crime which had too often marked them in the past. In this Bill, however, the House had to consider what the condition of Ireland was and recently had been; and if it were true, as he firmly believed, that such deeds as his hon. friend described had indeed been committed, that the condition of society he had painted existed, ought not the House to think twice, aye, many times, before it extended to a country which in these respects had shown itself less capable of self-control, less capable of dealing with these class difficulties and trade contests, what the Government themselves admitted to be special legislation, in favour of these organised bodies to whom the practice of crimes in the past might have been attributed? The hon. Member for Waterford seemed to think that this debate had some connection, remote but real, with the controversies which doubtless this House would be plunged into next session, if the Government brought forward their promised legislation with reference to Home Rule. But this was wholly alien from those controversies. Those controversies would be long and bitter enough when they arose. Let the House not anticipate them. What they had to deal with now was a subject of great difficulty and complexity. But he sincerely thought that if this Bill was really going to give these agrarian organisations in Ireland the immunities or the privileges which they would have abused in the past, and, knowing what they did of their general character, for which there was no security in the Bill for the future, then the House was really facing perils of which they had had no experience in this country in the last twenty years. In these circumstances not only was the form of the Amendment justified, but the speech with which his hon. friend supported it was not open to the charge of exaggeration and error which, in vehement terms, had been brought against him by the hon. and learned Member.


said that an extraordinary Amendment had been supported by extraordinary arguments leading to a remarkable debate. It had been pointed out that if this Amendment was adopted the trade unionists of Ireland would not enjoy the advantages which were enjoyed by trade unionists in this country. The hon. Member said that that was not what he wanted; but on the assumption that the Bill was to apply to agricultural combinations the hon. Member had indulged his imagination in drawing a picture of the disastrous consequences that would result if the Land League were endowed with immunity and armed with the powers which this legislation conferred. He thought that the hon. Member might have taken the trouble to ascertain what was the definition of a trade union. The Bill did not propose to alter the definition of a trade union, nor did it intend to enlarge the scope of trade disputes as always understood and applied by the Courts in this country and in Ireland. The definition of trade union appeared in the Act of 1876 and was adopted in the present Bill. It had never been suggested that agricultural combinations should come within the scope of that definition, or that they should be entitled to the privileges which this legislation conferred. He had framed a definition of a trade dispute which was clearly confined to the disputes between workmen and their masters, and could not be stretched to include a combination of tenants where the question in dispute might be the terms of the tenancy or the system of holding the land.

MK. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

said that to cut Ireland out of the operation of this clause would be a very serious injustice indeed to the trade unionists of that country. It had been suggested that the Bill, if it became law, would apply to various combinations of men, and that under it there would be crimes done in Ireland such as the mutilation of cattle. He would point out that the Bill did not authorise crime; and even if it should extend to combinations of farmers, he would say that it might be gathered from the debate that took place a few evenings ago that farmers were not without need of the benefit of protection from the landlord class. Labour Members could not possibly vote against the inclusion of Ireland within the operation of the Bill. The Leader of the Nationalist Party and his colleagues had at great inconvenience on a previous occasion come to the House to support the Labour Party, and it would be an act of the utmost ingratitude on the part of Labour Members not to support them on the present occasion.

MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)

said he did not understand that any combination like the Land League would come under the Bill, but he did understand that there were tons of thousands of working men in the north of Ireland who had a right to come within its provisions. Even though he was the only Ulster representative who would stand up for that right, he was quite prepared to do so. He was not directly or indirectly connected with any trade union, but he endeavoured to represent the working people of Belfast. Hon. Members who represented other constituencies in the north of Ireland would not contradict the statement that there was no meeting which could be held in the north of Ireland which would support the Amendment now before the House. If the inclusion of Ireland in this Bill would lead to serious boycotting, intimidation, the maiming of cattle, and the giving of power to organisations which would abuse that power, there might be something to be said for the argument that Ireland should be excluded, but that was not what the Bill was going to do. The House had it on the authority of the Attorney-General, who had just spoken, that it did not give that power. He supposed that any hon. Member had a right to change his mind. He did not claim to be an infallible representative, and if he had done wrong and saw the folly of it he considered that the more honourable thing to do was to adopt the right position rather than to continue doing wrong. He opposed this Amendment from another point of view, namely, as a Unionist. Why should not Ireland have to a share in the benefits which were given this country? If Members were true to their Unionist principles how could they justify the exclusion of Ireland from the Bill. Before he rose to speak it was suggested to him by the hon. Member for North Down that he should go to the other side of the House.


I rise to order. The hon. Member for South Belfast says the Bill does not deal with boycotting. If the hon. Member with all his knowledge of Ireland could say that, I think he should go across the floor of the House to do so——


The hon. Member is not entitled to interpolate a speech.


said the Attorney-General had stated that organisations in connection with land agitation did not come within the scope of the Bill; why, then, should the trade unionists of Ireland be excluded? One great reason why he would not cross the floor of the House was that there was no room on that side. He was sent to the House as a Unionist in 1902 and 1906, and he did not see why he should change his seat. Of course if there was a memorial signed by the Opposition asking him to take a seat elsewhere than on the Unionist side of the House, he should try to find a seat somewhere else, but it would not be on the other side. He felt his position very keenly, because he realised that the position of affairs in Ireland was not satisfactory from the official Unionist point of view, and they did not wish to give any power to anybody else. If any Member representing an Ulster constituency would prove that the Bill would give powers facilitating boycotting and intimidation and all that kind of thing, he was prepared to turn round and say he would support the Amendment. But the fact was, that the Bill did not do this. He represented a great mass of public opinion in the north of Ireland and he had no hesitation in giving and he would be able to justify the vote he was about to give.


did not suppose anybody could argue that so far as trade unions were concerned they could be placed on a different footing in Ireland as compared with England. He knew perfectly well that his noble friend who moved this Amendment never had less intention of opposing what were called the ordinary trade union purposes, or of suggesting that trade unionists in Ireland should be put in a different position from the trade unionists in this country. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh."] Hon. Members opposite might think otherwise if they liked. He did not know by what other means than such an Amendment his noble friend could have got from the Attorney-General the very satisfactory statement which he had made, that it was not the intention of the Government that the provisions of the law in relation to conspiracy, boycotting, and other matters which were legalised by the section were not to apply to such cases as had ordinarily arisen in Ireland, viz., questions in rotation to disputes between landlord and tenant, and the respective organisations which governed those disputes. That was exactly the declaration which his noble friend wanted in moving this Amendment. It was extremely satisfactory that the declaration should have been made. Whether the Amendment to be proposed by the Attorney-General would really carry out his intention was another question, because he must not suppose that the matter was so very simple. Even if landlord and tenant did not come within the scope of the Bill, the definition would not cover some of the cases that arose in Ireland. It did not rest in the action of landlord and tenant. It went into the case of men employed by shopkeepers in towns. The next question was whether the broad words set down must not be utilised to protect organisations to which shopmen belonged. They might think that in regard to a man who was working for a boycotted landlord, or a man who had taken an evicted farm, they had a right to lay down the conditions of labour for him, which brought the organisation within the meaning of the Bill, though it was intended for a different class of cases and not that particular class. He took the assurance of the hon. and learned Gentleman that if any Amendment were necessary it would be made, and under those circumstances he asked his noble friend to be satisfied with the statement of the Attorney-General.


asked leave to withdraw the proposed new clause. [Cries of "No."]

MR. J. P. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)

said he wished to join the hon. Member for South Belfast in saying that the working-men of Ireland had cause to desire the application of this Bill to that country. he could not suppose that the House would accept the Amendment which, he believed, had not been brought forward for the purpose of dealing with the question raised in the Bill, but to raise a discussion on the relationship between landlord and tenant. The Amendment had been used for Party purposes and to embitter the feeling between the democracy and the "landocracy" of Ireland. What the hon. Member for Cambridge University had stated was a travesty of what existed in Ireland, and he expressed his surprise and regret that the Leader of the Opposi- tion should have lent himself to endorse the language employed. He went further and said that the hon. Member for Cambridge University by his statements had badly repaid the kindness with which he was received by the people of Kern, amongst whom he lived.


said that the hon. Member's remarks were not relevant to the clause under discussion.


said that the trade unions of Ireland and the Trades Congress of Ireland, which embraced Catholics and Protestants, Nationalists and Unionists, had made a universal demand that this Bill should pass, and that the same immunity should be given them as before the Taff Vale decision. He congratulated the hon. Member for South Belfast on the manly course which he had taken on this matter, a course which would receive the endorsement of the workmen in that great city.


thought he was right in saying that the hon. Member in moving this Amendment had no intention of depriving the trade unionists of Ireland of any right that was to be given to the trade unionists of this country. He might say that since the Attorney-General had spoken the air had been cleared to a considerable extent; but any one who denied that boycotting in all its cruel and horrible forms existed in Ireland at the present moment——


said that after the statement of the Attorney-General the debate ought to be limited to the real point at issue.


said that the Attorney-General had told the House that, so far as he could see, the clause which he proposed would not touch the case which the Unionist Members from Ireland had in their mind. The right hon. Member for Dublin University had gone some way to accept that assurance, but with the greatest respect for the legal attainments of both hon. and learned Gentlemen he had some doubt in his mind whether an attempt would not be shortly made to boycott in Ireland under the shield of this clause. He appealed to the Attorney-General to make it perfectly certain before the Bill left this House that the cases which the Unionist Members had in their mind would be effectually and beyond any possibility of doubt excluded from the Bill.

MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)

said he represented a large number of working-men in his constituency who were concerned to see that this Act in all its aspects should be extended to Ireland; and he regretted that this Amendment had been supported by an hon. Gentleman who came from county Kerry.

MR. RAWLINSON (Cambridge University)

said that they all accepted the statement of the Attorney-General that this Bill applied only to trade unions and would not apply to what was called agrarian matters. The hon. Member

Beach, Hn. Michael HughHicks TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.Jeremiah Mac Veagh and Mr. John Ward.
Bull, Sir William James
Craik, Sir Henry
Finch, Rt. Hon George H.
Abraham, Win. (Cork, N.E.) Brooke, Stopford Dodd, W. H.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Brunner, J.FL.(Lanes., Leigh) Donelan, Captain A.
Alden, Percy Brunner, RtHnSirJ.T(Cheshire Duckworth, James
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Bryce,Rt. Hn.James(Aberdeen Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness
Allen, Charles P. (Strond) Buckmaster, Stanley O. Duncan, Robert (LanarkGovan
Ashton, Thomas Gair Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)
Atherloy-Jones, L. Burnyeat, W. J. D. Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Buxton Rt.Hn. Sydney Charles Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E. Byles, William Pollard Edwards, Frank (Radnor)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Cairns, Thomas Elibank, Master of
Barker, John Castleroagh, Viscount Ellis, Rt. Hn. John Edward
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Chance, Frederick William Evans, Samuel T.
Barnard, E. B. Cheetham, John Frederick Eve, Harry Trclawney
Barnes, G. N. Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Evcrett, R. Lacey
Beale, W. P. Clarke, C. Goddard. Fenwick, Charles
Beauchamp, E. Clough, W. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace
Beaumont,Hn.W.C.B.(H'xh'm Clynes, J. R. Flynn, James Christopher
Bell, Richard Coats, Sir T.Glen(Renfrew, W.) Fuller, John Michael F.
Bellairs, Carlyon Cobbold, Felix Thornley Fullerton, Hugh
Benn, W. (T'w'rHamlets.SGeo. Collins, SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W Gibb, James (Harrow)
Berridge, T. H. D. Corbett,CH(Susscx, EGrinst'd) Gill, A. H.
Bertram, Julius Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Glover, Thomas
Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford Courthope, G. Loyd Gooch, George Peabody
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Cox, Harold Grant, Corrie
Billson, Alfred Cremer, William Randal Greenwood, G. (Peterborough
Birrell, Rt. Hn. Augustine Crooks, William Hall, Frederick
Black, Arthur W. (Bedfordsh. Crosfield, A. H. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis
Bolton, T. D. (Dorbyshire.N.E. Crossley, William J. Hardie, J.Keir(MerthyrTydvil)
Bottomley, Horatio Dalrymple, Viscount Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)
Bowerman, C. W. Dalziel, James Henry Harrington, Timothy
Brace, William Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hart-Davies, T.
Bramsdon, T. A. Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Branch, James Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Harwood. George
Brigg, John Delany, William Haslam, James (Derbyshire)
Bright, J. A. Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Brocklehurst, W.B. Dickinson, W.H(St Pancras,N. Haworth, Arthur A.
Brodie, H. C. Dobson, Thomas W. Hazel, Dr. A. E.

who moved the Amendment had said that once assured of that he would wish to withdraw the clause, but he would ask the Attorney-General to consider whether the words in the Bill might not be open to misconstruction in Ireland. He reminded the Attorney-General that Clauses 1, 2 and 3 did not refer to trade unions at all, but to any individual acting in the course of a trade dispute; and it might conceivably be argued that they applied to agrarian matters as well as to others. He hoped the Attorney-General would reconsider those words before the Bill finally loft the House.

Question put

The House divided:—Ayos, 4; Noes, 289. (Division List No. 364.)

Helme, Norval Watson Montgomery, H. G. Smyth, Thomas V. (Leitrim.S
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Mooney, J. J. Snowden, P.
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Morse, L. L. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Higham, John Sharp Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Soares, Ernest J.
Hobart, Sir Robert Murnaghan, George Spicer, Sir Albert
Hodge, John Murphy, John Stanley, Hn.A. Lyulph (Chesh.
Hogan, Michael Myer, Horatio Steadman. W. C.
Holland, Sir William Henry Nannetti, Joseph P. Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Hope, W. Batoiaan (SomersetN Newnes. F. (Notts Bassetlaw) Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Hornimau, Emslie John Nicholls, George Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Horridge, Thomas Gardner Nicholson,CharlosN.(Done'ster Sullivan, Donal
Hudson, Walter Nolan, Joseph Summerbell, T.
Hutton, Alfred Eddison Norman, Henry Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hyde, Clarendon Norton, Capt. Cecil William Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Idris, T. H. W. Nussey, Thomas Willans Thomas,Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.
Illingworth, Ferey H. Nuttall, Harry Thomas,David Alfred (M'rth'r
Jackson, R. S. O'Brien.Kendal (Tip'ra'y Mid. Thompson.J.W.H. (S'm'rs't, E
Jacoby, James Alfred O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Thorne, William
Jardine, Sir J. O'Connor, James (Wieklow,W. Tomkinson, James
Jenkins, J. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Torrance, Sir A. M.
Jones,Sir D.Bryumor (Swansea O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Toulmin, George
Jones, Leif (Appleby) O'Grady, J. Turnour, Viscount
Jones, William (Carnarvonsh. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Ure, Alexander
Jowett, F. W. O'Kelly, James (RoscommonN Verney. F. W.
Kekewich, Sir George O'Mally, William Vivian, Henry
Kelley, George D. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Wads worth, J.
Kennedy. Vincent Paul Parker, James (Halifax) Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
King, Alfed John (Knutsford) Partington, Oswald Walters, John Tudor
Laidlaw, Robert Phillips, J.Wynford (Pembroke Walton Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Lamont, Norman Pirie, Duncan V. Wardle, George J.
Layland-Barratt, Francis Pollard, Dr. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Leese,Sir Joseph F. (Accr'ngt'n Radford, G. H. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Lehmann. R. C. Rainy, A. Rolland Wason,John C'athcart (Orkney
Lever,A.Levy (Essex.Harwich Randies, Sir John Scurrah Waterlow, D. S.
Lever, W.H. (Cheshire, Wirral) Raphael, Herbert H. Watt, H. Anderson
Levy, Maurice Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Lewis, John Herbert Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro' Weir, James, Galloway
Lough, Thomas Redmond, John E. (Waterford White, George (Norfolk)
Lundon, W. Redmond, William (Clare) White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Lupton, Arnold Rees, J. D. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Lynch, H. B. Richards Thomas (W.Monm'th White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Macdonald,J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'mpt'n White, Rowland
Macpherson, J. T. Richardson, A. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal,E.) Rickett, J. Compton Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
M'Callum, John M. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Wiles, Thomas
M'Crae, George Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Williams. J. (Glamorgan)
M'Kean, John Roberts, John H. (Denbighs) Williams,Llewelyn (Carm'th'n
M'Killop, W. Robertson.Rt.Hn.E. (Dundee) Wills, Arthur Walters
Maddison, Frederick Robertson.Sir G. Scott (Br'df'd Wilson, . H. (Middlesbrough)
Mallet, Charles E. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Wilson. J.W (Worcestersh N)
Manfield, Harry (Northants) Robinson, S. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Mansfield,H.Rendall (Lincoln) Robson, Sir William Snowdon Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Massie, J. Rowlands. J. Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Meagher, Michael Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Young, Samuel
Median, Patrick A. Sehwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Yoxall, James Henry
Menzies, Walter Schwann,Sir C.E. (Manchester
Micklem, Nathaniel Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Molteno, Percy Alport Shackleton, David James
Mond, A. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Money, L. G. Chiozza Sloan, Thomas Henry

rose to a point of order, He wished to ask the Deputy-Speaker whether the following procedure was in order. A clause had been moved on the Report stage of this Bill, and the hon. Members who moved and seconded it had voted against it. Was that in accordance with the rules of the House?


said he was not present during the whole of the debate, but he understood that the noble Lord asked leave to withdraw his Amendment, and that permission was refused. Under circumstances the noble Lord's action in order.


