§ As amended, (in the Standing Committee) considered.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
, in moving to leave put clause 1, said he did not disguise from himself the 518 fact that if the Amendment was accepted the Bill as an Eight Hours Bill would fall to the ground, and he sincerely hoped it would be added to the victims of the massacre which took place a few moments ago. He desired to trespass on the indulgence of the 519 House for but a few moments, but he wanted to put forward the reasons why he was entirely opposed to the principle which underlay the whole of the Bill. He felt that the measure was going through the House by default. It had been before the House for some years past, and he might perhaps be allowed to trace its history and the reasons for which it had been brought forward. It had been brought forward on Friday afternoons and had assumed such an academic character that hon. Members had not taken that amount of interest in this great and far-reaching question that they ought to have done, and they had usually selected the day on which the measure had been brought forward as a day on which they could attend to other business which had not been in the House of Commons. There was only left a very short time in which they could protest against this measure; and he craved the indulgence of the House to bear with him perhaps for a few moments longer than was usually allowed to the mover of an Amendment on the Report Stage, because, though deeply interested in the measure, perhaps as deeply interested as any hon. Members in the House, he had not an opportunity on the Second Reading of putting forward his reasons which he held very strongly, and which he had entertained for a very long time past, why the measure should not become the law of the land.
§ MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
May I ask whether the noble Lord is entitled to go into the general principles of the Bill and to make a Second Reading speech?
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
said the pith and essence of the Bill were contained in Clause 1. The whole principle was involved in that clause, and it was for that reason that he had put down the Amendment he was now moving. There was no need for him to make any secret of it, and he did not know that there was any need to explain to hon. Members that he himself 520 was as interested as any hon. Member in the House in the coal trade. But he would take it for granted that he was absolved, certainly by Members below the gangway, from protesting against this measure from any unworthy motive, in exactly the same way as he absolved them from putting forward this measure on their own behalf. Might he be allowed as briefly as possible to put forward the reasons for his direct opposition to the Bill? He was opposed to it, first of all, because it was the first attempt which had been made in this country for the purpose of curtailing the hours of adult labour. The second reason was that it was uncalled for by the people of this country; and the third reason was that it established uniform legislation to meet wholly different local conditions. On the economic aspect of the question, the harm it would do to the coal owner or the coal consumer, he did not propose to touch. He would leave that to hon. Members on both sides of the House who put this subject forward in a far more eloquent manner than he could ever hope to do. What he desired to impress upon the House was the very far-reaching and important principle involved in the Bill. It was quite obvious that if the principle was once admitted it could not remain where it was at the present moment. That principle, once extended to the coal industry, could not remain with the coal industry. It must extend to other industries and eventually control the whole industrial life of the country. Might he be allowed in a very few words to put before the House the history of the Bill? In 1887 an Amendment was proposed to the Mines Regulation Act—
§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
On a point of order, is the hon. Member in order, on Clause 1, in going into the history of the Bill and the manner in which it has passed through the House?
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I think the noble Lord is taking a little too much licence now. It is no doubt a very important principle, and a good deal is contained in Clause 1. I should have thought that 521 would be sufficient material for the noble Lord.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
said he desired to point out that the Bill had been brought forward by Gentlemen below the gangway and had been supported by right hon. Gentlemen on the front bench with a view to showing that it was to be entirely confined to the coal trade, and had been brought forward in the interests of humanity, and of the miners themselves, and was not, as he took it to be, a Socialistic proposal for the purpose of curtailing the hours of labour in this country. He thought it was only by touching on the history of the measure that they could see with what object it was brought forward. The promoters of the Bill, in the first place, were members of a Socialistic party who desired to extend this principle to other industries. Of course, if he was trespassing on the ruling of the Speaker it certainly removed a great deal of the force of the argument which he wanted to put forward. He did not desire to enter into economic details of the cost to the coal owner or anything in that respect, but he desired to oppose as strenuously as he could the very important and far reaching principle which he maintained was contained in the Bill. Perhaps he might say a few words with regard to the origin of the movement.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
said that perhaps he might refer to the different attitude which had been taken up by Members below the gangway and hon. Members who sat on the front bench. They had heard a great many speeches from Members connected with the Labour Party, both in the House and on the Committee stage upstairs, and they had ventured to concentrate their remarks as applicable to the coal trade. They had heard a great deal on the Committee stage with regard to the tyrannical employer and they were told that this clause which embodies the principle of the Bill was intended for the purpose of protecting the miner from what the tyrannical employers did to him. When this measure was taken up by the 522 Government and was supported by the Home Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman prefaced his speech with a dramatic account of the life of the miner underground. The President of the Board of Trade appealed to the House to pass the measure on the ground that the miner was excluded from the light of day and should not be excluded for more than eight hours. If one-tenth of the statements put forward by the right hon. Gentleman were accurate he would be entirely justified in bringing a Bill into the House prohibiting labour being carried on underground at all, and instead of using coal as an article for the purpose of providing warmth for the human body and for carrying on great industries, the British public would have to find some substitute. But that statement was not entirely accurate. He did not for a moment pretend that the industry was named on under altogether pleasant and comfortable conditions, but there were other industries in the country to which equal objection could be taken. That was an argument at one time used with great force, but it was obvious that it must now be a diminishing force. He objected to the clause because it contained the principles of curtailment of the hours of labour and free action affecting a very large community in this country. It was quite obvious that labour in this country could claim to be in the same position to maintain its rights as employers of labour. There were two main points to which he desired to draw attention. The first was that if it was meant that this principle of the curtailment of the hours of labour was to go no further than was proposed in this measure, he would suggest that the proposition put forward in this clause should be left to the trade itself to decide. If it was meant to apply to all industries in the country then he could only say that if the House of Commons decided that that step should be taken the doom of the industries was sealed for ever. If that principle remained part of the Bill it was obvious that the legislation could not remain at the point at which this Bill left it. It was obvious that this measure must be the precursor of far more stringent legislation, and when eight hours had been adopted for coal mines they would probably have seven or 523 eight hours Bills introduced to establish the same principle for every industry in the country. He hoped that they would hear some really adequate and important reasons put forward by the right hon. Gentleman on the front Ministerial bench for taking up the Bill on behalf of the Government. He objected to legislation of this kind because he was one of those who looked upon all restrictive legislation affecting the hours of labour as a necessary evil, and, therefore, the House needed to be very careful lest it went too tar in legislating, not for controlling the minority for the benefit of the majority, but for controlling the majority for the benefit of the minority. In moving the rejection of the clause he which it contained might very well be left to some arrangement between those concerned in the trade. He could testify well to the relations which existed between the employers and employed in the coal trade in the North of England. Those subject of boast in that part of the country, and he did not think that the regulations of the hours of labour of those who worked in the coal trade in the North of England could be left in better hands. It might be said that the Railway Regulations Act and the Shop Hours Act were instances of the curtailment of hours of work of adults. But he had not the time to go into those two measures, beyond stating that under no circumstances could they be taken as any analogy whatever to the case before them. He would point out to hon. Gentlemen who had not taken the interest in this Bill which he thought a Bill of this magnitude was entitled to receive at their hands, that the injury the Bill might do to the individual coal owner or coal consumer was nothing whatsover as affecting the main question. The injury to the individual was but a passing thing. There might be a great dislocation of trade, but that was a thing which might possibly right itself. What he wished to impress upon hon. Members was that by passing this measure they were admitting a principle which had never been admitted in this country before, and one which he was perfectly convinced would do infinite harm to the 524 character and life of the whole of the industrial population. He should have liked to have gone at far greater detail into what he believed would be the effect of the clause, but owing to the ruling of Mr. Speaker he must content himself with confining his remarks within these very narrow bounds. He hoped what he had said would persuade hon. Members to consider the measure in its proper light, and with those few remarks he ventured to move, "That Clause 1 be omitted from the Bill."
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)
said that in seconding the Amendment he did not intend to go into the side of the subject with namely, the larger question of limiting the hours of labour, but he desired to allude to some matters which had occurred since the Bill was before the House. They had had on past occasions various arguments in conection with in reference to this particular measure they had travelled a great deal from the original position as to what was an actual eight hours day. Even the promoters of this measure had had to confess that difficulties which, when they raised them at first, were laughed at, were very real ones, and they had now to consider seriously questions of winding, and other matters, which when first brought forward, were considered as unreal. One great change made by the Government in connection with Clause 1 had not, in his opinion, improved the Bill in any way. The change he referred to was in connection with putting in that favourite device of the Government, the time-limit, so that the Bill did not come into operation until a period when it was very likely they would not incur any disadvantages from the results of this particular legislation. He only hoped in connection with this point that after the very strong argument which the Home Secretary put forward in favour of a scheme for five years, he would adhere to the Amendment he now saw on the Paper, and restore the clause to what he suggested in Grand Committee. He hoped he would not think that he 525 was doubting his bona fides on this question, but they could not help remembering what happened on the Report stage of the Workmen's Compensation Bill when a similar thing occurred. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman was defeated in Grand Committee, and he said he would put the matter right again on a subsequent stage. When the Motion was proposed from the front Opposition bench and seconded, in extremely strong and convincing speeches, the Government would not put on their own Whips to tell in the division upon the Question.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. GLADSTONE, Leeds, W.)
It is not quite accurate to say that. What I said in Grand Committee was that I should leave the matter to the House to decide. [OPPOSITION cries of "No."] I am speaking from memory, and that is my recollection of what occurred.
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY
said he was only alluding to that incident as an analogy in order to make sure that, at all events, in view of the arguments that had been used, there should not be any wavering upon that particular point. This, however, did not affect his argument at all, because he did not think the alteration was one of any advantage even to those interested in the Bill. The clause as it passed through Grand Committee had really very little more effect on the Bill than when they were discussing it on the Second Reading. The two great considerations which really affected the House were, first of all, the opinion of the hon. Member for Gloucester, who presided so ably over the Departmental Committee, and gave them the most valuable information upon this question which they had ever received. On the Second Reading he supported the Bill in a somewhat critical speech. They knew also that the Bill as it came back from the Grand Committee contained some very grave faults indeed, and although the hon. Member for Gloucester's own suggestion for amending those faults was not one which appealed to the coal owners—he did not know what the coal consumers thought 526 upon it—they had this fact established, that the Bill as it stood at present, and this clause which really enshrined the whole Bill, would lead to very great danger to the coal industry. Although the hon. Member was in favour of the principle, he considered that this section as it stood contained a very serious danger, and if passed in its present form, the hon. Member thought that very great disaster might accompany its enforcement in the country. That was a very valuable opinion coming from the source that it did. The second point was that they had always had assurances from hon. Members below the gangway that in no sense was the Bill put forward in contemplation of prices being raised and wages in proportion. On that point they had a very full statement made by the hon. Member for South Glamorgan on the Second Reading, when he said—He could, were he a clever diplomatist hedge the question, but he would much rather frankly tell the House what they had done, or rather not done. Not in conference or in any congress or in any committee, or in private conversation, had his colleagues and himself discussed the question of advancing the wages consequent upon the passing of the Bill.The only thing that they had had in connection with that since had been that on the 23rd November, at a considerably later date, at the half-yearly council meeting of the Northumberland Miners Association the following resolution was passed—That, in view of the probable early passing of the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill, and the subsequent likelihood of reorganisation having to be made in reference to wages, we request the Miners Federation Committee to convene a conference at an early date of the workmen members of the various conciliation boards, with a view to drawing up some uniform system applicable to the whole Federation, whereby a higher basis wage and a higher minimum wage can be obtained.He thought it was rather too much that before the Bill was carried, they should have all the miners meeting together in order to raise wages. The apprehensions in connection with the Bill appeared to be justified, even at the early stage of the proceedings. On three points they were now meeting the question in a decidedly worse position than when the Bill left the House for Grand Committee. They 527 had the Government not daring to bring the Bill into operation till the end of five years, they had the knowledge that hon. Gentlemen below the gangway intended to make the Bill a basis for increasing the price, and they had the knowledge on the authority of the hon Member for Gloucester that the Bill as it stood was very dangerous to the industries of the country.
Amendment proposed to the Bill—
In page 1, line 5, to leave out Clause 1."—(Viscount Castlereagh.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'for,' in page 1, line 6, stand part of the Bill."
§ * MR. BRACE (Glamorganshire, S.)
said he had listened with much interest to the proposer and the seconder of the Amendment, and he must confess that he thought they had put forward no argument at all which would justify the House in rejecting the clause. They had said that the Home Secretary had put down an Amendment deferring the operation of the Bill for five instead of three years; they had criticised him, and they had gone on to say that he had only put in this time-limit because he was afraid of the Bill. The miners' Members who supported the period of three years in Grand Committee; supported three years now because they realised that three years was more than sufficient to deal with anything that might arise in connection with this clause or with any portion of the Bill. The proposer and the seconder of the Amendment had said that that was the first time that the House of Commons had been asked to deal with adult labour. Indirectly it had always dealt with adult labour. In dealing with the hours of labour for children the House had also indirectly dealt with adult labour. He only needed to quote the Factory Acts and the Coal Mines Regulation Act to prove that. The opponents of the Bill, as usual, had beaten the big drum about the doom of industry; but had the House ever been asked to deal with any kind of legislative problem affecting labour when there had not 528 been the cry raised that our industries were to be ruined? The Compensation Act was a good instance of that kind. Members of Parliament declared that if that Bill was passed industries would be ruined, but there had never been such a profit, made as since the time when that became an Act of Parliament. If history repeated itself the passing of the Eight Hours Bill into an Act of Parliament would have no more influence in dooming industries than the passing of that piece of humanitarian legislation. They were told that this matter ought to have been left to be arranged between the trade unions and the employers. That was a proposition which was argued when the Bill came before the House for Second Reading. He said then what he said now, that it was because the workmen's leaders and the workmen themselves looked on this legislative Chamber as the proper place for settling a matter of this kind that they had come there in preference to using their power. He was not saying that their trade unions could not settle the matter themselves, and if the House rejected their responsibility the trade unions would have to settle the matter themselves. Some hon. Members cheered that statement, but if in consequence of the trade unions having to take it on themselves to settle the matter they had a prolonged strike which affected the whole of the industries of the country there would be no reason to cheer. When hon. Gentlemen told them to go and settle the question by the power of their trade unions they were giving a piece of advice which, if carried to its logical result, they would be the first to condemn them for. They had come to the House because they felt that this was one of those questions that an Imperial Legislature could deal with without injustice to anybody and without damaging industry. They had brought the question out of the area of a stoppage of work which would bear powerfully on the industries of the United Kingdom. The noble Lord had said that they were not united, but on this occasion they stood before the House absolutely united in their demand for legislation. The noble Lord and his friends said "No." They seemed to know much more about the matter than the men's leaders. There was nothing 529 like having a healthy conceit of themselves. Hon. Gentlemen above the gangway were assuming a right which they had no right to assume, for they stood before the House of Commons as an absolutely united body from the North of Scotland to the West of Wales, save and except perhaps "the great important coalfield in the Forest of Dean," though he thought that the right hon. Baronet who represented the Forest of Dean would be able to tell them that there also they agreed with them in asking the House to accept this Bill. The hon. Member for Ashford said that a five-year period was of no advantage, and that it would be no more advantage than a three-year period.
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY
said he certainly did not express himself clearly if he did say so, because he had appealed to the Home Secretary to stick to the period of five years.
