§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
The Government desire to take the opinion of the House upon this Bill, and I should like to say a few words on certain aspects of the matter. Let me refer first to the police and Home Office point of view. On that I should like to say that the present position of matters is really intolerable. Ever since the beginning of the War there have been many efforts to raise funds for war purposes by drawings, by raffles, by tombolas and expedients of that kind, and money has been raised for the care of the wounded, and the assistance of prisoners of war and other purposes. Those efforts have been supported everywhere by public authorities, by the lord mayors and the mayors of our cities and boroughs, by Members of Parliament, and by persons in every kind of position, all of them perfectly unconscious, I am sure, that there was any kind of danger 1237 of their infringing the law. Still, that has happened in countless, I was going to say, in thousands of cases. The position of the police in all parts of the country, if they had sought to enforce the law in all those cases, would, I think, have been impossible. If they had attempted to follow that course they would have run counter to the feelings of the great mass of our population, and I think they would have created a very bitter feeling against the law. They have therefore been, not unnaturally, unwilling to interfere. When the attention of the police authority was called to efforts of this kind they felt themselves bound to remind the promoters that a breach of the law was being committed; they warned the organisers of the drawings accordingly, and I must say that, almost without exception, those people accepted the warning and abandoned the lotteries in question. In that way thousands of pounds have been lost to war charities. Matters cannot be left there, because the effect of that has been that these people who have abandoned the drawings have felt it a very great hardship to be deprived of the chance of raising money for purposes they have very much at heart, while they have seen other people to whose actions attention has not been called in the same way gain their ends by the very same method.
Either the law must be enforced or it must be altered. The very worst thing is to leave it as it stands on the Statute Book and not to enforce it. It is for that reason I am most anxious to see the House come to a decision on the point. Here is a Bill which deals with the question. The proposal is that lotteries shall be allowed for war charities only, and only during the War, and, in order that these facilities may not be used for the purpose of supporting movements not of this deserving character, it is proposed that the operation of the Bill shall be confined to war charities which have been in existence not less than six months, and in no case shall it be allowed without the sanction of the chief officer of police in the district, and only during the remainder of the period of war. Very large sums for our wounded soldiers and for our prisoners of war are at stake in this matter, and I have one particular instance which I will mention at once, although it is by no means the only one. The societies which have the greatest interest in the matter are the Red Cross 1238 Society and the St. John's Ambulance Association. As the House knows, there has been a, great pearl contribution for the benefit of these two societies. If these pearls are to be sold in the ordinary way by auction, it is quite obvious that the people who may bid for them will be very few in number. There are not many who would be willing to spend their money in that way in wartime. On the other hand, if Parliament permits them to be dealt with by something in the nature of a drawing or a lottery, then very large numbers of people would be willing to participate, and I am told that the difference in results would be very great indeed. I hesitate even to name a sum, but I am informed that if the pearls were sold by auction they might realise something between £100,000 and £200,000, while if they were able to deal with them in the manner authorised by this Bill they would produce from £1,000,000 to £2,000,000. That is the measure of the difference between one method of disposal and the other. Of course, to societies like this which have to find something like £4,000,000 a year for their operations, a sum of that amount is of very great importance. But this is by no means the only case that will be affected by this Bill. In Liverpool the Lord Mayor's Prisoners of War Fund has to raise a sum of something like £6,000 per month. It has been raising money in this way, and the promoters of the movement are very much distressed at the fact that owing to recent discussions they cannot go on unless a Bill of this kind is passed. At Cardiff, for the Prisoners of War Fund, over 100,000 tickets have been issued with the object of raising money, but the scheme has had to be suspended pending the decision on this Bill The Young Men's Christian Association, the Church Army, St. Dunstan's Hostel, and other charities of that kind, with which we all have the greatest possible sympathy, look to this means for raising funds. I shall be told that people can give the money.
§ Sir G. CAVE
Of course, that is not an answer. You want to get the money, and the best way of raising funds for these purposes during the War appears to be this system of drawings and lotteries which the House is asked to allow. It is really a question of policy. I should like to call the attention of hon. Members to the fact that the Acts dealing with 1239 this custom were passed, not for the purpose of preventing lotteries, but for the purpose of establishing a State monopoly in lotteries, and after the Acts were passed it will be found that year after year Parliament agreed to other Acts allowing lotteries under certain conditions. For some years, however, no such Acts have been passed. There have been one or two exceptions, one of them being the drawings for the Art Union. In New Zealand also an Act has been passed very much on the lines of this Bill, allowing lotteries for war purposes and war charities. The question is whether this Parliament shall legislate in the same way. I know that considerable objection is taken and genuinely felt. It is urged that this may encourage a spirit of gambling in this country. I do not share that fear. I venture to think it is founded rather upon memories of what happened under a quite different state of things—memories and the knowledge of what happened during the time of speculations such as the South Sea Bubble. But these have no relevance at all to the state of things which exists to-day. Let us think whether lotteries of the kind for war charities have an element of gambling at all. I dare say many Members of this House have taken tickets in lotteries of this kind. Is there one who has taken such a ticket for the sake of gain? I do not believe it. Their feeling has been that the object is a good one, and they would like to give money for it. There may be an element of adventure which imparts a spice of amusement, but as a matter of fact no one cares a farthing whether he wins or loses. The general feeling is that the money is given for a good purpose—let it go. Very often, indeed, the winning of a prize is a nuisance. I am sure that in any case it is not the real object of taking the ticket. I think it is not the gambler's spirit which operates in cases of the kind; it is the giving spirit.
§ Sir G. CAVE
People like to give in this way, it brings everybody together. It is human nature. I am not going to make a long speech; I have expressed my own view. I am sure that for these purposes money can be raised in large amounts perhaps better than in any other way. We are leaving the House to give a free decision as 1240 to whether or not they wish this Bill to pass. If the House gives the Bill a Second Reading, then it is proposed to take it up and to ask hon. Members to carry it through all its stages. We shall then know where we are. For myself, I venture to express the hope that the House will give facilities for the passage of this Bill. By so doing they will be helping the War charities, and I hope, therefore, that this House will not stand in the way.
§ Mr. THEODORE TAYLOR
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words, "upon this day three months."
I ask, on this occasion, the indulgence and sympathy of the House, which is not usually accorded to an old Member, following, as I do, one of the most formidable speakers in the House. I once heard it said about the present Home Secretary that he could put a nasty thing in the nicest way. Anyone in the world having to follow a gentleman of that sort requires the sympathy of the House, and I am sure the House will accord it to me, more particularly because there is some appearance of ill-nature in opposing any measure, however pernicious its principles may be, if the money that is to be raised by those principles is going to be applied to such a magnificent object as that upon which we are every one of us agreed—I mean the splendid work of the Red Cross. There is a little more to be said on this subject than has been told us by the Home Secretary. For one thing, he gave, I think, a definite sum of thousands of pounds that have been lost to some of the charities. What from? From the fact that the people, by complying with the law, had not broken the law. I want to know how he or anybody else knows what would have been subscribed differently from what may be subscribed under a plan of simple common sense—that of giving the money. If it is, as the Home Secretary said, not so much a question of gambling as of giving—if that is the object of people, it is a very simple thing to give. Is it going to be said that the people will not give for various reasons?
Surely the people of this country are generous towards the Red Cross if towards anything? If the people have generosity, and willingness, and money to give, who is going to tell us that they will not give unless they are bribed by 1241 appealing to their cupidity? It is nothing else. Do not let us be told that a raffle for subscribers is not appealing to cupidity and that it is more giving than gambling. I am surprised the Home Secretary should make such a statement. One knows very well the position of the Home Secretary. Like my own position, it is a very difficult one. The Home Secretary and his subordinates the police have had to stand the fire of a whole lot of ill-informed people, with good hearts, who want to support a good cause, and do not see any harm in this way of doing it. I am going to try to prove, what I really honestly believe, that if we let in the principle of gambling into a great national issue like this, we shall very soon be faced with demands for it for other purposes. I desire to give a few solid facts, because the Home Secretary has omitted some of the most important facts relating to lotteries in the past. Such, however, is the case.
The South Sea Bubble was instanced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We have no need to go back as far as that to get together authentic evidence as to the effect upon the national character of national lotteries. There have been repeated Committees of this House, sitting century after century—because this has been going on more or less for 200 or 300 years. Coming to the gambling itself, to what does it appeal? Is it not to our selfishness, to our instinct of getting something for nothing? That is a sentiment which is the curse of business, the curse of Stock Exchange transactions. It is a vice, and not a virtue, in any one of us. The principle of getting something for nothing—that is to say, getting something from other people without giving them an equivalent for it—is a wrong principle. There may be those who admire it. If there are, let them stand up for it now. That is the very essence of gambling. It is that spirit that I want to warn the House against, in one of the last speeches I shall make in this House, for I have been eighteen years, and I am going to leave it shortly. But I want to warn the House, just as we hear of the diamond necklace story before the French Revolution, this pearl and pig legislation would fan a revolutionary sentiment in this country. Do you think you are going to get ladies of high position more eagerly to put their pearls forward for creditable causes by legalising lotteries, which have been a great curse in 1242 the past, as I shall show? Is there a man in this House who will vote for this Bill and then go down next week to his own place and send poor men to prison, or fine them, for pitch and toss, which is a petty crime compared to this great crime—if it is a crime at all! I should like the House to know one thing: this is not a small matter. Its supporters say it is a matter of millions. There are these estimates about £1,000,000, £2,000,000, and so on. Who made them? There is not a tittle of proof to show that there are at stake one or more millions, or that they are to be gained in this way. Is there any proof to show that causes such as the Red Cross would not lose as much as they would gain? Because there are a large number of people—thank God!—in this country who will not like the Red Cross any better for having appealed to the cupidity and gambling instinct of the people.
