HC Deb 06 July 1908 vol 191 cc1261-343

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [22nd June], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Which Amendment was— To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.' "—(Mr. James Mason).

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

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

said that the supporters of the Bill, when discussing its merits in the country, had recently been very forward with charges of inhumanity against those who were opposing it, and they on that side of the House did propose not to allow such a charge to go forth without first instituting an inquiry into the history of the measure during the last fifteen years. He thought that would be a convenient opportunity for such an inquiry. Historically, the case put forward by the miners' representatives was first advanced from the point of view of the limitation of output, the idea being that by so limiting it they might succeed in raising wages. If they turned to the reports of earlier meetings at which the question was discussed by the representatives of the men, and looked also at the reports of the earlier debates in that House they would find that that point of view was emphasised. It was not without interest to remember in the same connection the finding of the Home Office Committee re- calling a very familiar fact to those who had studied the question, that— By combination the workers have secured a direct relation between the price of coal and their wages. Fortunately they were not left to unassisted conjecture as to the object of the miners' representatives in that House, because many of them had already published their views upon the subject and they were on record for anybody to read. He was interested in what had fallen from the hon. Member for North East Derbyshire who, in April last, speaking at Cresswell, made the following observations which threw no small light upon the secret history of the movement— With regard to the Eight Hours Bill, it would be the salvation of the coal trade of the country, and if it did not pass wages would very soon fall. Clearly that was the object with which the agitation was commenced. But then, finding that the consumers of the country were very dissatisfied with that point of view, and that it became increasingly unpopular in the constituencies, hon. Gentlemen advanced it less conspicously and fell back on the contention that in the interests of the unemployed it was desirable to limit the output. The hon. Member for North-East Manchester, when introducing his universal Eight Hours Bill earlier in the session, said there were trades in which hundreds of thousands were employed, the regulation of whose hours of labour would provide openings for the class of men who were now shut out from an opportunity of work altogether. But the economics of both those proposals having become the subject of general derision among those who were in any way qualified to speak upon the question, it became necessary for the miners' representatives in the House to fall back on a totally different contention, and, in despair, they began to ingeminate a cry of humanity. In connection with this historical resume fortunately he had not to ask the House to depend merely on his own accuracy. He commended to the indulgence of the House the remarks of a far higher authority, those of the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division, who, speaking on the Eight Hours Bill, in 1901, said— My hon. friend has said it is not the object of this measure to limit the output of coal, but, this was really the object with which the agitation began. At the Bradford Trade Union Congress in 1888 it was distinctly stated that it was to restrict the output of coal, which was about 20,000,000 tons more than was necessary, but when it was found that the British consumer would have something to say to any limitation of the output, then the promoters took another line, and said that if the hours of labour were reduced employment would be found for a greater number. When the weakness of that was pointed out, the promoters fell back on a third line, that the Bill would increase the safety of the miners.' There was one further observation of a prefatory character he made about the position which the Labour Party and the miners' representatives in the House had taken up in regard to the eight hours question. From the beginning to the end their attitude from the economic point of view, and indeed their competence to understand the elements of the problem had been absolutely discredited by the Report of the Committee recently appointed by the Home Secretary. The Chairman of that Committee made some observations to the House during the earlier portion of that debate, when he said— An eight hours law such as that which would have been enacted by the Eight Hours Bills which have formerly been submitted to the House would have produced a shortage of coal which would have caused insufferable public inconvenience and possibly disastrous consequences to the trade of the country. That was the Bill which hon. Members below the gangway and miners' representatives in the House had been insistently and vehemently pressing on the attention of the country and Parliament for the last twenty years, and they now had the authority of a Committee to the effect that if those proposals had been carried into law the result would have been insufferable public inconvenience, and possibly disaster to the trade of the country. In addition to that the Labour Party had not found it convenient to go before the Committee and give evidence in support of their views. They had found it easier to make rhetorical appeals to sentiment in the House, than to present reasoned arguments and undergo cross examination before a competent tribunal. The only pretext put forward on behalf of the Labour Party for not doing what other parties had been content to do throughout our long Parlia- mentary history was that there had already been enough discussion of the measure and that more consideration of it was unnecessary. It might, perhaps, be a sufficient answer to that objection to quote a statement made by the Home Secretary in a recent debate to the effect that— Ever since 1890 the economic side of the question has never been considered by any neutral authority. They were told by the representatives of the miners that miners throughout the country all wanted the Bill, and one hon. Gentleman, representing, he believed, a Welsh constituency, in the course of the debate the other night, said that that was a sufficient reason for passing it. He could not admit that premiss, and he would dispute still more warmly the conclusion; and on this point he would like to quote the finding of the Committee to the effect that— It is quite conceivable that a situation might be created by an enhanced price of coal under eight hours in which the economic interests of the men might be opposed to the economic interests of the country. When they were told that the miners of the country were in favour of it, it became extremely important to ask what it was of which they were in favour, and upon what proposition it was there had been that expression of unanimity on which so much reliance was placed. He invited the attention of the House to a somewhat instructive lesson as to the view of the men. Those who spoke for them in that House commonly said that by working harder, by having fewer holidays, and by taking fewer short days, production would not be appreciably reduced. That was the argument laid before the House and judiciously combined with the humanitarian argument. But the argument used before the men was of a totally different character. The question they were asked and which they had answered was as far apart as the Poles from the House of Commons contention. Here again he asked the House to accept not his evidence but that of a conspicuous advocate of the Eight Hours' Bill. Briefly summarised, the question put to the men was: "Are you in favour of obtaining the same wages for shorter hours of work?" That was the only question the hon. Member asked the miners, and was it surprising that whenever and wherever it had been asked of the men it has been answered affirmatively? The hon. Member for the Ince Division put this question before his constituents. Speaking on 12th April, he said— The actual hewing price paid in forty-eight pits in South-West Lancashire was 2s. 9d. per ton. If the Bill became law, the hours worked would be reduced by one-eighth or one-ninth, and they would have to put one-eighth oil the hewing price. They would get such an amount per ton as would compensate the men for the limitation of hours. One-eighth upon 2s. 9d. gave them about 4d. per ton, and adding 2d. more for other labour affected, 6d. per ton would completely clear all the increased cost to employers. Was it astonishing that at the conclusion of such a speech they should get an unanimous vote in favour of the Bill now before the House? Was it surprising that manual labourers should answer "yes" when asked whether they were in favour of working fewer hours for the same wages? The admission made by the hon. Gentleman that the increased price would be 6d. was not without interest, because clearly no allowance was made for the increase of price on account of plant and machinery turning out less coal. He did not think it would be seriously disputed that it was an under estimate. On that point they had the finding of the Committee which had not been challenged and which the Home Secretary had in fact accepted. Would the representatives of the miners deal with that point, not so much from a rhetorical as from an argumentative point of view? The Committee had found that the adoption of the eight hours day, whether sudden or gradual, would result in a period of embarrassment and loss to the country at large. It would reduce the average working hours by 10.27 per cent., and increase the cost by from 1s. 6d. to 2s. per ton. It was extremely important that the Committee should recollect in this connection that that variation by no means represented the variation which would follow in the market price. Certain qualifications were put forward by the Committee which, to some extent, it was suggested would affect the figure put forward by the witness called on behalf of the mine-owners. The first modification suggested was the probable effect of new plant and machinery to be introduced by the mine-owners. Was it contemplated that the new plant and machinery was to be introduced upon commercial principles or not? Was it suggested that that new plant and machinery would pay or would it not pay? If it was considered that it would pay he suggested to the Home Secretary that the mine-owners of the country, who had had generations of experience and who had devoted their minds to the problem of how to make the largest profit that could be made, were better judges whether or not new plant or machinery could be introduced with success than a number of Socialist amateurs, who had never had any responsibility at all for the conduct of mines, or any experience of the standing charges, of the economic consequences of excessive capital outlay. If they were not to pay what inference was to be drawn? If new machinery and plant were to be introduced which would not pay, obviously the price of coal would have to be raised so as to cover the loss on that plant and machinery. It was suggested as a second qualification that if this Eight Hours Bill was introduced the men would work very much harder, that their productivity during the limited period would be greater than during the longer hours. Fortunately, he could give an authority upon this point who was entitled to speak with weight. He referred to the hon. Member for the Wansbeck division of Northumberland. The hon. Member contemplated that very argument that productivity would increase if the number of hours were reduced. Speaking in that House in 1901 he said— They intend to keep up the production of coal by increasing the intensity of labour; but is the rush and the hurry thus created not likely to increase the risk of the miner? The increased intensity of labour is the very thing which causes a number of the accidents that do happen. If to that observation, put forward with very great weight by the hon. Member for the Wansbeck division, was added the argument so obvious in the case of old men, it must be conceded that the intensity of labour was likely to produce more accidents, and, therefore, too much importance or effect could not be given to the second qualification. The third suggestion was that the men would work on double shifts. He invited the Labour Party specifically to enlighten the House as to their attitude with regard to a double shift. Was their view that the men were prepared to agree to a double shift in order to lessen the shortage of production which would be caused by this Art? Up to the present no answer had been given to that question at all Fortunately, the House was not left without evidence on that point because the South Wales Miners Federation published a list of their objects and this was one of them— To endeavour to secure by legislation a reduction of the hours of labour in mines to eight hours from bank to bank, and oppose the system of double shifts. It would be very interesting to discover from the Home Secretary, or from those responsible for the very able Report of the Committee in view of the shortage which would otherwise be produced, whether they had taken into consideration the fact that up to the present no responsible representatives of the miners in that House had ever said that they would consent to the system of double shifts. If those three qualifications had no real value they were left face to face with the reduction stated by the Committee and assented to by the Home Secretary; that was to say, the loss of production would be 25,783,000 tons calculated on the output of 1906 and the reduction in the hours of all classes underground will be 10.27 per cent. The question which he ventured to ask was why were his constituents to pay a greatly increased price for their coal—and many of his constituents themselves worked ten, twelve, and even fourteen hours a day—[Cries of "Shame."]—it might be a shame but he was dealing with facts. As he had stated many of his own constituents worked ten, twelve, or even fourteen hours a day, and would anyone inform the House why people in that position, with the slenderest possible margin left after making provision for the necessities of life, should pay a higher price for their coal in order to allow a class, who were admittedly remunerated above, and more healthy than any other class of manual labour, to have an eight hours working day. He noticed that a Member of the Labour Party who was going to vote for this Bill made a speech at the Church Congress in which he dealt with the state of poverty at the present time. He said— Out of a population in these islands of 68,000,000, 20,000,000 were always poor 12,000,000 were always on the verge of starvation, and 1,000,000 were always unemployed. He invited the hon. Member to say why those 20,000,000 people who were always poor and those 12,000,000 people who were always on the verge of starvation, and the 1,000,000 people who were always unemployed were to pay more for their coal in order that the coal miners might enjoy shorter hours. At this point the supporters of the Bill took refuge in declamation and humanity. When they came to the humanity argument they found that the whole case, as far as the health of and danger to the colliers were concerned, had been shattered and destroyed by the Report of the Committee. [Cries of "No, no."] Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway questioned that statement, but up to the present none of them had dared to question it by reasoned arguments in debate. What did the Committee say on that point? They said— While the risk of fatal accident is much greater than among males generally, the risk of death by disease is much lower, their mortality being 10.6 less than that of all occupied males and 23.2 less than that of all males. So that as far as the general health statistics which had been quoted were concerned no case whatever had been made out for any special treatment of miners. Now they came to the accident statistics, and what was the case of the Government? The accident statistics were lower than those of sailors, for whom no one proposed to legislate. The Government had no case at all, because on their own showing if eight hours was introduced the men were going to work holidays and short days, so that the total time exposure to accident would hardly be reduced at all. They had had some figures of great assistance in discussing this question of the health and danger to miners supplied by the hon. Member for the Ince Division in the course of the late debate. The Home Secretary based certain statistics upon he mortality or accidents to men above the age of sixty-five years, but the hon. Member for the Ince Division gave the right hon. Gentleman and the House some interesting figures which, at the moment, were not before the right hon. Gentleman, and which perhaps the House would like to have placed again before it as to the number of men above the age of sixty-five years who were employed in mines. The hon. Member for Ince, who he was sure was very accurate in his figures, stated that one in seventeen of the men employed in the mines to-day was above the age of sixty-five. He further stated that the total number of men working underground at the present time was 757,887. So that they arrived at the fact, taking 1 in 17 as the proportion, that there were 44,581 men above the age of sixty-five who were at present working underground as hewers in the mines. [Cries of "No."] That was how the figures worked out. It was useless to cry "No": the calculation spoke for itself. The number above ground on the same calculation was 177,081, and taking 1 in 17 again that gave a total of 10,416. So that the total number of men at the present time above the age of sixty-five employed in mines was no less than 54,997. That was really a very respectable total for a trade which was considered to be so unhealthy. Was there a single other manual occupation that could show results like these? It was for those engaged in this occupation that the very poor of these Islands were asked to make the sacrifices which were put forward in this Bill on the special ground of their health and safety. The right hon. Gentleman attempted to curdle the blood of the House—


No, no.


said he would assume that that was not his object, although it seemed to be the effect of his words. He did not know whether the mine which the Home Secretary gave as an illustration was that in which the right hon. Gentleman himself was either proprietor or part proprietor. The right hon. Gentleman said, in giving his own experience— I know what it is in the working faces when there is not a direct current of air, when the air is stagnant and grows foul. If the right hon. Gentleman knew that that was the case, if he actually came across working faces where the air was foul and stagnant because there was no direct current of air, it was his duty to report himself as a mine-owner to himself, the Home Secretary, for having broken Rule No. 1 of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, which provided penalties for this very case. It was quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman's amateur judgment was quite deceived by conditions which were very normal. Now he wished to add a word or two upon the amazing postponement of the operations of this beneficent measure for five years. Here was a Bill commended with great eloquence upon humanitarian grounds which was alleged to be necessary to preserve the safety of miners, and yet for some unaccountable reason such was the callousness and inhumanity of the Government that these enormous advantages to the mining population were to be withheld for five years. What could the explanation be in regard to this delay? Could it be that the Government were now alive to the extreme improbability that they would be sitting where they were in five years, and that they preferred that this disagreeable issue should be contested, when it was contested, not by themselves, but by their successors? It was perfectly clear that one result of introducing this five years provision was that Parliament deliberately excluded itself from the teachings of five years experience which were to follow upon what was admitted to be an experiment in the Bill in a provisional shape. Had any reason been advanced why Parliament should cut itself adrift from the teachings of the next five years? None except the importance of avoiding momentary trouble. The Prime Minister, in discussing this question, must have apostrophised his unwarlike colleague— Give peace in our time, because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou. They were told that they could derive no useful lesson from the reception which this Bill was receiving at bye-elections. He noticed that those who represented the miners in this respect explained that the constituencies had been deceived at recent bye-elections by mercenary statements made by the representatives of the mine-owners. That explanation suggested some curious and interesting reflections upon the subject of government by democracy. He supposed the Labour Party was the most democratic Party, and it had always been a source of surprise to him that when the democracy had come to a decision which was hostile to their self-appointed exponents the democracy had always been deceived. If it was on the Licensing Bill that an adverse decision had been come to, the people of this country were the credulous dupes of an odious trade. If, on the other hand, an adverse decision was come to with reference to the question of an eight-hour day, then they had been misled and deceived by the statements made by the hired minions of the mine-owners. If hon. Members below the gangway provided an accurate reflex of the voice of the democracy, and had tongues in their mouths, could they not go to the constituencies and controvert those grave misstatements instead of whining about them elsewhere? [AN HON. MEMBER: Which they did do in Manchester.] The hon. Gentleman said they did do it in Manchester. He could not congratulate them on the success of their effort. He could not recollect whether the Socialist candidate obtained a hundred votes. For himself, he firmly believed that the people of this country had plainly grasped the general principle of this privilege-creating measure. He had no hesitation whatever in the vote he would give on the Second Reading, and fortified himself in giving that vote by an admirable observation which was made by the hon. Member for Mid-Durham, whose experience in these matters was immeasurably greater than that of the hon. Members who declaimed from the I abour benches. The hon. Member addressing his fellow-workmen said— You have power in your own hands, and to come to Parliament begging and beseeching is derogatory to our character as men'


The hon. and learned Member who has just sat down has declared that we on this side of the House are disposed to charge him and his friends with inhumanity. For my part I have no desire to make any such charge against them, but I do most specifically charge him and his friends with the grossest political inconsistency in opposing the present Miners' Eight-Hours Bill. Year after year in this House measures, precisely the same in principle, and, as the hon. and learned Member truly said, more drastic in their details, have been proposed, and when these have been before Parliament, never on any occasion has any responsible Leader of hon. Members opposite raised his voice in protest against such a Bill. While the right hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, who spoke against this Bill at a previous stage of the discussion, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, year after year, and decade after decade, kept repressed within their bosoms the fires of indignation which are now allowed to blaze forth, others of their colleagues were active in this House and the country advocating this very Bill, which we are now told is disastrous to the liberty of the subject and most injurious to the commercial prosperity of the country. If I am obliged to mention the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, I do so in no degree in order to attack him, for his absence from this House under circumstances which we all deplore, must necessarily close our lips. But it is necessary to this argument to say that in 1894, shortly before an important general election, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, declared himself in a speech at Birmingham strongly in favour of what he called an experimental eight-hours day in the mining industry. Following that speech, leaflets and posters were issued by the million all over the country, containing what was called Mr. Chamberlain's Programme. I have here an extract from one of these. There were eight points in that programme, one of which is an Eight Hours Bill for the mining industry. While the right hon. Gentleman was carrying on an active propaganda on these lines—I remember posters were to be seen on every hoarding containing this very programme, and on the strength of it I believe thousands and tens of thousands of votes were won for hon. Members opposite—while he was carrying on this propaganda, endorsed as it was by Lord Salisbury, the then Leader of the Conservative Party, not one of his colleagues disavowed that policy, and from that day to this I do not think a single Leader of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite has raised a word of protest against the Miners' Eight Hours Bill. I cannot understand how right hon. Gentlemen opposite can reconcile their attitude to day with their attitude in previous years, and we are entitled to ask any right hon. Member on the opposite side who takes part in the debate this specific question: How can they venture to denounce not merely the details, not merely the method and extent of the application of this Bill, but the very purpose and principle of the Bill itself, which their distinguished colleagues have actively advocated in the country?