§ * MR. BRACE
said he accepted the correction, though he took the words down at the time as he was rather startled at the statement. The hon. Member had quoted him correctly when he said that he had stated that they had had no arrangement, no conference, no discussion in the Committee, no discussion among themselves as to a policy for the raising of prices with a view to the raising of wages as a result or in consequence of the passing of this Bill. The resolution which the hon. Member had quoted regarding Northumberland was a resolution which the Northumberland members of the Federation were perfectly competent to propose as a section of the Federation; but till the hon. Member could come to the House and say that the Miners Federation as a body had passed a similar resolution to that which he had read, he would not be justified in assuming that there was a consensus of opinion among miners about raising prices, and thereby raising wages. The hon. Gentleman seemed to assume that it was a very easy thing to raise wages, and that all they had to do was to ask and take. If the hon. Gentleman had had as much experience as he had had in begging for something like a minimum wage he would be able to understand that the coal owners on the question 530 of wages were able to look after themselves, and were very difficult to persuade to increase wages. It was more than suggested that miners would have an advantage by raising prices because they would be enabled to cover themselves through the increased wage they would receive. The averages price for cutting the coal in South Wales was 1s. 6d. per ton. On the standard that was all the collier who went into the pit got. The highest percentage they ever received in the greatest boom year they have ever known was 78¾ per cent. The maximum at the present moment was 60 per cent., so that if they went to the highest point of a coal boom ever known they would only get 18¾ per cent. above what they had now. That worked out at 2.47d. Yet hon. Gentlemen asked the House to believe that they would use this Bill to increase the price of coal because they would be more than compensated by the increased wages they would receive. Could anyone conceive that a miner would reduce his output by one ton of coal per day so that by losing 1s. 6d. he might receive an addition on his standard of 2d or 2½d? It was too ridiculous to talk about, yet with great solemnity and great authority they heard it said that the miners would be raising prices, and that this was what the Resolution that had been read intended. He had listened carefully in all those debates to hear the human side of the problem dealt with, but all that was talked about was the question of the raising of the price of coal. The Coal Consumers' League had recently issued a manifesto asking not only that the House should reject the Bill, but that people should send them money so that the resources of the league might be replenished. When he remembered the mining industry with its appalling death roll—hon. Members laughed at that, but while at that moment they were discussing the Mines Eight Hours Bill amid the jeers and ridicule of Tory Members, within recent days there had been a terrible disaster in Lancashire, and the bodies of sixty-eight of their fellow men were locked up in that mine, the mine having been flooded with water to put out the fire caused by the explosion, and when he talked of the appalling death roll it is received with jeers. [Cries of 531 "Shame," and OPPOSITION cries of "No."] The time had come when some hon. Gentlemen should visit the raining villages after one of these disasters, so that they might be able to realise that the human heart responded as softly, tenderly, and quickly to sorrow amongst the poor as in higher classes. When he went down to Lancashire with his colleagues in connection with that disaster, for days they were depressed with sadness because of the sorrowful scenes they witnessed. It was for the miners and their families that they pleaded. It was with fear and trembling that he ventured to urge that there was a human side to this problem which the House could not afford to pass lightly by. They did not think that the Bill if passed would in any way advance the price of coal. He held that if there was a time at which such a measure could be safely introduced it was now. They had thousands of men idle. Colliery owners were shutting down their pits, because it did not pay them to work the coal at present. If this Bill was allowed to come into operation during a period of depression, when there was more than a sufficient supply of coal to meet all requirements, by the time the cycle of good trade came round, and the markets went up, they would have the advantage of being ready to supply all the demands for coal. In connection with the Amendment standing in his own name, to Clause 1, dealing with the question of firemen, examiners, and deputies, he wanted to make a point now because he did not desire to trouble the House again. For some reason or another, firemen, examiners, and deputies had been excluded from the general operation of the Bill, and dealt with specially in a clause of their own. [An HON. MEMBER: On the ground of safety.] As the question of safety had been raised, he said that if there was any body of men in connection with colliery work entitled to special treatment, by way of short hours, it was the examiners, firemen, and deputies. It was on these men that the safety of the mine really depended, and from the moment they went down the pit until they came back all their faculties must be on the alert. On the examiners especially the colliers largely depended 532 for keeping a close oversight of the general conditions of safety in the mine. While they felt that the manager, under-manager, and overmen might be left out of the provisions of the Bill, they felt strongly that the examiners deputies, and firemen, ought to be within the Bill, and given the same conditions as the colliers. As to the time when the Bill was to come into operation he hoped his right hon. friend would feel that the Grand Committee had some right to be considered on the point. After thoroughly threshing out the question, the Grand Committee decided that the time-limit ought to be three years. His right hon. friend shook his head; and he knew it was said that that decision was obtained by a combination. He admitted that there was a combination, and that it was only by a majority that the Grand Committee decided that they must have the period of three years; still his right hon. friend would have something to gain by throwing in his lot with the mining Members in support of the Bill as it stood.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I can assure the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, that, so far as I am concerned, I have no objection whatever to dealing with what he calls the human side of the coal miners' question. That cannot be ignored without very great disadvantage. But I would remind him of two points. In the first place, although everybody must admit that there are great risks and perils connected with the mining industry, and that miners are subject to accidents that do not affect other industries, nevertheless the general conditions of the trade are from the point of view of health not unsatisfactory; and, in the second place, I would point out that there is a very human side to the question of the price of fuel. I am not going to dogmatise upon the matter, but I think it will be admitted that if the effect of this Bill were to raise the price of fuel the effect upon the poor consumer of coal and upon the industries which give employment to the great body of our working men, is part of the human side of this question which it is impossible for this House to ignore. It is at least as human as the side upon which the hon. Gentleman has so eloquently dealt. It 533 is quite true that the miners' occupation is a risky occupation, and that we are only too often deeply stirred by the great disasters which occur in the mining industry in different parts of the country; but I do not see that this Bill touches that point, and, if it does, there are many people who think there are points in the Bill which would increase the dangers to which the coal miner's life is unhappily subject. But so far as accidents are concerned there is no comparison between disasters on the one hand, and short hours on the other. Because a man is leading a life in which tragedies occur, as they do in the coal mining industry, and in the nautical industry, how do you lessen these perils or touch the question by dealing with the hours of labour? If it can be alleged that the present hours of labour in themselves have the smallest effect in increasing the perils of the miner's occupation, I believe every man in the House would agree that this legislation was imperatively and immediately necessary. I do not understand that any of the miners' representatives do allege that the diminution of the hours of labour from eight-and-a-half or nine hours by half-an-hour has the smallest relation to the risk which the miners now run.
§ MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)
With the greatest possible respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I do believe sincerely that, if this Bill were passed, it would make a very serious difference in greatly decreasing the dangers of mining in South Wales; because the hours there are very much longer than they are in other parts of the country.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman no doubt speaks with knowledge at all events of his own district, but I may shelter myself behind the Report of the Parliamentary Committee, which stated, in perfectly explicit terms, that, so far as their investigations went, there was no connection between the actual length of hours worked in the mines and the number of accidents. I pass from that to ask one or two questions. I approach this question in no dogmatic spirit, and with no violent pre-conceived ideas. I am anxious to 534 learn what is to be said in favour of this measure, and I hope that, on this Report stage, we shall get explicit answers from those concerned in the mining industry to one or two questions, to which, speaking for myself, I have not been able as yet to find a reply. I understand that, broadly speaking, as far as the hours are concerned, we may roughly divide England and Scotland into three regions. There is the region which includes most of Scotland and part of Yorkshire, where, I believe, the hours now worked are not materially different from those which are prescribed in the Bill, and I suppose that there the Bill, though I believe it is desired by the miners, would effect practically no change in their position. I am talking of Scotland and Yorkshire, not of Northumberland and Durham. I do not suppose, therefore, that the Bill would have any economic effect either upon the workmen themselves or upon the general problem. That is the first division. Another division is South Wales and Lancashire. I understand that in South Wales, as the hon. Gentleman has just stated, and in Lancashire the actual hours now worked are greater than the hours prescribed in the Bill—are materially greater in some cases. If that be so, when this Bill passes, in these districts, and I confine myself to these two districts, there will evidently have to be an important readjustment of some kind or another, and I wish very much to ask the representatives of the miners in those districts of what nature they think that readjustment is going to be. It is quite clear that if the general condition of the industry remains the same, the diminution of hours will carry with it diminution of output. I am not now laying down a general proposition as to all industries, but I believe it is not denied that in these particular districts and industries a diminution of the hours of work will be followed by a diminution of output. If that be true, one of three things must happen. The profits of the coal owner must diminish, or the wages of the workers must be diminished, or the price of coal must rise, and all the other industries affected, and all those who use fuel for domestic purposes in the shape of the coal which comes from these regions will be deeply affected. 535 One or more of those three things must happen. Now I am very anxious to know what, in the opinion of the miners, will happen. Do they accept, for instance, as has been alleged by some of them—not by the hon. Member who has just sat down—that while prices rise, while wages rise, and the profits of the mine-owner rise, the only sufferers will be the vast general body of the consumers? If that is their view, I think it ought to be clearly stated in order that we may know where we are. If that is the view of those districts where the hours worked are materially longer than the hours prescribed in the Bill, and if that is the result, I think the House and the country should know that that is the anticipation of those through whose influence in the main this Bill is to be passed into law. If it is not that, are they going to acquiesce in the only alternative, which is a diminution of wages? The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down drew a picture of what would happen in the way of trade disputes if this matter were dealt with, not by Parliament, but by the mutual play of the forces under the control of the trade unions on the one side, and the Coal Owners' Association on the other. The hon. Gentleman stated that, though no doubt as a matter of fact the unions would be able to arrange the hours to their satisfaction, that end could only be arrived at after a serious trade war between the employers and the employed. But are they going to acquiesce in a diminution of wages without a trade war? If the result is not a rise in the price of coal but a diminution in rates of wages owing to the Bill, are they going to acquiesce in that consequence, and arrange with the employers or owners of the mines that as they are working less, they should get less, and are they going to accept contentedly that conclusion? Again, I think, if that is their view, they are in a position to say what their explanation is; but I think it is most important that they should give the House with all seriousness what they contemplate as the result of this legislation. There is only one more question which I will put to these Gentlemen who are more qualified to instruct us in these matters than any other body in the House. The hon. Gentleman who 536 has just sat down has told us that, with the single exception of the Forest of Dean, he believes that the whole of the mining industry on the workmen's side is absolutely unanimous from the North of Scotland to the South of England in favour of this measure. Well, Sir, I quite accept his statement that it is formally accepted, but I should like to ask what the words formally accepted carry with them in Northumberland and Durham. I understand that Northumberland and Durham acquiesce, per haps they do more, perhaps they approve, but I should be surprised if any representative from Northumberland can be found to say that. But, however that may be, and I do not wish to inquire into the matter too closely, what I want to know is this. How is the industry in Northumberland and Durham to Tae remodelled by July so as to be brought in accordance with the scheme of this Bill? The House will see that I am trying to confine myself to a very practical issue. I am not going into theory at all. The practical issue is of the very first importance. I think those who represent the miners in the House should tell us quite candidly and frankly whether they think that it is possible to uproot the immemorial, or, at all events, the long traditional usage in Northumberland and Durham, and whether it is possible for Northumberland and Durham to acquiesce in this Bill at all unless those who work at the "face" of the seam in those counties, I think that is the word, are prepared not to diminish but to increase the hours they at present work. I am told that they at present work six and a half hours. Would it be possible—I put it as a question; I do not feel that I know enough about it to give an answer myself; I only ask for information—is it possible to apply to that peculiar system of Northumberland and Durham the provisions of this Bill, they being required to work longer time than they do now? I may be quite wrong, but if they really signify their acquiescence in a revolution of their method of conducting the industry which involves an augmentation of the hours of labour of all the grown-up married members of the coal mining community of those two districts, I shall be surprised. These 537 two issues are, I think, of the greatest possible importance. I do not ask the Government to reply to my queries, but I should very sincerely desire to hear a reply by those who represent the miners. Be it observed that this Bill will very greatly restrict the liberty of miners, by which I mean the local man will not be allowed to work so long as he does now. There are many cases where he does not work so long as he will work under this Bill, and where he can choose the days and hours of his own work. He evidently will not have the same facilities if this Bill passes. If miners require that, it is not for other people to quarrel with it, but I sometimes doubt whether they have realised the inconvenience to them. But when I talk about their personal convenience I am travelling beyond my own province; they are the best judges of that. But the other queries I have put with regard to the alternatives of a rise in price and diminished wages and about Northumberland and Durham are of the utmost importance, and if we could, before agreeing to Clause 1, have an answer from those who represent the mining part of the community, I am sure it would facilitate the latter part of the Bill.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman wishes particularly to hear the opinions of the representatives of the miners who come from the districts affected, but there are one or two points upon which I should like to make an observation or two, and I should also like to reply to the speech preceding that of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman in the latter part of his speech raised a very important point, a point which distinctly deserved regard, and that was the question of Durham and Northumberland. He asked how it was possible to expect Durham and Northumberland to make adequate preparation for reorganisation by 1st July. I quite agree that that is a very serious question. The point was raised at the inception of the discussion in the Standing Committee, and that view was strongly pressed by my hon. friend the Member for Mid Durham, and I undertook to see whether we could 538 meet his views. It could not be done then, but I myself consider that no serious objection could be taken by the representatives of any other part of the country if we did give a special extension to Durham and Northumberland of three or six months. As it is, the Act will bring in Durham and Northumberland with the rest of the country on 1st of July, but it appears to us that no objection, no practical objection, can be taken if in consideration of what I admit are the very special circumstances of those counties an extension of time were given of three or six months. I agree that the Bill concerns Durham and Northumberland more than any other part of the country. It means in Durham and Northumberland that an organisation which is as hon. Members know carried to a very high point must be entirely reorganised. We have never concealed that fact from ourselves, and we have given to it a great deal of consideration. I will return to that point again because it mainly arises upon the question of the date at which the Bill shall come into operation and, as a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman took me by surprise in raising the point so early in the discussion. But I quite agree that his question is a very fair one, and I will in the course of the evening communicate the decision in the matter.
§ MR. D. A. THOMAS
In Committee the right hon. Gentleman kindly undertook to consider the question of differentiation between different districts as to when the Act came into operation. I said that 1st July was a very inconvenient date for South Wales and Monmouthshire.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
That is prefectly true, but I am not going to be drawn further into the matter now. All I say is that the case of Durham and Northumberland is in the opinion of hon. Members who have studied this question really different from others. The case of Durham and Northumberland in my opinion and in the opinion of those who are familiar with those counties stands by itself. The right hon. Gentleman has asked some interesting questions which go to the root of the Bill. He dealt first of all with the question of 539 health. That is an old question. I do not anticipate that the Bill can materially decrease the accident rate. It may be true that if the Bill actually diminishes in so dangerous a district as South Wales the dangers of the miners' occupation pro tanto the risk of accident will be much decreased. The right hon. Gentleman will admit that that must be so. I dealt with the question of health on the Second Reading and the hon. Member for Dulwich who replied did not contradict what I said on that point. My point is this. The investigation of the Committee dealt only with the mortality statistics, and I contend that the mortality statistics cannot be taken as a test of the health and longevity of the mining population. Miners necessarily are a selected body. They go into the mines young. Boys who are very delicate do not go down at all, and boys who do go down the mines and are found unfit from some delicacy which develops itself later would be taken from the mines and put to some other occupation. The boys who permanently take to the miners' life are the strongest boys, and it therefore follows that the great body of miners are men physically above the average. But even the mortality statistics show there is an abnormal death rate of boys of under fifteen years of age employed in the mines, and at the other end of the scale among old men who work in the mines there is also an abnormal death rate, higher than the average death rate above ground. That is all I say about health, and I do not want to labour it or carry it too far. If it be true that the life being arduous affects the health, then it follows that anything which diminishes the danger to health will improve the health of the miners. That is a very fair conclusion. I do not want to put it too high, and I have said everything that I wish to say upon that point. Now, the right hon. Gentleman devoted himself to two points. The first was a possible rise in price, and, secondly, he asked how we were going to meet any disorganisation which had to be made good owing to the operations of this Bill. I agree, in the first instance, that if the price of coal rises materially it is a very serious thing for everybody in this country. Everybody will admit that. We all agree, and hon. friends of mine who represent mining constituencies 540 admit, that the only question is whether there is going to be such a rise in price and, if so, to what extent it will go. May I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the first part of the Report of the Committee, which I think answers his question? The Committee there accept the conclusions that the loss would be 21,000,000 tons, calculated on the basis of the 1905 output, and then they go on to show what clauses will be brought into operation to mitigate that decrease—(1) By some increase in the efficiency of the labour at present employed, especially in the districts in which the hours are longest; (2) by improvements in the mechanical equipment of many collieries in the winding and hauling machinery, in the construction of the underground roads, and in some cases the sinking of new shafts and bringing upcast ventilating shafts into useful winding; (3) by the extension of the use of labour-saving machinery—coal-cutting machines and conveyors; (4) by the extension of the multiple shift system; and (5) by the improved conditions and economic pressure stimulating the existing flow of labour from other areas and industries into the mines.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman is now dealing with what might happen in the distant future through improvements in machinery. My question is, What would happen under the operation of this Bill to-morrow?