, in moving to omit Clause 1, said it was an objectionable clause in the form in which it was introduced, but with the alteration which had been made in it at the instance of the Attorney-General, he thought it was a great deal worse. As the clause stood at the present moment, it dealt not only with a dispute between a trade union and employers, but with every body who might be concerned in a dispute. The only argument he had heard in its favour was the change which was supposed to have been made inthe law by the Taff Vale decision, and in one or two other cases, and it had been argued that unless this clause was put in, trade unions would be in a different position as compared with their state before those decisions were pronounced. he had already said that the clause went further than was either desirable or necessary to put trade unions in the position that they occupied before the Taff Vale decision; and oven if it was correct, which he disputed, that that decision made a new law, or altered the law as it Existed, this clause, in addition to affecting members of trade unions and employers, dealt with other people. It had been said that it was a great disadvantage that the Bill treated only two classes of people, viz., the members of trade unions and the employers; but, on the other hand, it had also been argued that because one evil existed in regard to trade unions it was not necessary to make another evil in regard to employers. If it was desired to remedy one evil in regard to trade unions it should have been specified and dealt with. It had been said over and over again that this Bill was necessary because of the decision in the Taff Vale case, but that assertion was not correct, as indeed the Majority Report of the Royal Commission stated. He would not go into the question of what a trade dispute meant, but let them take it that there was a dispute about wages in a colliery, and a trade union influenced workers in other collieries to break their contracts. The result might be that one or two mines would be flooded and damage to the extent of many thousands of pounds done, and yet there would be no remedy against anybody. That seemed to him to be an absurd position to place people in. If it were said that trade unions were not likely to do such a thing he would recall to the memory of the House the very bad case of "Quinn v. Leatham." It would no doubt be urged that, after all, this Clause was merely to put combinations of two or more men into the position of one person. Upon that question there were some very interesting statements in the Report of the Royal Commission. Lord Macnaghten said— A man may resist without much difficulty a wrongful suit by one individual, but it is a a very different tiling when one man has to defend himself against men combined to do him wrong Nothing could express more clearly in a few words the effect of this clause. It would enable a combination to attack an individual and do him wrong, the combination being so large that it would be absolutely impossible for the man to resist it, and they were to be free from any responsibility for their wrong doing. The hon. Member for Clitheroe remarked that he wished to make responsible the men who broke the law. If that were so, he asked the hon. Member to vote with him against this clause. He denied that by so doing the hon. Member would in any way destroy the principle which he desired to enforce. It might be urged that if any criminal offence was committed under this clause those who were guilty of it were liable, but there were many offences which although not criminal might inflict great injury. It was not a criminal offence that was committed in the case of "Quinn v. Leatham" but that action inflicted great damage not only on the employer but the employed. He pointed out to the hon. Member for Clitheroe, with regard to a man's being responsible for his wrong doing, that if this clause was omitted Clause 4 would still remain, and therefore he apprehended that the hon. Member would agree that this clause should be omitted. Another point to which he desired to draw attention was that this clause, as proposed to be amended, would oven allow boycotting. It would allow anybody to do what they liked so long as they did not commit a criminal offence. He could not believe that that was the intention of the Government, and therefore he trusted hon. Members opposite would for once take courage and agree with him that this clause was not necessary for the object they had in view; that it was wrong and therefore ought to be omitted. There were of course Amendments on the Paper which if accepted, would make further alteration in the clause, but in his opinion those Amendments would not improve it so far in the right direction as the omission of the clause. Its omission would go far in the direction of removing, though it would not entirely satisfy those who thought this Bill was wrong, the fear in their minds that not only trade unions were to he exempted from the law, but that anyone who chose to combine with another and carry that combination into trade disputes would also be exempt. he hoped the hon. and learned Solicitor-General would assure him that he had made a mistake in regard to this, though he did not see how that could be possible, but it would give him great pleasure to be assured upon that point. If they were going to try and maintain law and order in the complex state of society in which we lived, it was necessary, if two or more were going to combine together for the purpose of injuring a third party, that that third party should have a legal remedy. If the clause was only to apply to trade unions it was doubly necessary to be careful what they did. He appealed to the House; he appealed to the nation at large, not to allow this clause to be incorporated in the Bill. he did not believe it could be seriously argued that largo and powerful bodies like trade unions should be allowed to use the funds at their disposal in the way in which they would be able to do if the clause became law. They could do it now indirectly. They need not say ostentatiously or publicly that such a thing should be done, but they could give hints to other people and combine together and do a great amount of injury to others, and they

would be assisted in doing that injury by the largo funds subscribed, as he thought, for an entirely different purpose by people who lived in all parts of the United Kingdom, and who therefore could not control their action. This clause would allow thorn to take away a man's business, and in that way destroy his means of livelihood. All that could be done if no remedy was provided under the law. He could not believe that such a great change was ever seriously contemplated, and if the Government yielded to pressure, in their more sober moments they would regret it. he hoped at any rate with regard to the first clause they would not insist that it should stand part of the Bill. He begged to move.


formally seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, to leave out Clause 1."—(Sir Frederick Banbury.) Question proposed, "That the clause proposed to be left out, stand part of the Bill.


reminded the hon. Baronet that the clause was one which was agreed to by nearly all his political friends, and was recommended by the Commission appointed by the Government of which the hon. Baronet was a strenuous supporter. The clause did no more than recommend a return to the state of the law before the Taff Vale decision.

Question put.

The House divided:— Ayes, 283; Noes, 35. (Division List No. 365)

Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hudson, Walter Partington, Oswald
Clarke, C. Goddard Hutton, Alfred Eddison Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester
Clough, W. Hyde, Clarendon Phillipps, J. Wynford (Pem'ke
Clynes, J. R. Jackson. R. S. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Coats.Sir T.Glen (Renfrow, W. Jacoby, James Alfred Pirie, Duncan V.
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Jardine, Sir J. Pollard, Dr.
Collins.Sir Wm.J.(S.Pancras,W Jenkins, J. Price, C. E.(Edinburgh, Cential
Corbett,C.H. (Sussex,E.Gr'st'd Jones.Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea Radford, G. H.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Rainy, A. Rolland
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Jones, William (Carnarvonsh. Raphael, Herbert H.
Cox, Harold Jowett, F. W. Rea, Russell (Gloucester)
Cremar, William Randal Kekewich, Sir George Rea, Walter Russell (Scarbord'
Crooks, William Kelley, George D. Redmond, John E. (Waterford
Crosfield, A. H. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Redmond, William (Clare)
Crossley, William J. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Rees, J. D.
Dalziel, James Henry Laidlaw, Robert Richards,Thomas (W.Monm'th
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Lamb, Ernest H. (Rocehster) Richards.T. F. (Wolvorh'mpt'n
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Lamont, Norman Richardson, A.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Layland-Barratt, Francis Rickett, J. Compton
Delany, William Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Lehmann, R. C. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Dickinson, W.H.(S. Paneras.N. Lsver.A.Levy (Essex.Harwich) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)
Dobson, Thomas W. Lever, W. H (Cneshire, Wirral Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee
Dodd, W. H. Levy, Maurice Robertson,Sir G.Scott (Br'df'd
Donelan, Captain A. Lewis, John Herbert Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Duckworth, James Lough, Thomas Robinson, S.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Lundon, W. Rcbson, Sir William Snowdon
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Lupton, Arnold Roe, Sir Thomas
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Lynch, H. B. Rowlands, J.
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Macdonald,J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland
Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Maepherson. J. T. Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Elibank, Master of Mac Veagh, Jeremiah (Dowa,S. Scbwann, Sir C.E. (Manch'ster
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward MacVeigh. Charles (Donegal,E. Scott, A.H.(Ashton under Lyne
Erskine, David C. M'Callum, John M. Shackleton, David James
Evans, Samuel T. M'Crae, George Shipman, Dr. John G.
Eve, Harry Trelawney M'Killop, W. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.
Everett, R. Lacey Maddison, Frederick Snowden, P.
Fenwick, Charles Manfield, Harry (Northants) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Ferens, T. R. Mansfield, H.Rendall (Lincoln) Soares, Ernest J.
Flynn, James Christopher Massie, J. Spicer, Sir Albert
Fuller, John Michael F. Meagher, Michael Stanley,Hn.A.Lylulph (Chesh.)
Fullerton, Hugh Meehan, Patrick A. Steadman, W. C.
Gibb, James (Harrow) Menzies, Walter Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Gill, A. H. Micklem, Nathaniel Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Ginnell, L. Molteno, Percy Alport Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Glover, Thomas Mond, A. Sullivan, Donal
Gooch, George Peabody Money, L. G. Chiozza Summerbell, T.
Grant, Corrie Montgomery, H. G. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Mooney, J. J. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hall, Frederick Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Morse, L. L. Thomas.Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.
Hardie, J.Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Thomas, David Alfred (M'rth'r
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Murnaghan, George Thomasson, Franklin
Harrington, Timothy Murphy, John Thompson,J.W.H. (Somerset.E
Hart-Davies, T Myer, Horatio Thorne, William
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Nannetti, Joseph P. Tomkinson, James
Harwood, George Nicholls, George Torrance, Sir A. M.
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Nicholson, Charles N. (Donc'r Touhnin, George
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Nolan, Joseph Ure, Alexander
Haworth, Arthur A. Norman, Henry Verney, F. W.
Hagel, Dr. A. E. Norton, Capt. Cecil William Vivian, Henry
Helme, Norval Watson Nussey, Thomas Willans Wadsworth, J.
Hemmerde, Edward George Nuttall, Harry Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) O'Brien.Kendal (Tip'r'ry Mid. Walters, John Tudor
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Higham, John Sharp O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent
Hobart, Sir Robert O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wardle, George J.
Hodge, John O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Hogan, Michael O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, H.) Wason, Eugene (Clachmannan
Holland, Sir William Henry O'Kelly, James (Roscom'n, N. Wasop.John Cathcart (Orkney
Hope,W.Bateroan (S'merset,N. O'Malley, William Waterlow, D. S.
Horniman, Emslie John O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Watt, H. Anderson
Horridge, Thomas Gardner Parker, James (Halifax) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Weir, James Galloway Wiles, Thomas Wood, T. M'Kinnon
White, George (Norfolk) Williams, J. (Glamorgan) Young, Samuel
White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire Williams,Llewelyn(Carmarth'n Yoxall, James Henry
White, Luke (York, E. R.) Wills, Arthur Walters
White, Patrick (Meath, North) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whitley and Mr. J.A. Pease.
Whitehead, Rowland Wilson,J.W. (Worcestersh. N)
Whitley, J. H. (Halifax) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Acland-Hood,RtHn.Sir Alex.F Courthope, G. Loyd Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Balcarres, Lord Craig,Charles Curtis (Antrim.S. Nield, Herbert
Balfour.Rt.Hn.A.J. (City Lond Dalrymple, Viscount Parkes, Ebenezer
Baring. Hon. Guy (Winchester Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers- Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Beach.Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks Fell, Arthur Smith,F.E. (Liverpool, Walton
Bowles, G. Stewart Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Stone, Sir Benjamin
Boyle, Sir Edward Forster, Henry William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Thornton, Percy W.
Carlile, E. Hildred Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Valentia, Viscount
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Heaton, John Henniker
Castlereagh, Viscount King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull TELLERS TOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Captain Criag.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E. Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) M'Calmont, Colonel James

