HC Deb 12 April 1907 vol 172 cc501-59

Order for Second Reading read.

* MR. WALSH (Lancashire, Ince)

said that in moving the Second Reading of this Bill he was compelled to remember the fact that it had been for many years before the House. For nineteen years it had been presented as a distinct Bill for the limitation of the hours of labour in mines, coming before the House in that form in 1889, and for two years before that it took the form of the Amendment of measures which were before the House. It had, therefore, completed its twenty first year. It had, in that sense, attained its majority, and he could only say that ho wished now that the callow youth had developed into a strapping lusty man, that his fortunes had been on this occasion entrusted to abler hands than his. But there was satisfaction in knowing that, after all, the matter had never been looked upon as a purely Party question. The lines of Party division had never been sharply drawn in an acrimonious sense in the discussions in the House upon this matter, and therefore, while one's qualms might be great in having charge of the measure upon the Second Reading, yet they were certainly lessened, and the feeling of satisfaction was, if possible, increased by the fact that the measure had never been looked upon as one of a Party character. On many occasions it had passed its Second Reading, sometimes with small, sometimes with relatively large majorities, and on the last occasion the Second Reading was not challenged at all, and passed absolutely without any opposition being offered to it. There was almost entire agreement to the proposition that, provided no injury was inflicted upon the national prosperity, the coal miner, man and boy, had an overwhelming claim for a limitation of his hours of labour. What were the objections? The Mine Owners' Association of Great Britain had issued a brief on this occasion, as it had issued briefs on many other questions which had come before the House. In that brief it was stated, first of all, that if the measure were adopted there would be a diminution of output and a consequent increase of price to consumers, which it was said would seriously injure, if not cripple, many industries, and might even lead to ruin. The cry of ruin to British industry had been so often raised in that House that he thought it was losing a good deal of its potency. He did not mean to repeat the arguments that had been urged previously in the country and in the House as to the groundlessness of these alarms, but in order to prove the great and growing expansion of the coal producing industry he would put forward a few figures. He would take the years 1884 and 1906. In 1884, the output of coal was 161,000,000 tons, while in 1906 it had reached the astounding total of 251,000,000 tons, or an increase in about twenty years of nearly 57 per cent. But that was not the whole case. They had to take into account the productivity of the mines, notwithstanding the fact, which was not disputed, that many of the most easily worked mines were rapidly going out of existence. Easily worked mines and seams were rapidly disappearing, and mines were being worked at a greater depth and under very much more onerous conditions, and yet the productivity of the mines was increasing year by year. In the district with which he was specially concerned, the Liverpool and North Wales district, there had been a decrease of nearly 750 men employed in the course of the year, yet the production had risen by more than 1,500,000 tons. Thus while the people employed had fallen in numbers the tonnage had increased by more than 7½ per cent., and that in a district where the more easily worked mines were very rapidly indeed giving way. But he would take the nation as a whole. According to last year's returns the number of people employed had increased by 2¾ per cent., while the output had increased by 6¼ per cent., indeed nearly6½ per cent. That showed that the productivity of man and boy, coupled with the enterprise of the employers in using modern science and invention and keeping pace with modern requirements, had boon increased by both parties pulling together to meet existing needs. It was, however, still argued that ruin would overtake our great industries, even though they found that year after year throughout half a century the productivity of the mines had been increasing. This was not merely an ephemeral or transitory state of things. It embodied the experience of fifty years right away through. The employers carried their case a little further, and said that the increased bustle and hurry resulting from lessened hours would augment the risk and danger attendant upon mining operations and lead to a greater number of accidents. If that argument were sound it would follow that in those districts where shorter hours were worked there would be a greater percentage of danger as compared with those in which longer hours prevailed. What were the facts? In the county of Durham, where the shortest hours were worked, the accidents were in the ratio of one accident more or less serious per 63,000 tons of coal raised. In the district of Manchester and Ireland, where the longest hours were worked, the Government inspector reported that the working had reached a degree of safety which had never previously been accomplished, and the accidents were one for every 65,000 tons of coal raised, slightly in advance of the figures in regard to Durham, where the shortest hours were put in by the men. But when they came to the Swansea district, which in regard to length of hours was almost as bad as Manchester and Ireland, what were the figures? There they had a district where the hours were intolerably long, as the men worked ten, eleven and even a greater number of hours per day; there the proportion of accidents was one for every 32,500 tons of coal raised, or more than double the number of accidents in Durham where shorter hours were worked. If the long hours conduced to safety they would expect to find a greater degree of safety where long hours obtained than where shorter hours were worked. As a matter of fact, however, they found a greater ratio of accidents where the longer hours were worked. He had the honour of being on terms of friendship with the clerk and chief adviser of the Mine Owners' Association of Great Britain, Mr. T. R. Ellis, and that gentleman had pointed out that this Bill if carried would almost certainly reduce the percentage of coal got by fourteen per cent., or 32,000,000 tons. Those wore terrifying figures, but when it was remembered that in last year alone the increase had been 15,000,000 tons, and that on many occasions it had been more than that, they came to the conclusion that Mr. Ellis wanted to make their flesh creep. But his flesh did not creep, and he did not think anyone else's would. Mr. Ellis, in his calculation, failed to make allowance for any increase of efficiency on the part of cither workpeople or employer, or for an improved attendance by the workmen resulting from the greater time they would have in which to renew their physical powers. No account was taken of the more efficient maintenance of the haulage and roadways, or of the increased output likely to result from the improvement of the human factors that were brought into the problem. All the argument of the employers was based upon the assumption that the maximum of working efficiency both of employer and of workman was attained, an assumption which the figures of half a century conclusively disproved. So far as to the objections of the employers. He would proceed to examine their admissions. Mr. Henry Bram all, a leading colliery agent and a man of great repute in the Manchester and Ireland, district, speaking in regard to the pits where the longest hours of labour were worked, had pointed out that they were working at a depth in some of their mines of 1,170 or 1,200 yards, nearly three-quarters of a mile, and that the temperature was anything from 92 to 95 degrees. He had gone on to point out that some of the shafts were seven feet in diameter, and he seemed to think that the conditions appertaining to a shaft of that kind were to regulate the whole of the trade of the country. Mr. Robert Millington Knowles, the Chairman of Andrew Knowles and Company, Limited, speaking at the annual meeting two months ago, said that they had had to put down air-compressing plant to get the coal from the Pendlebury pits, where the depth was now so great that the temperature was too hot for horses to work in. It seemed that the conditions which rendered it impossible for horses to work were conditions in which it was perfectly possible and proper for human beings to labour. He did not think there could be any more scathing condemnation of the system under which mining operations had been conducted in many places than that statement by a representative of one of the firms who thought they had given such damaging evidence before the Departmental Committee. He thought the House would be inclined to pay more attention to the employers if they had ever tried to meet the case at all, but they had all along given an absolute non possumus, not merely to the Eight Hours Bill, but to every measure of social and industrial betterment. They had always raised this opposition and the cry that the industry would be ruined. Time after time had it been raised, but never once had the employers put forward any constructive policy. He had always honoured the Northumberland and Durham Coal Miners' Association, and he knew that the men who composed it were honest and honourable men. No doubt their opposition to this measure in the past had been founded upon weighty reasons and sincere motives, but they now knew that that position was not to continue, and that their friends in Northumberland were to stand on the side of the angels. [AN HON. MEMBER: For a time.] At all events Northumberland was now with them. It might be said that there was a Departmental inquiry proceeding in regard to the matter, and that they should submit their case to it. [Hear, hear.] He heard cries of "hear, hear" from the front Opposition Bench, but in his judgment the stage of inquiry had long passed, because the evidence which was being laid before the Committee was evidence which had been known to every person acquainted with the ABC of the business for the last twenty years. Every schoolboy acquainted with coal mining matters knew that some pits were deeper than others; that some men had a little longer way to travel to the pit; that they did not all go down at once; that the distances underground varied so much that some were long and some were short, and he begged respectfully to point out that that was exactly the class of evidence which was being submitted to the Departmental Committee. It was given in a glorified form, of course, by gentlemen of repute and great commercial standing, but, as he had said, every schoolboy in coal mining knew all the facts that were being presented before the Committee. Seeing that the matter had been before the House for so many years, that it had been discussed openly, submitted to the electors and canvassed by the newspapers, it would be folly to say now that it ought to be referred to a Departmental Committee. What were the terms of reference to that Committee? They were directed to inquire into production, wages, employment, the export trade, and the effect on kindred industries, regard being had to the different conditions obtaining in different districts, as well as the probable effect of the proposed remedy on the health of miners; while if necessary the inquiry was to be extended to the case of metalliferous mines. That, surely, was a roving commission. Never did Captain Kidd, in the course of his adventurous existence, embark on so broad a sea.


pointed out that by the governing terms of reference the inquiry was limited to the probable economic effect of a limitation of employment to eight hours.


said that even so the inquiry might go on till the crack of doom, repeating platitudes to the end of the chapter, or collecting facts with which every one with any knowledge of the subject was already fully conversant. The attitude of the miners in regard to the inquiry reminded him of a story told of Sydney Smith. A friend imagined himself deeply in love with a young lady, and, undecided what to do, consulted the witty cleric. "My good fellow," was the reply, "you just do as you please; but, take my word for it, whatever you do you will live to regret it." Whatever the supporters of this Bill did they would live to regret it. If the miners gave evidence before the Committee they would be assisting in a vexatious and, as he believed, fatal delay. If they did not give evidence they would be told they were afraid to submit their ease. But the case of the miners had been fully before the country for over twenty years. Their claim for a shorter day was based on the undoubted right of the workers to a fair share of the wealth they produced, and to a fair share of the leisure resulting from the increased productivity of their labour. If there was any section of the workers which had a prior claim to a shorter day, it was the miners who followed in the bowels of the earth an occupation that physically was most exhausting, under conditions as gloomy as it was possible for the mind of man to conceive. The advocates of a shorter working day said further, that if there was one section of miners who had a prior claim it was the youth of the mining population. For them it was absolutely necessary that they should have a shorter working day; it was absolutely necessary to give them some little brightness and hope while they were still young, if they were to develop that vigorous manhood upon which the forces of the nation rested. But the desire for mental improvement and intellectual progress was arrested if not absolutely stifled by reason of the long hours and onerous conditions under which they laboured. Millions of money were spent every year on education, but a large amount was wasted because technical and secondary education were rendered mere by-words by the conditions under which a large portion of our industrial population, and especially the miners, existed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover the other day told them that the standard of living was very often the standard of their self-esteem. No doubt it was because men would not be content with the conditions that prevailed twenty-five or thirty years ago that they had risen in, their own self-esteem. It was in the hope that the House would help them in a work which could only have as its result the increasing prosperity of the country that he begged to move the Second Reading of the Bill.