§ MR. GLADSTONE
The Bill will not come into operation to-morrow. They will have six months to prepare, and one may assume that these suggestions would be acted upon. But the right hon. Gentleman asks what would happen if the Bill came in now. Well, if the Bill came in now I do not think that anything serious would happen. The collieries are working on short time, and with the restrictions that are proposed by the Bill if it came into operation I have not the slightest doubt the country could supply the demand at the present moment, without any material increase in the cost of production. I, of course, agree that much must necessarily depend on the state of the market, and that the risk of the 541 rise in prices must necessarily be great when a change arises which does temporarily check the power of production. If that change comes when the market is high or when the price is rising, then the question becomes much more serious. As regards the general question as to whether it is going to cause an increase in cost, I have never tried to hide my anticipation or opinion of that, and on the Second Reading I took my stand on the Report of the Committee. I have seen no reason whatever to alter my opinion. I read out on the Second Reading from page 36 of the Report the passage in which they stood out for the introduction of an eight-hour day. In that case you must allow for a temporary reduction of output. I did not read the preceding passage then, and I will venture to read it to the House now—The probable cumulative expense of the operations of these various influences in mitigating the effect of a reduced working day in curtailing production must remain a matter of uncertainty and of opinion. Upon all of them we have heard the evidence of the most skilled and experienced witnesses, and the more detailed conclusion we have expressed in the sections devoted to each lead us to the general conclusion that the total effect of all will tend towards the maintenance of an equilibrium between supply and demand.That, I think, states the case. I agree, if that is the general conclusion, that then of course hon. Members opposite are perfectly entitled to ask us if we think, having regard to the possible dangers indicated by the Report of the Committee, that necessity and justice really compel us not to introduce this Bill. We hold that this Bill is a necessity and is required in the interests of those for whom it is intended. For my part, I do not for one moment believe, having given much anxious consideration to this question and having consulted all whom it was in my power to consult, that any enormous rise in price will be justified. I believe the amount of the rise will depend upon the conditions of the working and the outcome of the operation of the Bill. I have always maintained, and still maintain, that under this Bill the producing power of this community will be largely increased and that the result to the consumer of coal must be a lower- 542 ing of the prices, but that, of course, is a speculation. But the argument that it will lead to increased power of production is not a speculation, because under this Bill you will have all the new developments in the present mines, the sinking of new shafts and new developments in new mines, new plant on the basis of this Bill, and the introduction of double shifts where there is now only a single shift. All that necessarily means a larger increase of production. I pass now to the one or two observations which were made by the noble Lord who moved the rejection of the Bill, and who seemed to believe that we were bringing in this Bill for some sinister socialistic purpose. I am not a Socialist, and I do not believe in a socialistic policy, but I am not afraid of these things. This Bill is not the first attempt in legislation of this kind, and therefore the noble Lord will pardon me if I do not accept that statement from him. It has been said that this would be an interference with adult labour. The noble Lord said it was an interference with male adult labour. He will understand that the Ten Hours Bill was a limitation of male adult labour. We all know that. Adult labour was directly referred to in the Ten Hours Bill. There has been the Railway Servants Act and other measures which in other ways interfered with adult labour.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
Whatever the motive was, the fact remains that adult labour was interfered with; and if it depends only on motive, then, of course, the matter is made much clearer. I do not think the noble Lord can stand on a hard and fast principle in regard to the interference with adult labour. If he agrees that there was ground for an Act based on motive in one case, then with equal justice motive could be recognised in another. The Member for Ashford referred to the question of the time-limit. With regard to that, I have an Amendment on the Paper. I may add, however, that I made a perfectly explicit statement on the point in Committee upstairs, namely, that the 543 Government would have to reinsert the five years; and I did so because, on the Second Reading, I made a distinct statement to the House that the Government had decided to put in the period of five years, and I felt I was bound in those circumstances to move to reinsert that period, which I pledged myself to on the Second Reading. So my hon. friend need be under no misapprehension on that score. He complained that we put in what is called a time-limit. I must remind him that there was a time-limit of eighteen months, and I think he is rather ungrateful when we propose to put in five years to meet the fears and the arguments of his own friends and the Opposition generally. The point really comes to this, that during the five years both winding times are to be excluded. That makes a material difference. My hon. friend tried to bring in the hon. Gentleman behind me, the Member for Gloucester, who is quite competent to speak for himself. The hon. Member for Gloucester has an Amendment on the Paper proposing to postpone the Bill for eighteen months altogether, and I understood him to say that we did not care to bring the Bill into operation at once. On the contrary, we are going to bring the Bill into operation as soon as ever we can, and we think that the two winding times being excluded for a period of five years will make a material difference.
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY
I think the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that what the mine owners have always asked for was that the Bill should come into operation at one time, and that the different districts should not have recourse or be forced to have recourse to different periods for reorganising their industry. That is what is done by the Amendment.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
No; we had an eighteen months period in a former Bill, and our objection to my hon. friend's Amendment on the Paper is that it proposes the period of eighteen months. I do not understand, therefore, why the hon. Gentleman opposite quoted my hon. friend to-night.
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY
I thought I had made myself clear. The right 544 hon. Gentleman proposes a double operation. The hon. Member for Gloucester proposes a treble operation, but the mine owners always asked for one operation, and that is where I differ from both the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I quite agree that it is a point for argument that will rise for discussion on the clause. I spoke at great length on the Second Reading, and I really have nothing special to add to the arguments which I have ventured to bring forward on this point. I say that this Bill is necessary, and I believe that the general opinion of all who have closely studied the question in this House and out of it is that this measure is needed. If I may say so with respect, I welcome the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who put perfectly fair, searching, and legitimate questions. He did not, indulge in language which I have heard used in other quarters, namely, the language of denunciation. His tone was one of inquiry, of argument, and of reason. That is a perfectly right spirit in which to approach this question. The right hon. Gentleman knows that support of this Bill has not been confined to the Treasury Bench. It has been supported by leaders and individual Members on both sides of the House. I will not go further than to say that I see at any rate two hon. Gentlemen opposite sitting on those benches who are supporters of the Bill, and I welcome their presence here to-night. I hope we will get their support in the course of this debate. This is not an ordinary question of parties. It is a social question. We have the fact that in spite of everything that has been said against this Bill, of the difficulties and dangers which it is going to bring about, it was carried on the Second Reading by a majority of 274–394 for the Bill and 120 against. I take it, quite apart from party politics, that if half, or even a tenth part of the damage was likely to result from this Bill which was prophesied in some quarters, it would not have been passed on the Second Reading by that great and sweeping majority. I have noticed that the opposition to this Bill has always been of a somewhat peculiar 545 character, and was usually brought up at bye-elections. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Yes, because you may say a great deal at bye-elections which you are not called upon to prove. However, I am not making any special use of that circumstance, because I recognise that there are six of us and half a dozen of the others. I am an old enough politician to know that, on the moral point in this respect, there is not much difference between one and the other. If there is, I am not bound to admit it, and what I do admit I will not say here. Still, I will say that the opinion on this Bill has been a fluctuating opinion. There is a body calling itself the Coal Consumers' League. Of course the coal consumers are a colossal and important body, but I cannot say that the Coal Consumers' League, which is a self-constituted and self-appointed body, who are visible at all bye-elections, and always appear on one side, can be regarded as of the same importance. But apart from that, where is the evidence that expert opinion is really alarmed? We have received numerous resolutions, and I have in my pocket at this moment a resolution from the Leeds Chamber of Commerce. I have talked to a number of these gentlemen, but I have not found that any of them has read the Report of the Committee. The opinions in opposition to the Bill are founded upon this hypothesis, that it would lead to a large increase in the price of coal, and that if there was a large increase in the price of coal all sorts of dangers would happen to the industries of the country. It is undeniably true that if the price of coal were permanently put up 5s. a ton much mischief would be caused to the industries of the country. But it is not proved, and I maintain that all examination of the question shows that the price will not be raised. I hive found myself from the first on the opinion of the Committee, and I maintain that if hon. Members fairly study the Report they will see that there are no such dangers as are anticipated by some opponents of the Bill. I have spoken longer than I intended, and I would, in conclusion, express the hope that the House will reject the Amendment.
§ SIR ROBERT ROPNER (Stockton)
said he had a good many years experience of these matters, and he had some knowledge of what the Bill would ultimately mean if it were passed. In his opinion, in the first instance, the Bill was an interference with the freedom of contract between employers and employed. They had been told by the right hon. Gentleman that such interference with adult male labour as was now proposed was not exceptional. They had it with regard to railways, but in other respects there had been no interference by the House with freedom of contract between employers and employed; for there was this reason—and his friends for the greater part would bear him out—the trade unions of this country had always been strong enough to fight their own battles, and he held that if there was any necessity at all for interfering with the hours of labour of miners, the trade unions of the miners would have been amply strong enough to secure such a measure. That was one of the reasons why he objected to the Bill in toto. Another reason why he objected to this clause was that if it were passed there would be far greater danger of accidents in mines than at present. In Durham and Northumberland every precaution was taken to prevent accidents in the mines. Of course they all deplored these accidents, and hoped that they would become less and less in the future. But he ventured to say that if this Bill were passed and the hours were reduced materially, in some districts the work would be hurried over; the miners who were working in one shift would not take due precautions when they were leaving to see that everything was in perfect order for the next shift; possibly a big prop might be left out where it was required; and it would be found that owing to this hurry and lack of precaution, more accidents would occur in the future. Therefore he strongly opposed the Bill. Then he thought it would be unwarrantable altogether because it would bring about industrial warfare in many districts. At present, at any rate in his own immediate neighbourhood, everything went on exceedingly pleasantly between employer and employed. There was not the slightest question of the 547 employees to-day having any grievances which were not met by the employer. There was a strong trade union, and the employers also had combined; the representatives on both sides were able to meet; if any question cropped up it was amicably settled, and, as everybody knew, a strike in the colliery districts was almost entirely out of the question. With such men as they saw in that House, the representatives of Durham and Northumberland, there was no fear whatever that questions would arise which would bring about a cessation of labour. He could not for the life of him see why there was any necessity at all for interfering with what was at present a prosperous trade which meant good wages to the miner. They were not asked to work unreasonable hours, because the hours in Durham were only about six-and-a-half per day, and generally speaking the miners only worked about five days in the week, and there was no question of any undue pressure upon them whatever. That was why he said if they passed a Bill of this kind they would introduce something which was almost certain to bring about difficulties between the employer and the employed, and for that reason he did not see that there was the slightest necessity for the Bill at all. If they passed the Bill, let them say what they liked, it must bring about a reduction in the production of coal. That was quite certain, and it was put by the Departmental Committee at 25,000,000 tons per annum to start with. The right hon. Gentleman might point out that it was the intention to improve this, that, and the other, but he could assure him that when he said measures would be taken to bring about a larger production of coal, that everything had already been done. There was very little that could possibly be done to bring about a larger production of coal which had not been already effected. It was quite untrue, in his opinion, that it was possible so to arrange the mines in one way or another as to overtake this deficiency of 25,000,000 tons per year. If that was so, it was a very great difficulty indeed. The argument was that the cost of labour per ton would only amount, some people said, to 6d., but it had been tried in the Clifton Colliery 548 in Yorkshire, where it worked out at 1s. 11d. per ton. But that did not regulate the price of coal in the market in the least—the price was regulated by supply and demand. If they reduced the supply they would bring about a state of affairs which they had seen only about eighteen months ago, and which was practically still to some extent prevailing in the country—they saw a rise in price for a month or so of not 6d. or 1s., but of 5s. a ton. What was bound to happen was that immediately the Bill came into effect partially or altogether there would be a deficiency in the supply, and then the demand would spring up. There was very little difference in the production of the coal between good times and bad times. He had heard it said that 1,000 men were out of employment in the coal districts. Not to his knowledge. As far as he was aware, the colliers both in Durham and Northumberland were very well employed. To-day the price of coal, as everyone knew who had anything to do with coal at all, was something like 1s. 6d. or 2s. a ton more than it was two years ago, and in Wales 3s. to 4s. a ton more. That showed that there was a large field of labour for the men, or the price would go down to its normal state. It was not at its normal state to-day, and if they brought about an artificial reduction in the production they would at one bound enhance the price of that product, not by the additional cost of production, but by an amount which could not be measured by anyone. It might be 5s. or 10s. a ton, as it was immediately after the Franco-German War, when coal went up from 8s. to 21s. or 22s. a ton, not because the cost of production had increased—it had not increased in the slightest—but because the demand was greater than the supply; and that was what was going to happen. Members of the House and the outside public did not realise what they were going to do, because they did not understand it. A good many Members of the House did not see it yet. They could not possibly see it. They were not within the wheels to have knowledge of it. They supposed it was like everything else and that if there was a little more labour and cost it was made up by additional cost to the consumer to that extent, 549 but that was not the fact. It would increase considerably more. What would be the effect of that on the country? Just take the shipping interest alone. Everyone supposed the shipping industry was one which had made the fortunes of many men in the country. He admitted that, but what was it to-day? To-day there was not a single cargo boat afloat which could pay its way. The freights had gone down almost to nothing, and anyone who had any knowledge of the shipping trade was aware of the fact. He was not in the habit of saying anything of which he was not certain. His own firm—he did not want to brag about it—had something like fifty steamers. It was not a question with them to-day how much they were going to make on a voyage. Their people were calculating day and night to find a freight in which the steamer could pay its way. That was the position of the trade to-day. What were they going to do? They were going to increase the price of coal by possibly 5s. per ton, which would mean that these ships would have to be laid up. It was said the consumer would have to pay, and that if he wanted the stuff he must pay higher freights to make up for the higher price of coal. That would be right enough if we were the only nation that owned ships. But we were not. We had to compete to-day against German, Norwegian, Italian, and other mercantile fleets which did not pay the same wages and did not feed their men as we did. Immediately they increased the price of coal, as they would be bound to do, the foreigners would get a preference and would carry what was to be carried and British steamers would have to lie idle and see the work done by other nations. That was what was going to happen. Then what would be the result to the shipbuilding trade? As his friends in the trade knew well enough, most of the yards were standing idle. His own shipyard in Stockton had been standing idle for twelve months. He could not get an order for love or money. He was quite prepared to take orders from any man who would give him them at less than cost price. He would take £1,000 below cost price and give ten years to pay for the ship. These were facts. It was no good mincing matters. That was the state of 550 the trade to-day. But it was said it would come all right again. It might come all right if they had not the position that they had to-day in Germany. Formerly, when an order came into the market for a German, Norwegian, or Swedish owner, shipbuilders knew that ultimately that order would come to England. The position to-day was this—that if an order of that kind came into the market, instead of ships being given to us to build they were built in Germany, Norway, Holland, Belgium, or Denmark. Not only were they building for themselves, but to-day where an English owner wanted to buy a new ship he asked not only English builders, but Germans to tender, and tramp-steamers to-day were being built in Germany and other parts for English owners. That was the position of affairs. He knew what the result would be. They would be driven to protect their own trade. He had never been so far what had been called a whole hogger.
§ SIR ROBERT ROPNER
thought he had said enough to show that if they interfered with the price of coal in this country it would mean the ruination to a large extent of their trade. It would mean an increase in the price of coal to every trade, because coal was required by every manufacturer. The Labour Party should realise that it would mean that a great many men would be thrown out of employment. Hon. Members were already regretting the passing of the Workmen's Compensation Act. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Formerly only an accident which prevented a man working for fourteen days was paid for, but to-day every accident had to be paid for.
§ SIR ROBERT ROPNER
said he would, of course, obey Mr. Speaker's ruling. He thought it would be a great mistake in passing a Bill of this description to restrict the number of hours, because trade unions were strong 551 enough to bring about whatever alteration of the hours of labour they desired, and he did not see the slightest necessity for the House being called upon to interfere.
