HC Deb 19 July 1912 vol 41 cc690-769

Order read for resuming adjourned Debate on Question [10th June], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed. Debate resumed.


I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

The last time this Bill was debated I made a speech on that occasion which I was not able to complete, but perhaps the House will permit me to recapitulate and summarise the arguments I then used against the Bill. It seems to me that the worst part of this Mental Deficiency Bill is its drafting by the Home Office. I do not mean to say that the drafting is not sufficiently exact, or that it would not, if passed into an Act of Parliament, be a very effective Act of Parliament. What I complain of is that the Bill appears to be drafted by the Home Office simply and solely from the point of view of efficiency instead of having an eye to the liberty of the subject or the freedom and rights of the people whose liberties it is proposed to take away. There is an entire absence throughout the whole of the Bill of any suggestion that it would not be perfectly right and just on the part of the State to make what regulations they like for the lives of these people, and to put people in prison for life, although they have committed no crime. The safeguards are fair to the ratepayers, fair to the property of the people who are segregated for life, and fair to the delators who select these unfortunate people, and get them imprisoned. The safeguards for the people themselves are remarkable by their absence from the Bill. That is the sort of spirit which makes one very cautious indeed about accepting a measure which betrays that spirit. In the second place, I think it is most important that the House should put its foot down firmly on the growing authority of specialists in the legislation of the country. You cannot argue the question. You are not on the same footing with them. Public opinion is absolutely valueless and unable to cope with the dictum of the specialist. We are setting up an inquisition which is more dangerous than the old inquisition. On the old inquisition as to opinion you could bring public opinion to bear, but in regard to the inquisition as to mental deficiency, which is the inquisition of the specialist or the doctor, you have no public opinion to bring to bear, because you have no grounds on which to argue. The process of handing over to a county committee all these enormous powers of black-listing people is really the power of selecting from amongst these black-listed people the victims who are to be locked up, and the fact that you are locking them up and putting all the onus and responsibility of it upon the doctors in those institutions themselves, seems to me to be a step which requires very carefully watching indeed before this House sanctions it.

This is a case of the danger of perpetual imprisonment. The Home Secretary said it was not a case of perpetual imprisonment. But it is. In the first place, a man is sent to one of these homes under a process which I will subsequently describe, and he is only locked up for a year. At the end of that year his case is to be reconsidered, and if he is again remitted for a further period, it is for five years, and his case comes up again at the end of that period, and continues popping up every five years. When he is examined at the end of the first year, or each subsequent five years, a report is drawn up and carried out by the officer of the home itself—a home which is conducted for private gain—and there is no guarantee whatever that the doctor will not be indirectly influenced by the fact that if he reports a man or woman as fit to leave the home the institution will lose a patient and lose a source of income coming from the Government. Then the report is not a report on any special case; it is merely a general report made to the Commissioners on all the cases each year. The whole scheme is so devised as to make it more and more difficult for a man or woman to escape from one of these homes to which he or she has been sent. Thus it is made, to my mind, a sentence of perpetual imprisonment on the people sent to those homes. It has been truly said that there will be many cases in future of people in the Courts of the country who will beg to be sentenced to hard labour rather than be acquitted, because if acquitted they would be sent to imprisonment for life. If once a man or woman is introduced into the black list, then that man or woman can be sent to imprisonment for life by the magistrate, without any chance of appeal whatever, in lieu of being convicted upon even the smallest offence. Anyone who is charged before the police magistrate, though not convicted, can be sentenced in this way.

Another point I should like to summarise is this: We, as politicians, ought not to be too much bound by the Report of the Royal Commission. After all, the Royal Commissioners are not politicians, they are not responsible to the electors of this country, and what they say is not final. But what we say is final, and it is of the utmost importance that we should look at this question not simply from the point of view of expediency; it is not a question only of what is most economical to the ratepayers of the country, of what is good for the country, or for the welfare of society as a whole; we are trustees for the freedom and rights of British citizens, and it is our duty to look at this question not only from the point of view of the possible or probable benefits to society if you only eliminate the unfit and carefully breed up a people physically and mentally well equipped. That is not the only side to be considered; we have also to consider the fundamental basis of British liberties, and see that it is not tampered with, however good the object put forward may be. There is possible ground for compromise in connection with this Bill. The present system of dealing with the feeble-minded in this country is a purely voluntary matter. The homes are voluntary, with some little assistance from the rates; but practically the whole organisation of this country in regard to the mentally deficient, and for looking after them when they have attained the age of puberty, is in voluntary hands. Under this Bill you are taking a large stride forward, and not only bringing in State aid to assist the voluntary institutions, but you are going further and saying that the State aid must be accompanied by compulsion and the compulsory segregation of the unfit. Surely that is a step which is not justified by the present position of affairs. We have not arrived at any intermediate stage of giving State assistance and of providing State homes, so long as these people are free to leave those homes after a certain period of detention, and it seems to me there is a general possibility of compromise. There are many who regret deeply that the National Insurance Act was compulsory, and who are sorry that the Act did not merely provide assistance to the friendly societies to deal with these matters, without compelling the people to be thrifty. There were many who thought that the Government took too large a step forward when they skipped the State assistance to thrift and went on to make thrift compulsory. Here it seems to me that the Government is in danger of making exactly the same mistake of jumping too far forward. I would strongly urge that this Bill might be made perfectly satisfactory if the compulsory part of it was left out, and if people were allowed, after a certain period of detention, to escape from these prisons and leave them voluntarily, and retain in the Bill that Government assistance and grant of public money, and I am afraid there will have to be a large Grant, and retain assistance to every voluntary scheme of dealing with the mentally defective, and go further and provide State homes, where those people will be looked after on the very best lines. Do not leave out that stage and spring straight away to compulsory segregation of the unfit, as though those unfortunate people had no rights, just as other citizens have. On those lines, I do hope it is possible still for the Government to compromise. I am quite confident that so long as compulsion remains in this Bill you may whittle down the Clauses and you may make them a little less harsh here or put a safeguard in there, but so long as compulsion remains, so long as you can say that this Bill, as it is at present, is a Bill for putting people who have committed no crime whatever to prison for life, so long as that remains, I do not believe it will ever find its way on to the Statute Book of this country.

I go on to deal with the Bill itself, as so far I have been recapitulating arguments used on the last occasion. By Clause 8 you will see that the authority to administer this Bill is to be a committee of the county council, which is to have a Mentally Defective Committee, just as it has an Asylums Committee. That committee will perform one principal function. It will, of course, supervise the homes, but its principal function is to have a register of all those people to whom the term "defective" may at any time be applied. They are to draw up a "black list," with the help of the overseers of the poor and the medical practitioners, and, no doubt, the police. They are to prepare that black list by a process of delation among the inhabitants of the country. Under Clause 12 you will see that the duty of the local authority is— to ascertain what persons within their area are defectives; to keep such persons under supervision. As soon as a man is ascertained to be defective he is entered on the black list and those people are, so to speak, shadowed by the police, the overseer of the poor, and by all the excellently intentioned bodies who look after the poor of this country with such very great attention. Then having kept them under supervision they are to keep the register of those defective persons, and they are to provide suitable accommodation, and they are to employ sufficient officers to carry out those services. A vast new department is to be created in order to compile this black list, in order to carry out this process of delation and to keep a register, and to supervise those people who, while they are absolutely free to walk about the country, are to have this department looking after them. There is then the second part of Clause 12, and I do not think cynicism could go further. That part is devoted entirely to providing safeguards for the ratepayers, but you will not find a single safeguard for those unfortunate people who are to be black-listed, shadowed, and shamed. By Clause 13 children are dealt with in the same way. The children who are attending school are entered upon the list, and provision is made further on for the automatic drafting of those children as they reach the age of sixteen into those homes where they are absolutely segregated for the rest of their lives. There is no bringing of them before a magistrate, as, when they reach the age of sixteen, those unfortunate children are separated away from their families, not allowed to be visited by their parents, or to go out and see anybody. Under Clause 13 all those children are to be in the charge of this committee and entered on the list. By Clause 17, which is the real backbone of this Bill, you will see what the Bill really does. That Clause gives a very clear statement of the people who are to come within the purview of the Act. Subsection (2) details the people who are to be described as defective, but as the apologists for the Home Office pointed out over and over again the defective qua defective is not dealt with under the Bill. It is clear if they are defective, and are found wandering about under the first part of Clause 17. I will deal with the people who are to be described as defective and entered on this black list, because this Act will be a terrible thing, for as soon as a man is entered on the list he is deprived of all his rights as a free citizen; he is not sent to prison, but he is liable to be sent at any moment. Therefore it is an important thing to see what it is that turns a free British subject into a defective within the meaning of this Act. By Sub-section (2) you will see that the first class of persons are idiots, and there can be no doubt they are defective people who want special treatment. By paragraph (c) of that Sub-section you will see that defectives are:—

"Feeble-minded persons—that is to say, persons who may be capable of earning their living under favourable circumstances, but are incapable, through mental defect existing from birth or from an early age,

  1. (i) of competing on equal terms with their normal fellows or
  2. (ii) of managing themselves and their affairs with ordinary prudence."
Is it possible that there could be a more sweeping definition? There are a great number of Members in this House, and very nearly half the people of the country, because I presume their normal fellows must be the average, who are not capable of competing on equal terms with the average man, as otherwise he would not be an average man. That definition is strong enough, but if hon. Members will turn to the Report of the Royal Commission which sat on this subject they will find where that definition of feeble-minded persons finds its place, for the definition is taken almost word for word from the recommendation in the Report. They will find a foot-note in which the doctors state that they are willing to accept that definition of feeble-minded persons, because they understand that it includes and covers all people who are described or may be described as either facile or prodigal. If everybody who is facile or who is prodigal is to be included as feebleminded persons, and if everybody who is unable to compete on equal terms with their fellows, or who is incapable of managing themselves and their affairs with ordinary prudence, and if those people are to be put on the black list it will be a very, very amazing list and a very costly department which will require to be kept up to date. Against being entered on this black list there is no appeal whatever. There is no possibility of protest against these officials putting anybody's name upon the list. But I have not yet finished my description of the people who are mentally defective within the meaning of the Act.

Paragraph (d); "Persons who from an early age display some mental defect coupled with strong vicious or criminal propensities on which punishment has little or no deterrent effect."

That includes a good many children. A great many people anxious to get rid of their children may be induced to take advantage of that definition to get their children sent away.

Paragraph (e): "Mentally infirm persons—that is to say, persons who through mental infirmity arising from age"—not infirmity which has existed from birth—"or the decay of their faculties are incapable of managing themselves or their affairs."

Are all the old people whose faculties decay after they are seventy years of age to be locked up in the interests of society, whether they can carry on their lives usefully or not? These persons are to be entered on the black list as defective persons, and any persons entered on that list, if on any occasion they are brought before a magistrate and charged with any offence, whether they are guilty or not, can be sent to a feeble-minded home for the rest of their days. I have tried to show the people who are to be black-listed or delated; I will now show what must happen before they are put away. They may be dealt with if they "are found wandering about." A good many rich people might be found wandering about. But the whole of this measure applies only to the poor; it does not apply to the rich at all. Defectives "who are charged with the commission of any offence"—charged, mind you, not found guilty—are to be put away. Of course, people who are under going sentences of imprisonment or penal servitude, or serving a period in a reformatory or an industrial school, if they are on the black list, are done for at once. Paragraph (d) deals with children who have been in a defective school up to the age of sixteen. Defectives who are discharged from special schools on attaining the age of sixteen are to be dealt with under this Act. If the Local Education authority recommends that the children who go through defective schools should be dealt with under this Act, they will be so dealt with automatically, without any appeal on the part of the parents whatever.


The hon. Member said that there would be no proceedings before a magistrate in their case. That is the point I want him to make good.


The hon. Member reads the Bill in a different way from what I do. As I read the Bill, anyone who conies from such a school, so long as the county council passes a resolution to that effect, will automatically go into a defective home. That is what the promoters desire, and I understand that that is what is embodied in the Bill. Paragraph (e) includes defectives—

"in whose case it is considered desirable in the interests of the community that they should be deprived of the opportunity of procreating children."

That is about the most abominable thing ever suggested. It is directed simply against unfortunate women who have babies and who do not take precautions against having them. It is a Bill against prostitution under the guise of a Bill to protect people who are feeble-minded. Any persons who are on the black list, if the overseers of the poor or the police consider it desirable that they should be deprived of the opportunity of bearing children, are to be locked up for life, or else, I suppose, undergo an operation which will prevent their having any more children. Paragraph (f): Any one who is on the black list and

"in whose case such other circumstances exist as may be specified in any Order made by the Secretary of State."

Anybody who gets on the black list has only to avoid paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e). The Secretary of State may at any moment by a stroke of the pen invent a new crime which will deprive the individual of all his rights of citizenship and send him to prison for life. I think that that Sub-section, at any rate, might have been omitted from a Bill drafted by the Home Office. Are they not taking to themselves enough powers without adding this extreme attack on the liberties of the individual? Clause 17 is the backbone of the Bill. We have already had indications from the Home Office that they are willing, now that public opinion has been aroused on this question, to strike out a good many of these definitions. But our strongest objection is to the fact that people, when they have once been sent to these homes, are not to be allowed to leave so long as the doctors desire to keep them there. That is the kernel of our objection to the Bill, and however much the Home Office may be willing to accept alterations in Clause 17, it will not remove our fundamental objection to the compulsory segregation for life of people who get within these meshes of this measure. Clause 18 makes it perfectly clear that the persons who are to operate this Act are to be the overseers of the poor. "Overseer" is a beautiful word; it will come to mean the tyrant of the poor, the man who is able with the assistance of the police to inaugurate a perfect reign of terror amongst the people who are likely to come within the terms of the Act. It is the same word—overseer of the slave, overseer of the poor. All these Bills are meant for the very poor. Clause 19 is the saving clause for the rich. The rich are always omitted from measures of this sort. Defectives liable to be dealt with under this Act may be "placed under guardianship." Where there is sufficient money, guardianship is all right. It is only the people who have no relations to find the money that are to be sent to prison. Under Clause 20 you get the machinery by which these people will be incarcerated. Next to Clause 17, I think Clause 20 is the most important in the Bill:—

"Any relative or friend—"

I like the word "friend"—

"of a person alleged to be defective"—

that is to say whose name appears on a list—

"and subject to be dealt with under this Act, or an officer of the local authority authorised in that behal—"

That is a new departure,

"may make a private application—"

[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] When you are handing over numbers of people to overseers of the poor, new Commissioners who are going to look after these defectives, surely at least you might allow the application to be made in public so that the Press can be present!

