HC Deb 22 May 1914 vol 62 cc2223-301

Order for Second Reading read.


On a point of Order. May I ask you whether this is not a Bill which comes under the heading of a Hybrid Bill, and ought to be referred to one of the Committees provided by the Rules of the House, seeing that in paragraph 10 of the First Schedule, it interferes with the rights conferred upon companies by Private Bills?


I have not had time to consider that matter, but even if the hon. Member is right it would not prevent the Second Reading of the Bill in the ordinary way. The Bill can be discussed and read a second time, and then it will become a question as to which Committee it should be referred. If it appears to be in the nature of a Hybrid Bill, it can then be referred to a Hybrid Committee. The objection which the hon. Member has cannot be held good as an objection against the Second Reading of the Bill. It may be an objection later as to which Committee it should go.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

This Bill is an old friend. It is mainly promoted by the Imperial Sunday Alliance, an organisation to which we owe so much for bringing this question to its present position before the country. A Bill of a similar character was introduced last year. It seems to rectify an evil which has been known to exist in this country, and an evil which, unfortunately, is greatly on the increase. It is a long-needed reform. It is strictly a nonparty measure, as will be seen by the names on the back of the Bill. There are representatives of all sections of the House who give approval to the principle of the Bill. The Bill attempts to regulate the conditions of labour upon the basis of six working days, and Sunday as a normal day of rest. One day's rest in seven was recognised in the Eastern countries of the world long before the days of the Laws of Moses, and their example has been followed by many other nations of the earth, as I will explain presently. We seek in this Bill to give back that freedom to the masses of the people of this country which was their inheritance and birthright, namely, that they should have one day's rest in seven. The demand is not an extravagant one, and indeed this right, as I think, has only been encroached upon through the greed of man. We believe that this boon can be restored to the people of this country without dislocating trade or doing any material damage, if any damage at all, to the industries of this country. It is simply a matter of organisation. All the great Continental Powers have given effect to legislation of this character, and I am perfectly certain that there is no one here prepared to state that they have suffered in regard to the prosperity or the progress of their industries by reason of legislation in that direction.

The rest-day that this Bill seeks to secure will not be a day lost. The human being—the machine of machines in this world—will be repairing, ready to start to-morrow afresh with clearer vision, better spirits, and renewed vigour to do the task that lies before it. Incessant labour exhausts both body and mind. It makes a boy a dull individual, while as regards the adult, it simply reduces him to the condition of a dazed animal, trying to pursue his work without any interest whatsoever in the task that lies before him. We, in this House, are quick enough to rebel against the thought of long Sessions, while we treat the idea of an Autumn Session with abhorrence and detestation. Not for one moment am I here to suggest that the Members who compose this House are particularly endowed with a double dose of the sin of laziness. On the contrary, I think we have come to that conclusion because our experience shows that when the House is tired and exhausted, when a man's efforts are reduced by fatigue, the result is bad and ineffective, and, very frequently, the work is very expensive work for our employers, the nation. And yet, in regard to ourselves, we work but five days in the week. If this is the result in our case, how much more must it be the result with regard to the humbler workers in the community, who incessantly labour day in and clay out, in season and out of season, often at the same class of work, and without any variety. The monotony must be absolutely intense, and I often watch the poorer sections of the working classes in this country and wonder that they are able to do their work as well as they do with all the dreary monotony of life before them, and with their incessant labour.

We seek to secure in this Bill Sunday as the normal rest-day in the week, but a further purpose of the Bill is that in case Sunday, the normal rest-day, cannot be secured, one day in seven shall always be secured. The Bill has been carefully drafted with sufficient elasticity to avoid as far as possible inflicting any injury on the few in our desire to give relief to the many. The licensing question is not touched by this Bill. This House, a fortnight ago, decided that Sunday closing should not take place. This is not a licensing Bill. It is a Bill to secure one day's rest in seven, and clubs, licensed premises and refreshment rooms of a bonâ-fide character will continue to cater for their clients and customers in the same way as heretofore, but, of course, it will be required that a corresponding day's rest of equal duration shall be secured for the employés in these places on another day during the week. There are exemptions under the classification of "necessity" and "mercy." Needless to say, one of the most elementary provisions dealing with "necessity" will be the milking of cows. No one supposes that a cow can be left to run unmilked, thereby exposing it to the danger of fever, and, of course, it is specifically held in that term "necessity" that cows are to continue to be milked even on Sundays and on holidays. I may here say that hon. Members who represent agricultural districts in this House frequently receive complaints from the farmers on this subject. Allow me, in a sentence, to observe that amongst the various classes of workers in this country there is none in which a greater need exists for one day's rest in seven than amongst the agricultural labouring community. There is also a specific Clause put in the Schedule to provide for the caring and feeding of cattle, and for the doing of all that is necessary for their proper treatment.

Under this Bill no attempt whatsoever is made to dictate to the workman how he shall spend the leisure day. All we desire is that Parliament shall decree—and decree in no uncertain tone—that it is the right of every citizen in this country, the richest in the world, to always have one day's rest in seven. Sunday trading is continually increasing. There is a continuous encroachment on the one day's rest in seven. Only last year a great meeting was held in London, a national conference representing some 50,000 shopkeepers in the country, at which a resolution was unanimously passed asking the Government to come forward and safeguard them in their business by stopping this encroachment upon the Sunday rest, It must be within the knowledge of everyone that in these days of competition, if one shop is open, it is an inducement to, if not a compulsion upon, the competing trader to open his shop so as to enable him to retain his customers' trade. It is for that reason that they have unanimously appealed to Parliament to do something to safeguard them against this encroachment and this growing evil. Last year, a canvass was made in a limited district in London, and it was found that out of 400 shops open on a Sunday, not including licensed houses, no fewer than 375 were doing ordinary business, whereas, a year previously, in the same district there were not 150 thus open.

There has been an official canvass and a return made to Parliament with regard to the opening of shops in Leicester. The-canvass was made on 5th October, 1913, and it was found that, exclusive altogether of licensed houses, there were no fewer than 1,780 shops open in the town of Leicester carrying on the ordinary trade the same as on weekdays. A glance at that list will show that a vast number of these shops were not open for necessity, but for merely doing their ordinary business. They included 85 butchers, 373 grocers, 24 bootmakers, and 37 haberdashers. If this Bill were in force, the result would be that instead of 1,780 shops being open in Leicester on what should be a day of rest, the figure would be reduced by 1,521, and there would still be left open shops supplying milk and bread, establishments for the hiring of cycles, and shops for the sale of newspapers. These would be open for a limited number of hours, but still there would be ample time for everyone in the community who desired to do so, to obtain a supply of all necessary wants for that day. I quote Leicester, because Leicester is the subject of an official return, but it is no exception to the rule. In Sheffield, there were 2,400 shops open on Sunday, exclusive of public houses. In Liverpool, 4,700, all doing ordinary trading, in Glasgow, 3,400, and in Leeds, 3,000 odd. In fact, we all know, and it cannot be denied or-ignored, that there are a great many people throughout the country who treat Sunday as a day of toil and employment, and impose on those most requiring rest and the most needful of the help and support of this House the necessity of earning their living on that day or of losing their calling on the other days of the week.

May I, very briefly, allude to some of the provisions of the Bill. As I have stated, the Bill is promoted by the Imperial Sunday Alliance, and they are mainly responsible for it. With a great deal of the Bill I am in entire agreement, but there are some provisions in it which I consider to be too drastic, and which I hope will be amended in Committee.


What is the Imperial Sunday Alliance?


It is a great organisation which has held innumerable meetings throughout the length and breadth of the country impressing upon the people the desirability of having this one day's rest in the week. According to the statement with which hon. Members have been supplied, they have had resolutions passed by a great number of the friendly societies and by a still larger number of the trade unions throughout the country, advocating that something should be done to secure this one day's rest in seven, and Sunday, if possible, as the rest-day to the working classes. May I return to the operative Clause, which is Clause 1, Sub-section (4), dealing with amusements. That, to my mind, is drawn in far too drastic terms altogether, and it also in my opinion requires a greater admission of the principle of local option in dealing with the matter. In regard to Ireland, it would absolutely destroy the great institution there known as the Gaelic Athletic Association, which I know does a vast amount of good and provides reasonable recreation and amusement for multitudes of people on a Sunday afternoon, with which no one knowing Ireland as I do would for a moment attempt to interfere. The hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. William Redmond), whose name is on the back of the Bill, will, when we get into Committee, move the excision of that Subsection (4) so far as it relates to Ireland, and, speaking for myself, I shall most heartily support him and do what I can to help him to secure this Amendment.


May I inform the hon. Member that there will be Amendments to exclude Ireland from the Bill altogether? If you take out amusements altogether, that has no meaning whatever.


While Irish Members vote in this House of Parliament for legislation as regards England, and so long as they are in this Parliament, I am not prepared to exclude Ireland from a reform which I believe is just as needful in Ireland as in this country. No one can read of the recent events in Dublin exposed by Mr. Larkin as to the amount of overwork and say that this one day's rest in seven is not wanted in Ireland just as anywhere else. In regard to entertainments on Sunday, the position in Ireland is altogether different from the position in England. There they treat Sunday on entirely different principles from those on which we treat it here, and this Gaelic Athletic Association has been going on for years, and every one of us, whether or not we believe in the faith of the majority of the people in Ireland, are convinced that the Gaelic Athletic Association does great good in Ireland.


Will the hon. Member say whether the exemption of Ireland from this Sub-section will apply to Ulster?


The hon. Member is trifling with the Bill, as he does with most things. I come to Clause 2, Sub-section (3). In regard to that Clause, those of us who are in favour of this Bill would like to see an Amendment made in it in regard to the sale of shrimps, prawns and shell-fish, and the Second Schedule should also be amended by extending the time for their sale to 6 p.m. It is essentially a Sunday afternoon trade. The statistics as regard the trade show that no less than two-thirds of the sales of these particular articles take place on Sunday afternoon, and they are the stable delicacy which the working classes in our populous districts do enjoy and appreciate. I, for one, and I am certain there are others, will be prepared to support an Amendment, if the Bill obtains a Second Reading, to give this freedom to the sellers of these shrimps, prawns and shell-fish. Another Sub-section which also requires amendment is that dealing with the costers. I hold that the costers have an absolute life-hold in their present trade and calling, and that whatever may be done in regard to the future and their successors, at all events in regard to the present costers, they should not in any way be interfered with in carrying on their trade. I come to Clause 3, and, as hon. Members will see, that is another far-reaching Clause. It deals with works of necessity and mercy which are fully explained in the very ample Schedule which is in the Bill. Ministers of religion, medical men, workers on newspapers, and vendors of newspapers are all dealt with there. In regard to the workers on newspapers, since the Bill has been drafted very strong reasons have been brought before us to show that the limit of four hours must be further extended, and an earlier hour must be put into the Bill to enable newspaper workers to bring out the paper in proper order for Monday's readers. In regard to the vendors of newspapers, the Bill limits the time they may sell on Sunday to two hours. I am of opinion that is too short a period, and that it can be well extended in Committee.

The Clause also imposes what is to my mind a very good restriction, and which I think will meet with the approval of the House, namely, the vendors of newspapers on Sunday shall be of the age of sixteen years and upwards, so that little children shall no longer be seen on the streets selling these newspapers. As regards transport by land and sea, the usual elasticity in regard to those callings is secured under the Schedule, and innumerable other provisions are made in the Schedule in regard to which I will not at the present time trespass on the House by enumerating. This Bill may be ambitious, but it attempts to grapple with an evil we all know to exist, and it attempts to give effect to a reform which I believe finds an echo in the heart of every man in this House, wherever he sits or to whatever political party he belongs. There cannot be much doubt in anyone's mind that the times are rapidly changing, not only in politics, but in outside affairs, and in nearly every relationship in life. The stress, strain, and competition in life are enormous, and if we, as a nation, are to hold our own we must take steps to secure that the physical and industrial energy of this country is not undermined. I believe to-day one of the great sicknesses in the country that we are all suffering from, lower, middle and upper classes, is nervous exhaustion. Again and again doctors tell you when you are worn out that what you want is a rest cure. If that is the case with us who can afford a rest cure, how much more is a case made out for our coming forward to help those among the humbler classes who have not the means to provide themselves with a rest cure, and whom the perpetual continuous strain of daily work exhausts the same as it does us?

It is about time this country attempted to take a leaf out of the book of the other great nations of the world who have given effect to legislation in regard to this matter. They have seen that changing conditions require intervention, and they have not hesitated to come to the rescue of the workers, and in every case their efforts have been rewarded not by disaster to the workman and to trade, but to the vast advantage of the trade and prosperity of those countries. They have intervened to put pressure upon the employers who inflict these long hours more through carelessness than wilfully. In Germany, so long back as 1892, they introduced a Bill securing for the workers this whole day's rest on Saturday. Is anyone going to tell me to-day that Germany's trade has been dislocated, that she is not in a state of overbounding prosperity by reason of this very fact, that she does more and more take care to secure to the workers of the country that care which a great State should take? Austria, in 1895, France, in 1906, and Italy and Canada in 1907 have intervened and secured to the workers the freedom which we ask for the people of this country. If they have got over the difficulties with such success, are we to be told that England is so worn out and so dead beat that she has not men amongst her generation to-day who are prepared to tackle this problem and see that we can secure for our working classes some of the advantages which have been secured there? In England, we have already made a start. The hon. Member (Mr. Remnant) with untiring energy continuously brought forward a one-day rest in seven Bill for our police. Is there anybody in this country to-day who would wish to go back upon that legislation and say it was bad legislation which should not have been passed? I hope this Parliament will go a step forward, and will see their way to extend the great advantages of that one-day rest in seven to this community, and brighten the lot of those in the land who have seen a great deal of the duller side of life, and endow them with this simple little thing which every one of us possesses and none of us wish to be denied of, and place them in possession of this right, which is enjoyed by other nations, and by our sister States in the Empire.


I wish to second the Motion from no Sabbatarian point of view. Those who believe that the weekly rest on Sunday is a Divine institution have nevertheless no right, for that reason alone, to impose such a belief upon others. In bringing a Bill before this House, one is bound to support it upon utilitarian grounds, and show that it is a proposal which will be beneficial to the human race under the ordinary conditions of life and quite apart from any higher ideals, good though they may be, which actuate us in other respects in dealing with such a question. Our only justification is the human need for the remedy that is proposed. No one can deny that periodical relaxation is necessary for men and women, and that that periodical relaxation has been very wisely fixed at one day's rest in the week. Without such a relaxation the human frame cannot produce its best fruits, and those who have been the greatest workers have almost invariably been those who have most strictly observed the rule of periodical relaxation, and the nations which have been the most prosperous and have had the greatest influence in the world have been those which have also observed the general rule that workers must have a weekly relaxation. We have, as a nation, enjoyed this custom for many centuries, and very greatly to our own profit. Other nations have not been so fortunate, and although European nations for centuries observed the Sabbath, soon after the French Revolution they lost sight of it. It was regarded then as being solely a religious institution, and for that reason chiefly, I believe, the masses of the people took an aversion to it in France and in other Continental countries, and for many years Sunday became no more recognised from the point of view of the worker than any other day in the week, a result which was disastrous in every case.

The moment that the worker found that the protection—because it was a protection—of the custom of a Sunday observance was withdrawn, he found himself at the mercy of a harsh and cruel industrialism. The experience of the Continent during the first half of the nineteenth century was such that there arose a counter movement, and the labourers themselves started an agitation for some legislative protection to take the place of what had been formerly the customary protection of the observance of the Sabbath, and this agitation, which began with a conference at Berne, in 1876, and culminated in a very important conference in Berlin in 1890, at which most of the European States were represented by official delegates, resulted in the series of legislative measures which my hon. Friend has given, and which has brought it about that in almost every country it has been found necessary to lay down by Statute certain rules affecting the observance of Sunday in order to protect the workers of the nation. In Germany, Sweden. Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Chili, the Argentine Republic, Canada, Australia, and, I believe, in other countries, Acts of Parliament have been passed during the last fifteen or twenty years.


Have they not been in many cases for one day's rest in seven?


I believe that, in most cases, Sunday has been the day. I have looked up that question carefully, and I think the hon. Member will find that, although the principle is laid down of one day's rest being given in seven, in all but two or three countries Sunday is taken as the day upon which the rest-day by preference should be given. I believe I am correct in saying that in the great majority of cases Sunday is designated as the day of rest. This process has brought about a great change. I have known the Continent fairly well for forty years, and I can say that Sunday on the Continent is different now from what it was forty years ago. It is much the same as a day of pleasure, and to that we cannot take exception, but it is no longer a day when industries are running without any regard for the workers' interest. The change which has come about is one which everybody says is beneficial. I think we can draw from Continental experience two important lessons. One is that as democracy grows in power it is more and more desirous to insist that a weekly rest-day should be assured to the workers. It is a workers' question, and it springs from them.


Has there been any demand for this Bill from the workers?