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 12, to leave out the words. 'as a tort.'—(Sir John Walton.)

Amendment agreed to.

MR. F. E. SMITH moved to leave out of Clause 2 the words "one or more" and insert "a reasonable number." He said that when the Bill was in Committee Amendments were proposed which would have had the effect of introducing a numerical limitation in regard to the persons who would be entitled either on their own behalf or on I behalf of a trade union to attend in a peaceable manner for purposes of persuasion. One proposal, put forward by the hon. Member for Norwood, was that the number should be limited to three, but it was resisted by the Attorney-General, as was also a proposal to limit the number of men according to the circumstances of the place. The Attorney-General resisted the proposal of his hon. friend for Norwood upon one ground only, namely, that the Government, instead of employing a figure, were going to find an expression which would restrict this right, and they put in "peaceably and in a reasonable manner." He had cited some cases of strikes in which gross violence had been used by men who were doing the work of the trade unions, and he had further pointed out that the clause for which the Government had made themselves responsible permitted the picket not only to wait outside the exits and entrances of a place of business, but also to allow any number of men to attend for peaceful persuasion. At that point the Attorney-General had interrupted him by remarking that any number of men would not be reasonable within the meaning of this clause. On another occasion the Attorney-General, in reply to an Amendment to limit the number of men who might picket, said he did not assume that such extraordinary things as those which were put forward could possibly occur, and that he had no objection to say that the rights should be exercised in a reasonable manner and by a reasonable number. That statement, which was deliberately made, disarmed Amendments on the Opposition side and resulted in the saving of much time which would otherwise have been occupied in discussing the I matter. Now the Attorney-General proposed to strike out the words "peaceably and in reasonable manner" after several assurances that the Government would preserve them. It was reasonable, according to the Attorney-General's own statement, to introduce some numerical limitation on the number of persons who should be at liberty to carry on this peaceful picketing unless the words which the Government pledged themselves to maintain were kept in the Bill. On that point he would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that there had recently been instances very comparable in their nature to those which he had cited on the previous occasion to show the desirability of having some numerical limitation. The last strike in Wales had been no exception to previous strikes in the abuses which had been directly occasioned by the very right sanctioned by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. They were told by hon. Gentlemen below the gangway that it did not matter whether they had a numerical qualification or not, because the members and officials of the trade union had something else to do with their time than go in large numbers to the houses of people for purposes of persuasion. But that opinion did not receive the slightest support from an examination of the history of recent industrial disputes. It was not what responsible leaders did but what members of trade unions who were not responsible did. He instanced the recent strike in Wales. The question was asked the other day as to whether one man had not been treated with great violence, terminating in his being thrown into the river. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil asked in a supplementary question whether it was not merely a practical joke. Whether that particular case could be substantiated or not, and whether, or, if it could be substantiated, it would be treated by the House of Commons as humour, there were many cases which could be substantiated which had never been contradicted by trade unionists in the Welsh dispute, although they had contradicted every case they could. His point was that the moment they allowed an indefinite number of men to go to the place where a man happened to be they called into existence a state of things from which outrage was sine to come. The hon. Member for Clitheroe had said to-night amid loud cheers from the Ministerial side, "Let the man who has done the wrong be made liable." He would ask them to address that counsel to the man who was frogmarched a quarter of a mile in his shirt by women and men in the recent strike, and who, if he could have discovered his assailant, might have been in a position to avail himself of the remedies. Was it to be denied that at the strike in the Rhondda Valley and other strikes a number of men had been deprived of the opportunity of forming a deliberate judgment and exercising a free choice of the circumstances under which they would sell their labour, because other men having no proportion to their number were allowed to "communicate information?" Let the House have done with the hypocricy of intending that there was a legal remedy for these nets of violence. The Amendment which he was moving was one which the Attorney-General if he had been consulted when the Bill was under discussion in Committee would have entirely concurred in. He would quote one more passage from a speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman in which the words were as clear and explicit as words could be, though he had led the House not to expect anything like permanency in his utterances. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he had no objection to say that the rights should be exercised in a reasonable manner. They had had one instance in which the Attorney-General after giving a definite expression of his views had changed his views. He admired both the dialectical skill and the eloquence with which the hon. and learned Gentleman explained his action in an exceedingly difficult case, and he would like to know his reason for changing his mind in regard to the subject now before the House.

MR. CLAVELL SALTER (Hants, Basingstoke)

seconded the Amendment. It would be in the memory of all who heard the representation made by the Attorney-General at the time, that certain Amendments which were proposed might fairly be abandoned, as indeed they were, because it was, and would be, an essential provision of this Bill that picketing, offensive and injurious as many of them thought it, should at any rate be restricted and that the Bill would expressly provide that what was done would be done peaceably and in a reasonable manner. The Attorney-General ought not to be a party to the striking out of the words lower down, "peaceably and in a reasonable manner," for if they were left out the picketing need not be peaceful, and there would be no protection given to the person who was going to suffer by picketing.


The hon. Member cannot discuss at this stage an Amendment which the Attorney-General is going to move later on.


In that case I prefer to reserve what I have to say until the Amendment is proposed.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 13, to leave out the words 'one or more' and to insert the words 'a reasonable number of.' "—(Mr. F. E. Smith.) Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.

*MR. R. DUNCAN (Lanarkshire, Govan)

said he believed that organised labour, well directed, was a powerful lever for raising the condition of the people engaged in industrial pursuits, but there were many dangers in the abuse of such a system. It was really necessary to consider whether the trades which were doing most to compel the passing of this Bill would not really damage their cause by refusing to accept such an Amendment as was here proposed. He thought hon. Members should really consider whether they could not do something to prevent the disgraceful conflicts between labour and capital which had been ruining the country. He and his friends recognised that organised labour must have its officials and offices and representatives all over the country in order to be effective, but if it was to be a tyranny to compel a man to join a union when he did not wish to join, then it would be a backward step which would make the country less prosperous and life not worth living. An Englishman took pride in regarding his home as his castle, but if a hundred men were to be allowed to surround him and his wife and children while a trade dispute was going on could that be called peaceful persuasion? He had been a picket himself, and his method was to go with a fellow employer and put arguments before his comrade in order to show him why he should stand shoulder to shoulder with them. They did not bring fifty or a hundred men to that man's house to tyrannise over him. Was there no danger whatever that great organisations might be used tyrannically? Every man who would answer that question honestly would say that there was such a danger. If men did not exercise their good sense there would be such a tyranny as would make the country not worth living in