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
said he rose for the purpose of endeavouring to supply answers of a practical kind to the points raised by the Leader of the Opposition. The two points upon which the right hon. Gentleman desired special information were safety and output. He did not think anybody anticipated a Second Reading debate on this clause, and he was sure that he was speaking for all his colleagues on this question when he said that they had not the material ready to their hands which they certainly would have had had they anticipated the turn which the debate had now taken. He thought, however, he would be able to supply the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition with complete information on one point, and he would do his best with regard to the other. First of all, with regard to the question of safety. It was a most remarkable fact that the percentage of accidents in mines went down proportionately as the hours of labour were decreased. This was so universal that it could not be altogether accidental, and the hours of labour worked in mines must have some relation to the accident rate. If they took the district which he knew best, namely, Scotland, he found that in 1896 the collieries there were working ten hours per day, and the death-rate from accidents amongst those employed underground was 1.62 per 1,000. When the ten-hours day was changed to an eight-hours day the death-rate in the same district dropped to 1.42 per 1,000, which was a very marked improvement. If they took that part of the country where the hours of labour were shortest of any, namely, Durham and Northumberland, they would find that in the Newcastle district the fatal accident rate in mines was only 0.87 per 1,000, or almost 1 per 1,000 below the rate which obtained in Scotland. If they went to Wales, where the hours of labour were longer than in any other part of the country except one, they found the death rate from accidents in mines was 1.70 per 1,000, which was the highest of the three districts which he had quoted, the lowest being Durham and the Newcastle district, 552 in which the hours of labour were the shortest, and the next lowest being Scotland, where the hours had been reduced, and where the death rate had gone down accordingly. The highest death rate was found in the Cardiff and Swansea district, where the hours of labour were the longest. The reason for this was very plain to those who had had practical experience of working in mines. When the hours of labour were long everything was done slipshod; there was a lackadaisical spirit upon everyone which affected the methods taken to preserve safety, and had a distinct effect upon the number of accidents. Again, the reduction of hours of labour whilst increasing the output of coal, as he would show was the case, had also a distinct effect in strengthening the administration of the mine, thus making for efficiency, with a consequent increase of safety. In that way they accounted for the low death rate in those places where the hours of labour were the shortest. Because of the increased efficiency in the management of the mine which followed in the wake of a shortening of the hours, they argued from that that when this Bill became law what was not now the universal rule would become general in the whole of the districts affected by this Bill.
§ MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
Are the hours of labour worked by the miners in Durham shorter than those in Scotland?
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
Yes. There was an eight-hours day in Scotland, and in Durham the men worked from six and a half hours to seven and a half hours per day. As to the point whether the Bill would add to the danger of working in mines, which he admitted was a strong point honestly held by those who were opposing the Bill, they submitted from their practical experience that with the shortening of the hours which the Bill would bring about, the condition of the roadways and of the shafts in which the bulk of the accidents took place would be so much improved that a corresponding reduction of the rate of accidents would follow. He hoped that from, this experience and from the actual facts as tabulated in the Report of 553 the mines inspectors, the House would dismiss from its mind any apprehension as to increased danger arising from the working of the Act. The second point which the right hon. Gentleman raised was that if there was a diminution of the hours of labour there would be a corresponding diminution of output, and that then one of three things must happen—either profit or wages or both must go down, or the price of coal must rise. Here again it happened that they were able to speak with absolute certainty, not from any theoretical point of view, but from actual experience gained by reducing the hours of labour. He held in his hand the Report of the Mines Inspectors for Scotland for the year 1906, which was the latest issue he had been able to obtain. That Report gave the output from the mines of Scotland from the year 1895 down to the year 1906, inclusive. As he had already explained, the number of hours worked by the Scottish collieries during that period had been reduced from ten per day and over, to eight per day. In 1905, under a ten-hours day, the output was 29,911,000 tons, or roughly 30,000,000 tons. In the year 1906, under an eight-hours day the output went up from 30,000,000 tons to 47,000,000 tons, or an increase of 17,000,000 tons a year with a reduction of two hours per day in the working day. But that was not all, because the increase had been gradual year by year. It was suggested sotto voce that the reason was that trade was better in 1906 than in 1905. But he found that in the year 1903, the output was 30,000,000 tons; in 1904, 41,000,000 tons; in 1905, 45,000,000 tons; and in 1906, 47,000,000 tons; so that it would be seen there had been a gradual progressive increase under the eight-hours system. It might be said that the reason for the increased output was an increase in the number of persons employed. Unfortunately, the official table from which he was quoting was against those who took that stand. There had not only been this increase in the output, but an actual decrease in the number of men employed; that was to say, the output per head of the persons employed in the mine had considerably increased under the working 554 of the eight-hours system as compared with the ten-hours system. He did not quote the figures for 1895, because in 1899 a considerable number of men and boys who were previously classed under the Mines Act were transferred to the Factory Acts, and so they got a fictitious reduction in the number employed. He would take the figures from the year when the change was made. In the year 1899, the number of persons employed after making the reduction he had referred to was 97,995. In the year 1906, it had gone down to 91,516, a reduction of 6,500 in the number of persons employed underground, and at the same time an increase, as he had already shown, of 17,000,000 tons in the output. He hoped the figures were satisfactory and conclusive, but this case did not stand alone.
§ MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)
Will the hon. Member state the district to which those figures apply?
§ * MR. KEIR HARDIE
said that the figures were for the East of Scotland, No. 1 District. He had other figures which he should like to give, if the House would bear with him, affecting the output, and they showed how the Bill would not, if it became law, necessarily reduce the output. He would like to visualise the working of a mine for the benefit of those hon. Members who had had no experience of a mine and did not know what the work was like. First of all, there was the winding machinery for bringing the coal up the shaft; then there were the haulage arrangements for bringing the coal from the coal face to the bottom of the shaft; and, thirdly, there was the working place in which the colliers got the coal: when all these three were in full working order and efficient, they then got the maximum output, but if one of these three parts happened to be disorganised, then the whole of the output was affected. Every colliery had a certain winding power, and as a rule a sufficient number of men were employed to produce coal to keep the colliery going full time. There was usually, he was speaking now of Wales, a weak link between the point where the coal was got and the point where it was sent up the shaft. He would not mention names, but he would 555 show the documents to hon. Members who desired it in regard to the three cases he was now going to quote. In the first of the three, the winding power of the engines and the number of men employed represented a possible output of 6,480 tons per week, the week taken being that in which there was the largest output in two years. In that week the actual output was 3,852 tons. In the second case the possible output was 10,800 tons, the actual output was 6,159 tons. In the third case the possible output was 9,800 tons, and the actual output was 4,152 tons. When this Bill became law, all that would be necessary to prevent any reduction of output was simply to improve the means of connection between the place where the coal was got and the shaft. Every collier knew what time was lost day by day through trams and tubs getting off the rails all through sheer carelessness. When this measure became law it would be imperative on the colliery owner to see that the haulage roads were kept in proper order, and by that means the output could remain undiminished. He had always advocated from the point of view of the working collier as well as that of the colliery owner that it was good business to regulate supply and demand, for this prevented both wages and profit going down below a certain point. But the Bill would not lessen the production or output of coal by one single ton a year. If that was so, there could be no increase in the price and there could be none of those dreadful calamities so often described on bye-election platforms and repeated there that night. What the Bill meant was that where colliers had been kept underground for ten hours, they would now be able to be there for eight hours, performing the same work and receiving the same pay. The object of the Bill was to give them two hours more freedom in which to enjoy comfort and fresh air. Much had been said of the opposition to the Bill. They had heard of the Coal Consumers' League, and the Home Secretary had told them that the Chamber of Commerce at Leeds had protested against the Bill. Evidently, the prompting which had taken place during the last few days was beginning to produce its effect. The Coal Consumers' League, 556 which was represented by persons who were also mixed up with a good many other organisations which had not proved themselves specially considerate of the working classes in the past, had just issued a circular which had been sent round to chambers of commerce and large employers of labour. It set out by saying it was desirable to bring home to the House of Lords in the most forcible way possible the issues at stake in the Bill—My Committee (it went on to say) are inviting those who control large coal consuming undertakings throughout the country to defend themselves by passing strong resolutions against the Bill, and by forwarding the same to Lord Lansdowne.It is felt desirable that each undertaking should draw up its own resolution, but I venture to make one or two suggestions.The suggestions were headed "resolution points."The resolution should describe the industrial undertaking from which it comes, preferably stating the capital involved and the number of hands employed; that there is no general mandate from the country for the Bill; that it penalises the whole community in order to serve the sectional interests of the miners, and that for the above reasons and others we desire to state that the House of Lords is urged to reject the measure.Then came the important point of the circular, like a postscript in a lady's letter—N.B.—If you have not already contributed to the funds of this league which is defending your industry, we beg that you will give this matter your earliest consideration, as additional funds are urgently needed.Here they had the Coal Consumers' League urging that industries were going to be destroyed by the Bill, and they had an organisation that had so valiantly entered the breach to defend the country against the Eight Hours Bill compelled to send the hat round for subscriptions. The real fact was that there was no genuine feeling in the country against the Bill. Most leading men of industries, ironmasters and colliery owners, knew as well as he did that the Bill would not affect them in the slightest degree. The whole agitation was bogus from start to finish. It was being faked up for political purposes, and he hoped the House would, as it did by agreeing to the Second Reading, show what it thought of the agitation by carrying the Bill through 557 all its stages so that in the near fulness of time a reform for which colliers had agitated for the last twenty-five years might fructify in an Act of Parliament.
§ * MR. RIDSDALE (Brighton)
hoped it would not be counted to his score that he paid no regard to the welfare of humanity if he announced that he intended to vote for the Amendment. The hon. Member for South Glamorgan had spoken in very strong terms about the human interests involved in the question. He did not think it lay in the mouth of one individual Member or any group of Members to claim a monopoly of interest in humanity. He was quite certain any hon. Member, wherever he sat and whoever he might be, had as lively an interest in the well-being of the coal miner and had as high a respect for his devotion to duty as the hon. Member who used those words had himself. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil referred to the agitation got up against the Bill outside as a bogus agitation. He knew nothing about that. He had no connection with that agitation at all. His right hon. friend the Home Secretary looked round at those benches when he said that some of his hon. friends were members of the Coal Consumers' League. He was not a member of that association, and he knew nothing of its existence except what he heard in that House and read of in the newspapers. He thought, however, as a Member representing the traditions of the great Liberal Party, that there was a principle involved in Clause 1 upon which he ought to speak in the interest of those principles which he held dear, and which he thought those who were the trustees of those old Liberal principles ought to hold dear also. What did this clause do? It imposed a limitation upon the liberties of our adult fellow-subjects. It laid down the rule that there should be a limitation as to the number of hours anybody should be allowed to work below ground. What grounds were put forward for that proposal? He quite agreed that occasionally it might be necessary to make rules by which they should govern the will of an adult person; but, before they did it, they should have some clear ground that that liberty was doing 558 some harm, if not to the individual's own health and to himself, at any rate to his neighbours or to the State. He had listened to the debate on the Second Reading, and, so far, to the debate on this Amendment, and he had not heard a single reason given as to what harm the unrestricted liberty of a man to work underground as long as he pleased did either to himself, his neighbours, or to the State.
§ * MR. RIDSDALE
said the Bill did not say he should not work as short hours as he liked. He objected to any limitation to the discretion of a man to do what he pleased so long as he did not do any injury to himself or anybody else. He thought there had been too much of a tendency towards the limitation of individual liberty and that it was high time something was said against any further extension of that interference. He remembered that in the debate on the Second Reading it was suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade that the principle in the clause was going to be extended to other industries. At present the limitation was only to be imposed as long as a man was below ground, but it was intended to impose it upon a whole series of other industries; this was only the start. That might be the politics of the Socialist Party, but it was not his politics, and he wished to register his most emphatic protest against it. He did not know from what source the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil obtained the figures which he quoted, but no doubt the source of his information was trustworthy or he would not have given the figures to the House. Upon those figures he made the statement that, according as the hours of labour were decreased, so the percentage of fatal accidents decreased. In Northumberland and Durham, where they worked the shortest hours, six and a half, the accidents were 0.87 per thousand, Scotland was next, and so on until they came to South Wales, where the hours were longest.
§ * MR. RIDSDALE
said he had not got those, but he had got a summary of the Report of the Committee presided over by the hon. Member for Gloucester. The Committee reviewed all the figures which the hon. Member presented, and after giving considerable time to analysing them, the Committee reported thus—We may, however, remark that we have failed to obtain any evidence which would associate the number of accidents in any disproportionate degree with the hours in excess of eight spent underground by the men, or with the districts in which the longest hours are worked.He thought the Committee might be fully trusted to look carefully into the figures of the Miners' Union, and of the medical officers of health, before they gave forth their considered opinion as to all the dangers which might arise. But there were further figures in that Report, which really seemed to imply that the coal miner's business was one of the safest in the whole country. There was a very disastrous disease known as phthisis, and there appeared to be some disinfecting element in the coal seams, for it would seem that miners were less liable to consumption than were the great majority of the population of the country. They heard from the hon. Member for Glamorgan that the dangers in coal mines were very very serious, and the hon. Member worked up the feelings of the House by an account of a very serious and unfortunate accident which occurred in Lancashire. Well, he hardly thought that it was fair argument to harrow the feelings of hon. Members in considering a Bill of this kind. It was an argument which could not have any possible bearing on the Bill at all. But, including all the accidents to which coal miners were liable, what did they find? They found that the number of deaths among coal miners was less than they were among occupied males; and much less than accidents amongst all adult males in the population.
§ * MR. RIDSDALE
said that this Report was by a Committee which sat and received evidence both from South Wales and all over the country. It was a general 560 statement to be found on page 48 of the Report to which he referred his hon. friend. He respectfully submitted that when they were asked for the purpose of one section of the community to impose limitations upon the whole of the members of the community, they ought to have some reasonable case set out as to what injuries people were suffering from who were to be prevented from working these extra hours. So far as he had heard, there was no case at all. They knew that this clause affected only coal miners, who were to be prevented from being underground for a longer period than eight hours. Why was it only applied to coal miners? There were other miners in this country who did not happen to belong to the hon. Member's federation, and who did not happen to have such political influence among them; and who had not the same chance of giving forcible expressions to their wishes. He thought, however, that it was incumbent upon their fellow working men to see, when they brought in their Bill, if its principle was right, that the allied industries—the lead-mining, tin-mining, copper-mining, and other mining industries—were also included in its provisions. He had said that he was going to vote for the Amendment. Well, he was, and he only trusted that a few more hon. Members on his side of the House who thought and felt as he did upon the matter, but who had not yet given expression to their feelings, might have courage to follow them into the lobby and vote in favour of the Amendment also.
§ MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)
said he hoped that the House would realise that the Amendment raised the question of principle involved in the Bill. If he ventured for a few minutes to make some observations on this matter, it was really because he was able to take some little part in the discussions on the Bill in Committee, and also because it appeared to him, as the hon. Member for Brighton had said, that the measure affected, not only the coal miners, but much more greatly the whole body of the people of the country. The noble Lord who moved the Amendment said truly that the Bill introduced a novel principle in legislation, in that it interfered with 561 the freedom of adult, males. That was so. The Home Secretary had quoted instances in which there had been small interferences with adult labour in the past, but those interferences were all indirect. Even the interferences with the labour of women and children, when direct, were clearly not made in the interests of the class of people employed, but in the interests of the country at large. In supporting the Bill he was quite free from prejudice, or from any desire to oppose what was good and proper legislation. What were the grounds on which the proposed legislation was supported? That legislation would affect three classes in the country. First of all, the coal miners; secondly, the coal owners; and thirdly, the general public. The first question he asked was, what case had been made out for legislating for coal miners out of all the classes of labour throughout this great industrial community? And let it be remembered that the legislation asked for was admittedly of an altogether unprecedented character. He ventured to say that the class which was calling out for this special legislation was, without exception, the best organised in the whole country, the best paid, the least hard-worked, and that which had more leisure than any other class. And yet the hon. Member for Glamorgan, and other Gentlemen below the gangway, came before the House and made pitiful appeals on behalf of the miners. They said: "Consider the case of these wretched miners who work underground, and are exposed to all sorts of risks of accidents." He knew from experience, and he had had it from miners themselves, that if anyone were to go to any ordinary collection of miners in their villages, and suggest to them that they were the sort of people who were deserving of pity, they would laugh at them. No, he did not believe that the miners were the most hardly pressed class of workers in the community, and he said that legislation of this sort should not be made in the interest of the most powerful and the most thoroughly organised labour class in the country. The hon. Member for Glamorgan said that the miners of the country stood solid in favour of 562 the Bill. The Leader of the Opposition had asked whether it could really be said, and he asked also whether hon. Gentlemen below the gangway seriously contended, that the miners of Durham and Northumberland were, in any real sense of the word, in favour of the Bill. He was informed that the position as regards Northumberland and Durham was this—and if his information was not accurate hon. Gentlemen below the gangway would have full opportunity of contradicting it. On 25th June, 1903, a ballot was taken among the miners of Durham, and the result was a majority of 19,942 against the Bill. That vote had never been rescinded, and no effort had ever been made to take a vote on this or any other Bill. He should like a specific answer to the question as to whether that was a fact, and if a fact, he should like to know how the hon. Member for Glamorgan could suggest that the miners of the country were thoroughly solid in favour of the Bill. With regard to Northumberland, the case was almost equally strong. A poll was taken on 21st May, 1906. The total poll was something like 17,000 voters, but only a bare majority—465—voted in favour of the Bill. But the total number of persons capable of voting in Northumberland was 46,000. He was dealing with the question of whether the miners wanted the Bill. The hon. Member for Glamorgan said that they did; but would any hon. Member representing the miners in Northumberland or Durham assure them that that was so? He assured the House that he did not wish to put a gloss on the facts, but the House, as the Bill had come before it, was entitled to know what the facts were, and when hon. Members went upstairs and assured the Committee and the House and the country that the miners were solid in favour of the Bill, it was to be observed at any rate that they had never given them the figures or facts upon which they based their opinion; they had to rely upon that important subject solely on their assurances. So far as he was concerned he gravely doubted whether, at any rate so far as Northumberland and Durham were concerned, the statement of the hon. Member for 563 Glamorganshire, that the miners were solidly in favour of the Bill, could be substantiated. But his main objection to the clause from the miners' point of view was this. The Home Secretary had said that to bring in at once the provisions of the Bill, which were to obtain at the end of three years as it now stood, or five years if the Amendment was carried—that to bring in a Bill including certain workers at once would involve serious danger in the working of the mines. Let the House realise what that meant. In five years if the Bill was passed they would be bringing upon the whole of the mines of the country a state of things which it was admitted would, if it were introduced now, involve great danger to the working of the mines. Surely it was legitimate to ask what security was offered that at the end of five years the danger would be less than it was now. Was it reasonable to ask the House of Commons to pass a measure involving thousands of lives and a great industry of this kind on a mere speculation that during the five years some new, unnamed, unknown invention, unhinted at by hon. or right hon. Gentlemen or anybody else, would suddenly be discovered in order to get the Government out of the difficulty with which they would, if they passed this clause, be face to face in five years time? He thought that was a most rash and wanton thing to do, and he had never heard any reason, and he doubted whether any could be adduced, to justify them in doing it. If that alone were his objection to the clause, he should feel perfectly justified in going into the division lobby against, it. So much for the effect of the Bill upon the conditions of the miners themselves; but he said they were not a people who ought to be singled out for special compassionate treatment. It was doubtful whether they wanted the Bill and whether those who said they wanted it really understood it. They were passing a Bill to come into operation five years hence which, if it were passed now, would produce a state of things which would be thoroughly dangerous, and which there was no reason for believing would be any less dangerous then than now. With regard to the coal owners, who were also affected by the Bill, he said nothing. There were 564 several of them in the House well able to speak for themselves, but surely the House ought, in dealing with this matter, to have put before it clearly the case of the consumer of the coal. In the first place, in a special degree the consumers of coal represented the whole body of the country. There was not an individual in the country who was not in a direct way a consumer of coal. He was a consumer in his household and in many cases was afforded employment by the use of coal. And further there was this reason. Coal was, after all, a prime necessity. Whatever else manufacturers and others might be able to economise upon, they must have coal if their industry was to continue, and the effect of a shortage of coal had been admirably pointed out in the Report of the Committee. In their admirable Report the Committee said that a very small shortage, a shortage of two, or three, or five per cent., would result in the prices of those things which everybody must have rushing up far beyond what might be expected in the case of an ordinary commodity, and that famine prices would soon be reached. He could assure the House that he had done his best to see how there could be any real practical meaning in the contention which his hon. friends had all along made, that the Bill would result neither in a decrease of the output, nor in an increase of the cost. He should like to put to them quite clearly and seriously his view. This clause was to shorten the hours of work in the mines. Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway told them that after the Bill had passed and the hours had been shortened, the output was to remain the same. There were only three ways in which those conditions could be fulfilled if they were going to make men work less time and not produce less coal.
§ * MR. W. T. WILSON (Lancashire, Westhoughton)
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us how many hours the colliers work now?
§ MR. BOWLES
said he could not tell the hon. Member, and he could inform himself as well as he could by reference to the Report of the Committee. His question had no relevance to the 565 subject. They were going to shorten the hours per day in coal mines and keep up the output of coal. There were only three ways in which that could be done. The men had either got to work harder than they were working, or they must work more days a week than they did at present, or else more men must be employed on the work. Those were the only ways conceivable in which they could shorten the hours and get the same amount of work. Take the first two, that the men must work harder or work more days a week. Did hon. Gentlemen below the gangway mean to let the House understand that they recommended the Bill to their constituents on the ground that they would have to work harder while down below? Did they understand that the Bill would benefit them because, while they would not have to work any harder while they were at work, they would have to work more days a week? He thought not, and he submitted that if the hours were to be shortened by the Bill and the output was to be the same as it was at present the alternative to which they were driven was that more men would have to be employed, and of course that meant an increase in the general expense of raising the coal. After all, what were they quarrelling about? It was agreed that the effect of the Bill would be to raise the cost of production. The hon. Member for Merthyr, who was a supporter of the Bill, and whose authority to speak on this matter nobody would doubt, told them in Committee upstairs, and repeated it in a letter to the Daily Express on 28th October last—I have repeatedly stated that the increase in cost in South Wales—which, after all, was an enormously important district—would be very considerable—probably eight-pence to tenpence a ton, unless the system is altered.Everybody surely must know that the cost of production must be increased, and it was impossible for the House to believe that it would not be increased by the Bill. If the cost of production was increased the cost to the consumer must be increased, in his 566 belief, very much more. The effect of that would, of course, be as bad as possible for the whole country. He had considered this mutter to the best of his ability, and, in spite of the vehement denials of hon. Gentlemen, he believed sincerely and honestly that the real object of the Bill—which had been frequently alleged and never repudiated by any federation—was by decreasing the output and raising the price to increase the wages of this highly-leisured, prosperous, well-to-do, and well-organised class at the expense of the whole mass of their fellow-workers and of the community generally. Having arrived at that opinion, which, although he might be mistaken, was an honest and sincere opinion, it appeared to him that it was a demand which ought not to be mule upon them and which could not be defended on any real consideration of public expediency. Inasmuch as that principle was involved directly in this first clause, he should feel bound unless some much more serious reason than had been adduced either in the House that day or in the Committee upstairs was forthcoming, to support his noble friend in regard to the Amendment he had moved.
§ * SIR. C. J. CORY (Cornwall, St. Ives)
said the hon. Member for Merthyr had striven to prove that the death rate in different districts was affected by the hours of work, and he had told them that in Scotland in 1896 when the hours were ten, the death rate was 1.62 per thousand, whereas he said in Wales at the present time where the hours were longer the death rate was 1.70. As a matter of fact, he did not think that would prove his argument, because the Departmental Committee's Report stated that the average hours in South Wales at present were nine hours and forty-six minutes; and not withstanding that the hours therefore were shorter than they were in Scotland the death rate was higher. He thought that did away with that part of his argument. Then the hon. Member assured the House that in his opinion the passing of the Bill would in no way decrease the output of coal, notwithstanding that the Departmental Committee, after having sifted the evidence of experts from all 567 over the country, came to a contrary conclusion. If hon. Members could make those statements to the House he could not for the life of him make out why they did not come to the Departmental Committee and make those statements there where they could have been sifted by experts and counter-evidence given. What did they find from experience in France? There they had an Eight Hours Bill for hewers only. There they had proceeded by steps, and in 1906, although the hours had only been reduced to nine, which was very little less than the number of hours they were working previously over the whole coalfield in France, they found that even that small reduction in hours meant a diminution in output of 1,600,000 tons. There the Legislature appointed a Committee to inquire into the probable effect of an Eight Hours Bill supposing it was extended to all the workers underground, and that Committee came to the conclusion that the reduction would be very great, he thought 6 per cent. in one case and 10 per cent. in the other. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil had laid great emphasis on what he thought was the hardship of men being deprived of the sunlight for more than eight hours. He thought the collier should for that reason have an eight-hours day. They had heard, however, from hon. Gentlemen representing Labour that, if they got this Bill through, they intended trying to extend it to all other classes of labour. The contention, therefore, that it was men who worked underground who should have their labour limited was done away with, because they sought to do the same thing with regard to men working above ground. The Home Secretary had admitted that there were difficulties if the Bill passed with regard to Durham and Northumberland, and, in order to meet those difficulties, he proposed to put down an Amendment to extend the time before the Bill should come into operation in those districts. He would, however, point out to him that the Northumberland and Durham coal competed more particularly, and almost solely, as regards coal from this country, with the South Wales coal, and therefore, if that were done, it would give a very distinct advantage to the exporters of Northumberland and 568 Durham coal as compared with the exporters of coal from South Wales. He really thought it would be hardly fair to give them that advantage. The Mining Association of Great Britain was opposed to making any difference between one coalfield as compared with another. The right hon. Gentleman said that he believed in bringing in this Bill he would lower the death rate, because the men who took up mining were generally the strong members of a family. If there was a weak member, he went into some other walk of life. As a matter of fact, the direct opposite occurred. If a boy had a weak chest or was consumptive, he chose to go underground rather than go to sea or where he would be exposed to the air. He did not think the death rate was brought lower by the weak members of a family going underground, but on the contrary was made higher. He submitted that if the Bill passed it would increase the death rate, especially as old men, who would have to hurry to their work and hurry at their work, would be very detrimentally affected. He was sure their health would be anything but improved; quite the contrary. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that the Departmental Committee considered that it would bring about a reduction of output. The methods they suggested to overcome that were that they should have improved efficiency of labour, multiple shifts, and that they should introduce coal-cutters. How were they to get improved efficiency of labour? He doubted whether they would get any difference in the working as compared with the present, and, so far as South Wales and Monmouthshire were concerned, the men would not agree to multiple shifts. Then with regard to coal-cutters, it had been shown that, if they had a rigid time-limit, they could not work them to advantage. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that, if the Bill came into force on a depressed market, prices would not be increased. He admitted that, if the Bill came into operation in a depressed period, the probability was that prices would not be very much affected for that time, because, when things were bad, collieries were very often stopped one, two, or three days in the week, 569 perhaps more; and the probability was that, if the Eight Hours Bill was in operation at the time, instead of stopping two or three days, they would stop only one. Directly the trade improved, notwithstanding that the Bill might have been in force some years, they would, however, be bound to see the effect of the Eight Hours Bill. In booming times, as in 1900 and in the last year or two, it was generally accepted that the demand did not exceed the supply by more than about 5 per cent. That, however, had made prices go up from perhaps 10s. or 12s. to 20s. and 25s. per ton. If a shortage of 5 per cent. made prices go up like that and the Bill brought about a shortage of 10 per cent. or 12 per cent., they might have prices going up to 40s. and 50s. per ton. There was no limit to which they might not go.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
It does not matter what the coal is. We have had steam coal going up to 20s. and 25s. and bituminous coal going up to 18s. and 19s. per ton end over.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
said the mine owners and the miners would get the benefit if it went up to 50s. and the poor consumer would have to pay. He made no excuse for opposing the Bill because he was in the trade, as he believed colliery owners might make colossal fortunes if prices went up for a few years, but he thought it would be bad for the consumer and for the industries dependent upon the coal trade and the country at large; and eventually those who owned the collieries in future years and also the miners in the future would suffer. The cost might not, as some hon. Members said, go up more than 6d. a ton or more than from 1s. to 1s. 6d. as foreshadowed by other Members, but that was no measure of the increase in price that might be brought about by the shortage caused by the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said he thought that in view of the tremendous majority 570 obtained on the Second Reading the House was bound to pass the Bill.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
was sorry if he had misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman, but he referred to the big majority on the Second Reading and seemed astonished at the opposition now. He would point out that a very different feeling had arisen among Members in the House since the Second Reading. They had learned a good deal since then. Not only had opinion in the House altered, but opinion throughout the country also. Public opinion had been very much educated since that time, and, whenever the Bill had been put before the country at bye elections, the electors were, as the right hon. Gentleman admitted, very much against it. He had heard it on the authority of Members on his own side that there was no measure before the country more unpopular than the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill. The hon. Member for South Glamorgan said that those who opposed the Bill were opposed to other measures which were for the benefit of the working man, and he instanced the Workmen's Compensation Bill, saying that when it was before the country the effect that it would have upon trade was exaggerated. But, as a matter of fact, it had put up the cost of working.
§ MR. D. A. THOMAS
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I suggest the hon. Member is not speaking to the Amendment and is not in order.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
The Workmen's Compensation Act has been alluded to, and I think, therefore, I have a perfect right to refer to it.
* MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member has not a right to go into the whole history of that Act, but, if he is referring to it as a particular instance, he is in order.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
said that that was what he was doing. It was referred to by the hon. Member for South Glamorgan. He said it did not increase the cost of 571 working, and that the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill would not increase it either. He begged to point out that at the Odd fellows Congress this year one of the delegates from Birmingham said that, whereas formerly when a man who met with a slight accident went to the hospital and returned to work in a few hours, he was now away from work three weeks, and that, whereas formerly a man who met with a more serious accident was away three weeks, he was now away three, four, or six months.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
said that of course it did. If a man stayed away three months instead of three weeks and got compensation all the time it very materially increased the cost of working. The hon. Member for South Glamorgan said that practically the whole of the colliers throughout the country were unanimously in favour of the Bill, but, as had been pointed out, the colliers of Northumberland and Durham were as opposed to it to-day as ever. [LABOUR cries of "That is not true."] He understood it was a fact that they were not actively opposing it now for the reason that they had joined the Miners' Federation, and in order to do so they had had to accept the whole programme of that federation, one item of which was the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill. Although they were not in active opposition to the Bill, they were, he understood, as opposed to it as ever. Having joined the Miners' Federation, they were not in a position to oppose it. Then, with regard to Lancashire, he would quote the speech of the hon. Member for Ince, who addressed the miners at Wigan. He stated that they did not want the Bill there and did not mean to have it unless the Miners' Federation forced it upon them. Apparently the Miners' Federation had forced it upon them. The Forest of Dean were at first in favour of it, but, after a discussion of about two years, they opposed the Bill. They were told they were now in favour of it, but it was possibly in the same way as Northumberland and Durham and Lancashire were supposed to be in favour 572 of it. It could not be said with truth or justification that the whole of the colliers were in favour of the Bill. He went further. If the colliers in every district were to copy the example of the Forest of Dean and thoroughly debate the question, he believed they would find a great many miners who were to-day in favour of it would be opposed to the Bill. The hon. Member for South Glamorgan referred to the lamentable accident which took place in Lancashire recently. He said that, if the Bill had been in force, the probability was that the accident would not have occurred.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
was sorry if he misunderstood the hon. Member, but he thought he made some such statement. He did not want for a moment to misrepresent him, and he would not therefore labour that point. There was really no necessity for legislation in order that the miners might obtain what they wanted in the shape of reduced hours, for there was no trade union in the country so powerful as that of the miners. They had been told that it might mean a strike if the miners did not get what they asked for through this Bill. But they had not made any demand on their employers. As a matter of fact, they had never formally demanded of the employers what they demanded in this Eight Hours Bill ["Oh."] They had never formally demanded of the employers of this country an eight-hours day.
§ MR. GLOVER
May I interrupt the hon. Gentleman, because his statement is not true. The Miners' Federation of Lancashire appealed through the Secretary to the Masters' Association many times for the purpose of ascertaining whether the leaders of the employers could see their way to shortening the hours in Lancashire, for they knew well that we were working longer hours there than in any other part of the country. We have tried to get meetings, but we have on every occasion met with a refusal from the employers.
§ * SIR C. J. CORY
said he did not dispute the fact that in Lancashire they might have demanded an eight-hours day, but Lancashire was not the whole country, and the miners of the country had never made this demand of the employers as a whole. They had never demanded it formally in South Wales or in Monmouthshire. If the miners had asked the employers for an eight hours day he did not say that it would have been granted, but as a matter of fact they had never demanded it as a whole. But even if they obtained it by legislation, it was not at all certain that it would obviate the dangers of a strike. The hon. Gentleman knew very well that the price lists of to-day were based on a longer day than eight hours, and the question was whether they were going to accept the same price lists as they had now when they had the eight hours day. If they would not, then the question would arise whether the employers would give them a higher price list. If the employers did not do that, then he presumed that there would probably be a strike, or if the employers sought to reduce the wages of the day men owing to the reduced hours it might cause a strike, so that the bringing about of an eight-hours day by legislation did not by any means obviate the danger of a strike. The real object of the Bill was to restrict output, and to increase the price of coal thereby, and in consequence increase wages as well. They knew that there was a conference of miners at Chester this year, and what was the demand made there? A resolution was proposed that the number of days a week that they worked should be restricted to five. The hon. Member for Hanley, with his accustomed common sense and caution, pointed out that they should not press that Amendment now, because it would cause alarm that there should be if this Bill was passed, not only a reduction of the hours worked per day, but a reduction in the number of days worked in the week as well, which would result in there being a still greater restriction of output. Further, as a matter of fact the miners at Tredegar only last month approached the management in regard to their hours. They worked long hours from bank to bank—far in 574 excess of eight hours; yet, notwithstanding that, they had spontaneously passed a resolution requesting that their time from bank to bank should be increased by a quarter of an hour on four days a week and reduced an hour on one day in the week, which would still further increase the excess of time over eight hours on four days a week. In the circumstances he could not help feeling that the House ought not to pass this clause, and he should vote for the Amendment.
