The following provisions shall apply for settling any matter which under this Act is to be settled by arbitration:—
- (1.) If any committee, representative of an employer and his workmen, exists with power to settle matters under this Act in the case of the employer and workmen, the matter shall, unless either party objects, by notice in writing sent to the other party before the committee meet to consider the matter, be settled by the arbitration of such committee, or be referred by them in their discretion to arbitration as hereinafter provided.
- (2.) If either party so objects, or there is no such committee, or the committee so refers
1416 the matter or fails to settle the matter within three months from the date of the claim, the matter shall be settled by a single arbitrator agreed on by the parties, or in the absence of agreement, by the county court judge according to the procedure prescribed by rules of court, or if in England the Lord Chancellor so authorises, according to the like procedure, by a single arbitrator appointed by such county court judge.
- (3.) Any arbitrator appointed by the county court judge shall, for the purposes of this Act, have all the powers of a county court judge, and shall lie paid out of moneys to be provided by Parliament in accordance with regulations to be made by the Treasury.
- (4.) The Arbitration Act 1889, shall not apply to any arbitration under this Act; but an arbitrator may, if he thinks fit, submit any question of law for the decision of the county court judge, and the decision of the judge on any question of law, either on such submission, or in any case where lie himself settles the matter under this Act, shall be final; unless within the time and in accordance with the conditions prescribed by rules of the Supreme Court either party appeals to the Court of Appeal; and the county court judge, or the arbitrator appointed by him, shall, fur the purpose of an arbitration under this Act, have the same powers of procuring the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents as if the claim for compensation had been made by plaint in the county court.
- (5.) In any arbitration under this Act any party may, subject to rules of court, appear by any person duly appointed on his behalf.
- (6.) The costs of and incident to the arbitration and proceedings connected therewith shall be in the discretion of the arbitrator. The costs, whether before an arbitrator or in the county court, shall not exceed the limit prescribed by rules of court, and shall be taxed in manner prescribed by those rules.
- (7.) Where the amount of compensation under this Act shall have been ascertained, or any weekly payment varied, or any other matter decided, under this Act, either by a committee or by an arbitrator or by agreement, a memorandum thereof shall be sent by the said committee or arbitrator, or by any party interested, to the registrar of the county court for the district in which any person entitled to such compensation resides, who shall, on being satisfied as to its genuineness, record such memorandum in a special register without charge, and thereupon the said memorandum shall for all purposes be enforceable as a county court judgment. Provided that the county court judge may at any time rectify such register.
- (8.) Where any matter under this Act is to be done in a county court, or by to or before the judge or registrar of a county court, then, unless the contrary intention appear, the same shall, subject to rides of court, be done in, or by, to, or before the judge or registrar of the county court of the district in which all the parties concerned reside, or if they reside in different districts, the district in which the accident out of which the said matter arose occurred, without prejudice to any transfer in manner provided by rules of court.
- (9.) The duty of a county court judge under this Act, or of an arbitrator appointed by him, shall, subject to rules of court, be part of the duties of the county court, and the officers of the court shall act accordingly, and rules of court may be made both for any purpose for which this Act authorises rules of court to be made, and also generally for carrying into effect this Act so far as it affects the county court, or an arbitrator appointed by the judge of the county court, and proceedings in the county court or before any such arbitrator.
- (10.) No court fee shall be payable by any party in respect of any proceeding under this Act in the county court prior to the award.
- (11.) Any sum awarded as compensation shall he paid on the receipt of the person to whom it is payable under any agreement or award, and his solicitor or agent shall not be entitled to recover from him or to claim a lien on the said sum awarded for any costs except such as have been awarded in the arbitration.
- (12.) The Secretary of State may appoint legally qualified medical practitioners for the purpose of this and any committee, arbitrator, or judge may, subject to regulations made by the Secretary of State and the Treasury, appoint any such practitioner to report on any matter which seems material to any question arising in the arbitration; and the expense of any such medical practitioner shall, subject to Treasury regulations, be paid out of moneys to he provided by Parliament.
- (13.) In the application of this schedule to Scotland—
- (a.) "Sheriff" shall be substituted for "county court judge," "sheriff court" for "county court," "action," for "plaint," "sheriff clerk" for "registrar of the county court," and "act of sederunt" for "rules of court."