The speech of the hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool, like most of the other speeches made against the Bill, turned out so much on the question of principle as on the question of its actual effect. Will the effect of this Bill in practice be to impose a heavy or appreciable burden on the poorer classes of the country and upon the industries of the country? I fully admit, and my right hon. friend the Home Secretary has admitted again and again, that if it were to cause the price of coal to rise permanently 1s. 6d. or 2s. per ton, or any sum approaching that, the effect would be most injurious on the industries of the country, and even a stronger case would have to be made out for the Bill than has yet been made out. But the question of the effect is to be solved not by the indignant rhetoric of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, but by careful economic inquiry, and we are not prepared to accept as necessarily accurate the estimates of cost given by the coal-owners themselves. The hon. and learned Member has said that the estimates which have been made by experts that there would be a permanent increase in the price of coal of 1s. 6d. to 2s. per ton have not been seriously challenged. These statements have been challenged and disputed again and again, and if we leave the statements made by deputations, and by hon. Members in speeches in the House of Commons, and turn to statements made at bye-elections, in which the hon. and learned Member takes such an interest, we shall find even more grossly exaggerated statements than those which have been quoted. I have here a leaflet which was issued at the Pudsey bye-election. [OPPOSITION cheers.] I do not know whether hon. Members will cheer the statement that it contains. The leaflet says that the consequence of this Bill will be an increase in the price of coal, not temporarily, but always, of 5s per ton, or 3d. per cwt. and that every vote for the Liberal candidate is a vote for dearer coal. That is what the hon. and learned Member calls the people of this country firmly grasping the principle of this measure. I think there is little glory and little credit in winning bye-elections by methods of this kind.

Whenever any measure for the regulation of labour and the improvement of the industrial conditions of the people has been proposed, without exception it has been denounced by those who are interested parties on the other side as likely to impose burdens infinitely greater than have actually been caused. I came across the other day an ancient precedent, but it is so apt that I cannot refrain from quoting it to the House. It was the case of one of the early Factory Bills in 1830, proposed for the limitation of the hours of labour of children of six years of age and upwards, who were in those days working in textile mills thirteen to sixteen hours a day, under the lash of the overseer. A petition was presented to this House from the textile employers in one part of Yorkshire declaring in precisely the same language as is used to-day, that no one more than themselves desired to benefit all classes of work-people, but that if the hours of these children were reduced as proposed it would be utterly impossible for them to make profits, that Parliament must remember the continual pressure of foreign competition, and that nothing could be more pernicious then legislation interfering with the methods of industry and the processes of trade. That is an old precedent. I come down to a more recent one, and one which touches this very trade, and the Mining Association which is so active in putting before the country those exaggerated statements. I turn to a deputation which was received by the late Lord Salisbury, accompanied by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, and Sir Matthew White Ridley. It consisted of the leaders of the coal-owners of the country and was in opposition to the Workmen's Compensation Bill of 1897. The president of the Mining Association on that occasion said that that Bill would react on the number men employed, that general disaster would follow the passage of the Bill, and that the amount of liability ought to be reduced. He further said that he feared the price of coal would be affected, and that the burden imposed by the Bill would amount to 2d. to 3d. per ton. Those right hon. Gentlemen opposite paid not the slightest attention to them, or to those estimates. They went on with the Bill as it stood. They knew the statements were exaggerated for the purposes of political propaganda, and the result proved that that was the case. After some years the Home Secretary appointed a Departmental Committee with a view to amending legislation on the same subject, and then it was found, from the evidence of the coal-owners, that the actual cost of the Workmen's Compensation Act had amounted not to 2d. or 3d., but to just over ½d. per ton. The Mining Association on that occasion was wrong, no less than 80 per cent. in their estimate. I think there is reason to believe that the wrongness on this occasion will be an even higher percentage. The Departmental Committee presided over by the hon. Member for Gloucester has been praised, and rightly praised, by both sides of the House. That Committee carefully considered the estimates laid before them by the mine-owners, including this 1s. 6d. or 2s. increase in the price to which hon. Members have referred, and the Committee unanimously declared that that estimate could not be in any way accepted and that it was far beyond the mark. I do not propose to-day to enter into the details of the economic aspect of this question. My right hon. friend the Home Secretary has done so effectively. My hon. friend the Member for Gloucester also dealt with it very fully, and I believe the President of the Board of Trade will refer to it again. I would only mention two facts in this connection. One is a precedent which comes from another country, Austria, where the hours of labour in mines have been reduced by law. In 1902 the hours were reduced from twelve, bank to bank, with ten actually spent in work, to nine, bank to bank. What occurred in the first year was an increase in the output per man per shift of 3.9 per cent., and in the second year of 6.6. The reduction of the hours from twelve to nine in Austria has been followed by an actual increase in the product of the mineral, so that this one illustration is enough to show that we cannot assume that a decrease in hours necessarily means a decrease in the output. There is another point to which I wish to direct the attention of the House. It is this. We had from the hon. Member for Gloucester, who was the chairman of the Departmental Committee, at an early stage of the debate, a most judicious, thoughtful, and convincing speech, which I am sure carried weight in all quarters of the House. The hon. Member who spoke last accepts my hon. friend as authoritative when he speaks in censure of the terms of the Bills proposed by the mining Members, but he ceases, I suppose, to regard him as authoritative when he supports the Second Reading of the Bill. The hon. Member for Gloucester put these two questions. He said: "Will this Bill lead to a temporary shortage which, although small in amount, would have the effect of raising the price of coal for a time to an exorbitant figure?" and, secondly, "Would it lead to a permanent ant smaller rise in the price of coal?" My hon. friend, speaking not only with the knowledge that he has personally of the trade but with the further knowledge gained as chairman of the Committee, answered both these questions in the negative. He said that the Bill, as proposed to be amended by the Government, and if further amended in two particulars, would not have that effect. Now these two particulars in no way touch the substance or essence of the Bill. My hon. friend would like to see the Bill come into full operation, as we propose it should come into operation, at the end of five years, but that instead of an eight-hours day being established in five years in two steps, he desired it should be established in three. Secondly, he proposed that at the end of five years there should be not an eight hours day plus one winding, but a seven and a half hours day plus two windings. There is no difference in substance; there is only a slight difference in arrangement and administration. But with these two alterations in the Bill, which, of course, will receive due consideration when the Bill is in Committee, my hon. friend declared, speaking with the authority which the House is ready to recognise, that this Bill would in his judgment cause neither a sudden and temporary exorbitant rise in the price of coal nor a permanent small rise in that price. With that expression of opinion, I think hon. Members may, with an easy mind, as we members of the Government can do, support the Second Reading of the Bill.

The hon. Member for the Walton Division asked: "Why should miners in particular have the benefit of this legislation?" That is a question which has been asked over and over again in the course of these debates. "Why should miners have a preference over all other trades in the country whose work is as burdensome, and many of whom work as long hours as miners; why should this one industry be placed in this privileged position?" Well, there are two reasons. The first is that if you take into account the severity of the labour which is performed by the miners; if you take into account the extreme danger of their occupation, and the great discomfort of working day after day and year after year for one's whole working life below ground, out of the sunlight, away from the light of day, there is no trade in the whole country which for a moment stands in a similar position or can make a claim in an equal degree for a fuller measure of leisure for the men engaged in it. The second reason is that for twenty years this proposal has been made by the miners. For twenty years it has been discussed again and again in Parliament, and has, on some occasions, been unanimously endorsed by the House of Commons. We hold that, whatever may be the case for any other trade, the time is fully ripe for this measure to pass into law. When nearly 1,000,000 men engaged in an industry ask for such legislation for the benefit of men who are overworked in the class to which they belong, it needs stronger arguments against the Bill than have been offered by hon. Gentlemen opposite before Parliament would be entitled to reject it. There is another argument in favour of the Bill, although I do not attach so great importance to it as those that I have just stated. This movement for an eight-hours day in the mines is not merely a national movement; it is an international movement. Already the hours of labour in mines in Germany and the United States of America are shorter than they are here. Already France has legislated with the view of securing an eight-hours day for miners, although the measure on her Statute-book does not go as far as this Bill. An amending Bill has, however, now been introduced. Already Belgium is treading along the same path. There was a time when England led the whole world in industrial legislation. It was one of the proudest boasts of our Parliament that it was so. But during the ten years of reaction between 1895 and 1905 in that, as in many other things, we have fallen into arrear. But I am sure the House will agree that it ought not to be said that it is England which is holding back the other countries in the world, that it is long hours here, unfair competition from England, which prevent the miners of those countries from gaining the boons which they ask for.

And lastly, I put this point, and I ask for it the most earnest consideration of the House. What is the alternative to this Bill? If this Bill is rejected by hon. Members opposite, as they wish it to be rejected, what will be the consequences? We are told: "Here is an organised trade, with a strong trade union, well able to look after itself. Why should Parliament interfere? If the men want an eight-hours day why not allow them to secure it by their own efforts?" The hon. Member for Rhondda Valley told us that in South Wales, where the miners work ten to eleven hours all the year round, three times they had been to the employers and asked them to agree with the miners for a shorter working day, and that that appeal had been three times rejected. Well, if this Bill is not to be passed, and if the miners are to be left to their own devices and to the strength of their own organisation, it means a coal strike, and nothing else. The right hon. Member for St. George's clearly suggested that in a speech the other day. He told us that the laws in restraint of competition had been repealed, that the Trade Disputes Act had been passed. What more do you want? Why not take advantage of that, he suggested. I do not think that that is an eventuality which the House will contemplate with any degree of equanimity. All the suffering of women and children involved by a gigantic strike; all the poverty imposed on respectable families of working men plunged into debt; all the dislocation of trade; all the indirect effect on other industries as well as on their own industry; and in the end the men, perhaps, starved into submission—and the position to remain as it was before: that, let it be understood, is the policy suggested by the Opposition. The policy of the Government is this Bill.

MR. BECK (Cambridgeshire, Wisbech)

desired to say only a few words on this measure. In the first place, he frankly confessed that he knew nothing about the coal industry, but he had listened with great and anxious care to the debate that day, and on the occasion when the Bill was last before the House, and moreover had read a considerable amount of matter on the subject, and he had come to the conclusion, with great reluctance, that the promoters of the Bill had been defeated in argument by those who were opposed to it. He could not be expected to admit that there was, either on the Ministerial benches or on those below the gangway opposite, a lack of ability, and he could not help thinking therefore that it was the case for the Bill which was weak. They had had speeches describing the hard case of the miners and the long hours they worked. He had the honour to represent an agricultural constituency, and he thought of the hours worked by those who returned him to Parliament, and of the misery caused by the temporary rise in the price of fuel last winter; and it seemed his duty to oppose, with the greatest reluctance, on behalf of his constituents the Bill now before the House. There was one phrase used by the hon. Member for Ince in the very interesting speech which he made on the last occasion which particularly struck him. He said that the miners—the husbands, fathers, and brothers—had a right to a larger share of home life than they enjoyed at present, and that those dependent upon them had a right to a greater share of their society. He questioned whether these men did not get a far greater share of home society than ninety-nine out of every 100 of his constituents. He questioned whether it was right to penalise the overwhelming majority of the workers of the country for the sake of a comparatively small part of the population, and whether it was not a fact that a great majority of the workers would be only too happy to exchange conditions with those employed in the great coal-mining trade of the country. He would not have intervened in the debate if he had not decided after much thought to vote against the Government. As he had said, he knew nothing of the trade and was merely there to listen to the debate and to try and understand all about this complicated measure; and it seemed to him that the arguments against the Bill were practically overwhelming, that they had not been adequately met, and that that proved conclusively that there was no possibility of meeting them. As regarded the charge of political inconsistency levelled against the Members of the Opposition by the hon. Member who had just sat down, it was one of the advantages of being a new Member that one had no political history, and that therefore his withers were entirely unwrung. Although consistency was a very noble virtue it was a very doubtful whether in politics it was a virtue at all. The Report of the Commission very considerably altered the argument for the Bill. Not many of those who voted on a Friday afternoon and on private Members' nights had any but a very hazy knowledge of the subject under discussion. He, at any rate would be exceedingly sorry that he should be forced for the rest of his life to support many things which he had voted for in a nebulous frame of mind. He had already said that he knew nothing practically about the coal industry, but he had pondered very long on the subject of the Bill, and with great reluctance he should be bound, as a matter of principle, to vote against it.

MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

said the Bill had met with a degree of opposition which, apart from licensing measures, was unparalleled in his experience of Parliamentary Bills. Most of the Members in the House had received that morning a document from the Coal Consumers' League. At one time he thought of asking Mr. Speaker's opinion as to whether or not it did not come very near being an attempt to intimidate Members of the House of Commons. He would read, if he was in order, one paragraph from that document bearing on the statement which he had just made. The third paragraph read thus— A recent Resolution passed at the Emergency Conference of the Associated Chambers of Commerce called upon the members of the commercial community to rise above political considerations and defend the country's commerce, and to this end to offer to the Government during the whole of the stages of this Bill relentless opposition, both in the House of Commons and in the country That of course, was perfectly allowable, but then the document went on to say this— This call is being magnificently answered, and the Government, if they persist in this measure, will learn during the next few weeks that there is pitted against them the solid ranks of the manufacturers of the kingdom, who have sunk their polities in the determination to protect their trades. He had a much higher appreciation of the intelligence of the commerical community of this country than to believe that any of them had any apprehension as to his trade being in danger through the passing of this Bill, or any Bill of the kind. A statement of that kind was merely a piece of political bluff used for the purpose off rightening and intimidating timid Members of the House against voting for the Bill. He did not intend to recapitulate the arguments so often used with regard to the conditions of the miners. One argument that had been urged before in the course of the debate was that a mine was not exactly a health resort, and he wished to make two points upon that subject. They were told that the death-rate among miners was low, but to those of them who had had the misfortune to be born and reared in colliery villages and who had had to work in the pits, the explanation was obvious. People of weak health left mining and went to work in other occupations above ground; consequently those who remained and went into the mines were the healthiest members of the mining community. That in itself had a considerable effect in reducing the death rate of miners. Then with regard to the 54,997 persons employed underground who were over fifty years of age, to whom the hon. Member for Liverpool, who used the figures, referred, they were not hewers, they were not the actual, workmen who were producing the coal, and a little more knowledge of this subject would have convinced the hon. Member that the bulk of these men were managers, officers, and others in similar positions—officials generally—and that so far as the actual working miner was concerned, the actual hewer, his statement was far from true. A great deal had been made of the Report of the Committee which inquired into this measure, and upon whose Report this Bill was based. The hon. Member for Liverpool, like others, quoted certain statements from that Report. It was needless to say that they quoted statements which best supported their view of the case. But the most extraordinary thing was that the statements quoted were not taken from the Report itself, but were taken from the reasons of the Committee which culminated in the Report. If hon. Members turned to the Report they would find that at the present time the average week at present worked was a week of forty-three hours and thirteen minutes, which spread over six days gave an average of seven hours and a quarter a day for each day of the week. The Committee said— After analysis and inquiry we believe that a certain portion of the time now lost could be utilised under a legally restricted day. The point of that statement was that the average time now being worked in collieries, partly through the arrangement as to stop days and partly through broken days from causes over which the colliery companies had no control, was largely under the eight hours proposed by the Bill. If that were so, taking the country as a whole, there would be no reduction of output under the Bill, and as a consequence no increase in the price of coal. That seemed obvious.

MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

The miners do not work on Saturday.


said they did hot require to work on Saturday. Let them take Scotland. At the present time, during the past few months, twenty collieries had been closed down altogether owing to the falling off of the demand. In all the districts in Scotland the time worked was under four days a week. The men were perfectly willing to work five and a half days a week, eleven days a fortnight, if there was a demand for them to do so. His contention was that under the Bill, instead of working three and a half days of nine hours each per week, they would have to work four or five days if the demand was the same under the eight-hours day of the Bill. But he would take again the Report of the Committee as meeting the point just raised by the hon. Member opposite: this was what the Committee said— The hours of labour in mines at present vary from six and a half in Durham to ten hours in Monmouthshire. He asked the hon. Member's attention to this because it seemed to him that this bore upon the point he had just raised. The Report went on to say— After deducting stop days and short days the average time worked is forty-nine hours and fifty-three minutes a week. What this Bill proposed to do was to strike off the one hour and fifty-three minutes a week, and that being so he repeated that the apprehensions which had been raised as to the terrible effects of this Bill would be absolutely groundless.


If I may interrupt the hon. Gentleman for a moment, I should like to remark that the Nottingham Miners' Association has passed a Resolution that no pit shall work on a Saturday, and no pit has worked in that district on a Saturday for many years.


said he quite understood, but he was afraid that the hon. Member had not been listening to what he had been reading. The Committee said that after deducting stop days and short days the average time worked was forty-nine hours and fifty-three minutes, and that being so all that this Bill proposed to do was to strike off one hour and fifty-three minutes a week. He had already pointed out that with the broken time now suffered the actual output under the Bill would not be reduced, because the miners then would work for five days at eight hours instead of four days at ten hours each, as in the case of Monmouthshire. He came now to the question of cost; that was the crux of the debate. The great question was whether the Bill would increase the cost of production. Obviously if it did not decrease the output it would not increase the cost of production, and their argument was that in the working of the Bill it would not increase the cost except in certain districts. It would do so, of course, so far as South Wales was concerned, but not in other cases. Let them assume that there would be a slight increase of cost under the Bill owing to the reduction of two hours per week. The profits now being made in the coal trade were more than amply sufficient to meet the increase in the cost. He had in his hand a return from the balance sheets of some twenty of the leading colliery companies of Great Britain. He would not trouble the House by reading the whole list, but he would like to give figures showing the premium at which the shares of these companies were now being sold in the market, the purchase of shares being a very fair indication of the earning power of the colliery—the dividend earning power. He had made a selection from all parts, England, Scotland, and Wales. The shares of the Ashley Tidsley Colliery Company were selling at a premium of 205 per cent. The North Navigation Colliery, Limited, that was a Welsh concern, their preference shares were selling at 105 per cent. The Bear Pit Colliery Company, Limited, they were selling at 118¾ per cent. The Colliery Company shares were selling at 335 per cent. The Fife Colliery Company, Limited—that was a colliery working in a district in which the eight-hour day had been in operation for thirty years—were selling their shares at a premium of 500 per cent. Another coal and iron company was 175 per cent., and Wilson Clyde Coal Company, Scotland, was 321 per cent. He submitted that assuming there would be a slight increase in the cost of the production of coal owing to the operation of this Bill, the enormous profits which were now being made by these concerns, and which had been continuously earned for the past twelve or fourteen years, could be taxed to meet the extra cost without calling upon the consumer to pay one single farthing extra. Perhaps that could best be shown if he took a concrete, case. He had compiled from nine collieries in Durham, where the working day of the hewer was six and a half hours, figures taken from their own balance sheets for the year 1906. The average selling price of coal in Durham for that year was 6s. 5d. per ton at the pit top. The profits from these collieries declared upon them after providing for depreciation, sinking fund, mineral royalties and other charges, were £753,000, and the output was just over 14,000,000 tons. The number of persons employed was 37,617. The average profit returned from these collieries worked out at just a trifle over 1s. per ton. The profit per miner employed in those collieries was £20 0s. 4d. per annum. The dividends paid worked out at an average of £20 0s. 4d. a year for each man and boy employed in the nine collieries. Therefore, he submitted that even assuming that this Bill would increase the cost of production there was a elear and ample margin to draw upon, without adding one penny either to the cost of the coal of the labourer, of the poor in our big cities, or for our manufacturers.


The price of coal is much too high now.


Exactly so. Lest it should be said that the figures were abnormal and peculiar to one year he wished to quote two sets of figures from the Newcastle Chronicle of 22nd June, 1908, ten days ago. They gave first of all the profits of a Welsh colliery company. They did not give the name. It appeared in the commercial column of the Newcastle Chronicle, and might be taken as genuine. In 1904–5 the dividends on that colliery, paid by that colliery company, amounted to £74,000; in 1906, £89,000; in 1907, £128,000; in 1908, £183,000. That was a progressive increase each year for this Welsh coal company. Now he came to a North Country coal company, the figures being taken from the same source. In 1904–5 the profits of the North Country coal company were £88,000; the name in this case, as in the other, was not given. The profits in 1906, were £161,000 in 1908, £266,000.


Has the hon. Gentleman got the figures for 1890?


said he was giving the figures up to last year; 1890 was a long way back. It was eighteen years ago; it was ancient history. He had said, in the course of his remarks, that the profit during the past twelve or fourteen years had been the best ever known in any similar period of the history of the coal trade of this country. And it should be remembered that these were the years in which ruin was predicted because of the Workmen's Compensation Bill and other measures of that kind. On that point might he quote an authority which he thought would still carry weight with hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Conservative side of the House. This measure had been before Parliament now for twenty-one years. In 1887 the late Stephen Williamson was requested by the Scottish miners to introduce an Amendment into the Mines Regulation Bill, then going through the House, in favour of eight hours a day for boys in Scotland. It was defeated. In the following year he wrote to the late Mr. Gladstone, and also to the late Lord Randolph Churchill, asking for their opinion and attitude towards the Eight Hours Bill of the Miners. In the course of a lengthy reply, Lord Randolph Churchill wrote as follows— As at present informed, I know nothing which will prevent me from voting for the principle of such a measure which, might be submitted to Parliament, provided that the persons who are qualified and competent to speak directly on behalf of the Labour interest were in its favour. That condition this year at least was fulfilled in regard to the Miners Eight-Hours Bill. His hon. friends opposite, who had so long and so ably conducted their opposition to this matter, were now no longer in opposition. They had, therefore, unanimity in regard to it. Lord Randolph Churchill went on to say: Eight hours labour, eight hours sleep, and eight hours mental and bodily recreation seem to me to be an ideal which a democratic legislature in its care for the welfare of the whole people may wisely and profitably endeavour to aim at. Then he further goes on to point out— If that tends to a diminution of the great mass of unemployed at present existing, as might be reasonably expected, and also probably to a diminution, though not necessarily a large diminution, of the profits of the capitalists, the latter disadvantage, if disadvantage it be, would be largely outweighed by the very great social and political advantages which would be secured by the establishment of a higher standard of comfort and contentment among our labouring population. That was their case to-day. It might be that the Bill would make slight inroads on the profits now being made on the coal mines. But against that loss to individuals they placed the welfare of nearly 1,000,000 of their workpeople. The hon. Gentleman on his right had said that industry was being crippled through the high price of coal. He agreed. They were not responsible for that. The profits in the North of England on coal getting had in some cases increased by over 100 per cent. The dividends had doubled, and there was a 5 per cent. increase on the wages of the men. There went to the men 5 per cent. increase, and to the coal owner 100 per cent. increase. These were the men who, out of their bloated dividends, were providing the money to mislead the country in regard to this measure. He had seen many statements in regard to Bills before that House, but nothing more absurdly ridiculous had been said about any measure than had been said about the present Bill at election time. He ventured to say that there was not a man on those benches or among those who were opposed to the Bill who would go into a mining constituency and repeat the statements he had made in that House. For twenty-one years the colliers of the country, by an overwhelming majority, and now with unanimity, had asked Parliament to pass this Bill. What was the alternative? The House might refuse to pass the Bill, or the House might so amend it as to make it impossible for the miners to accept it. What was the alternative? The miners were determined to have the eight hours day either by the peaceful methods of legislation, or by the more barbarous method of a strike. If a strike occurred it would not be merely Lancashire and Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, or Scotland and Wales, which would strike, but it would be the whole country, and every colliery in Great Britain would come to a stop until the eight hours day had been won. Surely the hon. Gentlemen who feared the effect of this measure upon trade, could hardly contemplate a crisis of that kind with equanimity. Then as to the argument about the poor. Last winter when there was a slight spell of cold in this city of London, these men who controlled the markets doubled the price of coal to the poor in order to enhance their own ungodly profits. Knowing what the effect of the Bill would be, knowing it would bring a release from imprisonment in the mines to hundreds of thousands of sturdy, honest decent fellows, knowing also that our industries would not suffer, and that the price of coal would not be increased, they asked, the House to pass the Bill in such a form as would give this long desired reform and prevent the greatest industrial dispute of which this country had any record.

MR. OSMOND WILLIAMS (Merionethshire)

said he looked upon this subject from a different standpoint from that taken by his hon. friend behind him and the hon. Member who had spoken from above the gangway opposite. He agreed with the hon. Member for Leeds in the admirable speech which he made a fortnight ago. He was particularly interested in that passage of his remarks which showed how the moral, intellectual, and social condition of the younger generation of miners would be enormously improved by the passing of this Bill. He welcomed the Bill because he thought it was an attempt to define the relationship between capital and labour. In defining the relation between capital and labour they ought to begin by finding a way to make the labourer more comfortable and a more worthy citizen. When a man had been an excessive number of hours at labour he went out of it fagged, his brain too tired to think. It was a reasonable division that he should have eight hours work, eight hours sleep, and eight hours to do what he pleased. This question interested him not so much because of the long hours of the labourer, but because when he looked round Christendom, with its two or three hundred millions of inhabitants, he found that a hundred millions at least did not get enough to eat from January to December. In Great Britain, with its forty-four odd millions of inhabitants, he did not think it was any exaggeration to say that ten millions at least got up in the morning and went to bed at night, having spent the whole day without getting bread enough to live on. It was impossible for these people to make intellectual or moral progress. They had not, as Charles Lamb said, been brought up but dragged up. They had never had a fair chance. They had been starved, mind and body. He was perfectly certain the only way for them to meet the question was to look it squarely in the face, and, if they possibly could, extend the eight-hours movement to every other trade in Great Britain, Putting aside all theories, every true lover of progress would admit that the mainspring of progress was good wages. The shilling or half-crown which was left over after the bills were paid on Saturday right meant education, self-respect, and manhood. It filled a town with good sanitary dwellings, and erected public libraries. It ensured progress and guaranteed it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite said that the Bill would threaten property and ruin trade, but, in the words of Bancroft, the fears of one class were not the measure of the rights of another. There was something more sacred than property, trade, and vested interests. He believed in trusting the people. One of the characters in Disreali's book, "Vivian Grey," said: "The people are not always right." Another replied: "The people are seldom wrong." If they trusted the people, the good and the bad, the wise and the ignorant, they would not necessarily get perfect institutions, but they would get the only institutions possible as long as human nature was the basis and the only foundation upon which they built. After all, what was education? It was not Greek and Latin and the air-pump. Book-learning did not make 5 per cent. of the mass of commonsense that made the world, transacted its business, and trebled its power over nature. The ideal Scotsman was not a scholar. Two-thirds of the inventions which had made Great Britain the workshop of the world did not come from the colleges or schools of science, but had struggled up, forcing their way through all obstacles; our workshops and not our colleges had made Great Britain the mistress of the world. Selborne, perhaps the profoundest scholar of his time, said: "No man is wiser for his learning." He thought that was probably merely an echo of the old Saxon proverb, which said: "No fool is a perfect fool until he learns Latin."

MR. PABKES (Birmingham, Central)