"may make a private application by petition to a judicial authority for such an Order as is hereinafter in this Section mentioned:

"Provided that if the petition is not presented by a relative—"

That is to say, if a friend presents it,

"or by an officer of the local authority, it shall contain a statement of the reasons."

If it is presented by a relative or an officer of the local authority there is no difficulty at all, but if a friend presents it

"it shall contain a statement of the reason why the petition is not presented by a relative, and of the connection of the petitioner with the person to whom the petition relates."

We come to Sub-section (2)—

"Where such a petition is presented it shall be accompanied by two medical certificates."

It need not be accompanied by two medical certificates, but only by a certificate, if the

"alleged defective has refused to submit 'herself' to medical examination."

This Act deals with women and not with men.


Oh, yes.


It is not intended to. So that wherever a person refuses to undergo a medical examination then all that is necessary is that the friend, or relative, or an overseer of the poor, shall himself sign a certificate that A.B. told him he would not be examined, and in that case no medical certificate is required.


Hear, hear.


I do not believe the people of this country know in the least what this Clause means. The petitioner has also got to sign a statutory declaration and get somebody else to sign it to the effect that the person is a defective within the meaning of this Act. I suppose anybody can do that, because the meaning of the Act is sufficiently vague and wide. He has to state the class of defectives to which he is alleged to belong, but if he makes a mistake about that and the magistrates think there ought to be another declaration, all he has to do is to sign a certificate first that So-and-So would not be excepted, and secondly, that So-and-So was a defective within the meaning of this Clause 17, which may include nearly half of the community. This private application is made. What is the next step? Probably the person of whom the application is about to be made knows nothing whatever about it. It is not said that he must be informed that this application is about to be made. In Sub-section (3) you will find that the first thing he knows is the arrival of the summons saying that he must appear before a bench of magistrates to answer the application that has to be made,

"Upon the presentation of the petition, and such documents as aforesaid, the judicial authority shall either visit the person to whom the petition relates—"

Of course they would not do that in an ordinary case.

"or summon him to appear before him to show cause why an order should not be made against him."

He goes. The proceedings again are conducted in private. [An HON. MEMBER: "They may be conducted in private."] He is not allowed the option. The Court has to decide whether or not they shall be carried on in private or public.


No, no.


Read Sub-section (4).


"Proceedings before the judicial authority 'may' in any case, if the judicial authority thinks fit, and shall, if so desired by the person to whom the petition relates, be conducted in private."

But it is quite clear that the person to whom it relates has no right to demand that the matter shall be held in public. It depends entirely upon the judicial authority as to whether there must or must not be a public application. I am sorry to have to deal with this Bill in such a disjointed fashion. It is a very long Bill, and one does not know quite how to read it consecutively. The main point about the measure is this: You have first of all the local authority drawing up a list of the people who are defective within the meaning of this Act. They draw this up with the assistance of a new department that they are to create, with the assistance of the police and with the assistance of the overseers to the poor. By the way, I should have added that a committee of the local authority has got to co-opt on its membership two medical practitioners—specialists on this subject. I think there ought to be a special provision that medical practitioners should not be permitted. It seems to me that the doctor is going to be the chief person under this Act. If there is anyone who ought to be precluded under this Act it ought to be the doctors, particularly those who have their own theories and fancies as to many of these matters.

Anyone who appears on the list drawn up by the local authority, whatever for, comes before the magistrates to be segregated for life. If they get in contact with the law in any way, if they happen to be children in the schools, if they happen to be people considered undesirable that they should have children at all, they get locked up for life. The procedure under which they are wholly segregated is a procedure which takes no trouble to see that the interests of the person is considered. It simply regards the interests of the State. These defectives are sentenced in private irrevocably, and without any appeal whatsoever. Once they get into these homes they are reported on at stated periods, in a year in the first case, and every five years subsequently. There is no trouble taken to see that they shall be actually examined by the medical authorities. They are reported upon by the medical authorities of the institution. They are reported on in bulk and not individually. Throughout the whole of this measure anyone who reads it will see that it is not conceived in the interests of the feebleminded persons themselves, but that it is conceived in what I should call the worst traditions of the Home Office.


Hear, hear.


The Home Office is an admirable institution from one point of view. Those in it are kind enough to the poor, but they are very firm. They are very apt to consider the whole of the population as if they were children who want guiding at every step. That is natural. It is the Home Office business to interfere and to protect people. They are doing that all their lives. They think that their duty is far more important than liberty or justice. It is natural for them to be firm and kind, and disregard liberty. You can almost hear them saying, "I know it is hard, but you are inconvenient to society and must go to prison for life." That is the Home Office attitude. Their view is the convenience of society; the comfort of society. Our views as Members of Parliament are something far different from that. The convenience of society comes second; the liberty of British citizens first.


I have very much pleasure in seconding the Amendment moved by the hon. Gentleman opposite for the rejection of this Bill. I think I am right in saying that this is the 19th July, and that in a fortnight we are going to rise for a well-earned holiday, and that we are to come back again in October, and, as I presume, we shall not sit on Christmas Day, that will leave us less than three months for legislation before the end of the year. The Government have brought before the House three momentous Bills, which, with one exception, have only been read a first time, and the one that has been read a second time the Committee stage has only been advanced as far as the first Clause. In that state of public business this Bill of sixty-eight Clauses is presented to us, and I defy anyone who has not read it with very great care for at least four or five days to thoroughly appreciate what is contained in this Bill. Yet we are asked, in addition to all the other business we have on hand, to deal with a Bill of this description, which puts into the hands of the Home Secretary such powers as that he might confine everybody who is disagreeable to him or whom he might like to remove from the right and liberty and power of exercising his own judgment on matters connected with this country. I do not deny that there are a certain number of people in this country who are mentally deficient, and who require to be taken care of by somebody else; but I say it is a very lamentable occurrence that it should be necessary at all in this year 1912 to bring forward a Bill of this description. For the last forty years we have been educating the people, and we now spend, I think, including the money contributed by the rates, something like £25,000,000 a year on education. We are blessed, or cursed, as some of us think, with the Government, whose sole desire is, so they say, to advance the interests of the masses, and who have been passing all sorts of legislation providing for the sanitary welfare of the people, for the feeding of necessitous children, and doing all sorts of things of that kind; and now we are confronted with a Bill which practically says that the result of all this social reform legislation—I use that word for want of a better—I do not know what social reform is—


You have a Committee on your own side investigating it.

2.0 P.M.


Yes, but they do not know anything about it. After all this social reform legislation the Government come forward to-day and say, "Here is a Bill which is absolutely necessary to look after a portion of the population who are not able to look after themselves." Would it not be far better to have saved this £25,000,000 which we have spent on education, and remained in the state in which we were forty years ago, when this sort of legislation was not required? I will deal now for a few moments with the machinery which is going to be set up under this Bill. I have taken the trouble to ascertain from one or two boards of guardians with whom I am more or less acquainted some information upon this Bill, and I have found that they all object to the creation of another authority. They tell me that at present the case of the mentally deficient who are not lunatics is looked after by the boards of guardians, and I have heard from a variety of people they are the most capable people to look after them. Now you are going to set up another authority, at very great expense, and you are going to take them away from the care of those people who, according to their own statement, have some knowledge of the matter, and to set up a local authority to look after the mentally deficient. In my own Constituency, the City of London, there is, I am told, considerable objection to this Bill upon that ground. The council's jurisdiction is taken away, and another authority is to be set up. I am told by the authorities of the City that, in their opinion, the border line between lunacy and mental deficiency, as denned in the Bill, would largely depend upon the opinion of the examining medical officer, and, if friction and difficulty are to be avoided, the working of both classes should, as far as possible, be placed in the same hands. That seems to me to be a reasonable and proper view to take of the matter. I venture to say, if the Government are really anxious to do something in this direction and on this question, which no doubt touches most important interests, we ought to have a considerable time in a new Session to devote to this work. We ought not to be asked to pass legislation of this sort without due consideration and without proper care and knowledge as to what we are really doing. If anyone looks at the Bill they will be surprised. I must say I am accustomed in these days to shocks, and I find cold water running down my back almost every time I take up a Bill and read it. [An HON. MEMBER: "The White Slave Traffic Bill,"] That was a very bad Bill, but it has been amended to a certain extent in Committee; but I did not think it possible that any sane Government would bring in a Bill of this description. I have only read very little of it, but it is quite enough, and I do not think I want to read any more—

Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—


The Bill commences by setting up a special Commission. There are to be six Commissioners, and the Home Secretary may appoint one of those Commissioners to be chairman. Then, of course, there is the remuneration for these Commissioners, and the Commissioners act under the control and subject to regulations made by the Home Secretary. That creates a very serious state of affairs. It practically puts into the hands of the Home Secretary powers to lock up anybody he likes. The hon. Member is learned in the law, and no doubt he will be able to contradict me if I am wrong when I say that never in the history of this country have such powers been given before by any Statute to any one individual. I do not want to make any comments complimentary or otherwise in regard to the right hon. Gentleman who at present adorns the office of Secretary of State for the Home Department, but it must be remembered that we are legislating for the future. When Bills are being carried through this House what is said during the discussion is not always acted upon. What is acted upon is the Statute which is passed, and what is said has no effect upon the Statute after it has become law. We are enacting for all time that any Secretary of State thirty or forty years hence is going to have this enormous power put into his hands. Clause 5 provides as follows:—

"The Commissioners, acting under the control of, and subject to regulations made by, the Secretary of State."

As I read that the Commissioners are bound to obey any regulations made by the Secretary of State, and they will also be bound to act under his control, and practically the Secretary of State is master of the Commissioners. I do not want to go into all the extraordinary provisions of this Bill, and I will pass on from Clause 1 to Clause 13, which provides:—

"(1) The duties of a local education authority shall include a duty to make arrangements, subject to the approval of the Board of Education,—

  1. (a) for ascertaining what persons within their area are defective children within the meaning of this Act;
  2. (b) for ascertaining which of such children are educable;
  3. (c) for notifying to the local authority under this Act the names and addresses of defective children who are ascertained to be not educable and of children discharged from special schools or classes provided under the Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act, 1899, on attaining the age of sixteen or before attaining that age, who are in the opinion of the local education authority defective."
Look at the enormous amount of work which is going to be put upon the local education authorities and the Board of Education. Already we are spending something like £25,000,000, including the amount derived from the rates and taxes, for educational purposes, and now we are going to put this further burden upon the education authorities. My belief is that at the present moment the school teachers exercise a great deal too much power over the parents through the children, and now you are going to put an enormous additional power into their hands. You are practically going to enact that any school teacher may say, "Look here, Mrs. Jones, or Mr. Jones, I believe your child is defective and I am going to do certain things. I am going to report to the authority that your child is defective."


But they do that now.


If they can do it now why waste time discussing this provision giving power to do something which can already be done? I should like for a moment to deal with Clause 17, which is an extraordinary one. With regard to this Clause words fail me when I endeavour to explain or discuss it calmly and in moderate language. I have had a little discussion with an hon. Member of this House as to what is the meaning of the first three lines, which are as follows:—

"(1) Save as expressly provided by this Act, the following persons, and no others, shall be subject to be dealt with under this Act, that is to say, persons who are defective." It is clear that persons who are defectives will be dealt with under this Act, and all of those classes mentioned on page 8 and page 9 of this Bill can be dealt with under this Act. I can conceive of no other interpretation. These are the people who will be dealt with:— (a) who are found wandering about. In future it is to be a crime to be found wandering about, because you may be taken up and privately examined and said to be a mentally deficient person, and then you may be locked up for the remainder of your life. Then there comes this most extraordinary provision:— (b) who are charged with the commission of any offence. See what that power might be in the hands of a Tory Home Secretary. Suppose the improbable was to happen, and I was to be made Home Secretary under a Tory Government. There are a great number of hon. Members of this House who regard my opinions as being extremely wrong, and they believe that I am rather determined in my opinions and prepared to act up to them. Under those circumstances look at the power you would put into my hands! Suppose I came across somebody who has done something which I think is wrong. I consult perhaps my under-secretary, who will very likely be a gentleman learned in the law, and I say to him, "Do you think this man will be convicted?" My under-secretary may reply, "No, I do not think it is possible to get him convicted." I say, "Very well, we will lock him up as a defective person." In that case there will be no more trouble about it; and I am not in favour of entrusting anybody with powers of this description. I am sorry the hon. Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) is not in the House, or the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), because here is a way of getting out of the difficulty of forcible feeding. I think all the suffragists could be locked up as being mentally deficient under this Bill, and I am not sure you would not be right in so doing.

Then there is anyone who is "undergoing detention in an inebriate reformatory." No wonder the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. C. Roberts) is in favour of the Bill. Look at the power it will put in his hands. Any private person could give information. How many people detained in inebriate reformatories will the hon. Gentleman denounce as in the days of the old Inquisition, or the days of the French Revolution to the Robespierre on the Front Treasury Bench. The old French Kings never had greater power than the hon. Gentleman will have if he can get over his superior officer under this Bill. There is also the habitual drunkard. It has been so drawn that everybody is roped in under the Bill. Then we come to this extraordinary paragraph:—

"in whose case it is desirable in the interests of the community that they should be deprived of the opportunity of procreating children."