I shall try to prove from history the evil of the lottery principle, which, I will not say the Government, but the Home Secretary, has put forward, because we are going to have a Vote—I am glad to think an open Vote—upon the matter, and some members of the Government will vote against the proposal of the Home Secretary. I cannot think he has made it con amore. It is hard to believe that he has made his proposal, as he told us, from necessity. What has been the history in the past? Over one hundred years ago, in 1808, one of the most important Committees that ever this House has had on the question of lotteries and chance of that sort—and we have had a good many—reported as follows:The foundation of the lottery system is so radically vicious that your Committee feel convinced that under no system of regulations which can be devised will it be possible for Parliament to adopt it as an efficacious source of revenue and at the same time divest it of all the evils of which it has hitherto proved so baneful a source.It took a number of years, formally by Act, to stop gambling through lotteries. Here are a few more words that were the apology of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1823 in this House, in Committee of Ways and Means, when he proposed the last lottery. On 23rd June, 1823, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in conformity with previous promises, submitted an Estimate for the last Lottery Loan for 60,000 tickets. In giving his excuse for doing so, he said it wasbecause the parties principally interested ought not to be taken by surprise.1243 That is to say, the people who were getting money by selling the lottery tickets, who had a pecuniary interest in this business, ought not to be taken by surprise. I cannot see how they could be surprised, because Committee after Committee had been sitting for years, and all the time had been more and more strongly against the system. The Chancellor of the Exchequer of that day, however, was anxious that the supporters of a lottery should not be taken by surprise. But the Home Secretary and the Government of the present day have acted unfairly in taking Members of this House by surprise, because many of them went away for their holidays without the slightest idea that such a measure as this was being brought forward. I appeal for fair play in this matter. Is it fair for those who knew that this Bill was coming on to take an advantage of this sort? This is a private Bill promoted by private parties, and the prospect of it being brought forward has been known to its supporters, but this has not been known to those who were opposed to it. I know myself personally many hon. Members who would have voted against this Bill who have gone away without any knowledge of it coming forward, and are now beyond recall. [An HON. MEMBER: "They ought to have stayed here!"] Yes; I know that is a very easy retort, but it is absolutely unfair, nevertheless.
§ Sir G. CAVE
The hon. Member is quite wrong, because it was not known until a day or two ago that this Bill was coming before this House.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
If it was not known until a day or two ago, why is it coming on at all? Why is it being brought forward at this period of the Session, when it is common knowledge to all hon. Members that many of their colleagues have gone away, not knowing that this business was coming on? We have just been told by the Home Secretary that it was not known until a couple of days ago, although it is a fair assumption that those who are promoting this private Bill knew that it might be coming on, and therefore I say it is not fair.
Whatever may be the case in other countries, the verdict of this House and of Committees of this House a hundred years ago was emphatically against lotteries. In 1823, when the Chancellor of 1244 the Exchequer introduced the last Bill for selling lottery tickets, a Mr. Leycester, opposing the measure, said:Why was the country to be infected with this moral pestilence for another year, seeing the misery and vice which it disseminated in every part of the Kingdom.Those are not my words. It has been represented that in some countries lotteries are carried on with little evil results, but whatever may be the case in other countries, our experience in this country was that the principle of lotteries in 1823 was abolished in this House, everybody assenting. That was based upon their experience at the time, and our action to-day will not be based upon present experience of a Government lottery, although this proposal seems to be leading the way in that direction. We had recently a Committee sitting upon the question of premium and investment bonds, and the evidence given was valuable as indicating what the opinion of the people would be of the effect of setting up anything in the nature of a State lottery. It is true that a certain amount of money would be secured for the Government by that principle, and in that case only half the interest was to be raffled for. We took the evidence of some thirty-five witnesses from all classes of opinion, working class, religious, financial, and commercial, and although we began undoubtedly on that Committee with a majority in favour of premium bonds, we ended by recommending that because this question would strongly divide opinion, it was not a fit subject to bring on during the War. This is what the Committee reported:We are impressed by the evidence as to the existence of opposition to any State action which might be held to introduce an element of chance in our national finance, and it would not be possible to treat premium bonds as an uncontroversial war measure.I think that was the unanimous decision of the Committee. That being so in the case of a measure which secured to those who subscribed to the premium bonds the full amount of the principal and made a gamble only of half the interest, if that would divide national opinion, how much more would the measure we are now dealing with be repugnant to the opinion of this country. I think the argument is unanswerable. I have no hesitation in saying from my knowledge of the opinion of many religious bodies in this country that there is in them a practically unanimous and a strong and indignant 1245 feeling against bringing on legislation of this kind at this period of the Session. Readers of history cannot help but be struck with the pathetic fact that every generation refuses to learn lessons from prior generations. Every generation, or every other generation, seems to make the same mistakes as others made before it. Those are the wisest individuals who learn from the faults of others, and surely those are the wisest nations that learn from the corrected and ascertained mistakes of their forefathers. Surely it would be only the part of wisdom for us to learn from them.
What is the essential principle of a lottery? It is the hope of a chance to get something that you have not fully paid for. I am not going to attempt in any pharisaical or hypocritical style to deal with the practice of one man playing for money with another. I am not taking that line. I want to take the national view and to be guided by national experience. I want to look at this matter from the larger point of view. I maintain that to set up what is so near to a national institution as a lottery on this enormous scale to get rid of the pearls that had been given, no doubt for a good object, would not only be setting a bad example, but it would be giving legislative sanction to a principle which has worked badly in this country in the past. It is said that we know of no other way of disposing of these pearls, and although the thing may be bad we want Parliament to find us a way out of our difficulty. The House of Commons is not sitting for a purpose of that kind. Are we going to violate the whole tendency of legislation for the past 100 years? Are we simply for the convenience of a philanthropic institution to reverse the whole of our policy? Let the House note that this is a case of the lottery pure and simple. It is a question of pigs or no pigs and pearls or no pearls.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
In introducing this Bill in another place, Lord Lansdowne said,May I cite a case? We have 3,300 pearls and we have one pig. The history of the pig is romantic.Then he went on to recite it. Is it befitting the dignity of this House or of the other House to be sitting in solemn conclave to find a legislative way of raffling a pig and some pearls? Whatever we may think about it, the people of this country would not appreciate our reversing 1246 the law on this particular occasion and for this particular purpose. If the principle be right, why should it be limited in the way that the Bill proposes to limit it? Why should not other bodies that are not registered war charities be permitted to engage in lotteries? Where is the moral sanction for a raffle for a war charity and for nothing else, and what on earth have the police to do with it? What on earth have they done to be brought into it? Why should they be consulted? Are they any better judges of right and wrong or of expediency or non-expediency than the rest of us? If some charities are to have the benefit of their good opinion, why not others? I have much respect for the police officials of this country. I leave Ireland out of the question for the moment. I do not know the Irish police as well as I know the English police. [Laughter.] Yes, I am both known to the police and, having sat for many years on a Police Committee, the police are known to me, and I have a much better opinion of them than some of my fellow-citizens. I am perfectly certain that they do not want this duty of sitting in judgment upon these war charities. People say, "Oh, gambling is done in business," and so on. I was talking the other day to one of the largest woollen manufacturers in this country. He happens to be a member of one of the three largest firms, and I am a member of another. I was asking him what he thought about this Bill. He said, "Well, we do a bit of speculation in business. It is a bit on that line, and I am half-inclined to support it." I said, "Look here, that element of speculation of the gambling nature in your business, is it an advantage to the business or not?" "No," he said, "it is a bad thing." That element of wanting to get something without giving an equivalent for it, which is at the bottom of this Bill is bad, whether on the Stock Exchange, or in business, or anywhere else. Surely the fact that some undesirable things exist is no reason for bringing others into existence. If the spirit of gambling has eaten into our affairs and into the different departments of our life, let us do what we can to keep it back and not push it forward.
I often hear the word "sport" used, or rather, very much abused. I believe that this Bill is defended in the name of sport. I maintain that it is a great abuse of the word "sport" to make it include gambling at all. Surely the term "sport" 1247 includes a code of honour, and "to be sporting" means to be fair. It means to some extent to be unselfish, loyal to an unwritten code of honour. "To be sporting" surely does not mean wanting to get an advantage at somebody else's expense, but the very reverse. Hon. Members of this House may have heard the story that I heard two months ago about the heir to the German throne. It ran something like this. He once happened to be on board a British ship when there was being carried on that game where you pull your opponent with a rope over a line. The Crown Prince showed one of the players where to stick his foot against one of the stanchions, and told him that he was a fool for not doing it. For not doing what? An unfair trick. That is not sportsmanlike. I believe that "to be sporting" means that in a grouse shoot one does not try to shoot his neighbour's bird. Has that spirit anything to do with the gambling spirit? Surely the reverse is the case. We had some interesting evidence given before the Select Committee, to which I have alluded, by Chiefs of Police. It was stated in the most unequivocal way that the putting of money on football matches was a very bad thing for football. It tended to destroy and not to encourage sport. This Bill, by legalising the gambling spirit, would not do anything to encourage sport.
I beg leave, for one, to doubt the amount of extra money that would be raised by this means, and that could not be got in some other way. There are other ways of raising money. Surely this House is not so lost to all sense of decency that an appeal for getting money is sufficient to make us vote for any measure. There are honest and there are wrong ways of getting money. If the House wants to know, I will tell it of a way of getting large sums of money. [Cheers.] Yes, but hon. Members who cheer would not adopt it. It is the establishment, the endowment, and State patronage of sexual vice. Is there any man here who would deny that such a thing would raise large sums of money? Is there any man in this House who would speak in favour of raising money in that way? No; it has been well said that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil," and this argument used at this juncture seems to me a good illustration of it. Let us beware in this hour of our national temptation, which corresponds to the 1248 hour of an individual's temptation, because it is when men are short of money that they are most tempted to steal, that we do not reverse our legislation simply because we are short of money.