said the speech they had just listened to was exceedingly eloquent, but it had very little to do with the Eight Hours Bill. It was rather inconsistent of the Home Secretary and the Under-Secretary when, on a previous occasion, they said that they on the Unionist side of the House did not take the trouble to oppose the provisions of the Bill. Now that they understood the position, and did take the trouble, they were taunted with their inconsistency, an inconsistency brought about entirely from the fact that the House of Commons and the public understood the question for the first time. After all, the question was not altogether what the front bench thought or what the back benches thought. The absolute question they had to consider was—would this Bill decrease the quantity of coal, would it increase the price, and was it approved by the commercial community? Anything that was for the benefit of the country as a whole, and of the miner in particular, he would not oppose, but the question was whether the Bill was for the benefit of the country as a whole. He very much doubted it, and he did not think at present, the case for the Bill had been made out. The hon. Member for Merthyr had indulged in a good deal of talk about strikes which was a little out of place in a discussion of that kind. He did not think it was right to put a pistol at the head of those who opposed the Bill and the public generally by saying that if the Bill was not accepted there would be a devastating strike throughout the country. He believed there was a quite sufficient spirit of arbitration and conciliation amongst the miners and the proprietors of coal mines to settle any question in dispute without going to the arbitrament of a strike. He did not anticipate for a moment if they could not settle it in that House that it was without the bounds of settlement outside in a conciliatory manner. The hon. Member for Merthyr had also spoken of the dividends of the mines. That was not the question. The question before them was not what dividends the coal proprietors got, but whether the Bill would increase the cost of coal to the public. If the hon. Member had given them the dividends during the last twenty-five years of those particular mines, there might have been a little more consistency. It was often the case in the coal as well as in the iron trade, of which he knew something, that they might go for years without getting any dividends whatever, and then there might be a few years of improvement. That was the case, he believed, with the coal mines. In the last four or five years they had had a boom, but how did they get on for years and years before that boom? Unless a boom came in some businesses in this country, it would be very bad for them. The Under-Secretary for the Home Department had mentioned sixty hours in the factories. Was that a consistent analogy to the forty-three hours a week in the mines? No. Any trade which only worked forty-three hours in the week could not be said to be in a state of over-work. They were indebted very much to the Home Secretary for appointing the Departmental Committee. The right hon. Gentleman himself had rather sneered at the late opposition which came in like a flood in February, because of the Coal Consumers' League, but the great trades of the country, deputations of which came to him so numer- ously that they had sometimes to be lumped together in order to get time for hearing, were not moved by the Coal Consumers' League in the slightest degree. He attended one or two of those deputations, and the one he referred to specially was concerned with the iron, steel, and allied trades. They were unanimous against the Bill, and were of opinion that it would greatly increase the cost of coal. They were opposed to the Bill not because they wanted to do any harm to the miners, but simply because they thought it would interfere with the trade of the country. He remembered men getting up and giving their evidence as to what they thought would be the effect, and one after another said it would interfere to this extent. The cost of the coal used in various processes of manufacture was from 4 to 16 tons per ton of finished iron. Suppose the increase was not 1s. or 1s. 6d., but 6d. or 9d. Would anyone say when they had multiplied by 4 or 16 what the increase would be on the cost of manufacture? These manufacturers had not only to compete with the home producers, but also with an increasingly severe competition from abroad, and if they went on protecting the labour of this country in this way, so as to increase the cost of the articles produced, the tendency would be to reduce the production of those particular articles and in that way add to the number of the unemployed. The Under-Secretary had put forward two great reasons in favour of the Bill, namely, the severity of the labour and the great discomfort it caused to the miners. He (Mr. Parkes) had made particular inquiries with regard to the severity of the labour. He found that the man in a coal mine who was promoted to be a hewer of coal would not on any consideration if he could help it go and work on the top or on the bank. As a matter of fact the health of the miner was very much better than the health of the average worker in other trades; as a matter of fact, his health as far as longevity was concerned was above that of the man who worked on the bank. Whatever test they gave to health they would find that the miners stood in a very good position. With regard to discomfort he knew that the miner would sooner be down the pit during the hard winter than following any other form of labour. As to the severity of the labour and the discomfort arguments, in face of these facts they all fell to the ground. There were various tests which they ought to apply to this Bill. First of all, were the men overworked? He did not think that a man who worked only forty-three hours a week could be said to be overworked. Was the miner underpaid? He thought they might safely say that it was one of the best paid employments in the Kingdom. Was mining unhealthy? The statistics he had referred to and the Report of the Committee proved that that was not the case. Was the mining trade in a position to take care of itself? There was no trade so able to take care of itself. One of the greatest objections to the Bill was that it imposed a similarity of conditions on different districts. They could not, in consequence of the different conditions prevailing in different parts of the country, impose one set of conditions which would apply satisfactorily to all districts. The district he had in mind was South Staffordshire and the Cannock Pits. It was said that the coal miners might accelerate their speed of work, but even that was in itself a danger. It was said that the Bill would greatly decrease the tendency to accidents, but as a matter of fact it would increase that tendency. With regard to South Staffordshire, where they worked the thick coal, the two-shift system would be entirely inoperative. In those mines there had to be a great deal of repairing done to the roads and parts of the pits between the shafts, and that trouble was quite uniform in Staffordshire. If that part of the operation were hurried and not properly done the lives of the miners would be in danger. Then there was another thing with regard to South Staffordshire: there was frequently an enormous quantity of water in the mines which had to be pumped out by a pumping station specially erected for that purpose. If only a few of those pumps were stopped the working in the mines would also be stopped. If the Bill were carried in the way it was drawn it simply meant the destruction of the coal trade in that part of the country. He thought the opinion of the experts on the question in Staffordshire ought to be taken in preference to the opinion of the experts at the Home Office, and of other people who were not so greatly concerned in the trade itself. In the Cannock district, for example, they frequently worked only two and a half days per week. It was absolutely a season trade, and it would be absurd to employ two sets of men when, during part of the year, the men employed could only work two and a half days per week. For these reasons he maintained that it was impossible to frame one set of conditions in a universal eight-hours Bill which would be suitable to every part of the country. A good deal had been made of the mitigations mentioned in the Bill. At the present time the men worked forty-three hours and so many minutes per week, and it was assumed that the miners would work more regularly under the new system. That, however, was simply an assumption. He did not think himself that the men would be absent from work less under the new system than under the old. The hon. Member for South Glamorgan had referred to the opinions of the Chambers of Commerce, and said that they were dragooned by the Coal Owners' Association, and other similar bodies. Could they imagine 200 or 300 gentlemen from different parts of the country, representing the various Chambers of Commerce, all classes and trades, and altogether independent of politics, being dragooned by the Coal Owners' Association? He would say that if any body of men in this country was qualified to give an impartial opinion, entirely free from party bias, and which might be taken as the commercial Parliament of this country, it was the Associated Chambers of Commerce. That body decided almost unanimously to condemn this Eight Hours Bill for Miners. It was absolutely a slur upon the Chambers of Commerce of the country to say they were dragooned by the Coal Owners' Association. He did not think any case had been made out for the Bill. If the eight hours limit were imposed the trade would be very seriously injured. Every year competition was becoming more and more severe; if any hon. Member doubted that statement let him go into the iron and steel districts and he would see what they had to contend with at the present time. These were the questions they had to look at. He did not believe that the commercial opinion of the country was fully represented in the House of Commons upon this question. It was all very well to taunt the Opposition with not opposing the Bill before. They did not oppose it simply because they did not understand it; the Departmental Committee had been the means of their understanding it, and now that they did understand it they were opposed to it with all their might. There were times when the House of Commons did not represent the opinion of the country. He did not say there were not commercial men there who had opinions of their own, but the visible manifestations of those opinions was sadly lacking upon commercial questions. Therefore, he did not think they ought to be taunted with having abstained from opposition in the past and now rising to protest against the Bill. As a matter of fact, some of the districts would have to work longer hours than this Bill proposed, whilst other districts would have to work shorter hours. Almost every district had conditions peculiar to itself. They had their own way of working in a particular mine, and why should they not arrange some principle by which such cases could be met? It was fatal to the whole thing to have one cast-iron set of regulations supposed to meet all the varying conditions of mining. They ought certainly to have some arrangement by which each particular district could be dealt with on its merits. He knew there were some cases of hardship in South Wales, but why could not those particular districts be put into a different position? Why should they desire to apply this hard and fast cast-iron system to the whole country? By doing so they would wreck the interests of the country as a whole and fail to give that prosperity to the people which ought to be the object of all legislation. In this measure they were considering the interests of a small section of the community which was well able to take care of itself. It was a trade which was well paid and healthy, and in which the men were on good terms with their employers. It was really 42,000,000 people against 1,000,000, and by passing the Bill in its present form they were overlooking the interests of the 42,000,000 in favour of the infinitely smaller number who were well able to take care of themselves and whose grievances could be settled without this Bill in its present form.


said that there had been considerable argument about the price of coal under the operation of an Eight Hours Bill. All prices were mere speculation and must, of course, be determined by the state of the market for the time being. It was impossible and indeed ridiculous that any Member of the House should say that the price of coal would increase 2s. or 3s. per ton in consequence of the Bill, because that entirely depended on the law of supply and demand. For example, the supply had only to be a little behind the demand for prices to rise out of all proportion. Therefore, those who spent their lives in and about coal mines had to consider the actual cost of working an eight-hours day as compared with the present system. Whether the price of coal would increase by reason of the reduced output which would inevitably follow depended upon the state of the market for the time being. If an eight-hours day had been passed in the first session of this Parliament he would not hesitate to say that the price of coal might have been 30s. a ton instead of 10s. The coal trade was now in a depressed condition. He was very sorry indeed to notice that the Labour Members were not present in larger numbers in an important debate of this kind.

MR. GLOVER (St. Helens)

The Labour Members are absent because they are now holding a meeting.


said that it was a very poor excuse and a very poor argument when an important Bill was down for consideration to say that hon. Members were attending another meeting. The effect of this Bill, so far as South Wales was concerned, would be very serious and there would be a large reduction in the output there. The hon. Baronet the Member for the Bosworth division and himself were directors of a large company in South Wales which produced over 1,500,000 tons of coal per annum. The House was aware what the hon. Baronet said about the profits of the coal trade, and he would like to give his own experience of the profits of mines with which he had been concerned during the last five years. The hon. Member for South Glamorganshire had given the case of two collieries in South Wales as if they were typical of the whole coal-mining industry. They did not show a fair average of the coal-mining industry. The hon. Member ought to have taken the whole of the South Wales mines if he wished to show the fair average. Instead of doing so, he had taken two of the best mines. In the case of one of the mines the whole of the capital had been built up by not spending any money on capital account and by paying no dividend for a long series of years. All these matters seemed never to have occurred to hon. Members who talked on the question. The collieries he was connected with during the last five years had raised 13,802,149 tons, they had paid in wages £3,596,190, and in dividends £443,600. The average profit over the past five years amounted to 7.7d. per ton in dividends. The Socialist Party told them that the men received 5 per cent. and the owners 95 per cent. The figures he had quoted showed that for every £1 paid in wages the companies got 2s. 6d., or in other words for every £100 paid in wages the profit was £12 10s. If a Socialistic Government took over the mines, as the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil desired, there would only be an addition of £12 10s. on every £100 paid in wages at the present time. That was, of course, after allowing for all the coat of equipping and sinking collieries and interest on the capital involved. In addition to that he contended that in many cases collieries did not set aside sufficient money for depreciation. There was no use referring to special collieries. Coal-mining depended on whether the conditions were favourable. Good collieries could make money while other collieries adjoining lost money. What they could only arrive at was the average, and though his own experience might be wrong he believed that in the last twenty years the profit made in coal mining on the average was not 6 per cent. on the capital value. It was not more in the companies with which he was associated. In his opinion the question of cost entailed by the Bill depended entirely upon the men themselves. In South Wales the men worked longer hours than in any other part of the country, except some districts of Lancashire, where they were practically the same. Even in Wales, where the men had always raised every possible obstacle to the introduction of modern methods of working, and where great difficulties existed for colliery managers and those connected with the undertakings, he believed if this Bill came into operation and the men met the coal-owners fairly in the matter by the introduction of double shifts, there would not be, so far as South Wales was concerned, an increase in the price of coal. It would be asked at once, "Where are the men who are going to work the double shifts?" He might say that in the case of a colliery with which he was associated there was one of the most able general colliery managers in the country, and he was of opinion, after going carefully through the figures, that even in the pits with which his company was associated, if they could work double shifts with the men they now had they would reduce the cost by at least 1s. per ton. That was to say, if, when the Eight Hours Bill came into effect, they closed half the working places in which coal was got and worked double shifts, the cost of getting coal would not be increased beyond what it was to-day. The men in South Wales, however, would not accept this as they did in the Midlands, Warwickshire and Nottingham. So far as he was concerned he did not think that his union friends could say that he had been hostile to their programme, that the men should receive a decent living wage, irrespective of the selling price of the commodity under the old sliding scale, but he said that under the ridiculous system now in force in South Wales the cost of getting coal must be enormously out of proportion to what it ought to be. He was not sure but that the cost of getting a ton of coal in South Wales to-day was 50 per cent. more than in the Midlands, where the conditions were practically the same. So far as the miners were concerned they had pursued a more enlightened course in the Midlands than in South Wales. The coal-owners in the Midlands had always been treated with what he might term good common sense in the management of their collieries. He might say that in a colliery with which he was connected in the Midlands he did not think that on the average the cost would be increased 3d. per ton. He thought that the maximum increase in the cost might be 6d., and that was in a case where the mining face was at a considerable distance from the shaft. In Yorkshire, Warwickshire, and Derbyshire, they were able to work double shifts and reduce the expense. In some cases they would be able to work three shifts. The difficulty in getting coal depended as he had said upon the men who were at the working face. He believed that the cost of getting coal in South Wales would be increased by at least 1s. per ton, while in the Midlands the increased cost would be approximately 3d. per ton, or in certain collieries a maximum of 6d. per ton. It had been said that this increased cost of getting coal would place the manufacturers of this country at a disadvantage in competing with the manufacturers of the world. Reference had been made to the effect on the iron industry and other industries by reason of this interference with the hours of labour. What were the facts? He had been down coal mines in all parts of the world, and he believed he was correct in saying that with the exception of the mines of Pennsylvania no coal was worked so cheaply as in this country, and therefore even with from 3d. to 6d. added in some cases to the present price of getting coal that would still leave us far and away above our competitors who wore to-day taking large supplies from this country and paying freight and railway charges in addition to the price of the coal. We had in this country abundance of good steam coal. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil had spoken of two distinct classes of collieries, one producing steam coal and the other producing house coal. During the summer months the house coal mines worked short time because there was no market for what they produced. The production of the steam coal collieries was fairly even in both the winter and the summer months. During the coal boom of 1901 owing to sensational statements which appeared in the Daily Mail, and other papers of that class, people in the country got panicky on the question of the price of coal. Householders and others accordingly placed their orders for coal in the summer months, and the house coal collieries worked full time in the summer. People in the East End of London took in their coal supplies and put them away under beds by reason of the scare which had been created. The consequence was that the collieries were worse employed in the winter of 1901 than they had been for many years previously. If people bought their coal during the summer months, which they would not do, and which, he admitted, they could not do in many instances, he saw no reason why the output, so far as the Midland counties were concerned, should be decreased. So far as South Wales was concerned the position was different. There the miners were producing steam coal for which there was a steady market all the year round. If the cost of producing coal should increase 6d. per ton he wished the House clearly to understand that the coal-owners would have to increase the cost by 1s. That might seem an extraordinary statement to make, but it was absolutely common sense. If hon. Members would follow him he would explain how that came about. If they increased the cost of production by 6d., that meant for large and small coal. The additional cost would be incurred for the getting of the slack and small coal as well as the large, and, therefore, the coalowners would charge 1s. per ton more for the cobbles and large coal which householders consumed. That was what hon. Members did not see in the same way as those who were interested in the coal trade. About forty or fifty per cent. of the coal raised was slack which only fetched a small price. Hon. Members opposite knew perfectly well what was the position in South Wales. Appeals had been made to the House about the inhumanity of the colliery owners. It was true that they were producing coal at the high prices named, but the largest proportion of the money had gone to the men and not to the owners. If the hon. Member for Glamorgan saw the balance sheets of large companies he would find that over the last ten years the dividend had not been more than 3 per cent., and over the last five years not more than 6 per cent. He was not saying that the profits in the last year or two had not been large, but the hon. Member ought to have given a fair average of the profits made over a reasonable period. The hon. Member must be aware that these large companies had for years seen their shares continually depreciating in value.

MR. BRACE (Glamorganshire, S.)

said that if the hon. Member would challenge the figures he had given as incorrect, he would know what to do, and would deal with it.


said he did not deny the hon. Member's figures for a moment, but he denied that the case which, he had put before the House was a fair illustration of what the coal-owners were doing in South Wales. The future in South Wales depended very much on how the men dealt with this question; because, unless something was done with the system of working in South Wales, the Bill would not only greatly decrease the output of coal, despite what hon. Members say, but—

MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)

said he denied that in toto.


said that the hon. Member had not had the balance sheet of the companies placed before him, and he did not know that the cost of getting a ton of Welsh coal often amounted to from 9d. to 1s. in timber alone. The hon. Member lost sight of that consideration. South Wales had been the cock-pit of the dispute, and the men were worse off than those in the Midlands. He had fear about the future unless a new policy was brought forward in South Wales, but no fear about the Midlands where a policy of common sense had long prevailed.

MR. HEMMERDE (Denbighshire, E.)

said he had been somewhat surprised at some of the speeches from hon. Members opposite. They had heard something that day as to what had happened at recent bye-elections; but perhaps hon. Members had forgotten what happened at a few previous bye-elections. That became important when they were twitted by the right hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, about having put up their economic consciences to auction. What had been the history of this question during the last three years? For nearly twenty years previously it was not a question which was seriously opposed by either Party, and at the last general election practically every Member for coal-mining constituencies came back to the House to support this measure. Not only that but even during the late Administration the noble Lord the Member for Chorley, in seeking re-election on joining the Ministry, declared himself, presumably with the consent of his Leader, to be in favour of an Eight Hours Bill; and again when he stood at the general election for Chorley it was on the same platform. So that if they on that side of the House were putting up their economic consciences to auction at the last general election, there were other people in the same case. The noble Lord was returned for Chorley only on account of his promise to vote for the Eight Hours Bill. Immediately after the general election there was a bye-election in Cumberland when the Opposition candidate was heart and soul in favour of an Eight Hours Bill. If hon. Members would carry their memory a little further back to a bye-election at which he was returned to the House, they would remember that his opponent who sat in the last Parliament for the Tonbridge Division of Rent voted and fought against the Bill. But when the hon. Gentleman came down to a North Wales constituency, he (the speaker) thought that as he was fighting for the principle which he had always advocated before he went to a mining constituency, that his opponent would in accordance with his previously declared views speak and fight against it. Not at all; he became a convert to the Eight Hours Bill; and he received a letter of good-will from the Leader of the Opposition. That was in 1906. In the beginning of 1907 there was a bye-election in North East Derby, at which a miners' representative was returned and the Conservative candidate was Dr. Court. He went down into the division for two or three days, and found that Dr. Court was standing in that division as a supporter of the Eight Hours Bill, and was claiming that twenty years experience as a medical man had proved to him that an eight-hours day underground was the utmost that men could work if they were to lead healthy lives. That medical gentleman was also fortunate enough to receive the benediction of the Leader of the Opposition. Later on, however, under the patriotic auspices of the Coal Consumers' League there began the development of the great movement to protect the shipping of the country which some hon. Members opposite professed to be so deeply interested in and the Opposition began to repudiate the whole principle of an eight-hours day. They were told that the Report of the Committee had entirely changed the situation. But the Report told them nothing that they did not know in principle before. If there were adaptations of conditions to meet the new needs there would be no serious rise in the price of coal. They had heard from hon. Members of experience that the possible rise in South Wales might be put at 1s. per ton, and in other parts of the country at 3d. per ton or 6d. per ton. That was the result of experience, and the opinion of the Committee too was that 1s. 6d. per ton was an exaggeration. How came it then that hon. Members for election purposes not only said the rise would be 5s. per ton, but when taxed with that in the House, did not repudiate but cheered it? How could hon. Members, who only the other day were in favour of an eight-hours day, justify the use of figures like that, arid declare that if an Eight Hours Bill were passed, it would result in the probable increase in, the price of coal by 5s. per ton? Since when had hon. Members on the Opposition benches become the guar- dians of the price of coal? Many things had contributed to the price of coal which they were always busy defending, such as land monoply and the ownership of mines by private individuals. He referred them to a passage in the Report of the Royal Commission as to certain extensive areas of coalfields waiting development. That was what made the high price of coal. The more mines that were opened the more coal would be produced, and the lower would be the price of coal. The present system of taxing land favoured the restriction of the output of coal, and also high prices. Let hon. Members who talked of the rise in the price of coal crippling industry turn their attention to the taxation of land upon its capital value so as to bring it into the market.