§ * MR. DUNN (Cornwall, Camborne)
said he would not have risen had it not been for some of the speeches which had been made, particularly that of the hon. Member for Brighton and that of the hon. Member for Norwood. The question had been asked as to why they did not include the workers in tin mines within the four corners of the Bill. There was a reason why the tin-workers were not included. First of all, they must remember the vast majority of the tin-workers in the tin mines work by contract. Wages as understood in certain mines were unknown to them. A tin-worker was paid according to the amount of work he did, and he would ask the House for a moment to bear that in mind when he said that for many years they had had an eight hours day in the tin mines. They worked in those mines by a system of three shifts of eight hours each. They had therefore enjoyed for years this eight hours day which it was proposed to confer on the workers in coal mines. And that had been obtained not by any great agitation, and not by the force of a great trade corporation behind the men, because unfortunately the tin-workers—and he used the word "unfortunately" advisedly—had no trade union to protect their interests. But in spite of the fact that they worked by contract, they had, without the aid of a trade union, been able to obtain from the employers this eight hours day. [OPPOSITION cheers.] Yes, they were able by the force of their arguments to show the masters that it was to their advantage to adopt the eight hours day. [An HON. MEMBER: That is an argument against trade unions.] No, it was not an argument against trade unions; it should that the tin-workers succeeded by the force of their arguments, though, as he 575 said, they unfortunately had not a trade union, and it showed that they had no fear of a decreased output. It was useless to argue against trade unions in these days, and he did not think that even the hon. Member for Norwood could get up and argue against them.
§ * MR. DUNN
said Cornish miners changed at the bank. His hon. friend the Member for Brighton said that he could not see that there was any real demand by the men for this legislation. He had examined the division list taken on the Second Reading of the Bill, and he noticed that, with hardly a single exception, no Member of the House who represented any large body of miners, whether setting on that or the other side of the House, voted in opposition to the Second Reading. It had occurred to him that if Brighton or even favoured Norwood had been a mining district, the Members for those constituencies might, he would not say have voted for the Second Reading, but at any rate they would have been better informed perhaps as to the needs and requirements of the miners of the country. He desired to say one word in answer to his hon. friend and colleague the Member for St. Ives, who in reference to the death rate, told them that the low death rate among men engaged in coal-mining was caused by the fact that the coal mines were regarded as a kind of sanatoria—that if there was a weak member of a family he was just sent down into the coal mine to work long hours underground in order to cure him of the particular disease from which he suffered. He had the highest possible respect for the hon. Member for St. Ives, but he must say that he required a certain amount of confirmation in support of his statement. He observed that the hon. Gentleman in comparing coal-mining with other occupations referred to the sea, and he was careful enough to say that some boys sooner than be sent to sea preferred to go down the mines. He was not at all sure that any medical man or friends of a consumptive youth would advise either sending him to sea or down the coal mines. What they did know was that only strong and muscular men, 576 with excellent health, were fit for the occupation of mining, and it was because the pick of our men were sent down the mines that the death rate among them was lower than it would otherwise be. They had been told by the hon. Member for Brighton that they would be voting against one of the first principles of Liberalism if they voted in favour of this clause because it would interfere with the liberty of the subject. He thought the House had often heard arguments of that kind. Many years ago when they were discussing the first Factory Act they heard the same argument, that they were imposing restrictions on a man's labour. Then, as now, they were told that it was against Liberal principles to interfere with liberty of action. He took it that the Bill was not an interference with liberty of action. If they were in favour of allowing men to work as long as they liked, surely they had equal liberty to work as short hours as they liked.
§ * MR. DUNN
The hon. Member for Norwood said "Hear, hear." But he should remember that there were other things which very often tied a man's liberty besides Acts of Parliament, and it was because of such a tying up of his liberty that this Bill had become necessary. They knew that the miners in many district, and they heard to-day in the vast majority of districts, were in favour of this demand, but up to now the men had been powerless to obtain it. The hon. Member for St. Ives said that the miners had not approached the employers, and the hon. Member for St. Helens replied that the statement was not correct. The hon. Member for St. Ives was naïve enough to confess that if the men had made the demand for the eight-hours day they might not have got it.
§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
As a matter of fact the coal owners approached Mr. Pickard, representing the Miners' Federation, some few years before his death and offered to give the men an eight-hours day excluding both windings. Mr. Pickard refused that offer, insisting on eight hours from bank to bank. The object of the Bill, therefore, is exactly the same as 577 the Miners' Federation of Great Britain was offered by the coal owners, I believe, in 1895, but I am not quite clear.
§ * MR. DUNN
thanked his hon. friend for the interruption and the information he had given to the House. At any rate it was surely one of the principles of Liberalism that they should have the greatest good for the greatest number. His hon. friend said: "What about the consumer?" How anxious his hon. friend was with regard to the consumer. He suggested that the Bill would enhance the price of coal. The hon. Member for Norwood said: "Of course it would," and he was inclined to think he was right. He was inclined to think advantage would be taken of the passing of the Bill at first to put up prices. But he was confident, whether that was so or not, that the ordinary course of natural competition would very soon right matters, and although certain interested parties might seek to take advantage of the passing of the Bill in order to raise the price of coal, yet he was quite sure that before very long they would be forced in their own interests to bring it down to its normal point again. He should certainly vote against this wrecking Amendment.
§ * SIR PHILIP MAGNUS (London University)
said it would be impossible to listen to any speech which would be more forcible in inducing the House to vote for the Amendment of the noble Lord than the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down. He was asked why the miners engaged in other branches of mining work were not included in the privileges of this Bill, and his simple answer was, because they had made terms with their employers and had obtained the eight hours without legislation.
§ * SIR PHILIP MAGNUS
said he was referring only to the branch of mining with which the hon. Member was per- 578 sonally acquainted, and he had said that for many years the tin-miners had already enjoyed an eight-hours day, and they had obtained it simply by negotiating with their employers with respect to the number of hours they had to work. What they asked on that side of the House was why the coal miners could not do exactly the same thing. The hon. Member pointed out also that miners, as well as other persons, ought to have the right to work less than eight hours if they chose, and should not be compelled to work more than eight hours. Of course they ought to have the right to work any number of hours which they chose and which they could arrange with their employers. There had not been many speeches made in favour of this clause. There had been a conspiracy of silence as a means of obtaining a vote on the subject. He did not think that was altogether a wise proceeding, because they were really very anxious to hear what were the reasons which could be adduced, after the Committee stage of the Bill, in favour of this particular clause. He himself owed an apology to the House for intruding in the debate at all. He was not a coal owner nor a working miner, but he had attended very regularly the meetings of the Committee upstairs, and he had also read with some care the very valuable Report of the Departmental Committee on the subject, and he challenged anyone, even the Home Secretary, who had carefully studied that Report to say that it afforded any strong evidence in favour of the Bill now before the House. It had also been said by one of the few Members of the House who had spoken against the Amendment of his noble friend that it would be impossible for the trade union of miners to enforce these terms upon their employers, and if they endeavoured to do so, they would have to fall back upon a strike. He did not know exactly what was the object of a trade union unless it was to negotiate with their employers with respect to the conditions and terms under which they worked. It seemed to him there were many ways in which trade unions employed their funds which were not quite as profitable as that of endeavouring to obtain better 579 wages or conditions of work for themselves, but he could not understand for a moment how it was that trade unions were unable to negotiate with their employers as to the terms and conditions under which they desired to work. If they were unable to do so, as the hon. Member for South Glamorgan said, and for that reason Parliament must interfere between the workmen and their employers, why was it not equally necessary that Parliament should interfere in all trades between workmen and employers; and, if so, where was the necessity for the existence of trade unions? Surely it was better, as had been done by the tin-miners, not to invoke Parliamentary legislation, but to endeavour to settle the conditions under which they worked between themselves and their employers. He should like to say that if for one moment it could be contended that the health of the miners depended upon reducing the number of hours during which they were under ground or if the safety of the mine were dependent upon that condition, the House, he believed, would unanimously vote in favour of this Bill. That statement had already been made by the Leader of the Opposition, and he was quite certain everyone in the House would endorse it. But had there been adduced any single argument to show that the health of miners suffered by the length of hours during which they were employed? If they turned to the Report of the Committee, which was a mine of information on the subject, they would see that after considering all the statistics which had been brought before them, the Committee deliberately came to this conclusion—Therefore, judging from the general statistical information available, the occupation of a coal-miner cannot be considered an unhealthy employment.Now they were told by the Home Secretary, and he mentioned it also in his Second Reading speech, that there were other statistics which the Committee did not consider. Those statistics were not before the House, and had not been before the Committee. It was to be regretted that if there were any statistics which would tend to a different conclusion from that at which the Committee arrived, they should not 580 have been placed before the Committee. But they were also told it was only the strongest and healthiest men who engaged in this employment. That might be so. He did not doubt it, but there were many employments in which only strong and healthy men could engage. One would not send weaklings to undertake work which could only be carried out by strong men. There were many employments which could only be undertaken by strong men, but it did not follow that because strong men only could be employed in such work, therefore the general health of those who were employed would be injured if they worked half an hour longer than they were required to do under this Bill.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
May I just remind the hon. Member that on page 40 of the Report the Committee say that, so far as the evidence goes, it tends to show that the standard of health of the workers is lowest in those districts where the longest hours are worked.
§ * SIR PHILIP MAGNUS
said the quotation he was making was on page 48, which came after the passage to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. As regarded danger, if there was one matter which was most carefully considered in the Committee, it was with regard to the danger which the miner incurred in carrying out his hazardous work; and he must own that he had not heard one single argument adduced upstairs or in the House to show that if the number of hours were reduced, the danger to miners would be decreased. On the contrary, with any general legislation of this kind, requiring that no person should be underground more than eight hours, it was essential, as was shown by the Bill now before the House, that there should be all kinds of exceptions to that general rule, and it had been part of the duty of the Committee upstairs carefully to consider what exceptions were necessary for the safety of the mine; and could it be said even now that they had considered every possible exception that was necessary? But he should like to point out that when any exceptional treatment of persons engaged underground was suggested with a view to the safety of the mine or of the miners, it was generally opposed by the whole 581 of the miners themselves, and there was nothing which some of them more regretted than the fact that the working of half an hour more underground was regarded by the miners generally of more importance than the safety of the mine which might be endangered by a shortened period of work. He asked whether, during the course of this debate, any sufficient reason had been shown for this undue interference with the liberty of contract. The question of the liberty of contract between employer and employed was top often pooh-poohed. They were told that Parliament had already interfered with the hours of labour in the Factory Acts, but he need scarcely remind the House that those Acts referred to the working of women and children, and it was and would remain the duty of all men to protect by legislation as far as they could the safety and health of women and children. But he said distinctly that no single argument had been adduced for the general principle of requiring that miners should only work eight hours. Surely the onus of proof lay with those who introduced the Bill. He could find no valid argument for interfering in this particular trade more than in any other. On the other hand, anyone who read the Report would find that there were very strong economic arguments against the adoption of this first clause. It had been distinctly proved that the diminution of the number of hours of work must, as had been pointed out by other speakers, have a decided effect upon the output and consequently upon the price of coal. The Home Secretary had indicated a certain number of mitigations of the effect of the diminution in the number of hours, and they were referred to in the Report in a paragraph which the light hon. Gentleman read on the Second Reading of the Bill. It was, however, necessary to bear in mind that after giving all reasonable credit to those considerations to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, the Committee were nevertheless convinced that the establishment of a fixed eight-hours day, whether introduced suddenly or gradually by annual reductions of half-an-hour or otherwise, would be sure to result in a temporary contraction of output, and a consequent 582 period of embarrassment and loss to the country at large. The Committee further stated that—The extent and duration of this period would depend chiefly upon the intelligent and willing co-operation of both employers and workmen to reduce it to a minimum, both in the immediate interest of the public and the ultimate interests of the coal industry.He did not want to dwell upon the serious effects of this increase in the price of coal, but he thought the consumer was the person who ought to be considered in legislation of this kind. It was not only the domestic consumer who would suffer, but, as had already been pointed out, the whole of the industries of the country would suffer in competition with the industries of other countries. The other point which had been raised was the question of danger. There was no one more sensible of the danger that might result from this shortening of hours than the Home Secretary himself. What did he say in answer to a deputation? He said—But there is another point urged with regard to safety. Of course we all agree that one of the first considerations is the security of those who work in and about the mines, and it would indeed, be disastrous if, by speeding up the machinery or hurrying the work of timbering, or interfering with anything connected with the safety of the men, we made the ratio of accidents much too great through faulty legislation. I quite agree that the views expressed on that point deserve close and anxious consideration.What was the close and anxious consideration the Home Secretary had given to this matter? The result of it had been the postponement of the complete operation of this clause for a period of five years. That was the sole result of his "close and careful consideration," and yet they knew full well that if the periods of winding were included in the eight hours during which the miners were to work there must be a natural tendency on the part of employers to hasten those windings which was attended with considerable danger to the men. Why were they to expect that after five years the danger would be less than it was now?
§ MR. GLADSTONE
The hon. Member is quite in error in saving that that is the sole reason. He will see that there is 583 an Amendment on the Paper dealing with the question of winding.
§ * SIR PHILIP MAGNUS
said that was so, but the main danger to which the right hon. Gentleman referred was that connected with the hastening of speed of winding. And now, against the united wish of the miners he was proposing to put off this reform for five years; and why for five years only? It was his hope that during that time science might come to his aid and provide inventions which would make the danger less than it was at the present time. He did not know what claim the right hon. Gentleman had to speak in the name of science, but how did he know that science would come to his aid? Surely in legislation of this kind it would be much better to legislate from what he did know than upon such a hypothesis as that which he had put forward. When they came to that particular clause of the Bill he trusted that he would agree to accept the Amendment that the winding up and down should be excluded altogether from the eight hours, or, until such time as scientific invention had come to his aid to show that it was no longer necessary. He felt that he had no right to detain the House longer, but he would like to point out one other thing. They had been told they must follow foreign countries, that France, Germany and Holland had all introduced legislation of this kind. As he read the Report, legislation on this matter was very recent in foreign countries and they had not yet ascertained what might be its effect. The law was introduced in France in the year 1906, and according to that law the eight hours were exclusive of both windings and of periods for refreshment in the mines. Therefore, the French Bill differed in important particulars from the English Bill. If they took other countries they found the same result. There was another very strong reason for rejecting this clause, and it was that it proposed a uniform eight-hours day for the whole country. At present in some parts of the country the men men worked less, in others a little longer than that; and what reason could be shown for introducing this uniformity, having regard to the fact 584 that different conditions must prevail in different parts of the country? Surely the mine owners, in co-operation with the workers, might be allowed to determine the number of hours they should work. Personally, he felt that no case whatever had been made out for the introduction of this clause into the Bill, and he hoped that all hon. Members who cared for freedom of control and of competition would agree with him that no sufficient reasons had been adduced for legislative interference with this particular trade, and he trusted they would vote in favour of the Amendment, of his noble friend.