- (b.) Any memorandum referred to in paragraph eight of this schedule may be competently recorded for execution in the books of council and session or sheriff court books, and shall lie enforceable in like manner as a recorded decree arbitral.
- (c.) Any application to the sheriff as arbitrator shall be heard, tried, and determined summarily in the manner provided by the fifty-second Section of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1876, save only that parties may be represented by any person authorised in writing to appear for them, and subject to the declaration that it shall be competent to either party within the time and in accordance with the conditions prescribed by act of sederunt to require the sheriff to state a case on any question of law determined by him, and his decision thereon in such case may be submitted to either division of the Court of Session, who may hear and determine the same finally, and remit to the sheriff with instruction as to the judgment to be pronounced. Paragraph four of this schedule shall not apply to Scotland.
- (14.) In the application of this schedule to Ireland the expression "county court judge" shall include the recorder of any city or town.
Amendments made:—Leave out, "the said sum awarded for any costs except such as have been awarded in the arbitration," and insert,—
or deduct any amount for costs from the said sum awarded, except such sum as may be awarded in the arbitration on an application made by either party to determine the amount of costs to be paid to the said solicitor or agent, such sum to be awarded subject to taxation and to the scale of costs prescribed by rules of court.
§ In Sub-section (12), paragraph (b), leave out, "memorandum referred to in paragraph eight of this schedule," and insert, "award or agreement as to compensation under this Act"; leave out the words "paragraph four" in the sentence "Paragraph four of this schedule shall not apply to Scotland," and insert as a new sub-section "Paragraph four and seven."—(Lord Belper.)
§ On the Motion of Lord BELPER, Standing Order XXXIX was dispensed with.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ *THE EARL OF WEMYSS
said that his noble Friend Lord Salisbury, on the Second Reading Debate, did him the honour of referring to the little circular he had sent round to the Peers inviting them to help him in the resistance which he purposed to offer to the Bill as his "sermon." He accepted the term. Sermons varied greatly; some were eloquent and enthralling and others—pace the right reverend Bench—were prosy and soporific, but all sermons were expositions of truth, and he hoped the truths contained in his sermon had gone home to his noble Friend. At any rate, his noble Friend ought to be pleased with a sermon the text of which was the noble Marquess's own dictum, that "Liberty is the noblest idol before which any man could bow." He would have gladly moved this Motion on the Second Beading of the Bill, but he postponed it at the solicitation of the Marquess of Londonderry, who had said that, if there was not a good Division upon it, it would be injurious to the Amendments they had in view. He therefore yielded under the impression 1419 that his noble Friend meant business, that he would have brought into action some great one-hundred-ton gun charged to the muzzle with destructive projectiles; but it turned out that the weapon of his noble Friend had nothing in it but blank cartridge. [Laughter.] The Amendments moved by his noble Friend dealt only with mere matters of detail. There was only one Amendment which to his mind meant business. That was the Amendment proposed by Lord Rathmore to strike out, of the Bill the infamous and unjust provision that a man was to be responsible for the acts of another man whom he did not know and over whom he had no control or authority. He thought it was a strange thing that that House, which in the matter of justice was the last Court of Appeal, should have allowed such a gross injustice to be perpetrated. He looked upon this Bill as the embodiment of the evil and mistaken legislation which had been going on in this country for the last 27 years, ever since Mr. Gladstone introduced the system of State interference with contracts in what was generally known as the Compensation Clause for Disturbance in the Irish Land Bill of 1870. The original intention and object of Governments was to act as police, and to make men safe in the possession of their property and of their individual liberty. But the character of recent legislation had been the reverse of that. It had interfered with the individual; it had interfered between employer and employed, owner and tenant; had made, forbidden, and modified contracts; and to do this it had taken the property of the few, as in Ireland, and transferred it to the many without compensation. The fact was, Governments had taken to playing the part of Providence, and had dismissed the economical doctrines of supply and demand to the four winds of heaven. In their political legislation, however they adhered to those doctrines, and if a demand were backed by sufficient votes the supply of legislation was not wanting. He had received many letters on this question, two of which he would read extracts from. The first gave the view taken of the Bill by the manager of a great private coal