There is one more question that I would like to put. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in his address in the House of Lords the other day in opposing this Bill, spoke of the effect that it would have upon our relations with other countries. I will read the words from the OFFICIAL REPORT. The Archbishop said:I was approached from one quarter with regard to the very proposal he speaks of…. That was to be done on a gigantic scale. As described to me by the promoter, it, was to go all over the world. 'We hope to get it into every country and town in Europe. We hope to get the matter taken up right through the Colonies and in America. It is to be on a huge scale, and we believe that the financial results will be enormous.'When this Bill was introduced, there happened to be in the House of Lords a very distinguished American, and a Member of the House of Lords told me to-day that he asked this distinguished American what would be thought of that proposal if it were made in the United States Senate. He replied that such a proposal would be an inconceivable proposition. Lord Bryce spoke after the Archbishop of Canterbury. He knows American thought, and particularly American political thought, possibly better than any other living Briton, and he endorsed the opinion of the Archbishop, who had said:We know what pains have been taken in America to prevent the growth of this spirit. We know what is felt there with regard to lotteries and the circulation of lottery appeals, and I believe that if America were flooded with lottery appeals on behalf of the Red Cross Society of this country we should find that such a step would be met at first with surprise and then with something like indignation.There are other countries where we should try to get money as well as from America. There are, for instance, our Crown Colonies in the East, and, knowing something about them, I know the great evil that gambling is among the Chinese there. It is the duty of the Crown Colony Governments to try to keep their Chinese subjects from this evil. It is a great evil with them, whatever it is with us. Would it help them if they knew that we at home had carried a Bill that went even a little way in this direction? I want to ask: Is it really intended to carry this legislation any further? I gathered 1249 from the Home Secretary that he does not so intend it, that it is for the duration of the War and for the objects named, namely, those licensed under the War Charities Act. I feel sure the Leader of the House will not be a party to any extension of this principle I believe the Home Secretary meant what he said. But we must be on our guard against opening the door, because, if money is going to be the deciding influence, and if this Bill causes large sums of money to be raised, an extension of the principle will certainly be demanded, not only for every other good object, but for what seems to be the best object of all, the raising of money necessary to our Government for carrying on the War.
Of course, if what the House really desires is that we should sooner or later reverse our legislation, then let the House vote in favour of it. I am as heartily in favour as the Homo Secretary is of a thorough Debate to thrash out this issue. But let us be fair all round. If I thought gambling of one kind or another was a good thing, I would say let us open the door to the poor man as well as to the rich man. If it be a bad thing, and at all events this is a positive gamble, let us maintain the law. One thing is absolutely certain, whenever you get a law which in any direction is restrictive, it is easy to relax it but very difficult to reimpose it. I hope the House will believe that I am not exactly a kill-joy. I do not like to pose as a skinny and disagreeable Puritan. I disclaim entirely the appellation of the "Nonconformist conscience," and all that sort of rot. I do not like it. Why? Because I give all the other Members of this House the same credit for an honest conscience as I take to myself. Therefore, it is not in any pharisaic spirit, but with the greatest reluctance and very much regret that I have risen to move that this Bill be read a second time this day three months. To those Members of the House who do not agree with some things I have said I would still appeal on this ground, that, supposing we ought to debate this matter at full length, weigh the pros and cons and make up our minds upon it, we want a more extended occasion after we have had time to think about the matter. The Bill should not be rushed through at this period of the Session. I, therefore, appeal to hon. Members present to vote against the Second Reading on the ground at least of fair play.
§ Sir J. SPEAR
I beg to second the Amendment.
I am content to rest my support of the Amendment upon the eloquent speech of my hon. Friend. I am thoroughly convinced that the Bill is unnecessary and undesirable, and that we should not resort to what has hitherto been an illegal practice in order to raise funds for war purposes. Until now the people of this country have regarded it as a privilege to contribute to the health and comfort of our brave sailors and soldiers through the Red Cross and similar agencies. The result has been such as we might well expect from a grateful people. The introduction of this Bill seems to infer that we can trust no longer to the freewill offerings of the people, and that in order to secure the funds required it is necessary to introduce this measure to establish a lottery. I claim that there is no sufficient evidence in the country that any such a step is necessary. It is a humiliating and unjust reflection on the people of this country to suggest that they cannot be trusted to continue to provide funds for the Red Cross and other societies unless they are stimulated to do so by the chance of winning a prize. No one questions the motives of those who have brought in the Bill, but I would ask the Government, who do not seem to be very decided in favour of the Bill, to consider what the men themselves will feel, and what our Allies will feel, when they see this country obliged to resort to what is, after all, a mild form of gambling in order to raise money to minister to the comforts and needs of the brave men who have fought our battles. It will be a humiliating spectacle for this country, which has stood nobly in the breach for constitutional government and liberty at enormous sacrifice. Everybody must be proud of the way in which British people of all classes have submitted to inconveniences and gladly borne their part in this great struggle for liberty and civilisation. It cannot be said with justification that it is necessary to offer such people the inducement of a lottery in order to raise funds to meet the needs of our brave men.
I would ask the Government to consider the effect of passing this measure on the efforts which are made to subdue gambling. My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment asked how it was possible for the Government, after passing this 1251 Bill, to prosecute boys for playing pitch and toss in the streets or villages. As a magistrate I would not like to sit and condemn a boy so caught. I could not do so. It would be at variance with the sense of consistency and fair play which generally characterises people to allow a thing to be done which we condemn so strongly, and for which we often imprison boys who gamble at the street corners. In recent years we have had laws against gambling saloons. What right have we, if we pass this Bill, which legalises a mild form of gambling, to enforce those laws and others when we ourselves break them in this House by passing this Bill? I would put that point to the Government before they close the door to meeting what I believe is the express wish of the country, namely, that we should go on raising money voluntarily for these great purposes. I can only speak for agriculturists. We have raised, gladly, nearly £1,000,000 for the Red Cross, and we are ready to go on doing our utmost, as are all other sections of the community. Why should such ill-favour be cast upon the people as to infer, by this action, that we are no longer able, out of a due sense of our responsibility, to minister to the comfort of our men and maintain these great societies? Then what effect will this have on the lads of the country? Gambling is a great evil, and many a boy, having taken up the gambling spirit, to recoup his losses takes his employer's money and is ruined thereby. Can we in this House condemn a boy who does that when we pass a Bill legalising gambling, in a milder form it may be, but the same in principle?
I venture to say that the Government have taken a wrong step in giving a certain amount of acquiescence to this Bill. I hope it is not too late for them, and that they will withdraw the Bill. The adoption of that course would be appreciated very much in the country, and I am satisfied that people will feel an increased responsibility for the raising of money by other and upright means and save the country from the ill-flavour—I was going to say the disgrace—of resorting to what hitherto have been regarded as illegal practices. A mistake has been made in introducing this Bill; and in the interests of the dignity of this House and of the country I suggest it should be withdrawn. My hon. Friend spoke of some of the things that are going to be run under the 1252 powers of this Bill. Is it right that this country, which has done so nobly in this crisis, should now descend to the undignified position of having raffles in order to raise money for what, after all, is a privilege and a duty which has up to now been readily undertaken by the people? Notwithstanding what the Home Secretary said, I fail to see any diminution in the desire or intention of the people to carry on this good cause, and that is why I unhesitatingly second the rejection. If I thought for a moment my action would be the means of depriving those brave fellows whom we all so much admire of comforts and necessaries, I should support it, but I am satisfied that the money will be raised in the future as in the past, and that there is no need whatever for bringing in this Bill. It would be an evil day when this House sanctioned the spirit of gambling which, though it is only intended for the time of the War, must leave a bad influence on all sections of the community and lay the seed of evils in the future which the country will regret. I, therefore, second the rejection of the Bill.
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
I desire to support the Government in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] At any rate, I desire to support the Home Secretary. I take an interest in the matter because I happen to be secretary-general of the-Order of St. John and a member of the Joint War Committee of the Order of St. John and the British Red Cross Society. It is estimated that the passing of this Bill will bring in £2,000,000 more money to these societies for their well recognised work than they would otherwise get, and that the other approved war charities will benefit more or less in like proportion according to their size. My hon. Friend the Member for the Radcliffe Division and the hon. Member who has seconded the rejection have spoken with great sincerity. I do not doubt their sincerity. My hon. Friend the Member for the Radcliffe Division always speaks with eloquence and earnestness on any subject he takes, up, and I am sure, in recognising his sincerity to the full, he will equally be willing not to question mine.
§ Mr. CECIL
I also regret to find myself in conflict with two or three friends among the bishops. It is a quandary to which I am not altogether accustomed. I notice that the House receives that with a legitimate 1253 degree of amusement. I do think that these episcopal views and fears are exaggerated, and I would very respectfully take leave to doubt whether the spokesmen of the episcopal bench speak for all the occupants of it. My hon. Friend who moved the rejection has raised three or four objections. He talked of the unfairness of bringing the Bill suddenly before us now, and rather insinuated that those who are supporting it knew that it would come forward long before it did, and that the action of the Government—I suppose it is the Government on this occasion—was unfair in that respect. Let me say that, as far as I know, everybody was equally ignorant until a few days ago that this business was going to be brought forward at all. It was, as far as I know, very suddenly launched in the other House, and I do not think my hon. Friend is justified in putting forward this plea of unfairness when everybody really has been equally ignorant in the matter. Then he suggests that this is very much on a par with Premium Bonds. He referred to the Committee on that subject, upon which, I believe, he has lately been sitting. I think there is an essential difference between the two. The suggestion of issuing Premium Bonds was that they should be issued under the aegis of the Government. There is nothing under the aegis of the Government in a matter done by private societies for war charity. Nor in Premium Bonds was there any question of charity. Here there is. If the Report of the Premium Bonds Committee is to be quoted, I cannot but say that my impression when I read it was that the evidence went one way and the conclusions appeared to go the other.