MR. E. EDWARDS (Hanley)

seconded the Motion, agreeing with the mover that this was not a political question, as the measure was supported in all quarters of the House and the opposition to it was gradually vanishing. Everybody agreed that eight hours from bank to bank was quite long enough, and there could be no difficulty in proving that the nine or ten hours now worked were excessive in view of the atmospheric conditions under which miners laboured, and the dangerous nature of the occupation. Had there been anything like unity among the miners of the country the question would have been settled long ago; and once the question was disposed of the miners of north and south would be glad to shake hands. The opposition to the Bill was gradually declining. He might say it was now a question between employers and workmen, pure and simple, and he regretted that in all the negotiations that had taken place with the view of settling the problem of wages and the relationship, between wages and prices the colliery owners had shown no desire to approach the miners' unions in order to discuss the question of the hours of labour. The cry had been raised that the adoption of an eight-hours day would ruin the coal industry. To that he replied that those in charge of the great mining organisations were fully alive to the needs of the country. In his judgment, there were no grounds for the statement that the proposed change would mean an enormous increase in the cost of production. He would not pin himself to a statement that there would be no increase of cost, for he believed the cost of production would be increased somewhat. It was asked why could they not get an eight hours day by trade union effort. He had the greatest admiration for the trade unions of the country, which had done much to improve the condition of the people—indeed, more than many were inclined to give them credit for. But were the trade unions, in face of the sheer and stupid opposition of the coal-owners, to embark upon an effort to secure an eight hours day which would mean a strike that would put into the shade the appalling struggle of 1893? All who valued the interests of the working men of the country would go a long way to make impossible a strike of such magnitude, with all the disastrous consequences which would follow in its train. Trade unions might make the effort, but were they prepared to stand by and see repeated in tenfold intensity the events of 1893? They would rather trust to Parliament, which represented the wishes of the community, for the accomplishment of their object, than expose the interests of those for whom they spoke to the disastrous consequences of a strike. The great mass of workmen, on this question, sought to achieve their end by peaceful means, and by appeals to the reason and intelligence of the people. A strike was a clumsy method of settling such a question, and they preferred to ask the House to pass the Bill by such an overwhelming majority as would place its supporters in a better position than they could attain by means of a strike. Evidence had been given before the Departmental Committee which had inquired into the subject, and it might be accepted as true, from what they knew of the world and human nature, that a man was apt to take an exaggerated view of his own particular case. The workman had a most exaggerated view of the smallness of his wage, while the colliery manager had a most exaggerated view of the enormousness of that wage. One witness had stated that the effect of passing the measure would be to add to the cost of coal anything from between 3d. and 4d. to 2s. and 2s. 2d. per ton. But they need not be alarmed by that statement. They were not without experience on the point. When the Workmen's Compensation Bill was before the House it was urged that it would involve an increased cost of 4d. to 10d. a ton., but the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill was well advised in not accepting that statement, because experience had since shown that the extra cost was something like a penny per ton. or less. Applying their experience in regard to what it was said would. cost 10d., and in reality cost only a penny, then, by the same rule, it might be accepted that what it was said would cost, say, one shilling under this Bill, would in reality cost a very small amount indeed. After all, the increase of cost caused by the Bill would be a very small matter indeed compared with the enormous increase of the value of coal which had been experienced during the last season. Still, if it wore true that the institution of an eight-hours day would have the effect stated by colliery owners and managers, they would certainly pause before they went further with this Eight Hours Bill. The miners had no interest in passing any Bill which would close the collieries and throw them out of work. But the men who advocated the measure, with all the knowledge and experience they possessed, were fully satisfied that it would not have the disastrous consequences which were feared in certain quarters. He recalled the things which were said when the Act of 1872 came into operation. The owners threatened to retire from the trade, but they had remained in it long enough to make an enormous pile of money. He remembered that, in the district which he specially represented, when he was a boy the hours were eleven and twelve a day, and in those days the boys were rather worse treated than the men. The colliery owners and managers in the district to which he referred agreed to settle the question of the boys by establishing a uniform week of forty-eight hours—an eight-hours day for work in the colliery. That was done in 1872, in a district where the men worked eleven and twelve; hours a day, and, as far as he knew, the arrangement had not interfered with the prosperity of the colliery owners. The predictions made as to the consequences which would attend the Bill now under discussion were very much opposed to experience, and he would rather take the facts which had been ascertained than rely on the assumption that the cost would be increased by from 2s. to 2s. 6d. per ton. During a long and arduous struggle the miners had been looking forward to the fulfilment of their hopes. No doubt their condition was better now than it was twenty or thirty years ago; still, their labour was of a description which justified their claiming that this Bill should be passed with unanimous assent. Surely, Members of the House would not defeat a measure which was capable of being supported on the highest moral grounds, and was based on considerations which were best for the welfare of the people. If they got the Bill through, the present Parliament would be long remembered by those who toiled in subterraneous gloom, amid terrible risks and hardships. The passing of such a measure, by reducing the hours of labour, would open the door to these men for technical education and all those subjects so much talked of; they would have more time for study and self-improvement; trade would become more steady and consistent than it was to-day; in many ways the men would be better off, and their life more worth living; and those now most opposed to the Bill would come to realise that it was one of the best things that Parliament had ever done.

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

* MR. J. JOHNSON (Gateshead)

, in opposing the Bill, said he was sure the House would be pleased with the two speeches to which they had just listened, but notwithstanding the case they had put, he hoped the House would extend their indulgence to him while he stated the case so far as those whom he represented were concerned. If hon. Members who supported the Bill believed that he and others had a special pleasure in opposing it, they were very much mistaken. It was an easy thing to address the House and the rest of the community on a popular subject, but it was not so easy for the exponents of what might be regarded as the unpopular side, who perhaps were looked upon almost as cruel monsters. [Cries of "No, no; not at all."] He would not attempt again to go over the economic and humanitarian arguments. They had been so frequently dealt with in the House that it would be a waste of time to repeat them. He would address himself to one or two points of practical importance. Why did they oppose this Bill? They opposed it because, rightly or wrongly, they thought it would be detrimental to the men they represented. They would be enthusiastically glad if the forebodings they had put forward were neutralised, or if the evil effects they anticipated did not follow. He hoped, at any rate, that they would be given credit for having those apprehensions. He did not share the apprehension that they were going to ruin the coal-owners of Durham, because they could take care of themselves. He was thinking more of the men he represented. Another point which ought to appeal to his trade union friends in the House was that they opposed the Bill because a very large preponderance of the members of their association were against it, and he hoped that argument would have some weight. So long as the opinion prevailed amongst the men he represented that they were against an eight hours day he would continue to resist the Bill, and emphatically and boldly to put before the House his views, notwithstanding the fact that he would be opposing men whom ho would rather not oppose. That was democratic. What would be said of him if he sat in the House and acted counter to the interests of men who had arrived at that decision after long and weary discussion? They had taken a census of the views of the men in Durham upon the question. In 1892 they were very anxious to find out what was the general trend of opinion in Durham, and a ballot was taken in that year which showed that 12,684 were for, and 28,217 against an eight hours day. Another ballot was taken in 1903, and the majority against an eight hours day on that occasion was larger than in 1892. He wished specially to indicate to the House as showing the trend of the opinion of the miners that on each occasion when a ballot was taken there was less than 13,000 out of a probable membership of between 80,000 to 85,000 voted in favour of an eight hours day. It might be said that their leaders did not advise them to vote for an Eight Hours Bill. Why? Because of the probable consequences which might arise. What struck him was the absolute indifference which seemed to be manifested towards certain consequences which would follow if this Bill were passed. It was well to be optimistic, and not to have too gloomy forebodings, but it was the province of cool-headed reasonable leaders before they took action to look around at the whole situation and find out whether a proposed course was going to benefit or injure those they represented. If any hon. Member would show him that the consequences he anticipated would not follow the adoption of the principle of this Bill, he would for ever hold his peace against it, because he had no objection whatever to the principle itself. What were the consequences they apprehended? In the first place they believed there would follow a very large dismissal of men. They all knew how serious that would be and what the consequences would be to the men and their families. They also feared that ultimately if the Bill passed 40,000 of their coal hewers would be asked to work eight instead of seven hours a day. It might be said that that would not be so, because the Bill provided for a maximum of eight hours. In this matter he was obliged to look at the natural trend and tendency of things. This was a measure for an eight hours day generally for miners, and if the men who worked above eight hours were asked to come down to eight, then they might rest assured that the men working below eight hours would be asked to work up to eight. That would at once prove a source of great mischief. Whatever might be the consequence he would never advise men to go from seven up to eight hours. The men he referred to had been working seven hours from bank to bank for many generations, and he was not likely to advise them to work eight hours. That was what largely influenced the men he represented against an eight hours day; they did not want their hours lengthened. It might be said that that was selfish, but it was only human nature, and men were apt to maintain the privileges they had rather than give them away. That was the reason they opposed the Bill. They did not object to shorter hours or to an eight hours day, and men had a right to ask for anything within reason which was calculated to benefit their condition and their wages. He desired to know how these changes were going to fit in so as to keep the hours of the men he represented as they were at present. Perhaps the House would bear with him whilst he made a few observations as to how these matters would fit in in Durham. Their present system of working was that the first shift of coal hewers went down the pit at four o'clock in the morning and came out between 10.30 and 11. The second shift commenced at 9.30 and left off about four o'clock. The boys went down at six o'clock in the morning and stayed on until four o'clock in one shift, so that the boys served two shifts of men, and worked ten hours. If this Bill were carried what would be the consequence? There were three alternatives. The first was one shift of eight hours for boys and one shift of seven hours for the men. The result would be that the boys would go down the pit two hours in the morning before they were wanted and would have to stop on one hour after the men left. The boys would remain an hour after the men left. Manifestly, that could not be consistent with the principle of an Eight Hours Bill. Let him take a more ridiculous position—two shifts of boys of eight hours, and two shifts of men of seven hours, making in the case of the men fourteen hours. That which he had already described would again happen. The men would go away at the end of their fourteen hours, each shift having worked seven hours, and would leave the boys two hours in the mine when there would be no coal to take away. Manifestly that was not a position which would be practicable in working. Everybody seemed to think that the most feasible arrangement would be to have three shifts of men of seven hours each, and two shifts of boys of eight hours each, making in the case of the boys sixteen hours. At the end of the sixteen hours those boys would leave their work, but the last shift of men would be four or five hours in the pit afterwards at the special time when boys were most needed. Supposing that the boys came in two hours after the men, even in that case at the end of the third shift they would have the men in the mine three hours without anything to do, because the boys would have left, and there would be no boys to take away their coal. These were difficulties which the opponents of the Bill saw. It might be said that they were very ingeniously drawn up. No doubt science might do something towards a solution if the measure were thrust upon them. Necessity, which was the mother of invention, might do something to get over the difficulties. He was prepared to admit all that, but he hoped that hon. Members who supported the Bill would see the difficulties which he and his friends saw in this matter. The question had already occupied the attention of those interested in it, and a gentleman in the North had given a prize for the best essay on the subject. The essays were very interesting, but he would not go through the whole of them. The best that could be made out of the essays was that with an eight hours day working three shifts there would be a reduction in the output from 1,000 to 900 tons. He would not enter on the question of the financial loss which that would involve. The essays, however, had not solved the question, and they were still waiting for the man who could do it. When such a man appeared their opposition to the measure would terminate. Another serious matter was that in the North the miners objected very much to night shift working. It might be said that it did not make much difference seeing that the men were always working in the dark, but miners, like other people, had their social instincts, and they liked to devote their evenings to social occupations. One of the most serious things in connection with the proposed solution was that a large number of men would be forced to work on the night shift. He hoped the House would give some consideration to that matter. It would be said that his anticipations were very gloomy, and that they would not be realised. He was not going to move a Resolution against the Bill, nor would he and his friends even divide on the Second Reading. He and others had done their best to oppose the measure. On this occasion they did not intend to oppose the Second Reading. If the Bill was forced upon them, as it might be, they would do their best to try and work it, their desire being to have a common brotherhood, kindliness of disposition, and unanimity in the aspiration for the betterment ofthe miners. Notwithstanding their differences on this question there had been no personal feeling in the matter. They had had a common aim—to benefit the miners, a class that needed to be benefited and helped. He and his friends knew their dangers and hardships. They had gone through every gradation of miners' labourand they understood their needs. The House might be assured that neither the question of economics, nor any other question, would stand in the way of their efforts to secure the betterment of the condition of the miners, and making, the position of the class to which they belonged, who had been rising gradually in the social and intellectual scale, still stronger and higher, and he hoped that ultimately in the matter of manhood and intelligence they would be able to say to others "Sires, we are your equals."