I hope my hon. Friend will hear some of the workers' representatives this afternoon. I leave that question to the Members on the Labour benches, and I have no doubt they will deal with it. I will quote one extract from a labour organisation paper before I sit down. The first lesson to be drawn from Continental experience is that the democracy more and more demands legislative protection for its weekly holiday, and the second is that, as a rule, when the question of the selection of the day is taken into consideration, the day selected for the normal rest-day has been Sunday. From our point of view we have been in this country more fortunate than others, chiefly because we have maintained in practice the observance of Sunday. But no one can deny that we are in grave danger of going through the same process that our neighbours across the Channel have had to undergo. Sunday is undoubtedly losing its hold from the religious point of view, and by that reason it is becoming more and more a day upon which men and women are required to work. Every tendency is in that direction, the increase of wealth making more and more persons wish to enjoy themselves on Sunday than hitherto. Facilities of travel, the growing desire for luxury—all these things are increasing the demand that is now being made on the poorer classes to give their labour on seven days in the week. I venture to think that in some businesses even the invention of machinery has had a tendency in that way, because it pays the capitalist to keep machinery running as constantly as possible, and is naturally an inducement to him to see that men engaged in managing the machinery produce its utmost output in the time. The great and overwhelming desire to get rich quickly has this effect throughout all classes, not only among employers, but even among workmen themselves.

Then we find in every branch of industry that there are growing complaints that the opportunities for rest on one day in the week are becoming less and less frequent. As an example of this I need only remind the House of the proceedings in connection with the Shop Hours Act of 1911. There the Government of the day thought it was necessary to include—and I think rightly—in that Bill provisions for the Sunday closing of shops. The Committee upstairs approved of that proposal. It is quite true that owing to the length of the Session in that year—it lasted till November or December—the Government had to drop the portion of that Bill which related to the Sunday closing of shops by reason of lack of time, and also by reason of the fact that when the Bill came back to the House there was a great amount of opposition to these provisions. The Government realised that that measure did not afford a suitable opportunity for dealing with that important matter. I submit to the House that the fact the Government measure actually proposed to legislate on the observance of Sunday as regards shops showed that a demand had been made for such legislation. My hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Reddy) asked whether there was any demand for a rest day on Sunday from the working classes. I will quote an important resolution which was passed by the Trades Union Congress at Nottingham in 1908:— This congress, recognising the great benefits which have accrued in the past to the workers of the nation in consequence of the almost universal observance of the Sunday as a weekly day of rest, resolves to do all in its power to restrict Sunday labour in the future to the narrowest possible limits consistent with humane requirements and the necessities of the age. That represents not only the views of the trade unionists, but the views of the great mass of the people, and my own belief is that this Bill when put in proper form, as it would be before emerging from this House, would meet a popular demand which, though it may not be as forcibly expressed at the present moment as we perhaps might wish, is quietly felt among the great mass of the people. The English people value a rest-day once in the week. I believe the great mass of them value the fact that the rest-day takes place on Sunday. We know quite well that the majority of the people take their Sunday rest, value it, and enjoy it, and I believe there is much more a feeling of opposition against the people who disturb their Sunday rest than there is any objection to lose their own freedom to do exactly what they like on Sunday. At any rate, that is a matter of opinion. It may be said that this Bill interferes with the habits of the people, but I doubt very much whether it will do so. There is another objection which always has very great weight with this House—that is, that the interference with the liberty of employing labour on Sunday will curtail profits and dividends. The answer to that is that if dividends depend on men and women having to work for seven consecutive days in the week those dividends ought not to have any consideration. But I do not believe that this result would happen. We know very well that the great majority of firms have always managed to carry on their business and make their profits without infringing on the freedom of their workmen in regard to Sunday.

One of the strongest bodies opposing this Bill I understand to be the shipowners. The application of the Bill to ships is a difficulty. No one in this House will fail to realise that, when you try to protect the sailor from excessive work on Sunday, the problem is very intricate and requires very careful treatment. But I do not think that that ought to deter the House from dealing with the problem one way or another. The shipowners have a great deal to answer for. They are, in many respects, one of the greatest offenders. I have here a complaint from the Imperial Merchant Service Guild to the effect that a very large amount of unnecessary Sunday work is forced upon officers and men in the merchant service. The secretary of the Guild writes:— The amount of labour on Sunday on British ships in port, both at home and abroad, which devolves on the officers of our merchant ships is not only a glaring imposition, but a national disgrace. And he states:— It is a grave scandal that while British ships can and do carry on work on the Sabbath day, in port, other maritime countries impose strict limitations on this form of labour. 1.0 P.M.

And he gives in detail the laws that apply to France, Germany, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and elsewhere, all of which definitely lay down that labour on merchant ships is restricted on Sunday. My hon. Friend the Member for Mile End (Mr. Harry Lawson) asked what about France. In France a law is now in operation restricting Sunday labour on French merchant ships. Germany has an equally strong law. In Norway, no work may be imposed upon the crew on Sundays and other holidays, exceeding "what is needful for the safety and working of the ship. If other nations have found it necessary to take these steps, are we going to refuse every suggestion for doing something on the same lines? I had nothing to do with the construction of this Bill, but I am not going to apologise for it, for this reason. I have given it careful study, and I can say that it is a very carefully drafted Bill, which on the face of it shows that it has been compiled by persons who have thoroughly studied the question, and thoroughly understood the objections that are raised and will be raised to the proposals. If this House sends it to a Committee, it will provide a thoroughly good basis for discussing almost all the points that can be raised in connection with the subject. It lays down a principle which, if people merely restrict themselves in their observations, may seem very drastic and impossible. This principle is that no one should be employed for more than six consecutive days, and that on Sunday employment generally should not be allowed. But it retains the proviso, which has been inserted in the Act of Canada and other places where it has been found necessary to legislate on this subject, that this is subject to the work not being a work of necessity or mercy.

Clause 3 shows distinctly what is meant by that. Work that is needful or merciful can be carried out, and in order to give guidance to those who have to construe this Act as to what is a work of necessity or mercy, it sets out a long Schedule of various classes of work which can be undertaken. If hon. Members study this Schedule they will find that most of the questions that would arise in our ordinary life are dealt with in the Schedule. There is also another provision that where in any work of necessity or mercy employment has to take place, then the individual employed shall have a sufficient rest-day some other time. In my judgment this Bill, if carried out would, generally speaking, tend to stereotype the conditions which hold good in this country at the present moment, and the passing of the Bill would go far to prevent the further growth of the evil from which the Continent is suffering through the absolute abolition of the restrictions upon the work on the Sabbath. This Bill can be thoroughly discussed in Committee, and these various questions may be raised. The subject has-been before the public for some time, and it is advisable that opportunity should be given to a Committee of this House to study the practical question as to how far the proposal can be put into law. If this Bill receives a Second Beading and is sent to Committee, where it will be threshed out and put into the form it will ultimately take, I submit that the proposal will have achieved a useful purpose. We shall have gone a long distance. We had the Shops Bill of 1911, and we then had the statement, if I remember aright, that one of the reasons why the Sunday closing question was dropped was that the Government felt that they could not deal with the subject while it was restricted to the closing of shops, and that the matter would have to be extended to the whole question of the observance of one rest-day a week. Therefore, we are now bringing before this House a proposal which carries out that suggestion, and which gives the House an opportunity of considering how-far the general and larger question can be dealt with. If we can achieve that object, if we can get a Committee to go into the question with a view to seeing what can be done, we shall have accomplished a great deal to preserve what I believe to be one of the most valuable assets this nation enjoys, namely, compulsory rest once a week.


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."

In asking the House to reject this Bill I think I must say that it has been made clear that neither the Mover nor the Seconder have any idea of what the Bill really is. They have no conception how far-reaching it is. They display amazing unconcern for all the industries and all the liberties of the people, they carefully avoid giving the House any sketch or outline of their own proposal, and they have entirely forgotten to deal with the difficulties of the subject. I have listened in amazement to the hon. Members. They made no allusion to what I take to be the far-reaching and fundamental effects of this Bill, and, with the exception of my hon. Friend (Mr. Dickinson), who in a few words made reference to shipping, no reference has been made as to what will be the effect of an enormous piece of legislation like this. On Friday afternoons we are pestered continually with this class of Bills, and I am reminded of Robert Louis Stevenson's description of traders who went to a certain chieftain in the South Sea Islands and asked his honest opinion about them. The chieftain divided them into three classes—those who cheated him in little, those who cheated him plenty, and those who cheated him a little too much. These Bills seem to interfere a little with every family, some interfere plenty, and this one interferes a little too much. In the first place, it is masquerading under a false title. There is nothing in it really to justify its title, and the measure in its very first operative Clause mentions something about Sunday itself, and afterwards goes on to say what occupations may be carried on. It is simply a compromise between the utilitarian spirit which the hon. Members have to show in view of election time, and which a Radical must show in the constituencies, and the obsolete Sabbatarian prejudice which in the progress of enlightenment has been modified if not thrown over. One can understand the Lord's Day Observance Society, that the Sunday shall be a day of rest according to the Commandment, and that no work shall be done by wife, children, servants, or strangers within the gates. There might be some rest for all if that were applied to every member of the community. But this Bill does nothing of the kind, and its framers seem to me to have become horrified at the monster they have raised when one examines the Schedules.

I presume that they had a further meeting and, seeing how the measure would interfere with themselves and their families, and they there and then put in these miscellaneous exemptions so that they should not themselves suffer any inconvenience. Unfortunately no captain of British industries was brought into the meetings of those who framed the Bill. Unfortunately, among the industries brought into this Bill, the collieries, the blast furnaces, the textile trades, and other great industries of England have been entirely forgotten. But they have taken care that the London hotels shall be open for them to attend on a Sunday night. They have taken care that the lifts shall work, so that the ladies in modern dress shall not be subjected to the inconvenience of climbing the stairs, but may ascend in the lifts. All these little items have been settled. The plan of the Bill is that it first prohibits anybody from doing anything they want to do on a Sunday, and then proceeds in the Schedules to give back what they have taken away. It is like tossing nuts to children at a Sunday school party. As a matter of fact, who would imagine from the speech either of the Mover or the Seconder that the Lord's Day Observance Society had sent us a manifesto urging us to vote against this Bill. In justice to this House, why did they not take up this document issued by the Lord's Day-Observance Society and answer it? The last paragraph of it says:— This Bill countenances the hurtful idea that that which is otherwise undesirable on the Lord's Day is permissible if a portion of the proceeds is allocated to charitable or religious objects. I suppose someone connected with the big hospitals is associated with that provision. The manifesto goes on to say:— In addition, the committee of the Lord's Day Observance Society, for the above reasons amongst others, respectfully urges Members of the House of Commons to withhold their support from this measure as at present framed. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill desires that we should imitate Paris and Berlin, those great centres of Sabbath observance on the Continent, but at any rate some little attention might have been given to the manifesto of the Lord's Day Observance Society, which is a leading organisation connected with the movement. I would point out that this society are at least logical in what they do; they understand what they want, and state what they want. But this Bill is a miserable compromise on the question. It asks for one rest-day a week in order to avoid conflict with the Jews, and then proceeds to provoke a conflict with the Lord's Day Observance Society, which is something one cannot possibly understand. The framers of legislation like this, I think, have the right to be severely castigated. I see sitting near me hon. Members who have devoted their attention to manufacturing Bills to be put on the Order Paper on a Friday in order that they may get them passed into law, if possible, without discussion after the proper time. They are on a slippery slope, and are going from bad to worse, until ultimately they may be found to be such a danger to the community as to support a Bill like this. I do hope some of them will pause in their headlong career of interference. Is there a home in the United Kingdom that this Bill will not meddle with or a single ship or a single passenger train, or a single industry that it will not either mar or bring into confusion. Nothing of this seems to have dawned on the two hon. Members who carefully avoided dealing with the operative parts of the Bill, but who indulged in early Christian martyr essays on the subject, which might just as well be sent to one of the Monthly Reviews as they had nothing whatever to do with the proposals before the House. I propose to supply the omission, and to deal with the Bill which the Mover and Seconder have so ostentatiously shunned. What does this Bill really do? I do not need to deal with the Clauses. We will assume that there is the maximum amount of interference with their own countrymen and women, that those hon. Members have the courage to put in black and white. Having done that we then come to the Schedules with the assumption that all trade is stopped and all business is over, and all buying and selling, and amusements and travelling—everything is stopped.


The hon. Gentleman who has boasted so much about his knowledge of the Bill says now that all traffic is stopped, although the Bill specifically states there is no interference with transport by land or sea, and that is his knowledge of the Bill.


I am thinking of the Bill as apart from the Schedule.


You speak quite as inaccurately as usual.


The hon. Member will get more into a temper as I go on. He should preserve a little of his wrath for something else that I have to bring before him later. In the Bill you have the hon. Member's maximum amount of interference, and in the Schedules there are exemptions. I was not misrepresenting the Bill at all. It goes further than the hon. Member realises. Under the first Clause of the Bill if two working men living on the outskirts of a town with allotments wanted to exchange with one another, say, one of red for another shade they could not do so, under the Bill. Therefore, I think I am not un-reasonable in saying that we can pass from those fourteen Clauses and come to the shower of blessings which the hon. Member has put into the Schedule in the nature of exemptions. The Schedule enumerates the occupations which may be carried on either continuously or during limited hours on Sundays. First of all, drugs, medicines, surgical instruments, and even ice can be supplied, but there is no provision whatever for the man who is suffering toothache, as dentists are not mentioned, and such a man would have to wait until Monday morning. Secondly, we can buy bread before ten o'clock in the forenoon. That is in the interests of the rich. It is all very well for hon. Members to talk about their hearts bleeding for the poor. We have taken all that for granted. The rich can send their servants out in the morning before 10 o'clock to buy their morning rolls, while the poor workman or carman who may have been working up to midnight on Sunday, as late as hon. Members will allow him, and who leaves his van and horse in the middle of the road, and who may want a few extra hours on Sunday morning, will lose his morning bread.


I think the hon. Gentleman is mistaken in suggesting that the rich man with his servants can use the servants for that purpose, because under the Bill the servant cannot be employed on Sunday.


That is a very natural mistake the hon. Member has fallen into. Of course they cannot under the Bill.


It is, unfortunately, not true.


I am dealing with the shower of blessings in the exemptions. I quite agree the Bill forbids them to do any work, but afterwards it is permitted under "sale or delivery of the following commodities," and before ten o'clock in the morning. Thus a man may be called a few minutes to ten o'clock, and if he gets out after that hour he cannot get any bread. Hon. Members are kind enough to allow milk and cream up to half-past ten, but not new-laid eggs. What about the invalid ordered to the country, and to take new-laid eggs, which, I suppose, are as beneficial upon one day as upon another. Take a case in which an arrangement is made with a gardener or a chauffeur to supply new-laid eggs, which under this Bill cannot be delivered on Sunday morning. What about the consumptives who want new-laid eggs? Best of all, there is a most beautiful Clause, which if it were not so tragical, would be very comical. The hon. Member who introduced this Bill held the distinguished position of being Chairman of the Committee of the Great Constitutional Club which is very handsomely appointed and very well managed while the hon. Member was chairman. Many a time I have enjoyed his hospitality, and the behaviour of the hon. Member and of the other members of the club, I say quite frankly as a member of a rival club, was beyond question. What is the hon. Member going to do with his own club in Northumberland Avenue under these Clauses if cooked food is allowed? The last time I was there they had a splendid chef. Then we have the provision "and including alcoholic liquors." Those may be obtained but not smoking requisites or sweetmeats. In the great Constitutional Club men may have their alcoholic liquors but cannot get smoking requisites, and will I suppose to cadge cigars from any members who have them, and when it is "their turn next" they must say "we cannot return the compliment until Monday morning." What havoc that will create in the hon. Member's own club. Sweetmeats—hat is the meaning of that. It means this, that a young coster "out with his donah" at a refreshment room may buy wine and spirits but he cannot buy a box of chocolates. This is the way in which hon. Members bid us follow the example of Vienna, Buda Pesth, and Naples, with regard to Sunday observance. Anything more calculated to dishonour Sunday or to encourage drinking I have never come across. Neither the Mover nor the Seconder came within a hundred miles of that paragraph. I do not know whether either of those hon. Members is prepared to suggest that he will move the deletion of sub-paragraph (iv.) in Committee, and, following the precedent of last Friday, to announce that unless it is deleted he will vote against the Third Beading. That is the new Friday afternoon form. I doubt whether we shall get an answer to that; so we will pass on to the proviso, which declares that— in the case of premises subject to the licensing laws for the time being in force, the same several articles may only be sold and delivered during the hours for the time being permitted .… except to bonâ-fide travellers and to lodgers in such premises. I think I see the solution of a portion of the difficulty at the Constitutional Club. They have a few bedrooms there, and the Members occupying those bedrooms will be lodgers and bonâ-fide travellers. Hence they will be able to buy cigars, matches, and cigarettes, and hand them out to the poor London Members to whom the waiter will return a blank refusal. Newspapers and periodicals can be sold for two hours in the morning or in the afternoon. Evidently there was a division in the committee which promoted this Bill as to whether newspapers should be sold in the morning or in the afternoon, and they compromised by allowing both. Take a man and his wife: one will take the morning and the other the afternoon, and so they will be able to sell papers both morning and afternoon. Shops are to be allowed to sell newspapers and periodicals. I ask my hon. Friends to realise what this kind of legislation means. It means that you could buy "John Bull" or the "Pink Un" on a Sunday, but you could not buy a Bible or a hymn-book Paragraph 2 is an afterthought. Some shops like to have a little advantage over the men in the street, and so they are to be allowed two hours for necessary work. Paragraph 3 reads:—

"Receiving, transmitting, or delivering telegraph, telephone or wireless messages."