§ Mr. CECIL
I do not say that I read every word of it, but certainly that was the general impression left on my mind, so that I do not think it very safe to quote that Committee or its Report. My hon. Friend really bases himself on the question of morality. He argues that this is mischievous legalisation of gambling. Nobody doubts that so far as gambling leads to bad results, it is harmful; but what if gambling leads to good results as here? If you call it gambling, which I think is a matter of controversy—whether you call it so or not, it certainly leads to good results—no amount of sneering will be 1254 able to deny that fact. Does the hon. Member contend that gambling in itself is a moral sin or a crime?
§ Mr. CECIL
It is not a sin or a crime. Does the hon. Gentleman say it is, and, if so, what commandment does it infringe? It is not the least use arguing on that line, although I expect I dislike gambling nearly as much as he does. What is objectionable is excessive gambling and the misery, the loss, the waste of energy and of time, the selfishness and the ruin which comes in its train. That is what we want to prevent. That has always been at the bottom of all legislation against lotteries and against gambling, and that is what I am keenly anxious at any time to prevent. Weak characters get drawn in to its vortex and lose fortunes to the men whose simple prey they are. Now what happens under this Bill? It is expressly limited to the duration of the War, and it is an emergency measure. Large sums of money do not go to some selfish idler and stimulate him to entice a weakling loser to play further. They go to approved war charities which need [...] Our Joint War Committee spends now £4,000,000 a year, £10,000 a day, or putting it in another form, over £7 a minute. It is not an easy task to raise that money, and I think I am entitled to ask hon. Members who object to this particular form what other more effective form they can devise. It is not at all an easy matter, and I think for this special purpose this is the best method. Voluntary, though illegal, effort has been going on all along for some time. There have been county bazaars and raffles on behalf of the Red Cross. Estimable ladies have put their backs into it and done their utmost. I suppose they are all liable to be arrested and tried or imprisoned. I almost wonder the hon. Member does not set about bringing that into practice. You cannot altogether change human nature. People will resort to these methods when they are very effective, and by this procedure numbers of persons are reached and salve their consciences by going in for a lottery of this kind, who cannot be readied in any other way. A lottery brings in 1255 infinitely more than the market price of a particular article. It is therefore desirable from the point of view of war charities. If a pearl necklace or a pig is raffled for, it is quite certain to bring in vastly larger sums of money than would ever be obtained by merely putting them up for auction. If objection is taken to raffles I cannot but ask those who criticise whether they have ever had their attention directed to church or chapel bazaars. The promoters of these entertainments, if they be entertainments, have often resorted to raffles. I do not know whether the hon. Member when he opens bazaars, and raffles occur, conveniently shuts his eyes to them, or whether he tolerates their existence.
§ Mr. CECIL
The hon. Member must know perfectly well that that goes on, and it is really a little hypocritical to object to the Red Cross going in for methods of that sort when in church and chapel bazaars the same tiling has occurred for years past, and it is rumoured that in Ireland this law has been disregarded for decades. He also said this was opening the sluices, and that bad developments might occur. But there is a precedent which is very useful at present. One of the most important of the long series of Gaming Acts was 8 and 9 Victoria, cap. 109, in 1845, which to some extent consolidated and enlarged the law. In the very next year it was found necessary to make an exception. Art Unions had been instituted. It was believed they came under the Lottery Law, and they were expressly exempted from being liable to them. The matter is so important that I think it worth while to read the preamble of the Art Union Act of 1846:Whereas certain voluntary associations have been and may hereafter be formed in various parts of the United Kingdom, under the name of art unions, for the purchase of paintings, drawings, or other works of art, to be afterwards allotted and distributed, by chance or otherwise, as prizes amongst the members, subscribers or contributors forming part of such associations, on the condition nevertheless that such sums of money so allotted and distributed be expended solely and entirely in the purchase of paintings, drawings or other works of art; and whereas such allotment and distribution of paintings…or of sums of money for their purchase, and the proceedings taken to carry the same into effect, may be deemed…to come within the provisions of the several Acts of Parliament passed for the prevention of lotteries, littlegoes, and 1256 unlawful games, whereby the members, subscribers, or contributors of such associations as aforesaid…may be liable to certain pains and penalties imposed by law…. Be it enacted…that all such voluntary associations as aforesaid…shall be deemed to be lawful associations," etc.That was an exceptional case, and it has been the law of the land for very many years. Does the hon. Member suggest that any harm has come of it? Of course he cannot. The thing has gone on perfectly legitimately, without doing any moral harm to anyone, without the smallest national offence, and we ask the same thing here. If it was right then to make an exception of Art Unions, surely I am not pleading too much to say that in war time an exception ought to be made of Red Cross work and war charities which are properly approved. I think there is no answer to that argument, and to tell us that national demoralisation has ensued is a suggestion which seems to me to be making a misuse of language. If the hon. Member feels so strongly, as he evidently does, why has he not got that Act repealed during the eighteen years he has been in the House? I urge upon the House that just as there was a special occasion then, which was approved by Parliament, so now there is an exceptional occasion, and this Bill ought to be passed for the benefit of such societies as I have mentioned. Something of the kind, as the Home Secretary has told us, has been done in New Zealand, and I think we should do well to follow that example. We ask the House to approve a measure which is expressly limited to the period of the War, which is framed to meet the special emergency, which is designed for a most excellent purpose, and which has the advantage of experience from precedent. I hope, therefore, that the House will agree to the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Sir A. SPICER
I desire to say a few words in support of my Friends who have moved the rejection of this Bill. I believe that my right hon. Friend (Mr. E. Cecil) has put the Red Cross first and some moral principle second. It is very difficult to oppose anything that the Red Cross Society proposes, after all the splendid work it has been doing during the War, but I cannot help thinking my right hon. Friend has been trying to prove too much. He raised the question as to whether gambling is a sin. It is not for me to say what is a sin and what is not, but I can say very respectfully, and without any 1257 cant, that I have judged through my life whether any action had the spirit of gambling in it by asking myself whether lit was contrary to two Divine laws—the Divine law of work and the Divine law of love. I think, if my right hon. Friend will examine some of the arguments he has used, he will admit that the action which is proposed in this Bill comes up against those two principles. The very fact that he has stated that if this Bill is passed something like £2,000,000 will be raised proves that. I do not know what the market price is, but I presume, from that figure being stated, that it is far in advance of the market price, and, therefore, it is trying to get something at a much higher value than it is actually worth. It is also trying to get something for which you are not called upon to work. The occasion for this Bill is about the worst occasion that could be devised. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who are making larger wages every week than they have ever earned before, and without denying themselves the actual necessities of life they will be tempted and induced to put their money into lotteries established for such beautiful articles as pearls, when the State has put its imprimatur upon a principle of this kind. The workers throughout the country, I am sure, will be demoralised in a way I am sure my right hon. Friend would not attempt to justify.
The House of Lords has sent this Bill to us and I am sincerely grateful for the protests that were made by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Bryce, and also for the letter in the "Times" of last week from the Bishop of Winchester. He sees very clearly what this would mean. But we have a far greater responsibility in this House. We are the representatives of the people. I am quite sure that I can say with perfect truth that I should have had no majority in 1910 if the Constituents whom I asked to return me to this House had known that I was prepared to vote for a measure that contained the spirit of gambling. Therefore, I should not be true to the pledges which I gave to my Constituents, and to the spirit of those pledges—although the question of gambling did not actually come into the discussion—if I were to support a measure like this. A large number of us are employers, and we are responsible for our example and for our influence upon those who help us to carry on our undertakings. If we pass 1258 this Bill we proclaim to the people of this country that we believe this Bill is right and justified, simply because of a difficulty in other ways of raising money. If this Bill passes it is going to be a tremendous blow at the work of war savings committees. Directly the people of this country begin to look at this question of lotteries—because it is not only for the Red Cross, but these lotteries would spring up all over the country—and they commence to put their money into lotteries, they certainly will not go on investing their money in the various war savings associations. Some of us are doing all we can to make it easy for those who are connected with us in our various undertakings to put money into National War Bonds, and other national war funds. Therefore, I do feel very strongly that if this Bill is passed it will be a great blow at the growth of war savings. If these pearls have been collected by the Red Cross, and they find it impossible to sell them at the present time, would it not be far better for the Treasury to take them over and pay a certain amount of money on them and sell them after the War? All the values that have been given to us are only estimates. It is perfectly clear that the Red Cross cannot got this huge amount for these pearls without at the same time striking a great moral blow in connection with gambling upon the whole country, and without, I believe, doing a great deal of harm to the question of war savings.