said he could not complain of the criticisms of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. He quite agreed with the last speaker that in any clause legalising picketing they must, of course, adequately protect public order and individual liberty. And if the terms which he had introduced into this clause did not satisfactorily accomplish that object, then he admitted that he had failed in his object. He quite agreed that the clause as he proposed to amend it underwent a material change. The qualifications or conditions which were attached to the exercise of a right connected themselves with the method adopted of exercising that right. As the clause stood, it provided that the attendance on persons whom it was sought to persuade should be conducted "in a reasonable manner." When the matter was before the Committee it was quite true that suggestions were made in regard to the number of persons employed in picketing, and the hours chosen for that purpose. He thought the House would agree with him that if they attached conditions to the exercise of the right which they created, those conditions should be readily cognisable beforehand, and that there should be a certain uniform standard or measure by which the character and conduct of those engaged in picketing was to be judged. If the clause as it stood remained, he asked the House to consider for one moment the difficulties in which the trade unions would he placed. They might consider, supposing the clause contained the expression "in a reasonable manner," that the method of attendance was "reasonable," and that the manner they chose to adopt was a "reasonable manner," but the tribunal which was called upon afterwards to decide whether it was "reasonable" or not, might come to a diametrically opposite conclusion. They might have decisions as to what was "reasonable" as various as the tribunals invoked; and they were also face to face with the great danger that some juries might be so prejudiced against picketing operations by trade unions that any conduct of this kind for which they were responsible would meet with condemnation. There was some support for that view. Therefore, to frame a definition of a "reasonable manner" was, he doubted, a task to which the wit of man was not equal. The only other way to meet the difficulty was for him, if possible, to attach some test to the operation of picketing which would indirectly ensure that proper restrictive conditions should be observed. He believed that he had adopted a test which would entirely accomplish that result, and if it did not, then his efforts had been in vain. He had introduced later on in the clause the expression "peacefully," before the words "obtaining, or communicating information," and before the word "persuading." The result was that no picketing under the section would be lawful unless exercised for the sole purpose of "peaceful persuasion." The expression "peaceful persuasion" had been sneered at by an hon. Member; but surely there was no difficulty in understanding what was meant by that phrase. If men who had struck wished to induce others to join them they were entitled to wait upon them, and appeal to their reason, or, it might be their feeling of comradeship, and ask them to join their forces. If they did that "peacefully," and if their object was solely that of "peaceful persuasion," what could be morally wrong in it? If the test which he suggested were applied the result would be that where such a number of men were employed, at such an hour, and in such a way that their object might be inferred to be peaceful persuasion, they would be held to be within their rights, and there could be no reason for condemning the proceeding. But if not one or two men, but a dozen or more went on this mission of persuasion, the inference which the Court would draw would be that the object was not mere "peaceful persuasion," but intimidation or coercion or an appeal to fear. Supposing that the picket visited the house of a person at three o'clock in the morning, the magistrate might say that they could not peacefully persuade a man who was in bed; that what they wanted to do was to influence him by putting pressure on his freedom of will. The same observa- tion might be made in regard to places selected. He thought that the insertion of the words "peaceful persuasion" as the test of the bona fides of the operation would accomplish all the results to be obtained by a series of restrictive enactments. It would get rid of difficulties of construction, and the uncertainties of application which must arise from the use of a vague expression such as "in a reasonable manner." It would, he thought, ensure that individual liberty was not seriously infringed, and that public order was defended.


said that while the hon. and learned Attorney-General was speaking he could not help thinking that they ought to congratulate themselves on the fact that they had not got a stage further than the Report stage in which Amendments could be made, for he had not the least doubt, after what had taken place in connection with this Bill since it was introduced, that if the same crop of concessions had gone on, by the time they reached the next stage not only would the word "peacefully" have disappeared, but they would have been asked probably to insert the words "with turmoil and with violence." The hon. and learned Attorney-General had stated truly —and he admired him for his candour-— that all his answers in Committee, and on the First and Second Reading, were founded on the words originally in the Bill, "peaceably and in a reasonable manner." When they asked for the numbers who might attend, or the hours in which it might be done, the answer was: "What do you want that for? It must be in 'a reasonable manner.'" Now, the hon. and learned Attorney-General declared that notwithstanding the previous consideration he had given the Bill when it was drafted and submitted, and when he was in charge of the First and Second Readings, and of the Committee stage, it had never occurred to him that the most unintelligible words that could be put into an Act of Parliament were the words "in a reasonable manner." The hon. and learned Attorney-General knew perfectly well that he had spent hours and days in the Courts in attempting to get them to define what was "reasonable." Had the hon. and learned Gentleman ever found any difficulty in getting the words "with reasonable care," or "for reasonable and probable cause" justly construed? While no one admired more than he did the candour of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he thought that, instead of trying to fritter away what he well knew were easily administered difficulties in relation to this term, it would have been much more honest to get up and say, "We are making one more, only one more little concession to the Labour Party." The hon. and learned Gentleman knew perfectly well that that was what had happened. They saw by the ordinary organs of communication which some of them read, and which some of them did not read, that a demand had been made by the Labour Party; they knew perfectly well that these words "in a reasonable manner" had been objected to, but instead of coming down and pretending that the English law knew no such method of solving the difficulty of what was "reasonable," why did not the hon. Gentleman get up and say, "Just as I had to give way on a previous occasion with reference to the opinions I so strongly felt and continue to feel, so here now I am prepared to throw over my principles." The Attorney-General practically said that this was a comparatively small matter and he was prepared to throw over the principles which from his youth up he had imbibed in the administration of the English law. But the matter did not rest there. The Attorney-General was not satisfied with that and so he must go on and attack the tribunals before which he had practised and under which he must have seen that justice had been done in the most difficult cases. He, the Attorney-General of this country, who ought to be the upholder of the administration of the law, had not hesitated on that occasion to bring forward as an argument that they could not trust the tribunals before which he had practised.


I used no such argument; I said nothing in the remotest degree like that.


The hon. and learned Gentleman said the tribunal might be disposed to be against the parties who brought the matter before them. If his Majesty's Attorney-General thought that the tribunals of the country could not be trusted it was his duty to alter their constitution and not to alter the laws.


said that he had never stated anything of the sort and did not think it. The right hon. Gentleman had given a travesty of what he had said. He said that, if twelve men were asked to come to a conclusion that a certain proceeding was reasonable, it would be difficult to expect them to arrive-at the same conclusion as twelve other men. He also said that in certain cases they would find twelve men who would say that no method of picketing would be reasonable.


, who was received with cries of "Withdraw," said the moment the hon. and learned Gentleman said he had taken his words wrongly he of course withdrew. He was glad to know that the hon. and learned Gentleman intended no reflection upon the Courts, but if there was no reflection on the Courts, what was the difficulty in construing the word "reasonable"? The truth of the matter was that the Attorney-General had changed his mind. Upon the previous occasion everthing according to the Attorney-General turned upon the words, "in a reasonable manner." He had all these statements-before him, and if it was necessary he could quote page after page in which the Attorney-General had said that they might reply upon those words. If they had not now to rely upon those words, "in a reasonable manner" what had they to rely upon? They had asked to have put in that there should be some provision as to reasonable numbers, and he would ask whether that was not a fair and a reasonable Amendment. It should never be forgotten that this was the first clause in any Act of Parliament which said that picketing was legal. [Cries of "No."] He defied anybody to point out to him any clause in the old Acts of Parliament which made it legal, although it was true that under the Act of 1875 it was stated that it should not be an offence within a certain clause of that Act. But that Act and the preceding Act had never legalised picketing. He did not think that they ought to extend the law beyond what was reasonably necessary to accomplish the object which they had in view. The hon. and learned Member had said that everything they desired would be effected by putting in that the purpose in a man's mind must be of a peaceful character. But how could they get at what was in a man's mind? The very matter they were trying to provide against showed the adsurdity of any such attempt. What they said was that the moment 100 men were brought down to another man's house, although they might be just as peaceful as he and the Attorney-General were at that moment, yet their presence might be an act of the greatest intimidation towa ds the man and his wife and family. Did the Attorney-General mean to tell them that that point would be met by saying that the men had gone there peacefully and with no intention of creating any disturbance? Did he mean to tell them that a magistrate had to find that although they might have gone there with a peaceful purpose their very numbers might not amount to intimidation? That was the whole distinction, and what they asked was that in legalising picketing, at all events some rules should be laid down as to the extent and manner in which it could be carried on. But there was a more important matter still having regard to what was to be left out of the Bill. They were mot at once with the question of nuisance not only towards the individual but towards the public. If they legalised a certain act what was the use of coming to the Courts and saying "this is a nuisance." The Courts would say "But it is legalised by an Act of Parliament and we cannot help that." So far as he was concerned he regretted the ignominous surrender which the Government had made on this clause more than that which they had made on Clause 4, because that was a mere matter of money, and he was not sure that so far as the capitalist was concerned it would make much difference one way or the other. But here it was a different matter. They were dealing with a question which would affect not only a class, but the public at large, and he thought that it was most unfortunate that the Government had not shown themselves able to resist the "peaceful persuasion" which had been addressed to them, and that unfortunately they had not been able to resist the intimidation which had resulted in an utter change of front.


said the right hon. Gentleman had made many fallacious statements and had entirely ignored the statements of his hon. and learned friend as to the meaning of the clause as it now stood. His hon. and learned friend had pointed out that all the safeguards which were attached to the word "reasonable," were amply carried out by the definition given of the nature of the act to be dealt with in the clause. It was very much better, both for draftsmanship and for purposes of substance, instead of attempting to define numbers, to define the purposes for which, and for which alone, the act in question was to be allowed. The right hon. Gentleman alleged some inconsistencies between what his hon. and learned friend had said and done in Committee and on Report, If that was made a ground of criticism, the sooner they got rid of the Report stage the better, because the very object of the Report stage was not to do the same thing but to benefit by the arguments addressed in Committee. It was said that a revolutionary change had been made, but if such was the case, then his hon. and learned friend had good precedent for it. In 1859 there appeared for the first time a section permitting peaceful picketing. That Statute was repealed by the Statute of 1871, and, unfortunately, in the Statute of 1871 the section of the Act of 1859 was not re-enacted. But in the Act of 1875 the Tory Government had before them the Act of 1859, and it was then decided that there should be a re-enactment of the provision relating to peaceful picketing. But the framers of that Act dropped out the words "peacefully and in a reasonable manner," so that his hon. and learned friend was doing nothing more to-day than he had excellent Tory precedent for. The words were dropped out because they were thought to be unnecessary. No terrible consequences followed, and the words were even more unnecessary to-day than they were in 1875.