* MR. CORY (Cornwall, St. Ives)

said he cordially supported the principle of an eight hours day. He did not suppose that any Member of the House was not in favour of that principle. He would be very glad if he himself could put his work into eight hours a day. In that House they could not accomplish their work in eight hours a day. Recently they had three and a half shifts of eight hours all rolled into one in an atmosphere little better than that described by the hon. Member for Ince in a colliery in the North of England. He would not like to have imposed on him by Parliament an eight hours day if he wished to work longer, and he did not wish on the other hand to impose an eight hours day on those who did not desire it. The hon. Member who moved the Bill said that the Second Reading was passed last time without challenge. That being so, it was inexplicable to him why the Bill was introduced again. Why did they want a Second Reading again, when the House had accepted the principle, before the Report of the Departmental Committee had been received? The question of the effect which an eight hours day would have not only on the mining industry, but on the various industries which were dependent upon it, was now before a Departmental Committee, and he wanted to know their Report before they legislated on the subject. The hon. Member had said that the greatest number of accidents had taken place in the Swansea district, where the hours of labour were longer than in other districts. That did not appear to prove very much, because the hon. Member admitted that in other districts where a longer day than eight hours was in operation, though shorter hours than in the Swansea district, there had not been an undue number of accidents. It only proved that the hours in the Swansea district were too long, but it did not prove that eight hours might not prove too short and be a source of accidents. The hon. Member had also instanced a colliery where the pit was only seven feet in diameter, and where the atmosphere was such that horses were unable to work in it—


said that was not what he stated.


said he did not think he had misrepresented the hon. Member.


said he made two statements, and he did not wish the hon. Member to confound them. What he said was that in the pit referred to the depth was 1,170 yards, the temperature about ninety-two degrees, and the diameter in the shaft seven feet. Then he stated that the conditions were such that industrial progress ought not to depend upon them.


said he would be sorry to misrepresent the hon. Member. He understood the contention of the hon. Member to be that men were working in a pit where horses were unable to work. He could not see that that was an argument in favour of an eight hours day. That was a reason for altering the conditions of the particular colliery in question, but not a reason for altering the hours in the whole of the coal fields in the country. He could not see why they should impose conditions as to an eight hours day in pits where the workmen themselves did not desire it. The hon. Member had said that there was no need to appoint a Committee to inquire into the conditions of mining with respect to this question, as every babe that knew anything about mining matters knew them already; but whilst people interested in mining might know the conditions in connection with mining, Parliament and the general public were not skilled in the details, and it was for the purpose of informing Parliament and the general public that the Departmental Committee was now inquiring into the subject. Many statements had been made during the course of the debate with which he could not agree. Employers were still in the dark as to what would be the effect of an eight hours day, and if they thought that it would be disadvantageous to the trade it was hardly possible that they could approach the miners in regard to the matter as it was suggested by the hon. Member for Hanley that they should do. They would wait for the report of the Departmental Committee before making up their minds. The hon. Member for Hanley had also stated that it had been said that the trade unions themselves could bring about this change, but that the effect of that would be one of the most disastrous strikes that had ever taken place in the history of the country. He was willing to admit that that might be the case, but so far as Monmouthshire and South Wales were concerned where they had a nine hours day, or fifty-four hours per week, if this Bill were passed there must be some alteration in the lists of prices as the wages were based on a nine hours day, and that would undoubtedly lead to a general strike before fresh terms could be agreed. The hon. Member for Gateshead had referred to the question of the dismissal of men that would take place if the Bill was passed. For his part he believed it would bring about the dismissal of men not only in the counties of Durham and Northumberland, but throughout the whole of the coal districts of the country. In the event of old men being employed they would work at great strain. They would have to hurry to and from their work, they would have to hurry over their work, and would not have time to look about to see if their place were safe, nor to prepare their stall for the next day, and they all knew that when a man got old he did not care to "hustle." But if an eight hours day were established instead of a nine hours day, the probability was that employers would naturally select young, vigorous men who would put out the same amount of coal in the restricted day as had been put out in the longer day of nine hours. The hon. Member for Gateshead had said it had been estimated that the reduction of the output might amount to 10 per cent., but that the increase in price of coal, in his belief, would, on that account, be very slight. But at times when prices had been most inflated it had been estimated that the excess of demand over supply had only been about 5 per cent., which had brought about these very high prices, and how much more then would prices increase if the supply was reduced by 10 per cent. The Memorandum to the Bill said that it was proposed by the Bill that the hours of work below ground in coal mines should be gradually reduced until they reached the limit of eight hours. He should not object to the Bill if the wording of the Memorandum was carried out in its clauses. But it was not. Under Clause 1, sub-section (2), however, the employment underground would not be anything like eight hours. An eight hours day from bank to bank would mean, probably, not much more than five or six hours actual work below ground, as from the eight hours would have to be deducted the time occupied in letting the men down and bringing them up the shaft; the time occupied by the men in going to and from the pit bottom to the face of the coal, which varied more or less in every colliery and in every seam, and in some places was a long way in; so that with the reduced output and necessarily increased cost, he did not see how it was possible to work certain pits under these conditions. Again, they could not let down or draw up all the men at one time. The time occupied in letting men down and drawing them up again at the end of the day would amount to from one and a half to two hours. How, then, could they ensure that the men who went down first were the first to come up, and without that, how was an eight hours day from bank to bank practicable? The hon. Member for Ince seemed to have changed his views on this matter, because at the Miners' Conference held in October, 1904, the report of the proceedings of which appeared in the Wigan Examiner, the hon. Gentleman stated that Lancashire was opposed to the eight hours day from bank to bank, and he said that the Lancashire miners would oppose it, unless the Miners' Federation insisted upon their having it. He presumed that the Miners' Federation had pressed the Lancashire miners in a very forcible way.


said that the Bill had been entirely changed. It was to come into operation only after an interval of three years instead of one year.


said that that did not change the Bill, the only difference it made was that it would come into operation by degrees instead of all at once. The Miners' Federation might force the Lancashire miners to change their opinion, and adopt the eight hours movement against their will; but he could hardly think that that was a sufficient reason, for allowing the Miners' Federation to force the House of Commons to impose it on the whole community without sufficient thought and consideration of the subject. Of course, one of the remedies suggested was a double shift; but that system had been rejected by the men themselves, and he was not surprised at that. The men who worked by day in a stall would object to other men working at night in the same stall. Moreover, even if the men did not object to the double shift system, he questioned whether there would be a sufficient number of miners obtainable in the country to work the double shift. Again, the third eight hours would not afford enough time for repairs to be properly done in the main roads. Therefore, one of the drawbacks to an eight hours day was that it would be a danger to the men themselves. Again, it was not a question which affected only the coal owners and the coal miners, but one which affected the whole of the coal consumers of the country. For a time, he admitted, owing to the restriction of output, probably resulting in a coal famine, the change would so enhance prices as to enable the coal owners to make huge fortunes, and the colliers good wages. But, in the long run, the consumers in the country, having to pay clearer for their coal, the dependent industries would be crippled, demand would fall off, and the coal trade would lose its customers and be injured. The hon. Member for Ince had remarked that the Miners' Federation had refused to give evidence before the Departmental Committee. Why? If their case was so good as they would have the public to believe, he would have thought that they would have rushed to the Committee in the hope of converting the coal owners and the public generally to their views. On the other hand, the employers had not been afraid to put their evidence before the Committee, and in fact had asked for such a Committee of Inquiry, so as to give evidence on every point. As he had already said, he was in no way opposed to the principle of an eight hours day; but a Departmental Committee having been appointed to inquire into the economic aspects of the whole question, he contended that, as wise men, they should wait to obtain the Report of that Committee, which no doubt would contain interesting and important information. He therefore pressed upon hon. Gentlemen who had promoted this Bill that they would be well advised not to push the matter further now, but to wait patiently for the Report of the Departmental Committee.

MR. HARMOOD-BANNER (Liverpool, Everton)

congratulated the hon. Members who had moved and seconded the Second Reading of the Bill on the tone of their speeches and the moderation of their attacks upon the coal owners, the way in which they had approached the subject, and their references to the Conciliation Board. That Board had done great good in connection with the consideration of wages, and he much regretted that this question could not have been dealt with by it. The Bill was read a second time on the 11th of May last year. It was read without a division, and so far as he was concerned, he was not going to vote against it now. He believed he was right in saying, however, that on that occasion it was read under the distinct understanding that full advantage would be taken of the appointment of the Departmental Committee in order to consider the details of the case, so that when the Bill came forward again the difficulties as to details would have been dealt with and provided for in the Bill. That was not the case in the Bill before the House. He would not say that hon. Gentlemen representing the miners did not come before that Committee because they did not desire to be cross-examined on some statements they had made, but he thought the reason they would not come before the Committee was that they would not face cross-examination on some of these points of detail.

MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)

said the Miners' Federation had never agreed to the appointment of that Committee, and would not go before it.


said the Departmental Committee was appointed, and, as everybody knew, in these matters all sorts of statements were made, but when people had to give evidence and had to be cross-examined as to the truth of the statements, those statements were frequently found to be only half the truth. A great many Amendments would be required to perfect the Bill. He appealed to hon. Members of the Miners Federation to attend before the Committee and give evidence as to the difficulties of the case in order that the Bill might be made effective. The Bill declared that men should not be employed for a greater length of time than that specified in this Act, and then followed nine hours, eight and a half hours, and eight hours, according to the Work engaged in. How was a man to be labeled when he went down the mine? and when he was down the mine and in his place, how were they to follow that man and say it was six o'clock when he went down, it was now half-past one, and time he went up. That was an easy thing to accomplish in a workshop, but not in a mine. That was a difficulty that appealed to the employers, and hon. Members should go before the Committee and explain how it was to be got over. Coal owners were not against the Bill if they could see that it could be carried out in a proper way, but they wanted hon. Gentlemen opposite to assist them in saying how it could be carried out. The mere statement that men should not work for more than eight hours a day, without its being shown how that sugestion was to be carried out, did not help them. There were other difficulties. For instance, the coal hewers did work longer hours. The coal hewer worked nine hours a day, but after he had finished his work his coal had to be hauled away. At the end of the day the hewer had to get his coal out to the pit's mouth in order to have it credited to him. How was that going to be arranged for under the Bill? Undoubtedly there was a tendency to rush the work just before the close of the day, and under this Bill, if the hewer worked up to his time, there would be nobody in the mine to take out this coal. Unless the second shift was to bring out these boxes of coal they must remain in the mine till next day; the second shift could not do it, because it would take them two hours and for the other six they would not have anything to do. That was one of the difficulties which they wished hon. Members to assist the Committee in dealing with. Then there was the question of repairers—the men who repaired the roads and the brick work and did similar work in the mines. Under this Bill no man could remain in the mine more than eight hours from bank to bank. Was a bricklayer who was at work in the pit at the end of eight hours with one and a half hours work to finish to leave his work? These questions hon. Members did not answer, and yet it was their answers to these questions which would be so beneficial in assisting the House to get over the difficulties involved and make it possible to pass the Bill. There were also other questions. The hon. Member for Ince had referred to the seven-foot diameter shafts. It was a fact that a large number of mines in this country had shafts of small diameters—seven, ten, thirteen, and fifteen feet. This Bill would have the effect of closing all those small shaft mines. It was certain that all the mines that had small diameters would be closed if this Bill passed.


Or their shafts would be made larger.


said that those mines had been opened and worked for years, and it would not pay to make larger shafts, and the result would be that a considerable amount of the coal of this country would be lost through the closing down of these small diameter shaft mines. If it was agreed that we were to lose that coal well and good, but who was to bear the loss? Was it the man who had taken the mine at a head rent and had undertaken to work the mine until the coal was worked out, or was it the landlord, or who was it? He was very glad to see that neither the mover nor the seconder of this Bill had referred to the "tyrannical powers" exercised by the mine owners. It had been said in the past and even in the present that the work of the miners had been such as to impair their health, and that a miner came to the bank so fagged that he was unable to enjoy the period of leasure at his disposal when he reached home. That was a common statement in the past, and it spoke well for the coal owners that such a state of things did not exist at the present time. It was a good thing to hear that the health of the miners was not so affected. The principle of more leisure being given to the men had been accepted by this House last year and it would not be resisted now, but hon. Gentlemen should submit themselves for examination before the Departmental Committee in order to clear up the points he had drawn attention to. If they referred to the past they would see that the owners had not exercised any tyrannical powers over the men on this question, and, if they had liked, the Miners' Federation, with their immense powers, could have stopped these long hours. It was not because the men were compelled to work long hours that they did so, but because when once they were down in the pit they wished to make a good day and get as much coal as possible in order to make high wages. It was the action of the men alone and not the tyranny of the employer that was responsible for the long hours, and the allegation that it was the tyranny of the employers was hardly a fair one. The Trade Union and Miners' Federation were just as much responsible for the long hours as the mine owners. He appealed to hon. Members, therefore, to assist the Government to bring in perfect regulations and not to put the House to the inconvenience of passing an immense number of Amendments in order to make the Bill workable. Let them give the Committee the benefit of their opinion as to how an eight hours day could be provided without militating against the trade. He certainly thought, unless the conditions were proper and well regulated, the Bill would impose a great burden on the consumer. If only hon. Members would refer back to the time when coal was 14s. 6d. a ton at the pit's mouth they would find two things—first, that the effect of it was excellent as regards putting money into the miners' pockets and dividends into the pockets of the coal owners, but, secondly, that it ended in the destruction of a great deal of the trade of the country. Great industries were lost to Germany and other places. Therefore, when this question was brought forward again it was necessary to deal with the matter in a proper spirit in order to render the Bill workable and fair, not only to the miners and the mine owners, but to the trade and consumers of the country.


said he did not propose to make an appeal in favour of either the mine owners or the miners. He was fortunate enough to posesss the confidence of both the employers and the employed, and he proposed to speak in favour of both. He would direct the attention of the House chiefly to the point of view of the consumers. He congratulated his hon. friend the Member for Ince on the clear statement he had made and the figures which had done so much to elucidate the difficulties of this most anxious problem. There was only one remark on the valuable and interesting speech which he wished to make, and that was in respect to the action of the employers with regard to the checkweighmen in the last session of the late Parliament. The employers of labour then stated their case as they were bound and entitled to do before the House and the Standing Committee. But when the last stage was reached they entirely withdrew their opposition, and the Check weight Act was passed with entire unanimity by the employers and the employed. He did not impugn the accuracy of the figures or doubt their lucidity, but at the same time the House ought to remember when a case of this kind was presented to them that there was at present a Committee sitting to investigate the whole of this problem. It was one thing to assist that Committee with evidence and figures, but quite another to interpret those figures. It was the function of the Committee to put an interpretation upon the figures. They had to decide how far a limited number of hours of labour would reduce the output, and what the probable reduction of hours should be. A considerable reduction of hours must lead to a proportionate reduction of output, and the output of coal in this country was a national question of the greatest gravity. It. was impossible that there could be a reduction of output without an increase of cost, which meant a tax on every other industry in the country. More than that, it meant a tax on every consumer of coal from one end of the country to the other. This was essentially one of those questions which, though it was a working man's question on one side, was a question of all classes of the community on the other. He was surprised that those representing agricultural districts had not been alive to the burdens that this Bill would throw on their constituents. Another serious result of the diminution of output was that if the amount of coal produced was diminished, the amount carried would also be diminished, and labour in the transport trades would be diminished, and on the railways engaged in the traffic less labour would be employed. That was a point of view which was not unworthy of consideration in the discussion of the question. There were some who thought the mere reduction of hours would give the safety which was desired. But there was another question to be considered namely, the hardship which might be inflicted on the older men who had to get their living with less hours in which to get it. If they diminished the hours of labour they would decrease the output and in all probability diminish the earnings that a man was able to bring home with him at the end of a week of honourable and laborious toil. He hoped no misinterpretation would be placed upon his remark when he said he did not think the lot of the working miner was so hard and so severe as some thought. All those who were engaged in laborious occupations deserved and commanded the sympathy of the House, but he did not think anything was gained by hon. Members exaggerating the misfortunes and hardships of their lot. If he was not wrongly informed the working miner did not work more that nine days in a fortnight. He had every Saturday to himself; he had the opportunity of not working when he was not disposed to do so, and had in many other respects more liberty than any other class. He wished to assist these men to raise themselves in point of culture. The collier of his boyhood was a different man from the miner of his old age. The improvement that had taken place in one generation would, he believed, continue, and he was sure the House would never cease to lend a friendly hand to the labouring man who earned his bread by his daily toil, and would at the same time exercise care and forethought in order that his calling might be made secure and his wages rendered permanent and safe.

* COLONEL HERBERT (Monmouthshire, S.)

said that no Member of the House could listen to the hon. Baronet without feeling the earnestness with which the hon. Gentleman would endeavour to improve the lot of the worker, and the carefully balanced mind he brought to bear on the argument on both sides of the case. He would, however, remind the hon. Gentleman that there was a time not very long ago when the employment of women in the work of the mines was before the House, and that at that time the hon. Baronet showed some anxiety as to whether the reform then proposed would not lead to distress in the mining districts. Everybody was liable to mistakes, and he might be excused for recalling that incident in order to point the moral that the dangers some saw in this Bill were not so great as they might appear. The hon. Member for the Everton Division appeared to be under some misapprehension as to the circumstances under which the Second Reading of the Bill was taken last year. The hon. Member was apparently under the impression that it was taken on the understanding that the Bill should proceed no further until after the Departmental Committee had reported. His recollection did not confirm that view, but rather the contrary. He had a distinct recollection that, objection having been raised both inside and outside the House against the appointment of that Committee, they refused to attend it. He had a distinct recollection of the raising by the hon. Member for South Glamorgan of the question of the appointment of the Committee on the Vote for the salary of the Home Secretary in order to emphasise the opposition of the Miners Federation to the appointment of that Committee. He thought the hon. Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool who, he was sure, had no desire or intention to mislead the House, must have been under a misapprehension. It was not his intention to add much more to the arguments which had been so admirably put forward by the mover and seconder of the Bill, but he would like to deal with one point that had been raised, viz., the age which the measure had attained. The hon. Member for the Ince Division had said that the Bill had attained its twenty-first year. What twenty-one years ago were the conditions that obtained in the Division he (Colonel Herbert) now had the honour to represent? At that time it was a simple rural neighbourhood; now it was a thickly-populated colliery district. There were collieries there twenty-one years ago, but they were of a very different character from those that existed at the present time. The workers in those collieries were dwellers in rural farm-houses, and in cottages on the breezy hillsides of the Welsh mountains. The lives of those men were very different—their conditions of life were vastly different—from those imposed upon the workers of today, and it was that change in their conditions of life which made it imperative to introduce legislation to deal with the hours of labour. They had examples in the House which showed that the work in the coal mines in the past certainly did not injure physical development. They had, however, to consider the effect of mining work upon the coming generation, and it was only by a measure such as the one before them that they could be assured of a continuation of that splendid physique which they had among the miners representatives in the House at the present time.