Who is going to decide that? As far as I can make out, it is the Commissioners acting under the control of the Home Secretary. He is going to decide whether people shall or shall not procreate children. It may be a good thing to stop certain people having children, but why the Home Secretary should be the person to decide whether or not you shall have a child is beyond my belief. There follows this very serious case:—

"in whose case such other circumstances exist as may be specified in any Order made by the Secretary of State, as being circumstances which make it desirable that they should be subject to be dealt with under this Act."

The Franchise Bill is rejected, and there is no time to take the Plural Voters Bill. All plural voters are immediately scheduled as being people whom it is desirable should be subject to be dealt with under this Act. I do not say the right hon. Gentleman will do it.


Under the Bill they must be defectives as well.


Who is to decide that? As far as I can make out the right hon. Gentleman will decide it.


No, the judicial authority and two doctors. They must have been found to be defective as well.


I rather doubt that. Supposing the two doctors were going to get appointments under the Insurance Act.


Two doctors are not necessary at all.


The hon. Gentleman who has read the Bill rather disagrees with the right hon. Gentleman, but, as I have already said, this is such an enormous thing that I have not been able to read it all through, and I will not contradict the right hon. Gentleman, but I am sure he will admit he thinks all people who vote Conservative are defective. I certainly think people who vote Liberal are defective, and I should certainly say they ought to be subject to be dealt with under this Act. The whole thing is absolutely absurd, and much as I desired the retention of the House of Lords I really do not want to be put under an absolute dictator as I shall be if this Bill is passed. What does this mean?

"From an early age as to be unable to guard themselves against common physical dangers."

The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) told us the other day somebody gave him a blow in the park. That was a common physical danger against which he was not able to guard himself. I do not know whether he would be considered defective under this Bill. Then there is the paragraph about earning your living, and that sort of thing, and this extraordinary Clause follows:—

"(ii.) Of managing themselves and their affairs with ordinary prudence."

How many Members of this House are there capable of managing their affairs with ordinary prudence1? Not very many. Take Cobden, who was the great prophet of hon. Members opposite, and who was a very great man. I disagree with him, but that does not prevent me acknowledging he was a great man. He could not manage his affairs with ordinary prudence, though he had been a great manufacturer. He was constantly in debt and failed in carrying out all his business projects, and had to get £100,000 from his admirers in order to prevent him going bankrupt and being destitute. [HON. MEMBERS: "Pitt,"] I do not think Pitt is quite an illustration, because, although he was not a rich man, he was never a man of business. Cobden was a man of business and a manufacturer, and he ought to have been a successful man. He was not, and therefore he would have been locked up by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Lyttelton), who supports the Bill, if he had been Home Secretary at the time. Clause 20 begins—

"Any relative or friend of a person alleged to be a defective."

Look at the power you are going to put into the hands of people! Everybody is not moved by righteousness; on the contrary, there are a great many people who would like to get others out of the way. Human nature is wicked; you cannot help it, it is; and to put power into the hands of people to be able to go behind the backs of their friends and say we had better get him out of the way is monstrous. He is going to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer inconvenient questions about the fall of Consols. Get him out of the way. Look at the power which may result under this Bill! It is further provided that a petition may be presented by an officer of a local authority. Local authorities have a great deal too much power at present, and to give them power of that sort is, I think, absolutely wrong. It could not possibly be retained if the Bill unfortunately become law. Sub-section (4) says:—

"Proceedings before the judicial authority may in any case if the judicial authority thinks fit …. be conducted in private."


Very often one man.


Certainly. A stipendary magistrate or a justice appointed for that special purpose. If he thinks fit then the proceedings shall be conducted in private. Really, we are going back to the days before the Star Chamber. I do not think the Star Chamber was quite as bad as that. All the efforts which our forefathers put forward in order that there might be incorruptible judges and that cases of this sort might be heard in public are to be reversed, and we are to go back to the worst days of the Stuart kings and of the French kings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I have only got to Clause 23, and there are sixty-eight Clauses in the Bill. Clause 23 says:—

"If any officer of the local authority authorised in that behalf or any constable finds any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be a defective wandering about, or neglected, or cruelly treated, he may take such person to a place of safety, and such person may be there detained until a petition under this Act can be presented."

Look at the power you put in the hands of an officer of a local authority! He sees someone wandering about and he says, "I think that person is a defective," or if he thinks he is neglected or cruelly treated he may take him up and lock him up and there is no appeal against it. Surely this is legislation gone mad, and no sane person in this House would ever think of passing a Bill containing a Clause of this sort. Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman in his own interest to withdraw this Bill, and later on, when he has a little time to consider all these matters—say next Session or the Session after—bring in a short Bill of one or two Clauses, saying that people who ought not to procreate children shall not do so. There is another Clause enabling the local authority to spend certain sums of money—another means of spending the money of the unfortunate ratepayer as if he were not sufficiently mulct already. I only wish I had the powers of argument which Cobden possessed. Unfortunately I have not, but I hope I have been able to say enough to induce hon. Members to read this Bill, because, if they do that, I have no doubt they will vote against the Second Reading, or, at any rate, put it off to a later date, so that they may have more time for considering it.


I am afraid I am unable to give my support to the unholy alliance between the hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) and the hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury). The Home Secretary when moving the Second Reading of this Bill gave us an assurance that any points which might be raised in the House would receive full consideration in Committee upstairs, and it is on that understanding that many Members on this side are going to support the Second Reading. My greatest objection to the Bill is that it proposes to set up an entirely new Board of Commissioners; it proposes to create a new staff of officials. That is a failing which is common to a great many of the Bills which have been introduced by the Government. In some cases I agree it may have been necessary to create a new Government Department, but in the case of this Bill it would seem to be absolutely unnecessary. You have in existence at the present moment the Lunacy Commissioners who, for a great many years, have been administering the Lunacy Acts and consequently have had great experience in dealing with lunatics and persons of unsound mind. I know the right hon. Gentleman will say that this Bill does not deal with lunatics or persons of unsound mind, but merely with persons who are mentally deficient. That is perfectly true, but experts will inform the right hon. Gentleman that there are a good many cases on the border line, and that often it is absolutely impossible to say whether a man is a lunatic, or an imbecile, or mentally deficient within the meaning of this Bill. More than that, at the present time idiots and imbeciles are dealt with under the Idiots Act by the Lunacy Commissioners. They are also included in this Bill now before the House.

The proposals of this Bill are supposed to be based on the Report of the Royal Commission, yet one of the first and main recommendations of that Royal Commission was that an entirely new central body should be set up—one central body and Board of Control, to deal with the mentally deficient of all kinds and all classes. The Report of the Royal Commission went a little further. It recommended that the powers and duties of the Board of Education under the Act of 1899, and the special schools which have been set up under that Act, should be transferred to the Board of Control. Therefore, if the recommendation of the Royal Commission were adopted, we should have one central authority dealing with persons who were mentally abnormal, while if the proposals of the Bill were adopted, we should have the Lunacy Commissioners administering the Lunacy Act, we should have the Commissions created under this Bill dealing with the mentally deficient, and we should have the Board of Education dealing with children under fifteen who are at the present time in the special schools. Anyone who knows anything about the mentally defective, anyone who is an expert, is of opinion that one central authority should be created to make provision of every kind for the mentally defective. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what he proposes to do with regard to the education of those children who are not at the present time in special schools. The House is probably aware that the Act of 1899 was only permissive, and but few of the educational authorities have taken advantage of it to set up special schools for the mentally defective. I believe that only one-quarter of the children who are supposed to be mentally defective within the meaning of this Bill are at the present time in special schools. This Bill does not make the Act of 1899 compulsory. On the one hand, it leaves the care of all educable mentally deficient children in the hands of the educational authority, but it does not compel the local authority to make provision for those children. They are asked to hand over to a new local authority those children who are imbecile and who are found to be non-educable within the meaning of the Act of 1899, but nothing whatever is proposed as to those mentally defective children who should be in special schools, but are not there because the local authority have not taken advantage of the Act of 1899. Everyone knows that, even where these special schools have been set up, they are not satisfactory in every respect. They are supposed to contain children who are incapable of receiving proper benefits in an ordinary public elementary school, but are not incapable of receiving benefits through instruction in special schools. At the present moment these special schools contain children who are merely backward and mentally defective in the meaning of the Act of 1899. They contain children who are practically imbecile—who are morally and criminally defective. I should like to read to the House one paragraph from the evidence of the Medical Officer of the London County Council. He says:— The difficulty of saying what is proper benefit from instruction in a special class is very great, and no distinct line can be drawn between the markedly feeble-minded and the imbecile. As there is no provision specially relating to the care of those excluded as 'imbecile,' the tendency has been to assess most doubtful children as 'capable of proper benefit,' and the special classes contain a considerable number of such children who have been given the benefit of the doubt. Everyone will agree that these special schools are set up at a great cost to the ratepayers. In London, for instance, there are ninety such schools that contain accommodation for something like 6,000 children, and cost the ratepayers over £99,000 a year. These special schools ought to be used for such children who can become self-supporting in after-life. The other children, idiots and imbeciles, derive practically no benefit whatever from day schools, in which they only spend from twenty-four to thirty hours a week. Everyone will agree that children who are merely backward ought not to be mixed with children who are imbeciles and children who are morally and criminally defective. For all these children you want to have institutional treatment, and you want residential homes and institutions. I should like to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that education authorities under the Act of 1899 cannot compel parents to send their children to such institutions. I am sorry to say that under this Bill no provision is made to enable local education authorities to send children to institutions. I take it that the first object of this Bill is to protect those persons who are unable to take care of themselves, and that the second object is to protect the community by preventing these people from having children. It is no use denying the fact that the latter is the main object of the Bill.




In my opinion that is the main object of the Bill. Anyone who has had anything to do with mental deficients will know that most of the children in our special schools are the offspring of mentally defective parents. The only way you can attain that object is by putting these people, not under local guardianship, but in institutions and residential homes. You want very drastic powers, but those powers must be accompanied by adequate safeguards. I am afraid that those safeguards are not very conspicuous in this Bill; in fact, you might say that they are conspicuous by their absence. I believe those safeguards were more conspicuous in the Bill which was introduced by my hon. Friend (Mr. G. Stewart), and which has been passed by the Committee upstairs. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City referred to Clause 23, under which any constable can apparently take in charge any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be a defective. If he finds him wandering about, or neglected, or cruelly treated, he can take him off and lock him up for an indefinite period, until a petition under this Bill can be presented. I think that Clause and many other Clauses mentioned by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Wedgwood) and the hon. Baronet require redrafting and amending when we get into Committee, but I think they are really Committee points, and that the House would be wise to give the Bill a Second Reading to-day.

There is only one other point to which I wish to refer, that is the financial question, which is a very important matter. The House will agree that the charge for the mentally deficient ought to be a national charge, and ought not to be a heavy burden upon the local authorities. The right hon. Gentleman, in his speech the other day, told us that the local authority would not have to maintain a mentally deficient person unless they received 7s. a week from the Exchequer towards that person's maintenance. I do not suppose that 7s. a week will be sufficient to maintain that person; it will probably cost something like 13s. or 14s. a week, and therefore a charge of 6s. or 7s. a week will fall upon the local authority, while, in addition to that, the local authority will have to bear the whole capital expenditure of putting up these asylums and homes. Therefore there will be a very heavy charge placed upon the local authorities and on the ratepayers. The Grant which the Government propose to make of £150,000 a year is totally inadequate. In London alone it is calculated that there are 9,000 persons who will come under this Bill, that is to say, 9,000 mentally deficients, who are not at present in institutions or special schools or homes. The proportion which London will receive out of the £150,000 will enable them to look after 930 mentally deficient persons out of 9,000. The House will therefore agree that the Grant of £150,000 is wholly inadequate. I hope that if not in the first year, at any rate in future years the Government will be able to give a larger Grant than they propose to give under this Bill. I am certain that the money will be well spent and well invested by the taxpayers, because we shall be able to deal with a great danger which is threatening the community and an evil with which all social reformers have been trying to deal. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London has said that he did not know what social reform meant. I believe a great many Members on both sides of the House know what is meant by social reform, and I trust that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading, and that the necessary Amendments will be made in Committee.


I do not think either the House or the country will derive much enlightenment on the contents of this Bill either from the Mover or the Seconder of the rejection. I believe a great deal of the opposition to it has been based on misapprehension as to its scope and contents, and in several respects this Debate has tendered rather to deepen than to dispel the gloom. The hon. Member (Mr. Wedgwood) seems to imagine that it is going to establish an army of officials who are busy preparing a black list which, when any man gets upon it, deprives him of all the rights of free citizenship. All that is provided is that certain officials who at present come into contact with people shall take notice of those who are feeble-minded and report to the local authority—overseers, the medical officer of health, and others. There are no new officials to be set up and when once on the black list a person loses no rights of any kind whatever. Nothing can be done to him which could not be done before. He loses no rights of any kind. The hon. Member, referring to the Clause which places the duty upon the overseers to report cases of feeble-minded persons they come across, said this showed that the Bill was really to be run by the overseers of the poor, and was to be a Poor Law measure. There is nothing from beginning to end in the Bill which gives overseers any power to take any action other than making this report. It is not to be run by the officers of the Poor Law in any shape or form. The hon. Member laid very great stress on the fact that "private" application was to be made to the judicial authority and that emphasis was cheered by one or two Members opposite as though that use of the word "private" made the hearing private. Surely it is only reasonable that the application should be private and that until the case is actually heard it should not be published to the world that an application has been made against so and so as a feeble-minded person. I believe that to be entirely in the interest of the feeble-minded person himself, and it would be a great hardship if that were taken away and anyone were allowed to present a petition saying that someone else was a feeble-minded person and publish it to the world at large. The hearing is to be public unless the authority says it is not to be public, or unless the person alleged to be defective demands it.