MR. LEVERTON HARRIS (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

asked if the hon. Member could give an instance of any owner of coal who was not anxious for the development of his property?


said he was pretty certain that there were coal-fields in his constituency that were in that condition. He had received a letter from a coal-owner in his constituency who did not seem prepared to deny that there were coal-fields in that district waiting development. He pointed out that if they were developed it would give employment to miners, and that by the present system of taxation which encouraged people to withold their land from development, the price of coal was increased. In fact, the real remedy for dealing with this question was a root and branch reform of the land system. He thought the attitude of hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House when they came to ask the suffrages of a mining constituency was argument enough for the unanimity of the demand that was made. It was perfectly impossible for anybody, so great was the unanimity of this demand, to come forward in any mining constituency and not support the demand of the miners. If any hon. Member read the Report of the Committee with regard to the question of health of the miners and the hours which they worked they would find that matter not very deeply gone into, but quite apart from the question of health or the doctor's opinion of the effect of the hours upon their health there were certain matters familiar to them all, and he often wondered if hon. Members really believed that it was good for the health of any man to be underground for more than eight hours a day. He wondered whether hon. Members believed that any man could do hard physical toil of the character which these men did underground or over-ground for more than eight hours a day without suffering in health. He did not believe that they could, and although some doctors told him that they could he declined to throw over his own views and theories as well as to the effects of physical toil on men. Because many of these miners lived to an advanced age it did not show in the least that the life was a healthy one. They lived a very hard life and developed athletically, if he might say so, and physically, and the mere fact that these people happened to be healthier even than those who did no work did not in the least prove that physical toil for more than eight hours a day was good for them. It was his experience down in North Wales that the movement at the present time had its strongest supporters in the young men. It was what the Member for Ince said the other day, and it was his own experience as well, that the young men wanted leisure for recreation, and the ordinary light and pleasure of life. The human side of this question must enter into their thoughts. He found the real enthusiasm upon this question was among the very men who, if it was granted to them, would make the best use of it. He asked hon. Members if on a question that had been debated in this House for years they were going to change the whole of their views merely for the sake of an electioneering cry. The danger (if it existed) to our commerce must have been known for years. They could not possibly believe that simply to secure election or re-election hon. Members pledged themselves to a subject which they did not understand. They did them greater justice than that. Surely those who spoke for commercial England, and one hon. Member said the other day that there was not enough commercial men on the Ministerial side of the House—surely those who spoke for commercial England did not need to get their information from this Report; they must have known it for years. This danger of the rise in the price of coal as affecting the cost of production: had it not been thrown at the heads of all reformers who had tried to reform the hours and the conditions of labour of the workman? He did not suggest that they could continually reduce the hours of labour, and always get the same result, but did anybody suggest that the reduction of hours hitherto had ever had the result of increasing the cost of production? He remembered in a conference the other day upon the question of sweating Mr. Sydney Webb told a story of how he went over the great works of Sir Charles Tennant, and how Sir Charles pointed out many improvements that had been made by the men themselves to reduce the cost of production, when the cost looked like being increased by some advantages gained by the men for themselves by their unions. New machinery, new methods, a little more willingness among the men, and they would find they would not have a considerable rise in the cost of production at all. There might be a rise of just a few pence, but when they found hon. Members supporting their efforts to get into this House by literature which suggested 5s. per ton as the increase of cost under this Bill he began to wonder if they really believed that any increase would take place under the Bill at all. What chance was there of any increase? There was the same chance now as there was twenty years ago when they supported this measure—the same chance that there was four years ago when hon. Gentlemen opposite and their friends supported this measure. Another question was, did the increase in cost mean increase at the pit's mouth, or increase to the consumer? There were other persons interested in the production of coal who could pay these few pence and prevent their coming upon the consumer. The cost of production to the consumer depended upon many things, as they knew, besides the hours worked by the men. But quite apart from the question of the increase in the price of coal, he believed the conscience of the country had revolted against putting men of the very best type that the country produced to work for unreasonable hours of labour and if there was a slight rise in the cost of production he believed the great bulk of the people of the country would be prepared to meet it. Although hon. Members on the other side of the House said that if the miners got their way in this Bill the cost of coal would be increased, it was a significant fact that all organised labour and its representatives in the House were unanimous in supporting the measure. Was it likely that hon. Members representing the Labour interest if they thought there was any danger of an increase in the price of coal would stand side by side with the miners in pressing this Bill on the House. He did not want to dwell at that moment on the proposed Government Amendment to the Bill The question (if this was a good Bill) whether it should be postponed, and, if so, for how long, would be settled in Committee. The tests put before them by the right hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, in the beginning of this debate had been satisfied again and again. Their own knowledge of physical conditions must tell them that the effect of this Bill would make for the health of the miners over the whole country. So far as the test of whether it was to the public advantage was concerned, what proof had they got that there would be a rise of a 1s. or 9d., let alone 5s., in the cost of production? It was merely assertion, without proof, and it would be proved if it could be. The assertion was made merely to turn to account a political situation. There were no figures to support it, and that being so he respectfully asked the House to support the Bill on behalf of his constituency, which was unanimously in favour of it, and not to be led away by any idea that there would be a great increase in the cost of production when they found in the world of organised labour men of every interest in every trade standing together unanimously in its favour.

SIR CHARLES McLAREN (Leicestershire, Bosworth)

said there was one thing to be decided when they came to vote on the Second Reading of this Bill. A claim was put forward and had been put forward for more than twenty years by the whole body of miners of Great Britain, a body of men whose labour extended over every part of the country, who belonged to every race in these Islands, and who were not only among the hardest worked, but among the most intelligent of our industrial classes. They were banded together in the greatest and the wealthiest trade union of the world; they were represented in the House and also elsewhere by leaders of the greatest intelligence and knowledge of business affairs. These men had come forward and made this demand to Parliament to reduce their working hours to eight a day. They had taken that step every year for years after due deliberation in their unions and after consultation with their friends in the trade on both sides of the House. It was impossible to suppose that this great claim, put forward as it had been, could be brushed aside by mere technicalities, much less by such figures as were recently put before the House. For twenty years he had voted for this Bill, being largely interested in colliery properties, and every year that he had voted in favour of the Bill he had felt more and more justified in doing so, because although twenty years ago the conditions of the coal trade might have made the Bill a doubtful measure, he had never regarded it as one really dangerous to the industry. Twenty years ago the price of coal was very low, and old pits were being worked, but since hose days things had changed. There was a very largely increased demand for coal, and there was a much higher price; here were better profits for all the owners and much better wages and conditions of work for the miners. What vas more important still was that we had now a large number of new and admirably equipped collieries, and a large number of new shafts were now being sunk, and to these modern collieries this Bill would be no objection whatever. It was not the colliery in which the coal was worked within a short distance of the shaft that would suffer from an eight hours day; it was the old collieries in which the coal was far from the shaft and which were disappearing which would suffer. Now they had to ask themselves: Were there any valid and wide-reaching arguments which could be brought forward to meet the demands of the mining population for this Bill? There had been only one Member directly connected with the coal and iron trade who had that day spoken against the Bill. It was the hon. Member for Birmingham, and he was very glad to see that he ignored the figures that had been recently circulated by the Mining Association of which he and others had a great right to complain. He had no hesitation in saying that those figures were entirely misleading. The figures put forward by his hon. friend the Member for the Mansfield Division he had no doubt were absolutely correct. In South Wales they would have an increased cost of 1s. if this Bill passed. He was very largely interested in South Wales coal and he was prepared to meet that increased cost without the slightest feeling of apprehension. Welsh coal was an article of first necessity not only in this country, but all over the world. People must have Welsh coal, and if they must have Welsh coal they must be prepared to pay the price. Hon. Members might be surprised, perhaps, when he told them that in these circumstances he did not see that any great misfortune would fall upon his shoulders, if he shared all the advantages which a Welsh colliery possessed with the men who worked in the pits. The men would get better conditions of labour, and it would not necessarily reduce the profits of the producer of the coal. If he got that shilling out of his foreign customer, he did not see why he should not cheerfully support the Bill. He would point out that Welsh coal was not a house coal at all, except for the immediate locality. If they went to the Midland collieries, the circumstances were different. There were a good many collieries in the Midlands to which the passing of the Bill would make a difference of about 2½d. per ton. In others it would make a difference of 3d., 4d., 5d., or 6d. In considerable groups of collieries in North Derbyshire or South Yorkshire they might suffer to the extent of more than 6d. a ton, but the average in any group they might take, would certainly not be more than 6d. The question of the market price of coal had been referred to. Every year the market price of coal rose or fell from totally different causes. Every advance of miners' wages of 10 per cent, meant a rise in the price of coal of 4d. or 6d. Every year London coal merchants put up the price of coal by 1s. to their customers in winter and nobody complained; and while they were willing to raise miners' wages, and allow even market fluctuations which in South Wales sometimes meant between 4s. and 5s. a ton, yet they had all this outcry and these exaggerated figures because the mining population of the country demanded a measure which would, perhaps, put up the price of house coal by 4d. or 6d. a ton. If hon. Members worked out the difference in price to the working classes they would find that it practically was not more than about one-eighth of a penny on a cwt., and that meant that if a man consumed a ton of coal every two months it would make a difference at the end of the year of 3s., or just about the price of a bottle of whisky. How could anybody come and say that that was a hardship on the consumer? This was one of those questions which the more they looked into it the less alarming it seemed. Everyone of his Conservative opponents for the last twenty years had been in favour of this Bill and, like himself, he was perfectly certain they had none of the alarm which had been expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, alarm which could not be founded, he thought, on serious conviction. He thought the statements they had heard were intended for the elections. It was necessary to make a little fuss in the House in order to justify the speeches which would be made at the elections. But he would be very much surprised if any considerable majority of the Conservative Party whom they found in the House would go into the lobby to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.

MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)