said he had listened with great interest to the remarks which had fallen from the various speakers during the debate. It was gratifying that the subject had been approached in a spirit of great moderation, because it was only by moderation that the difficulties of the question could be overcome. He was also exceedingly gratified to understand from the speeches they had heard that it was not looked upon as an absolute crime to be connected with a coal owner. Perhaps he might be allowed to give a few reasons which he considered militated against the effective operation of Bills limiting employment in mines to eight hours a day. The principal reason advanced was that it would militate against the consumer of coal by increasing the price, and secondly, that it would hamper those industries whose possibilities depended upon obtaining cheap coal. This was not a new Bill, neither was it a new idea. The matter was fully discussed last May in a debate which showed equal moderation to the debate of that day, and the question was referred to a Departmental Committee which was still engaged in considering it. He joined in the appeal of the hon. Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool that hon. Members below the gangway who were most interested in the scheme, and were in a position to know most about the matter, should do their utmost to give their assistance to the Departmental Committee, and he hoped that those hon. Members would respond to that appeal. In view of the fact that the Departmental Committee was sitting at the present time, he thought the discussion they had had in the House that afternoon, although most interesting, was somewhat premature. It was urged in support of the Bill that such legislation as this was necessary for the protection of the health of the miners. That might have been urged thirty years ago, but he thought that the modern conditions under which the miner worked precluded such an argument. With the present system of ventilation in mines it could not fairly be urged that the work was injurious to health for those engaged in the industry; in fact, statistics proved the reverse, and showed that the percentage of illness among miners was lower than among any other section of the population in the country. Another argument in support of the Bill was that the great bulk of the mining population were in favour of the limitation of the hours of working. He thought there was a good deal of misapprehension in the minds of many people as to the amount of work which really was executed by miners, and perhaps some hon. Members would agree with him that it was trespassing upon the liberty of the individual to forbid him, by a Parliamentary measure, working more than eight hours a day if he wished to do so. Further than that, he did not see how it would be possible to carry out the regulations. Another objection to the proposal was that the scheme would result in a diminution of output. The great disadvantage of that was that if there were a serious diminution of the coal output it would paralyse many other industries which were dependent on a cheap coal supply. Further, it was the opinion of representatives of working men that the scheme, too, would injure the working classes. There was a great deal to be said on that score, because it would mean a revolution of the working man's mode of living, and a dislocation of trade. If there was any substance in those contentions, and they had never been denied, the effect of the Bill upon all concerned would be, indeed, serious. The coal mines on the west coast of England were far deeper than those on the east coast, so that if the hours were shortened to any great extent it would be impossible to obtain so much of the coal which was situated far from the mouth of the pit, and consequently the competition of the west and the east would be accentuated to a very great degree. He did not think there was any need to dilate upon the question of decreased output. A decreased output meant an increased cost of production. It was thought by some that the coal owner reaped enormous benefit, but it should be borne in mind that the margin between the cost of production and actual profit was often very small indeed. Sometimes it existed only in years of exceptional prosperity. In the effect upon wages which such a scheme would produce, they must first of all think of the minors who were paid by the piece. These men, with shorter hours, would not be able to produce so much coal, and consequently their wages would be diminished whole in the case of the miners paid by the, day, one of two things would happen. Either they must be paid the same as at present, despite the shorter hours, which would mean additional cost of production, or there must be a reduction in proportion to the shorter hours. In the county of Durham he anticipated no great difficulty, because it was gratifying to think that very friendly relations existed between employers and employed, thanks to the excellent work of the Board of Conciliation. It was obvious that the managers of the coal mines must look after their own interests, and the scheme would militate against the employment of older men. It had been said that the Bill would not affect the safety of a colliery, but he thought it would, because if the men were employed shorter hours it would be to their interest to accelerate the work done, and if the winding and hauling arrangements were unduly hastened there was danger to be apprehended. He did not believe the Bill would realise the benefits the promoters claimed for it.

* MR. JOSEPH WALTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Barnsley)

supported the Bill, not only because he had the honour to represent in that House 11,000 coal miners, but also because he conscientiously believed it to be a measure of justice. Having regard to the arduous and dangerous character of mining employment, he held emphatically that it was right and proper that there should be legislative interference with the hours of labour. The main opposition to the Bill emanated from Durham. Originally the opposition came from the counties of Northumberland and Durham, but he was glad to know that on this occasion the majority, at all events, of the miners in Northumberland had fallen into line with the miners who supported the Bill. Durham now was the only exception. As regarded the difficulties of the application of the measure to the county of Durham, he could not help feeling that they had been greatly exaggerated. At the present time, out of 93,000 men and boys employed in the Durham collieries, 69,000 were already working only eight hours or under, and only 24,000, including boys, were working more than eight hours, The noble Lord who spoke last was afraid that if the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill was passed the Durham hewers would not be able to continue producing coal at the present rate. It was incorrect to state that the average hours of the Durham hewers was now seven hours fifty-two minutes from bank to bank, because in the evidence given before the Departmental Committee it was shown that the average period per day of coal hewers' work was only six hours and forty-nine minutes from bank to bank. That being so, any fear of a diminution in the output so far as the working at the coal face was concerned fell to the ground. The coal hewer would work the same length of time, in fact he could work longer, if he desired to do so, and the consuming public need have no fear that the production of coal on the face would suffer a decrease; the reverse would probably be the case. The problem they had to face in the county of Durham was how to get the coal from the face to the surface under the Eight Hours Bill. To get to bank the produce of two shifts in eight hours, which they now got to bank in ten hours, was the problem they had to face. They knew that they could bring to their aid increased mechanical appliances. His opinion was, that if a large number of our older collieries were owned by citizens of the United States of America they would dismantle the antiquated plants and fit the mines with modern appliances, which would mean that they would employ mechanical haulage and electricity to bring the coal from the workings at the face to the bottom of the shaft, to an infinitely greater extent than those appliances were at present employed. They would increase enormously the weight of coal raised by each lift of the winding engine from the bottom of the shaft to the surface. An increased number of coal tubs might also be filled in advance of the hours of winding. With the adoption of such measures the difficulties in the way of the Bill would be largely if not altogether overcome. There was no difference of opinion as to the desirability of reducing the hours of labour of boys employed underground. He was glad to know that Northumberland was now supporting the reduction of the hours of boys to eight hours, and all agreed in the desirability of reducing the hours of labour of boys, yet they had at the present time in the county of Durham men who were working from bank to bank only six hours and forty-nine minutes, while the boys were working nine hours and forty-five minutes, according to evidence given before the Departmental Committee. That was a condition of things which they ought to exercise all the ingenuity they possessed to overcome and redress. He was glad to know that this measure passed the Second Reading last year without challenge. To-day it appeared that the same course would be pursued. [Sir F. BANBURY: No.] He knew that his hon. friend the Member for the City of London, who had the courage of his convictions, would even go into the lobby alone, provided he could get tellers. He dared say that they would have the pleasure of a division and that this measure would have the éclat of passing its Second Reading by an unprecedented and overwhelming majority. Endeavours had been made to create the impression that its passage would enormously increase the cost of coal, and, therefore, seriously injure those manufactures which depended upon the coal. He had read a good deal of the evidence contained in the two Blue-books which had been issued by the Departmental Committee, and he had there seen an illustration of how extravagant and exaggerated statements were made. In the case of the Workmen's Compensation Act it was said that the passing of that Act would raise the price of coal by 3d. or 4d., or even 6d. per ton. What had proved to be the result? He happened to be interested in a mutual insurance association of coalowners in the county of Durham, and he thought his hon. friend the Member for Mid. Durham would be able to confirm him when he said that the average cost of the Workmen's Compensation Act to the coalowners of the county of Durham had been only two-thirds of a penny per ton. Representations had been made that the working of the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill would increase the cost of the production of coal by as much as 2s. per ton. He could only say from his own knowledge of coal mining that they were entitled to take a similar discount off those statements which experience proved had to be taken off the statements with regard to the cost of the Workmen's Compensation Act. He did not deny that the cost of production of coal, at any rate for some years, would be increased by the operation of this Bill. He had two carefully prepared statements by a number of colliery managers in the county of Durham as to what, in their opinion, would be the economic effect of the application of the Bill. In one case the estimate was an increased cost of 3d. per ton and in the other case an increased cost of 4d. per ton. He thought, however, that he was warranted in saying that within a reasonable time that increased cost would be somewhat reduced. While they were face to face with an increase in the cost of coal in the endeavour to solve this problem, yet it would be no such disastrous increase as would prove injurious to coal consuming industries, and the reasons in support of the Bill were such as to justify the demand for a limitation of the hours of labour. A young lad of the ago of thirteen years, who had to get up at five o'clock in the morning to go to work for ten hours underground, could not be fit at the close of that period, either physically or mentally, for anything in the nature of evening classes or the continuance of educational pursuits. He considered that the community had no right to impose onerous conditions upon any section for their own enrichment. Even if they had to pay a trifle more for their coal it was worth the cost, if it could be shown that they were raising the standard of education and encouraging and improving the growing lads who were employed in the coal trade to the number of 65,000. There was a good case for the sympathetic consideration and support of the House, and he had the greatest pleasure in supporting the Second Reading.

* MR. FINDLAY (Lanarkshire, N. E.)

said that if he might judge from the number of petitions which he had received from the various mining districts of Lanarkshire in favour of this Bill, he was satisfied that the miners there were very anxious that it should become law. He had no personal knowledge of underground work, and he desired to remain above ground as long as he might be permitted, but he felt that eight hours was a long enough time for anyone to be below ground. He was very gratified indeed to hear the sympathetic support already given by the House to the Bill. They had in Lanarkshire some conditions which did not obtain in other parts of the country, for they had there a large proportion of alien labour, which he thought was not desirable from the point of view that many of the foreign miners were unacquainted with the English language. All these things helped to accentuate the difficulties which the miners in Lanarkshire experienced in connection with their employment. He was not one of those who took a pessimistic view of the difficulties this Bill might create, because he believed, with the hon. Member who had just spoken, that there were ways and means by which those difficulties could be overcome. One was also gratified to know that in regard to ventilation and other improvements which had been adopted, the condition of the miners was superior to what it was not so very long ago. But notwithstanding all these advantages, he was satisfied that the Bill was desired by the large majority of miners in Scotland and he hoped it would have a Second Reading by consent of the House.

MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S. E.)

, who was indistinctly heard, was understood to say that the arguments of the hon. Member for Barnsley were hardly in favour of the Bill. According to the hon. Member's own showing, in Durham and Northumberland the hewers worked six hours forty-nine minutes, and that had been done, not by a compulsory Act of Parliament, but by arrangement between the coalowners and workmen. Nobody would pretend that in the county of Durham they approved of long hours for boys, but he maintained that the conditions could be better ameliorated by mutual and friendly arrangement than by a hard-and-fast Act of Parliament. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill had told them that the evidence given before the Departmental Committee could be understood by every schoolboy. He was very glad to be told so, because the instructions given to the Committee were of such a character that he was reminded of Captain Kidd. The Committee had a sort of roving commission, and the subjects they had to consider were so numerous that he rather doubted whether they could be understood by every schoolboy. Anyone who read the evidence given before the Committee upstairs would see that they bad the testimony only partially before them. They had not received the evidence of two of the principal districts —Northumberland and Durham. He was informed that one of them was in favour of the Bill and that the other was against it. Surely it would be premature on the part of the House to come to a decision before, at all events, they had heard the evidence of those two districts. Mr. Cunningham, one of the witnesses who had given evidence before the Committee, said the Bill was perfectly useless, because it did not lay down what had got to be done. The same witness also said that it was not of the slightest use to pass an Act saying that a man should not remain underground more than eight hours if Parliament did not provide directions or means by which it could be carried out. Mr. Cunningham went on to say that if the Home Office had to carry it out they would require a very much larger staff than they had at the present moment; and he pointed out various difficulties that would arise with the Home Office unless it was instructed by Parliament how to deal with these matters. Mr. Cunningham also referred to the eight hours day in France, and his evidence went to show that the conditions in that country under the Act were very wide indeed, and did not apply to every man below ground; there were numerous exemptions. It had also been pointed out by the hon. Member for Gateshead that in the case of Durham the Bill would increase instead of shorten the hours of labour. He hoped that the House would pause before it consented to pass this Bill, which had been thrown in the teeth of the Government, who had appointed a Committee to examine into the great economic processes which were involved in the question. The members of the Committee were taking the greatest pains to arrive at a decision on these economic questions, which were not such as every schoolboy could understand; and he regarded it almost as an insult to that Committee to say that the inquiry in which they were engaged was such as could be understood by every schoolboy. He hoped that the Bill would be resisted by the Government who had appointed that Committee, and that the House would wait until they had the evidence before them, so that they might be enabled to arrive at a definite and sound, conclusion on this important matter.