That Clause, however, wants amending by saying that under no circumstances, if the alleged defective desires it to be public, shall it be private. I have no doubt that Amendment will be made. The hon. Member referred to the case of children, and said that on leaving a special school they would automatically be taken away and imprisoned. I have looked through the Bill, and I find that is not the case; but that in the case of children leaving school at sixteen there are two steps to be taken. First of all, the local education authority have to certify that it is for the benefit of the children that they should go to a home; and, secondly, the whole proceedings must be gone through as the proceedings before a judicial authority have to be gone through. The hon. Member's whole reading of the Bill showed a misapprehension of its scope. It does not say that all defectives are to be locked up, or even, as he put it, that all defective women are to be locked up. The scope of the Bill is very clearly laid down, in spite of the hon. Baronet's suggestion as to the use of the word "and" in Clause 16— "The following persons and no others, that is to say, persons who are defective and"

and then follows a certain number of classes. There you have the scheme of the Bill. Persons must be defective and they must be suffering in some other way or they must come in contact with the law in some other way. It is not intended that defectives who are properly looked after in their own homes, or who are harmless defectives, shall be brought within the scope of the Bill; but simply that defectives who are at present either themselves suffering or inflicting suffering upon other people should come under the proper authorities. Really I think as much as anything this is a Bill to put persons who are at present under inappropriate restraint under appropriate restraint. Attention has been directed to the various terms used in the definition of defective and in the classes of defectives who come within the scope of the Bill. It has already been mentioned that these are substantially the definitions suggested by the Royal Commission which sat upon this question, and they are based upon definitions drawn up by the Royal College of Physicians, and I think the Government could not do anything else than put into their Bill definitions which have such high authority as that. It is essentially a matter for discussion in this House, and I have no doubt the Government will not regard these suggestions of the Royal Commission and the Royal College of Surgeons as being verbally inspired. I think the same is true of the first Sub-section referring to the class of people who come within the scope of the Bill. I quite agree that paragraphs (e) and (f) are far too wide. I do not think, in the first place, it will ever be admitted that there ought to be a power in the hands of the Secretary of State to say what classes of people are to be defective and are to come within the Bill, and I do not think any Clause as wide as (e) should be allowed to be in the Bill when it passes this House. I understand this is to cover the case of women who are continually in and out of the workhouse. If that be so, and I believe it is, very much narrower words could be found to meet their case. But, after all, these and other parts of this Bill to which attention has been directed are mainly Committee points. The classes, the definitions and the safeguards, are Committee points. The safeguards are almost identically the same as those in the case of lunatics, though there is a good deal left to regulation which would better be embodied in the Bill itself.


Does the hon. Member mean his observation to apply to that provision of the Bill which says that if there is difficulty in medically examining mental defectives, medical certificates may be dispensed with? There is no such provision in the Lunacy Act that I am aware of.


We find that almost word for word in the Lunacy Act. It does not say the certificate is dispensed with. There must be a certificate of two doctors. But these are in the main Committee points, and there are only two real objections which are urged against the Bill. One is perhaps a Committee point too, but it is a substantial objection if it is correct. It is that we are setting up an entirely new authority and that we have been asked to put the administration of the Bill under the Lunacy Commissioners. That is not the recommendation of the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission expressly says the Lunacy Commissioners at present have more work than they can do. The Lunacy Commission also points out that under the Bill the Board, that is the central authority, will have before them a much larger and more various field to work than the Lunacy Commissioners have dealt with, and there should therefore be a recognition in this change of administration. Therefore, they want a different authority and different men upon it. The Report of the Commission says:— We think the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is the central authority under the Lunacy Act, should have the right of appointing the Commissioners, and should represent the Board in the House, and be expected to explain and defend its policy and reply to questions in regard to it, just as he would be expected to do in regard to other business which came more directly under his Department. It will be seen, therefore, that the Government are carrying out the recommendation of the Commission in setting up a new authority under the Home Office. But the Report undoubtedly does recommend that the Lunacy Commission should be amalgamated with this Board. I think there is very great force in everything that has been said about the unwisdom of having two authorities. Clause 62 of the Bill says that they may afterwards be amalgamated by Order in Council. I would suggest that if it be at all possible on the Committee stage of the Bill—and I think it is quite possible—the Government should introduce an Amendment for the purpose of carrying out the wish of the Royal Commission in this matter, and also, I believe, the wish of this House. A rather more serious objection was raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) in relation to the question of individual liberty. He used somewhat strong language about it to-day. I think a good deal of the idea that the Bill would take away individual liberty is dissipated when one considers the actual terms of the Bill. If anybody thinks it is going to be abused, I would point out that there is far greater scope for abuse under the Lunacy Acts than under this Bill, for it must be much easier for a visitor to tell whether a patient is feeble-minded than to tell whether a person is normally sane.

Nobody can tell in certain cases whether a patient suffers from lunacy now and then, but everybody can tell whether a person is substantially feeble-minded, or, at any rate, one can form a better opinion on that. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme said that a large number of people who are perfectly free and in the enjoyment of a certain amount of happiness will, under this Bill, be liable to be sent to prison on the dictum of specialists, and he thought that was a very dangerous thing. I think he is mistaken on two points. In the first place, the whole of the evidence before the Royal Commission went to show that feeble-minded persons could be equally as happy in homes as outside. In the second place, the hon. Member is wrong in regarding these people as free and in the enjoyment of a certain amount of happiness. Where are they at the present time? The Report of the Commission shows perfectly clearly that a very large number are in institutions. It states also that about 2,500 were in prison on one day. The evidence went to show that a certain number were not people of criminal intent themselves, but that they were used by other people to steal for them. The feeble-minded persons were arrested and sent to prison, and after being there for short terms they came out again and continued to act in the same way. I do not think there will be much sympathy felt for people who use feeble-minded persons in that way. That is one section of the people who, according to the hon. Member, are free, and in the enjoyment of a certain amount of happiness.

3.0 P.M.

A certain number are at present in asylums. They receive there entirely inappropriate treatment, which is much more expensive than they require. Fifty per cent. of the girls in rescue homes are feeble-minded. Lastly, there are a large number in workhouses. There are some for whom workhouses may not be inappropriate, but for others they are very appropriate indeed. The feeble-minded women referred to before belong to the class who are continually going in and out of workhouses. This is what was said before the Commission, and I think it expresses the view which I have already stated:— Feeble-minded girls and women form a large proportion of the unmarried mothers who come to the lying-in wards of our workhouses, where they often appear again and again, adding to the rates and to the deterioration of the race by producing sickly and deficient children. These people are not at the present time free and in the enjoyment of a certain amount of happiness as the hon. Member imagines. A large proportion of these people will come within the scope of this Bill. A good deal of nonsense is talked in the name of liberty. Those who talk of individual liberty are themselves prepared to admit that a certain number of people must be under restraint. You cannot put a person who is not able to look after himself loose on the streets of London where he is liable to be run over. You must recognise that a certain number must be under some form of restraint. But what is not recognised is there are people who are mentally affected who are likely to come under just as great moral disasters and inflict upon themselves just as much suffering as the more extreme cases who are not able to protect themselves physically. It is not realised how large this class is and how much it does suffer at the present time. What I suggest to the House is that we should treat most of the questions raised to-day as being Committee points, and that in Committee the Bill be safeguarded and strengthened as much as possible; but that meantime we should not sacrifice these poor people who are now suffering for an idea of abstract liberty, and we should not deprive them of a restraint which does them no harm in order to let them have the kind of liberty that at present is represented by being in and out of the casual wards, the maternity wards, and the prisons. Do not allow them to suffer in order to get a freedom of the kind which they have no capacity to enjoy, because the whole of the evidence goes to show that a great many of these people are quite incapable of enjoying themselves in the ordinary sense, and it is infinitely better that they should be under the kind of influence of the people in these homes rather than the kind of influence which they meet with in the streets and common lodging-houses of the great cities of this country. I ask the House therefore not to sacrifice these people to an abstract idealism, but to pass this Bill.

Colonel RAWSON

I wish to say a few words on behalf of the five voluntary institutions which have been working for the last fifty or sixty years with a class to which this Bill refers. The House no doubt knows that they are Earlswood, Royal Albert Institution, and the Eastern Counties, Western Counties, and Midland Counties Asylums. They are not lunatic asylums. There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about the class of people dealt with in these institutions. They have been under the Idiots Act, and have been able to accept idiots and imbeciles. When that Act was passed the word "imbecile" included the class called "feeble-minded." Therefore for the last fifty or sixty years we have been working for the class which this Bill proposes to befriend. We are very anxious to work with the Home Secretary to make this Bill a success as far as lies in our power, but we are anxious to be able to carry on the same work which we have hitherto done in our institutions. We have in our institutions over 2,000 inmates. I think I am right in saying that quite half of those consist of a class who can be defined now as feeble-minded, and who will be dealt with under this Bill. We are anxious to continue on the same lines as those on which we have worked. The Home Secretary very kindly saw a deputation of the institutions a few weeks ago, and we laid our views before them and made several suggestions. I believe that he is ready to acquiesce in those suggestions, but on behalf of the institutions I am anxious to get an undertaking from the Home Secretary across the floor of the House, so that we may know exactly where we stand, and I propose to reiterate in a, few words what the suggestions were. In the first place, we suggest that the registration of an institution under the Idiots Act shall be equivalent to the certification of an institution under the Mental Deficiency Act, in so far as that any person who can be sent under certificate to an institution certified under the Mental Deficiency Act can, under the same certificate, be received in an institution registered under the Idiots Act, and that nothing shall prevent an institution registered under the Idiots Act, and receiving patients under that Act, receiving at the same time patients certified under the. Mental Deficiency Act, and that nothing shall prevent institutions registered under the Idiots Act, and receiving patients under that Act, from receiving at the same time mentally defective children certified under the Education of Defective Children Act, 1899. We are also anxious that the proposed local authorities be empowered to contract with the boards of management of these institutions for the care, education, and maintenance of any defectives needing institutional care, and that the local education authorities be empowered to contract with our boards for the care, education, and maintenance of any defective children who require such care. I think it would be a very great advantage if we were allowed to receive children earlier than the age of sixteen. We believe it would be a very great advantage to the child to have that care in the institution which he very often does not receive. We think that although by going to these schools which have been already referred to a child may get a certain amount of learning yet he does not get that care which he would get in one of our institutions. We believe if we were allowed to receive children before the age of sixteen we could do far more to cure them and they would be far more likely to turn out useful citizens afterwards than if we only had them after the age of sixteen. I hope that the Home Secretary or the Under-Secretary of the Home Department will be able to reassure us on these points. We are only too anxious to work with him, and I hope that we may be able to support the Bill.


As one who for a great many years was closely associated with the county council special schools in London I am extremely glad that at last we are pushing forward a Government Bill for dealing with this problem. I am bound to say I do regret that the Home Office have not worked more closely in co-operation with the Board of Education in bringing forward this measure, because as was pointed out just now by the hon. Member for Stowmarket (Mr. Goldsmith) the Act which deals with mentally defective children is a permissive law which has only been adopted by a very few educational authorities throughout the country. I think the fact that this Act has not been adopted, and that in a large part of the country no provision is made for defective children does increase the problem that we have to face in dealing with adult mentally defectives, because no doubt when you do take these children at an early age and give the individual treatment and the special treatment which you can give in a special school, you can in a very large number of cases produce so much improvement that in time they can either be drafted into an ordinary school or can when they leave the special school become capable of earning their own living. But if no provision is made for these children in special schools it is not possible in a large number of cases to do justice to them as the children are excluded from school and run about the streets and gradually go from bad to worse until they become practically hopeless to deal with.

Therefore I should have been very glad if it had been possible for this Bill to include a provision making obligatory the establishment of special schools for these children throughout the country generally. The criticisms which have been levelled against the Bill are very largely on points of detail. I am bound to say that I do not think anybody who has had to deal with this problem could fail to recognise the absolute necessity there is for some such measure as this. But what is the case now? Even in those places where there are special schools provided for the children, and controlled by the local authority, after the age of sixteen, when they leave, unless the educational authority are fortunate enough to secure good work for them, which is a very difficult thing to do, all the advantage of the special school within a very short time is lost, and the ratepayers' money is very largely thrown away. We have made an experiment in London in dealing with girls who were in custodial treatment, but the existing conditions do not enable us to put any compulsion upon the parents, who give us constant trouble by taking their girls away; but even where we have kept the girls under custodial treatment until the age of sixteen, very soon after that age, when they leave, they are to be found in the streets.

A great deal has been said about keeping these people in perpetual imprisonment, but I have seen splendid work done in the institutions to which they are sent, and when you compare their life with the life of a defective person who leaves school and goes into the streets, anyone must see that it is the most fortunate thing that could happen to these defective people that they should get into these special institutions, where they are protected from the evils of life, and do not sink lower and lower as so often occurs with defective persons who are not in those homes. It is well known that a large number of habitual offenders are simply so because of their being feeble-minded, and it is really through no fault of their own. While this measure may be open to criticism, and no doubt it is, I do maintain that anyone with a knowledge of the problem at all, particularly those who have to do with schools for mentally defective children, must welcome it as a step in the right direction. With regard to finance, I am perfectly prepared to agree with those who say that under the financial provisions of the Bill, £150,000 a year will be quite inadequate for dealing with the problem properly. I am not in favour of making the whole charge a national charge, because I recognise that a great deal can be done by the local authorities in the way of administering the housing laws and the sanitary laws to raise the standard of the community, and in part to diminish the evil connected with the mentally defective. But, while a certain charge should be put on the local authorities, I do not think that the Government are making sufficient provision, and they will defeat their own end if they try to force on the local authorities a very heavy charge in respect to work of this description. I am glad the Bill has been introduced, and that the Government are adopting a reasonable attitude in regard to Amendments which they are willing to accept in Committee. I am anxious that the measure should be passed into law at the earliest possible moment, because I have already seen so much of the evils that now arise from the discharge of children from the special schools without being able to make any provision whatever for their future.