§ Sir STEPHEN COLLINS
I was rather surprised to hear the arguments of the Home Secretary. I think his heart was not in the work. He was very half-hearted in putting forward the proposal. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been here I should have liked to ask him, if this Bill is carried, what will be the effect upon the large masses of working people in this country? As the right hon. Gentleman, one of the Members for Islington, has said, the people will be tempted to put their money into these lotteries, and the children, instead of putting their sixpences and their shillings and half-crowns into war savings, and filling up their books, or taking up a £5 War Loan, or investing 15s. 6d. in a War Savings Certficate, to become £1 in five years, they will be putting their money into what I say is distinctly a gamble. They may put their money into this lottery and get £1 for their half-crown, or a diamond necklace worth £200,000. What is a workman's 1259 wife going to do with that? Put it round her neck? My hon. Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill referred to the Report of the Committee on gambling in 1808. I will give another sentence from the Report of that Committee:No mode of raising money was so burdensome, so pernicious, and so unproductive as lotteries, and the Committee questioned whether any pecuniary advantage, however large or convenient, would compensate for the vice and misery that they produce.If that is true of one hundred and ten years ago it is equally true to-day. I would suggest that young persons who invest their money in this lottery, if they are successful, will be induced to go on and put their money on other things, perhaps on horses, or resort to other modes of obtaining money by not working. This is going to have a vast influence for good or evil on the rising generation of the country. I beg Members of this House who feel inclined to vote for this Bill to pause before going into the Lobby in support of it. The excuse is made that it is for the War. But it is a dangerous excuse. As I understand, if this scheme is passed, it is to be advertised throughout our Empire, our Dominions, and other countries. I was glad to hear my hon. Friend refer to the testimony of that great American who, I believe, is a representative man. Is England, which has been in the forefront of many of the moral reforms of the world, going back to the state of things of hundreds of years ago, and be scouted by our great Ally the American Republic, which is helping us in this glorious warfare? Are we going to be scorned by them, as I believe we shall be?
Let us pause before we carry this any further. Have the public in this country asked for this? Have you ever seen a single letter in a newspaper asking for this lottery to be started? The Home Secretary said that £2,000,000 is at stake. What is that? If I mistake not, there is one leading newspaper in this country which has already obtained £12,000,000 for the Red Cross or, at any rate, for charitable purposes in connection with the War, and other newspapers have obtained millions of pounds. It is a slur on the nation and on the sacrifices of the nation to say that you cannot get this paltry £2,000,000 without resorting to this system of gambling. If this proposal had been known a fortnight or a week ago we 1260 should have had protests from nearly every Protestant church in this land of ours, and if this passes to-night there will be a storm raised to-morrow in the country by the churches and by all lovers of morality of this country. I give credit to my Friends for good intentions, but some good intentions lead to a certain place, and I do hope that they will pause before supporting this proposal. The appeal of the lottery is not made to any lofty or ennobling emotion or to any generous impulse, but only encourages the spirit of adventure. I trust that we shall throw out this Bill, though it has come from the other House and from the Noble Lord who brought it forward with such good intentions. The harm that you do will be far greater than any good which it will accomplish. Reference has been made to the question of the pearls. If it had not been for the pearls we should have heard nothing of this lottery. If the good people who gave the pearls had only given money we should have heard nothing of this proposal. I heartily support my hon. Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill.
§ Mr. ROBINSON
I am very sorry that the Government have brought in this Bill at this period of the Session and at such a crisis. Whatever it may do it cannot tend to elevate the moral sense of the community at large. The Government, after all, must accept the whole responsibility for bringing in this Bill, whether it runs away from it or supports it in the Lobby, as they ran away from a Bill which they brought in a fortnight ago, leaving it to be dealt with by the House, which was not a very heroic course for the Government to pursue. There has been a certain amount of correspondence on this subject in the papers. I find that if anyone says a particularly futile thing, if he does not sign his own name he generally calls himself "Common Sense." Writing to the papers to-day, "Common Sense" says:Motive in these matters is everything. No one doubts that the motive of the purchasers of these tickets is to help on the Red Cross.I only wish I thought that were true. But I believe that nine-tenths, or nineteen out of every twenty, who buy these tickets will buy them for the gamble and for nothing else. What good will a pearl necklace of great value be to a miner or a munition worker? Their wives would be anxious not to get the pearl necklace as such, but to convert it into cash. It is pure gambling, and it is nothing else. I do not know how many necklaces there 1261 are to be, or whether the pearls are to be divided into ten necklaces, valued at £5,000 up to £50,000, according to the size of the pearls, but there is no doubt whatever that the people who are interested in this draw are really actuated by a spirit of greed, by a desire to see what they can get out of it in hard cash. Never was greater encouragement given to the gambling spirit, and I very much regret it. Goodness knows we have about enough at the present time. We have only to see evening papers sold in the streets when there is a race on to understand a little what a proposal of this kind means. I heard of a case of a small tipster business, the owner of which was asked whether he was pretty well doing nothing at the present time, and the reply given by him was that he was doing ten times what he was doing before the War. It is in that kind of thing that we are now engaging. I really wonder whether the donors of the pearls would approve of the way in which they are to be disposed of. I think a great many of them would have hesitated very much before they would have made such a gift to be dealt with in such a manner. I should like to appeal to a voice that was heard not so long ago, the voice of one who would have saved us if he had been listened to from many of the burdens we have now to bear—I mean the late Lord Roberts, who has turned out to be a true prophet. He was, on one occasion, asked to take tickets in a lottery. He wrote a polite reply, regretting that he was obliged to return the tickets, "as it was entirely against his rule to patronise lotteries of any kind." Coming from a man like Lord Roberts, whatever may be thought of this matter one way or the other, such words ought to receive the grave consideration of this House.
I cannot help recollecting that not so many years ago there were special postal restrictions in regard to lotteries for which tickets were sold in this country; they were largely German and Dutch lotteries. If lotteries were not considered good then, why should we take the action which is now contemplated? If they are not good at one time and place, they are not good at another time and place. If this sort of gambling is right, why should it have been subjected to these restrictions? On the very day this Bill passed through the House of 1262 Lords, there were two cases of women who were taken up for keeping tipsters' shops, or places for betting purposes. They were both lightly fined. What was the difference in their case? Surely it is difficult to say that they were any more to blame than are those who concern themselves in carrying out lotteries on behalf of the Bed Cross. Only to-day a gaming raid was made in the East End, and in that case also the keepers were fined. Yet you are now encouraging this lottery and encouraging gambling in a way which has not been known for a century or more. I submit that is a very regrettable thing. The Government, I am sorry to say, have altogether lacked courage in this matter. They let racing go on, but if they had stopped it they would have obtained the services of a number of men, who would have been taken from their racing occupations, and that would have done something to counteract the scandal, for it is nothing less than a scandal, of our utility horses being starved at the present time while extra rations are being given to racehorses, which are for people's amusements and for gambling. I am not one of those who would spoil sport, for I am afraid I have devoted too much time to it in my young days, but I do not see the necessity of horse-breeding for racing purposes and sports of that sort, which are carried on by a number of people for the sake of gambling. It is an extraordinary thing how many men who ought to be doing military service at the present time, and who were engaged in horse-breeding for racing purposes, have somehow or other managed to get off, or have disappeared to Ireland in some remarkable way. I say that the Government, in the matter of allowing horse-racing, have gone to the other extreme, and I regret that they encourage the gambling spirit in the way they are doing. The Prime Minister has spoken of this War as a holy War, and many of us think that it is. Only last Sunday we had a solemn procession to church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to us as engaging in a solemn act of prayer, confession, thanksgiving, commemoration, and resolve. The country would do well at this time to ask that it should be borne in mind that it is not a case of charity which is contemplated by this Bill, but is really to encourage gambling.
I will not go over the ground that has already been traversed, but I wish to point out that gambling is an offence against the moral and spiritual and statutory policy of the nation. It has been regarded as wrong for a very long time, and in spite of what the Home Secretary said as to the early gambling laws, that does not apply to the gambling laws of the last century, which were framed to discourage and put down gambling, because it was recognised that its practice was evil, a moral wrong, and that it undermined the character, while it was the cause of all kind of social evils which it was desirable to put down. Those laws were intended as a protection against the strong and inherent tendency in the minds of men, and an endeavour to eliminate it as far as possible. This Bill is for encouraging what we have been discouraging up to now. In regard to these gifts which have come into the possession of the war charities, you introduce for their disposal a game of chance, which appeals not to the giving spirit, as the Home Secretary said, but appeals to the spirit of greed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aston Manor said it was expected to get £2,000,000 of money as the result of this lottery. I understand that the particular collection of pearls is worth about £100,000, and it is hoped to realise by this method of disposing of them £1,000,000—that is to say, persons are expected to buy tickets realising £1,000,000 for what is only worth £100,000. The interest in this matter does not centre in the pearls; it is centred in the system introduced; and it will have a tendency to spread through every rank of society. There is talk about appealing to the sporting instincts, but what is really appealed to is the spirit of greed, by which alone you can reach the pockets of a large number of people who would not otherwise give to these charities at all.