We all understand that the working men of this country, particularly the poor, those who have such a hard time, spend a portion of Sunday in transmitting wireless messages, using telephones, and delivering telegrams. This is a Bill which we are told is demanded in quiet tones—tones so quiet that none of us have heard them—by the very poorest of the working men of the country. Paragraph 4 comes next. "Starting or maintaining fires." This has nothing to do with the militants. I see hon. Members' eyes sparkle. They think that this is a permission to suffragettes to carry on their campaign while other people are not allowed to do what they like. It does not quite mean that. "Repairs to furnaces." An hon. Member whose name is on the back of the Bill comes from a county where they have blast furnaces and coke ovens. I really think that paragraph 4 is an attempt to cater for the proprietors of blast furnaces and those who make pig-iron and steel. It is, however, a clumsy provision. What is a furnace? There are furnaces in private houses, and there are blast furnaces. Which does it mean? Are you prepared to allow a man to repair a furnace in a private house on a Sunday in weather like the present? It may be that one of the middle-class Gentlemen who have brought in this Bill has' had such a case. I think, however, they might have restricted such a provision to winter-time if it means domestic furnaces. Paragraph 5, I suppose, refers to coal mines and tin mines. I know something about coal mines. The paragraph allowing "ventilating, pumping out, and inspecting mines." Suppose that inspection shows that there is a danger of part of the roof falling, and the men are to come to work on Monday morning, are the proprietors, or are they not, by permission of the promoters of this Bill, to prop up that roof on Sunday afternoon or evening, so that the men can go to work on Monday morning?




There is no provision for propping.


The hon. Member, in the whole of his remarks, loses sight of Clause 3, which provides that none of the Schedules shall apply to work which is or becomes a work of necessity or mercy. The words "work of necessity or mercy" are perfectly general, and the Schedule, as I think I stated, is only put forward in order to afford some guide in the matter.


The Schedule is put forward to afford some guide as to the minds of the Mover and Seconder only. The hon. Member knows nothing whatever about the subject of propping up a roof. Who could say that it was a work either of necessity or of mercy? You could divert the men into another part of the mine and leave the dangerous part.


made an observation which was inaudible in the Reporters' Gallery.


The hon. Member may know something about cutting down trees, but we want to use trees as props, and there we get into a province with which the hon. Member is not so familiar. You cannot possibly establish that the propping up of a particular part of a coal mine is a work of necessity or mercy. It is a matter of choice. You can repair a roof on a Sunday or two or three weeks hence. The manager may decide not to let the workmen go into that part, but to wait a few days and see what develops. The Bill is shockingly drafted, because pumping out and ventilating a mine are works of necessity, if propping the roof is; and if that is covered by Clause 3, why is paragraph 5 in the Schedule at all? There is no meaning in it, unless it is to give permission for pumping out and inspecting, while they allow propping the roof to be done on Sunday whether it is optional or not. Take paragraph 6. There, of course, we see that the hon. Member wants the lifts to work, and electric current, and full storage and so on. He also wants the sewers to be maintained and cleansed. It is all very well to talk about the poor having to work long hours, but if anybody is entitled to sympathy it is the men who work in connection with sewers. Why should they be disregarded? Because hon. Members are afraid of having fevers in their houses. If you look at these exemptions you will see that in one way or another there is suspicion in hon. Members' minds that their comfort or their health will be otherwise in some way infringed upon. But take the most entertaining of exemptions, and they are in paragraph 7. I really do hope that in the course of the Debate the hon. Member for the Wilton Division will do justice to this paragraph, which says:— The conveyance and delivery by rail or other means of transport of milk and other perishable dairy and farm produce for immediate consumption, or for Monday morning market supplies .… If you are conveying perishable dairy or farm produce, or perishable vegetables, or stuff of that sort, on the Sunday morning, everybody knows that it is either for immediate consumption or for consumption on Monday; otherwise it would not come under the category. The paragraph also deals with fresh fish. The tender mercies of those concerned are also with "perishable fruits, flowers, and vegetables (other than root crops)." Wherever were flowers grown that were not perishable! This is a Bill which the hon. Member for St. Pancras has examined so closely that he defies us to say that it has not been well drafted! We come to deal with root crops. According to this paragraph, radishes, carrots, and turnips would not be exempted. I do not know about cucumber; I am uncertain about asparagus. Celery will come under the ban. If you are to have your drinks without smokes in your clubs on Sunday, you must have your cheese without celery. I think that is one consistent part of the Bill; but I think there will be a few Bills coming before the Committee of the Constitutional and other clubs if this ever comes into force. Let me examine paragraph 8. It speaks of "allowing by rail, omnibus, tramcar, or other public means of transport of passengers and travellers, and of their personal luggage and effects, including theatrical properties." The promoters of this Bill remember that they sometimes go to the theatre on the Monday evening, also they do not wish to be deprived of their matinee on Monday afternoon. They therefore give full permission to the theatrical companies to travel quite freely on the Sundays. I do not suppose they will object to go to the station and buy port wine or spirits, and see placarded on the carriage windows posters announcing the "Lady Godiva Company," the "Girl Up the Ladder," and that sort of thing. If you are going to tell the people in the world what to do all day on Sunday, morning, noon and night, why not take the theatrical people in hand? Are they beyond the reach of your anxiety or mercy?

In paragraph 9 of this Schedule it is allowed to keep the railways clear of snow or ice, but not your own doorstep; not the piece of causeway in front of your house. This can be done on the railway, and not in the street. I know why this paragraph was put in. It was with the sneaking hope that it might save the opposition of the hon. Baronet opposite. You must make some concession to railway directors, especially when you know that they have power on Friday afternoon. Paragraph 10 is another thing in the Bill that is entirely in favour of the rich and big, and against the poor. Railway trains and goods trains which start at five minutes to twelve on Saturday night can pursue their way to their destination until six o'clock on Sunday morning. Then they come to a dead stop. You cannot divide the train. I do not think you can do that so far as my reading of the Act goes even between twelve and six o'clock, but these huge trains, which cannot be divided or remade or shunted, stop on the main line at six o'clock on Sunday, and the driver, the stoker, the signalman, and others go off to the nearest library to find a copy of this Bill. Take the agricultural district. You may have one small consignment for a railway station. That seems to have been forgotten by the promoters of this Bill. I know something of the coal trade in the West Riding, and sometimes coal trucks up to the number of eighty may be on the level line running between Pontefract, Goole, and Hull. They, perhaps, do not matter. But in the agricultural districts if you want to serve the people there must be a great deal of shunting and remaking of trains. This provision does not concern the big colliery proprietors to any extent, but it will affect others, and it is a case of making things inconvenient for the poor and the small as against the big man. This provision will not trouble the big man anything like so much as it will trouble the small man.

What is to be done with these waggons on the main line at six o'clock I leave to the imagination of the House, and to some subsequent explanation from the hon. Member for St. Pancras. I know what is in the hon. Member's mind. He says he is going to delete this provision in Committee. That was the answer we got, and we are asked to pass the Second Reading of this Bill. It is just as likely that the Committee may make this Clause worse, or the Committee may throw it out; but let us realise what we are doing when we are considering a Bill like this, which affects every man, woman, or child in the British Isles. Take paragraph 11, as to the hiring and letting of horses for riding, and the hiring and letting of carriages and cabs. Hon. Members opposite, when they are not going to clubs or London hotels on Sunday night, may desire occasionally to go to a place of worship, and they want to be able to hire cabs and taxis. Hence this exemption in relation to carriages and cabs of all kinds. I appeal to the hon. Member for Worcester, and, in particular, to the hon. Member for St. Pancras. I had the privilege of living in the district of St. Pancras at a time when I knew something, or as much as the average Member of Parliament, and more than I do now, about the condition of the poor in London. St. Pancras is a great centre for cabdrivers and taxi-cabdrivers. Why are you going to say that they must work seven days a week. In case you want a lift to a cathedral service or to the Kingsway Hall? I can quite sec the force of the policy of the Lord's Day Observance Society to prohibit all these things upon the Sunday, and so allow the cabman to go to his place of worship. Let me tell a story. There was once a cabman on his deathbed, and those above were trying to make him understand what prayer meant—trying to do the kind of office which one is always glad to try to do. He was asked if he had ever been to service, and he answered No, and said he had been a cab driver all his life. I have never, he said, been inside a place of worship. He was asked was he not married in one, and he said No, he was married in a registry office, and then he added, I have never been to service, but I "drove" plenty of people there, so that, apparently, the religion of the cabman is confined to driving Members of this House and others to places of worship.

By paragraph 12, those who want to procure petrol or motor spirit for motor cars or airships are to have their wants supplied. The poor of this country do not want supplies for motor cars or airships, but if they want paraffin oil, or if they want to buy candles, they have to wait outside on the footway until the people looking for the motor spirit for their cars or aeroplanes are supplied, and then, after waiting, they are told that only motor spirit can be supplied, and that they are poor, and live in cottages, and, therefore, cannot be supplied. But I notice that hon. Members are afraid that they may have to ferry over a river, or that they may want to go out boating on excursions, for which they may have to pay toll, and therefore they provide that toll gates or drawbridges may be opened and that people may be able to pay the penny for ferry boats or passenger boats, and it is in this way that it is hoped to make Sunday a day of rest. And now I come to the 14th paragraph of the Schedule, and that contains a very remarkable provision. It allows anyone to begin the preparation of dough at six o'clock on Sunday. Why six o'clock? Why should they not begin the preparation of dough at half-past five? I challenge the hon. Members promoting this Bill to give any reason in conscience as to why it should be a crime to prepare dough at half-past five on Sunday evening and no harm at all to prepare it at six o'clock? Paragraph 15 provides for the necessary or customary work in connection with divine service. If a man has done some hard work for six consecutive days, this paragraph provides that he may do further work on the seventh. Now we come to the concession to the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Harry Lawson). It is strange that neither the Mover of the Second Reading nor the Seconder dealt with the Jewish communities. "Community" they call it in one Clause, and religion in another. They do not know whether they mean the Jewish race, or those of the Jewish religion. They mix up their ideas. I do not think they could tell the House now which they mean. That is shown, because you can go up to a Jewish shop on Sunday, and if the house is owned by a Jew he can do work, but if you are a member of the Jewish community or a Jewish agnostic, you are allowed to do certain things in the way of work, but you cannot go and buy anything on the Sunday, and therefore, if you find yourself in a Jewish quarter when this Bill is in force, and you see a commission agent, and he tells you that the proprietor is a Jew and that the assistants are Jews, and cannot sell you anything, but that for the amount of one penny he will buy for you anything you like. It is not enough to be a member of the Jewish community. However, that is a mere aside.

I see that there is quite a concession made to newspapers. Paragraph 16 provides for "any unavoidable work after four o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday in the preparation of the regular Monday morning edition of a daily newspaper." That is a concession to the hon. Member for Mile End, but not to all newspaper people. It is not all newspaper people who are engaged in the preparation of a regular Monday morning edition of a daily newspaper. This paragraph does not give much chance to Mr. Garvin for his evening paper. He must wait until midnight on Sunday before he can begin to set his imagination to work on a leading article for the "Pall Mall" for Monday evening. You can only deal under this Bill with the regular Monday morning edition of the daily paper. Hon. Members know how that will work out in the North of England. There is one great firm there which publishes two Monday papers, one a general political paper and the other a sporting paper. For the regular Monday morning paper they can begin after four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, but the firm also publishes an athletic paper that deals almost entirely with cricket and football and homing pigeons, and things of that kind. It comes from the very same printing office; they can begin their Monday morning newspaper on Sunday afternoon when they ought to be teaching Bible classes, but they cannot begin the athletic paper.


I may inform the hon. Gentleman that these do not suit the conditions of newspaper work anywhere, and least of all in London.


That I am perfectly certain about. I do not see any Clause of this Bill that suits anybody. It does not suit the Proposer of the Bill. He never referred to specific parts of the Bill except to throw them overboard. What I am rather concerned about is, not that the Bill will not suit the newspaper people, but I want to get it into the minds of hon. Members that this is mischievous legislation, and I want to show them what it is they are at. As far as I can see there is to be preference given to the general Monday morning journal which is to be denied to the athletic journal. Paragraph 17 deals with nurses and hospitals, but we are all agreed you could not interfere with that. Talk about such rows as we have in the House of Commons! They would be nothing to what would occur if you tried to interfere with hospitals and attendance on the sick and the dying! It is quite gratuitous for hon. Members to put that exemption in. Hon. Members might bring the whole of Scotland Yard, but they would not be able to enforce that Clause. We have no need for legislation on that point—and, indeed, the great bulk of this Bill could not be enforced at all. With regard to Clause 18, that seems to me to show that the problem of the domestic servants is present to the hon. Member's mind. Why not frankly admit it? As a matter of fact, everybody knows domestic servants are getting more and more liberty on Sunday. They are getting more time off in the week and also on Sundays, and, if they stand in need of improvements, if they were to combine in a strong union they would accomplish far more than this Bill. I defy anybody who supports this Bill to show what useful effect it will have upon domestic servants. Now I come to paragraph 20. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about 19?"] Oh, yes; I have made a note of the care for farm stock and poultry and homing pigeons on Sundays. As far as I could sec by this Bill, it would be illegal to ask any servant or employé to clean out the cage of a pinging bird or to attend to its wants if this Bill was passed. I do not say that is the intention of the hon. Member. I do not think he is so wicked as that, but that would be the effect of paragraph 19.

Coming to paragraph 20, it makes no provision for a series of boats going down the river. The thing that annoys me on a Sunday at home is to see large cargoes of boats on the river. They send about fifteen or twenty of these boats full of coal, and they go slowly down the river with a view of the coal being shipped for the Baltic at Goole. I looked to see whether that annoyance would be stopped at the end of my garden. The smoke from the tug drawing those boats on a Sunday morning in weather like this sweeps across my kitchen garden and actually goes through the windows of the neighbouring church while the service is being held. This Bill would not allow these tugs to go down the river. Why should you allow train loads of coal in railway wagons to go to the seaports if it is intended to stop these boats on the river? Paragraph 21 deals with sea fishermen. I believe the hon. Member who introduced this Bill had his eye to a recent by-election at Grimsby, and he put in this proviso in the hope that he would get a little bit of support from the happy victor of that election. What about fishing on the Scottish lakes—where are the champions of Caledonia? Where are these young Scots who, in and out of season, champion their native land, demanding that they shall rule their own country?

2.0 P.M.

There is another important consideration to be borne in mind if hon. Members are really concerned about the working man. How does the working man often spend his Sunday? In angling. I often see them with their rod and line and their little bit of bait seeking some quiet stream where they can fish. Can anybody say that if a man goes to have a quiet fish in one of these streams that he is a danger to the hon. Member for Worcester? Surely you can leave the man alone, but the hon. Member under this Bill does not leave him alone. It does seem to me that you want a little bit of common sense in these matters. There was a time when the working man did not spend much time in the open air or fishing in our streams, but they used to spend their time mostly in closely confined rooms, and even in public-houses, not well ventilated. There is a disposition now to get into the open air. Why do you not rely in these matters on moral suasion Christian teaching and faith in humanity? Why this paganism? Have you no faith in the Sermon on the Mount? This is the way to bring this House into disrepute. It produces a contempt for legislation, and the people who otherwise would obey good laws begin to despise them. I appeal to hon. Members who have spoken in favour of this Bill not to put the House to the trouble of a vote. One would not like to think that after a hotch-potch of legislation like this, any hon. Member could go into the Lobby in support of this Bill. I will give to the House the Sunday time-table under this measure: At midnight.—Coal trains, coke ovens, ships, blast-furnaces, poultry farming, chemists, street markets, bakers, dairies, newspapers, pumping (mines), gasworks, electric light, cold storage, cattle marching, carriers, railways, ferries, motor racing, aviation sports, tubes, trams, 'buses, cabs, taxis, theatrical removals, mails, telephones, wireless, sea-fishing, selling fresh fish, boating, bathing, bands, charitable concerts and sports are exempted. At 6 o'clock goods trains stop. At 10 o'clock the sale of bread, fresh fish, and bathing at seaside resorts stop. At 10.30 o'clock you stop selling cream. At 11 o'clock you stop selling papers in streets until 1 o'clock. At 12 o'clock noon you stop selling in shops. At 1 o'clock the news shops open. At 2 o'clock the street markets close. At 3 o'clock vendors of newspapers in the street stop and free bands in the parks and elsewhere commence. At 4 o'clock the shops close and bathing may be resumed. At the same hour newspaper offices open. At 6 o'clock you begin to prepare dough for pastry and stop bathing and free music in the parks. At 8 o'clock you resume the bands in the parks. I hope the hon. Member will be able to see some way of improving his Bill, or else withdrawing it, so that no hon. Member can have it against him that he had ever voted for a Bill like this in his life.