It seems to me that the House is in a somewhat unfortunate mood in regard to this Bill. Members are mainly impressed with the evil which exists, as we all are, and the House appears to me rather to have got into the condition of saying something must be done, which is always a very unfortunate position for any legislative assembly to arrive at. The real thing to ascertain is whether the actual proposal is one that will do good or harm. This Bill has been called "a great and comprehensive measure" for settling the question. I have a profound distrust of great and comprehensive measures. The meaning of the phrase is simply this, that the authors of the proposal lay down a few general principles which they carry into effect, straight through, regardless of the real facts of the case. As a matter of fact, the conditions of all human problems are infinitely various. The only satisfactory way of dealing with any evil that exists is by dealing with it very tentatively and very carefully—dealing with the evil and no more than the evil which exists. What is the evil which exists? I do not deny that it is very serious. Anyone who has anything to do with the criminal law must be acutely conscious that the vast proportion—I put it at four-fifths—of the criminals who appear in our Courts of Justice are not really normal in their mental condition. Most of them are very much the reverse, and personally I should be very glad to see an alteration of our law which would provide for the detention of such persons after they had undergone the proper punishment for their crime. I believe myself that is a change in the law which even such a strenuous upholder of individual liberty as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) would be in favour of. I regret very much that so far as I can see, after examining the Bill, that there is no adequate provision in it for dealing with that particular class. Another great evil is undoubtedly the case of the women who also are mentally defective, but who are not, generally speaking, criminal, but are the mothers of illegitimate children. I agree that is a very serious evil and one that ought to be dealt with. I think that it might be dealt with by much more moderate provisions than are contained in this Bill. I do not think that the provisions in this Bill are at all necessary for dealing with that evil. I do not see why you should not have some provision by which, where women give birth to illegitimate children, there should be power, in some form or another, to charge her with being unable to look after herself, and to lock her up in such institutions as are here proposed.

Any tentative measure of that kind I should myself be in favour of. Those are two evils which obviously can be dealt with by small measures of reform, and you need not establish new departments or anything of that kind. What is the other evil? It is the danger to the race. I confess I feel very nervous about applying any remedy on the ground of eugenics in the present condition of our knowledge of that science. I fully admit myself that it is a most important matter, which ought to occupy our attention very closely, but to say broadly that a mentally defective parent is not fit to produce children is going very far indeed. Take some of the people who are mentioned in this Bill—the epileptic, for example. Some of the greatest men of genius in the world were epileptic. Julius Cæsar, I believe, was epileptic, and there is some ground for believing that Louis Napoleon was epileptic. Surely it would be very rash in our present condition of knowledge to conclude that the mere fact of a man being mentally deficient or mentally defective is a ground for sterilising the individual who is subject to that defect. That really is the meaning of a great part of this Bill, or it has no meaning at all.

The proposal is to shut up, to put it in the rather crude and perhaps necessarily crude language of the Bill, those in whose case it is desirable in the interests of the community that they should be deprived of the opportunity of procreating children. I confess I look on that provision with considerable doubt. That being the evil, and granted that we ought to proceed first of all to establish the evil, and then to consider what remedy would deal with that evil; and lastly, and most important of all, whether the remedy would not create greater evils than those which it seeks to remove, how are we to judge this Bill. To my mind, it is oppressive and unduly elaborate. I am not going to go over all the points which were, I must honestly say, I thought admirably made by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood), and by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury). No one has yet defended Clause 17, which contains the definitions. No one pretends that that is satisfactory, or that anyone could defend the definition of feeble-minded, or the provision that all feeble-minded people are to be locked up, or "in whose case such other circumstances exist as may be specified in any order by the Secretary of State." That is nothing short of giving absolute unlimited power of detention without trial or any adequate trial by the Secretary of State of any person who is incapable of managing his own affairs. Nothing more grotesque than that proposal from the Government has ever been put before the House of Commons.

A great number of matters have been referred to. Just look at Clause 24, which deals with the evil which the hon. Member who last spoke, drew our attention to as a very serious evil. That Clause deals with the case of children who have been in special schools, and who are to be transferred to institutions. That is to be done by machinery provided in the Bill on the moton of the local education authority. In that Clause no suggestion is made that the parents of the children are even to be consulted. I think that is a perfect outrage. I do not say that the parents of the children ought necessarily to be the deciding parties, but I think it is extremely characteristic of the spirit in which the Bill is drafted that the parents in this case are not to be consulted at all.


The Noble Lord forgets that at the actual inquiry parents can appear.


Of course they can appear like anybody else, but there is no special provision I am aware of giving parents any right to appear. In my judgment, before any proceedings are taken in the case of a child the parents ought to be consulted. I am merely taking two or three casual instances, just to show the spirit in which the Bill is drawn, when you examine almost every Clause. Take Clause 27, Sub-section (3), which provides that if a man is tried before the Court of Quarter Sessions, and if the Court should be of opinion, though he is acquitted, that he is a person mentally defective, they may make an order, as far as I can make out, for his detention under the Bill. That seems tome to be one of the most astonishing proposals ever put before Parliament. I should have thought, after a man had been tried and acquitted, he ought to be allowed to go free for that time, and if there is some other charge to be made against him it ought to be investigated de novo, by proper provision instituted for that purpose. Clause 50 is, I think, one of the most extraordinary Clauses you could imagine. It is the Clause which makes it a misdemeanour if anyone intermarries with a mentally defective person.




I think you ought to know something about the mental condition of the person you marry under any circumstances. If a person was thought by the new dictator we are asked to set up in the Secretary of State, or by the judicial authority, the justice of the peace, to be mentally defective, then the person who intermarries with him or her would be guilty of a misdemeanour. This is not the case of a person being an habitual drunkard, or a case under any of the provisions of the first Sub-section of Clause 17. If anyone is incapable of managing his or her affairs, or if you marry somebody whom you know to be incapable of managing his or her affairs, you are guilty of a misdemeanour. That is actually the provision of this Bill, as I understand it. I think it is perfectly outrageous for a Government to put such a Clause as that before the House of Commons. It has already been pointed out by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme that under Clause 17 a person is mentally defective who is from age incapable of managing himself or his affairs. It is said that he can only be shut up if he is also being neglected. I ask hon. Members who are familiar with this kind of case whether that does not really put a premium on those who are the heartless relatives of old people, so that they can first neglect them, bringing them under the first Sub-section, and then get them shut up because they are mentally defective? I am sure that is a very serious danger from such knowledge as I have of these matters, and it is the kind of risk that you run if you have legislation of this kind. I think that is a matter which unquestionably must be amended. I am not going into the definitions, which have already been sufficiently discussed, but I wish to say this. We are told that the definition provided or suggested was approved of by the Royal College of Surgeons or by the Royal College of Physicians. If there is anybody I would less trust in a matter of personal liberty than a bureaucrat, it is an expert. Greatly as I respect the medical profession, I would no more trust them to draw up provisions that could be safely carried into effect with due regard to the liberty of the subject, than I would trust any occupant of the Treasury Bench.


Who is to define?


The House of Commons, if it is still capable of doing anything.


Are you convinced the House of Commons is capable?


The hon. Member takes an even more pessimistic view of the situation than I do. I say quite deliberately if we have no safeguards here except the views of the Royal College of Physicians, then I am not prepared to legislate on a matter which will affect the liberty of the subject. Let me say a word or two about the other matter in the Bill, and that is to set up an entirely new authority and to transfer, for no reason I have yet heard given which seems at all adequate, to the Home Office the control of the mentally defective people from the care of the Lunacy Commissioners. That seems to me to be a pure piece of bureaucratic jealousy. There is no reason I have yet heard given for the establishment of a new authority. There are immense additional powers and duties conferred upon local authorities. The hon. Member for the Heywood Division (Mr. Cawley), who made a very interesting speech, said that we need not be afraid of a wholesale creation of new officials, as the existing officials of the local authorities would be charged with the execution of this Bill.


With the preparing of black list.


Surely the hon. Member has not realised Clause 12 (e), which gives express power to the local authority to appoint or employ sufficient officers or other persons to assist them in the performance of their duties under the Act. That is in the same Clause as that which provides for the black list and for the supervision of those who are on the black list. Therefore, it is quite plain that there is an invitation to local authorities to appoint an army of new officials, if necessary, to look after these unhappy people who are to be black-listed. It is true that under Clause 18 the existing officials also are charged with the duty of carrying out the Act and making certain representations. But there is nothing to prevent, and indeed everything to encourage, a local authority to add to these officials to any extent they may think right. In Clause 20 (9) there seems to be an indication of another set of officials to be appointed by the Commissioners, because when they are satisfied that some- body who has not been locked up by anybody else ought to be locked up, then they may direct an inspector or other person to present a petition. So that there seems to be a series of inspectors under that Clause in addition to all the others. I was very sorry to hear the hon. Member (Mr. Cawley) and others sneer at the respect for individual liberty which had been enunciated by the hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood). I confess that I am an almost fanatical believer in the importance of individual liberty. I do not think there is any more important principle in the whole of our Constitution or in any of our institutions. I do not deny, nobody denies, that there are certain people who, in their own interests and in the interests of the community, must be subjected to restraint. Of course, I am in favour of locking up dangerous criminals, and, indeed, of punishing others, and of locking up, if necessary, lunatics. Under proper restrictions and conditions I am not against even the restraint of mentally defective persons.

But what the hon. Member and those who sit with him forget is that in making this kind of provision which, in his mind, is to operate against mentally defective people and those only, he draws the wording of this Bill so wide that a vast number of people who cannot, be described as mentally defective come within its provisions. The only trust we have is in the almost superhuman wisdom and moderation of the officials who are to administer the Act. I have no confidence in officials, any more than I have in any other human being. I believe that they do right when the temptation to do wrong is not strong enough to overcome their virtue, and under no other conditions. Because they are called officials, and put on gold lace and appropriate hats, they are not free from the weaknesses of human nature. On the contrary, the temptations that assail officials necessarily from their position, are in some ways more dangerous to the community than those which assail ordinary private individuals. I myself am not prepared to assent to a Bill which, in every Clause of it, seems to me to place at the mercy of an officialism of this description the liberties of an individual who may possibly be absolutely free from mental defect in any true sense of the term. I am told by hon. Members in favour of the Bill that the object is admirable, that the evil is undoubted, that we ought to do something, and that all the defects which have been pointed out could be put right in Committee. I do not follow that reasoning. I should not follow it in any circumstances. I think you have to judge by the Bill as it is presented to the House. If you show that almost every Clause of a Bill is defective, it is no answer to be told that all that can be put right in Committee. In a matter of this kind we are entitled to have a reasonable Bill put before us before we read it a second time and send it upstairs to a place where most of us, naturally and properly, will not be, to deal with its details.

In this case we are not presented with the alternative that we must take the Government Bill or do nothing. There is a private Member's Bill dealing with this subject. I cannot claim to have given very close study to it, but I have read it, and it appears to me, although there may be some objections, to be an infinitely better measure than that proposed by the Government. It is far less elaborate, it is far less costly, and, as far as I can see, it contains far greater safeguards for the liberty of the individual. Moreover, that Bill is through Committee. Why, in Heaven's name, should not the Government, if they think that this is a matter which ought to be dealt with—and I agree if it can be dealt with by prudent and proper legislation—adopt that private Member's Bill and allow it to be considered? I protest against the doctrine that the Government are entitled to bring before us a Bill which has not been defended by a single speaker this afternoon and which everybody agrees can be tolerable only if it is very largely amended, to ask us to read it a second time and send it upstairs to a Committee, where it will be examined in October or November, reproduced in this House I do not know when, but very likely in January or February, dealt with on Report probably in a single evening, and read a third time without any adequate consideration at all. That is not the way to deal with a Bill so defective as the present measure. It appears to me that the proper course for the House to take in reference to this Bill is to reject the Second Reading and ask the Government to deal with the matter by means of that private Member's Bill.


The Noble lord has deplored the fact that the House appears to have come to the conclusion that something ought to be done in this matter. I confess that that seems to be rather hopeful than otherwise. I am certainly one of those who think not only that something ought to be done, but that it ought to have been done some time ago. During this afternoon's Debate, interesting as it has been, perhaps not quite sufficient stress has been laid upon the real danger which exists in the country at the present time in the uncontrolled class of people with whom it is contemplated this Bill should deal. There are unfortunately a very large class who perpetually live on the border line between sanity and insanity. At present there is no provision for dealing with them at all. Only too often they quite unexpectedly cross the thin line which in their case divides sanity from insanity, and we hear of the perpetration of some horrible crime for which no redress is found in dealing with the criminal who, in nine cases out of ten, is scarcely cognisant of what he has done. A few years ago there was a case which may be in the recollection of hon. Members. Some children were playing in a field in Surrey, when a man came along the road, went into the field, and cut the throats of two of the children. It turned out that he was mad, and had been for a short time detained in an asylum. He had been set free as cured; apparently when he came out of the asylum he was cured as far as the authorities could see, but on the way he had a sudden access of insanity which led him to do the act in question. There is a vast body of men wandering about the country at the present time, totally uncontrolled, whose minds are liable to sudden defection of that kind, and who therefore constitute a danger to the community. A man may have been confined in an asylum, and set free because he no more comes under the strict definition of a lunatic. That does not at all affect the fact that he may be mentally deficient.


That is exactly the point.