§ MR. LUPTON
said he made a long speech on the Second Reading, and he did not mean to do so again on this clause. Two eloquent speeches had been made in support of the clause already. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil mentioned the case of the Scottish miners who used to work ten hours a day and were now working eight. They had managed without Government interference to get an eight hours day in Scotland, and he took it they got it became they wanted it. He had yet to learn that the miners of England could not get an eight hours day if they wanted it. The hon. Member for Camborne said the men in the Cornish tin mines had not got a powerful union, but without any union they had met the owners of the mines, and they had got an eight-hours day. There they had two good illustrations showing that without a clause of this kind the miners had been able to get what they wanted. What they were being driven to by the supporters of this measure was not to give what the miners wanted but what they did not want, and that was what was being forced upon them by this Bill. [Cries of "No."] That, at any rate, was the fact as regards Durham and Northumberland. As the hon. Member for Norwood had stated, there were hon. Members in the House who were in a position to contradict that statement if they could, but they had not done so because they know it was true. They knew that the miners in Durham had voted against an Eight Hours Bill, and that if it was forced upon them it would be contrary to their will. The 585 miners of Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and part of Warwickshire already had a sort of eight-hours day, although it was not exactly the same as would be forced upon them by this Bill. Nevertheless it was one which was quite satisfactory to them. For more than forty years Yorkshire miners had had an eight hours day, and so had the miners of Derbyshire. The miners in Yorkshire liked an eight hours day, and those in Derbyshire preferred a nine hours day, and why should the Yorkshire minors force their will upon the Derbyshire miners? He was speaking from his own experience of Derbyshire miners, for he had worked a miners eight hours shift himself. [An HON. MEMBER: Where?] He did not mind telling the hon. Member privately. The miners in the district he was referring to adopted two nine-hour shifts, and their wages went up 1s. a day because they were working piece-work. If they reduced their hours from nine hours to eight, of course their wages would go down 1s. a day, and there would be a jolly row in that district. This measure was one which would tend to make strikes wholesale in Lancashire, Durham, and Northumberland, because it would cause such a disturbance in their systems that prices would have to be altered and wages would go down. Miners would not take lower wages until they were forced, and if they found that the effect of the Bill was to reduce their wages they would kick up a row and ask for a revision of prices; whether they got that or not depended upon the state of the coal trade at that time. Of course, if the owners put up the prices and got larger profits they would be ready to pay almost any wages that were asked, and they would do everything they could to facilitate the miners and meet their demands when trade was good. If owners were getting 5s. or 10s. a ton extra they would not mind giving the miners another 1s. out of it, and they might give them another 2s. 6d. if necessary. What he said was that the condition of trade would be such after the passing of the Bill that they would have to revise their prices. He was certain that the effect of the measure would be to restrict the output. It will have a great effect on the market. Production would be very far from its 586 maximum, for there would be a reduction of 10 per cent. in the output. That would send up prices to any extent they liked to name. No one knew how much the increase would be, but it would be very considerable. The miners would, of course, get the rise they wanted, and everything would go very sweetly. It was the public who would have to pay. In previous booms the increased price had come from the outside. The iron trade had been good, and coal owners had been able to get a rise in price, and miners a rise in wages, and no harm had been done. That was because the iron trade and general trade had been good. This new increase would come when the iron trade and general trade was not good, and hundreds of thousands of men would be thrown out of employment. They would not be the ordinary out-of-works—men who could not work if they wished. They would be real men, the men who had made England what she is, men of strength and muscle, and if they were thrown out of work through the operations of the law, they would have something to say that would be disagreeable to those who had to hear it. He would have to support the Amendment. It was a drastic Amendment, for if they omitted Clause 1 there was little, left of the Bill. The hon. Member for Glamorgan, who was one of the best speakers the minors had, had appealed to the human side of the case. He (Mr. Lupton) had been glad to hear that appeal because he wanted the House to attend to that side. They had heard too much of what the mine agents wanted, and what the colliers wanted. What would happen under the Bill to the man who was a little past his prime? He would have to rush to his work and would have little time for rest in his working hours. He him self had rushed through mines in his younger days; he went more gently now, and knew what it would mean to those men. The hon. Member for Camborne, if he wished, could tell the House how many tin miners had died from disease through rushing up and down ladders.
§ MR. LUPTON
said that statement showed that the hon. Gentleman was new to the question. It was a commonplace that the early death rate through the exertion of rushing up and down ladders was very great. If the House started colliers running, it would kill a great many of them. He was sorry hon. Members laughed, but there had been an appeal to humanity, and he wanted humanity to be considered. They were going to drive a great many men in sorrow to the grave. It was necessary for the managers to keep up the receipts of their mine, and if there was a man who did not earn sufficient money, they did not want to keep him, for the miners' agents would say the men were not earning a good wage, and there must be a rise in price. A great many of the men now working and keeping themselves and their families would be forced into the workhouse. If the appeal was to humanity, he said humanity was against the Bill. They were told that accidents would be reduced under the Bill, but the number of accidents was small compared with the number of deaths there would be due to rushing which the Bill would cause. The Home Secretary had tried to show that there would be some saving in human life and that if they reduced the number of hours from ten to eight, they would reduce the number of accidents. The miners' agents had said, however, that the number of days work would be increased and that would increase the number of hours worked. If that was not so, the number of men would have to be increased, and if they had more men underground they would probably have more accidents. The miner who worked four days one week and five the next, had a good week-end clear from the mine, but now he was to be forced to go down the pit six days a week. That would be slavery to the miner. A man might have an hour's walk underground to his work and an hour's walk back again. That would be unproductive labour which he would have to undertake six days a week. The great bulk of the colliers would sooner work a longer number of hours while they were there, than be forced to go down the pit six days a week for the same amount of 588 work. They were asked to pass that Bill in the name of humanity, but colliers only worked on an average forty-three out of 168 hours in a week, which meant that only a quarter of their time was spent underground, and of that they were not working all the time. Many colliers believed that that was a Bill of a very different character from what it actually was. They imagined it was a Bill fixing the hours of work. Even some of their Members of Parliament thought the same. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton West had moved an Amendment in Committee upstairs—Whereas at the passing of this Act the hours of labour underground, etc.The hon. Member had had the idea that the Bill dealt with the hours of labour, but it did nothing of the sort; it dealt with the hours underground. It was like saying that the hours a man spent in a train going to and from his work were hours of labour, whereas they were simply hours of travelling. The Bill was merely one for fixing the hours underground; it was not a Bill fixing the hours of labour at eight. The Home Secretary and the hon. Member for St. Helens had made the same mistake as other hon. Members in Amendments which they had brought forward. The French Act had fixed the hours underground and had left, out the time for rest and refreshment, enforcing a maximum of eight hours for labour. They knew eight hours labour was long enough at a time, and if left to themselves, the men were not likely to work much longer. The Bill, however, had reduced the hours practically to six a day. That was a very arbitrary measure. It was very arbitrary to say to a strong collier in the prime of his life, when he might earn money to save for himself and his family in order that he might be independent, that he must not do more than a certain amount of work. The Government side of the House was elected in the cause of free trade, but that was not a free trade measure. It was not fair to interfere with a man's right to sell his labour and to prevent him from earning more than £1 a week. It was with very great sadness that he had to oppose the measure. But he objected to it because it was opposed to all the great principles of his life, and to all the principles for 589 which the Liberals fought at the general election. He objected to it on the grounds that it would be oppressive to the poor working men and their families, because of its effect on the coal market and on the hundreds of thousands of people who were dependent on coal for carrying on their industries. For these and other reasons he hoped the House would accept the Amendment.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
Like the hon. Member opposite I do not think a Second Reading debate is necessary in regard to this clause. I have no intention of trying to make a case against the Bill as a whole. All I intend to do is to take up as well as I can, at any rate as well as I can remember, some of the arguments which have emerged during the discussion, to which importance may be attached by some hon. Members. My right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition put to the House, and more particularly to the representatives of the mining industry, who are far more interested than the Government in this matter, three questions. An attempt has been made to answer two of them. The first question had reference to the speech of the hon. Member for Glamorgan, who said, that we talked only about prices, but let us look at humanity. I think everybody will recognise the soundness of the argument. If it can be shown that either health or safety is injuriously affected owing to the length of hours of a miner's occupation, then a case is made out for the House of Commons to consider. An attempt was made to answer that point by two hon. Gentlemen, one the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, and the other the Secretary of State for the Home Department. As it happens, one of these Gentlemen gave a defence which was denied by the other, and both gave a defence which was contradicted by the Report of the Special Committee. As regards health, the Home Secretary read a paragraph in the Report of the Committee which pointed to the fact that there is a greater amount of illness in some districts where the hours were longer, and in other districts where the hours were shorter than eight hours. 590 But here is a summary of the evidence in the Report—Judging from the general statistical information available, the occupation of a coal miner cannot be considered an unhealthy employment.That is on page 48 of the Report. But the right hon. Gentleman said that the men working in coal mines were picked men, men of special strength, and that delicate men and boys were never sent into the mines. Now, I have made actual inquiries about this matter I have a great many friends in Scotland who are coal owners, and I put the point to them, and this was the answer I got. They said that so far from its being the fact, comparing the coal trade with other trades which require a certain physical strength, such as iron workers, the comparison was in favour of the men engaged in the coal trade. They lived to a large extent in villages. Then their children naturally followed their father's occupation, and only those who were unfit for work in the mine on account of lack of physical strength or physical defect, were sent to other occupations. Therefore, I think that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman falls absolutely to the ground. In regard to accidents, the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, whose moderation I am pleased to refer to in the House, said that these accidents do diminish in proportion as the hours of labour in the mines are diminished. The hon. Member talked of Scotland, and compared 1896, when the hours of labour were longer, with 1906, when the hours were shorter. The number of accidents he said were less in the latter year than in the former. Was there ever a more flagrant case of post hoc propter hoc? If it was true that the diminution of accidents is due only to the shorter hours, what has been the use of all the efforts made by the miners' representatives during the last twenty years to get the general conditions in the mines improved? I prefer the opinion of the Committee, which was at least impartial, and who took a good deal of trouble in their investigations into this question. In their Report that Committee said:—We may remark that we have failed to obtain any evidence which would associate the number of accidents in any disproportionate degree with the hours in excess of eight spent 591 underground by the men, or with the districts in which the longest hours are worked.Their conclusion is that there is no connection whatever between the two. But, as a matter of fact, the case is stronger in the other direction; instead of diminishing the number of accidents this Bill is going to increase them. That was admitted by the right hon. Gentleman himself in a speech he made in Committee upstairs, when he said—I do not say that the danger to accidents will cease in five or ten years, but the danger will be reduced.Here we have the very Minister responsible for this Bill actually saying that the Bill, if it became law, instead of diminishing the danger arising from accidents, will increase it!
§ MR. GLADSTONE
The hon. Gentleman should read out the context of that sentence. My impression is that I was speaking with regard to the special danger of winding.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman was speaking as to whether three or five years should be the probationary period. There is nothing about winding in the notes I have. He said that there is danger and that he did not say that it will cease in three or five years. Did not that mean clearly that, to some extent at least, the Bill is going to increase the danger? The second point raised by my right hon. friend was one with regard to which there had been no attempt at any answer. My right hon. friend said in effect to the representatives of the mining industry, the existing conditions in Durham and Northumberland are acceptable to all the men, but what is quite true, the boys work longer hours—though they are not really boys but lads. But let the House remember that they are a class which in the process of time will themselves get the advantage of the shorter hours now enjoyed by the older men. Now I admit that it is a hard thing that the young should have these longer hours, but that difficulty applies all round. It applied in my own case when I went to an office. It is the lads who get the longer hours; as they grow older and rise their hours become shorter. If you find that on the whole the class engaged in this particular trade do not object to the 592 existing hours, surely that is a strong point for leaving them as they are. Do the Gentlemen who are responsible for this Bill and the miners' representatives intend to deal with that question? We are entitled to an answer. There are representatives of the miners here who are not taking any part in these discussions. I would like to hear what they think. Here is what the Special Committee said on the point—To the solution of the problem we found both the employers and workmen had given much more serious thought than appeared to have been the case in other districts; and notwithstanding the difficulty of substituting for the present varied and elastic system one of greater rigidity and uniformity, we are convinced that, whether by the institution of three shifts of hewers, or two uniform shifts of eight hours for all classes, or by some other arrangement, the same organising ability and the same co-operation between the employers and workers which has evolved the present system, would succeed in evolving a satisfactory substitute for it should the necessity arise. We found it to be the opinion of all the witnesses, however, that this could not be accomplished without some increase in the numbers of underground workers, and some addition to the cost of production.Here again, I am quite ready to be corrected if I am wrong, but I am informed that in Northumberland and Durham the position was put to the men in this way. They were told: "You only work six and a half hours and this Bill only refers to the maximum; therefore, nothing that can happen will make your hours of work longer." Obviously, if this is true, then one of the alternatives of this proposal is missed out, namely, that there will be eight, hours work for the hewers as well as for the other people in the mine. I say, therefore, that when representatives of the workers in a great trade like this come to the House and admit that this problem is facing them, and that they have no idea how to find a solution, that is really playing with the House and with Parliament. But more than that, the hon. Member for Glamorganshire hinted that, if we do not pass this Bill, there will be the danger of a strike, and that the men would fight for it if it could only be got by a strike. I say that on every page of this Report there is a clear indication that it was in the mind of the Committee that so many novel subjects will be raised giving rise to disputes that 593 there will be a grave danger of strikes in consequence of the pasisng of this Bill. I have been told by gentlemen connected with the coal trade in Northumberland and Durham that, in their opinion, this difficulty in regard to the two counties will not be got over without a strike. We have here the representatives of the coal miners in those counties, and if they will get up and say that I am talking exaggerated nonsense and that there is no danger of strikes arising, it would be a real relief to me as well as to the House. The next point raised by my right hon. friend was this. He pointed to districts like Lancashire and South Wales where the hours of work are longer, something like ten hours, and they are to be reduced by two hours. He said quite obviously, I think, that, given the conditions as at present, either you will have to raise the price of coal or wages will fall. What attempt has been made to deal with that point? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr did make an attempt to reply to it, and his answer was that he thinks the output will be precisely the same in eight hours as it has been in ten, and his reason for coming to that conclusion was that the men would work harder in the shorter time and give out a larger output. He gave figures in support of that contention, but they are figures with which I am not acquainted as they relate to the trade in the East of Scotland. I have the figures here relating to Lanarkshire, where the coal trade has been much more developed than it has in the East of Scotland. In Lanarkshire, in 1900 they got an eight hours winding day. The average output per man for the four years preceding 1900 was 472 tons, and in the four years succeeding it was 421 tons. That was to say, there was a falling off in the output per man to just about the same extent as the shortening of hours, in spite of the improvement in the methods of production.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us at the same time the number of days per week the colliers worked for the two periods.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
I have that stated in the Report from which I am 594 quoting, and the statement is that they were practically the same in both cases. In any case precisely the same criticism can be made in regard to the figures which the hon. Gentleman gave from the East of Scotland. So much for the idea that the output is going to be the same working 20 per cent. less time. My hon. friend behind me quoted a resolution of one body connected with the Miners' Federation which admitted that there was going to be a rise in wages and the price of coal as the result of the passing of this Bill. The hon. Member said we had no right to refer to that until the whole Federation had passed it, but I think we have a right to say, not that the Federation agreed to it, but that the only body of miners who considered it have plainly stated that that was their interpretation of the Bill. There are a great many members of the federation in this House. Will they undertake if that resolution is introduced to vote against it? If they refuse I think the House can draw its own conclusions.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
That strengthens very much what I have said. These Gentlemen who tell us that the prices are not going to be raised can very well tell us what their vote will be when the question is raised, but there is another consideration which ought to be taken into account. The hon. Member for the Ince division of Lancashire made a speech which has not been denied in the least. He said quite openly and honestly that the effect of this would be that 4d. a ton would have to be added for the hewers' wages and 2d. for the other persons engaged in the trade. That was 6d. a ton, and it will have to be paid not only in good times, but in bad times. But that is not all. There are other charges which must rise with the wages, and nobody can dispute that there is going to be a rise in the price of coal as the result of this Bill. By the admission of the Miners' Federation, who introduced this Bill, there is going to be a rise in the price of coal. The Home 595 Secretary says that any substantial rise would be a great misfortune to this country. I go further than that and I say that any rise due to other than natural causes, however small it be, will be a grave misfortune from every point of view to this country. [Ironical MINISTERIAL cheers]. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they have any desire to get this Bill through, are not taking a very wise course in raising the issue which they have. I can assure them that it is an issue that I am never afraid of. But since they have raised it, may I point out this as some answer to those cheers? Even the addition of 9d. a ton on coal admittedly and undoubtedly would mean an addition of 40s. per ton on the price of the kind of steel which is coming into this country. That is a 5 per cent. preference to the foreigners who are sending in that kind of steel. I therefore do not think that hon. Members have scored very much; but the subject is wide enough without our bringing in side issues. I say that, a thing outside of natural causes which would raise the price of coal is going to be a bad thing for the trade of this country. We know—and that is admitted by everyone, whatever view he takes of fiscal policy—that we have suffered from a competition which we are told is due to the natural advantages of other countries in regard to raw materials. The one raw material in which we have an advantage over European countries, though not over America, is our coal. There is another side of this policy which has to be considered. It is quite true, as hon. Members have said, that if a change like this is made in time of falling trade it will not raise prices, but it will prevent thorn falling, and everyone who is engaged in business knows that the thing that gradually brings about a turn for the better is the low prices at which commodities are produced, which encourages buying. We have in coal this advantage, and the Government—I do not think it is the Government, to do them justice; they would get out of it if they could—but the system of logrolling by which legislation is carried on is compelling them to take that course which is bound to prevent the expansion of our trade in good times or prevent 596 its recovery in bad times. I am not going to prophesy in the least what the extent of the rise will be. It entirely depends upon circumstances and on the condition of trade at the time; but this I want to point out to the right hon. Gentleman, it is not a thing which applies only when you make a change; it is a condition which will recur every time there is a scarcity of trade. The effect on prices has nothing whatever to do, for the time being, with the increased cost of production. I was myself engaged in a trade of a very speculative character, and I have more than once seen the price of the article doubled by a rise of 10 per cent. in the price of coal. Hon. Members will not be surprised, because coal is an article you cannot do without, and if one manufacturer thinks it is short and that he will not be able to get what he wants he will rush in and buy in order to see that he, at least, is all right. Other manufacturers rush in at the same time, and in consequence the price is driven up. I say, without hesitation, that I believe this is one of the worst Bills ever introduced even by the present Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State appeared to be astonished at what he called the Coal Consumers' League. I do not know anything about the Coal Consumers' League. They have never asked me for any money. They knew that it was not worth while.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
Now that I am no longer representing a Scottish constituency I am prepared to admit that that is not a bad reason. This is not a question between the coal masters and the coal miner. There are a great many coal masters who would do anything but benefit by this Bill. This is a Bill that will benefit new mines at the expense of old mines that could not equip themselves. But it does affect the consumer. The consumer is not organised, but now an attempt has been made to focus the opinion that is held by those who consume coal, and I think that is a good thing. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil made a statement that I do not agree with, that neither coal masters nor iron masters were afraid of this Bill. It 597 so happens that there is no class of the community amongst whom I have so many friends. I have spoken to many of them about it and there is not one who does not believe that the effect of the Bill will be greatly and permanently to raise the price of coal in this country. They are afraid of it. There is not one who is not afraid of a rise in the price of coal in this country. They admitted they did not think it was going to be a great evil, but because it is not going to be a great evil that is no reason for entering into any evil. Whatever has been said which was not well-founded, this, at least, is true, that all men engaged in industry in this country believe that this Bill will have a very grave effect upon the particular industry in which they are engaged.
§ THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir S. EVANS, Glamorganshire, Mid)
The hon. Member who has just sat down prefaced his speech by saying that he was going to make a Second Reading speech and said that he was driven to making a Second Reading speech by the speeches which had gone before. That may be so. As a Welsh Member I did not intend to take any part in this discussion, and if I might presume to advise my friends I would say that they should not extend the discussions on this measure by making Second Reading speeches. There were several passages in the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, several propositions which would be excellent propositions for free trade if they were to be applied all round, but these things must be avoided on this occasion. The hon. Member repeated some questions which had been put by the Leader of the Opposition earlier in the debate, not so much to those who officially represent the Government as to those who represent the mining industry, to whom I shall be content to leave the answering of those questions, as I think they will be able to deal with that matter on the Report stage of Clause 1 much more ably than I should. Then there is the question of the humanitarian reason. I think it was rather a pity that the hon. Member said that the Government had not brought in this Bill for any humanitarian reasons but because they were engaged in a log-rolling policy It does not help matters forward in the 598 slightest degree to say that the responsible Government are only indulging in a log-rolling policy, when they at last bring in a Bill to represent the views of a certain section of the population, many of which views have been represented here for twenty years past. I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman opposite, if he were Prime Minister to-day, would not have found the feeling on this matter so strong that it would have been necessary even for him to bring, in some measure of this kind. Now let me say a word or two with regard to three heads: First, the humanitarian point of view. This can be regarded from two points, the point of view of health, and the point of view of danger. The hon. Member referred to the fact that the Committee had reported their opinion, that, ordinarily speaking, the occupation of a coal-miner is not an unhealthy occupation. That does not determine this matter. The question is whether it is a healthy occupation up to eight hours a day and whether it does not become more unhealthy when you pursue it for another hour or two. It is not enough to say that the occupation of a miner is healthy, and therefore it is not right to limit the hours during which he has to be underground. It is a very difficult thing to decide whether there is any increase of danger by excess of work. It is very difficult to prove that by statistics, but this I am able to say, that it has been the opinion of those engaged in this industry in South Wales that there have been dangers and accidents leading often to deplorable explosions in which on occasion one, two, or three hundred men have lost their lives, and that the dangers have been increased by the working of long hours. It cannot be proved by figures, but it is right that I should tell the House that that has been adopted as the deliberate opinion of those engaged in this industry in South Wales; that is to say, you have a greater danger due to less attention or to non-compliance with the rules which may, and no doubt has, sometimes produced very serious accidents owing to the men working excessive hours. That is what I say with regard to the first head, except one remark with regard to health and not mere danger after working nine or 599 ten hours. Has the hon. Member opposite ever been down a coal mine?
§ SIR S. EVANS
I thought he had. If he had, and if he had been down some of the old mines when they were working a few years ago, before they had been improved, he would have been satisfied, I think, if he could have done an ordinary day's work of eight hours that it would have been quite enough for him. I have been down many in the course of my avocation, because, whenever I was engaged in a mining case, I always went down to see the locus in quo. I have been down constantly, sometimes in a new pit in which the conditions by comparison were far better than in the old, and I have been down old coal pits where it was cruelty to make a man work six or seven hours. The present discussion relates to Durham, and I do not know anything about Durham or Northumberland, but I can say that it does appear to me to be a little unfair to say that an experienced miner need only work six or six and a half hours, while your boys, as they are called, ought to work nine or ten. A skilful debater like the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down said that no doubt the lads in Durham during the first years of their work in the mines in Durham have to submit to a nine or ten-hours day, but then, he said, the boys would improve their position, and have the advantage which was thus obtained from shorter hours. What are the advantages? We believe there will be advantages to be obtained from shorter hours and for that reason we have produced this Bill. The last point he made came well within the province of the hon. Member. He dealt with the cost of production. This also is a difficult matter to deal with by way of figures, but the hon. Member will remember as a matter of history that predictions of exactly the same kind were made when the first Coal Federation Act was brought in, in 1872, and I found out quite recently that the same predictions were made and had
§ been made ever since the first improvements were made with regard to coal nines in 1852. In 1872, it was said that the price of coal would go up at least 1s. 6d. a ton. Similarly, as a consequence of the Compensation Act the increase was to be 3d.; it only went up one farthing. I only indicate these matters to show that prophecies of this kind have been made on previous occasions and nearly always falsely. I believe with the hon. Member for Merthyr that, broadly speaking, there will be no change in the productivity of the mines, or in the labour of the men. Everybody will know that the hours must be limited to eight. But I believe you will find that in the ordinary course not less but more coal will be produced in eight than is now produced in nine and a half hours. I understand one of the reasons for the state of things described by the hon. Member opposite is that the coal mines in that particular part of Scotland to which he alludes are nearly worked out on their last ridges, so to speak.
§ SIR S. EVANS
Well, that is my information. If it is not correct I will not press it. I have made this reply to him. It has been a Second Reading speech and could not help being a Second Reading speech, but on the Report stages I shall certainly not make long speeches and so prevent this Bill from being passed; but speaking, not as a member of the Government, but as a Member for one of the divisions in South Wales, which has been looking forward to this Bill for years, I say I believe that the reduction from nine and three-quarter hours to eight will be, as the people of that country believe, a very great boon.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 266; Noes, 74. (Division List No. 438.)603
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Acland, Francis Dyke||Ainsworth, John Stirling|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Agnew, George William||Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Maddison, Frederick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Fuller, John Michael F.||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Gill, A. H.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Massie, J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Glendinning, R. G.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Beale, W. P.||Glover, Thomas||Menzies, Walter|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets,S.Geo.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Bennett, E. N.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Middlebrook, William|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Gurdon, Rt. Hn.SirW. Brampton||Mond, A.|
|Bethell, Sir J.H.(Essex,Romf'rd||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Morrell, Philip|
|Black, Arthur W.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Morse, L. L.|
|Boland, John||Hall, Frederick||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harcourt,Robert V.(Montrose)||Muldoon, John|
|Brace, William||Hardie,J.Keir(Merthyr Tydvil)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Bright, J. A.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Myer, Horatio|
|Brunner, J.F.L.(Lancs., Leigh)||Hemmerde, Edward George||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henry, Charles S.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor(Mon., S.)||Nicholls, George|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hodge, John||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Byles, William Pollard||Holland, Sir William Henry||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cameron, Robert||Holt, Richard Durning||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hooper, A. G.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Hope,W.Bateman(Somerset,N.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Horniman, Emslie John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Chance, Frederick William||Hudson, Walter||O'Dowd, John|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Grady, J.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hyde, Clarendon||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.||Partington, Oswald|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Clough, William||Jenkins, J.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton|
|Clynes, J. R.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Pollard, Dr.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jones,Sir D.Brynmor(Swansea)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Jones,William(Carnarvonshire)||Price,Sir Robert J.(Norfolk,E.)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Jowett, F. W.||Radford, G. H.|
|Corbett,C.H.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Joyce, Michael||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Kilbride, Denis||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Crean, Eugene||Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Reddy, M.|
|Crooks, William||King,Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Laidlaw, Robert||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th|
|Crossley, William J.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Richards T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lambert, George||Richardson, A.|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd)|
|Davies,Sir W.Howell(Bristol,S.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh,S.)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras,E.||Robinson, S.|
|Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||Lever,A.Levy(Essex,Harwich)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rose, Charles Day|
|Dillon, John||Lewis, John Herbert||Rowlands, J.|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald,J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs)||Samuel,Rt.Hn.H.L.(Cleveland)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Maclean, Donald||Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester)|
|Dunne, Major E.Martin(Walsall||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seddon, J.|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Seely, Colonel|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macpherson, J. T.||Shackleton, David James|
|Essex, R. W.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal,E.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M'Callum, John M.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Crae, Sir George||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||M'Laren,RtHn.SirC.B.(Leices.||Snowden, P.|
|Findlay, Alexander||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Micking, Major G.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Stanger, H. Y.||Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Thomson, W.Mitchell- (Lanark)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Stanley,Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Thorne, G. R.(Wolverhampton)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Steadman, W. C.||Tomkinson, James||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Whittaker,RtHn.Sir ThomasP.|
|Strauss, B. S. (Mile End)||Verney, F. W.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||Vivian, Henry||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Summerbell, T.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Sutherland, J. E.||Walsh, Stephen||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Walton, Joseph||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wardle, George J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury||Waring, Walter|
|Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wason,Rt.Hn.E.(Clackmannan|
|Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||White,J.Dundas(Dumbart'nsh.|
|Acland-Hood,Rt.Hn.SirAlex.F.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fletcher, J. S.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(City Lond.)||Forster, Henry William||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Furness, Sir Christopher||Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Baring,Cap.Hn.G.(Winchester)||Gooch,Henry Cubitt(Peckham)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Guinness,W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy,Laurence (Kent,Ashford||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Renwick, George|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hunt, Rowland||Roberts, S. (Sheffield,Ecelesall)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Joynson-Hicks, William||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kennaway,Rt.Hon.Sir John H.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Cave, George||Kerry, Earl of||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone,E.)||Lockwood,Rt.Hn. Lt.-Col.A.R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.A.(Worc.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Watt, Henry A.|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lupton, Arnold||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||M'Arthur, Charles||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Cox, Harold||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Craig, Captain James (Down,E.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Viscount Castlereagh and Mr. Harmood-Banner.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morpeth, Viscount|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the
|The House divided:—Ayes, 267; Noes, 74. (Division List No. 439.)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Black, Arthur W.||Channing, Sir Francis Allston|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Boland, John||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bowerman, C. W.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Agnew, George William||Brace, William||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brigg, John||Cleland, J. W.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Brooke, Stopford||Clough, William|
|Ashton, Thomns Gair||Brunner,J.F.L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Clynes, J. R.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Bryce, J. Annan||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury,E.)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Compton-Rickett, S. J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Cooper, G. J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Byles, William Pollard||Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd|
|Beale, W. P.||Cameron, Robert||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S. Geo.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Crean, Eugene|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Crooks, William|
|Bethell,SirJ.H.(Essex,Rom'frd||Chance, Frederick William||Crosfield, A. H.|
§ word 'for' in page 1, line 6, stand part of the Bill."607
|Crossley, William J.||Laidlaw, Robert||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Lambert, George||Richards, T. F.(Wolvern'mpt'n|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lamont, Norman||Richardson, A.|
|Davies,SirW.Howell(Bristol,S.)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dickinson,W.H. (St.Pancras,N||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lea,HughCecil (St. Pancras, E.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lever,A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Robinson, S.|
|Dillon, John||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Lewis, John Herbert||Rose, Charles Day|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Rowlands, J.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Maclean, Donald||Schwann, SirC.E. (Manchester)|
|Essex, R. W.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seddon, J.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Seely, Colonel|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Macpherson, J. T.||Shackleton, David James|
|Fenwick, Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal,E.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||M'Callum, John M.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Findlay, Alexander||M'Crae, Sir George||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Snowden, P.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||M'Laren,RtHn.SirC.B.(Leices.)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Micking, Major G.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gill, A. H.||Maddison, Frederick||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Gladstone,Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn||Mallet, Charles E.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Glover, Thomas||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Massie, J.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Summerbell, T.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Menzies, Walter||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Gurdon,RtHn.SirW.Brampton||Micklem, Nathaniel||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Middlebrook, William||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Mond, A.||Tennant,Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Hall, Frederick||Morrell, Philip||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morse, L. L.||Thomas,Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Hardie,J.Keir (MerthyrTydvil)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Harvey,W.E. (Derbyshire,N.E.||Muldoon, John||Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Thomson, W.Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Murray,Capt.HnA.C.(Kincard.||Thorne,G.R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Tomkinson, James|
|Henry, Charles S.||Myer, Horatio||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Herbert,Col. Sir Ivor (Mon.,S.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Verney, F. W.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Vivian, Henry|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nicholls, George||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hodge, John||Nicholson,CharlesN.(Doncast'r||Walsh, Stephen|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Nolan, Joseph||Walton, Joseph|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Norman, Sir Henry||Wardle, Beorge J.|
|Hooper, A. G.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Waring, Walter|
|Hope,W.Bateman(Somerset,N.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason,Rt.Hn.E.(Clackmannan.|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||White,J.Dundas(Dumbart'nsh.|
|Hunt, Rowland||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Dowd, John||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hyde, Clarendon||O'Grady, J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Partington, Oswald||Whittaker,RtHn.SirThomas P.|
|Jenkins, J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Philipps,Col.Ivor (S'thampton)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Jones,Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Pollard, Dr.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Jones, Lief (Appleby)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Jones, William(Carnarvonshire||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Price,Sir RobertJ. (Norfolk,E.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Radford, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Kearley, Jir Hudson E.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Kilbride, Denis||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Reddy, M.|
|Acland-Hood,RtHn.SirAlex.F.||Davies, David(MontgomeryCo.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Doughty, Sir George||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Armitage, R.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(CityLond.)||Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fletcher, J. S.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Baring,Capt.Hn.G.(Winchester||Forster, Henry William||Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Furness, Sir Christopher||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Gooch,Henry Cubitt(Peckham)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Belllairs, Carlyon||Guinness, W. E. (Bury, S. Edm.)||Renwick, George|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Roberts,S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Bright, J. A.||Houston Robert Paterson||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bull, Sir William James||Joynson-Hicks, William||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kennaway,Rt.Hon.Sir JohnH.||Starkey, John R.|
|Cave, George||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lockwood,Rt.Hn.Lt.-Col.A.R.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A.(Worc.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lupton, Arnold||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||M'Arthur, Charles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Viscount Castlereagh and Mr. Stanley Wilson.|
|Cox, Harold||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Craig,CaptainJames (Down,E.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
§ Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered to-morrow.