The hon Member for St. Pancras said this Bill had been prepared with great care by people who had studied the whole of the question, and there could be no possible doubt that the Bill had been well drafted. Anybody who has listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Pontefract cannot deny that he has shown that of all the badly drafted Bills that have come before this House during the last few years, this is the worst of the whole lot. I really do not know that there is very much else for me to say after what the hon. Member for Pontefract has said. I feel certain that if the hon. Gentleman had risen at four o'clock, and had resumed his seat at five o'clock, in a crowded House, there would have been very few people who would have had the temerity to vote for the Bill. Unfortunately, a large number of Members have not heard the speech and may be misguided by the idea that they are doing something to stop excessive labour, either on Sunday or any other day. The statement of the hon. Gentleman opposite about what would happen if the manager of a mine thought that there might be a fall of the roof is perfectly true. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Bill stated that under Clause 3 it would be allowed to be done, because it would be work of necessity. There is no definition of the word necessity in the Bill, and therefore the manager which ordered men to prop up the roof on a Sunday, if he were summoned in a Court of law, as he might be under the Bill, would have to prove that it was work of necessity, and it might be held that there was no particular necessity to work in that seam on the Monday morning, and that the work of propping up the roof could have been done on the Monday instead of on the Sunday. My hon. Friend is wrong, therefore, in thinking that the work could be done.

My hon. Friend tells us that it is a Bill to give people freedom. I do not always agree with my hon Friend on everything, and I certainly do not agree with him on this. It is going to do nothing of the sort. It is going to put everybody into shackles and chains. Nobody will be allowed to do anything except by the consent of officials constituted under the Bill. How he could have had the effrontery to get up and say that this was a Bill to give freedom to people is beyond my limited powers of conception. There was something of this sort in the time of Cromwell, but I have never heard that the Cromwell regime could be described as a regime of freedom. There is an omission in this Bill. My hon. Friend has forgotten to put in any provision to prevent this House sitting on a Sunday.


Trust the Tory party for that!


Does he know that in 1867 this House sat on a Sunday? I looked it up only an hour ago, and there are occasions when it was apparently quite customary for the House to meet on a Sunday, several entries dating from the time of Cromwell to 1860 or 1890 when the House has sat into the small hours of Sunday.


My hon. Friend seems to forget that this House is, unfortunately, a law unto itself, and can decide how and when it can do differently from other people.


That is news to me. I always thought that this House made laws, and, having made them, was bound to observe them, but apparently my hon. Friend does not think so. He says that we can make laws for other people and then do what we like. That may be the explanation of the introduction of this Bill. It is not to apply to us, but it is to apply to other people who will be governed by the Bill. My hon. Friend made great play with the Imperial Sunday Alliance, and no doubt they are an excellent body of men, though I do not happen myself to have the honour of knowing anything about them. He said that the Imperial Sunday Alliance were the chief promoters of the Bill. My hon. Friend opposite alluded to the fact that a circular has been issued by the Lord's Day Observance Society on the Weekly Best-Day Bill. That pamphlet says:— The Committee of the Lord's Day Observance Society, having carefully considered this Bill, desire to place on record the grounds of some of their objections to its proposals. The Committee believe two reasons given will be considered by all who recognise the divine origin of the Lord's Day, and the obligation resting on all Christians to maintain its sanctity, as sufficient for withholding any support to a Bill the proposals of which disregard both. Whatever the Imperial Sunday Alliance may do, it is very evident other associations or societies, having as their aim and object the preservation of Sunday, regard with very scant favour this particular Bill. The hon. Member who seconded the Motion told us that already a great majority of the people take the Sunday rest. I took that down, because I felt it was a very important observation. If that is so, and I believe it is so, may I ask why on earth bring in this Bill at all? If the great majority of the people already have the Sunday day of rest, why do we want this Bill, with all its extraordinary provisions and restrictions and limitations, which the hon. Gentleman opposite has so well defined, unless it is that there is a desire of some people who feel that they are so good and holy and that what they do is so right that they must insist upon everybody else, whatever their ideas, doing the same thing? That is not my idea of freedom, and I do not really believe it is the idea of hon. Members who have introduced this Bill.

I would ask the promoters why, by Sub-section (4) of Clause 1, they allow exhibitions, games, contests, or other entertainments of any kind to be carried on if there is no charge made? If there is a charge made, you may not go in, but, if there is no charge made, then you may. Is it possible that the House of Commons can pass a Bill which says something is wrong if you have to pay a penny to go in and see it, but is right if you do not have to pay a penny? The idea is absolutely absurd! The people performing will have just as much work to do as those who perform where a performance is quite free. The performers, therefore, will be in the same position, and I have yet to learn that it is right, for a man to do a certain thing if he does not pay for it and wrong of him if he docs pay for it. I am glad to see my right hon. Friend (Mr. Chaplin), who represents one of the old schools in the House of Commons, and who. I believe, is going to show, in a manner I cannot unfortunately do, and with an eloquence that I cannot imitate, the absolute absurdity of this Bill and the necessity of rejecting it by a large majority on the Second Reading.

On page 2 we come to the Clauses which deal with the Jewish community. The hon. Gentleman opposite has shown very clearly that the Clauses are very badly drawn. They draw a distinction between the Jewish faith and the Jewish community. It is perfectly easy for a man who is a Jew, owning a shop and employing only Jewish assistants, to arrange for another Jew, having bought something in the shop, to come outside and sell it to any Gentile who wishes to buy. The more Bills of this sort you pass, the more regulations of this kind you make, the more they will be evaded. The only result is to encourage evasion of and disrespect for the law. How is a Jew serving in a shop to know whether a man or woman who comes in is a Jew? Is the shopkeeper or assistant to say, "We cannot sell to you unless you are an orthodox Jew?" The person may state, "I am an orthodox Jew," but it may, in fact, turn out that he is not. In that case is the shopkeeper to be held liable to prosecution because he has sold an article to a person who is not an orthodox Jew? I really do not understand why the liquor trade is left out of this Bill. I voted against the Sunday Closing Bill a week ago, and I have always opposed restrictive Bills of this character. But surely if you are going to have legislation of this sort the licensed trade is one that ought to be included. May I ask my hon. Friend what, on earth, Clause 4 means? I really cannot understand it. It says:—

"A local authority, with regard to any occupation specified in the Second Schedule to this Act, and not for the time being withdrawn therefrom by the Secretary of State, and with regard to any occupations from time to time added to the occupations specified in such Schedule and not withdrawn therefrom by the Secretary of State"—

I should like to know who is to add the occupation? Is it to be the local authority or the Secretary of State? The Clause goes on—

"may by order declare that such an occupation is one which, in their opinion, on the grounds of necessity or mercy, may be carried on in such places within their area as they think fit on Sunday." We are told that the local authority is to say that an occupation may or may not be carried on on a Sunday. Where is the great superiority of the local authority over such a humble individual as myself? Am I not to be considered as good a judge as to what I may do on a Sunday, either in the way of recreation or of work, as the local authority? What is to take place if the London County Council holds one view and the Middlesex County Council holds another? You will have in one district something permitted to be done which is not permitted in another district. I have always held the opinion, and still hold it, that the proper work of local authorities is to keep the streets clean and properly lighted, and not to interfere in these matters, which have nothing to do with them, for dealing with which they were never constituted, and for which they have no fitness whatever. Then I come to Clause 5. We find that—

"The Secretary of State may, from time to time, make an Order adding or withdrawing any occupation to or from the Second Schedule to this Act."

There is this to be said for that. I presume that when the Home Secretary makes an Order it will apply to the whole of the United Kingdom, if not to Ireland and Scotland. The Secretary of State may possibly be greater and more authoritative than a local municipality, but there is nothing in the present Secretary of State—of course one does not like to make personal remarks—to show that he is particularly qualified to decide what occupations may or may not be indulged in on Sunday. Why are we going to set up a one-man rule? Why should the Secretary of State, who is not appointed for this kind of work, be authorised to decide what we may or may not do on Sunday? Again in Clause 6 the Secretary of State is given further power. It is provided—

"No person shall be employed on any part of Sunday for more than one Sunday in succession, except under the sanction of the Secretary of State: and no such sanction shall be given for the employment of any person upon more than three Sundays in succession, nor upon more than twenty-six Sundays in the year."

When I was a young man I observed there was this difference between England and the Continent. On the Continent there was a great deal in those days of so-called grandmotherly legislation; but we here in England were supposed to be endowed with a certain amount of common sense and a certain spirit of independence, and, as long as we did not rob or steal or cut anybody's throat we were considered more or less capable, and certainly entitled to, look after our own proceedings, according to our own manner of life. My father often said, "You will see the very great advantage that there is in England over other countries" in this direction. Now we have reversed all that, and we are told that because in Germany, France, Austria, and other places something of this sort is done we must do it here. It is a good many years since I was a boy. I lived for six months in Paris many years ago, and I remember what a Paris Sunday was like in those days. I do not suppose it has been very much changed since. Does the hon. Member want to institute the Paris Sunday over here? I must say that, although I am oposing this Bill, I have always been very strict in my manner of life on Sundays, and I have never even had my carriage out if I could possibly avoid it, and neither did my father before me. It is not because I do not want to see the Sunday properly observed that I am opposing this Bill. On the contrary, I should like to see it properly observed, and my belief is that a Bill of this sort, instead of preserving the old English method of life on Sunday, will tend to make the people adopt the Continental method, and will encourage that spirit, which is still, to a certain degree, possessed by Englishmen, of immediately wanting to do a thing when told not to do it.

I think my hon. Friend is mistaken if he considers that this Bill is going to do any good whatever with regard to the milk industry. In my part of the world there are a good many dairy farmers who employ a certain number of men to milk cows. As a rule one man milks about fifteen cows, and, if a farmer owns seventy-five cows, he employs five men. These have to do their work on Sunday mornings, but under this Bill they will not be allowed to do it on two successive Sundays, or on more than twenty-six Sundays in the year, and the farmer will, consequently, have to employ a double staff of men. Hon. Members who know anything about dairy farming in this country are aware of the difficulty in getting milkers. For some reason or other milking is not practised by the younger men, and a milker is extremely difficult to get. Under this Bill the cost put upon the farmer will be so heavy that he will either have to give up the production of milk or to very much increase the price of the article. This sort of legislation always does tend to increase largely the price to the consumer, and especially to the poorer classes, in whom the hon. Member professes to be so extremely interested. We come to Clause 7, which says:—

"(1) For the purpose of carrying this Act into effect:—

(i) Officers employed by the Secretary of State or by a local authority, and local authorities, shall have power in the performance of their duties—

  1. (a) to require the production of wages and time sheets or other re cords of employment, and examine the same and copy any material parts thereof; and
  2. (b) at all reasonable times to enter any premises on which they have reason to suspect that persons are being employed contrary to the provisions of this Act."
We know perfectly well that every officer of the Secretary of State and of the local authority will say that he has so much to do that he cannot undertake these new duties, so that will mean a very large addition to the already unduly swollen ranks of officials. Those of us who have a little-property still left us by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—it will not be for very long, and I presume it will not be very much; I am fortunate enough to have a little left at the present time—are continually being worried morning, noon, and night to fill up forms. I have a great list of forms which came to-day with regard to certain cottage property. The valuers say it is difficult for them to fill up the forms in the way in which they are drafted, so they have asked me to sign all the forms separately in order to give them permission to value the property in the easiest possible manner. I do not want to give them extra trouble; in fact, I do not want the cottages valued at all, because nobody will be any the wiser or better off because they are valued, and I presume that on Sunday I shall have to sit down and sign all these forms. I do not know whether if this Bill were in force I should be liable to a penalty for doing so, or whether I could say to the valuer, "Bother you! take the thing away and make the best job of it," although, perhaps, he would not treat me as well as if I were more civil to him. Look at the awful possibilities which may be opened up for anybody under this Bill, especially if he has a little property. The hon. Member who moved the rejection has referred to most of the points in the Schedule, but I wish to refer to one or two of them. Paragraph 11 in the First Schedule exempts from the operation of the Bill the hiring and letting of horses and other animals for riding. Why horses? Why should not horses have a day of rest as much as anybody else? If you are going to legislate and say that animals are to be considerately treated, in the name of goodness legislate for those who cannot legislate for themselves! The horse cannot legislate for itself, but it is just as much deserving of consideration as the people for whom hon. Members are endeavouring to legislate in this Bill. I cannot understand why horses should be left out and made to work seven days a week. It is a very great blot on the Bill and on the so-called humanity of the Members who bring it in that they should have left horses out. Paragraph 18 of the First Schedule says:—

"Any unavoidable work of persons employed in domestic service, caretakers, and watchmen, provided that the period during which such employment on Sunday is required shall not deprive them of reasonable leisure, nor of the opportunity for the enjoyment of their religious privileges."

There is no definition in the Bill of "unavoidable work," and how on earth is one to define it? Is it unavoidable work that on Sunday morning my housemaid makes my bed? I cannot say that it is, although I may be able to do it myself. There is the other alternative of going to bed on Sunday night with the bed unmade. Supposing my housemaid makes my bed on Sunday morning, and my wife or I have a little dispute with her a few days afterwards and she received notice to leave, she may prosecute me because she made my bed on Sunday morning, and I shall have to prove in a Court of Law that it was unavoidable that this particular housemaid had to make my bed on Sunday morning. It is absurd to suppose that a Bill which enacts provisions of that sort can possibly pass into law. I want to say one word from the point of view of railway companies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I know that railway companies are very bad people—especially the directors—and that the chief wickedness is centred in the board room: but even they have some claim to consideration. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not much!"] If my hon. Friend found that his perishable goods could not be delivered on Sunday morning, and that he could not get that excellent price he would be free to get owing to his excellent knowledge of agriculture and the able manner in which he cultivates his land, and if he found that instead of them being delivered fresh in the market they were not, because the train in which they were being carried was pulled up on the line at six in the morning and unable to be moved, I think he would admit there is something to be said for the railway companies.

The limitation of the right to run goods trains on Sundays would cause inconvenience to the public, and would also seriously embarrass the railway companies in dealing with the traffic. Goods trains which cannot leave the starting point until late on Saturday night, and cannot arrive at their destinations before six o'clock on Sunday morning, would have to be put back until after midnight on Sunday, with the result that a portion of the traffic, which is now loaded on Saturday, would not arrive at its destination in time for delivery on Sunday morning. Moreover, while the railway companies have no desire to develop Sunday employment unnecessarily, it is obvious that the comparative freedom of the lines from passenger traffic on that day affords a valuable opportunity to clear up the congestion of goods traffic, where, by reason of fogs, obstruction, or other circumstances, such traffic has been delayed, and also to accelerate the progress of repairs and renewals. Nobody will deny that that is absolutely correct. I have been asked to mention that the effect of the Bill would be to require railway companies to employ a much larger number of men. I object to that personally. I will not go into that at the present moment, as it is hardly necessary, because the Bill has been so completely riddled that I do not think there is any possibility of anyone voting for it when the Division is called. I ask the House to leave people alone to manage their own affairs in their own way in the ordinary walks of life. That is the only way in which you can train a nation in habits of self-reliance, self-denial, and control. If, on the contrary, you say that they are to do nothing without asking the local authority or the Secretary of State for permission, you will lead to such a deterioration in the life of this country that our successors will regret that in these days there was ever a Parliament which could pass such absurd legislation.


As my name appears amongst those who back this Bill, I should like to say one or two words on the subject. In the first place, whatever may be said as to the merits of the Bill otherwise, it certainly has this merit, that it has the opposition of the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury), which is in itself somewhat of a recommendation. There are other names on this Bill which I think should command the respect and confidence of those people who are endeavouring to do something for the benefit of the workers. For instance, what largely influenced me when I was asked to support it was that I found it had received the assent of a Gentleman who was justly esteemed and respected by all parties, the late Mr. Silvester Home. I also found on the back of the Bill the names of two representative Gentlemen who represent the Labour party, and therefore, when I was asked whether I had sufficient sympathy with a Bill of this kind to give it my support, influenced by the other names which I saw I consented. The hon. Member (Mr. Booth) made a speech which was extremely witty and amusing. There is nothing more easy than to take up any Bill which is brought before the House and dissect it in an amusing way and make it appear ludicrous. But, after all, a great deal of what the hon. Member said was perfectly true, and this Bill as it stands is, of course, in a form in which it could never possibly be expected to pass into law. But apart from that, there is need in this country for well considered and carefully prepared and drafted legislation to see that there is no overworking of the people. It is all very well for the hon. Baronet to say that this Bill interferes with freedom. There are many employers in this country who do over-work their people, but to their credit, be it said, there is an increasingly large number of employers who in these days treat their workmen with great consideration. I am convinced that there are others who will be influenced by nothing but legislation, and when one is broadly asked whether one is in favour of the principle of having for hard-worked people in this hardworked world one day of rest and recreation, I think Members of all parties would be right to assent to that principle.