I hope the House will realise the point of the Noble Lord who has just spoken so ably; that is the help this Bill will give in Clause 27 to those who are concerned in the administration of the Criminal Law. I speak with some little experience of the difficulties that confront those who are engaged in this administration in dealing with this class or classes. It happens not once or twice but perhaps fifteen or twenty times in the year that a man is brought up charged with some crime, even attempted suicide, and the circumstances are such that one is led to make inquiries as to the condition of his mind. You have the doctor from the infirmary or from the prison, who says, "Oh, well, the man is weak minded." He is what the people in the country call "soft." You put a question to the doctor: "Did the man understand what he was doing?" The doctor replies: "I cannot say he did not understand what he was doing." You ask, "Do you think he now understands these proceedings?" And the doctor answers, "I cannot say he is so bad that he cannot understand these proceedings." What is the result? You have no option. You have to sentence him for the crime for which he has been convicted, and you do it with a certain knowledge that when the man's term of imprisonment is over, and he comes out, he will almost of necessity do the same or a similar thing again.

His tendency is such, his associations are such, his chances are so few, that he degenerates at once into a sort of minor habitual criminal. At the present time you have no power to deal with him in any form. On these two grounds, if there were none others, I suggest that the dealing with this class of people has become a national duty, and should be undertaken at once. If that is so, the matter should be dealt with out of national resources. There is a great deal of philanthropic effort in the country at the present time directed to the cure of this class. This Bill will kill it. You cannot have a State-aided institution side by side with a voluntary institution. Do one thing or the other. Either leave this class to voluntary effort or deal with them yourselves adequately. The £150,000 which this Bill proposes to allocate is ludicrously inadequate. Do the thing properly, as I think you ought to do, or leave it to philanthropic institutions, and give them such help as you can. For these reasons I think the principle of this Bill is admirable.

The question seems to me to boil itself down to this simple proposition: Does this Bill contain so much good that it can be made an effective Bill? That it is bad in some of its provisions at the present time is beyond question. This Clause 17, Subsection (1), with its paragraph (f), is one of the most ludicrous Clauses that I know with the exception of some of the Clauses of the National Insurance Act, because paragraph (f) provides that the class of people who are to be treated under the Bill are to be determined by an Order by the Secretary of State. We are getting accustomed to Acts of Parliament drafted by officials whom you appoint under it. When the National Insurance Act was before the House everybody noted that the most important provisions were drafted by the Insurance Committee. Apparently here the class of people is to be determined by the Secretary of State. I should like to see that Clause deleted in its entirety before I support the Second Reading. I do not think that the question is one to be determined at all by a tribunal or by a Committee of this House. Sub-section (c), of Clause 17, is purely humorous. The idea that you are to be treated as a defective because you are incapable of competing on equal terms with your normal fellows is purely comic. In the profession in which I earn my bread I am quite unable to compete on terms of equality with a great number of men because they are endowed with much greater brain power than I am. Still I should not like to be shut up as mentally defective. Even in this House there are those whose attributes tend largely to that success which some of us can never hope to emulate.

There is the wonderful self-restraint of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; the undying humour of the hon. Member for North Somerset; the deep-inherited religious convictions towards Nonconformity of the hon. Member for Swansea; and the passion of one hon. Member for seeing the House counted out. All these attributes belong to what I suppose one must call one's normal associates, and they are qualities which one cannot hope to emulate. You are therefore to be chained up and treated as a defective because you are apparently incapable of managing yourself or your affairs with ordinary prudence. I suppose I am incapable of managing my affairs with ordinary prudence if I speculate badly or make a bad investment. Anybody who invested in Consols at the time the Liberal Government came into office obviously was a person who could not be said to have managed his affairs with ordinary prudence. If there was an individual so unfortunate that he invested in Consols at that psychological period and voted for the Liberal candidate at the same time, probably he himself would now admit that the sooner he is put under restraint the better! The Clause is unworkable and ridiculous, and I should like to see it taken out altogether.

There is Clause 50. This is the first time in any English Act of Parliament that there has been incorporated a principle forbidding intermarriage between some of the population and the mentally defective. I believe a law to this effect is in operation in several of the United States, but it does not operate in this way. The rule that obtains in those States is that no intermarriage is allowed unless a certificate of health is obtained as a preliminary. I do not think English people are prepared for that. It seems to me that is going a great deal further than the people of this country will tolerate. But that is the Clause as it is drafted. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it will not carry out what I believe he intends. To start with, it does not deal with intermarriages between defectives, which is the most crying of all evils. It only deals with marriage between a sane person and a defective person. Therefore it certainly wants alteration in that respect. Then, again, it makes it a criminal offence not only to marry defectives, but to celebrate marriage between them. I venture to say you would never get a conviction under that Clause. It is the most difficult thing to prove, and you are going to put upon the clergyman carrying out the ceremony of marrying people the onus of an inquiry which it is impossible for him to discharge. I suggest that something on the lines of health would be the only way in which you could work it, namely, that when those people are discharged from care, some sort of a clean bill of health might be given which it would be necessary for them to produce before being married. I hope these few criticisms will be dealt with now, and that some undertaking will be given that they will not be left over to the Committee stage. If I get an undertaking of that sort I will support the Second Reading of this Bill.

4.0 P.M.


I wish to intervene for a little time at this stage in order to state, as far as I am able, the views which the Home Department and the Government take with regard to the details of this Bill. I can assure my hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down that the points he has mentioned will be carefully considered by us. I have no doubt this is one of those Bills that must be dealt with under the rule laid down by the Noble Lord, to which in its real object I do not think any serious objection could be taken. He said a Bill may be sound in principle, but that its details may be of such an extravagant character that his horror of the details would overcome his love for the object of the Bill. I think the principles that underlie this Bill and which are the most proper subject for discussion at this stage, are two, or at most three. First of all, I do not think there can be any doubt on either side of the House that there is a real problem to be dealt with some way or another. The Home Office has received a great many resolutions from county councils, town councils, boards of guardians, education authorities, and from a great number of philanthropic bodies pointing out the necessity for doing something. I may say we have had resolutions from altogether 300 boards of guardians on the matter. These resolutions have become much more numerous in the last three months. The boards of guardians in almost every instance point out the frequency with which women come to the workhouse and give birth to children and go out again. They also point out that in the districts for which they are responsible there is constant intermarriage between feeble-minded persons, and an increase of population which in the long run is thrown upon the rates for its support. These are matters of course for the House. I think the first point, that put by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme is the important question, and it is this are we justified in proceeding compulsorily or should we leave it to voluntary effort, or should we compel the detention of these people under the direct control of the State? In other words, should we deprive them of their liberty in the interests of the community, and in their own interests as well? I do not think that anyone could read the report of the Royal Commission without coming to the conclusion that within proper limits that ought to be done. The Royal Commission went into the matter very carefully, and the Poor Law Commission in turn adopted practically the Royal Commission's Report, so that I think we may say we have now behind us a great weight of authority for making compulsory the basis of this legislation. It may be said although you proceed compulsorily against these people you must do it within certain safeguards and precautions. I think we all agree to that principle. The only question is whether this Bill in the main satisfies this contention. Of course, upon a Second Reading Debate we have got to consider not every detail of the Bill but whether on its main lines and intentions it satisfies those two criterions I have put before the House. What are the steps taken? Objection has been taken to the definition of the word feeble-minded. Of course, we all know it is extremely difficult to get a definition. We went to the very highest authority, the Royal College, upon this matter, and they have given us a definition. It may not be very satisfactory but it is the best we can get. I have no doubt Gentlemen who criticise it could do much better, but they have not done so yet. Of course these men are experts; it is a very serious charge. I do not know what the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme would say if I asked him for a definition of a single tax. We only distrust experts on something we do not understand ourselves, and, of course everybody speaks with great contempt of experts. The position of the expert, as we know, is worse than that of an advanced perjurer.

I invite the attention of the House to this. What are the safeguards and precautions taken under this Bill? The Noble Lord opposite was not only pessimistic, but he was cynical. He thought there were a great number of people in this country who wanted to undermine the personal liberties of another class. That, if I may say so, is a grotesque exaggeration. There may be a few individual instances, but they are very exceptional circumstances. It was stated more than once in the course of this Debate that you distinguish here between the rich and poor, and that this Bill deals only with the poor. I think the House will agree with me when I say this, that with regard to the difficulties that have arisen in connection with personal liberty in these cases, that difficulty has arisen in the main from the fact that the person whose liberty was about to be taken away had property, and there was a conspiracy more against his property than his person. That is a commonplace of the history of all these cases. What is it that is done under this Bill? First of all, there is a petition which is heard in private. A great outcry has been raised because this petition should be heard in private. I wonder what the hon. Baronet and his colleague upon this side of the House—I mean his colleague on Fridays—


Perhaps he would come over to this side.


Perhaps the hon. Baronet will come over to him, but that is a matter for personal negotiation between them. But what an outcry there would have been if this petition were to be heard in public. The hon. Baronet said words failed him. I do not myself think words will ever fail the hon. Baronet. You can say: "Here is a man whom we believe to be incapable of earning his livelihood, and you are driving him into a court of law, where you publish his name under the stigma of being mentally deficient." There is no end to eloquence of that kind. You must remember, however, that the man is mentally deficient, and therefore I do not think you ought to give him an option. Really if the Committee and the House later on should think that publicity in these matters is better than privacy, hon. Members may come to that decision. This provision is intended in the interests of the man himself, and the case should not be made a matter of public inquiry, but should be heard in private, simply and solely in the man's own interest. There is no conspiracy of silence against the poor man. The matter may be tried not necessarily in this way. If the House thinks that the man is prejudiced by this private inquiry, it can be put right in Committee. I should have thought that the feelings of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, and others who have a great regard for tradition, would have been equally opposed to the lunacy laws, because these provisions are on the analogy of the lunacy laws of this country which have been in operation for sixty long years; and therefore, what has been described as this terrible curtailment of personal liberty has been going on every day, and this kind of thing has been going on all the time.


May I point out that I never lose an opportunity of protesting against the police powers of the Home Department?


At any rate, the procedure we have adopted follows the practice under the lunacy laws. The object of the lunacy law procedure was to keep the matter private in the interests of the person concerned. Really I think the House will agree that whether we are right or wrong in this matter, our intentions are of the best, and in the interests of the people concerned, and if the lunacy law procedure has worked well in the main for sixty years, I think, unless there is some strong objection, the same procedure might be followed in this case. It must be remembered what the judicial authority is. It consists either of a county court judge, a stipendiary magistrate, or a selected magistrate. I do not expect the critic of this Bill has much confidence in magistrates. I suppose they have a little confidence in the county court judge, perhaps a little less in a stipendiary magistrate, and less still in an unpaid magistrate. That, however, is the judicial authority, and as far as this part of the Bill is concerned, I think I can with some confidence recommend it for the approval of the House. Hon. Members may differ a good deal about definition, but after all the real thing a magistrate has to decide upon is the demeanour of the man or woman who comes before him.

A great deal of personal observation is much more likely to settle the question than anything else. That is the real safeguard. Before the Order is made a competent, legal, judicial authority, who has before him the man or woman who is alleged to be a defective, inquires into the matter and comes to a decision. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, unless there is some collusion or some conspiracy, which is a most unlikely contingency, I think the House will agree that is a satisfactory procedure in order to arrive at a proper conclusion. It does not end there. Supposing the individual has been found by this judicial authority to be a defective and has been placed under guardianship or detained, then there is an appeal to Quarter Sessions, which is again composed of magistrates, there is an appeal to the Commissioners, and ultimately there is, as there is in all these kinds of cases, visitation, inspection, and reports from doctors. It is said this is an interference with personal liberty. Of course it is. That is the very essence of the Bill. There is no doubt about that. The only question is whether this is one of those principles which justify us in interfering with personal liberty. This is a case in which personal liberty must and ought to be interfered with, not only in the interests of the community, but also of the man himself.

The other question of principle which I think is appropriate for discussion at this stage is that of the central authority. I am personally not very much out of harmony with a great deal of that which has been said in criticism upon this matter. We all agree that if it were possible all the mentally defective in this country ought to be put under one authority. That is the view of most men who have given any thought and study to this subject. If possible, all classes of mentally defective, idiots, lunatics, and mentally deficients, the whole section, ought to be under the control and authority of one central State authority. The advantage of that is there would be more classification and we might hope for much better results than we obtain at present. The Royal Commission suggested a Board of Control, which they looked upon as an enlarged and reorganised Lunacy Commission, and for the Commissioners we are setting up I make two claims. First of all, I claim the body we are setting up is appropriate for the particular purpose they have to carry out under this Bill, and I also claim that when that further re-organisation and enlargement comes, as we hope it will come some day, it will be adaptable for the larger scheme, which we look upon as the perfection. If that be so, I think we may say this Bill goes as far as we can go at the present moment. If it be found possible by means of negotiation with the authorities now in charge of this matter to come to an understanding we may in the course of the Committee stage be able to insert an arrangement which will be more satisfactory to most Members on both sides of the House. If hon. Members will look at Clause 62 they will see there is power to amalgamate the Lunacy Department with the Commissioners. It is a sort of anticipation that something of the kind may be possible in the future—that we contemplate that it should be done. I think the questions put by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds have already been answered. I think he will be satisfied that the suggestions of the special committees representing voluntary institutions will be met: there will be no difficulty in such institutions, where properly registered, receiving cases as well as those certified under the Mental Deficiency Act. As to whether certain points are within or outside the scope of the Bill there will be no dispute: that matter will be put right.


In regard to Clause 62 to which the hon. Gentleman referred: Does he contemplate bringing Masters in Lunacy under the Home Office?