Everybody is anxious to raise funds for the Red Cross, and we do not oppose any efforts in that direction, nor do we desire to diminish in any degree what goes to the Red Cross funds; but we do protest against any means being adopted which are purely gambling. We do protest against what affects the morals of our people; we do believe that a moral evil will result from the adoption of this practice, or its sanction by the introduction of a special law to except this particular thing from the operation of 1264 laws that we already have on the Statute Book. We believe it would be a sanction which would cause its encouragement, and would cause many thousands of people to indulge in gambling who would not be otherwise touched by it at all. I can quite understand why, in another place, Lord Lansdowne, in explaining the purpose of the Bill which was introduced, stated that there are numbers of people who are charitable and who look for no reward, but that there are others whose interests in charity was of a very languid description, and who required more or less stimulus and excitement to provoke them into activity. That stimulus is not an appeal to the spirit of charity, but is a stimulus for the spirit of greed. The Noble Lord also said do not let Noble Lords be too squeamish about the ethical aspects of these institutions—that is to say, that for any good object never mind what are the means to achieve your purpose and whether the purpose be good or ill, adopt means to produce the result desired. It is the advice of Bassanio to Portia over again—Wrest once the law to your authority:To do a great right do a little wrong.It is a doctrine which St. Paul denounced, that he had been accused of advocating. It is doing evil that good may come. And, after all, the moral good of the community is of greater importance than the mere temporary prosperity of certain charities, even though those who benefit by them are our soldiers and sailors. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aston Manor asked if anybody could say that gambling was a sin or a crime. It is a crime, or we should not have laws against it, the infraction of which leads to punishment. That it is a sin I am absolutely convinced. The right hon. Gentleman asked which of the Commandments gambling breaks. There is one Commandment which says, "Thou shalt not covet," and I think it is an infraction of that, but the Ten Commandments to which he referred do not cover the whole of the moral law, and in the view not only of myself, but of large numbers of people outside this House, and in the view of nearly all the religious leaders of the country and most of its moral teachers, the practice of gambling and of speculating for gain in this way is in itself a sin, which we are encouraging if we pass this Bill into law. The right hon. Gentleman also referred to Premium Bonds, and he said the difference between Premium 1265 Bonds—which, were examined by a Committee of this House, which, after long and careful examination, came to the conclusion that they would produce little financial good and a great deal of moral wrong—is that in connection with the bonds there is nothing in the shape of charity. So for the purpose of charity we are entitled to do things which would be wrong for the purpose of business. I do not agree with that view at all, and I think that we as a House of Commons are responsible for passing laws which shall not be a breach of the moral law, which shall as far as possible coincide with the moral law, which shall not encourage our people to do things which in normal conditions we regard as wrong, and which we have tried to discourage by a long course of legislation in the past hundred years or so. To take the opportunity when the House is about to rise, without proper notice, to pass an Act which must inevitably create great division in this House in order that we may introduce into the systems for raising funds for our charities a principle which is popular in Germany is, I think, an outrage. This war has brought us a good many unexpected things, and amongst other things we denounce Germany and imitate her. Yesterday the Leader of the House told us that the War Cabinet had decided to maintain an iniquitous, a wicked, and an outrageous Regulation by which they hoped to protect the health of our soldiers by a Regulation which reintroduces the principle of the Contagious Diseases Acts, which causes the forcible examination and degradation of the womanhood of this country. That is a German practice, and we have imitated Germany in it. This Bill invites us to imitate a German practice which we have excluded by our postal Regulations for years past, and to cause our people to come under the same kind of moral influence as those which we denounce in the enemy against whom we are fighting. If we are going to do this kind of thing, we deserve to lose the War, and I hope that the House of Commons, which at least will have a free vote in this matter—although this Bill has been advocated by the Home Secretary, apparently on behalf of the Government, and although this private Bill has been turned into a Government Bill—will exercise its judgment and decide that in this case, at any rate, it will exercise its freedom for the 1266 moral advantage of the country rather than for the immediate temporary financial benefit of certain charities.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE
It amazes me to see the levity with which His Majesty's Government, at this hour of the Session, throws this apple of discord into the House and into the country. Really, I should have thought that with the present Prime Minister the Government might have learned that this is a thing which, if passed, will cause the greatest heart-burning throughout the length and breadth of this country. I do not pretend to be a person who is so opposed to gambling that I would never gamble, but I do know that the greater part of my constituents are persons like that. They hold very strong views, and they have a right to have those views respected, and not to have Bills brought in by a Government which then runs away and leaves a Whip or two in charge of the Government Bench, while this matter, which will exercise the minds of all the churches in this country, and of many people who never go into a church at all, is calmly left to its fate in the House here at the fag end of this very busy Session. It is not in any spirit of wanting to spoil sport that I oppose this preposterous measure. It is because I think it is an insult to this country, which has raised thousands of millions, that now we have to send the hat round amongst people who, to use the phrase of that great leader of public opinion, Lord Lansdowne, are "languid in their charity." Lord Lansdowne is not a politician whom I have ever followed, and I do not think I am ever likely to follow, and I really do not care whether it is with his authority or with the authority of any of his colleagues in the House of Lords that this Bill is brought in. I want to know why it is brought in.
We have got through the War up to the present time without having to do this sort of thing to spur on those who are charitable but languid. I do not think it is charity that is going to be excited by this Bill, and everybody, I believe, in this House knows it is not charity at all, but merely a question of greedy people who want to get rich quick. This is a principle we are to bring into our body politic when thousands and millions of our people are making more money than they have ever made in their lives. Are we, who praise the magnificent ethical views of President Wilson one day, to grovel in the gutters the next? We are 1267 told it is sporting. I have never been opposed to sport, but I do know that betting—and it is from the spread of this sort of thing that betting arises—has spoilt every sport. I have never believed in the sportsman who watches sport and never plays but bets on it. I do not believe it does any good to the country or to the so-called sportsman. I think that this is a degrading Bill, and that it is an insult to the country to say it is necessary. I think it is a demoralising Bill, because it cuts across the very principles on which our law and morality are based. How is it possible to sentence people, as I have to do quarter after quarter, for keeping gaming houses, and with what spirit are the police at Liverpool to try, as they have been doing, to stamp out betting and gaming, when people, who will not take the trouble to listen to a word of this Debate, come in and vote us down, as no doubt some of them will do, at a later stage, without considering that they are really thwarting the whole development of the moral life of the country when they do things of this sort?
For what reason do people imagine that the police of our great towns are loyally supporting the authorities in trying to cut out the cancer of gaming and gambling? Because it fills the gaols. They know perfectly well that everything that leads to this spirit of getting rich quick has only one rival in filling the gaols, and that is drink. Anyone who has administered the law in this country for any time knows it perfectly well. Therefore, I say it is about time this House took this Government in hand, and took it in hand very vigorously, if we are going to have this sort of sloppy legislation, without a word of encouragement and without a word of discouragement. I hope the House will absolutely refuse to have anything to do with this measure. I believe that the Government in bringing in measures that divide public opinion in a time of party truce and in a great War, are doing a great wrong, and when men talk about doing it for the soldiers and sailors I make bold to say there are 1,000,000 men and more in the Army and Navy who would deplore this Bill as much as anyone in this House. They would say that you have no right to find money in this way, and that it is the country's duty to find the money, and that if charity is languid let taxation provide the money. 1268 Let us have real charity that ennobles and real Government—the Government that ennobles—and let us have no more trifling with the public morals in the name of sport, or whatever you like to call it.
§ Sir ARTHUR STANLEY
I had no intention of intervening in this Debate, but the name of the Red Cross has been so frequently mentioned that I fear it might be thought curious if I, who have the honour to be the Chairman of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John, refrained from saying a few words in favour of a Bill which so vitally affects our interests. I, like the hon. Member who moved the rejection of this Bill, have very little time left as a Member of this House, and as it is certain that this will be the last speech I shall make in it I should be ashamed of myself if I advocated, in the very last Debate in which I took part, anything that could possibly lead to the demoralisation of the nation, of which hon. Gentlemen opposite have spoken, and if I feel that as a Member of the House I should feel it even more as one who has had the honour during the past four years of being concerned in the Red Cross movement—in the movement which, above all others, has shown us the splendid generosity and the splendid spirit of our peoples. I speak, as I said, because the Red Cross has been mentioned, and I should like to make it clear that this Bill is not one which affects the Red Cross alone. It is one that affects all war charities. It it one that has been made possible because there is a War Charities Act which, for the first time, has put all charities connected with the War under some definite central control. That is a feautre which has not been alluded to, but one which is very important and which ought to be borne in mind during this Debate.
That leads me to mention a remark made by one hon. Member opposite. He said that if it had not been for the pearl necklace, of which we have heard so much, this Bill would not have been brought in. I can assure him that is not the case. This Bill was necessitated, so far as any Bill can be necessitated, by the actual circumstances. What really led to this Bill was not the pearl necklace nor the Red Cross but it happened to be a very big lottery which was carried on a short time ago, which it was impossible to treat as a mere tombola or anything camouflaged under any name, and either needed the enforcement 1269 of the law or some change in it. I only mention that because I want to make it clear that the inception of this legislation was not due either to the Red Cross or to the pearl necklace. Hon. Members opposite—and I should like to take this opportunity of thanking them for the very kind manner in which throughout they have spoken of the Red Cross and the Order of St. John—have opposed this Bill because they say it introduces the spirit of gambling. I am not concerned to argue here whether the spirit of gambling is right or wrong. I come from a family which I suppose has always been connected in one way or another with sport—I do not say gambling, but I do thoroughly agree with what has been said by hon. Members that gambling is one of the things that go to spoil sport. Does this Bill, however, introduce a spirit of gambling? I think hon. Members opposite will agree with me that whether it encourages gambling or not it does not introduce it. Let us take our minds back to the days before the War. Most Members of Parliament have been exposed to bazaars, and it would be safe to say that before the War at every nine out of ten of these bazaars were in some way or other connected with the church. I go further. I take my own Constituency in Lancashire, and I say that at practically every one of these bazaars I have been asked to take part in at least a dozen raffles. Does not every hon. Member when he goes to bazaars provide himself with a pocket full of silver in order that he may take tickets or raffles when asked? I say this does not introduce the spirit of gambling. Is morality in any way harmed by this very harmless amusement of raffling, and if no harm has been caused when it has been practised in pre-war times, is harm going to be done because it happens to be on a rather bigger scale?
The hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill spoke about the pearl necklace. He said, and I thoroughly agree with him, that this Debate has assumed a higher character than one of mere triviality, and it was not the time for anyone to get up and make jokes, even if he could do so, about pigs. So much, however, has been said about the pearl necklace, that I think the House will forgive me if I very shortly mention it. There was one part of the hon. Member's speech which I confess a little bit jarred upon me. I have no doubt he did not mean it. But 1270 in one part his words amounted to almost a sneer at the noble ladies giving these pearls.