This Bill was not in its present form brought to my notice before I had given my assent to the principle. If it had been shown to me I should have said from the very first that in its present form the Bill was obviouly entirely inapplicable to Ireland. The hon. Member (Mr. Goulding), without any hesitation, said he would agree to the deletion of Clause 1, and particularly of Sub-section (4), which would make it entirely impossible to do what is the general practice in Ireland. In Ireland, Sunday is regarded not only as a day of religious observance, but as a general day of holiday. There is a cessation of all work, and the people are allowed to enjoy themselves. The hon. Member mentioned one organisation in Ireland, the Gaelic Athletic Association, which is engaged in the very laudable undertaking of developing the physical training of the young men of the country. That organisation, on Sundays more particularly, holds sports, very often for charitable purposes, and under the first Clause of this Bill it would be impossible to do that. Naturally, had I seen that, I should at once had said that it was impossible. But I am constrained to go further and say that under the altered circumstances, I do not think this Bill should be applied to Ireland at all. At present we stand on what we hope is the threshold of the day when we shall have the power of legislation for our own particular needs, and at this moment it would seem to me entirely superfluous and unnecessary and uncalled for that this House should legislate for Ireland in matters of this kind. And, therefore, I represent, with the fullest sympathy for the main object of this Bill, which is to secure rest and recreation for those who are unable to get it, that the application of the Bill to Ireland at present, in view of the change which we know is bound to take place, is unnecessary, and in all probability would be entirely prejudicial to whatever chances the Bill may have. I only rise for the purpose of making this perfectly clear, for, naturally, I do not imagine that there is a single Irishman representing any constituency north or south, who could possibly agree to the Bill as it is at present drafted. Therefore, I submit that the best course would be, in view of the near approach of Home Rule, to agree to the exclusion of Ireland, because in that way only could the hon. Member hope to get a measure of support.


The hon. Member is one of the sponsors and backers of the Bill. He has just told us, first of all, that it cannot be expected to pass into law in its present form, and then that he wishes to exclude Ireland. If his name is on the back of the Bill, it is as representing the Nationalist party.


No, absolutely nothing of the kind!


The hon. Member admits that he does not represent Irish opinion in the matter, and yet he wishes to impose upon this country a Bill which he is unwilling to try in Ireland. As for the argument that no legislation is to be passed this year in regard to Ireland because of the approaching enactment of Home Rule, I suppose that would not apply to the Finance Act and the benefits which it showers upon Ireland. I should rather differ from the hon. Member. I think that legislation of this kind might well be tried in Ireland to show us what it would do here. There you have to deal with a state of society which is relatively simple and virtuous as compared with that in this country, and it would be a very interesting example to sec how an experiment of this kind would work in Ireland. If you had to apply it to the complex conditions of British industry and organised society, and against society here, you would have valuable light and guidance. The truth is that this is a Bill of good intentions but fantastic provisions. It is the sort of measure the maiden aunt of any hon. Member present might have drafted, after she had listened to a sermon on the want of observance of the Sabbath, and the speeches which have been made in favour of it have been in the spirit of the maiden aunt. Of course, it is very difficult to oppose philanthropic projects of this sort. One is always open to misconstruction. One always likes to be on the side of the angels, especially when the angels have put on their Sunday clothes, and those of us who are opposed to this Bill ought to make our position perfectly clear. I myself would do all I could to secure the enactment of a Bill to provide for one day's rest in seven in this country. This Bill, if it does anything, will injure that cause. On that ground, of course, it meets with the opposition of the Lord's Day Observance Society. It is a Bill of such fantastic drafting that the Schedules occupy more space than the provisions of the Bill itself. More than that, it is customary, when there are Schedules, to have references to Clauses showing how far they are affected, altered, and conditioned by the Schedules. There are no such provisions in this Bill, except in one or two casual cases. In fact, the Bill as a piece of drafting is the most unworkmanlike and hopeless thing I have ever seen presented to this House. I wish to refer a little further to the way in which it would injure the cause of weekly recreation. Naturally all of us believe that, for the renovation of our physical health and for the improvement of the race, we require one day's rest in seven; but, if this Bill is to be a Bill to increase Sunday observance at the expense of the weekly holiday, then it-would do actual mischief from that point of view. My hon. Friend the Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. Dickinson) quoted—may I say in rather a pedantic way?—the cases of foreign legislation in regard to Sunday observance. We all rejoice that, in consequence of the agitation in this country, international conferences have done their best to forward the principle of a weekly rest-day, but the hon. Member must not think that these enactments really express and convey to us here, or to public opinion anywhere, what is really taking place. There is a decided improvement, but to pretend that in France, Austria, or Italy there is at the present moment better observance of Sunday, or a greater amount of weekly rest than in this country, is an absurdity, and quite contrary to the facts of the case.

We had better make up our minds at once that we are far ahead of other countries in the world in what we have secured by custom alike for working people and traders in respect of weekly recreation. I quite admit—and it is a necessity, I think, in these days, naturally and properly—that the tastes of working people, as well as their development, require better opportunities of weekly rest, and my hon. Friend knows better than anybody that, if there is a call for Sunday labour, it is on the part of working people. Bet him go to Lancashire, or let me take him to the East End of London, and I will show him there that it is the working people who are demanding increased opportunities of recreation, and it is to minister to their pleasures and to satisfy their wants that this Sunday labour is required. That, of itself, is not a bad thing. On the contrary, this Bill would really damage the cause of national rest and national recreation, and I appeal to hon. Members on the Labour Benches to look at it from that point of view. The working people are using Sunday more and more for that purpose, and I do not blame them. I do not wish to say anything disrespectful of any of the churches, or of the Church of England to which I belong, but it is foolish to think that you can drive people into the Churches by Bills of this sort, and put a stop to that movement which is growing every day for enlarged opportunities for recruiting the physical and moral health of the people, even although it is not confined to the walls of church or chapel. This Bill would have most extraordinary effects if passed into law. You could not get a shave on Sunday. Why should any man be deprived of the opportunity of what is largely a matter of personal cleanliness by a Bill of this sort? You could only take a bath within certain hours. This is mediæval superstition run riot, and I should like to know how working people at seaside resorts, Southend here, and Blackpool in the north, will appreciate this legislation. I should say they will be the first to express their displeasure.


How about the men who take them to these places?


I said that we are in favour of one day's rest in seven, and will do what we can to secure it, but an enactment of this kind has a Sabbatarian tinge and colour which, I believe, damages that cause. The hon. Member opposite speaks for the railway men of the country, and I hope they will secure one day's rest in seven, but this arrangement must be adapted to the conditions of life as they are to-day. Let us conform to the necessities of the people, and there is no reason why by prudent administration a day of rest should not be secured without militating against the pleasures—the legitimate pleasures—of the great mass of the community. The greatest happiness of the greatest number, after all, is still what we profess to be the guiding principle of our legislation on utilitarian grounds. I suppose one should show in a little more detail how certain Clauses of the Bill would interfere with certain works. I take first the works of mercy. It would cripple the work in connection with hospital administration. You exempt certain classes of work done in hospitals. You do allow a man to work a lift or to stoke a furnace, but you do not allow any of the smaller offices done.


The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill specifically imputed the motive that we had made certain provisions in the Bill in favour of the upper classes.


I am imputing no motive. I have experience in hospital work, and I say that unless the Bill is amended, it would do a great deal to interfere with the staffs of our great hospitals. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) has pointed out that you can take class after class of workers and traders, and find that the provisions of the Bill are impracticable. I was dealing with works of mercy. I shall take now what is purely an industrial matter. There is no newspaper in the country that could be produced on Monday morning under the conditions laid down in this Bill. I am aware that the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding) consulted some of those who regard themselves as experts in the matter as to whether men could come on duty at four o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday and prepare for Monday's issue. I say that there is not a newspaper in London or elsewhere that could do its work if these limitations of time were imposed. The work has to be prepared by those engaged in the process departments. That is afterwards handed over to the composing room and the foundry, and the men engaged must of necessity come in the morning. The newspaper trade as a whole believe emphatically in one day's rest in seven, but they have to adapt the conditions of labour to the public necessity, and there is not a single office where it would be possible to bring out that complex thing, the modern newspaper, with its blocks and variety of news, if it was so fettered as this Bill proposes. None of the illustrated papers could possibly appear on Monday if they had to submit to the conditions of time laid down in the Bill. In the distribution of newspapers, in certain parts of the country, the Sunday newspaper is distributed by carts, and it would not be possible for those who are so engaged to do this work within the hours laid down in the Second Schedule of the Bill. The First Schedule provides for total exemption and the second for partial exemption, but under neither one nor the other is it possible for the newspaper trade of the country to be carried on. I do not wish to weary the House with multiplications of these examples, but it seems to me that those who have drafted the Bill can have had no knowledge of the immense complexity of our modern industry. If you interfere with its details, you are bound to go wrong. Lay down the principle if you like of a weekly day of rest, but do not attempt to interfere by endeavouring to regulate the precise hours of work or you will clog the wheels of the machine. And what is more important, in every office and workshop you are now going to have a double or triple system of inspection. You have the inspector from the Home Office, or the Local Government Board, and now under this new Bill you are to have a new-race of inspectors created under the local authorities, who are to come in and examine the books, time-sheets, and wages-sheets, and are going to inquire into the exact hours during which it is necessary to employ certain people for certain purposes in order that the work of the following week may proceed. I submit that this is nothing but bureaucratic tyranny run mad. In fact, that is the term which I apply to the whole Bill. Talk of grandmotherly legislation! I never knew it applied to the extent to which it is applied here. I never knew such an attempt to stereotype in an irregular and obsolete way the trade and labour of the country. A remarkable thing is the inconsistency of those who have brought in the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Worcester is one of those who voted with me against Sunday closing. We had good reason for doing so. I think our vote was justified, and I shall give a similiar vote this afternoon, if I have a chance. But I cannot say that it shows great consistency on his part to oppose Sunday closing on one Friday afternoon and to introduce this Bill in the House of Commons the next. If they are in favour of this particular universal tyranny, why should it not apply to licensed trade premises as well as elsewhere?


One day's rest in seven.


I will not go back on the argument. It is vitiated by a spirit of Sabbatarianism which is absolutely out of harmony with the spirit of the times, and would produce results on our common life and industry which it is difficult to estimate, but the general tendency of which we can judge for ourselves. In these circumstances, while I assent absolutely to the cardinal principle of one day's rest in seven, I say that it is the duty of every hon. Member who studies the industries which his Constituency follows to do something to prevent this Bill receiving even a Second Reading in this House.


I will not follow the hon. Member who has just sat down through his confused explanation of what he thought the Bill was, but he concluded by saying that he was in favour of the principle of the Bill.


I said at the beginning that I was in favour of one day's rest in seven.

3.0 P.M.


It has been said that this Bill is for the purpose of promoting the Sabbatarian point of view. That is just the very thing which we are not doing, and it is the very thing which we do not intend to do in this matter. One of the easiest things imaginable is to refer to frivolous details in connection with a Bill like this and to find fault, but everyone who has spoken in support of this Bill has said that he admitted the broad principle of one day's rest in seven. Not only that, but that at least there should be twenty-six times in the year when the rest-day should be Sunday. Admit that principle and send the Bill to a Committee and make what you like of it. That is our position. Our reason is that there is a tremendous amount, not only of Sunday labour, but of employment which is seven days per week employment. I am sorry that the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London has left. I wanted to ask him: Was there a railway in the United Kingdom that had not been employing men for seven days a week? I know that that has been very largely eliminated in comparison with what it was years ago; but how has that come about? Not by any philanthropic spirit on the part of the directors. It has been by means of a strong organisation, and, in a number of cases, of strikes. Are you prepared to recommend that course in future? In the winter of 1912–13 you had a long, bitter strike in the Swansea smelting works. What was that for? Nothing at all but freedom from work on Sunday. Was it for an advance of wages or for shorter hours? What they wanted was a six-day week as against a seven-day week.

It is true that many of the larger and more important and well-organised industries have already won for themselves by hard and difficult battles a six-day week. But there are thousands of less fortunate industrial workers who are still working under the seven days a week system of employment and payment, and it is for these, if for no others, that this Bill at least should have consideration, apart from what may be termed the wide and amusing quibbles that can be raised upon it. The Trade Union Congress in. Nottingham in 1909 passed a resolution in favour of a measure of this character, and two years later there was a similar resolution by this organisation representing close upon 2,000,000 industrial workers who comprise the whole of the leading trade organisations of the country. If in their opinion there are very many of the smaller classes of labour, male and female, less fortunate and more difficult to organise, who are not so happily circumstanced, and who have to fight their own battles without a strong organisation behind, they think that the time has arrived when at least Parliament should take a hand in this matter. For that reason we say that this is a legitimate question for most searching inquiry. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said, "We cannot get a shave on a Sunday morning." I presume that is supposed to be humorous.


No, no.


Let me tell the hon. Gentleman that there is no class of employés in the United Kingdom who have cried out more loudly for Parliamentary assistance than barbers' employés in demanding a six-day week. It seems to me scandalous that they should be imposed upon by having to work seven days a week.


I explained quite clearly that I never asked that they should, and I stated time after time that I was in favour of rest on Sundays, but not necessarily so that it would interfere with the wants of the working people.


The hon. Member will agree with me that they are a hard-working class of people, and that their hours are long, and very long.




Only this year the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) is introducing a Bill in regard to this class, and he is pressing the question so hard that he has taken it up entirely on their behalf. This subject of one day's rest in the week is not only important in its various features, but it is tragic in its effect, so far as the great masses of industrial workers are concerned. In the returns which were quoted by the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill there is quite enough to arouse the earnest attention of England, and quite enough to call for legislation of a beneficial character for the mass of workers, either male or female, throughout the country. May I read a statement made by investigators of this subject:— The returns received in response to the investigations form a voluminous and most important mass of evidence, showing that upwards of 600 organisations comprising both masters and employés and representing approximately from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 working people and employers, have evinced their cordial approval of the prospect of any legislation which has for its object the restoration of the six days a week and, above all, the safeguarding of the Sunday. So far as we on these benches handle this matter this afternoon, we say that nominally the rest-day is Sunday; we do not say in what respect Sunday should be used; we give persons the freedom to do as they think fit, and we say that they should be allowed to use that freedom in accordance with their own opinion. So far as the inclusion or exclusion of Ireland is concerned, I think it would be a pity if Ireland were excluded from the provisions of a Bill of this kind. It is quite true that Ireland has not nearly the number of industries that we have in this country, and it differs from us in that respect; but there are many employés in Ireland who do work seven days a week. I know that from my own experience. For that reason I should be very pleased to see Ireland retaining an interest in this Bill. We are told that we will not be able to proceed further because of the difficulty of enforcing the principle of this Bill. If this House is prepared to admit that the employers of the country cannot give their workpeople a six-day week, then of course that is a serious situation for industrial workers to face. One thing has been brought out, and it has had a greater effect than anything else in regard to this question, and that is the enhanced rate of payment for Sunday work.

The line on which our trade unions have dealt with this question in the past has been this, that despite the fact that we have got considerably enhanced rates of pay for Sunday work, we say that we have not yet nearly reached the maximum rate, and we shall not have reached the maximum until it attains a point at which it becomes unprofitable to employ workmen on Sunday. I was rather surprised to hear the hon. Baronet in his very interesting remarks on some of the details and difficulties connected with the Bill refer to the making of his bed on a Sunday; but I would like to call his attention to the fact that there is still a very large amount of unnecessary work on Sundays upon our railways. I am quite prepared to admit that during the last fifteen years a good deal of it has been obviated, but a great deal more can yet be done if there be willingness to do it, and if this Sunday work were more expensive it would be done. The Member for Pontefract deplored the fact that there was no captains of industry called at the meeting of those who drafted the Bill. A good number of captains of industry have expressed a very strong view in favour of giving their workpeople one day rest in seven, and that takes us a very long way. If it is a question of the details we are prepared to meet anyone and discuss matters. If the Bill is read a second time at least its principle will be admitted, and it can be considered in detail by a Committee upstairs. We should be satisfied for the moment if it were arranged to take one day rest in seven, twenty-six of those clays to be on a Sunday, and that there should not be two Sundays consecutively upon which a man or woman might work. I am just afraid from a good deal of the humour and ridicule on the part of two or three hon. Members that the minds of some other hon. Members may have been confused about this Bill. I think the hon. Baronet the Member for the City said that a taxi driver could be employed for seven days, but that is entirely wrong, as we are not permitting anyone to work seven days.


I did not say that. I think it was the hon. Member for Pontefract.


I would not like to accuse the hon. Baronet wrongly, but I would now ask him this question: Does he know any railway company of any kind in the United Kingdom that does not employ a number of men for seven days every week? That is the kind of thing we want to stop. I know there are some very good ones, some, of course, much better than others; and the hon. Baronet's is not the worst by any means. I think this House, let alone the people outside, would scarcely believe that there is so much employment of that kind carried on. That is the reason why we introduce this Bill, and I have great pleasure, in spite of the ridicule heaped on the Mover and Seconder, in going into the Division Lobby in support of it.