I should think that in any amalgamation those appointments would be reserved. You may have an amalgamation under the general direction of the Home Office, but it might very well happen that as the Lord Chancellor now has power to appoint certain legal officers that power of appointment will remain with the Lord Chancellor. Next I come to the question of the money Grant. It has been said in many quarters that the amount is not sufficient. It may very well be that it is not, but there is one misapprehension I would like to correct. None of the cost of the central authority will come out of it. It will be met out of Supply from year to year, as the case may be. As far as the cost of the central authority is concerned, the sum fixed is £150,000. It is exceedingly difficult to calculate what the expenditure will be under this Bill. I say quite frankly it may very well turn out that £150,000 is not an adequate sum from the point of view of the local authority, but, at any rate, it is a start. Of course, the Home Office, like every other Department, have to go to the Treasury for money, and this represents the present Treasury Grant in respect of this Bill. It will enable the local authority to make a start, and I am certain that if circumstances justify a further addition to the Grant it will be made. I hope that in spite of the hostile criticism that has been passed upon this Bill, criticism mainly upon its details, that the House will see its way to give a Second Heading to the Bill, which, at any rate, in its main features and aspects, has been waited for by the country for many years past. It is really high time that it was passed. I ask the House, fairly unanimously, to come to the conclusion that it is an honest and an efficient grappling with a most urgent social question, not only important in itself, but important in its relation to other questions. With the help of the criticisms which have been passed upon it to-day it may, perhaps, be made into a better Bill than it is at present, so that it will do something to safeguard the interests and give a chance of cure to an afflicted body of men and women in this country.


I am in favour of the principle of this Bill, but I must confess that the details of it have not been well carried out; in fact, they were hardly seriously defended by the representative of the Government who has spoken. Anyone who looks at Clause 17, which is one of the central features of the Bill, will see there an attempt to define what feeble-mindedness is, and everyone—I do not except even the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us—must think it is contrary to the most ordinary common sense. The only defence which has been made for it is that the definition was taken, if I may say so, bald-headed from the Royal College of Physicians. Without depreciating science in any way, I think it would be far better if these people had been denned as "half-witted," rather than that they should be denned in the elaborate nonsense which appears in this Clause. I ventured to indicate to the Government—and I am glad to find in the speech just made that they substantially give their assent—that it was quite impossible to defend the provisions with regard to the central authority. You have a very highly trained and experienced body of men who have been in existence for many years, who have an elaborate machinery for the examination and visitation of people of weak mind, yet the Government, presuming to be in its senses, ignores the experience and knowledge of all these highly skilled gentlemen, sets up, at great cost, an entirely different body, holding out to the House the ultimate expectation of amalgamating it with the far more experienced body. No reason at all has been given for that. On the contrary, the Under-Secretary said, quite rightly, that there ought to be one authority. If there is to be one authority, why do you replace the one which exists and which has experience by one which has no experience?

The only objections which have been made to the principle of this Bill have been made by my Noble Friend (Lord Robert Cecil), the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), and the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood), paving carefully considered their speeches, I consider that they are the three persons in the House who ought to be most in harmony with the principle of this Bill, because they are extremely assiduous and eager. That is a very honourable position and one we should all agree with. What is the position at present? These feeble-minded people are unable, by reason of their weakness, in the first place to resist the impulses of crime, and in the second place to resist the ravages of dirt and disease, and in the third place are totally unable to earn a livelihood in the struggle for life. How can we deal with them at present? The defenders of personal liberty have a very eccentric notion of liberty. They deliberately ask the House to continue the system under which it is admitted that these unfortunate people, without any moral defect at all, are consigned to hospitals, workhouses, asylums, and gaols. Is that an agreeable form of liberty? The occupants of these institutions lead a miserable life, and they pass from misery to degradation. They were brought before me in former times in my capacity as a criminal judge, and my Noble Friend (Lord Robert Cecil) really made the case for a Bill of this kind with extraordinary completeness. He said these poor people are brought before him, and he is obliged, contrary to his own good sense and good feeling, because there is no other course open to him, to send people to an absolutely inappropriate place. That is the whole point. My Noble Friend admits they ought to be detained, but they ought not to be detained in this way. If they cannot be detained in prison or in the workhouse, of course the only alternative is that they should be detained in a proper place, where such facilities as they have can be trained and where the glimmer of intelligence that they have can ultimately be blown sometimes into a flame of ordinary good sense.


I said, or tried to say, quite distinctly, that I was not against the detention of mental defectives in any circumstances, subject to proper safeguards, but in my view the Bill is so deficient in proper safeguards that it is impossible for the House to read it a second time.


I listened very carefully. The Noble Lord's statement of fact was that four-fifths of the prisoners brought before him were of abnormal mind, and he referred to an immoral class of women. But my Noble Friend's suggestion for dealing with these people was first to sentence them to imprisonment and to detention afterwards. That surely is not right. It is punishing them for an offence which, ex hypothesi, they have never committed. Guilt of mind is necessary for a criminal offence. Surely in principle the Bill is right in saying, "Do not apply inappropriate punishment to people who ought not to be punished. Do not wait till a crime has been committed and then deal with them. Try by detention and training in an establishment to prevent the commission of the crime which you are at present dealing with in so harsh and cruel a manner." That really is the principle of the Bill. My Noble Friend thinks that it would be more convenient to deal with these unhappy people after they have committed a crime and not before. The view entertained by others is that you must endeavour to train them from the beginning, and so prevent them from committing a crime at all, and that the process should be begun at the earliest possible stage. I have heard criticisms upon that portion of the Bill which relates to the education authority. Surely it is right that those who are observing children should have something to say in this matter.

It is rather grotesquely suggested that the education authority would desire to put people in asylums. The education authority, who are able to observe children from their tender years, should have the duty, when they go from school and are subject to the temptations and calamities which absolutely wreck and ruin their lives, of notifying in the proper quarter that such and such children are feebleminded, and that they ought to be further trained and looked after for the next four or five years. What could be move rational than that? The failure to deal with children between sixteen and twenty at the most impressionable age, is precisely the very thing which often plunges them into permanent imbecility of a criminal kind. I am bound to support the Secretary of State in what he said against the severe animadversions on what are called the secrecy provisions of the Bill. In lunacy nineteen cases out of twenty are kept in profound secrecy. The eases which are heard in public are cases where somebody interested wishes an advertisement. Such cases are generally heard in public to the great detriment of everybody concerned, and especially the unfortunate subject of the inquiry. Before the suggestions contained in this Bill were made, I had been told by those who administer the Lunacy Acts that by far the most valuable and decisive of all the methods for ascertaining whether a person was a lunatic was the private talk which takes place between the Master in Lunacy and the alleged lunatic. A few questions put in a quiet room by a really experienced man will do far more good in testing the real truth of the matter than by putting a man in the position of being subjected to a painful and excruciating public inquiry as to whether he is mad or not.

There is one thing which the hon. Gentleman did not make clear to me, and that was, what he was going to do in the case of the voluntary associations on whose behalf, I am sure he will agree, a very sensible appeal was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Colonel Rawson). I should like to press the Government for an undertaking that they will not submit these private institutions which have done admirable work to the process of registration. They are in receipt of voluntary subscriptions which relieve the ratepayers to the extent of £82,000 a year, and they deal with more than 2,000 feeble-minded people. On coming under the visitation and inspection required by this Act they should be entitled to be registered under this Act, and they should not be put to any further investigation than that to which they are already submitted. I do not suppose they will mind in the least whether they are visited by the Lunacy Commissioners or the authority to be set up by this Act, but they ought not to be visited by or registered under both authorities. One registration should be sufficient, and I think that on showing they are duly qualified, as undoubtedly they are, to receive Grants under this Act, they ought to be declared entitled to receive them. I do not think that anybody who desires the efficacy of this Act is satisfied with the Grant of £150,000. The investigations of the London County Council have shown that £90,000 has to be expended by them in providing for some 8,000 of these feeble-minded people. That shows how extraordinarily inadequate the sum of £150,000 a year must be for dealing with a class who are estimated by the Royal Commission to comprise 66,000 people who are not at present treated in institutions and whose condition requires treatment. I may close with one more appeal to the advocates of liberty in this House not to refuse a Second Reading to this Bill, however callously it may have been drawn and however absurd many of us may think some of its details. It must be drastically remodelled. Once allow the House to get into Committee on this Bill, thresh out those questions thoroughly, and put in every safeguard that is reasonable in this Bill and you will then be confronted with the position that I ventured to put to the House at the beginning, namely, that you will be by this Bill enabled to put for their own good these unfortunate people in appropriate places of detention and you will relieve the authorities in this country from the really monstrous burden at present laid upon their conscience, namely, that of sending to mingle with the wicked and the baser those who are merely mentally afflicted.


We have heard an argument from the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) which, in my view, was a travesty and caricature of the facts. The hon. Member really proceeded on the assumption that the Bill was wrong. When it was pointed out that the Bill was not what he imagined it to be, well he said it is the intention of the Bill anyhow, whether it is in the Bill or not. He really approached it with almost a mania of suspicion, and I think he gave an entirely unfair account of those Clauses. The whole of the speech of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, and of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City could equally well have been applied to the Lunacy Act of 1890, in regard to the absence of safeguards. As a matter of fact, complaint has been made about the hearing in private, but under the Lunacy Act there is no option at all; the private hearing is compulsory; and the provisions as to the treatment of lunatics found wandering, or neglected, or cruelly treated, are all repeated from the Lunacy Act. The definition of the word "lunatic" is a person of "unsound mind," words which are certainly wider in actual drafting than they are held to be in practice. It does not follow that there should not be proper and absolute safeguards; I quite agree that there ought to be; but the details of this Bill are attacked only by the abstract advocates of the liberties of the subject. We have waited so long, I shall be greatly disappointed if we do not succeed this year in getting something put on to the Statute Book. The only real difficulty is the extension of the Bill and of the Clauses as to procedure and machinery. In regard to what was said by the right hon. Gentleman opposite as to the central authority, I was very glad to hear the Under-Secretary say that the Government had an open mind on the point. He opened the door, though not very widely—at least, it is ajar—and I do not think it would be out of the power of the Committee to reconstitute the Bill in regard to the central authority. I believe that on the Royal Commission there was a real difference of opinion as to the central authority. The Report includes a paragraph which argued for the solution adopted by the Bill. But if you look at the summary of recommendations you find that it is not included among them, which I think is clear evidence of the divergence of opinion among the Commissioners. The Report can only be quoted very doubtfully in favour of the solution adopted by the Bill.


The Royal Commission recommended that the central authority should be detached from the Home Office.


Yes: but I think it is fair to say that they recommended a semi-detached position. I do not see how the solution adopted in the Bill can be carried through without a great deal of friction and without overlapping. It is said by the Home Secretary that the Lunacy Commission have no staff. They have a staff to deal with inspections and the passing of plans. At the present moment the Home Office is the authority under the Lunacy Act for enforcing accommodation for lunatics, and for forcing local authorities to act. That, no doubt, would still remain, subject, I think, to the advice of the new central authority. I think if you go through the Bill you will see everywhere the extraordinary dualism which results. Thus take the local authority; you get the possibilty of having two visiting committees dealing with people who belong very much to the same sort of class, and there will certainly be overlapping, friction and trouble. That is not essential, I admit, as you may have the same committee. Then on the question of finance there is a singular difficulty under the present arrangement. There is now a Grant of 4s. per head for the provision for lunatics, and under this Bill there is to be a Grant of 7s. per head. What it comes to is, stripped of all details, that you will be paying the county councils 3s. per head to decide that a person is mentally defective and not a lunatic. Though we want more rather than less money under this Bill, yet that the classification of persons as mentally defective should depend on the difference in State Grants is really absurd. I hope that will be altered in some way, and, though we do not want less money, I venture to think there ought to be equality of Grants between the two classes. If you go further into the Bill once more this dualism appears. There are a number of Clauses in the Bill which would be decidedly advantageous to the administration of the Lunacy Acts, and which might be extended, but there is another set of Clauses which would introduce great discrepancies and anomalies, and which in practice would be troublesome. Taking all those points together, I trust that the Home Office will not wait for this ultimate amalgamation which is foreshadowed in Clause 62. These eventual amalgamations take so long to carry through. There has, for instance, always been the possibility of amalgamating the Masters in Lunacy and the Lunacy Commissioners. As soon as you get two bodies set up there are vested interests and divergencies of opinion, and the difficulty of amalgamation is very great. It does seem to me if the Home Office is really at present considering the amalgamation of these two bodies so as to get a central body, the procedure of first setting up the two bodies and then bringing them together, when you have vested interests and friction arising, is a most singular procedure. I should have thought the simplest course would have been to make one central authority, and so avoid those enormous difficulties which I am quite certain will occur if you take the other line of procedure. I will not labour that point, but I hope the Home Secretary will not regard any Amendments I put down as betokening any want of friendship towards the Bill. I believe that in principle it is much needed, and though I certainly trust it will be carefully considered in Committee, I would thank the Home Office for having undertaken this difficult task, and I trust that the Bill, when it has been revised, overhauled, and indeed reconstructed, will be satisfactorily carried through.


I wish as a friend of the Bill to offer a few suggestions, because I am anxious that it should be made into as good a Bill as possible. On the question of finance it seems to me that the position will not be met merely by a larger Grant. The scheme of the Bill is that when the 7s. a week is granted by the central authority to the local authorities the latter can be called upon to provide sufficient accommodation for the mentally defective of the district. If you increase the sum of £150,000 you will not get over the difficulty. You will really only increase the burden which you place upon the local authority. The increase of the Grant will only increase the demand made upon the local authority, and if you increase that demand it will not be so easy to have the scheme carried out. Under Clause 28 there is power to transfer defective prisoners to institutions. If that power is exercised you may use up a good deal of the money provided under the Bill by occupying space by prisoners rather than by the persons who are really the objects of the Bill. I hope I am wrong in that, but I point it out as a matter to be considered by the Home Secretary.