§ Sir A. STANLEY
I know that, but I would point out that many of these ladies are very far from rich. They gave that which to each of them was most precious, and they gave it in order to help what they felt was even more precious. They felt that they were giving these pearls for the relief of suffering, which they themselves would willingly have laid down their lives to avoid. Out of these pearls have been formed a necklace. Some Members have spoken of that necklace as though it bad a price, but it has no price. It is a necklace formed of pearls given by women in this great War, and it is something which cannot be priced; it is something above all price. That is not all. When you have an object like that in your possession, an object which was placed in the possession of the Red Cross to be used for a most sacred purpose, how are you to dispose of it in the best way? Is it the beat way to sell it to a jeweller or to sell it to a rich man? May it not possibly be the best way to sell it in such a manner that even a man who can only afford to give a shilling may have an opportunity of securing that necklace? I only ask the question. I do not expect hon. Members opposite to agree with me, but I do ask them to put to themselves the question which we have put to ourselves, what, when you have a great trust like this confided to your care, in order to help those who are suffering for their country, is the best way to realise it? I own myself I should think that that necklace had been more properly and more worthily bought by the poor man who managed to pay the shilling than by anyone who could afford to buy it.
I do not wish to labour the point that this is only a war-time measure. I would make one remark in passing, that measures are justified in war when they might be questionable in less strenuous times. One of the pillars of civilisation is built upon the sanctity of human life, but even that has to be suspended during war. Is there any one of us who does not rejoice when we hear of some new instrument for taking the lives of our enemy? I say that war measures which would be questionable and not even justifiable in 1271 peace time certainly may be justifiable at a time like this, if, indeed, any justification were necessary. There is one point I would like to make with regard to this particular Bill, especially as it affects the Red Cross. I do not believe—and I do not suppose any hon. Member of this House believes—that the Gaming Acts which have been mentioned in this Debate ever contemplated a question such as this. I am not very well up in these matters, but I am told that those Acts were directed first of all against people being swindled, and, secondly, largely with the view of maintaining the right of lottery in the hands of the Government. I believe that is so.
§ Sir A. STANLEY
At any rate, these Lottery Acts had their basis first in the desire of the Government to keep lotteries in their own hands, and, secondly, on the determination of Parliament to prevent people being swindled. This Act provides that it can only be applied in the case of certain specific charities which have to render their accounts to very strict audit by Commissioners every year, and it is further provided that the police shall satisfy themselves about the particular lottery; undoubtedly, they will take every necessary precaution in doing so. I say that the Acts to which reference has been made were never intended to apply to cases like this, where the prizes, such as they are, are given, and where every single penny that is paid for the tickets goes directly into the coffers of the charity for which the lottery is held. I would simply end as I began by saying that I should feel ashamed of myself if I were to advocate any measure which, in any possible degree, would tend to demoralise that splendid public which has shown what its generosity can do. I am surely the very best person for knowing how deep is the heart of the great British public! I have no doubt that those people who have determined that the soldiers shall lack for no comfort that money can buy will support us in the future as in the past; but is there any harm in adding to their pleasure in giving just the extra spice, that inducement, that they, whatever you may do or say, will find in a perfectly harmless lottery—the inducement that leads men, as we have seen in these auction sales, to buy something far 1272 beyond its price and then immediately to give it back again for the mere sake of giving? I do not believe that great fundamental principles, about which hon. Members have spoken so eloquently and so well, are involved. I do ask this House to pass this Bill. I do not ask this simply on the ground of money. I do, however, ask hon. Members to let us have what I believe to be a perfectly innocent incentive to a generous public who have given us support in the past in our great undertakings.
§ Sir WILLIAM COLLINS
Whatever may be the opinion of hon. Members of this House in regard to the merits of this Bill, they can, I think, only be of one opinion as to the value—the enormous value—of the services to the British Red Cross of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. The hon. Gentleman has given his time, his thought, and himself to the service of that great cause. No words of mine can adequately express the gratitude of this nation and of this House to the hon. Member. In a humbler capacity I have been a voluntary worker for the Red Cross from the earliest days of the War. I am still a hospital surgeon. I saw service with the Red Cross at the front in Flanders in the early days of the War and at the present time I am serving in one of their largest hospitals in London. I can thus speak with personal knowledge of the great services of the hon. Member. I understand one of the arguments in favour of this Bill is the expression that "war charities are languishing." As a member of the King Edward Hospital Fund, of the League of Mercy, and of many of the hospitals in London, I confess that that is news to me. There is one form of charity which never fails to impress itself either on the wealthiest or the humblest, and that is the work of the hospitals of this country, especially those which are doing work for the wounded soldiers and sailors. They never fail to evoke a generous response whenever an appeal is made, whether to the humblest citizen or to the wealthiest subscriber.
I gather that the object of this Bill is to exempt war charities from the general law of the land in regard to lotteries. I have, I confess, yet to learn that a method which is reprehensible in itself becomes less so when the object in view is a good one. If this method be not reprehensible in itself that may be a good reason for repealing the whole of the lottery laws. If the method be not reprehensible in 1273 itself, then, of course, there is no more to be said. I cannot, certainly, support the argument which urges that the ground for making the war charities an exception to the ordinary law of the land against lotteries is because there is a difficulty in obtaining money for them at the present time. The hon. Member who spoke last, I think, indicated that there are other modes of dealing with the pearls, and I think we will all agree. I confess that as a London magistrate who has to sit on the Bench to deal with certain persons, and perhaps send to prison those who have been engaged as gaming tipsters in this London of ours, I feel very great hesitation in making less difficult methods of gambling than they are at the present time, however worthy the object may be, for which we are asked to make this relaxation of the law. I, therefore, without further words beyond those of the strongest possible approbation—if I may use the term—of the magnificent services of the hon. Member who has just spoken, regret that I am unable to support the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ Mr. ARTHUR RICHARDSON
I have not very often found myself in this position. When I came to this House a few-years ago I thought I would either have the opportunity of voting for a right or for a wrong thing; for a good thing or for a bad thing. I find to-night that a very large proportion of hon. Members of this House are in the position of having to vote for what they believe to be the better of two good things or the lesser of two evils. For my own part my course is clear. I entirely agree with the statement of the hon. Member for Norfolk that it is a case of proof in relation to the moral aspects of this Bill. It is not, however, from that standpoint that I want to make one or two observations, which, I am sure, will appeal to the Government. I do not suggest for a moment that other considerations do not, but I am quite certain this will appeal to them from a practical standpoint, and that is how best to win the War or how best to lose it! I had the honour, along with the Mover and the Seconder of the Amendment, of sitting on the Premium Bonds Committee. I have waited and hoped that some Member of the Labour party would have something to say on this Bill.
We had before us three hon. Members of the House who represented Labour. We had many representatives of the Churches. I only want to make a remark or two on the views held by the Members of the Labour party, and on some of the views held by some of the ministers representing the Free Churches of this country. Of the three Labour Members there was not a single one but what stated before that Committee that they were entirely and thoroughly opposed to any kind of gambling, not because they had any long-faced motives or prejudices in relation to gaming, but because the introduction and passage through this House of the gaming principle would lead to disastrous results among their own people, whom it would encourage in this direction. I remember very well the hon. Member for Derby stating that he addressed meetings of his own men every Sunday. Very often he was approached in matters of investment. He was quite certain that if any Bill were passed in this House having in it the element of gambling he would be crowded with questions asking where, in connection with these gambling projects, he thought the working classes of this country should invest their money. It was the ultimate results the members of the Labour party were afraid of. It was a statement made by one of the representatives of one of the Methodist bodies that impressed me, and I think also the members of that Committee with the seriousness of the step we should have taken bad we recommended the endorsement of Premium Bonds. The minister I refer to represented a denomination of Methodists numbering between 20,000 or 30,000, with schools for about 500,000. Questions were put to the representatives of this Methodist body in relation to what would be the attitude that denomination would take presuming the Bill for Premium Bonds was passed. One question put was, "Had you not some passive resistance movement in connection with your denomination in regard to the passing of the Education Bill?" and his answer was, "Yes." Then this question was put, "Presuming that Premium Bonds were passed, do you think in spite of the fact that under the Defence of the Realm Act you would be running great risks, your minister would denounce Premium Bonds even after the Bill was passed and even presuming he might be sent to prison?" He replied, "I have not the slightest 1275 doubt that from every pulpit Premium Bonds would be denounced even though it meant imprisonment."
I put that to the Leader of the House in connection with this Bill. I see the Prime Minister sent round a message last night asking the country to "hold fast." I am certain as far as this Bill is concerned it will not assist this particular denomination to "hold fast" in connection with the War, but it will rather loosen the moral fibre of this denomination and the country as well. I appeal to the Leader of the House on the grounds advanced by many hon. Members, but more so on the practical ground that you are going to cause dissension and division of opinion and feeling in the country that will not help the Government, and if it were possible to lose the War—and I do not think it is whatever blunders the Government may make—the passing of this Bill is one of the things that would help in that direction.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The Government have already announced that it is proposed to leave this measure to the free judgment of the House, and I have only risen to justify, if I can, the action of the Government in taking that decision. It will be a perfectly free vote, and I feel certain that some members of the Government will vote one way and some the other. I want to say in reply to the suggestion made by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Taylor) that there was nothing unfair to those opposed to this measure in the course which has been adopted, and he is entirely mistaken on that point. The very day on which the Government came to the decision that they would leave this matter to the House was the day upon which it was announced in the House, and it was not known before. I think it is probable that the smallness of the House tells rather in favour of those who are opposed to the Bill rather than in favour of those who support it. In any case of this kind those who support the measure do not do it with any strong or passionate feeling. Those opposed to this Bill have spoken with feeling, and I am informed that a great many of them have come back for the purpose of voting against this Bill, but I do not think that is the case with any of those who are supporting it. Therefore, on that ground, there can be no complaint made against the Government.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
I only want to inform the right hon. Gentleman that I was not alluding to the decision which he announced last Friday, but to the fact of the Bill being brought in so late in the Session, without any notice, and when presumably the promoters alone knew it was coming on.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The promoters of the Bill could not have known that the Government were going to give time for this measure. My belief is that if we had a fuller House, there would be a larger number in favour of this Bill. Therefore I think we can safely assume that the decision of the House, whatever it be will be fairly representative of the views of the House of Commons as a whole. As regards proceeding with this measure, it is not as if it were an easy thing to leave it alone. The hon. Member who spoke last said that when he came into the House he thought he would always be able to give his vote with perfect confidence that it was being given for right against wrong. I would point out to the hon. Member that that is not easy in the House of Commons. Indeed, I think it was Carlyle who said that the real difficulty is not to distinguish clearly between right and wrong, but in deciding between right and right, and very often that is the difficulty. When the Government had to decide whether we would give time for this discussion we were in this position that the law, as it existed, has not been enforced, and is not being enforced, because public opinion is against it at this moment in the localities where this kind of thing is going on. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That is true, and I can assure hon. Members that that is so. That is the reason why this Bill was brought in. The Home Secretary has already explained that this kind of thing in one shape or another is going on all over the country for war charities.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
No; it is quite the reverse. In some places they are not permitted because people in the locality have pointed out what is the law, and they have insisted upon prosecutions. It is the fact that things of this kind, which are entirely illegal, have been going on under the auspices of some of the largest local authorities in the Kingdom, as also 1277 under the auspices of some of the religious denominations, and my right hon. Friend has found the position absolutely intolerable. He finds himself in this position, that either the law must for the time being be changed, and the position regularised, or he must raise prosecutions which would irritate public opinion in the localities where these things are going on, and he would run the risk of finding public opinion against such a course.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE
Was it not with the right hon. Gentleman's authority that Lord Lansdowne introduced this Bill?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
My right hon. Friend (Lord Lansdowne) was bound to come to the Government, and that was the proper course, in view of the fact that this Bill had to be introduced. The position has now been changed by the fact that it has been introduced, and the House of Commons has to take a decision one way or the other. My hon. Friend opposite (Sir William Collins) made a speech, which I felt strongly, against this proposal. He said that if a thing is wrong, the object for which you are doing it does not justify you in committing that wrong. That is perfectly true, but can any hon. Member describe anything in connection with this proposal which in itself is wrong? [HON. MEMBERS: "Certainly!"] I venture to say that the great and overwhelming majority of the people will not take the view that this thing of itself is of necessity wrong, but that it is the abuse of the thing which is wrong. Surely that is admitted! It is really not so simple a proposition as my hon. Friend who introduced the opposition (Mr. Taylor) seemed to imagine. He said that whenever anyone gets something for nothing, it is wrong and ought to be put down. He is in business, as I was in business, and there is hardly any business in which there is not an element, I will not say of gambling, but of chance, where you may get something without working for it. Therefore, it is not the kind of action that the ordinary common-sense man would stigmatise as of necessity a vice, but it is a matter with regard to which, if it be not done in excess, there may be a considerable difference of opinion among different kinds of people.
What else could the Government have done? We were urged, on the one hand, 1278 to give the opportunity, because of the effect on charity. The House would desire to encourage and increase charities for this reason, and I cannot help thinking that the idea that, by doing this, you are really "opening the floodgates of gambling," is greatly exaggerated. I am inclined to think, if it be confined, as the Bill proposes to confine it, to the period of the War—to objects connected with the War, and to charities which have been in existence for six months—that the fear of the encouragement which it will give to indiscriminate gambling is greatly exaggerated. I am not very clear in my own mind about it—I say that quite frankly—but we have all got to vote one way or the other, and I am going to vote in favour of this measure. It was not to say that that I have risen, but it was to try to convince the House of Commons that the course which we have taken is, in the circumstances, not unreasonable, and that we propose to deal with the matter fairly.
Surely it is a case, however strong the feelings of individual Members may be, in which the free judgment of the House of Commons ought to have play, and that is what we are proposing! If the majority of the House of Commons takes the view of those who think that this is all wrong, that is the end of it. I go further, and say that I do not think that a bare majority, especially at this stage of the Session, ought to settle it against those who are opposed to it, but I do think that we can take the decision to-night for the reasons I have given as not unfair to those who are opposed to the measure; and, if the Division shows in a clear and unmistakable way that the feeling of the House of Commons is in favour of removing these restrictions, then surely the Government were right to give the House an opportunity of expressing its opinion. I can understand the feeling of hostility to it, but it is fair that the House of Commons should have a chance of deciding the matter. The arrangement that I propose, admitting that we have a right to a difference of opinion at all, must seem fair to the House of Commons. If the House be given a fair opportunity of expressing its views, then, should we find that the feeling of the House is unmistakably in favour of this restriction being withdrawn for the time being, and in this limited way, I would appeal to those who 1279 are opposed to it to accept the decision of the House, and allow the matter to go through now. I think that is not unreasonable, and I hope that I have justified the course which the Government have taken.
§ Mr. HOLT
I find the decision of the right hon. Gentleman to leave this measure to the decision of the House impossible to reconcile with the view which he expressed about the Bill for admitting women to the profession of a solicitor. When it was urged upon him that that Bill should be submitted to the decision of the House, he told us that he could not have anything to do with controversial measures, and that no controversial measures were to be brought before the House at this time of the Session unless introduced by the Government itself. Whatever the merits or demerits of this measure may be, it is certainly extremely controversial. It arouses controversy in one of the most unpleasant forms in which it can be aroused in matters connected with religion. Some of us believe that the whole system of gambling is absolutely wrong. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir Arthur Stanley) thought it necessary to make a farewell speech. I am sorry that he is not staying with us. I agree with the hon. Member for Derby, who spoke in the warmest possible terms of our great appreciation of the service which that hon. Member has rendered to the Red Cross and other charitable societies. He told us that all Members of this House, in their relations with their constituencies have taken part in raffles. I certainly should not allow any raffling in connection with any charity in which I was interested, and I should not allow any religious body of which I was a member to hold a raffle. I am quite aware that a lot of religious bodies have bazaars in connection with their churches and hold these raffles, but it is absolutely wrong. With regard to what the right hon. Gentleman said about prosecutions, I submit that it is not for the Government to abstain from instituting prosecutions in matters where the law has been disobeyed because they think it would be unpopular locally. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Home Secretary found that the law was being evaded by persons in very high positions and he had hesitated to institute a prosecution.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
No, I did not say that. What I said was quite different. I said that prosecutions in some localities would be against public opinion, and would create a very difficult situation.
§ Mr. HOLT
Certainly it is a very new idea that the law cannot be enforced because in certain districts popular opinion is against the institution of prosecutions. I should be very much surprised if we find later on that in other matters the Home Secretary takes the same view. The hon. Member for Ormskirk referred to the great sacrifices which many of these ladies have made in bringing their pearls, but I do not envy the man who pays a small sum for a ticket in a lottery and takes the pearls from the ladies who have made such sacrifices. I cannot imagine that there is any person who would not be ashamed to see his friends wearing a pearl necklace which he had bought for £1 while—[Interruption.] I object altogether to the doctrine that because a thing is desirable for the purposes of the War therefore you can justify something which is wrong in itself. That is the same old plea the Germans advanced for going into Belgium. A thing is either right or wrong. Gambling is either a vice or not a vice. If gambling is not a vice, there is not the slightest reason why there should be any prohibition of lotteries. If, on the other hand, as many of us believe, gambling is a very serious evil, there can be no reason why a lottery, which is gambling, should be admitted for war purposes. I hope that the House will refuse to allow a very serious innovation of what many of us believe to be an important principle of public life, namely, that there shall be no lotteries or public gambling sanctioned by law, therefore I hope the House will refuse to allow an evasion of the law to take place, even for such a good purpose as the Red Cross.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 77; Noes, 81.1281
|Division No. 80.]||AYES.||[9.59 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Foster, Philip Staveley||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Newman, Sir Robert (Exeter)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. John||Nicholson, Sir Chas. N. (Doncaster)|
|Baker, Maj. Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.)||Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barnett, Capt. Richard W.||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Pulley, C. T.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts)||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Geo. H. (Norwich)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothian)||Seely, Lt.-Col. Sir Charles (Mansfield)|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. Fortescue||Horne, Edgar||Stanler, Capt. Sir Beville|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Stanley, Hon. Sir A. (Ormskirk)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Staveley-Hill, Lt.-Col. Henry|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord Edmund|
|Cator, John||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Layland-Barratt, Sir F.||Walker, Col. W. H.|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Levy, Sir Maurice||Weston, John W.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Whiteley, Sir H. J. (Droitwich)|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, E.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wilson, Col. Leslie (Reading)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Wilson-Fox, Henry (Tamworth)|
|Du Cros, Sir Arthur Philip||M'Kean, John||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Malcolm, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—Mr.|
|Fletcher, John S.||Mount, William Arthur||Evelyn Cecil and Mr. Roch.|
|Alden, Percy||Hudson, Walter||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Anderson, William C.||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Oxford U.)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E.)||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Rushcliffe)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Jowett, Frederick William||Rowlands, James|
|Collins, Sir William (Derby)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Compton-Rlckett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Kenyon, Barnet||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cotton, H. E. A.||King, Joseph||Shortt, Edward|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Smallwood, Edward|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir James B.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Somervell, William Henry|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Maden, Sir John Henry||Sutton, John E.|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Martin, Joseph||Tootill, Robert|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancashire, Ince)|
|Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford||Middlebrook, Sir William||White, James Dundas (Tradeston)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Morgan, George Hay||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Outhwalte, R. L.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, South)||Parkes, Sir Edward||Williams, Aneurin (Durham)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Parrott, Sir Edward||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Haslam, Lewis||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n)||Winfrey, Sir R.|
|Hill, Sir James (Bradford, C.)||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E. H.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Hogge, J. M.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Holmes, D. T.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Pryce-Jones, Col. Sir E.||Theodore Taylor and Sir J. Spear.|
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Second Reading put off for three months.