My name appears on the Order Paper in a notice to move the rejection of this Bill. If this Bill passed into law it would inflict on the people of Ireland one of the greatest hardships that has ever been inflicted by any party or any Government in this country. We object to this Bill on two grounds. First of all, we do so because we know and believe that no interest in Ireland has been asked to express any opinion on the merits of this Bill. We, as Home Rulers, believe that the people of Ireland are the best judges of their own business, and Irish Members of both political parties ought to be asked their opinion as to whether this Bill should apply to Ireland or not. The promoters of this Bill, as far as I could gather, failed to produce an instance where any political party or religious body, or any section of the community, by word or act, supported the Bill. Therefore, I can only say, and I trust I am speaking on behalf of my colleagues, that we hope to go into the Division Lobby against the Bill, as we believe, if it were passed, it would be the means of creating turmoil and division such as we have not seen in Ireland for the last twenty-five or thirty years. I would like to ask hon. Members who are supporting this Bill why they refuse to allow working people in Ireland to enjoy themselves on the only day's rest in the week that they have? They play golf and tennis and cricket, and they can go to race meetings for six days in the week, and enjoy themselves on the Sunday. We in Ireland have an organisation of 150,000 young-Irishmen. Sunday is the only day of the week on which we can play our national games, and, if this House enforces this Bill, then for the first time in five hundred years the people of Ireland will be prevented from playing the national pastimes of their country. I say that this is an infamous Bill as far as Ireland is concerned. I can only tell you here that if by any chance this Bill should become an Act of Parliament, the young men of Ireland will be as able to defeat it as they have defeated Coercion Acts for the last ninety years.

I am speaking here to-day as a member of the Gaelic Athletic Association with which I have been connected from infancy. I can speak with some knowledge that they and those associated with them, and I may mention the clergy of Ireland are united with the Gaelic Athletic Association, that they are as hostile to this Bill as any Members who have spoken from these benches. For four hundred years the people of Ireland have played their national pastimes, but not until 1885 did the Gaelic Athletic Association become what it is to-day—the most powerful national organisation in Ireland. The Gaelic Athletic Association as it exists in Ireland was founded by an illustrious Irishman, the late Archbishop Croke, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly. From that day every Irish county has formed its own executive, and in every Irish town and every Irish village there are branches of the Gaelic Athletic Association, and there is only one clay in the week on which they can play their national pastimes. In order to spread the light of the Gaelic Athletic Association it became essential for its promoters to make charges of sixpence and threepence per head to everybody who wished to enter in Ireland inter-county, or inter-provincial hurling or football matches. From the proceeds of the gate money gold medals and silver medals and cups are presented to the winning teams. Therefore, if this Bill was passed into law, all that would come to an end, and the result would be that the national pastimes of Ireland, of which we are as proud as you are of your games here, would be stopped and all Ireland would be seething with agitation to have the Bill repealed. Whether the Bill is repealed or not or become law by any chance, we are going to carry on the playing of our national games. [A laugh.] Hon. Members may laugh. I say here, and I am speaking in earnest, we are as interested in this Bill as we are upon any Bill which has ever come before this House for the last ninety years. Why should we not be jealous of the rights of our athletes in Ireland which has given to the world the greatest athletes the world has ever seen. A few years ago at the Olympic sports in London, for the first time, the Marathon Race was won by an Irishman from Tipperary, and Tom Kiely, of Dungarvan, holds the world's championship as an all-round athlete. Ireland, through her sons, has carried the fame of her athletes throughout the world, and because I am jealous of her interests I want to see Ireland to-day and in the future as it has been in the past, leading other nations of the world in prowess in the athletic field. The hon. Member who introduced the Motion paid an excellent tribute to the members of the Athletic Association. He has said that he is prepared to have them excluded from the operations of this Bill, and the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) asked for the exclusion of Ireland. I will go into the Lobby against the Bill whether the exclusion of Ireland is given or not, because our people, who for hundreds of years, unable to make a living in their own country and who have settled down in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff and elsewhere, along with bringing with them the burning torch of nationality, desire to uphold the games of their country and of their forefathers, and we are not now, in the year 1914, going to allow any set of politicians to deprive them of their rights or to let them prevent them playing their national pastimes of hurling and football on the one day in the week on which they can do so. I will read to the House a letter which I have received from the central committee of the Gaelic Athletic Association:— On behalf of the Gaelic Athletic Association, I write to draw your attention to the wording of a Sub-section which appears in the Weekly Rest-day Bill down fo, Second Reading in the House of Commons to-morrowr The following is the Sub-section referred to: 'To carry on, advertise, engage in, or be present at, any public performance, spectacle, exhibition, game, contest, competition, or other entertainment of whatever kind at which any fee or payment is charged or demanded, directly or indirectly, either for admission to such entertainment or for the use of any place or seat within or in the neighbourhood of the hall, theatre, enclosure, etc.' We think that if that were carried into effect, it would virtually entirely suppress all Sunday sport, and, of course, you as an old member, know this would wipe out our association altogether, because we are able to play the national pastimes only on Sundays. We are convinced, even if this Bill does not apply to Ireland, it will have ill-effects, because we know, as a fact, that the Gaelic Athletic Association in Great Britain is composed of our kith and kin, and is growing stronger and stronger every day. Therefore I shall go into the Lobby against this Bill whether Ireland is excluded or not. We have not got exclusion on the brain. Some hon. Members may be prepared in the Home Rule Bill to separate themselves from their kith and kin in other parts of Ireland by demanding the exclusion of Ulster, but we are not prepared to come to a settlement on this Bill by the exclusion of our kith and kin, who are driven from their own land, and have to seek a home in the land of the stranger. I apologise to the House for having delayed them, but I felt bound, having from long membership a very intimate knowledge of the Gaelic Athletic Association, to say that I am satisfied that this Bill, if carried, will do considerable injury, and I hope that no Irishman will assist in putting it on the Statute Book.


Some hon. Members who have paid lip-service to the principles of this Bill have strongly opposed its provisions. I would remind them that not only has the principle of the Bill received the support of two Parliamentary Committees, but the Bill, as it stands, has a very strong backing of public opinion in the country. It has received the support of chambers of trade, trade unions, and many other associations. There are few subjects at this moment, except the question of wages, which the working classes have more at heart than that of a six-day week. There is hardly any non-party subject on which it is possible to get up more enthusiastic meetings. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) said that this question was working out its own solution. That is exactly what it is not doing. It is getting worse from day to day. That, at all events, is the opinion of the retail traders of the country. My hon. Friend the Mover of the Second Beading has just received this telegram:— National Chamber of Trade, representing over 100,000 retail traders, heartily supports Sunday closing of shops in your Bill. Let me give an instance. Twelve years ago there were no hairdressers' shops open on Sundays in Birkenhead. There are now over thirty shops open, representing over one-third of the hairdressers in the town. That is only typical of what is happening all over the country. Shopkeepers open their shops not because they want to. They know that it is ruinous to their health, and that it is not adding greatly to their takings; but they are driven to it by the competition of other people who open their shops. The hon. Member for Pontefract approached this question with a great amount of levity and raised much laughter by his criticisms of the Bill, but I can assure him that it is not a laughing matter to many thousands of workers in the country. Here is what a hairdresser says on the subject:— I am a hairdresser and a Sunday worker. I should be pleased if Sunday work was done away with. The working classes leave off work at half-past five at night now, and they have Saturday afternoons free, so that there is no need for our trade to work on Sunday. I am perfectly sure that there is enough feeling of brotherhood among the working classes for them to arrange matters so as to allow a section of their own class to work under conditions somewhat less ruinous to their health. Nor is it a laughing matter to milkmen. As far as I can see, milkmen are the most sweated people in the country. They work from twelve to fourteen hours on week-days, and from ten to twelve hours on Sundays. If this Bill passes, they will get the boon of not being obliged to work later than ten o'clock on Sunday morning. Some people may say that it would be an inconvenience to the public not to have fresh milk brought round on Sunday evening. I am assured by milk sellers that the fresh Sunday afternoon milk is to a very considerable extent a delusion, because it is very seldom that the Sunday afternoon milk leaves the cow at a later hour than the morning milk. And it is no laughing matter to the cinematograph worker. I will read a letter written by a cinematograph worker:— I would appeal to you, on behalf of a number of employés in picture theatres, to use your influence and support in getting us included in the Bill. Even if you got us an alternate Sunday off duty we would be for ever grateful. At present we work seven days a week and seventy-six hours in all. The only vacation we get is Christmas Day and Good Friday. The majority of us are practically entombed in these places, as we are in the dark all day, and in a foul atmosphere. We do not come under the Factory Acts or the Shop-workers Act. Smelting men have been mentioned. They work ten hours a day on seven days a week. It was an unfortunate thing that the strike in which they engaged to secure a six days' week led to nothing. If this Bill passes, trades of that kind will be bound to organise themselves on a more humane basis, and it will be for the benefit of trade that they should do so. If it is not for the benefit of trade, then all the legislation that we have passed, from Lord Shaftesbury downwards, has been a mistake. I frankly admit that in some employments this Bill, if passed, may possibly lead to an increased charge. For instance, it may possibly lead to an increased charge on the bank managers of this country. I do not know whether the House is aware of it, but night watchers in banks, in London banks at any rate, work ten hours a night for seven days a week, or seventy hours per week. If bank managers were forced to give these people more humane conditions I am sure it would not break the bank. This measure, possibly, might increase the rates in some places.

Take the London County Council. The men employed on the London County Council's main drainage system and pumping stations at Barking and other places, work seven days a week. So do farm servants, the asylum attendants, and workers in generating stations. I cannot help thinking that the collective works directors ought to see that their workers work under more humane conditions. The hon. Member for Pontefract complained that this Bill was not framed in strict accordance with the principles of the Fourth Commandment. I can assure him that if he wishes to play the part of a second Moses, standing for all the rigour of the Ten Commandments, he has only got to appear before the Committee, and to move his amendments. He can, for instance, move that there shall be no spirits sold in the Constitutional Club on Sunday, that nobody shall have dinner cooked for him at an hotel on Sunday nights, and that no ladies should be permitted to go up in a lift on that evening. I would submit that all objections which hon. Members have made to this Bill are absolutely and entirely Committee points, and that they can be met, and satisfactorily met, in that Committee. All this Bill does is to lay down the principle that no man shall exploit the labour of any other man for his own profit on a Sunday, or for seven days a week.


No, no.


That is a sound principle. If the House of Commons cannot in its wisdom give adherence to that principle, and see it carried into law, I think it is time for us to shut up shop and for other people to take over the job.


I hope that this Bill will not receive a Second Reading, and that for many reasons. I shall confine my criticism to one point, and one point only, namely, the way that this Bill is going to affect the Jewish community. Before I go further, I wish to state emphatically that I agree with what many speakers have stated, that they are in favour of a weekly rest-day. I should not object to, in fact, I should support most willingly a simple Bill—and it could be a simple Bill—which gives effect to the change now desired by so many people, namely, that one day in seven should be free from labour, and that they themselves should have that day off. This Bill insists that the weekly rest-day should be on a Sunday. Yet somehow or other, the promoters of the Bill have recognised that those Jews who observe the Sabbath, and who do not work on Saturday, apparently should have some relief from these proposals contained in the Bill, and that the Jewish shopkeeper should be allowed to open on Sunday in order to serve Jewish customers, and Jewish customers only. We discussed at great length the question of the Sunday closing of shops some two years ago when the Shops Bill was sent upstairs. For many days, not only in that Committee, but in conferences at the Home Office, we tried to find some solution, and to discover some way, which would meet not only the Jews, but also those who were anxious to see Sunday properly observed in this country.

The proposals which appear in the Bill to-day were at one time brought forward in the Committee. They were ridiculed out of existence. It was proved that the solution contained in this Bill was an impossible solution of the difficulty. Under this Bill you would return to the Middle Ages. If a Jew wanted to purchase some goods on a Sunday morning, he would have to dress himself differently from a Christian, so that he could be recognised and so that the Jewish shopkeeper could sell him the goods he wanted. It would only be on Sunday morning, but on Sunday morning one would be able to tell the difference between the Jew and the Gentile in the streets of the East End of London. Possibly some Gentiles might adopt the garb of the Jew if they were anxious to purchase some of their goods on that day. The whole question of the opening of shops and street markets on Sunday is a very difficult one. The final proposals in the Shops Bill of 1911 were so to define certain areas in which areas shops could open on Sunday that both Jew and Gentile could work on that day in those districts. It seems to me that that principle is also a vicous one, because essentially it would be creating areas where poor people worked and slaved seven days in the week.

I hope that this Bill will be withdrawn, and that some more reasonable measure will be introduced into this House. I believe the hon. Gentlemen who introduced and seconded the Bill, stated that measures of this kind had passed in all foreign countries, and that we lagged far behind in our endeavours to preserve a day's rest per week for working people. I doubt very much if either the Mover or the Seconder of the measure knew very well the working conditions to-day in France and Germany. Personally, I should be very sorry to live under the bureaucratic discipline and rule which prevails in Germany at the present time. So far as France is concerned, Sunday, although perhaps it may be a day set aside in the Act, is certainly essentially a working day in that country. On the other hand, I do believe that in France a great many people have a day's rest who do not have a day's rest in this country. I do not see why if hon. Members who introduced this measure are sincere, could not frankly allow that the question of the Sunday closing of shops and Sunday rest from labour should be entirely eliminated from their measure, and the only thing that we should seek is to secure one day's rest in seven for every workman in the land. A measure such as that would have my cordial support, but I hope this Bill will be rejected this evening.


The discussion has been a very interesting one for a Friday afternoon, but I am afraid I never heard a Bill arouse such indignant feelings in all quarters of the House. It aroused ridicule from Pontefract, humour from the City of London, and hoarse passion from Ireland. There is a great difference of opinion as to what the Bill does. A great many of those opposed to it say they are in favour of the principle of the Bill, and some have gone so far as to say that they are in favour of the Bill, but that they are not in favour of passing it. I know those different attitudes very well. I think the first point is this: We should settle what is the principle that arises. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last told us he was quite in favour of having one day's rest in seven, but he was not in favour of giving any preference for any particular day or saying what the particular day should be. Upon that very ground it is that the Sunday Observance Society have taken such a strong view against the Bill. It is attacked from every point of view. Hon. Members of the same persuasion as the hon. Member who has just spoken and advanced Christians are all equally concentrated upon their attacks upon this particular Bill.

If we could arrive at some conclusion as to what the underlying principles of the Bill are, we might, I think, be in a better position to arrive at what are the facts. I think we are all agreed upon this, that it really is a most unfortunately drafted Bill. The Mover of the Bill and the Seconder were equal in their enthusiasm to get rid of any responsibility upon that point. The hon. Member for East Clare, whose name is also on the Bill, was equally anxious to say that he had nothing to do with it. The drafting of this Bill will remain a mystery for the future. Everybody is agreed, whether we are in favour or against it, that the Bill is an unfortunately drafted Bill.


The hon. Member for St. Pancras said it was very well drafted.


I think the hon. Baronet will see that what my hon. Friend said was that he had only recently seen it, and I think he was addressing his observations more from the freshness of mind which he brought to bear upon it than any study that he had given it. But, with the possible exception of my hon. Friend—


I adhere to my opinion that it is well drafted.


I congratulate my hon. Friend upon his opinion. However, I am sure he will always remain a monopolist upon that point. Now with regard to the principle of the Bill, I think it really contains two principles. One is that there must be one clay of rest out of seven, and that normally that day should be Sunday. These are the two substantial principles. I am the first to admit that the Bill is, as I said, drafted, I think, on extraordinary lines, but I think the questions we have got to consider to-day are, whether we are or are not opposed to these two principles, I think we are all practically agreed that there should be one day's rest out of seven, at all events where possible and practicable, and, in spite of what the last hon. Gentleman has said, I am equally in support of the second point, that the normal day should be Sunday, because, after all, we know there are a great many of us attached to the same religion here. There is, as I know from other Debates, in this country an established religion, and that established religion is a Christian religion and is the Protestant religion, and it is the religion by Statute, and in these circumstances the minority which comes to these countries must put up with our religious prejudices in that respect. I think the minority must give way to the majority on that point. Therefore I think, so far as I am concerned, that these are the two substantial principles. But the difficult point arises, because I think we must all know, those of us who have been in this House for some years, how difficult it is to have our favoured principles put into an Act of Parliament. It really is easy, comparatively easy, for those gifted with it to extract a good deal of humour out of legislation of this kind which tries to do something almost impossible. Where our industries are so complex and the conditions of life so complicated, it is almost impossible in an Act of Parliament to draft anything watertight containing principles in which we all believe. My hon. Friend from Ireland was very indignant with regard to the suggestion that this Bill should apply to Ireland. I agree that hon. Members from Ireland, north and south, have discussed this matter and come to an arrangement. He said this was the most important Bill in regard to Ireland that came before the House of Commons for five hundred years.


I did not say that. I said that Ireland was in the habit of playing Gaelic games for the last five hundred years.