said it was hardly necessary for him to tell the House that the Government supported the Second Reading of this Bill. Last year, when, the Bill was before the House, he stated the position of the Government. That position they not only adhered to, but were bound to adhere to. He had listened very carefully to the debate, and in particular to the speeches of the hon. mover and seconder. Perhaps he might be allowed to congratulate both hon. Members on the excellence and eloquence of their speeches. But his hon. friend, the Member for Ince had told the House not exactly in terms, but he wished the House to understand, that neither he nor anyone else who knew anything about the subject, had anything to learn— ["No, no."]—at an rate, that this Bill has been brought before the House for something like twenty years, that the arguments were worn threadbare, and that there was no reason for the appointment of a Committee, as it could throw no light on any subjects which were necessary to the consideration of the Bill, and that, in fact, it was a waste of time endeavouring to got fresh evidence or fresh light on the matter. Might he point out to the House this fact? They agreed that so far as the general figures which bore on this great issue were concerned, the figures showing output and the number of workers and so on—the broad general figures—they had ample information. But those were not the figures necessary to detailed examination when they came to the practical drafting of the Bill. General knowledge was an excellent thing, he agreed. His hon. friend had much general knowledge, he knew. He had special and particular knowledge of the industry with which he was connected. He could instruct most of them on the practical working of a colliery. But that was not enough, when they were considering this question, as he should have occasion to point out in the course of his remarks. He was in a somewhat difficult position, because he had to justify the action of the Government in setting up this Committee, which had been and was being talked of by many hon. Members on both sides of the House as being unnecesssary. No man occupying the position he did, and responsible for the department which had to administer the Coal Mines Act, would take the responsibility of accepting the Bill as it stood as the basis upon which to work. In appointing the Committee the Government acted honestly to get information so as to be able to fill in the details of the measure. If that Committee had been appointed for dilatory purposes because they wished to avoid an awkward question, then he agreed hon. Members would have a serious grievance, but there was no idea of dilatory tactics. The appointment of the Committee was an honest action designed to further the Bill, the principle of which was accepted last year. Nothing was more objectionable to a Minister or a Department than to have hanging over their heads a great question unsettled. The question cropped up continually, and it was always giving trouble. Every administrator who knew his business wished to get through his work not only at the earliest possible moment, but in the most practical form possible. If the result of the appointment of this Committee had been to delay the Bill then he was one of the principal sufferers, because it put not only himself but his Department to great inconvenience and trouble. No one would deny that the gentlemen who served on the Committee were eminently qualified, and had worked exceedingly hard to get through their task. They would probably finish in a few weeks. There had been no delay there. It should be remembered this was but the second session of a new Parliament, and they had six years before them. He had been somewhat disappointed that the Committee had not boon able to report earlier. When appointed, the Committee had asked for information necessary to open up the questions left to them, and the Home Office had not the requisite information.


said they knew all about the evidence given before the Committee, but it was being given in a glorified form.


said it was essential to have exact information. For instance, in the debate last year it was stated that the average number of days miners worked was four a week. Exact inquiries proved the average number of days per week in 1906 worked by colleries was five and-a-quarter, and that the average number of hours worked by men fell short of the maximum by seven per cent. That showed that the figures previously given to the House would not bear the test of inquiry. He maintained that it was necessary to have exact information upon these very important points. If he were to ask any hon. Member representing the miners to give him the figures showing how many men now worked eight hours or less from bank to bank underground, and how many worked above eight hours, could he answer He knew that no hon. Member could answer that question unless he had seen the Return compiled by the Committee. He was sure the House would at once realise how important figures of that sort were. He was not arguing against the Bill, but simply giving facts in support of the appointment of the Committee. In legislating to impose a uniform eight hours day upon all miners t in the country, it was important to know how many men the Act would affect. The figures showed that an eight hours limit, whether right or wrong, would have a very considerable effect; for the number of men who worked eight hours, or less, from bank to bank was 131,000, whereas the number of those who worked more than eight hours was 449,000. These figures were in favour of those who supported the Bill, because, they showed that the larger number of men were working longer than they ought.

MR. CARLILE (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)

asked if those figures included boys.


replied that the figures included the boys working underground. He would like to tell the House what information they had before the Committee was appointed. There was a Return moved for in 1890, and there was the table of statistics placed before the Royal Commission on Labour in 1892. That was the last table issued which gave any details of the rates of wages paid per week in the collieries, but the table had been compiled from sources which were not authoritative. Therefore, it would be seen that the only Return they had was one issued some fifteen years ago. Further, the Government wanted reliable information as to the different methods of working in the different districts, and the number of mines likely to be seriously affected, or perhaps irretrievably damaged, by an absolute limitation of hours. They were in possession of no information as to the probable effect upon prices of an Eight Hours Mines Act. He agreed with the mover and seconder of the Bill that the prophecies of ruin and loss had been greatly exaggerated. Certainly, they would not be sufficient to deter the House from going forward with the Bill. At the same time, it was essential to know how they stood. The speculations hazarded by hon. Members were not so reliable as the facts obtained by a close, careful and exact scientific examination and consideration of all the circumstances and conditions. The preparation and tabulation of the figures had caused much more delay than he expected, because the information at the disposal of the Government was found to be much less than he anticipated last year when he spoke upon the subject. And was not such information necessary? Was not the least that any responsible Government would do, which wished to forward the prospects of the Bill, to obtain that information? The price of coal was a matter of interest to everybody, not only to steamship and railway companies and manufacturers, but also to wage earners. He was not deterred by the consideration that some people—not only coal-owners, but certainly some coal-miners also—would suffer by this Bill. Small disturbances and difficulties could not be regarded when there was a great public object in view. But it must be remembered that in this great industry including the metalliferous mines, 900,000 persons were employed, and when they considered how the trade of the country depended to a largo extent on the price of coal, it was the first duty of the Government to know how they stood before they took the responsibility of passing a Bill like this, which would undoubtedly effect a very great change. He would like to give to the House one or two other illustrations of what he meant. He asked hon. Members how they accounted for the change which had come over the Forest of Dean in regard to this question. His right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean was a convinced supporter of the eight hours day principle, and he had token a leading part in support of this measure ever since it had been before the House. But what had happened? He reminded the House that the agent of the Forest of Dean miners gave evidence before the Committee on this subject, and his evidence was against this proposal. Why had the miners of the Forest of Dean changed their opinion?

SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

And the owners. the owners have accepted a limitation.


said he did not quote this against the Bill—he was for the Bill—but he only quoted it to show that the problem was not so simple. He would tell the House why the Forest of Dean miners had changed their views. The ways in that district were very long, and two to three hours were occupied in going to and from the coal face. Two or three hours per day would be taken from the eight hours day.


You can consider this in Committee.


said he would ask his hon. friend whether, with these facts before them, the Government could go before a Committee, and make themselves responsible for the Bill? It would have to be in a very different shape before it could pass the House. It would be his duty as representing the Government to graft on to the Bill as they went along many additional clauses which were necessary. He would have to ascertain what was the reason for this action on the part of the miners of the Forest of Dean, and he would have to consider whether the evidence of their agent was such as would force him to consider their case and meet it in the Bill. On each point he would have to consider all the circumstances he had indicated, and his position would be simply impossible. The experience of the French had not been touched upon. In this matter France was ahead of this country, because they had already got what was called an eight hours law. Perhaps he might remind the House of the nature of that law. It laid down that six months after the passing of the Act the time worked by coal hewers was not to exceed nine hours calculated from the last batch of men entering the pit to the arrival above ground of the first men. There were many exemptions and exceptions to meet special circumstances of different mines and emergencies. Was it proposed to make exemptions and exceptions in this Bill? The French, who considered this question practically, included in their Act such provisions as they thought necessary, and also limited its scope to what they thought would be safe, having regard to all the circumstances of the case. But now, two years later, they found that an amendment of the Act was necessary. They found the greatest difficulty in enforcing the Act. There wore certain penalties provided in regard to the enforcement of the Act, but they said that in many respects the Act had failed, and that it could not be en forced. They had tried "peaceful persuasion," but it had not succeeded. It was true that they were proposing to extend the limitation of the hours to all classes of underground workers. They found that difficult in working out, and they were now engaged drafting a new Bill. Although at every point that Bill was made elastic by the granting of exemptions, after two years experience they found it necessary to amend it. That went to show that our position must be looked at, at least as carefully as the French were looking at their position. The number of miners employed in this country was three or four times as great as the number engaged in the coal industry of France. Moreover the coal industry of this country was of far greater national importance, and of far greater importance to the individual, than the coal industry of France was to the trade and commerce of that country. There were one or two points he wished to dwell upon, partly because they were suggested by the French experience, and partly because they had been brought up and were being dealt with by the Committee. This Bill proposed a hard and fast limitation of eight hours for all underground workers. Were they going to allow any exemptions? If so, what were they? That was a matter which wanted most careful consideration. How would it be in the case of the higher officials underground—the managers, firemen and overmen, or whatever the term might be, who were concerned with the safety of the mine? The duty of those men was to go down the pit, very often two hours before the men, to see that all was safe, and some of them had to stay in the mine till after the men were withdrawn. Therefore, supposing, for the sake of argument, that those men were working ten hours, was that exception to be made? If the exception was not to be made, they would force the mine-owners to double that particular branch of their staff in order to make good the deficiency caused by the overlapping of a couple of hours. That was a question of importance. There was the question of a possible reduction of the output, which had an important bearing on the question of the price of coal. In France, according to his information, the attempt to work an eight hours day for the men had been to cause a reduction in the output of 5 per cent. It would probably be higher in this country if it were a uniform eight hours day. The question was what would be the amount of the rise in price, and would it be likely to last? The question whether there would be a reduction of output in exact proportion to the restriction of hours was now before the Departmental Committee. He would point out one great advantage of the work of the Committee. As a matter of fact public opinion had treated this question as in the nature of a "hardy annual." There were some well known Bills which came up year after year, sometimes they were read a second time and sometimes not, but until they arrived at a certain stage—the stage of being practically considered—those concerned did not trouble to put their houses in order so as to meet possible changes in the law. In this case hon. Members who supported the Bill said with great force that there would not be any rise in price, because owing to improvements in mechanical haulage in raising coal, in the better organisation of collieries, and so forth, it would be possible to make up the deficiency. That was true, but the advantage of what they were doing through the Departmental Committee was that mine owners were to be called upon to give evidence and to state their case, the Government having declared their intention to bring in a Bill dealing with the subject. Therefore, the mine owners all over the country would have to consider the best practical methods by which to meet the decrease in the output of coal, so that there might be as little difference in the output and in the price as possible in the circumstances. Then there was the question of exemptions. Were they going to make any exemptions? Let them take the case of old collieries where the distance to the face was very great. There were old mines which had been working for a hundred years and more, which gave employment to between forty and 100 men. Did they propose to make any exception as to those? What did they propose to do in the case of an accident which interfered with the enforcement of the eight hours day? Were they going to take any notice of the seasonal trade? He was informed that in the Cannock Chase district, where the business of the pits was chiefly in house coal, during the summer months the pits were working three and four days a week, and the men looked for special conditions in the winter in order to average the general wage of the year. Were they going to make any exception in the case of a district like that? Again, if ten hours were needed for the winding of coal in a particular pit, were the persons engaged on the roads or in winding not to be allowed to work underground more than eight hours? If not, there would be a great restriction of output. These were points which had to be taken into consideration. He absolutely declined to admit that any Home Secretary could settle them before the House in Committee, or in a Committee upstairs. The Bill made no attempt to deal with one important matter which was distinct from the work of the Committee. Hon. Members had not said what they proposed in regard to the enforcement of the provisions of the Bill. Who was to be responsible for the record of men going down the mine and coming up? Were the miners or the owners to be fined for contraventions of the law? It was hardly fair to leave all these important points to be worked out, not by those who were responsible for the Bill, but by the Government when they took it up. His hon. friends might say what they liked, these were matters which must be settled before the Government put their skilled experts to draft a measure. He thanked the House for listening to him with so much patience. He regretted the delay that had occurred. It was due to the fact that they were getting the necessary information, but he could assure the House that the Government had not, and never had had, the slightest intention of playing fast and loose with any Member of the House interested in this matter. They were acting in the best interest of all those who had brought in the Bill. They were awaiting the Report of the Departmental Committee without which they could not put their hands to a Bill. He hoped the Committee would present their Report by Whitsuntide As soon as they got that Report they would take the Bill in hand and have it introduced in the House. He did not think any reasonable man could ask them to do more in this second session of a new Parliament, when they were all struggling day by day to keep their heads above the mass of work which flowed in upon them from every side. Might he make an appeal to his hon. friends, even to those who were most specially responsible for this Bill, to remember that, as soon as the debate was over, the Government would be pressed to give facilities for other matters of equal or greater importance by other large combinations of Members. But in the case of a Government, as in the case of a coal mine, there was what might be called a working limit, and they cannot get out of a bottle more than the dimensions of the neck would allow. They undertook to do their best. Those who were interested in this Bill were aware that the Government itself was pledged to bring in an Eight Hours Bill. So far as he was concerned there would be no avoidable delay whatever in the carrying out of that promise.