said the argument of the Solicitor-General had certainly been a remarkable one. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said if persons were not to be allowed to change their opinions in the interval between the Committee and Report stage why have a Report stage? He quite admitted that if changes of opinion between the two stages of a Bill was to be practised on the scale that the House had witnessed on this occasion he would quite understand, and was inclined to adopt, the suggestion that these subjects should only come before the House on one of these two traditional occasions on which they had to be considered. But where would the Labour Party have been if, in respect of this measure, there had been no locus pœnitentiae of a Report stage, wherein reasonable persuasion might be exercised. The House would have been reading the Bill a third time with all its awful imperfections embodied in it, and would have lost the opportunity given by the present rules of hearing three Ministers get up and say they were entirely opposed, as they always had been, to the measure which they were supporting, but nevertheless they had great pleasure in yielding to the wishes of hon. Members below the Gangway. The Solicitor-General had reproached his hon. friend with not having met the arguments of the Attorney-General. What were the arguments? They were that he had put into the clause the word "peaceable" and that that word governed everything and prevented things that might otherwise occur—that if a man went at three in the morning to a man to try to obtain information or to persuade that person to work or to abstain from working, the hour was so inconvenient that the magistrates and the Courts would at once say it was not peaceable. Was that the way in which the Court interpreted the English language?


The inference would be from the time selected that the man had some ulterior motive in selecting it.


said that might be, but why should it not be peaceable? The only protection given to the person picketed was that the picketing should be peaceable.


Not at all.


said the additions and changes to this Bill had been so numerous that he might have overlooked a few of them.


said at all events there had been no addition to this particular Amendment before the House. The test of legality in the exercise of this right was that it should be for the mere purpose of peaceful persuasion and not for any ulterior or collateral object. The clause with this Amendment was as effectual in the protection of individual liberty as before.


said the impression made on his mind was that the hon. and learned Gentleman distinctly told the House that if there were an attempt to persuade a man at three in the morning, the magistrates would hold that that could not be described as peaceful persuasion.


said he was anxious to fulfil his undertaking to satisfy the House that the clause with this Amendment in it was effectual. The Amendment was this, if a picket by its numbers, or the hour at which it picketed or the use of language, led to the inference that it had only the object of using peaceful persuasion of the man picketed, it should be legal.


said that if anyone were privately drafting a clause to prevent anything but peaceful persuasion would he draft it as the Attorney-General had done? Would he not say that the numbers must be limited and the hours reasonable? Supposing all the members of the Opposition were to follow the Attorney-General home, and, in the most courteous manner, inform him of all the arguments against this Amendment. No one would say that that was not peaceful persuasion.


I should say that it was not for the purpose of peaceful persuasion.


said it would be a great nuisance, but that was not forbidden by this clause. It would be unreasonable, and the numbers would be excessive, but that did not make it unpeaceful. If it were peaceful and persuasive it would be lawful, whether it was a nuisance or not, He had thus met the argument of the Attorney-General If the Government were sincere in desiring that only persuasion should be allowed, and only under the circumstances under which mere persuasion was reasonable and proper, they ought to accept Amendments limiting the numbers. But on the other hand, if they wished to leave a loophole for that which called itself peaceful but was not peaceful, for that which called itself reasonable but was not reasonable, and for that which failed itself persuasion but was intimidation in disguise, then let them refuse this Amendment.


said he did not think this controversy had been very conclusive. The alarm of hon. Gentlemen opposite was very ill-founded. There was not the slightest reason to anticipate that intimidation, molestation, or nuisance would be permitted if this section of the clause were passed in the form in which it stood. Let him point out that all the section did was to emphasise what the law was at present. The late Prime Minister had forcibly put what the position would be in the imaginary cases he suggested. He had said that this section authorised any number to picket, and he was perfectly correct. From that he at once drew the deduction that because a statute authorised an unlimited number of persons to attend that it would not be in the power of the constable to move those people on. He begged to assure the right hon. Gentleman that that would not be the case, because the section they were now debating was nothing more than a reiteration of the law in Lyons v. Wilkins. The late Lord Justice Stirling held that attending for purposes other than for obtaining information, and for peaceful persuasion was unlawful, but the House of Lords had put that matter right since, and the Court of Appeal held before this Bill was prepared that they might attend for the purpose of peaceful persuasion. He might inform the late Prime Minister that when, under this clause, men were sued for nuisance or for congregating in numbers so as to cause intimidation or for any other unlawful purpose they would be just as rigidly dealt with under the Bill as they were at the present time.

*MR. BELL (Derby)

said he desired to say a few words in this debate, more especially after the alarming pictures that had been painted. He had had some experience in Labour movements and he knew something in regard to what led up to this Bill, and why these Amendments had been placed in it. [OPPOSITION cheers.] He quite appreciated those cheers, but at the same time he desired to point out to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side that when this Bill was passed, as it would be passed, it would make absolutely no difference in any of those instances which had been given by the late Prime Minister and the late Solicitor-General. He only desired to prove this by calling attention to the fact that so recently as two or three weeks ago, a large number of working men who were out on strike went to the house of another working man and they went in such large numbers as to alarm the man and his wife. Apparently, in the opinion of the man himself they endeavoured peacefully to persuade him, and there was no violence and no intimidation. The person concerned was annoyed by the presence of such a large number of men, and he took proceedings against them under the common law, and the men who were summoned were all fined,£10 and costs, or two months imprisonment. He needed hardly say more than that those who represented Labour deprecated anything which was likely to border on the line of intimidation, and they did not desire to remove any of those restrictions. They did not desire to remove the common law from imposing similar penalties if they were deserved upon those who committed such offences in the future. If hon. Members above the Gangway honestly desired that peaceful actions should be the work of those who conducted strikes or who were on strike, he could assure them that the Labour Leaders desired that the penalties should be upon the people who committed the offence, but they should not seek to get at the funds of their union. If a body of men got excited and thought they were personally relieved from any liability or responsibility, and were under the impression that the funds of the union could be attached for offences of their own, then they would not be very careful what they did. He would not have intervened in the debate but for the fact that the Solicitor-General did an injustice to those who had been at the head of the Labour movement when he pictured the alarming crimes that were going to take place if this Bill passed into law. No more crimes would occur in the future than in the past, and the penalties inflicted and the instances reported in yesterday's newspapers ought to be sufficient evidence that the punishment was sufficient, and they did not ask to be relieved of their responsibilty.


said he had the report of the cases referred to by the hon. Member for Derby, and he did not think that in his wildest moments the hon. Member could call it a case of peaceful picketing.


said he quoted those cases to show that they did not desire to be relieved of such penalties under similar circumstances.


said he understood the hon. Member to say that what was done on that occasion was done in a peaceful way. [Cries of "No"] But that was not the point under discussion. The point was a most important one. As the Bill stood without the Government Amendment people could not go to a man's house to the number of 100 or 200, and attend there unless they did it peaceably and in a reasonable manner. This Amendment would alter that, and he would state very shortly the reasons why he looked upon the words "peaceably and in a reasonable manner" as absolutely necessary for the safeguarding of the interests of the public. In this discussion upon an Amendment moved by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for the Forest of Dean, to omit the words "peaceably and in a reasonable manner," the learned Attorney-General—he was reading from Hansard —said— He could not accept the Amendment. It was essential to the success of this Bill that these words should remain in the clause. It was obvious that when they were going to legalise the right of a number of persons to assemble with a view to persuading others, that right should be qualified in some proper manner by placing it under reasonable re trictions. There were two ways in which that might be done. They might specify the various conditions to be observed in order to gauge the character of the gathering, and the proceedings of the people a sembled. They might say, as had been suggested, that words should be inserted in the clause to indicate the hours within which the gathering might take place, they might specify the spot at which persons might assemble, and they might point out that they must not cause intimidation or make use of language and demonstrations which would cause alarm or danger. That would be a cumbrous clause and would cause as great difficulty in construction as the expression which the Government, as an alternative, had put into the Bill.…They would leave it to the discretion of the Courts of law to say what was reasonable. … He could not conceive an expression more appropriate and more likely to do justice—"† than the one he was supporting. Those were the words of an eminent lawyer, and he ventured as a very much junior one heartily to concur in every word expressed by the hon. and learned Attorney-General on this point. He would quote one further passage from a subsequent speech on the same Amendment, and he would appeal to the House, having regard to these words, whether it was right and fair to bring up this Amendment on the Report Stage. The Attorney-General said: It was of course impossible to accept the Amendment, because the discussion had been conducted all through on the assumption—and he had met proposals of Amendments for safeguards on that very ground—that there was this provision in the Bill as it stood. If the clause were a declaration giving persons the right of picketing, which they might exercise providing they did so without violating the conditions prescribed, it was impossible that while they were exercising that right they should be doing anything illegal, because the object of the clause was to describe lawful conduct. The question whether it was proposed to picket in such a way as to cause a nuisance or a trespass must enter into the consideration whether or not the conduct was reasonable. If it was lawful conduct it could not be a nuisance or a trespass. He thought that his right hon. friend would recognise that it would not be reasonable to allow that right to be exercised without any kind of restriction. In the view of the hon. Member who had just spoken the word 'peaceably' would be a sufficient restriction, but he did not think that it was any less vague or less difficult of construction than the word 'reasonable.'"‡ He ventured to agree with that expression of legal opinion. He would not alter it † See (4) Debates clxii, 1631, 1632 ‡ See Debate (4) clxii, 1636. in one word lest by doing so he might tarnish it.