I accept the hon. Gentleman's correction; I have explained my position to the hon. Gentle man in charge of the Bill. I think there are a great many facts to be ascertained in connection with this matter before we can safely legislate. The hon. Member for East Clare said that it was necessary to have well-conceived and well-considered legislation and well prepared and drafted. I cannot adopt these words. I think most of us agree there is a good deal to be done in improving the draft of this Bill, and I venture to say, further, there is a good deal to be done in the way of ascertaining facts. It would be impossible for ordinary people to legislate fairly without a great many more facts than we possess now on this subject. Therefore, though I am not op posed to the Second Reading, because the Bill contains principles in which I believe, and because the Factories Act and the Shops Act have been passed by this Legislature—


This Bill violates the Shops Act.


The Shops Act embodied the same sort of principle. At any rate, this Government has been responsible for some of these Acts and for passing through for the police a Weekly Day of Rest Bill, due to the action of the hon. Member for Holborn—


Not due to me at all, due to the House.


Well, to a great extent, due to the hon. Member opposite. That was done for a force of 20,000 men, but that is a very small matter. It was a matter of administration and of money, but now we are dealing with the country as a whole, and there are a great many facts that ought to be taken into consideration; otherwise you might do wrong and injure a number of people in making these changes. In these circumstances, I shall not oppose the Bill if the hon. Member in charge of it, and those associated with him, are willing to refer it to a Select Committee who will inquire and report on the matter. This point does not arise until there has been a Second Reading, and therefore these are academic points at this stage. What I have said is conditional upon that, and I do not think the Second Reading would be justified unless those who are supporting it would consent to this Bill going to a Select Committee in order that something may be done to arrive at legislation in the direction which everybody desires to obtain, namely, that every worker should have one day's rest in seven.


Hon. Members on both sides of the House must have a great feeling of sympathy with the objects of hon. Members whose names are appended to the back of this Bill. We all desire that there should be greater facilities for rest on Sunday. The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department pointed out what he believes to be the principle which is now in dispute in regard to this Bill. We are all anxious to see greater and improved facilities for rest upon Sunday or during one day in the week. Unfortunately, however, there is another side to this question. Seldom has there been a Bill brought in upon which there has been so much adverse criticism in different quarters of the House, and upon almost every one of the questions which the Rill deals with. I do not think the Bill is as happily drafted as it might have been, and I will not say more than that. The whole of this Bill appears to me to be drawn upon a foundation which almost makes success impossible. Having discovered its impossibility, the promoters of this Bill have endeavoured to get themselves out of their difficulty by Schedules full of different descriptions of work which are subject to exemption. That is all very well, but I defy the most ingenious person in the world to exempt every possible thing that ought to be exempted from this change in the law, and that is why I agree that this Rill is badly drafted, and the most happy outcome of this Debate would be that the Bill should be withdrawn in order that it may be proceeded with upon different lines.

4.0 P.M.

The presumption of the law should have been what it is now—that is, that subject to certain restrictions, employment on Sunday was within the law—and if further descriptions are necessary—and I do not say they are not—they could have been added. I should like to see further descriptions, and I think there are many things on this point with which all of us sympathise. The overwork of people employed in shops and numerous other instances which I will not enumerate now might be mentioned, and there are many different points upon which I should like to see an improvement, and those restrictions could be specified in the Bill and then we should all know exactly where we are, instead of being in the dark as we are at present. If the presumption of the law had remained, and further additions were made to the restrictions already in force, and if those restrictions had been judicious, the promoters of this Bill would not have bad any difficulty in carrying their measure into law, and the Bill would have received the general assent of hon. Members all round. We have heard a good deal about the Continental Sabbath, and it has been held out to us as something showing how much more advantageous the law is on the Continent than it is in this country at the present time. I think that was a very unfortunate argument to introduce in support of this Bill. I am well acquainted with the Sabbath on the Continent, where I have travelled a great deal, and when I have compared in my own mind what the Sabbath is on Sunday in Paris and in Edinburgh, it has been so striking to me that I should think that Scotsmen who heard the suggestion to adopt Continental methods in a Bill introduced in tins House would have immediately protested. I think that was a most unfortunate argument for the hon. Gentleman to use. Clause 1 lays down that it is to be an offence under this Act for any person for gain to employ any person to do any labour. That is really the principle of the Bill as it stands now, and it is the main principle. Clause 6 is a very remarkable one in many ways. It deals with Sunday employment where it is permitted under this Act. I will not read the Section, but still it is a Clause placing the greatest possible restrictions upon Sunday labour inviting everybody who is subject to Sunday labour to consider whether they ought or ought not to carry out the conditions of their engagement. It is true that in Sub-section (2) of Clause G there is this statement:—

"This Section shall not apply to the cases specified in the second part of the First Schedule to this Act."

Now I have to refer to Clause 3 which my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding) very truly said was a very far-reaching Clause indeed. It lays down that:—

"Notwithstanding anything herein contained, any person may do any work of necessity or mercy on a Sunday."

May I point out that this Clause does not cover the employer at all, and it does not relieve him from an offence under the Act for employing any labour for gain on the Sunday, and in that respect he remains exactly as he was before. You have this sweeping statement in the first Clause, and you have the employed under Clause 3 allowed to work if they pleased, but the employers still remain open to the charge that he has committed an offence under the Act if he employs anybody for gain on Sunday. That really, as far as I am able to explain it—and I think it is a thoroughly accurate explanation—is the effect of the Bill as it stands at the present moment. The hon. Member for Pontefract asked a question. He said: "Is there a single working man's home in this country, and a single industry employing the workers of the country who will not be affected by this measure?" They will be affected—some of them very seriously affected—in a whole variety of different ways which I suspect have escaped the attention of the promoters of the Bill, and they will be placed in a very unfortunate position. I am going to say how it is going to affect even so humble an unimportant an individual as myself. I have a little thatched cottage in a district of this country within easy reach of London. I have also got a small holding. I have attached to the cottage about two roods of land, and I have endeavoured to start a small poultry farm of my own. I was alarmed by the statement of the hon. Member for Pontefract when he pointed out—and I have heard no answer to the argument—that, if this Bill were carried out literally, according to some of its terms, there would be no possibility of getting new laid eggs on a Sunday morning. If we go on much longer in this sort of direction, some of my hon. Friends will make it an offence if the hens lay any eggs at all on the Sunday, or if the cows give any milk. I do not make these remarks in any hostility to my hon. Friends, because I believe that the object which we all of us have in this matter is the same. As far as I am concerned—and I am bound to say I am speaking entirely for myself—I think that the hon. Member opposite made a suggestion which was not by any means unreasonable. Personally, I think it would be better of the Bill were withdrawn. I doubt if the Bill, framed as it is, could ever be thrashed into a decent shape. If we could all come to an agreement that it should be withdrawn and framed on lines more adapted to accomplish its object than that which is before us this afternoon, I really do believe—as far as I can judge of the temper of the House, and the feelings on all sides of it, we all want to see an improvement in the facilities for rest on a Sunday, or, at all events, on one day in the week—a measure might be placed on the Paper, if not in this Session, in another upon which the House would generally agree, and which would be passed into law without any difficulty whatever.


I have listened attentively to the whole of this Debate, and the one thing which strikes me first is the manner in which every speaker has endeavoured to prove that he is a firm believer in the principle of the Bill, and then has damned all hope of the principle being accepted by a sort of faint praise The opponents of the Bill, on the other hand, have tried to kill it with ridicule and contempt. The primary and fatal objection put forward by the hon. Member who spoke in the name of the Jewish faith was, that under the Bill it might be possible for a Protestant to so disguise himself on a Sunday morning as to be mistaken for a member of the Jewish persuasion—an absolutely impossible task, in my opinion, and this certainly is not an argument which I am going to take seriously into account. Then we had an hon. Member from Ireland shocked beyond all measure because the Gaelic League, with which he is associated, having produced the most wonderful athlete the world has ever known, he fears the adoption of this Bill would prevent Ireland from ever having either a champion athlete or a champion pugilist.

These are not arguments that are going to prevent those responsible for the Bill from going on with the measure. I want to bring the House back to the practical side of the question. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), playing his usual Friday afternoon role—and I should have been somewhat suspicious had he been" backing the Bill, for that would have been an argument, to my mind, for opposing it—asked why the House should not legislate for horses and not for men. The simple answer is this: Those who own horses will pay more attention to them than they will to men, because they have to buy the horses, and they can get the men for nothing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] I will give an illustration. Take the railway companies. They will work their men seven days a week, but they will not work their horses seven days a week. They know they can get plenty of applicants for a man's job, but if a horse is killed they have to buy an animal to replace it. That is the logic of the situation. It is our answer so far as the working classes are concerned. More consideration is given to horses than to men.

I will ask the House to consider the moral effect on the home life, and on the upbringing of the children when the father, Sunday after Sunday, is away from the family circle. I did nearly four years' continuous Sunday duty, and there are thousands of railway men working Sunday after Sunday. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) to draft a time table of what will happen on Sunday under this Bill if it is passed. Let him draft the time table of what happens throughout the year from January until December—the husband and father at work and never at home on the Sunday, the wife and children left alone, with no family influence or support in the home. That is the debasing effect on the bodies, minds and souls of men who have to work seven days a week. I admit, very frankly, that the Clauses of the Bill afford room for the ridicule and contempt poured upon it, but it was the over-anxiety of those responsible for the drafting of the Bill to meet every conceivable difficulty that gave the opportunity for that ridicule. I again apply myself to the situation as it is. Up to within twenty years ago nearly every grade of railway servant was rated at seven days per week, that is to say, a man worked seven days and was only paid for six. We have repeatedly been before the managers and directors urging the abolition of Sunday labour. The railway directors always met the request with this answer, "No, it is a demand of the travelling public. We have to meet the public requirements and we cannot get over the difficulty." By the strength of our organisation we succeeded in compelling the railway companies to pay an enhanced rate for Sunday labour. What happened? Within a week after the awards came into operation the railway companies started to close the signal boxes wholesale, and to put the porters on different shifts. Why I Because when they did not have to pay them they were not considering public necessity, and when they were compelled to pay them they found ways and means of reducing Sunday labour. That is the actual situation.

It is merely playing with the question for the hon. Baronet to talk about goods trains having to be cleared away on Sunday. What happens to-day? I can take you to scores of sidings in this country where you will see the goods trains put out on a Sunday taking coal and minerals, not perishables—empties in some cases—and the men are compelled to work on the Sunday and go to their journey's end, and are booked off on the Monday. We say that is unfair. We say it is demoralising to compel a man to work on Sunday when the work could be done on Monday, or any other day of the week. I have not been to the Continent like some other people, and I do not pretend to know anything of the Continental system except what I have read, but, speaking as a working man leading workmen, I shall be very sorry if ever we agree to the Continental system in this country. It will be an inevitable disaster to the working classes of this country if we once agree to the principle of seven days' work per week. We as working-men are going to stand absolutely to the fundamental principle that there is no day that will compensate the father as the Sunday does. We say it is the one day that enables the mother and father of the family to exert the best moral and home influence, and we say that no other day can adequately compensate them for it. What do we say in the principle of this Bill? First, that there shall be one day's rest in seven. That surely is not too much for which to ask. In the twentieth century we are justified in saying, even by Act of Parliament, that people shall not be compelled to work seven days a week. In the next we affirm the principle that Sunday is the normal rest-day.

I am authorised to say on behalf of the promoters that you may strip the Bill of its Clauses if you like as long as you give a Second Beading to the Bill which affirms the principle that we lay down. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellis Griffith) made a suggestion which was not only practicable and necessary, but one which I am authorised by the promoters of the Bill to readily accept. We admit that the drafting is open to question, but there never was a Bill drafted that did not give a similar opportunity to ridicule to those who wanted to do it. We ask the House to read the Bill a second time and refer it to a Select Committee, where all these points of detail can be hammered out, but do not let it be said that this House of Commons denied, even by its moral support, the right to the working classes of this country to at least one day's rest in seven. When the suggestion is made that you are depriving certain people of amusement and enjoyment do not let us forget that we have no right either to attack amusement or enjoyment if we know we are creating an unnecessary hardship on other people. For that reason I beg the House to give the principle of this Bill a Second Beading and let it go to a Select Committee, and I believe by that means you will compel all employers to recognise that if they go on in the future as they have done in the past this House will interfere. You will give open encouragement to good employers to go on doing their good work and it will, I believe, be a source of inspiration and hope to the working classes of this country.


Will you delete Clause 4?


We are prepared to strip the Bill if you like, but affirm the principle.


I intend to vote against the Bill, because I think many of its provisions are unwise and intemperate. I do so principally from the point of view of its effect upon Ireland. In Ireland, Sunday is the only day on which the majority of our working men have a day's amusement. For very many reasons the matches and sports under the control of the Gaelic Athletic Association cannot be held on any other day. Some 150,000 young men are members of this association. They are labourers and artisans, the sons of small farmers and shop assistants, and, owing to the conditions in Ireland, Sunday is the only day they have to take part in these games and competitions. I believe it is not inconsistent with the observance of the Lord's Day to take part in reasonable amusement and outdoor exercises, and in Ireland our clergy are taking up the same attitude, and have helped the association because they believe that healthy exercise on Sunday often prevents young men from drinking, and taking part in other things which would not be for their good. The Gaelic Athletic Association has branches in Great Britain as well as in Ireland. There are branches in Lancashire, in Cardiff, and in Glasgow, and their matches are held on Sunday in the same way as in Ireland. Under Sub-section (4), Clause 1, they would be prevented in future from engaging in these sports on Sunday, because as a general rule they charge a small sum at the gate for admission to see the game, and prizes are offered in connection with the competition.

I hope we shall receive some satisfactory assurance that this Sub-section will not apply to Ireland, but I think also we are bound to look after the interests of the young men living in this country. I quite agree with the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) that it is unfair to compel any man to perform on Sunday work which could be performed any other day, and I only wish that circumstances in Ireland would allow of such a state of affairs. But we must deal with present conditions, and I believe I am expressing the opinion of young men in Ireland when I say that they want their amusements unrestricted as hitherto on Sunday. They have no opportunity for carrying on competitions on any other day, nor is there any machinery by which that could be done. I believe I am voicing their opinion when I say that they are totally opposed to such a Clause as this. I am in favour of a weekly rest-day, but I want a weekly rest-day which is not hedged round with such restrictions as would turn it into a day of penance, or a day of statutory self-denial as this Bill purposes to do in regard to Sunday. I think we should, so far as these games are concerned, allow perfect liberty and freedom of action as to how people should spend their Sunday. My reason for opposing the Bill is that it would deprive them of that liberty to think and act as they wish on Sunday,


It seems to me unnecessary to refer this Bill to a Select Committee after the remarks of the hon. Member for Derby. The fact is, there is nothing to reply to. I am sure that everyone in the House sympathises thoroughly with the idea that there should be one day of rest in the seven. At the same time, I may say that this Bill as drawn is totally disapproved of by the Jewish community, though they would be willing to co-operate in producing a workable measure. I would make the suggestion to the promoters of this Bill, and promoters of this class of legislation, that they should follow the example set in the case of the Trades Board Bill—that they should select certain trades with regard to having one day's rest in seven, and proceed gradually to enlarge the number of trades included. I believe that they would then get a workable means of obtaining one day's rest in seven, whereas if they were to make one day's rest in seven universal I think that they would come up against interests that would oppose them. The idea should be to try to get interests entirely in sympathy with them, and commencing with trades in which there would be no difficulty in getting one day's rest in seven by means of increasing the number of workers. If they do proceed with this legislation, they should proceed on those lines as being workable and reasonable. If hon. Members will withdraw this Bill and bring in one framed on more reasonable lines, this House, I am sure, would give it a sympathetic consideration. I quite agree with the hon. Member for Derby that one day's rest in seven should be recognised in this country, and there is no difficulty in securing it by means of reasonable legislation.


After the way in which the Under-Secretary for the Home Office has left this question this afternoon, I am doubtful whether I am justified in detaining the House for a few moments while I attempt to deal with the question. The Under-Secretary showed, what the Mover of the rejection of the Bill did not show, full sympathy with the objects. Everybody, regardless of party politics, must feel that it is most desirable that every industrial worker throughout the country should have, what we fortunately enjoy, some recreation from his work during the week. I believe that he is able to get that under this Bill, though we may disagree with some of the provisions. There has not been a single complaint made against the Bill in respect of anything that could not be remedied during the Committee stage. I took a small part, for which I claim no credit, because the House generally accepted responsibility for the Bill—for a Bill in somewhat similar circumstances some years ago, the object of which was to give one day's rest in seven to the police. When the Bill was introduced objection was made mainly on the ground that it would cost a little extra in the shape of rate money. Mr. Gladstone, the Home Secretary as he then was, met us in a way somewhat similar to that in which the Under-Secretary for the Home Office has met us this afternoon by saying, "If you will withdraw that Bill as we do not think it is drafted in a businesslike way, I will undertake to appoint a Select Committee to deal with the whole subject of one day's rest in seven for the constabulary forces throughout the country." We gladly accepted that, and the result of it is that to-day many police forces in the country are enjoying one day's rest in seven, noticeably with advantage in regard to the health returns, and the cost has been very small compared with what was estimated at the time.