* MR. RUSSELL REA (Gloucester)

said that, as Chairman of the Departmental Committee, he recognised the fact that it would be entirely improper for him to interpose in this debate to discuss the merits of the question, but he had no hesitation in stating what the Committee was doing. After the Committee was appointed he consulted his colleagues as to the course which should be taken in the investigation of the question. He looked at the former debates on the subject, but he found himself no wiser with, respect to certain matters on which information was essential. Then they went to the Departments. They found that the information at the Home Office was very scanty. When the Home Office had given the Committed a statement of the national output of coal, and that of each district, the number of men employed in the various districts, and of the number of boys under sixteen, they had given all the information they had. The Board of Trade told them how many days in the various months of the year collieries had been totally idle. That was all the information got from that Department. The Committee had been asked to give a statistical and economic Report on the effect of proposed legislative changes, and they had no data on which to base a Report which would be of any scientific value whatever, so that they had to begin the task of collecting information in their own way. The first step was to design and secure the issue by the Home Office of a series of forms to the collieries of the country for the purpose of obtaining what might be called a practical census. The Committee had to thank the owners and managers of collieries for the careful way in which they had responded to the request made to them, for information. The Committee were now in possession of information as to the number of men employed in the mining industry, the rates of pay, the hours worked, and other matters. When the returns were received considerable labour was involved in the tabulation and arrangement of the facts in order to bring them into an intelligible form. At one time they had a dozen clerks working overtime—considerably over eight hours a day—dealing with the statistical returns. Then the Committee opened the inquiry to the public. He might say that the employers responded extremely well. They sent their best men, but even they were incapable of judging of the question until they got the result of the preliminary inquiry as a basis for the preparation of their evidence. This was not merely a statistical question. They had to consider it in its economical, physiological, psychological, and mechanical aspects. These were matters which came within the purview of the inquiry, and must be reported on. The Committee had not lost any time. They were appointed last summer and they at once began the preliminary investigations. They formulated their tables and sent them out. The hon. Member for Ince and his friends took six months to give the simple answer "No" to a question which was addressed to them. He wished to say that when the Committee were enabled to present there Report they would give to the House the materials for forming a broader opinion on all the questions involved in this matter than they could possibly possess without that Report. The Committee had considered the matter purely from the economic side, and politics had never entered into their inquiry.

MR. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)

said it was somewhat satisfactory to him to find that he was justified last year, when he had the opportunity of saying a few words on the Bill, in warning hon. Members below the gangway of the dangers they ran in not voting against the Government then, but by being satisfied with the appointment of a Committee. The hon. Member for Ince, in his excellent speech, had said that the Committee had been appointed with terms of reference so wide and vague that it might sit to the day of doom. The Committee had been appointed, in his opinion, solely for the purpose of providing the Government with arguments against the Bill instead of clearing away difficulties and facilitating its passage. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No, no."] Well, he had listened carefully to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and he had never heard a more damaging criticism of an Eight Hours Bill. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh."] The whole of the right hon. Gentleman's argument centred round the effect an eight hours day would have upon the price of coal.


said that that was not his argument. He had made a quotation from what had been said only as an illustration; but he had also said that he did not agree with the statement that a great advance in price was to be apprehended.


said that the impression left on his mind, and on the minds of all other hon. Members near him, by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was that the great difficulty the right hon. Gentleman saw in the way of this particular measure was that the future price of coal would be raised, and that that would affect our shipping trade. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No, no."]


said that it was not fair to attribute that argument to him. What he had made perfectly clear was that it was an important matter for the consideration of the country at large, and it was necessary in justice to the interest of the consumers, large and small, to make inquiry into what truth there was in the allegation.


said that, so far as he understood, it did not appear that what he had said conflicted with the right hon. Gentleman's statement. Did the right hon. Gentleman attach any weight to the price of coal or not? He must have meant something by alluding to it. If the inquiry indicated that there would be a rise in price of coal, would the right hon. Gentleman then oppose the Bill?


said he wanted to keep the hon. Member to what he had said. He denied that he had over said anything of the kind imputed to him by the hon. Member.


said he did not wish to misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman. Possibly he had not understood what the Home Secretary intended to convey; but it certainly was his impression that the right hon. Gentleman had brought forward every argument which could be urged as to the difficulties in the way of the operation of an eight hours day, as to the difficulty of counting time from bank to bank, as to the difficulty of employing underground managers, and as to the difficulty of making exemptions. When the Workmen's Compensation Bill was under discussion there was no difficulty in making exceptions, and he ventured to say that if the right hon. Gentleman devoted his intelligence to the matter, all such questions could very well be considered and settled in Committee of the Whole House. It might be his density, but, notwithstanding what the right hon. Gentleman had said, he failed to apprehend what was the attitude of the Government towards the Bill. After having voted for the Second Reading, would they take effective steps to sand it upstairs to a Grand Committee? The hon. Members below the gangway congratulated themselves in having got the hon. Member for Northumberland to join the angels; but he assured those hon. Members that what they needed was not the wisdom of the angels, but the wisdom of the serpent, especially when they were dealing with a Liberal Government, if they wanted this Bill to pass. The only way to get the Bill passed was by opposing the Liberal Government on every occasion.


rose in his place, and claimed to move "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided:—Ayes, 273; Noes, 34. (Division List No. 111.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Acland, Francis Dyke Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Jones, Sir D. Bryn or (Swansea
Agnew, George William Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Alden, Percy Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Jones, William (Caernarvonshire)
Ambrose, Robert Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Jewett's, F. W.
Ashton, Thomas Gaur Elibank, Master of Joyce, Michael
Balcarres, Lord Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Kearley, Hudson E.
Balfour, Robert (.Lanark) Esslemont, George Bernie Kekewich, Sir George
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Everett, R. Lacey King, Alfred John (Knutsford)
Barker, John Ferens, T. R. Laidlaw, Robert
Barlow John Emmott (Somerset Ffrench, Peter Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)
Barnard, E. B. Findlay, Alexander Lamont, Norman
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington
Beale, W. P. Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Levy, Maurice
Bell, Richard Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Lewis, John Herbert
Bennett, E. N. Fullerton, Hugh Lundon, W.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Furness, Sir Christopher Lyell, Charles Henry
Billson, Alfred Gill, A. H. Lynch, H. B.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Ginnell, L. Macdonald, J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs)
Black, Arthur W. Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Mackarness, Frederic C.
Blake, Edward Glover, Thomas Macpherson, J. T.
Boland, John Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Bowerman, C. W. Greenwood, Hamar (York) MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal. E.)
Brace, William Gulland, John W. M'Callum, John M.
Branch, James Gwynn, Stephen Lucius M'Crae, George
Bright, J. A. Haft, Frederick M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Brooke, Stopford Halpin, J. M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Burke, E. Haviland Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis M'Killop, W.
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)
Byles, William Pollard Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Maddison, Frederick
Causton, Rt. Hn. RichardKnight Harms worth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh Massie, J.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Meagher, Michael
Cheetham, John Frederick Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire. N. E. Menzies, Walter
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Micklem, Nathaniel
Cleland, J. W. Haworth, Arthur A. Mond, A.
Clough, William Hazel, Dr. A. E. Money, L. G. Chiozza
Clynes, J. R. Hedges, A. Paget Montagu, E. S.
Coats, Sir T. Glen (Renfrew, W.) Hemmerde, Edward George Mooney, J. J.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Henry, Charles S. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Collins, Sir Wm. J (S. Pancras, W. Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon., S.) Morse, L. L.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Higham, John Sharp Myer, Horatio
Cooper, G. J. Hobart, Sir Robert Nicholls, George
Corbett,C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Hodge, John Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hogan, Michael Nolan, Joseph
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Holland, Sir William Henry Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Cowan, W. H. Hooper, A. G. Nussey, Thomas Willans
Crean, Eugene Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Nuttall, Harry
Cremer, William Randal Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N. O' Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid.
Crooks, William Horniman, Emslie John O' Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Dalmeny, Lord Hudson, Walter O' Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Dalziel, James Henry Hutton, Alfred Eddison O' Doherty, Philip
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Hyde, Clarendon O' Dowd, John
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Idris, T. H. W. O' Grady, J.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Illingworth, Percy H. O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.
Delany, William Isaacs, Rufus Daniel O' Malley, William
Dickinson, W. H. (St Pancras, N. Jackson, R. S. O' Mara, James
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Parker, James (Halifax)
Dolan, Charles Joseph Jenkins, J. Paulton, James Mellor
Duckworth, James Johns John (Gateshead) Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D. Walsh, Stephen
Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton) Sherwell, Arthur James Walters, John Tudor
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Shipman, Dr. John G. Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Pirie, Duncan V. Sloan, Thomas Henry Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Pollard, Dr. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent
Power, Patrick Joseph Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n)
Radford, G. H. Snowden, P. Wardle, George J.
Rainy, A. Rolland Spicer, Sir Albert Waring, Walter
Randles, Sir John Scurrah Stanger, H. Y. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Raphael, Herbert H. Slaveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Steadman, W. C. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro') Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Waterlow, D. S.
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Strachey, Sir Edward Watt, Henry Anderson
Rees, J. D. Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Weir,James Galloway
Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n Stuart, James (Sunderland) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Richardson, A. Summerbell, T. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Rickett, J. Compton Taylor, John W. (Durham) Whitehead, Rowland
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury) Wiles, Thomas
Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Robinson, S. Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Rogers, F. E. Newman Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Rowlands, J. Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Runciman, Walter Thorne, William Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Tomkinson, James Yoxall, James Henry
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Torrance, Sir A. M.
Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Trevelyan, Charles Philips William Abraham and Mr. George Roberts.
Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne Ure, Alexander
Sears, J. E. Verney, F. W.
Seaverns, J. H. Vivian, Henry
Seddon, J. Wadsworth, J.
Acland-Hood, Rt Hn Sir Alex. F. Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington
Anstruther-Gray, Major Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bignold, Sir Arthur Fletcher, J. S. Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Boyle, Sir Edward Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Butcher, Samuel Henry Helmsley, Viscount Thornton, Percy M.
Carlile, E. Hildred Hunt, Rowland Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Castlereagh, Viscount Kimber, Sir Henry Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Cavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C. W. Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Liddell, Henry
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S. Lonsdale, John Brownlee Frederick Ban bury and Captain Craig.
Dalrymple, Viscount Lupton, Arnold
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Magnus, Sir Philip
Fell, Arthur Mildmay, Francis Bingham