I have rarely listened to a more interesting speech than that which has just been made. It covered really a remarkable extent of ground. The hon. Member began by stating that 1s. or 1s. 6d. on a ton of Welsh coal would make no difference, because the foreigner will pay it. He went on to point out in language that we have heard before, and in a kind of detail we have heard before from those benches, at one time applied to the 4-lb. loaf, what an infinitesimal amount this would add to the cost paid by the workman for his coal. Then the hon. Member said I am quite prepared to pay this 1s. or 1s. 6d. on the price of coal but the hon. Gentleman does not belong to either of the classes which have been referred to in this House—either that large number who are on the verge of starvation, or that still larger number who have a constant struggle to prevent themselves falling below that verge. Turning from the speech of the hon. Member, I may say that I was not surprised that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wisbech should have said that after listening most carefully he had come to the conclusion that the whole weight of the argument was against the Government he desired to support. The only surprise I feel, since he has become so candid, is that he did not go further and say that no argument at all had been put before the House on the other side. I do not think that is an exaggeration. Take, for instance, the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary to the Home Office. Nobody recognises better than I do that the hon. Gentleman is quite capable of making a speech if he has a reasonable case. What did his speech consist of? Two things. First of all an attack, and a very strong attack, upon us for our inconsistency. What does that amount to? It simply amounts to this, that so long as this was a question to be debated on a Friday afternoon it was an open question on both sides of the House. It was nothing more than that. In my own case, for instance, and I think it is typical, I was interested in the subject, and I listened to many of those speeches which were made, but I doubt very much whether they stated the case for the Bill. My own opinions were clearly expressed, for my constituents constantly asked me questions, and I had to give the answers. The charge has been made that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition at that time, when he had the responsibility of office, did not come on a Friday afternoon. But it was the one day of the week when it was possible for him to obtain freedom, and he did not need to come and vote on this question, which at that time was purely academic. The hon. Gentleman's lecture on consistency had no doubt a great moral effect, but I think its moral effect cannot be greatly enhanced by the fact, as he informed us, that the debate is to be wound up for the Government by the right hon. Gentleman, who is the greatest exponent of the virtue of consistency to be found in the present House of Commons. Now, the next argument of the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Home Office was, I think, a far more reprehensible one, if I may say so. He wound up his speech by saying: "Your policy is a strike: our policy is this Bill." What does that mean? It means that the Government must not oppose this Bill because the coal trade threatens a strike. What a lesson that is to other trades! What will the railway men think of it, for we know that they think their hours too long? If we are to grant a Bill like this to one trade, for the reason that a strike is threatened, why in the world are you not to grant it to all trades? There is something more to be said on that point. Is the Government not greatly increasing the risk of strikes by passing this Bill? At all events the members of the Committee to which reference has been made so often take that view; they point out over and over again that controversies are sure to arise in consequence of this Bill, and they speak of the great danger which might occur in the country if those controversies were not met in the most conciliatory spirit on the part of masters and men. Take the position of the Northumberland and Durham miners. These men have been told that the Eight Hours Bill means a maximum of eight hours a day. But they work six and a half hours. The moment this Bill is passed, even in its amended form, the whole system of the Durham and Northumberland miners will break down, and it will have to be re-constituted, and those who have examined the question say that they see no way in which it can be re-arranged except by increasing the hours of the men who are now only working six and a half hours. Even with the best intentions, that represents a real difficulty—a difficulty which causes danger of a strike far more than the refusal of this House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill can possibly do. I should like to look more closely at the whole aspect of this question. So far everyone who has spoken in favour of the Bill, not excluding even the Home Secretary, has confined himself to one part of the question, namely, the humanity of the principles of the measure. That is a strong ground, but after all the history of the case is not so simple as that. We have the fact, for instance, mentioned by an hon. Member on the other side of the House, of men, I presume his constituents, who are working nearly 50 per cent, longer hours than the miners and for less than half the wages. That fact surely suggests at least the possibility that humanity may be on the other side of this question. If, therefore, this appeal to humanity is to be justified at all it must be justified on a more definite ground than that. It appears to me that the House of Commons would not be justified in passing this Bill until it has seriously considered the two points which seem to me essential for its proper understanding. The first of these points is whether or not the hours worked by the miners are so excessive as to demand at all costs immediate redress at the hands of this House. The second point is equally important. It is that whatever the House does it should do it with its eyes open, and after it has most carefully considered what the effect of this Bill will be upon all other classes of the country. Take the first point. Are the hours so excessive as to justify the treatment of a trade in a way that it has not been suggested at present that any other trade should be treated? We should expect, if such a case were to be made out, that it would be made out on the ground that the hours worked were such as to have so bad an effect on the health of the men that Parliament was bound to interfere. No such case has been made out. That point was definitely referred to the Committee. The Committee in their Report—and they gave the evidence on which their Report was founded—said unanimously that in their opinion there was no justification for the Bill on the ground of health. The Home Secretary, it is true, did not accept that finding of the Committee. Another hon. Gentleman, who spoke from below the gangway, rejected it on grounds which seem to me rather peculiar. He said that our common sense would tell us that nobody would like to be more than eight hours under ground. But one would not like to be a labourer engaged in steel works, or a labourer engaged in other trades, where they have to work under much worse conditions than those under which miners work, and where they men are less able to help themselves. But the Home Secretary has not accepted this finding of the Committee. He suggested that we should accept his opinion, but he gave no grounds for our so doing. He gave an argument which was knocked to pieces by my hon. friend behind me; this afternoon, and which I need not therefore further refer to now. But perhaps it may be said that, though this trade is not an unhealthy trade, it is a dangerous trade. That is perfectly true. Everyone admits it, and if it could be said that this Bill decreased the dangers of that trade, it would be a far stronger argument in its favour than any which has been adduced so far, but that is not even pretended. The Committee report that there is no evidence whatever that the hours have anything whatever to do with the accidents, and they report also that unless the gravest precautions are taken, this Bill itself will increase the danger. More than that, the hon. Gentleman who was the Chairman, of that Committee, in an interesting speech which he addressed to the House last week, told us that these precautions had not been sufficiently taken, in the Bill. Therefore he is of opinion that the Bill as it stands is going to increase, and not diminish, the dangers of the miner's occupation. But it may be said that this trade, although its defence is not justifiable on the ground either of danger or of health, is so hard a trade that on that ground Parliament is justified in interfering. I am not concerned with denying that it is a hard life. I should not like to lead it myself. I do not deny that. I have heard its hardships described in this debate and in previous debates in very lurid language. I remember also hearing hon. Members who had themselves worked in coal mines both as boys and as men, scoff at these pictures, and declared that they were entirely exaggerated and no true pictures of the miner's life. I admit that it is a hard life, but there are many other lives which are more hard and more unhealthy. For instance, without going into it, labourers in the steel and iron trades have a far harder life from every point of view than the miner, and yet the benefit to the miners is going to be an added injury and an added burden to other men who have a greater claim upon our consideration. I really do not wish to exaggerate this case in the least. I admit that the hours worked in some districts are far longer than I should like to see them if they could be altered. I quite admit that. There is no need of exaggeration there. But let the House remember that in those districts where the daily hours are longest, the pits never work six days a week. As a rule, I think they work five days a week, and in no case more than eleven days in a fortnight. Therefore, if you take the miner's hours as the hours of other workmen are taken, at the amount per week, they are not nearly so excessive as they seem when you take them by the day. But there is something else to be remembered in this connection. Miners by the nature of their occupation can take a voluntary holiday much more easily than men in other trades, and they do take that voluntary holiday. Is there not a great deal to be said from the miner's point of view for that method? Let the House remember that the miner in getting to and from his work has to spend a good deal of profitless time, not only time spent in being wound up and down the shaft, but in many cases time spent in walking under difficult conditions for a great distance, sometimes four miles. Surely, it is reasonable to say that a miner under such conditions would himself prefer if his wages depend on the amount of coal he turns out, when he was once at the coal face, to work as long as he safely could and take an occasional holiday, rather than have all that useless labour every day, and work shorter hours per day. I hope I have said enough to show that no case whatever has been made out for the hours of miners, in comparison with those of other trades—and that is the real point—being so excessive as to demand immediate redress by this House. But even if it were proved, and proved up to the hilt, that the hours ought to be lessened, even then the promoters of this Bill would not have made out their case. They would not have begun to make out their case until they proved that there was no reasonable prospect of better conditions being arrived at by the ordinary method of negotiations between masters and men. I remember some years ago the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Durham said— In view of the opportunity which workmen now have for combination, this Bill is a plea of cowardice. They are forgetful of their self-reliance in beseeching the House of Commons to do what, if the exigencies of trade will allow, they could do for themselves. These words, it seems to me, are not only a sound view of this subject, but they are noteworthy also because they represent a radical difference between the new and the old trade unionism. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was asked at one of the deputations—and I will say he was very good for receiving deputations from all classes of the community on the subject—why not leave this to be settled in the way that other trades do? He gave this answer. It was impossible, he said, because of the immense variety of the methods of working of miners in different parts of the country. Now I ask the House of Commons, is it possible to find any words which more strongly condemn the Bill? These differences are not accidental. They are not arbitrary. They are due to real differences of circumstances, and could anything be more foolish than for a Minister and a Government which realise what the differences are, to attempt to stereotype the trade of the whole country with all these differences in one cast-iron mould? Everyone knows—it has been admitted by the last speaker in favour of the Bill—that there is no organised body of men which is more powerful—there is, I think, not one which is so powerful—than the miners. Their power is recognised in every direction, and it is certainly only putting it very mildly to say they are at least better able than the men in any other trade to procure for themselves the best conditions of labour which the circumstances of that trade admit. That is a fact. It is not surprising that the miners' representatives, in spite of that fact, should ask the House to press the Bill, but I must say it needs some explanation why other Labour Members who represent other branches of industry, should support the miners on the Bill. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said that the fact that they do so press it is a proof that it is not going to injure other trades. That is a very simple answer to make. Every one knows that these Gentlemen support this miners' Bill as a first step in a general advance in the same direction. They know that of all branches of men's combinations, the miners is the most powerful, and has the greatest political influence. It is for that reason that they are pressing on this Bill. They are pressing it, not because the miners need it more, but because they need it less than any other trade in the country. If that is their object it seems to me that they are beginning at the wrong end. If that is their object, every consideration of economics and of commonsense will suggest that this trade, instead of being the first to be dealt with, ought to be the last, for it is the trade on which the prosperity of all our trades depends. I consider that the circumstances under which this Bill is introduced into the House now are only another illustration of an evil which is admitted by everyone. The evil consists in the division between responsibility and power. The responsibility for this Bill rests on that bench. The power behind it rests there, and, personally I cannot believe that if these hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, instead of merely urging something else upon somebody else, were themselves responsible for this Bill they would not give more consideration than they have done, that they would not realise more fully than they have done, what the effect of the Bill will be upon the other working classes throughout the country. This brings me to the consideration of what seems to be the second point that we ought to take into account. Supposing we pass this Bill, what will its effect be upon the country? In other words, what price will all other classes of the community have to pay in order to grant this boon to the mining population? That the Bill is going to raise prices is admitted. I am not quite sure whether it was admitted by the Home Secretary or not. He quoted apparently with approval the finding of the Committee that the Bill would have the effect of causing loss and embarrassment to the country, but afterwards he embarked on an argument supported by an array of figures which seemed, so far as I could follow him, designed to prove that it would have no effect upon prices. The present Government is never so interesting, at least it is never so interesting to me, as when it is engaged in economic speculation. In that field they are supreme. The Prime Minister, who I am sorry is not present this afternoon, of course is easily first. During the short time that he was at the Exchequer he evolved a system of economics which, for its originality, its flexibility, and above all, its convenience, will excite the admiration and envy of all subsequent holders of that office. But the Prime Minister will have to look to his laurels. He has a rival now in the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary dealt with the strike of 1893. He gave us the average figure of prices to show that in spite of that strike, the price was lower in 1893, the year of the strike, than in the previous year, and that it was lower again in 1894 than in 1893. Then he turned to the other side. He went to the strike in South Wales of 1898 and showed that there, unlike 1893, the price was higher in 1898 than in 1897, and higher again in 1899 and 1900 than in 1898. Then he drew his conclusion, which is really so remarkable, that I should like to read the actual words— So that at any rate for what it is worth, the average scale of prices does not seem to connect the sudden withdrawal of a large mass of coal with a sudden rise in price. "For what it is worth." I suppose he thought it was worth something, or he would not have quoted it. For what it is worth the figures and the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman lead to a conclusion which is certainly original, the conclusion, namely, that there is no connection between the relation of supply and demand and prices. That certainly is the only meaning that I can draw from his words, after considering them very carefully. I am not quite sure whether the right hon. Gentleman does think there would be a rise. But after all his opinion—the opinion of any member of the Government—is not so important as that of the actual promoters of the Bill, the miner's representatives, for it is on the action of the miners that the extent or effect of this Bill will depend. The hon. Member for the Ince Division admitted quite frankly that the Bill would cause some increase in the price of coal. In a speech which the hon. Member delivered to a great meeting of miners in Manchester, which has already been referred to by my hon. friend, the hon. Member for the Ince Division told the miners that the effect of this Bill would be to add 6d. a ton to the price of coal on account of wages alone. It is obvious that if there is a rise on account of wages alone, there must, of course, be a rise due to other causes, as well. I know that what is said to the miners by hon. Members is much more important than what they say in this House, for this reason, that it shows what the miners expect as a consequence of the passing of this Bill. It is true that the hon. Member afterwards explained the matter, and said that he had left out of account the effect of co-operation between the masters and the men. I do not know what the hon. Member meant by that. If he meant that there was going to be a great increase in the output per hour, then I challenge him to go down to his constituents and say to the men that the effect will be that the moment this Bill is passed their wages per day will be reduced exactly corresponding to the shorter hours of work. Then I would like the hon. Member to turn to the men paid by results, and say to them: "Your wages will be reduced in the same proportion unless you turn out the same amount of coal in a shorter time." I think after making those statements to the miners the unanimity of which they now boast would very quickly disappear. But, an hon. Member, the Member for Glamorgan, incidentally used an argument to the effect that there would be no rise in the price because there would be no diminution in production. He said that the miners are paid by results, and their wages must be reduced unless they turn out the same quantity of coal in the shorter hours as they do now in the longer hours. Incidentally the hon. Member for Glamorgan claimed a certain amount of the virtue associated with the name of George Washington; but history does not relate that when George Washington became a politician he always found it possible to tell the whole truth. The hon. Member did not tell us another fact which is very material to the situation, namely, that for every sixpence added to the price of coal the miners receive an increase of 5 per cent. There were two methods by which it was suggested the miners would not suffer. One was by working harder and turning out more work in the same time; and the other was by working at the same rate and having higher prices for coal. If I had to choose I should certainly prefer the easier way, and so would the miner. We have all heard the story about the terrible evils which are going to happen from the shortening of hours. I am old enough myself to have seen many instances where the most exaggerated statements were made as to results which never happened. It is not always safe to be sure, and that is the only argument we have heard on this point. I wish, however, to point out that there is a very clear and marked distinction between shortening the hours of labour in an ordinary factory by agreement and shortening the hours of labour of coal-miners by Act of Parliament. I wish hon. Gentlemen opposite would seriously consider that point. Where the hours are shortened in a factory the men know that, if they agree to those shorter hours when they are paid by the piece, their only chance of making the same wages is by turning out more work. But that is not the case with the miners. Coal-mining is distinctly a monopoly, for if masters and men in the coalmining industry combined, they could rule all the other industries. It is a monopoly for this reason also, that whereas the workers in all other trades have only one method of keeping up their wages, which is by turning out more work, the miners have a second method which has been preferred by the miners in the past, and it is the method of keeping up prices by diminishng the output of coal. Now, who are the promoters of this Bill? Its promoters are the Miners' Federation, and, as my hon. friend has already pointed out, one of the objects openly and avowedly expressed in the rules of the Federation is to prevent the adoption of the double shift wherever it is possible to do so. Under these circumstances is it not absurd, and is it not playing with the House of Commons, to come down here and say that they will do all they can to increase the production of coal?

MR. GLOVER (St. Helens)

What the hon. Gentleman has read is not contained in the object of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain.


No, but it is one of the objects of the Miners' Federation of South Wales. Is that not enough? I think I am right in saying that in the long run the interests of the miners will not be served by artificially raising the price of coal and diminishing the supply. Now, what use is this fact to us in estimating the effect of this Bill? We have to consider not what certain representatives think on this subject, but what the majority of the miners think. I am going to use what is not a very pleasant argument, but I use it with, all respect. It is that I do not think we could get a better proof of the truth of this fact than that which has been supplied by the debates on this subject. In previous debates some of the very best speeches against this Bill were made by miners' representatives. They are still here, but they are not making speeches on this subject to-night. Does anyone suggest that they have changed their minds? [AN HON. MEMBER: Not at all.] No, but they have got to obey what has been ordered by the majority of their Federation; and in the same way it is the majority of the miners who will control the output of coal. I do not think that I am in any way exaggerating when I say that the majority of the miners of the country look upon this Bill as a means of getting a larger amount of wages for a smaller amount of work. The Committee, to which reference has so frequently been made, admit that there would be a disastrous rise in price but for some mitigation to which they make reference. I would like to go into the whole subject, but I do not want to weary the House and I will simply refer to one or two points. Those who formed the Committee said that they might look for some mitigation of this diminution of supply in the greater efficiency of the men working shorter hours. That does not seem unreasonable on the face of it, but it should be remembered that the hours given in the Returns are not the hours which the men are actually working now. As a matter of fact, you have to deduct the time taken going up and down the shaft and the walk to the working place, which often takes as much as an hour each way. I agree that that is work, but it is a different, kind of work from what is known as coal hewing. I agree that that kind of work does not tire the muscles and exhaust the men in the same way as coal hewing does. When the men are once down the pit and have gone through this superfluous labour of getting to the face of the coal, then it is in their own interest to turn out every ton of coal they possibly can. When you remember that fact I do not think it is wise to expect that there will be any great increase of efficiency in the work of the men. But we have experience to guide us on this point, and a little experience is worth any amount of speculation. In Lanarkshire, where the coal of Scotland is produced, an eight-hours winding day was introduced in the year 1900. I have had prepared these figures of the output per man in the Lanarkshire mines for the period before and since this change was made. I do not think it would be fair to take a single year on either side, and so I have taken an average number of years, and this is the result. From the year 1897 to the year 1899, the output of coal per man averaged 469 tons; in 1903–5 the output was 416 tons, and these are the last years for which returns are available. In the last years the falling off in the output is slightly greater taking percentages, than the falling off in the time limit, namely, one hour. But that does not represent the whole of the case. Under the eight-hours day in Lanarkshire, if half an hour is lost the men make it up by working the full time; so that under this Bill the falling off per man may be expected to exceed what happens under the voluntary arrangement now in force in Lanarkshire. The only other mitigating circumstance relied upon by the Committee is that there would be a great improvement, for which there was room, in coal-getting appliances. I think that is a very doubtful result. The House has to remember that it is just as much to the interest of every coal owner now to turn out as much as he can, and if he does not use the best machinery now what guarantee does the Bill give that he will be any wiser in the future than he has been in the past? It has already been pointed out that coal-cutting machinery cannot be economically used where there is a rigid day. The Committee point this out and give reasons for it. If, therefore, you establish a rigid day without making any variation in the case of those mines using coal-cutting machinery, that machinery cannot be used. As a matter of fact, no such mitigation is made in this Bill as it stands to deal with the question of coal-cutting. There are old collieries where it would not pay to expend new capital, and in the case of these old collieries, unless they work double shifts, they must go out of the market. Later on the Committee point out that the difficulties of having double shifts are insurmountable. That is the position of these old collieries, and this Bill is going to throw them out of operation. Is that not a serious thing? There are a number of old collieries which may not be taken entirely out of the market, but the Bill would not only remove that means of production and competition, but it would have a great effect on the amount which the consumer would have to pay. I am not going to speculate as to the amount of the rise. It is no doubt the fact that had this Bill been in operation a few months ago the price would have been more than doubled. What are the real facts of the case? The extent of the rise in price does not depend at all on any arithmetical relation to the cause which produces the rise. Take for instance what happened in 1899. The price of coal rose in a few months as much as 70 per cent. What caused that? It was simply because the demand rose very quickly. Everyone who needed coal began to be afraid that there was going to be a shortage, and they all competed with one another and the price rose out of all proportion to the additional cost. The same thing will always happen where there is an increase in the demand. I do not put any figure on it, but I say that anyone who scoffs at the possibility of the demand increasing more quickly than the supply and of a great rise in the price of coal out of all proportion to the additional cost knows very little about the matter. If it is admitted that there is to be a rise in price, it is no answer to claim that it is not going to be a big rise. I ask the House to consider what even a small rise would mean. It would mean that every family in this country—every working man in this country—and a great majority of them, remember, are worse off financially than before—would have to pay more for his coal. That would be the direct effect on the domestic consumer; but the indirect effect on the working class would be greater, for it would mean dearer coal for all our industries. That matter has been elaborately discussed in the Report of the Committee, and I am not going over the same ground now. There is no one engaged in the trade of this country or who has ever been engaged in it, who does not realise that the price of coal lies at the root of the prosperity of all our manufacturing industries. I would like to say something of the trade I am familiar with. Look at the effect which a slight rise in the price of coal has on the iron and steel trade. Iron furnaces have been built where coal and iron are found together. The iron trade now in this country rests exclusively upon a basis of cheap coal. Many ironworks were noted in districts where coal was obtainable, and now they have gone under. Iron-works must be near coal pits if they are to have any chance of surviving in the struggle of competition. If the House would realise that will be an increase in the price of coal, whatever it is—6d. 1s. or 2s. per ton—and what the effect of multiplying that four times would mean, they would understand what it means to the makers when they come to sell finished iron and steel. The iron and steel trade is one of those trades where competition now is keenest, not only in the neutral markets, but in our own home market. When you realise that, no man would be rash enough to say that the passing of this Bill may not have a most serious effect on the iron and steel trades of the country The hon. Member for the Ince division suggested that we on this side of the House are so vigorously opposed to this Bill simply because we were going about hunting for an election cry, and that at last we have found it in the cry "dearer coal." Well, I do not think that remark will have much meaning now. It would have had some meaning two years ago. Now it is very evident that the Gentle-men who sit on the Treasury bench are doing our work for us. We have really no need to go out of our way to forge weapons. They have been constantly forging weapons in greater number and efficacy, and with a greater amount of labour than we could have forged for ourselves. There is not much point in the remark of the hon. Member, but it was interesting and well worth noting for another reason. It shows that the hon. Member realises now that this proposal is not popular in the country, that it is something with which to go to the constituencies. That is a consideration to which, to do them justice, His Majesty's Ministers never turn a deaf ear, and I am bound to say that I hope and believe that the effect of it will be found in the subsequent fate of this Bill.


The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has addressed the House in a carefully reasoned, closely connected, argument, and I feel sure that the House will accord to me a generous measure of indulgence while I endeavour to state generally the main reasons why the Government commend this measure to the support of the House of Commons. The hon. Gentleman in the course of his speech made many complaints against this Bill, and indicated many evil consequences that he thought would flow from it, but, at any rate, whatever may be said against the measure, no one can say that the Government have acted with precipitation in bringing it before the House and the country. It has been debated for twenty years. Parliaments, Tory and Liberal, have affirmed the principle, and I do not suppose there ever was a similar reform put forward in this House upon a greater volume of scientific and accurate information, or after more prolonged, careful, and sustained scrutiny. If the debate on the Second Reading has thrown very little new light on this question, it is because it has been fully and thoroughly explored on former occasions, and not only has it been fully explored, but it is now illuminated by the admirable Report which has been presented by the Departmental Committee appointed last session. Whatever opinions we may hold on this Bill, I should suppose that the whole House would join in expressing its admiration of that document. Its comprehensive and lucid arguments, the moderation of its tone, the judicial, yet practical temper in which it is conceived, places us under deep gratitude to the hon. Member for Gloucester, and others who have collaborated with him in that work. This Report, while exciting approval on all sides, gives no complete satisfaction to any. It balances, and weighs, but it does not finally pronounce. It seeks less at deciding this controversy than at defining the limits within which its economic aspect may be said to lie. I think anyone who reads the Report with attention will feel after careful study that the limits of the economic controversy are moderately restricted. We have to consider on the one hand the gross reduction of one-tenth in the hours of labour of underground workmen, taking the average over all classes of men and all sorts of mines. And on the other hand we have as a set off against that gross reduction certain very important mitigations which are enumerated in the Report, to which I shall very briefly refer. The first economic question which the House has to settle is whether these mitigations which are enumerated will have the effect of overtaking the reduction which is to follow the curtailment of hours, or, if not, how far they will fall short in overtaking that reduction. I do not suppose that any hon. Gentleman is likely to change his opinion on a question of such complexity at this late hour of the debate, and, therefore, I shall only refer by name to these mitigations, bearing in mind how important they are. There are those which depend on the arrangements of employers, and those which depend on the volition of the workers. With regard to the employers there is improved organisation, by methods of haulage and winding, and other means specified in the Report. There is the more extensive application of coal-cutting machinery, and the sinking of new pits with modern appliances, which is progressing in many parts of the country. There is the system of double and multiple shifts. The extension of the system will not be so difficult as has sometimes been supposed. At the present moment, taking the statistics of 1906, a quarter only of the workers below ground are employed in mines in which there is only one coal-getting shift, and in all the mines in which there are two or more coal-getting shifts the first shift preponderates in number greatly over the second, and, therefore, in applying this system of double or multiple shifts, in so far as it is necessary to apply it, we shall not have to face the difficulty of a complete transformation in the methods of working a great many of the mines, but it will be a mere extension of the system which at present exists over a great portion of the coal-getting area. From the side of labour mitigations which may be expected as off-sets to the original reduction are not less important. There is the increased efficiency of which we have instances actually on record in this Report which has followed from the reduction of hours. There is the power of the worker, if he chooses, to increase his earnings on a short day; there is the field of absenteeism, which has always been felt as a reduction of hours, and which amounts to 6.6 per cent. of the working time of the mines, and there is the margin of stoppages through slack trade and other circumstances which at present aggregates 7 per cent. of the working time of the mines. Taking these last two alone, they aggregate 13 per cent. or considerably more as a margin than the reduction of working time which will be caused by the operation of this Bill, even when the full operation be effected. I say first of all then, let the House consider carefully whether from these sources it is possible to overtake the 10 per cent. reduction which, in the first instance, the Bill imposes. It is a question nicely balanced; it offers matter for fair argument this way and that, but taking all the considerations and means of mitigation singly and collectively and their action one on the other, it is surely very difficult to believe that masters and men, organised as they are and working together with good will, and with ample time to accommodate themselves to new arrangements, will not be able from all sources to overtake the comparatively small reduction in hours the Bill will effect. I am inclined to an opinion favourable to the use which will be made of these margins, but even if we assume, and it would be fair and necessary to assume for the sake of the argument, that there will be a net reduction in consequence of the passage of this Bill in the output of coal, that reduction must be temporary and transient in its character. For fifty years there have been continuous changes in the conditions of coal-mining in this country. The hours have been reduced, the conditions of boy labour have been restricted, wages have been raised, compensation has been provided, and precautions against accidents have been multiplied. All these changes, the wisdom of which nobody disputes, from a purely and crudely economic standpoint may be said to militate against production. We have heard many prophecies, but what has been the result? What has been the history of the coal trade? There has been one steady, unbroken expanse of output during the last fifty years. In the period of ten years ending in 1874, 76,000,000 tons were produced, in the next ten years 112,000,000, in the next ten years 145,000,000, in the next ten years 172,000,000, and in the last period of ten years 214,000,000—a figure which has been greatly exceeded since, if the average be taken. If it be admitted that there may be a certain reduction in output as a consequence of this Bill, that reduction must be considered, not by itself, not in isolation, but in relation to the steady and persistent movement of coal production for the last fifty years. To me it seems certain that the small temporary restriction will be lost in the general tendency to expansion, just as the recoiling wave is lost in the advance of the tide. But these arguments are wholly vitiated if it could be shown that the restriction of hours was so violent in its character, so sudden in its application, so rigid in its methods as, not merely to cause a certain shrinkage in the volume of the output, but, if it were large enough, to upset the economy of the coal mining industry. In that case there would be not merely a curtailment which might be mitigated, but we should have injured and possibly crushed the industry; and it is at this point that it is proper for the House to consider the safeguards introduced by the Government into the Bill. These safeguards are of the greatest importance. There is the safeguard of overtime. Sixty hours a year are permitted in districts where men work ten days a fortnight, twelve weeks of time will be one hour longer than the time allowed by the Bill; and where the days laboured are only four in the week, fifteen weeks of full time will be provided out of the provision of overtime. There are provisions with regard to the labour of certain persons permitted to remain below ground and there is a power which relaxes the Bill fully in an emergency which is likely to delay or arrest the general work of the mine, and of course, in any case where there is accident or danger. Finally, if there should be a danger of a corner or an unexpected rise in price, the Government have power by Order in Council to suspend the whole operation of the law in order to prevent anything like a serious crisis arising in the coal trade. I cannot bring myself to believe that with all these safeguards it will not be possible for the coal industry, if given time, to accommodate itself to the new conditions. It was only two years ago that I was invited from these benches to contemplate the approaching ruin of the gold mines of the Rand through the change introduced in the methods of working. That change has been introduced, with the result that working expenses have been reduced, and the standard of improvement has increased. In making the transition, if time had not been allowed to me to tide over the period of change, then, indeed, you might have had that, disaster which hon. Gentlemen opposite have always been ready to apprehend. There is here to be a gradual process of adaptation for which not less than five years is per- mitted. I was very much surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square should have committed himself to the argument which, if it meant anything, meant that the great trade unions would have been doing a more manly thing if they had plunged the industries of the country into chaos and confusion by a general strike, than by coming moderately and patiently every year to demand this reform. The hon. Member for Brighton said that positive reasons, and not negative reasons, ought to be given in support of a measure which regulates the hours of adult labour—that you ought to show, not that it will do no harm, but that good will come from it There are, of course, such reasons in support of this Bill, but they are so obvious that they have not been dwelt upon so much as they might have been. Those reasons are social reasons. We believe that the well-being of the mining population, numbering some 900,000 persons, will be sensibly advanced in respect of health, industrial efficiency, habits of temperance, education, culture, and the general habits of life. We have seen that in the past the shortening of hours has produced beneficial effects in these respects, and we know that in those parts of the country where the hours of coal-mining are shortest, the University extension lecturers find that the miners take an intelligent interest in their lectures—and it is among the miners of Fifeshire that a considerable development in gardening and of saving to enable them to own their own houses, has followed on a longer period of leisure. But the general march of industrial democracy is not towards inadequate hours of work but towards sufficient hours of leisure. That is the movement among the working people all over the country. They are not content that their lives should remain mere alternatives between the bed and the factory. They demand time to look about them, time to see their homes by daylight, to see their children, time to think and read and cultivate their gardens—time, in short, to live. That is very strange, perhaps, but that is the request they have made and are making with increasing force and reason as years pass by. No one is to be pitied for having to work hard, but nature has contrived a special reward for the man who works hard. It gives him an extra relish which enables him to gather a satisfaction in search of which the social idler wanders vainly through the twenty-four hours. This reward, so precious in itself, is snatched away from the man who has won it if the hours of his labour are too long or the conditions of his labour too severe to leave any time for him to enjoy the reward he has won. I have here a quotation from "Principles of Economics," by Professor Marshall, who recently resigned the professorship of Political Economy at Cambridge, which illustrates with great force the point I am submitting without which I contend we cannot make our support of the Bill complete. Professor Marshall says— The influence which the standard of hours of work exerts on economic activities is partially obscured by the fact that the earnings of a human being are commonly counted gross; no special reckoning being made for his wear-and-tear, of which he is himself rather careless. Further, very little account is taken of the evil effects of the overwork of men on the well-being of the next generation. … When the hours and the general conditions of labour are such as to cause great wear-and-tear of body or mind or both, and to lead to a low standard of living; when there has been a want of that leisure, rest and repose, which are among the necessaries for efficiency, then the labour has been extravagant from the point of view of society at large. … And, since material wealth exists for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of material wealth, the replacement of inefficient and stunted human lives by more efficient and fuller lives would be a gain of a higher order than any temporary material loss that might have been occasioned on the way. But it may be said that these arguments are general, and that special circumstances existed to differentiate the case of coal-miners from that of many other Industries in this country. Others have spoken of the heat of the mine, the danger of firedamp, of the cramped position, of the muscular exertions of the miner, at work in galleries perhaps a mile under the ground. I select the single fact of deprivation of natural light. That alone is enough to justify Parliament in directing upon the industry of coal-mining a specially severe scrutiny and introducing regulations of a different character from those elsewhere. The hon. Member for Windsor, who moved the rejection of this Bill, described it as a reckless and foolhardy experiment. I see the miner emerging from the pit after eight hours work with the assertion on his lips that he, at any rate, has paid his daily debt to his fellow men. Is the House of Commons now going to say to him, "You have no right to be here. You have only worked eight hours. Your appearance on the surface of the earth after eight hours' work is, to quote the hon. Member, a dangerous and foolhardy experiment?" Two hours more are demanded in the intere t of economics. I do not wonder a bit at the miners' demand. I cannot find it in my heart to feel the slightest surprise, or indignation, or mental disturbance. My capacity for wonder is entirely absorbed, not by the miners' demand, but by the gentleman in the silk hat and white waistcoat who has the coolness, the calmness, the composure, and the complacency to deny that demand and dispute it with him. The hon. Member for Dulwich—himself a convinced protectionist, with a tariff with 1,200 articles in its schedules in his coat-tail pocket—has given us a delightful lecture on the importance of cheapness of production. Think of the poor consumer. Think of the importance to our industries of cheapness of production. We on this side are great admirers of cheapness of production. We have reminded the hon. Gentleman of it often; but why should cheapness of production always be achieved at the expense of the human factor? The hon. Gentleman spoke with anxiety of the possibility of a rise in miners' wages as a consequence of this Bill. Has he considered the relation of miners' wages to the selling prices of coal? At the pit's mouth the underground-workers' wages are only 60 per cent, of the selling price of coal. Free on board on the Tyne the proportion is only 38 per cent. As coal is sold here in the south of England the proportion is less than one-fifth of the whole price. Is it not clear that there are other factors at least which require consideration before you decide to deal with the human factor which first attracts the right hon. Gentleman? What about mining royalties? In all this talk about the importance of cheap coal to our industries and to the poor consumer we have had no mention of mining royalties. No. We never mention that. That is never heard. Yet, will the House believe it, it is estimated that mining royalties impose a toll of 6 per cent., calculated on the price of coal at the pit's mouth, or considerably more than half the total diminished production which could result from this humane Act of labour legislation. The hon. Gentleman went further, and said: "Why stop here? Why don't your arguments apply elsewhere?" The Member for Cambridgeshire mentioned people whose conditions of life he thought worse than some of those of coalminers. Why stop here, we are asked. Who ever said we would stop here? I welcome and support this measure, not only for its own sake, but much more because it is, I believe, simply the precursor of the general movement which is in progress all over the world, and in other industries besides this, towards a reconciling of the conditions of labour with the well-ascertained laws of science and health. When we are told that because we support this measure we shall be inflicting an injury or injustice on other classes of the population, I say there is a great solidarity among all classes. I believe that when they consider this matter they will see that all legitimate interests are in harmony, that no one class can obtain permanent advantage by undue strain on another, and that in the end their turn will come for shorter hours, and will come the sooner because they have aided others to obtain that which they desire themselves. When the House is asked to contemplate gloomy pictures let them recur to the example of Parliaments gone by. When the Ten Hours Bill was introduced in 1847, a Bill which affected the hours of adult males inferentially, the same lugubrious prophecies

were indulged in from both sides of the House. Distinguished economists came forward to prove that the whole profit of the textile industry was reaped after the eleventh hour. Famous statesmen on both sides spoke strongly against the measure. That Parliament, in 1847, was in the same sort of position as we are to-day in this respect, but how differently circumstanced in other respects. That Parliament did not enjoy the wide and accurate statistical information in every branch of labour which enables us to-day to move forward with discretion and prudence. They were not able to look to the general evidences of commercial security and expansion on which modern politicians can rely. They could not show as we can show, overwhelming examples of owlish prophecies directly disproved; they could not point as we can point to scores of cases where not only increased efficiency, but a positive increase in output has followed the reduction of the hours of labour. The principle was new, the future was vague. But Parliament in those days did not quail. They trusted the broad generous instincts of common sense; they drew a good, bold line; and we to-day enjoy in a more gentle, more humane, more skilful, more sober, and more civilised population the blessings which have followed their acts. Now it is our turn. Let us vote for the Second Reading of this Bill, and in so doing establish a claim for respect from Parliaments to come such as we owe to Parliaments of the past.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 390; Noes, 120. (Division List No. 166.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Bethell, Sir J H. (Essex,Romf'rd
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)
Acland, Francis Dyke Barker, John Black, Arthur W.
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset Boland, John
Agnew, George William Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Boulton, A. C. F.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Barnard, E. B. Bowerman, C. W.
Alden, Percy Barnes, G. N. Brace, William
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Bramsdon, T. A.
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Beale, W. P. Branch, James
Ashton, Thomas Gair Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Brigg, John
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Brocklehurst, W. B.
Astbury, John Meir Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt Brodie, H. C.
Atherley-Jones, L. Benn, W. (T'w'rHamlets, S. Geo) Brooke, Stopford
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Bennett, E. N. Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)
Balcarres, Lord Berridge, T. H. D. Brunner, Rt. Hn Sir J. T (Cheshire
Bryce, J. Annan Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Lehmann, R. C.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Greenwood, Hamar (York) Levy, Sir Maurice
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Lewis, John Herbert
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Griffith, Ellis J. Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
Byles, William Pollard Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Lundon, W.
Cawley, Sir Frederick Hall, Frederick Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Chance, Frederick William Halpin, J. Lynch, H. B.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Ross'ndale Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hardie, J.Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Cleland, J. W. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Clough, William Harmsworth, R L. (Caithn'ss-sh Macpherson, J. T.
Clynes, J. R. Hart-Davies, T. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal,E.)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E. Harwood, George M'Callum, John M.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Haslam, James (Derbyshire) M'Crae, Sir George
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Condon, Thomas Joseph Haworth, Arthur A. M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)
Cooper, G. J. Hay, Hon. Claude George M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Corbett, C H (Sussex, E.Grinst'd Hayden, John Patrick M'Micking, Major G.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hazleton, Richard Maddison, Frederick
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Hedges, A. Paget Mallet, Charles E.
Cowan, W. H. Hemmerde, Edward George Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Henderson, Arthur (Burham) Markham, Arthur Basil
Crean, Eugene Henry, Charles S. Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)
Cremer, Sir William Randal Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon.,S.) Marnham, F. J.
Crooks, William Higham, John Sharp Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)
Crosfield, A. H. Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Masterman, C. F. G.
Crossley, William J. Hodge, John Meagher, Michael
Cullinan, J. Hogan, Michael Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim,N)
Curran, Peter Francis Holland, Sir William Henry Menzies, Walter
Dalmeny, Lord Holt, Richard Durning Micklem, Nathaniel
Dalziel, James Henry Hooper, A. G. Molteno, Percy Alport
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Money, L. G. Chiozza
Davies, M.Vaughan- (Cardigan) Hope,W.Bateman (Somerset,N Mooney, J. J.
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Horniman, Emslie John Morrell, Philip
Devlin, Joseph Horridge, Thomas Gardner Morse, L. L.
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.) Hudson, Walter Murnaghan, George
Dickinson, W. H. (St.Pancras,N Hunt, Rowland Murphy, John (Kerry, East)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Hutton, Alfred Eddison Myer, Horatio
Dillon, John Hyde, Clarendon Nannetti, Joseph P.
Dobson, Thomas W. Idris, T. H. W. Napier, T. B.
Donelan, Captain A. Illingworth, Percy H. Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Nicholls, George
Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) Jackson, R. S. Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Jacoby, Sir James (Alfred) Nolan, Joseph
Dunne,Major E. Martin (Walsall Jardine, Sir J. Norman, Sir Henry
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Jenkins, J. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Johnson, John (Gateshead) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Nussey, Thomas Willans
Erskine, David C. Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea Nuttall, Harry
Essex, R. W. Jones, Leif (Appleby) O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid
Esslemont, George Birnie Jowett, F. W. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Evans, Sir Samuel T. Joyce, Michael O'Brien, William (Cork)
Everett, R. Lacey Kavanagh, Walter M. O'Doherty, Philip
Fenwick, Charles Kearley, Sir Hudson E. O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Ferens, T. R. Kekewich, Sir George O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Kettle, Thomas Michael O'Dowd, John
Ffrench, Peter Kilbride, Denis O'Grady, J.
Findlay, Alexander Kincaid-Smith, Captain O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Flavin, Michael Joseph King, Alfred John (Knutsfotd) O'Kelly,James (Roscommon,N
Flynn, James Christopher Laidlaw, Robert O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Parker, James (Halifax)
Fuller, John Michael F. Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Partington, Oswald
Fullerton, Hugh Lambert, George Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Gill, A. H. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Gladstone,Rt.Hn Herbert John Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester)
Glen-Coats, Sir T.Renfrew,W.) Lea, Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras, E) Perks, Sir Robert William
Glover, Thomas Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton
Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester) Verney, F. W.
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Scott, A H (Ashton-under-Lyne Villiers, Ernest Amherst
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Sears, J. E. Vivian, Henry
Pirie, Duncan V. Seddon, J. Wadsworth, J.
Pollard, Dr. Seely, Colonel Walker, H. De R.(Leicester)
Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Shackleton, David James Walsh, Stephen
Power, Patrick Joseph Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Walters, John Tudor
Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central) Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick,B.) Walton, Joseph
Price, Sir Robert J.(Norfolk, E.) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Sheehy, David Ward, W. Dudley (South'mpt'n)
Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Sherwell, Arthur James Waring, Walter
Pullar, Sir Robert Shipman, Dr. John G. Warner, Thomas Courtenay, T.
Radford, G. H. Silcock, Thomas Ball Wason, Rt. Hn E (Clackmannan
Rainy, A. Rolland Simon, John Allsebrook Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Randles, Sir John Scurrah Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Raphael, Herbert H. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Smyth, Thomas F.(Leitrim,S.) White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro') Soares, Ernest J. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Reddy, M. Spicer, Sir Albert White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.) Whitehead, Rowland
Redmond, William (Clare) Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Rendall, Athelstan Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.) Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.
Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th Steadman, W. C. Wiles, Thomas
Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Wilkie, Alexander
Richardson, A. Stewart,-Smith, D. (Kendal) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Strachey, Sir Edward Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n
Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Roberts, Sir John H.(Denbighs) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) Williams, A.
Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradf'rd Summerbell, T. Wills, Arthur Walters
Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Sutherland, J. E. Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Robinson, S. Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)
Robson, Sir William Snowdon Taylor, Theodore C.(Radcliffe) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Roche, Augustine (Cork) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Roche, John (Galway, East) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)
Roe, Sir Thomas Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Rose, Charles Day Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Rowlands, J. Thompson, J W H (Somerset, E.) Winfrey, R.
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark) Yoxall, James Henry
Russell, T. W. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton
Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Thorne, William (West Ham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Tomkinson, James Joseph Pease and Master of
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Torrance, Sir A. M. Elibank.
Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Toulmin, George
Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Anson, Sir William Reynell Ceceil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gordon, J.
Arkwright, John Stanhope Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Goulding, Edward Alfred
Arnold-Forster, Rt Hn. Hugh O. Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Gretton, John
Ashley, W. W. Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. (Worc. Guinness, Walter Edward
Aubrey- Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Clive, Percy Archer Haddock, George B.
Baldwin, Stanley Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd
Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (City Lond.) Cory, Sir Cllifford John Harris, Frederick Leverton
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Courthope, G. Loyd Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Cox, Harold Helmsley, Viscount
Baring, Capt. Hn G (Winchester) Criag, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Hill, Sir Clement
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Craik, Sir Henry Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Beck, A. Cecil Dalrymple, Viscount Houston, Robert Paterson
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Dixon-Hartland, Sir FredDixon Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H
Bellairs, Carlyon Doughty, Sir George Kerry, Earl of
Bowles, G. Stewart Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Keswick, William
Bridgeman, W. Clive Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan Kimber, Sir Henry
Bull, Sir William James Faber, George Dension (York) King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Butcher, Samuel Henry Fardell, Sir T. George Lane-Fox, G. R.
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Fell, Arthur Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)
Carlile, E. Hildred Forster, Henry William Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gardner, Ernest Lockwood, Rt Hn. Lt-. Col. A. R
Castlereagh, Viscount Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)
Cave, George Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham) Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Dublin, S)
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Remnant, James Farquharson Tuke, Sir John Batty
Lowe, Sir Francis William Renton, Leslie Walker, Col. W.H.(Lancashire)
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Ridsdale, E. A. Walrond, Hon. Lionel
MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
M'Arthur, Charles Ronaldshay, Earl of Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Magnus, Sir Philip Salter, Arthur Clavell Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Mason, James F. (Windsor) Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D. Winterton, Earl
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Moore, William Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Morpeth, Viscount Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Younger, George
Morrison-Bell, Captain Stanier, Beville
Nield, Herbert Starkey, John R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Alexander Acland-Hood and
Parkes, Ebenezer Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ. Viscount Valentia.
Ratcliff, Major R. F. Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Rawlinson, J. Frederick Peel Thornton, Percy M.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a committee

of the Whole House."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)

The House divided:—Ayes, 113; Noes, 391. (Division List No. 167.)

Anson, Sir William Roynell Faber, George Denison (York) Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Arkwright, John Stanhope Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Moore, William
Ashley, W. W. Fardell, Sir T. George Morpeth, Viscount
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Fell, Arthur Morrison-Bell, Captain
Baldwin, Stanley Forster, Henry William Nield, Herbert
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.) Gardner, Ernest O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Parkes, Ebenezer
Banner, John S. Harmood- Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham) Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester Gordon, J. Rawlinson, John Frederick Pee D
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Goulding, Edward Alfred Remnant, James Farquharson
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Gretton, John Renton, Leslie
Beck, A. Cecil Guinness, Walter Edward Ridsdale, E. A.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Haddock, George B. Roberts, S .(Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bellairs, Carlyon Harris, Frederick Leverton Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bowles, G. Stewart Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bridgeman, W. Clive Helmsley, Viscount Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Bull, Sir William James Hill, Sir Clement Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Houston, Robert Paterson Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hunt, Rowland Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Castlereagh, Viscount Kerry, Earl of Stanier, Beville
Cave, George Keswick, William Starkey, John R.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Kimber, Sir Henry Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Thornton, Percy M.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A. (Worc. Lane-Fox, G. R. Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Clive, Percy Archer Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Cory, Sir Clifford John Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R. Watt, Henry A.
Courthope, G. Loyd Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Cox, Harold Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Winterton, Earl
Craik, Sir Henry Lowe, Sir Francis William Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Cross, Alexander Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Dalrymple, Viscount MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Younger, George
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon M'Arthur, Charles
Doughty, Sir George Magnus, Sir Philip TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Mason, James F. (Windsor) Alexander Acland-Hood and
Duncan, Robt. (Lanark, Govan) Middlemore, John Throgmorton Viscount Valentia.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Agnew, George William Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Ainsworth, John Stirling Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)
Acland, Francis Dyke Alden, Percy Ashton, Thomas Gair
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N
Astbury, John Meir Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Horniman, Ernslie John
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh,S.) Horridge, Thomas Gardner
Balcarres, Lord Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Dickinson, W. H.(St. Pancras, N Hudson, Walter
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Dobson, Thomas W. Hutton, Alfred Eddison
Barker, John Donelan, Captain A. Hyde, Clarendon
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Idris, T. H. W.
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) Illingworth, Percy H.
Barnard, E. B. Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Barnes, G. N. Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall Jackson, R. S.
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Jacoby, Sir James Alfred
Beale, W. P. Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Jardine, Sir J.
Beauchamp, E. Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Jenkins, J.
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Erskine, David C. Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Essex, R. W. Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt Esslemont, George Birnie Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo. Evans, Sir Samuel T. Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Bennett, E. N. Everett, R. Lacey Jowett, F. W.
Berridge, T. H. D. Fenwick, Charles Joyce, Michael
Bethell, Sir J. H.(Essex, Romf'rd Ferens, T. R. Kavanagh, Walter M.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Ferguson, R. C. Munro Kearley, Sir Hudson E.
Black, Arthur W. Ffrench, Peter Kekewich, Sir George
Boland, John Findlay, Alexander Kettle, Thomas Michael
Boulton, A. C. F. Flavin, Michael Joseph Kilbride, Denis
Bowerman, C. W. Flynn, James Christopher Kincaid-Smith, Captain
Brace, William Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter King, Alfred John (Knutsford)
Bramsdon, T. A. Fuller, John Michael F. Laidlaw, Robert
Branch, James Fullerton, Hugh Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)
Brigg, John Gibb, James (Harrow) Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)
Brocklehurst, W. B. Gill, A. H. Lambert, George
Brodie, H. C. Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert Jn. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)
Brooke, Stopford Glen-Coats,Sir T. (Renfrew, W.) Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh Glover, Thomas Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)
Brunner, Rt. Hn Sir J. T. (Ch'shire Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington
Bryce, J. Annan Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Lehmann, R. C.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Greenwood, Hamar (York) Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Levy, Sir Maurice
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Griffith, Ellis J. Lewis, John Herbert
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
Byles, William Pollard Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Lundon, W.
Cawley, Sir Frederick Hall, Frederick Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Chance, Frederick William Halpin, J. Lynch, H. B.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Cheetham, John Frederick Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Cleland, J. W. Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh Macpherson, J. T.
Clough, William Hart-Davies, T. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Clynes, J. R. Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Harwood, George M'Callum, John M.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Haslam, James (Derbyshire) M'Crae, Sir George
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Haworth, Arthur A. M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hayden, John Patrick M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Cooper, G. J. Hazleton, Richard M'Micking, Major G.
Corbett, C. H. (Suss'x, E. Grinst'd Hedges, A. Paget Maddison, Frederick
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hemmerde, Edward George Mallet, Charles E.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Cowan, W. H. Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Markham, Arthur Basil
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Henry, Charles S. Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)
Crean, Eugene Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Marnham, F. J.
Cremer, Sir William Randal Higham, John Sharp Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)
Crooks, William Hobart, Sir Robert Masterman, C. F. G.
Crosfield, A. H. Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Meagher, Michael
Crossley, William J. Hodge, John Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N)
Cullinan, J. Hogan, Michael Menzies, Walter
Curran, Peter Francis Holland, Sir William Henry Micklem, Nathaniel
Dalmeny, Lord Holt, Richard Durning Molteno, Percy Alport
Dalziel, James Henry Hooper, A. G. Money, L. G. Chiozza
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Mooney, J. J. Redmond, William (Clare) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Morrell, Philip Rendall, Athelstan Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Morse, L. L. Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Murnaghan, George Richardson, A. Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Thompson, J W. H. (Somerset, E
Myer, Horatio Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton
Nannetti, Joseph P. Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Napier, T. B. Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradf'rd Tomkinson, James
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Torrance, Sir A. M.
Nicholls, George Robinson, S. Toulmin, George
Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r Robson, Sir William Snowdon Trevelyan, Charles, Philips
Nolan, Joseph Roche, Augustine (Cork) Verney, F. W.
Norman, Sir Henry Roche, John (Galway, East) Villiers, Ernest Amherst
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Roe, Sir Thomas Vivian, Henry
Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Rogers, F. E. Newman Wadsworth, J.
Nussey, Thomas Willans Rose, Charles Day Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Nuttall, Harry Rowlands, J. Walsh, Stephen
O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Walters, John Tudor
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Russell, T. W. Walton, Joseph
O'Brien, William (Cork) Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent
O'Doherty, Philip Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n
O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Waring, Walter
O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
O'Dowd, John Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan
O'Grady, J. Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Scott, A. H.(Ashton under Lyne Waterlow, D. S.
O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N Sears, J. E. Wedgwood, Josiah C.
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Seaverns, J. H. White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Parker, James (Halifax) Seddon, J. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Partington, Oswald) Seely, Colonel White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Shackleton, David James White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Pearce, William (Limehouse) Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Whitehead, Rowland
Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester) Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax
Perks, Sir Robert William Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.
Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton Sherwell, Arthur James Wiles, Thomas
Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Shipman, Dr. John G. Wilkie, Alexander
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Silcock, Thomas Ball Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n
Pirie, Duncan V. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Pollard, Dr. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Williamson, A.
Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Soares, Ernest J. Wills, Arthur Walters
Power, Patrick Joseph Spicer, Sir Albert Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Price, C. L. (Edinb'gh, Central) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Price, Sir Robert J.(Norfolk, E.) Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Steadman, W. C. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N)
Pullar, Sir Robert Stewart, Halley (Grennock) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Radford, G. H. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Rainy, A. Rolland Strachey, Sir Edward Winfrey, R.
Randles, Sir John Scurrah Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Yoxall, James Henry
Raphael, Herbert H. Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Summerbell, T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.
Rea,Walter Russell (Scarboro') Sutherland, J. E. Joseph Pease and Master of
Reddy, M. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Elibank.
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Taylor, John W. (Durham)

Bill committed to a Standing Committee.