In addition you have to consider whether there is a proper authority which can deal with this very important body known as the mentally defective. The curious thing is that you are going to set up a new body of Commissioners without requiring that they should have either medical or legal knowledge. I think that some sort of provision ought to be made in respect of that. It is the more important inasmuch as you have a body with great experience who have for a long time carried out their duties extremely well. It is rather unfortunate that you should start with a new body instead of, as apparently is ultimately intended in Clause 62, amalgamating this new body with the existing body. The existing body will not be large enough, and it surely will be far easier to add new Commissioners to the existing Commissioners, and so to make use of the fund of experience and of authority which the present Lunacy Commissioners afford, and which it will be very unfortunate to lay aside when you are trying to work a new system. There is another point. You are going to set up a new body who are to deal with the persons contemplated by this Act as being within the sphere of the Act. It is a curious thing that this Act does not deal at all with persons who are at present in voluntary institutions. The result is that you will have a certain number of defectives in cither lunatic or

Division No. 151.] AYES. [50 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Arnold, Sydney Bentham, G. J.
Acland, Francis Dyke Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Bigland, Alfred
Addison, Dr. C. Balcarres, Lord Boland, John Pius
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick) Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-
Ainsworth, John Stirling Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Brocklehurst, William B.
Alden, Percy Beale, Sir William Phipson Brunner, J. F. L.
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Beauchamp, Sir Edward Bryce, J. Annan
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Beck, Arthur Cecil Buckmaster, Stanley O.
Amery, L. C. M. S. Beckett, Hon. Gervase Burke, E. Haviland-
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo Burns, Rt. Hon. John

voluntary asylums who are dealt with under one set of Acts—that is the Lunacy Acts and the Idiots Act—and another number who are under this Mental Deficiency Act—if it becomes an Act, as I hope it will. The result is that you must get a very large amount of overlapping, which is unfortunate and expensive and leads to friction.

There is another point which is entirely left out of this Bill. You have no powers under this Act, as you have under the Lunacy Act, to enable persons voluntarily to take advantage of the Act. Those who are expert in these matters attach great importance to this, for this reason: If you are to have the inquiries that have been referred to you to bring a person within the scope of this Bill, you put a premium against a person voluntarily taking advantage of it. Under Section 229 of the Lunacy Act persons may voluntarily accept detention in an institution or asylum, because they feel that they can make it their home. There are many defectives who would be very happily dealt with in that way, and who would voluntarily undergo residence in one of these asylums. But if in order to take advantage of the Mental Deficiency Bill their relatives or friends have to move in the matter in the way suggested you at once put a premium against the voluntary idea, which works at present very well, and is a valuable asset to those persons who do not want to confront their fellows with the fact that they have got the mentally deficient amongst them; at the same time in respect of whom it is very important that they should have facilities for being maintained voluntarily in an institution.


There are twenty important points—


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

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

The House divided: Ayes, 230; Noes, 38.

Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Hogge, James Myles O'Neill Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Holmes, Daniel Turner O Shaughnessy, P. J.
Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.) Holt, Richard Durning O'Shee, James John
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Horner, Andrew Long O'Sullivan, Timothy
Cassel, Felix Hudson, Walter Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Parker, James (Halifax)
Cawley, H. T. (Heywood) Illingworth, Percy H. Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Chancellor, Henry George Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh) Peto, Basil Edward
Clancy, John Joseph Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Clough, William Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Pointer, Joseph
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney) Pole-Carew, Sir R.
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Jowett, Frederick William Pollock, Ernest Murray
Condon, Thomas Joseph Joyce, Michael Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Cotton, William Francis Keating, Matthew Power, Patrick Joseph
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Kellaway, Frederick George Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Kelly, Edward Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Kennedy, Vincent Paul Raffan, Peter Wilson
Crumley, Patrick Kerry, Earl of Rawson, Colonel Richard H.
Cullinan, John Kilbride, Denis Reddy, Michael
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Dawes, James Arthur Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
De Forest, Baron Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Delany, William Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Denniss, E. R. B. Lundon, Thomas Rowlands, James
Dickinson, W. H. Lynch, Arthur Alfred Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Donelan, Captain A. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Duffy, William J. MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Elverston, Sir Harold McGhee, Richard Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary) Maclean, Donald Sheeny, David
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Essex, Richard Walter Macpherson, James Ian Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Esslemont, George Birnie McCallum, Sir John M. Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Farrell, James Patrick McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Stewart, Gershom
Ffrench, Peter Marshall, Arthur Harold Summers, James Woolley
Fitzgibbon, John Mason, David M. (Coventry) Sutherland, John E.
Flavin, Michael Joseph Meagher, Michael Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Tennant, Harold John
Goldstone, Frank Menzies, Sir Walter Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Molloy, Michael Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Molteno, Percy Alport Toulmin, Sir George
Greig, Col. James William Money, L. G. Chiozza Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Griffith, Ellis Jones Mooney, John J. Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Morgan, George Hay Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Morison, Hector Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Hackett, John Muldoon, John Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Munro, R. White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Hancock, John George Nannetti, Joseph P. White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Needham, Christopher P. White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Newdegate, F. A. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Newton, Harry Kottingham Whitehouse, John Howard
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Nolan, Joseph Williamson, Sir Archibald
Hayden, John Patrick Norton, Captain Cecil W. Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Hayward, Evan Nuttall, Harry Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) O'Doherty, Philip Young, William (Perth, East)
Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) O'Donnell, Thomas Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Higham, John Sharp O'Dowd, John
Hills, J. W. O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Hinds John O'Malley, William Gulland and Mr. G. Howard.
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, George Abraham Nield, Herbert
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Goldsmith, Frank Outhwaite, R. L.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Grant, J. A. Paget, Almeric Hugh
Bird, Alfred Greene, W. R. Pringle, William M. R.
Boyton, James Gretton, John Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Bridgeman, William Clive Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.) Rees, Sir J. D.
Bull, Sir William James Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cameron, Robert Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) King, Joseph Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Dairymple, Viscount Lloyd, George Ambrose TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Falle, Bertram Godfray Malcolm, Ian Booth and Marquess of Tullibardine.
Fell, Arthur Morrell, Philip

Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

Division No. 152.] AYES. [5.10 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Goldsmith, Frank Mooney, J. J.
Acland, Francis Dyke Goldstone, Frank Morgan, George Hay
Addison, Dr. C. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Morison, Hector
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Greene, Walter Raymond Muldoon, John
Ainsworth, John Stirling Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Munro, Robert
Alden, Percy Greig, Col. J. W. Nannetti, Joseph P.
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton) Grimth, Ellis Jones Needham, Christopher T.
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Newdegate, F. A.
Amery, L. C. M. S. Guinness, Hon. Rubert (Essex, S.E.) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Anstruthsr-Gray, Major William Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)
Arnold, Sydney Hackett, J. Nolan, Joseph
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Norton, Capt. Cecil W.
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.) Hancock, John George Nuttall, Harry
Barrie, H. T. Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Beale, Sir William Phipson Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Doherty, Philip
Beck, Arthur Cecil Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry O'Donnell, Thomas
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hayden, John Patrick O'Down, John
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Hayward, Evan O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Bentham, G. J. Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) O'Malley, William
Bigland, Alfred Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Bird, Alfred Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Boland, John Pius Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S,) O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) O'Shee, James John
Boyton, James Higham, John Sharp O'Sullivan, Timothy
Bridgeman, William Clive Hills, John Waller Paget, Almeric Hugh
Brocklehurst, William B. Hinds, John Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Brunner, John F. L. Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Parker, James (Halifax)
Bryce, John Annan Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Buckmaster, Stamey O. Hogge, James Myles Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Burke, E. Haviland- Holmes, Daniel Turner Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Holt, Richard Durning Pointer, Joseph
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Horner, Andrew Long Pole-Carew, sir R.
Buxton, Rt, Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Hudeon, Walter Pollock, Ernest Murray
Campbell, Duncan F. (Ayr, N.) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Illingworth, Percy H. Power, Patrick Joseph
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Ruins Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Cassel, Felix Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire) Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Raffan, Peter Wilson
Cawley, H. T. (Lanes., Heywood) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Rawson, Colonel Richard H.
Chancellor, H. G. Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney) Reddy, M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Joyce, Michael Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Clancy, John Joseph Keating, Matthew Rees, Sir J. D.
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Kellaway, Frederick George Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Clough, William Kelly, Edward Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Kerry, Earl of Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Kilbride, Denis Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Cotton, William Francis King, J. Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Craig, Captain James (Down E.) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Rowlands, James
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Crumley, Patrick Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Cullinan, John Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Sheehy, David
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Lloyd, George Ambrose Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Dawes, J. A. Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
De Forest, Baron Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Delany, William Lundon, T. Stewart, Gershom
Denniss, E. R. B. Lynch, A. A. Summers, James Woolley
Dickinson, W. H. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo.,Han.S.) Sutherland, John E.
Donelan, Captain A. MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGengh Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Duffy, William J. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Tennant, Harold John
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) McGhee, Richard Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Elverston, Sir Harold Maclean, Donald Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. T. J. Tryon, Captain George Clement
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Macpherson, James Ian Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Essex, Richard Walter MacCallum, Sir John M. Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Esslemont, George Birnie McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Falle, Bertram Godfray Marshall, Arthur Harold Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Farrell, James Patrick Mason, David M. (Coventry) Wason, John Cat heart (Orkney)
Fell, Arthur Meagher, Michael White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Ffrench, Peter Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Fitzgibbon, John Menzies, Sir Walter White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Molloy, M. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Gibbs, George Abraham Moltene, Percy Aiport Whitehouse, John Howard
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Money, L. G. Chiozza Whyte, A. F. (Perth)

The House divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 19.

Williamson, Sir A. Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Huil, W.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart- TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr
Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton) Young, William (Perth, East) Gulland and Mr. G. Howard.
Wood, John (Stalybridge) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gretton, John Talbot, Lord Edmund
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Bull, Sir William James Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Malcolm, Ian
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Nield, Herbert
Dalrymple, Viscount Pringle, William M. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Booth and Mr. Wedgwood.
Grant, James Augustus Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)

Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

Division No. 153.] AYES. [5.16 p.m.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, George Abraham Pole-Carew, Sir R.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Grant, James Augustus Pringle, William M. R.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Rees, Sir J. D.
Booth, Frederick Handel Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Boyton, James Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Bridgeman, William Clive Kerry, Earl of Tullibardine, Marquess of
Bull, Sir William James Newdegate, F. A. Wedgwood, Josiah
Cassel, Felix Newton, Harry Kottingham Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Dairymple, Viscount Nield, Herbert
Falle, Bertram Godfray Paget, Almeric Hugh TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Fell, Arthur Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Malcolm and Mr. Peto.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Cullinan, John Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)
Acland, Francis Dyke Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Higham, John Sharp
Addison, Dr. Christopher Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Hills, John Waller
Ainsworth, John Stirling Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) Hinds, John
Alden, Percy Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Dawes, J. A. Hogge, James Myles
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) De Forest, Baron Holmes, Daniel Turner
Amery, L. C. M. S. Delany, William Horner, Andrew Long
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Denniss, E. R. B. Hudson, Walter
Arnold, Sydney Dickinson, W. H. Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Donelan, Captain A. Illingworth, Percy H.
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick) Duffy, William J. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus
Beale, Sir William Phipson Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Elverston, Sir Harold Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)
Bentham, George Jackson Essex, Richard Walter Joyce, Michael
Bird, Alfred Esslemont, George Birnie Keating, Matthew
Boland, John Pius Farrell, James Patrick Kellaway, Frederick George
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. E. Griffiths- Ffrench, Peter Kelly, Edward
Brocklehurst, William B. Fitzgibbon, John Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Bryce, John Annan Flavin, Michael Joseph Kilbride, Denis
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford King, J.
Burke, E. Haviland- Goldsmith, Frank Kinloch-Ceoke, Sir Clement
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Goldstone, Frank Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe
Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.) Greene, Walter Raymond Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Greig, Col. J. W. Lawson, Hon. H. (T.H'mts., Mile End)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Griffith, Ellis J. Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)
Cawley, H. T. (Lanes., Heywood) Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Lloyd, George Ambrose
Chancellor, H. G. Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hackett, John Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)
Clancy, John Joseph Hancock, John George Lundon, Thomas
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Lynch, A. A.
Clough, William Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (St. Geo., Han.S.)
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) MacCaw, Win. J. MacGeagh
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Havelock-Alan, Sir Henry McGhee, Richard
Cotton, William Francis Hayden, John Patrick Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Hayward, Evan Macpherson, James Ian
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) McCallum, Sir John M.
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Crumley, Patrick Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Marshall, Arthur Harold

"That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."—[Mr. Booth.]

The House divided: Ayes, 33; Noes, 208.

Mason, David M. (Coventry) Palmer, Godfrey Mark Soames, Arthur Wellesley.
Meagher, Michael Parker, James (Halifax) Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Pearce, William (Limehouse) Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Menzies, Sir Walter Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Stewart, Gershom
Molloy, Michael Pointer, Joseph Summers, James Woolley
Molteno, Percy Alport Pollock, Ernest Murray Sutherland, John E.
Money, L. G. Chiozza Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Talbot, Lord Edmund
Morgan, George Hay Power, Patrick Joseph Tennant, Harold John
Morison, Hector Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Muldoon, John Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Munro, Robert Rattan, Peter Wilson Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Nannetti, Joseph P. Rawson, Colonel Richard H. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Nicholson, Sir Charles (Doncaster) Reddy, M. Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Nolan, Joseph Redmond, William (Clare, E.) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Norton, Captain Cecil W. Richardson, Albion (Peckham) White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)
Nuttall, Harry Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Whitehouse, John Howard
O'Doherty, Philip Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
O'Donnell, Thomas Roche, Augustine (Louth) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
O'Dowd, John Rowlands, James Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W. Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Young, William (Perth, East)
O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Seely, Rt. Hon. Col. J. E. B.
O'Shee, James John Sheehy, David TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
O'Sullivan, Timothy Smith, Harold (Warrington) Gulland and Mr. G. Howard.