I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Member, but really I would ask him to observe that I was dealing there with both expressions in collocation, and particularly with the word "peaceably." What I now propose is to strike out altogether any qualification of the method of attendance, and to impose an altogether new alternative, and, I think, a more effectual test, by indicating the purpose for which the operation took place.


said he understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that he was dealing with the state of facts, namely, whether men attended reasonably and peaceably at a particular place. Did he suggest to the House that that was more difficult to define than what he was suggesting now—that they were to define what was in a man's mind. He read again from the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech: If they were to accept the view that there was to be some sort of restriction, he did not think that they could carry that view practically very much further than if they said that the assembly which was legalised under the clause must be peaceable and reasonable and must be conducted in a reasonable way. They had to face the danger of some harsh and restrictive construction being placed on the clause, and he did not think they appreciably diminished that danger by striking out the word 'reasonable.' All the apprehensions that they had heard in the course of the debate were he thought ill founded, but he thought there would be a perfect feeling of security if it was provided that the powers given by the clause should be used reasonably. None of them contemplated the alternative of an unreasonable exercise of the power, and therefore they ought not to reject the proposal that the exercise should be of a reasonable character. For these reasons it was impossible for him to accept the Amendment.'"† And for the same reason it was impossible for him to do otherwise than to vote for his hon. and learned friend's Amendment. † See (4) Debates clxii, 1636, 1637.


said he had listened to what had fallen from the learned Attorney-General in explanation of this clause, and he confessed it seemed to him then, and seemed to him now, that, if anything, he had acted more in accordance with the views of hon. Members opposite than of those who sat below the Gangway—[An HON. MEMBER, "No."] It appeared to him that what his hon. and learned friend had in his mind was this, that he was desirous of legalising that kind of picketing only which would be for the purpose, and merely for the purpose, of obtaining or communicating information or merely for the purpose of peaceful persuasion, and that he was desirous there should be no other form of picketing legalised. In construing the words as they appeared in the Bill at the end of the Committee Stage, and before the Amendment he was now moving, the words "peaceably and in a reasonable manner" did not appear to carry out his intention successfully, at least so successfully as by inserting the word "peaceably" before obtaining or persuading. Perhaps there was no better method of dealing with a controversy of this kind than by taking an instance. He would take the illustration given by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He was sure that hon. Members opposite would think that he was attempting to deal fairly with them when he took the very illustration the right hon. Gentleman propounded in favour of the argument he put to the House. Supposing they had, as he suggested, eighty or ninety Members of the House going to the Attorney-General's house at three o'clock to-morrow morning——


Twelve o'clock at night.


thought that with that correction he was accurately representing the right hon. Gentleman's instance. No one in the House had greater admiration for the Leader of the Opposition's powers of argument than he and he would dearly like to hear the right hon. Gentleman in a Court addressing a jury and showing that the eighty or ninety Members of this House—and he presumed they would be from the Opposition if so many could be found— were following the Attorney-General after the argument which they had had to-night, calling at his house, and ringing at the bell, for what purpose? For the purpose of communicating information to him and peacefully persuading him. He would ask the House to consider for a moment what a dfficulty the right hon. Gentleman would be in if he had to put such a proposition as that to a jury composed of twelve men not skilled in metaphysics or dialectics—twelve men of ordinary sound common sense. He imagined the Leader of the Opposition saying to the twelve members of the jury, "We eighty or ninety men followed the Attorney-General to his house at twelve o'clock at night, but we had no object or purpose in view but that of peacefully persuading or of communicating information to him!" Might he suggest that what would happen would be that the learned Judge, after paying a tribute to the great skill and ability with which the case had been argued, would proceed to ask the jury one or two pointed questions. Why eighty or ninety men? Why twelve o'clock at night? They could not all argue at the same time, not even in the street; and if they were not to argue, how could they peacefully persuade? Would any one think that the jury would find that the Attorney-General had been waited upon at his house by these men for the purposes of "peaceful persuasion." But it was said by the right hon. Gentleman with considerable force that the attendance of eighty or ninety men would be an intolerable nuisance. Outside this House they had to listen to many arguments which were an intolerable nuisance, and when that intolerable nuisance was repeated eighty or ninety times he could quite understand that it would be objectionable in practice. But that did not meet the point put by the hon. and learned Attorney-General, which was that the sole test of peaceful picketing was whether it was attendance "merely" for the purpose of peacefully persuading or of communicating information. If they introduced, for example, the element suggested by one speaker, of obstruction in the street, they were introducing something totally different, and it might be said that that was not attending merely for the purpose of peacefully persuading or of communicating information. The right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University said, and of course he believed it at the time he said it, that there was no difficulty whatever in dealing with such words as "reasonable," "with reasonable care," "with reasonable and probable cause." He appealed to the experience of lawyers, and asked whether there was any word upon which there might be a greater difference of opinion than in the determination of whether an act was done "reasonably" in particular circumstances. It was much the same when a man said that his argument was based on common-sense. What was the standard of a common-sense point of view. For the purpose of defining "reasonably" there was no test of the word except the opinion of the Judge or the jury who had to decide the case. Whatever the department of law might be, whether in a mercantile transaction, or any other transactions in which the Court had to determine such a question it would always be very difficult to say whether the Judge or the jury would find a thing to be reasonable. He was not saying too much when he stated that one Judge might find a certain set of facts reasonable to-day, and another Judge might find the same set of facts unreasonable to-morrow. The necessity of the Amendment was that those who were organising and directing trade disputes might know with greater certainty what would be decided by the Courts. There was not much difficulty in deciding what was "peaceful persuasion." The right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University said— "How are you to ascertain the state of a man's mind?" and he put the question as if the mere putting of it was a complete answer. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was engaged every day in the Courts of Justice in ascertaining the state of mind of men making statements.


said he was sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman did not desire to misrepresent him. What he put forward was that it was much more difficult to ascertain what was the state of a man's mind than to find what was reasonable from the statement of facts.


said he meant to criticise the observations in that spirit. In reference to dealing with a question of the state of mind of an individual he would give one instance which he was sure would carry conviction to the House. Daily an answer had to be given to this question in a Court of Justice. A statement had been made which was untrue. Was it made honestly or dishonestly? They had to determine that by ascertaining the state of mind of the man who made it. Nobody had more skill than his right hon. and learned friend in extracting information as to the state of the man's mind so as to enable him to determine that question.


Except you.


disclaimed the compliment, and went on to say it was a common practice in every Court to attempt to find out the state of mind of any man making a statement, and he submitted that the clause as now drafted by the Attorney-General carried out with much greater certainty and precision the intention which the hon. and learned Gentleman had in including the words as they appeared on the Committee stage.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

replying to some shouts of "Divide" with which he was received, said he thought that hon. Members opposite might pay a better compliment to the speech which had just been delivered than to endeavour to secure that it should go without a reply. The hon. and learned Member had said that the clause as amended by the Attorney-General was more favourable to the views of those who sat on the Opposition benches than to those below the gangway. He thought that statement alone was a sufficient refutation of the hon. and learned Member's speech. Everybody knew that the clause had been amended at the suggestion of and under pressure from hon. Members below the gangway. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh."] If hon. Members opposite did not know it they must be in a very singular condition of mind after what had been said. He believed that hon. Members below the gangway knew their own business a great deal better than to ask for an Amendment which would not serve their turn. There were two changes which the Attorney-General made. One was to strike out the word "reasonable." That he would not deal with. The other was to substitute for a definition of the manner a definition of the object. That was the whole difference between them, and he said without the least fear of contradiction that it was much safer if they wished to have a clear and precise and definite piece of legislation to define the manner of the act than to define the object. He ventured to make an appeal not to the Government, because this was not a Government Bill, but to the hon. Member for Clitheroe and his friends and to ask them whether they would not be wise to accept this Amendment and to provide that people who went for the purpose of "peaceful persuasion" must go in reasonable numbers. If the hon. Member and his friends would accept the Amendment they would show the sincerity of their intentions.

MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid)

said he only intended to make a very short speech because he intended to speak to the Amendment,

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E. Beale, W. P. Branch, James
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Beauchamp, E. Brigg, John
Acland, Francis Dyke Beaumont, Hon. H. (Eastb'rne Bright, J. A.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Beaumont, Hn. W.C.B.(H'x'm Brocklehurst, W. B.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Beck, A. Cecil Brodie, H. C.
Alden, Percy Bell, Richard Brooke, Stopford
Allen, A. Acland (Christch.) Bellairs, Carlyon Brunner, J F. L.(Lancs., Leigh
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Benn,SirJ.Williams(Devonp'rt Brunner, Rt.Hn.Sir J. T.(Ches.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo. Bryce, Rt.Hn. James (Aberd'n
Asquith, Rt.Hn.Herbert Henry Berridge, T. H. D. Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs
Astbury, John Meir Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn
Atherley-Jones, L. Billson, Alfred Buckmaster, Stanley O.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Black, ArthurW. (Bedfordshire Burns, Rt. Hon. John
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E. Bolton, T. D (Derbyshire,N.E. Burnyeat, W. J. D.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight Bottomley, Horatio Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney C.
Barker, John Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey) Byles, William Pollard
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Bowerman, C. W. Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.
Barnard, E. B. Brace, William Causton,Rt. Hn. RichardKnight
Barnes, G. N. Bramsdon, T. A. Chance, Frederick William

whereas for the last two hours hon. Members had been speaking not to the Amendment before the House but to the proposed Amendments of the hon. and learned Attorney-General. It was not in his view important to consider what everybody said yesterday or the day before. The question was whether the Amendment claiming that a provision should be made in regard to the number of people engaged in picketing was reasonable or not. What they desired to do was to make peaceful persuasion legal in regard to picketing. It was because he was in favour of legalising picketing in this way that he was not in favour of the Amendment and in his opinion it was because hon. Members were against picketing in every way that they were supporting the Amendment. It was because it would limit the power of the workmen in regard to peaceful picketing that he was against the Amendment.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 347; Noes, 72. (Division List No. 366.)

Cheetham, John Frederick Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Micklem, Nathaniel
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Haworth, Arthur A. Molteno, Percy Alport
Churchill, Winston Spencer Hazel, Dr. A. E. Mond, A.
Clarke, C. Goddard Helme, Norval Watson Money, L. G. Chiozza
Cleland, J. W. Hermmerde, Edward George Montagu, E. S.
Clough, W. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Montgomery, H. G.
Clynes, J. R. Henry, Charles S. Mooney, J. J.
Coats.Sir T. Glen (Renfrew,W. Higham, John Sharp Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Hobart, Sir Robert Morgan., J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Collins.Sir Wm. J.(S.Panc's,W. Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Morrell, Philip
Cooper, G. J. Hodge, John Morse, L. L.
Corbett, C. H.(Sussex,E.G'ns'd. Hogan, Michael Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Cornwall. Sir Edwin A. Holland, Sir William Henry Murnaghan, George
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Hooper, A. G. Murphy, John
Cowan, W. H. Hope,W.Bateman(Somerset,N. Myer, Horatio
Cox, Harold Horniman, Emslie John Nannetti, Joseph P.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Horridge, Thomas Gardner Napier, T. B.
Cremer, William Randal Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Crooks, William Hudson, Walter Nicholls, George
Crosfield, A. H. Hyde, Clarendon Nicholson. Charles N. (Donc'r')
Crossley, William J. Idris, T. H. W. Norman, Henry
Dalziel, James Henry Illingworth, Percy H. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Nussey, Thomas Willans
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Jackson, R. S. Nuttall, Harry
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S. Jacoby, James Alfred O'Brien, Kendal (Tip'rary Mid
Delany, William Jardine, Sir J. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Jenkins, J. O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N. Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Jones, SirD.Brvnmor(Swansea O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Dobson, Thomas W. Jones, Leif (Appleby) O'Grady, J.
Dodd, W. H. Jones, William (Carnarvonsh. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Duckworth, James Jowett, F. W. O'Malley, William
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Kearley, Hudson E. O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Kekewich, Sir George Parker, James (Halifax)
Dunne,Major E. Martin (Wals'] Kelley, George D. Paul, Herbert
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Paulton, James Mellor
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Kincaid-Smith, Captain Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Edwards, Frank (Radnor) King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester
Elibank, Master of Laid law, Robert Philipps, J. Wynford(Pemboke
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Erskine, David C Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Evans, Samuel T. Lambert, George Pirie, Duncan V.
Eve, Harry Trelawney Lamont, Norman Pollard, Dr.
Everett, R. Lacey Layland-Barratt, Francis Price, C. E. (Edinburgh.Centr'l
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Acc'ngton Radford, G. H.
Fenwick, Charles Lehmann, R. C. Rainy, A. Rolland
Ferens, T. R. Lever,A.Levy (Essex.Harwich Raphael, Herbert H.
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Lever, W.H. (Cheshire.Wirral) Rea, Russell (Gloucester)
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Levy, Maurice Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'
Flynn, James Christopher Lewis, John Herbert Redmond, John E. (Waterford
Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Henry Lough, Thomas Redmond, William (Clare)
Fuller, John Michael F. Lundon, W. Rees, J. D.
Fullerton, Hugh Lupton, Arnold Renton, Major Leslie
Gibb, James (Harrow) Lynch, H. B. Richards,Thomas (W.Monm'th
Gill, A. H. Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs Richards, T. F.(Wolverb'mpt'n
Gladstone.Rt.Hn.Herbert John Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Richardson, A.
Glover, Thomas Macpherson, J. T. Rickett, J. Compton
Gooch, George Peabody MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Grant, Corrie MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal, E Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Greenwood, Hamar (York) M'Callum, John M. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward M'Crae, George Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd
Gulland, John W. M'Kean, John Robinson, S.
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton M'Killop, W. Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. M'Micking, Major G. Roe, Sir Thomas
Hall, Frederick Maddison, Frederick Rogers, F. E. Newman
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Mallet, Charles E. Rose, Charles Day
Hardie, J.Keir(Merthyr Tydvil Mansfield,H.Rendall (Lincoln) Rowlands, J.
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Marks, G.Croydon(Launceston Runciman, Walter
Harrington, Timothy Marnham, F. J. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland
Hart-Davis, T. Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Meagher, Michael Schwann, Sir C. E. (Ma ch'ster
Harwood, George Meehan, Patrick A. Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Menzies, Walter Sears, J. E.
Seely, Major J. B. Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen,E.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Shackleton, David James Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E. Weir, James Galloway
Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Thomas,David Alfred (Merthyr Whitbread, Howard
Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B. Thomasson, Franklin White, George (Norfolk)
Shipman, Dr. John G. Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Simon, John Allsebrook Tomkinson, James White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Toulmin, George White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Trevelyan, Charles Philips Whitehead, Rowland
Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S. Ure, Alexander Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Snowden, P. Verney, F. W. Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Soames, Arthur Wellesley Villiers, Ernest Amherst Wiles, Thomas
Soares, Ernest J. Vivian, Henry Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Spicer, Sir Albert Wadsworth, J. Williams, Llewelyn (Carm'th'n
Stanley, Hn. A. Lylph (Chesh.) Walker, H. De R. (Leicester) Williamson, A.
Steadman, W. C. Walsh, Stephen Wiison, Hn C.H.W.(Hull,W.)
Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Walters, John Tudor Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S. Wilson,J.W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Strachey, Sir Edward Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Stuart, James (Sunderland) Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Sullivan, Donal Wardle, George J. Woodhouse, Sir J.T. (Hud'rsf'd
Summerbell, T. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Young, Samuel
Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney TELLERS FOR THE AYES-Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe Waterlow, D. S.
Tennant, H.J. (Berwickshire) Watt, H. Anderson
Balcarres, Lord Faber, George Denison (York) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield
Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(City Lond. Fell, Arthur Nield, Herbert
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Parkes, Ebenezer
Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester Fletcher, J. S. Percy, Earl
Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks Forster, Henry William Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Rawlinson.John Frederick Peel
Bertram, Julius Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Roberts, S. (Sheffield.Ecclesall)
Bowles, G. Stewart Hamilton, Marquess of Saltor, Arthur Clavell
Boyle, Sir Edward Hardy,Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Smith.F.E. (Liverpool, Walton
Butcher, Samuel Henry Heaton, John Henniker Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Carlile, E. Hildred Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe Starkey, John R.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Castlereagh, Viscount Hills, J. W. Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf d Univ
Cave, George Hunt, Rowland Thomson.W.Mitchell-(Lanark)
Cavendish, Rt. Hn.Victor C.W. Kennaway, Rt. Hn.Sir John H. Thornton, Percy M.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) j Keswick, William Tuke, Sir John Batty
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E. Kimber, Sir Henry Turnour, Viscount
Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R-
Courthope, G. Loyd Lockwood.Rt.Hn. Lt.-Col.A.R. Younger, George
Craig,Charles Curtis (Antrim,S. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon Alfred
Craig,Captain James (Down.E. M'Calmont, Colonel James TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Craik, Sir Henry Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Dalrymple, Viscount Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Duncan, Robert (Lanark.G'v'n Morpeth, Viscount

And, it being after Eleven of the clock, further proceeding on consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended, to be further considered To-morrow.

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Resolution of the House of the 4th August last.

Adjourned at nine minutes after Eleven o'clock.