Question "That this Bill be now read a second time," put accordingly, and agreed to.


in moving the reference of the Bill to the Standing Committee on Trade, said that the promoters felt positive that the House might leave the consideration of the details of the Bill with perfect confidence to the Committee.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Trade, etc."


hoped the House would not assent to the proposal. It was obvious that the Bill could not be carried through without the assistance and guidance of the Government, who themselves had a Departmental Committee sitting with a view to preparing a Bill of their own. Reference had been made to the Factory Act which had been sent to the Standing Committee on Trade; but that was a Government Bill, and it was in that state of things that the measure was so referred. As the very question raised by this Bill was before a Departmental Committee, he thought, before proceeding further, they should wait for the Report of that Committee. It seemed to him that for the House to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee on Trade, which must sit almost immediately, would, under the circumstances, be inadvisable.

SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)

who spoke amidst cries of "Divide," said hon. Members had half an hour in which to divide. He was surprised, after the speech of the Home Secretary, that the Government appeared to be willing to accept the Motion which had been made by the hon. Gentleman below the gangway. The Home Secretary, indeed, made a very good case against sending the Bill to the Committee on Trade at all, and defended the appointment of the Departmental Committee on the ground that it was necessary to get a certain amount of information which was not in the possession of the Home Office or of the House. The right hon. Gentleman had shown that very important information relating to the details of the Bill and its proper working was not in the possession of the Government or of the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Bill. That statement was not challenged by those hon. Members. Then the right hon. Gentleman had pointed out, in perfectly clear language, that it would be impossible for any Home Secretary, however able, to conduct this Bill in the Committee, because there were so many additional details which would have to be put into it for which it would not afford the proper framework. The right hon. Gentleman had said that a great number of clauses would have to be added to the Bill. Were they going again to go through the farce which they had in regard to the Land Tenure Bill? They on that side allowed the Land Tenure Bill to go through, and when it came back to the House clauses were drafted and alterations made which had to be pencilled on the knees of the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General. That was a thing he had never seen before in the fifteen years that he had been in the House. There was no excuse for sending a badly drafted Bill like this to the Committee on Trade. As the right hon. Gentleman had said, before they drafted a Bill they must know what they were going to do. The Departmental Committee was not appointed for the purpose of drawing up a Bill, but for the purpose of assisting the Home Secretary to draw up a good Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman had said that the Committee would report in a month's time and that the Government would, on the Report of that Committee, draft a proper Bill. Under these circumstances how could the Government approve of this Bill going to a Grand Committee? Unless they contemplated that the whole of the time of the Committee would be wasted what was the use of sending the Bill to them? The Government had pledged themselves to introduce a Bill of their own. There could not be two Bills on the same subject in the same session—one of them must be dropped. Hon. Members, it seemed, were extremely anxious to have this Bill carried without considering what its effect would be upon the country; but it was important in the interests of hon. Gentlemen themselves, that they should have a measure which was properly considered and workable. Under these circumstances he hoped the Home Secretary would pluck up a little courage and stand by his own speech, which was a very excellent one from the point of view he was now urging.


said the hon. Baronet had, as usual, made a clear, emphatic, and eloquent speech in opposition to the further progress of this Bill. It was the usual speech which was made on all private Members' Bills, and even if they granted that there was some force in it, all that it meant was that the hon. Gentleman was strongly opposed to the Bill. For his part he saw no reason whatever why departure should be made in this case from the ordinary procedure. It would be very strange indeed if the Government, who were now endeavouring to persuade the House to take this course with all Bills, were to step in to help in hindering this Bill from going upstairs. If the Committee found that the Bill was so poor a foundation that they could not build upon it, they could send it back in such a shape as to convey to the House that it did not afford good groundwork for legislation. The Committee might take any course they liked. They might refuse to proceed with it.


inquired whether the right hon. Gentleman really meant that a Standing Committee could refuse to proceed with a Bill referred to it by the House.


replied that they could not in a technical sense refuse, but they could send it back to the House in such a way as to convey to the House that it was not a suitable ground on which to build legislation. Another thing they could do was to suspend the proceedings on the Bill until the Government Bill was introduced, and then have the Government Bill before them and consider it also. But let the House take the usual course. Let the Bill go upstairs so that not only its details should be considered, but all the possible Amendments to it, with a view to new conditions and modifications being brought forward. That was the ordinary and straightforward course, and it was the course which the Government would recommend.


asked whether the Bill was to go upstairs merely for the purpose of making room for a fresh Government Bill? If that was the course the Government were going to take under the amended rules of procedure it might lead to great confusion.


said that he was a Member of the Grand Committee on Trade, and anxious to arrive at a wise conclusion on this subject. He desired to know whether this Bill would seriously affect a large number of our industries, and for that purpose it was important that he should study the Report of the Committee which was considering the subject. Until that Committee had made its Report he could not regard himself as competent to vote on the Bill if it were sent to the Grand Committee on Trade.

* MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

objected to referring the Bill to the Grand Committee, not, like the previous speaker, because he was a Member of the Committee, but because he was not a Member of the Committee. He was a mining engineer and had been interested in this subject all his life, but when the matter came up for consideration he would have no opportunity of saying anything. Therefore, he supported the hon. Member who had just sat down, but for a different reason from that which he had given.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 279; Noes, 33. (Division List No. 112.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Billson, Alfred
Abraham. William (Rhondda) Barker, John Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine
Acland, Francis Dyke Barlow, John Emmott(Somerset Black, Arthur W.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Barnard, E. B. Blake, Edward
Alden, Percy Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Boland, John
Ambrose, Robert Beale, W. P. Bowerman, C. W.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Bell, Richard Brace, William
Ashton, Thomas Gaur Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo. Branch, James
Astbury, John Meir Berridge, T. H. D. Brooke, Stopford
Blares, Lord Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'd Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Burke, E. Haviland-
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Henry, Charles S. Nolan, Joseph
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon., S.) Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Byles, William Pollard Higham, John Sharp Nussey, Thomas Willans
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Hobart, Sir Robert Nuttall, Harry
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Hodge, John O' Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Hogan, Michael O' Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cherry. Rt. Hon. R. R. Holden, E. Hopkinson O' Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Cleland, J. W. Holland, Sir William Henry O' Doherty, Philip
Clynes, J. R. Hooper, A. G. O' Dowd, John
Coats, Sir T. Glen (Renfrew, W.) Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) O' Grady, J.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E. Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Horniman, Emslie John O' Malley, William
Collins, Sir W. J. (S. Pancras, W. Horridge, Thomas Gardner Parker, James (Halifax)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hudson, Walter Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Cooper, G. J. Hutton, Alfred Eddison Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Corbett, CH (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Hyde, Clarendon Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Idris, T. H. W. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Illingworth, Percy H. Pirie, Duncan V.
Cowan, W. H. Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Pollard, Dr.
Crean, Eugene Jackson, R. S. Power, Patrick Joseph
Cremer, William Randal Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Radford, G. H.
Crooks, William Jenkins, J. Rainy, A. Rolland
Dalmeny, Lord Johnson, W. (Uneaten) Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Dalziel, James Henry Jones, Sir D. Bryn or (Swansea) Raphael, Herbert H.
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Jones, Leif (Appleby) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Jones, William (Caernarvonshire Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Jewett's, F. W. Rees, J. D.
Delany, William Joyce, Michael Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N. Kearley, Hudson E. Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Duckworth, James Kekewich, Sir George Richardson, A.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Rickett, J. Compton
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall Laidlaw, Robert Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Lamont, Norman Robinson, S.
Eli bank, Master of Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Lehmann, R. C. Rogers, F. E. Newman
Easement, George Bernie Levy, Maurice Rowlands, J.
Evans, Samuel T. Lewis, John Herbert Runciman, Walter
Everett, R. Lacey Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Ferens. T. R. Lundon, W. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Ffrench, Peter Lyell, Charles Henry Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Findlay, Alexander Lynch, H. B. Schwann, Sir CE (Manchester)
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs) Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Mackarness, Frederic C. Sears, J. E.
Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Macpherson, J. T. Seaverns, J. H.
Fuller, John Michael F. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S. Seddon, J.
Fullerton, Hugh MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Gill, A. H. M'Callum, John M. Sherwell, Arthur James
Ginnell, L. M'Crae, George Shipman, Dr. John G.
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John M'Hugh, Patrick A. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Glover, Thomas M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Sloan, Thomas Henry
Grant, Corrie M' Killop, W. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Greenwood, Hamar (York) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Snowden, P.
Gulland, John W. Maddison, Frederick Spicer, Sir Albert
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Manfield, Harry (Northants) Stanger, H. Y.
Hall, Frederick Massie, J. Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.
Halpin, J. Meagher, Michael Steadman, W. C.
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Menzies, Walter Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Micklem, Nathaniel Strachey, Sir Edward
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Mond, A. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Harmsworth; Cecil B. (Worc'r) Money, L. G. Chiozza Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh. Mooney, J. J. Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Harrington, Timothy Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Morse, F. L. Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Haworth, Arthur A. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Myer, Horatio Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Hedges, A. Paget Napier, T. B. Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Hemmerde, Edward George Nicholls, George Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset E.
Thorne, William Wardle, George J. Wiles, Thomas
Tomkinson, James Waring, Walter Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Torrance, Sir A. M. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W.R.)
Trevelyan, Charles Philips Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Ure, Alexander Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Vivian, Henry Watt, Henry Anderson Yoxall, James Henry
Wadsworth, J. Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Walsh, Stephen Weir, James Galloway TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Walters, John Tudor "White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire) Mr. John Ward and Mr. George Roberts.
Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.) White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Sandys, Lieut-Col. Thos. Myles
Bignold, Sir Arthur Helmsley, Viscount Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East
Boyle, Sir Edward Hunt, Rowland Thornton, Percy M.
Butcher, Samuel Henry Kimber, Sir Henry Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Whitehead, Rowland
Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S. Liddell, Henry Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Dalyrmple, Viscount Lonsdale, John Brownlee Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Fell, Arthur Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Captain Craig.
Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Paulton, James Miller
Fletcher, J. S. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter