§ *THE MARQUESS OF RIPON
, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said:—This Bill, my Lords, is intended to carry out those accepted principles of factory legislation which have been adopted by Parliament, now, for a long period of years. That legislation, which has been proved by experience to be so advantageous, can claim neither Party as its principal supporter; though I admit that the credit of having originally supported legislation of that kind belongs to the Conservative Party, and is connected with the name of that eminent man, Lord Shaftesbury. Since those days, however, the Governments of both Parties have dealt with this question. Those of us who are old enough to remember the commencement of this legislation will remember how it was prophesied that ruin and evil would result from it. Those prophecies have always been proved false, and the legislation adopted at various periods has been attended with unbroken success. Therefore, it is natural that successive Governments should advance along the lines originally laid down, and I have now to offer to your Lordships a measure brought into the other House by my right hon. Friend Mr. Asquith, the late Home Secretary, which, by the consent of all, I think, was piloted by him through that House with I eminent success. The Bill does not introduce, so far as I can see, any new question of principle. It simply extends factory legislation, on the lines which, of late years at all events have been adopted, somewhat further than it has hitherto been carried. A large portion of its provisions relate to the securing of more sanitary conditions and the making of stricter regulations for the safety of the workers in factories, and the proper fencing of machinery. In these days, when we all feel so increased an interest in everything connected with sanitary legislation, and when sanitary science has progressed so much and impressed itself so strongly 224 on the mind of the public and Parliament, I feel confident there is no one of your Lordships who will object to make the provisions of factory and workshop legislation more stringent and more complete in respect to sanitary matters, so as to secure the safety of the workers. There is one provision connected with the question of sanitary regulations which will, I am sure, commend itself to all, and that is the imposition of a penalty for allowing wearing apparel to be made up in places where there is any infectious disease. There is another provision which prohibits children from being engaged in the cleaning of machinery in motion, extending to a certain extent the provisions of the existing law. I am quite sure that to that provision none of your Lordships will raise any objection. Then, again, there is a provision which requires that a fire escape shall be connected with factories and workshops. That, again, is a matter about which there can be no difference of opinion. Then there are provisions providing compensation for persons suffering loss of life or bodily injury through the occupier neglecting the provisions of the Factories Acts or the special regulations made under them. These provisions, your Lordships will see, have been carefully guarded so as to prevent anything that is inconsistent with perfect fairness towards those to whom they may be applied. Then we come to the question of employment, and, in regard to that, overtime for young persons is prohibited. Overtime is now prohibited for children; that prohibition is extended to young persons. I should be surprised to find there was any difference of opinion as to the excellence of that provision; while the overtime now allowed in regard to women is reduced in their case, and it is provided that where women or young persons or children have worked the full time allowed by law in a factory or workshop they shall not be allowed to take work home afterwards and do it there under the orders of their employer. There are provisions for the maintenance of a register of accidents, which, I am quite sure, all your Lordships will approve. The Bill proposes to deal with a new form of industry—namely, that connected with laundries. We had some discussion about that a year or two ago in this 225 House, and your Lordships hesitated to adopt to the full extent the proposals of Lord Sandhurst and others in regard to the protection of women engaged in laundries. The Bill has been in certain ways considerably altered from the form in which it was originally introduced in regard to laundries, but it does, I rejoice to think, apply to laundries of all kinds some of the most important provisions of the Factory Acts. In regard to steam laundries, it provides regulations for the fencing and protection of machinery. To that I cannot imagine anybody can object, and it is a notorious fact, which I remember a year or two ago I examined into myself, that machines employed in steam laundries are liable to produce serious accidents to the hands of women, which, by a little care can be easily avoided. But the provisions in regard to laundries are not to apply in any case where the only persons employed are of the same family that dwell in the place, nor where there are not employed more than two outsiders; and a provision has been introduced carefully guarding laundries which are established in connection with charitable institutions or with convents. That matter formed a large portion of the discussion in the other House, and I cannot but think that the provision introduced removes all reasonable objection upon that point. There could be no desire, and there was no desire, on the part of Mr. Asquith to disturb the minds in any way of those who conduct these admirable institutions, and the only difficulty was to take care that by excluding them you do not let in other people who are not carrying on laundries for really charitable purposes. I think the Bill has provided safeguards against that danger, and that it will at the same time afford perfect relief to all those who are interested in institutions of this kind from unnecessary or disturbing interference. Then, for the first time, some portions of the Factory Act are applied to docks, wharves, quays, and other places of the like description. These are the requirements for the fencing of machinery and for the notice of accidents. Then, again, nothing can be more reasonable. Wherever machinery is employed it is desirable and right that care should be taken that it should be properly fenced. Then the Bill deals 226 with bakehouses. At present the law regulating bakehouses applies, at all events in its main provisions, only to towns in which there are upwards of 5,000 inhabitants. It is difficult to see why that distinction should be made. I believe that the existing law has worked I well in those cases to which it has been applied, and I think the measure is right in proposing that it should be extended to bakehouses of all kinds. Then there are rules relating to dangerous employments and extending the power of the Secretary of State for making regulations with respect to them. There are provisions requiring medical practitioners to send notice to the Chief Inspector of Factories in any case to which disease appears to have arisen from the conditions of employment in certain industries. There is also a clause which will be extremely acceptable to the workers in textile factories. Under a recent Bill relating only to the cotton trade, a right was given to the pieceworkers to have supplied to them with their work such particulars as would enable them to ascertain the rate of wages, and that is now extended to all persons employed on textile fabrics. Workshops are to be registered and lists of out-workers are to be furnished by those who employ them to Her Majesty's Inspector of Factories. These are the principal provisions of the Bill which I desire to submit to your Lordships. It does not introduce any novel principles. It only extends and applies more widely, and I think more efficiently, the principles that have already been adopted in legislation of this kind. The measure, as your Lordships are aware, was carefully considered at great length by the Standing Committee on Trade of the other House, and was reported to the House in the shape in which it now stands. It was received there, I think I may say, with general approval, and the Leader of the House, the First Lord of the Treasury of the present Government, I think I might fairly say, gave it his blessing as it passed through that House. At all events, he took no exception to its speedy progress in the hope that it might become law in the present Session. Of course, I am perfectly aware that in asking your Lordships to pass this Bill in the way in which it is necessary for it to be 227 passed, if it is to become law before the Dissolution on Monday, I am making a large demand upon your Lordships, but the measure is one of so much importance to so many people engaged in industry, it has received such careful consideration in the other House, it comes up to this House under such peculiar circumstances, and, as I hope, with such general favour, that I trust your Lordships will allow it to pass now, so that the work which has been given to it may not be wasted, and, what is more important, that those who will benefit by it may be brought under its advantages without delay. Of course, I am entirely in the hands of Her Majesty's Government. I cannot force this Bill through at all without their consent, but I have every reason to hope, from what has passed in another place, that that consent will not be withheld, and that this valuable measure may be written during the present Parliament upon the Statue Book of this country. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER (The Marquess of SALISBURY)
This Bill belongs to a class of measures which has always been received with great favour in this House, and has certainly not been ever regarded otherwise than with satisfaction by those who sit on the side where I am now standing. I believe that, on the whole, the principle of factory legislation which was first initiated by Lord Shaftesbury, and carried against a great weight of prejudice at that time, have proved enormously beneficial to the country. Naturally, therefore, one would wish to apply them wherever it seemed reasonable they could be applied with success. I feel, as a matter, perhaps, of logical punctilio, impelled to demur a little to my noble Friend's argument, that because apprehensions expressed in the past were not justified, therefore no apprehension ought to be felt in the future.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
I think that is rather a violent argument to make. It is a very common one, but it hardly rests upon any strong logical basis. However, I quite agree with him that our experience of the Factory Acts is such as to make it desirable to extend their principles as far as we can do it with success. I have nothing to say 228 against this Bill except to express some slight apprehension with respect to the provisions as regards laundries. When the subject was here before your Lordships took a decided view upon that point; and I believe the scruples then expressed in this House have had their effect, and the legislation that has been offered to us has been considerably modified. I see that Mr. Morley makes great fun of this House because it is suggested we might pass this Bill hastily, without subjecting it to all the examination which we think it is the duty of this House to apply to it. But I would entreat him to observe that the functions of a House of this kind are twofold. It is not only that we stop bad Bills when they are here, but the knowledge that we shall stop them has a great effect upon the form which they assume in another place. And whether from that motive or from another, this Bill differs very largely from the form in which it was introduced into the other House of Parliament. It has been considerably modified, and some most serious objections to it have been removed. I still have some apprehension that it may bear hardly upon the poorer laundries, upon the poorer forms of industry; that the tendency of all these provisions, with their extreme precautions and minute legislation, is to destroy the work of the smaller industries, and to force all industry into the hands of the capitalists. That is the tendency of the present day, but it is not one to look upon with complacency, and I should be sorry if our legislation had the effect of accelerating its action. But, still, what we have to consider is really a practical alternative; and I agree with the noble Marquess that it would be a great misfortune if this Bill were not allowed to be placed on the Statute Book. It is possible it may turn out that some of its provisions dealing with the smaller laundries will require to be modified in some future Session. It will always remain open to us to listen to the complaints that may be made to us, and to apply a suitable remedy; but it would not be fair considering the large and varied interests which the Bill embraces to deprive of its advantages all those whom it would otherwise affect. On the whole, therefore, without in the least pledging myself to agree in all the details of the 229 measure, especially in the matter of laundries, I think I may, on behalf of the Government, assure the noble Marquess that we shall give him heartily that co-operation he seeks, and we earnestly desire that the Bill may become law during the present Session.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (Viscount CROSS)
said, the noble Marquess opposite had made a reference to the late Lord Shaftesbury, and also a reference to himself. As the Minister responsible for what was now the principal Act which regulated factories and workshops, he could only say that this Act had stood the test of 20 years, and had been the charter of all workmen in factories and workshops up to the present time. During those 20 years of experience it had been found that a good many matters had not been dealt with at the time which might safely and fairly be dealt with now. Experience had proved that many of the dangers which were foreshadowed at the time of the passing of the Act had not been realised, and that a great deal had been done for the workers in factories and workshops which had largely promoted the health and the comfort of the working classes. He was glad to see the Bill now before their Lordships extending, as it did, the provisions of the former Act, and he believed that it extended those provisions safely and not otherwise. The noble Marquess said that the present Bill proceeded on the same lines as the existing Act. He was thankful for that, because there were certain contingencies which might have rendered legislation very dangerous; but this measure confined the legislation to women, young persons, and children, and did not extend it to the adult labour of men. He therefore gladly welcomed this Bill, which was an improvement on the existing Act, and he was obliged to the late Government for bringing this question forward.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
I am glad that my noble Friend at the head of the Government has seen his way to allow this Bill to pass without alteration. I do not rise, however, for the purpose of offering any observations to the House either on the principle or on the details of this measure. As regards the principle, it is not different from the other Factory Acts which have been passed 230 during former years. I have myself always been a strenuous supporter of the principle of those Acts. I have defended them not merely as a politician and as a Member of Parliament, but in argument, as perfectly consistent, in my opinion, with every true view of political economy. But I am anxious to say a few words on the passing of this Bill in the present circumstances as a good text on which to speak with reference to the spirit, temper, moderation, and wisdom with which this House habitually exercises its great functions in the constitution of the country. This is rather a strong measure to pass in one night. It is a Bill which undoubtedly affects the liberty of a great many persons, containing more than 50 clauses, and we are passing it on the faith of others, except so far as we have been able to read the Bill during the few hours it has been in our possession. Therefore, it is rather a strong measure to ask this House to pass a Bill of that kind, no doubt involving some difficulties of important details, without one word of Amendment, simply in consideration of the interests of those for whom it is intended. I agree with my noble Friend when he said that the Bill belongs to a class of legislation which has always been received with favour by your Lordships. I am sorry that Lord Rosebery is not present here to-night. It seems to me that he never is present when this House is doing useful work. He never appears except for a Party division or a Party Debate. I think that during the many years I have been in the House and have been sitting with the noble Lord, I have seldom seen him except on the occasions to which I refer; and yet outside this House, upon every platform and at every dinner party he can attend, he is inveighing against the conduct of this House in the discharge of its public functions. ["Hear, hear!"] I regret Lord Rosebery's absence therefore, and I shall not now say a good many things which I should have said had he been present. It seems to me, however, that it is not our fault he is absent; and I think this is an occasion on which we can direct the attention of the public to the spirit in which we do exercise our functions. I ask the attention of the late Lord Chancellor, because he is one of the few Members of this House 231 who have taken up the accusations made against this House by Lord Rosebery, and he has hinted, at least, if not openly spoken them in this House. It is not many nights ago since another Bill was before us, on which I voted against the noble and learned Lord. I am bound to confess that I voted against him, although I had previously, as a Member of a former Administration, voted for a measure of the same principle I now opposed. On that occasion the noble and learned Lord was good enough to say that this House never accepted any measure which came from a certain Party, namely, his own. What does the noble Lord say to our acceptance of this Bill to-night? Is not that an instance of our accepting a Bill which comes from another Party where we consider it consistent with the public interest that we should do so? I think it is. It is not only with regard to this Bill, but with regard to the whole subject of social legislation as distinguished from what I call socialistic legislation that I wish to direct public attention to the continuous action and feeling of this House. My noble Friend the noble Marquess did not overstate the case when he said that Bills of this class, connected with factory legislation, have been always favourably received in this House. In the accusations which are made against the House of Lords by Lord Rosebery and others—I am sorry to say others of still higher authority—it is always claimed that the great reforms of the last half century have been due to what they are pleased to call the Liberal Party. It so happens that I have never been officially connected with the Conservative Party at all. I have never held office along with them or under them. I have always held office and have acted with the Liberal Party until the Irish question arose, which divided us; but I am bound to say that I have often been ashamed at the extravagant pretensions which have been made on behalf of the Liberal Party by electioneering politicians. I cannot bear to hear the truth perverted even in the interest of my own Party; and I must say this, looking to the course of the last 50 years, that many of the most beneficial measures which have ever been passed through Parliament for the benefit especially of the poorer working classes 232 of this country have been mainly at the instance of the Conservatives. Lord Shaftesbury never was a member of the Liberal Party in the technical sense of that word. He was a Liberal of Liberals, in my opinion, in the character of his mind and in the earnest disposition which he had to benefit the poorer classes of the country. No man ever made greater public sacrifices than he did for them, but he was never a member of the Liberal Party technically so-called; he was always a Conservative. And so it is with many other measures. The noble Viscount who spoke last was himself the author of an important addition to the Factory Acts; that did not belong to the Liberal Party; it belonged to the Conservative Party. Then, on what ground is this claim made which I see put forward on high authority, that all the important improvements for this country have been made by the Liberal Party? It is absolutely untrue in historical fact. I should say that the whole subject of social legislation has not only been as favourably received in this House, but more favourably received than in the House of Commons. Lord Shaftesbury, during many years, met with strong opposition in the House of Commons. The Factory Acts were opposed tooth and nail in that House; they never were opposed in this House. They passed without difficulty and without objection; therefore, I say it is a monstrous claim on the part of those who now assume and arrogate to themselves the exclusive name of Liberals to pretend that social legislation of this kind has been due entirely or mainly to them. I think it is also entirely untrue to assert, as they have done, that this House never discusses measures on their merits, but always with reference to their Party origin. I hold, on the contrary, that the "cross-bench" element—to use an expression of the late Earl Granville—"the cross-bench mind" in this House is more powerful than the House of Commons, and we discuss measures on their merits more purely and more sincerely than the other House of Parliament. That is the reason why all those measures have been passed through with such facility, and why, on this particular occasion, we are sacrificing what is, undoubtedly, our only function, of reviewing closely the details of a measure of 233 this kind, in order to see whether, in doing justice to the many, it may not be doing injustice to the few; and, in sacrificing our duty for the purpose of the public interest, we are following the usual course of this House in the discharge of its great functions in the State. It is true that this House is generally opposed to changes of a particular character. It is generally opposed to what are called organic changes in the Constitution, and in my opinion it ought to be so. We must remember that in this country we have no written Constitution. It is becoming a serious danger, and it has often seemed to me more than possible that we should have to resort to a single vote of the House of Commons. Perhaps a snap Division, weakly assented to by the majority in this House, might demolish the balance of the British Constitution; and that is the condition of things which noble Lords opposite wish to see. I am not going to argue now on what, by a hideous vulgar Gallicism, is called the question "of the two Chambers." We have the good old English phrase "two Houses," which our children across the Atlantic use also. I have said that this House is indisposed to great organic changes except when carried by the obvious assent and general opinion of the people; and I cannot help observing on the extraordinary fiction which has been promulgated by Lord Rosebery on this question. Lord Rosebery always refers to what he calls the history of the three Reform Bills, and there never was a grosser misstatement of historical fact. Lord Rosebery made three speeches in Scotland, each one contradicting the others, and the middle one was immediately attacked and sneered at by one of his own colleagues, and even Mr. Asquith. The noble Earl is the most ill-used man by his own people I have, ever known. But the history which he gave to the three Reform Bills was to prove that the House of Lords never approved of measures on their own merits, but according to their origin. Lord Rosebery says that the first Reform Bill was passed by the House of Lords because they were overborne by an immense rush of public feeling. But the House of Commons was equally overborne by the feeling of the country; and there were only a few months between the assent of one House and the other. For half a 234 century—against the clearest evidence and arguments for the necessity of Parliamentary reform—the House of Commons through many Administrations refused to grant reform. Something like 200 seats among themselves were at stake, so that they had an interest in resistance. At last they were obliged to give way, and so were the House of Lords. We acted under the same pressure as the House of Commons, and in that respect there was no difference between us. Then Lord Rosebery says that we assented to the second Reform Bill because it was pressed by the Tories. That is a total misrepresentation of the case. I was a Member of one of the Administrations which brought forward Reform Bills, and which were generally resisted by the Tories. At last Mr. Disraeli decided that the fort of Toryism could not be held any longer, and he brought in a Reform Bill. Why was it accepted by the House of Lords? It was obvious that when the Conservative Party gave way resistance could not be maintained; and that must always be the action of this House. We act in connection with our Party in the House of Commons, and when our Party has found long-continued resistance to be further impossible, of course we give way also; because then it is absolutely proved that the opinion of the country has been decided. With reference to the third Reform Bill, I voted with the Government, though I was out of Office. But it is absolutely untrue to say that the House of Lords in that case resisted reform as reform. They merely insisted that it should include redistribution of seats as well as alteration of the franchise. Lord Rosebery has absolutely and grossly misrepresented the position. The Conservative Party in this House on that occasion triumphed. They not only acted on their opinion about the necessity of coupling these two branches of reform, but they were successful. And, as I happen to know, Mr. Gladstone saw the duty, at a large sacrifice of personal feeling, of agreeing to join the two measures. These three Reform Bills do not at all tell in favour of Lord Rosebery's contention. I am sorry to feel obliged, as a public duty, to enter upon a matter, which is certainly contentious, on the Second Reading of a Bill which in itself is not contentious. But it is a mere farce for 235 us to go on talking mere civilities across the Table of this House when a great constitutional contest is raging round us out of doors. When we have a favourable opportunity of defending ourselves, and of showing what has been the true action of this House on great public questions, it is wise that we should take the opportunity. Because, although we may treat with contempt the attacks on this House, which are now made by what I call the rump of the Liberal Party, yet still there are a large number of voters in this country who are as ignorant of history as those who address them are unscrupulous in misrepresenting the facts. I heartily rejoice in the passing of this measure, although I do think that it is a measure which, under all ordinary circumstances, ought to have been received by us in time to enable us to go over all the details, so as to see that while doing a great work of humanity it was not injuring or doing injustice to any one.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
The student of the procceedings of this House will be a little astonished at the course which this discussion has taken. He will wonder that in any Legislative Chamber, during the discussion on the Second Heading of a Factory Bill, it should have been thought an appropriate time for—and that the Rules of the House should have permitted—a speech which had nothing to do with the Factory Bill, but which was entirely devoted to an electioneering manifesto on the subject of the House of Lords. I should not have followed the noble Duke's example but for the personal allusions which he has made to the noble Earl at the head of the late Government and to myself. As, under those circumstances, silence might be misinterpreted, I will trouble your Lordships with a few observations. The noble Duke said that Lord Rosebery was never present when useful work was being done here. Does he think that this is one of those occasions? The useful work that is now being done is passing a number of Bills through the House, or rejecting them, with the statement that it is too late to discuss them. Surely that is work which might be done in the absence of anybody. But when the noble Duke says that Lord Rosebery is never here when useful work is being done, he 236 makes one of the bitterest attacks on your Lordships' House; because Lord Rosebery has been here constantly during the last year whenever the House has been sitting, except when he was away on account of illness. Therefore, the statement proves that this House has not been doing any useful work during the last year. The noble Duke says that I have joined with my noble Friend in making attacks on this House. As far as criticism goes on its proceedings in certain particulars, I plead guilty to the charge; and in spite of all the noble Duke has said, I shall repeat the offence on every possible occasion. He says that the time is past for bandying civilities across the House. The noble Duke cannot lay that sin very much to his charge; but, however much we differ politically, we may, I hope, treat each other civilly. This is not the occasion to enter upon the great subject of the functions of this House, and the manner in which they are discharged; but I confess that my historical memory does not run on the same lines as the noble Duke's. I do not agree to the accuracy of the history he put before your Lordships. But he says that I have alleged that this House will pass a measure when introduced by a Conservative Government and will reject the same measure introduced by a Liberal Government. I have said that. I repeat it; I believe it; and I can prove it. The noble Duke confessed the whole charge in the words with which he began his speech. Alluding to this Bill, he said, "I am glad the noble Marquess has seen his way to allow it to pass." Yes, those measures pass which the noble Marquess sees his way to allow to pass; but any others have no chance. That is the point on which we have insisted, and I am glad to find it supported by the noble Duke. The noble Duke says that this House has shown to-night how ready it is to pass this Factory Bill. No doubt it is; but there may be some who have the suspicion that the great interest which large classes of voters take in this Bill is one reason why it has been allowed to pass so readily. We are on the eve of a General Election, and it would never have done to prevent the Bill from passing.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
That is not the question. When the noble Duke holds this forward as an evidence of the calmness, consistency, and propriety of this House in dealing with measures, I say that there may be other reasons for their conduct in this case. We have had another experience this afternoon. We have had another Bill not so successful in its passage. The noble Marquess did not see his way to allow it to pass. I cannot help having a suspicion—and I am afraid that I shall always retain it—that if it had been a Bill dealing with English municipalities, in which great English municipalities were interested, it would have received much more friendly treatment. But the Bill dealt with Irish municipalities in a way which we know is not particularly agreeable to those who have long had the ascendency in Ireland, and who are entirely the supporters of the Government. I am not going further into that question, but I am perfectly satisfied myself that the House could perfectly well, if it had pleased, have taken as benevolent a view of that Bill as of this and have enabled it to pass into law. I have had experience of this before. I have brought before this House a Bill word for word the same as a Bill introduced by the noble Marquess—copied from it, in fact. And my experience was, that the noble Marquess led into the Lobby against the Bill a multitude of noble Lords who defeated it. That is one of my reasons for saying—and I shall continue to say it—that what this House does depends largely on who introduces the measures and not on the merits of the measures themselves. This is an irregular discussion altogether. [The Marquess of SALISBURY: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, the noble Marquess says, "Hear, hear," but when the noble Duke, who is a supporter and an ally of the noble Marquess, makes charges across the table of this House in which he personally refers to me and to the noble Earl under whom I recently served, I should not be worthy of being a Member of this House if I did not get up and say something in answer.
Standing Order No. XXXIX. having been suspended, Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House forthwith.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
The observations of the noble and learned Lord 238 have been of an extremely combative and aggressive character, and I cannot entirely pass what he has said without some remark. In the first place, he was pleased to say that Bills were passed because I had introduced them, while Bills were not passed when they were introduced by others. I should rather wish a different interpretation to be put upon the fact to that he has put. It was not because the House preferred the Bills I introduced, but because they exercised a very wise and properly-founded distrust of the Bills introduced by the noble and learned Lord; and, knowing the enterprises with which the noble and learned Lord is associated and the sympathies which he has frequently displayed, I am not at all surprised that when he selects a couple of clauses out of a Bill of ours, and introduces them without any of the surroundings and accompaniments which they formerly possessed, the Members of this House should have looked upon the proceeding with some misgiving and should have preferred to adjourn the consideration of the question. I wish to make another remark with respect to the Irish Bill we dealt with earlier in the evening, and as to which the noble and learned Lord made some remarks. He said if that had been a Bill concerning English municipalities it never would have been treated as it has been in this House. My remark is that if it had been a Bill concerning English municipalities it never would have been treated as it has been in the House of Commons. The Bill was sent to a Standing Committee, and instead of being examined there for the purpose of amending it, instead of being subjected to that investigation for which a Standing Committee was set up, a stalwart stone wall majority passed every word of it in spite of every protest or any Amendment, merely in order to serve the purposes of faction by which it was introduced. My Lords, that, if I may use an equity phrase, was a fraud upon Parliamentary procedure. It was the most monstrous thing that has been done in my time with respect to Parliamentary action. I confess I am not surprised at, in fact I heartily join in, the suspicion of a Bill which was introduced into the House under such auspices, and I think it is quite right that a Bill stamped with that 239 stigma and contaminated with that disgrace should not pass by the sanction of this House on to the Statute Book. With respect to the Bill now before the House I have nothing further to say. I believe the extremely aggressive and combative language which the noble and learned Lord has introduced into the discussion is wholly alien and unsuitable to the philanthropic and very estimable operation of the Bill. It is a Bill which is only a party Bill in this sense—that the principle of it has generally been initiated and supported by the Conservative Party. On this occasion the Liberal Party has had the honour of contributing to the same great work. I am sorry we should have fallen foul of each other over a matter on which we might have joined together, but I hope that, in spite of the evil and inauspicious auguries by which this law has been brought into existence, it will yet fulfil the philanthropic aims which I am convinced both parties wish it to fulfil.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
As the noble Marquess accuses me of introducing a combative element, I must say a word or two. He condemns me for introducing a combative element into this Debate. He seems to be oblivious of the fact that the noble Duke had spoken before me. Not a word of reproach for him for introducing a combative element. But then the noble Duke is one of the noble Marquess's supporters, and I have the misfortune to be one of his opponents. The noble Marquess said this House views with distrust any measure I present, and that that is the reason why, in spite of any explanation, he rejects it. I think it hardly to the credit of this House that it can carry personal distrust to such lengths as that. They might distrust the thing until they knew what it was; but when they knew what it was and that I was only presenting something to the House which the noble Marquess had presented before, surely the House should have had sufficient resolution to get over their distrust and to deal with the work on its merits. The noble Marquess has said I took two clauses out of a Bill previously before the House, and presented them shorn of that which accompanied them before. It is quite true, but the other clauses I put in another Bill, and that other Bill had passed this House 240 at the time these two clauses came before us.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
It is true they had not passed the House of Commons, but I do not see that is a reason for rejecting the Bill in the House of Lords. As the noble Marquess has revived the question which was before your Lordships previously, I feel obliged to say a word. I do not admit that the Bill came here with any stigma. It is quite true no Amendments were made in the Standing Committee. As far as I can judge, I think none of the Amendments proposed ought to have been made. It has been discovered here that perhaps some other Amendments might have been expedient. I do not understand the suggestion that when a Bill goes to a Standing Committee the Standing Committee ought to amend it whether they agree with the Amendments or not. But it was within the province of the other House to deal with the Bill as it thought fit when it came before the House on the Third Reading. A Motion was made to recommit the Bill, but the House by a majority of 62 refused to recommit the Bill; it thought it in a fit condition to be sent to your Lordships' House. That was not, and could not be, a mere Party majority. To speak of a Bill, the Third Reading of which was passed by a majority of 62, as a Bill coming to this House with a stigma upon it, seems not very respectful to the other House.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
As my noble and learned Friend (Lord Herschell) has repeated what I have previously described as the romance of history about the Bills to which he has referred, and as this appears to be a sort of electioneering cry about this House, I think I had better state the facts. My noble and learned Friend is entirely mistaken. He says the House passed the Bill that the noble Marquess and I were responsible for. As a matter of fact, that Bill was rejected, and that is one of the things the noble Lord invariably omits to mention.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
My noble and learned Friend is historically inaccurate. A Bill exactly in the form in which I introduced it was read a second time in this House. At a later stage 241 of the Bill tan Amendment was moved upon one of the clauses, and that Amendment was carried by a majority of seven. That Amendment was not an Amendment directly bearing upon the clauses which I afterwards introduced as a separate Bill.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
The particular Amendment was carried. The Bill was not rejected in this House at all; it was abandoned, not rejected.
Bill reported without Amendment: Standing Committee negatived.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF RIPON moved: "That the Bill be read a Third Time."
*THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
said, that, inasmuch as the discussion upon the Second Reading of the Bill had taken so unexpected a turn, he hoped that he should be permitted to say a few words in reference to the measure upon the Motion for its Third Reading. He should like to express the great satisfaction with which all those who had watched the course of this class of legislation viewed the action of that House in passing this Bill rapidly through all its stages. He had had the honour of serving upon the Select Committee of that House which had investigated the question of sweating, and which had examined the whole subject with great care, and the effect upon the minds of those who formed the Committee was, that this kind of legislation ought to be pressed forward in the interests of humanity, and therefore he was glad that this measure, after having undergone many changes during its passage through the other House of Parliament, had at length reached the stage of Third Reading in their Lordships' House. It was the fact that all true progress in the country had been marked by care for those who could not care for themselves, and by a determination that 242 they should not be exposed to temptation or to pressure which they were unable to resist. There had, undoubtedly, been a great change of opinion on this subject throughout the country since the time when Lord Shaftesbury incurred so much odium in bringing forward legislation of this kind which had conferred such a great benefit upon the working classes of the community. It would, of course, have been far more satisfactory if they could have examined the provisions of the measure point by point, but there was not time to do that on that occasion, and therefore they must accept the measure as it stood, at all events for the present. They had the satisfaction of knowing that the provisions of the measure had been the subject of considerable discussion in the other House of Parliament, and they could not help feeling that those provisions were in a large degree adapted to the exigencies of the situation, but that the measure was upon the whole a good one. There were, however, certain points, such, for instance, as the provisions which related to laundries, which would have to receive further attention in the future. It was clear that the whole subject-matter of the Bill would have to be reconsidered at no very distant date, because factory legislation had got into such a condition that it would have to be consolidated. In the meantime, however, it would be satisfactory to all humane and Christian persons that a great step in the right direction had been taken by the passing of this Bill.
§ Bill react 3a, and Passed.