We were told that it would amount to something like twopence or threepence in the £ on the rates, but the House will be glad to know that in no single instance has it amounted to more than a halfpenny, and in a great many instances it is below a a farthing. In regard to this Bill, we are to-day in the same position. Everybody has spoken in favour of one day's rest in seven, but I wish they had shown an anxiety in accordance with their profession by endeavouring to assist the Bill, instead of casting ridicule upon it. After all, they may disagree with the drafting of the measure, but the object of it is perfectly obvious, and must commend itself to every man who gives himself the trouble to think about it. The Under-Secretary for the Home Office suggested that the whole matter should be referred to a Select Committee. Personally, I would appeal to the promoters of the Bill to accept that undertaking given by the Home Office, that this Select Committee shall be set up to deal mainly with the granting to the industrial workers of this country of one day's rest in seven, and accepting the normal rest day as Sunday. I strongly appeal to the supporters of the Bill to withdraw it, and accept the undertaking which the Home Office has given. The promoters of it, so far as its drafting is concerned, I am sure, will recognise that it may prove the better course, and if we can be unanimous, as I hope we shall, in regard to this solution of the difficulty, then the work of the House of Commons will not have been wasted this afternoon.


I am sorry that I was unable to take part in the Debate earlier, but I was engaged in Committee upstairs until four o'clock. I am extremely glad that the Government have so far met the promoters in this way, and very probably the course suggested is the best solution of the present difficulty. I understand that those who moved the rejection of the Bill had a very merry hour over it, and the expression has been used that they "tore the Bill to shreds." No doubt a good many objections can be raised to the Bill, but, as has already been stated, every one of those objections can be dealt with in Committee. After all, the House has been met with this today, whether they like it or not. Will you recognise, not only one day's rest in seven, but will you recognise that the Lord's Day is that one day's rest in seven, for the toilers of the country? And it is to the toilers of the country that this Bill mostly applies. If the question had not been put before the House, they might have expressed an opinion on the matter as one of indifference; but the question has been put before the House, and I ask, that question having been put before the House, will you formally, as the House of Commons, acknowledge that the workers of this country are entitled to one day's rest in seven, and will you, as a House of Commons, representing this great nation, affirm that the Lord's Day is the one day of rest in seven? Can you say, "No?" Can any Christian man say "No?" [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not the proposal of the Bill? "] That is the proposal of the Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] It is the declaration in the Bill which you will negative by refusing the Bill. The word "Sunday" is in the Clause of the Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] I am quite prepared to hear those "No, no's," because they will not face the alternative and the facts. The position into which we drift all over the country is that we do not face facts. I am dealing with the provisions of the Bill. I say to every Christian man in this House, and, of course, I include our Jewish Friends who are concerned for the Sabbath and the well-being of our country, that to vote against the Bill would be, in fact, voting against the principle of the Bill, whatever may be its provisions. I do not agree with all the provisions myself, and would make the exceptions very different in some cases. A great many of those things were put in with the hope of catching the support of a great many trades and industries who might consider themselves affected by it. One hon. Member spoke of the necessity of going to this trade and that trade to persuade them, as their interests were concerned. What interest—interest in money or in employés, or in the credit of this country as a Christian country? What is the interest with which we are concerned? We are concerned with the great principle which is at stake. I challenge anybody in this House who looks back ten years and makes a comparison of how the observance of Sunday, and who looks back twenty years and makes a similar comparison, and who has got any regard whatever for the observance of Sunday, that they cannot vote against this Bill, and say that the English House of Commons is going to be indifferent to the spread of Sabbath breaking and the decadence of the observance of the Sunady. I do say that if the House of Commons were to refuse to give a Second Reading to this Bill it would be a disgrace. It would be a lamentable indication to the country if this House which ought to represent the best and highest aspirations of the nation, and which is charged with the guardianship and welfare of those people who cannot speak for themselves, were to refuse to assent to the principle that every man is entitled to one day's rest in seven and that that ought to be the Lord's day.


May I ask a question about the position of the Government on this matter. Presuming we do not press this Bill to a Division, would the Government undertake to set up a Special Committee to consider the question of one day's rest in seven for all industrial workers and Sunday as the normal day of rest. If a Select Committee was appointed to consider that question the promoters would be well satisfied not to press the matter to a Division?


Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would defer his question until my hon. Friend (Mr. Ellis Griffith) returns.


I do not think anybody has witnessed in this House the introduction of a measure which has afforded a greater argument for Home Rule than this measure has. There has been dumped into this Bill the word "Ireland," without any consultation with the people of Ireland in regard to the conditions in Ireland or the desires of the Irish people on this question. The social and industrial conditions in Ireland are altogether different from those which prevail in Great Britain, and yet Ireland is brought into this Bill as if we were not going to have Home Rule within the next few months. We from Ireland are not in a position to say how far it is needed; but this we do know—that it is not encouraged in Ireland, and Ireland does not want it. For my part I think that Irishmen are compelled to vote against the Bill because of the inclusion of Ireland. As to the industrial question to which reference has been made, we in Ireland have no concern, except that we wish that the workers of this country should have their day of rest as well as the well-to-do people. How that is to be secured could best be investigated by a Select Committee, and that Committee could produce a measure which would meet with general approval. But as for Ireland, we can legislate on this question for ourselves when we get Home Rule. Therefore I shall oppose the Second Reading of the Bill if it is put to the vote.


I understand that the objection to this Bill is based on the idea of personal liberty. What personal liberty? The liberty to compel other people to spend on Sunday hours of labour which the persons who exercise the liberty refuse to spend themselves. A few months ago I took part in a conference, held at the Agricultural Hall, and representing no less than 50,000 shopkeepers—grocers, oil and colour traders, etc. This conference was for the purpose of entering a protest against the constant spread of Sunday trading in London and elsewhere. One after another the representatives expressed their desire to enjoy their Sunday rest and to keep their shops closed, but they were forced to open them. The result was that in many parts, particularly of London, where formerly only one or two shops were open, now two-thirds or three-fourths of the shops in the locality were compelled to open or to lose their trade to their competitors. They were also obliged to engage assistants whom otherwise they would gladly release from their duties. The Bill simply provides that the right to one day's rest in seven should be recognised, not only as a moral, but as a statutory right. What possible objection can there be to that? All legislation of this kind—Shops Bills, Sunday Closing Bills, and so on—will interfere with some interest here and there, and the interests interfered with will object on the ground of personal liberty. They will say that we are carrying grandmotherly legislation, interfering with the rights of the individual, and all that kind of thing. It is as old as the hills.


And as true!


All legislation, if it be effective and of any value whatever, must interfere with the personal liberty of certain individuals. The hon. Member who spoke just now, spoke on behalf of the Hibernian League and their Sunday games. This Bill does not put down Sunday games. [An HON. MEMBER: "It does!"] It does not declare that men shall not play football on Sunday. What it declares is that they shall not make a trade of football or other games and charge for admission to the ground. They are fully at liberty to play football or any other game on Sunday if they so desire. What the Bill does say is that they shall not compel other people to work on Sunday in order that these games may be carried on for profit. Why should we in England, so far as the Bill refers to England, have our legislation prevented because a few Irishmen in Glasgow, in Cardiff, or some of the other of the towns that have been mentioned, desire to carry on these games? On behalf of those persons who are absolutely entitled, as much as any of us, to at least one day in seven for rest and recreation, I hope that the House will at least affirm the principle which this Bill embodies, and declare by a large majority, if it is carried to a Division, that at least we shall establish a statutory right for a free Sunday.


One has felt rather amazed in listening to this Debate to find a large number of people who have got up to tell us that the Bill is no good to them. If that is all they can tell us, I think it is very little use talking about a Committee stage or any other. So far as I can make out, the whole pith of this great question lies in the Third Clause, and in the word "necessity." We have got no definition of that word "necessity." We have had nothing from the promoters of the Bill as to what "necessity" really means. Speaking as an agriculturalist, I say that the word "necessity" may mean a great deal or it may mean nothing at all. Hon. Members opposite are always advocating that we should do all we can to help forward the great question of small holdings. If this Bill becomes law—I believe that the promoters of the Bill do not agree with this—it will do agricultural labour an enormous amount of harm, and agriculture itself an enormous amount of harm.

We have been told that large numbers of shop assistants are asking for this Bill. I believe I am right in saying that we have the information given to us that the National Farmers' Union, which comprises over 25,000 members, are absolutely against the Bill. One of the great reasons why they are opposed to it is, to a great extent, because of the question of milking. The promoters of the Bill will say that you can put one man to milk on one Sunday and another man to milk on the next Sunday. They say you can work it in that way, and that you need not disturb farm work at all. But those who have practical knowledge of agriculture know that a cow will not give her milk properly if milked by different persons. You would soon destroy the cow and dairy farming, which is acknowledged to be the most remunerative part of the agricultural trade of the country. If that be so, I think I am perfectly right in saying that I agree with the last speaker, that the whole thing is one mass of grandmotherly legislation.


I objected to that term being applied.


Then I apologise, but other hon. Members who have spoken have treated it in that way, and I should say that the hon. Member for Pontefract will perfectly agree with me in that. I really do not think that we ought to trouble our heads any more about this matter. I have put this to the promoters of the Bill, and I asked the question sincerely and with the desire to learn how far we carry them with us in their interest in agricultural questions to-day, and I hope I may get an answer from some one interested in the Bill.


I should like to say a word or two about this Bill from the way in which it affects the shipping industry. As far as I understand Clause 1 it is intended that persons who form crews of ships should have one day's holiday in seven. The effect of that would be that every ship would be carrying one-sixth more persons, and that one-sixth of the crew would be in idleness every day. They would not be able to go to church unless we were compelled to carry chaplains in addition, and I must say I should fear very much for the discipline likely to prevail on board ship if one-sixth of the crew were to be in a state of idleness every day at one time. Every one knows that people who are idle

and have nothing to do are extremely likely to get themselves into trouble. Incidentally I may mention there are 200,000 people employed in the mercantile marine and if the provisions of this Bill were enforced 30,000 people would have to be added to the 200,000, and these people would only be wasting their time, and they would immediately become a drag upon the rest of the community. There is another incidental disadvantage, and that is in case you have an accident to your ships you imperil so much per cent. more of the people's lives.


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, 119; Noes, 109.

Division No. 118.] AYES. [4.58 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Guiland, John William Pointer, Joseph
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Pratt, J. W.
Archer-Shee, Major M. Hayden, John Patrick Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Baker, Joseph Alien (Finsbury, E.) Higham, John Sharp Radford, George Heynes
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood- Hinds, John Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Hodge, John Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Holmes, Daniel Turner Remnant, James Farquharson
Barnes, George N. Hudson, Walter Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs) Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.) Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Jowett, Frederick William Roe, Sir Thomas
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Kennedy, Vincent Paul Rowlands, James
Blair, Reginald Kenyon, Barnet Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Boland, John Pius King, Joseph Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Bowerman, Charles W. Lardner, James C. R. Sherwell, Arthur James
Bryce, John Annan Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Bull, Sir William James Leach, Charles Henry Snowden, Philip
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Lynch, A. A. Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Byles, Sir William Pollard Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Cator, John Macpherson, James Ian Thomas, James Henry
Chancellor, Henry George M'Callum, Sir John M. Verney, Sir Harry
Clancy, John Joseph Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) Meagher, Michael Wardle, George J.
Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole Millar, James Duncan Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Crooks, William Morrell, Philip Webb, H.
Crumley, Patrick Morton, Alpheus Cleophas White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) Muldoon, John White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Denniss, E. R. B. Murphy, Martin J. Wiles, Thomas
Donelan, Captain A. Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Needham, Christopher T. Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Newdegate, F. A. Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)
Elverston, Sir Harold Nolan, Joseph Wing, Thomas Edward
Ffrench, Peter O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wolmer, Viscount
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward O'Neil, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Yeo, Alfred William
Gladstone, W. G. C. O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Young, William (Perth, East)
Glanville, Harold James Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Goldstone, Frank Outhwaite, R. L.
Griffith, Ellis Jones Parker, James (Halifax) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Parry, Thomas H. Goulding and Mr. Dickinson.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Brunner, John F. L. Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Burn, Colonel C. R. Clive, Captain Percy Archer
Barrie, H. T. Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.) Condon, Thomas Joseph
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Campion, W. R. Cornwall, Sir Edwin A
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Cotton, William Francis
Bridgeman, William Clive Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)
Craik, Sir Henry Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Cullinan, John Joyce, Michael Reddy, Michael
Dawes, James Arthur Kerry, Earl of Rees, Sir J. D.
De Forest, Baron Kilbride, Denis Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Delany, William Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Rothschild, Lionel de
Denison-Pender, J. C. Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)
Devlin, Joseph Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Sandys, G. J.
Dewar, Sir J. A. Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Scanlan, Thomas
Doris, William Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R. Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.
Duffy, William J. Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Sheehy, David
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Esslemont, George Birnie Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Spear, Sir John Ward
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Stanier, Beville
Farrell, James Patrick Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Staveley-Hill, Henry
Fell, Arthur Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Swift, Rigby
Field, William Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Ginnell, Laurence Mclloy, Michael Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Glazebrook, Captain Philip K. Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Goldman, Charles Sydney O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Gretton, John C'Doherty, Philip White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Guiney, John O'Donnell, Thomas Williamson, Sir Archibald
Hacken, John O'Dowd, John Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Malley, William Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hazleton, Richard O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Winterton, Earl
Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) O'Shee, James John Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.) O'Sullivan, Timothy Yate, Colonel C. E.
Henry, Sir Charles Palmer, Godfrey Mark Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Hoit, Richard Durning Pringle, William M. R.
Houston, Robert Paterson Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rawson, Colonel Richard H. Booth and Mr. Lundon.
Jessel, Captain Herbert M.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 105; Noes, 117.

Division No. 119.] AYES. [5.6 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Allan, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) Radford, George Heynes
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Higham, John Sharp Remnant, James Farquharson
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Hinds, John Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Barlow, Sir John Emmott, Somerset) Hodge, John Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Holmes, Daniel Turner Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Barnes, George N. Hudson, Walter Roe, Sir Thomas
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs) Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Rowlands, James
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.) Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe) Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Sherwell, Arthur James
Blair, Reginald Jowett, Frederick William Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Bowerman, Charles W. Kenyon, Barnet Snowden, Philip
Bryce, John Annan King, Joseph Spear, Sir John Ward
Bull, Sir William James Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Burn, Colonel C. R. Leach, Charles Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Cator, John Lynch, A. A. Thomas, J. H.
Chancellor, Henry George Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. Verney, Sir Harry
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Macpherson, James Ian Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) M'Callum, Sir John M. Wardle, George J.
Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Millar, James Duncan Webb, H.
Crooks, William Morrell, Philip White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Denniss, E. R. B. Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Wiles, Thomas
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Needham, Christopher T. Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Newdegate, F. A. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Elverston, Sir Harold Nield, Herbert Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Wing, Thomas Edward
Gladstone, W. G. C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Wolmer, Viscount
Glanville, H. J. Outhwaite, R. L. Yeo, Alfred William
Goldsmith, Frank Parker, James (Halifax) Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Griffith, Ellis Jones Parry, Thomas H.
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Pointer, Joseph TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Guiland, John W. Fratt, J. W. Goulding and Mr. Dickinson.
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Brunner, John F. L.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Boland, John Pius Byles, Sir William Pollard
Barrie, H. T. Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Bridgeman, William Clive Campion, W. R.
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) O'Shee, James John
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.) O'Sullivan, T'mothy
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Holt, Richard Durning Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Clancy, John Joseph Houston, Robert Paterson Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rawson, Colonel Richard H.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Joyce, Michael Reddy, Michael
Cotton, William Francis Kennedy, Vincent Paul Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Craik, Sir Henry Kerry, Earl of Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Crumley, Patrick Kilbride, Denis Rees, Sir J. D.
Cullinan, John Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Dawes, James Arthur Lardner, James C. R. Rothschild, Lionel de
De Forest, Baron Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Delany, William Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
Devlin, Joseph Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R. Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)
Dewar, Sir J. A. Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Sandys, G. J.
Dillon, John Lowe, Sir F. W. (Bir., Edgbaston) Scanlan, Thomas
Donelan, Captain A. M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.
Doris, William Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Sheehy, David
Duffy, William J. Meagher, Michael Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Meehan, Francis E. (Leltrim, N.) Stanier, Beville
Esslemont, George Birnie Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Staveley-Hill, Henry
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Swift, Rigby
Farrell, James Patrick Molloy, Michael Thompson, Robert (Belfast. North)
Fell, Arthur Muldoon, John Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Ffrench, Peter Murphy, Martin J. Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Field, William Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Nolan, Joseph Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)
Foster, Philip Staveley O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Ginnell, Laurence O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Winterton, Earl
Glazebrook, Captain Philip K. O'Doherty, Philip Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Gretton, John O'Donnell, Thomas Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Guiney, John O'Dowd, John Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Hackett, John O'Malley, William
Hayden, John Patrick O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Hazleton, Richard O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Booth and Mr. Lundon.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Words added.

Second Beading put off for six months.