estate. This gentleman had sent him some figures, with which he would not trouble their 1420 Lordships, and said these figures showed the definite minimum effect of the Bill en that estate. He continued,—I say minimum effect, because the amount which may ultimately be traced to malingering is not possible to estimate. In reading through our figures it must be remembered that ours is not a dangerous district. I mean we have never had disasters from explosions of gas. To raise the price of coal is the only advice and consolation given to us, but no such advance is possible except after a long period, and as a direct consequence of the closing of the weaker collieries through the operation of the Bill. That many such collieries will ultimately close if the Bill passes is certain. The Bill is grossly unjust in principle. Admitted, if you like, that accidents should be compensated for (they are already done so by increased wages being paid to risky employment): why should employers only bear the brunt; and why should not the workmen also subscribe? For, apart from the money value of their subscription, we should then, as we do now, have their moral support in defeating the impositions of the idle and the shammers. Or, take another view; assuming that the average selling price of coal throughout England is 6s. a ton, of which 5s. 6d. is wages, and 6d., or less, profit; why should all accidents come out of the 6d. and nothing out of the 5s. 6d.?He had another letter from a gentleman who was a printer, and who said that if this Bill passed, and any accident happened in his printing office, he would be ruined. But he would read them some extracts from the great Liberal organ of the north of England, The Newcastle Chronicle, the proprietor of which was Mr. Joseph Cowen, who used to be one of the most able and eloquent Members in the House of Commons, and one of the most thoroughly honest and true Liberals. He said,The so-called Workmen's Compensation Bill, described by Sir James Joicey as the most important and the most socialistic Measure submitted to Parliament for half-a-century, and by Mr. Fenwick as the boldest stride in the direction of collectivism that any Government has yet ventured to take, has passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons without discussion." "The Measure is a Wages Reduction Bill; and, because it is a Wages Reduction Bill, it is also a Strike Fomentation Bill. It is likewise, as the majority of those who took part in the Debate admitted, an Accident Promotion Bill, and a Malingerers' Encouragement Bill. But it is more than that, it is a Compensation Out of Employment Bill. The Bill, should it become an Act, will lead to the discharge of old workmen, or men who have impaired sight or hearing, of men who are below the average in dexterity, and of men who are addicted to intemperance.
He further said:—
We find that Mr. Asquith in his speech said, the larger share of the burden will fall upon wages, and that the other portion will be imposed upon an industry in which the margin of profit has reached almost the vanishing point.
§ That was what a competent authority on these questions said, mid he believed that that paper was taken in by the workmen in the mining industry. It had been pointed out that the Bill did not include the agricultural labourer. Its authors admitted it to be incomplete, and a right hon. Gentleman had boasted that the Bill was not logical. But he (Lord Wemyss) would tell them what was logical—germs—germs are always logical, and it was certain that the Bill would be extended further, and before long they might find its principle in their kitchens and domestic households. Indeed he had happened to dine at Mr. Asquith's the day they had discussed in the House of Commons the admission or exclusion of different industries, and he had said to Mr. Asquith how childish it was to attempt to draw vain distinctions, as the day would certainly come when, if his cook scalded her hand or his housemaid broke her nose through falling downstairs, he would have to pay them compensation, and rightly, as they were of the weaker sex and more needed protection. Let him now say a word with reference to the position of the Government to the Conservative Party in regard to this matter. A General Election took place two years ago which placed the Conservative Government in an enormous majority. What did that election turn on? He had stated in that House when he undertook a review of the situation in the autumn of 1595, that he knew for a fact—at least it Was told to him as a fact—that Captain Middleton, the chief agent of the Conservative Party, told his noble Friend (Lord Salisbury) and the Conservatives that that election meant that the middle classes and the best of the working classes repudiated and were tired of this perpetual interference with their affairs by Parliament; that this Parliament had been returned not to bring on Measures of that kind—but practically to do nothing—and remember this Bill was due not to pressure from without but from within. He had spoken of the pressure from 1422 within, and his noble Friend (the Prime Minister) had accepted the soft impeachment that he was more or less carrying out speeches and proposals made during the last election.
§ *THE EARL OF WEMYSS
said he was not sure whether his noble Friend would go the whole hog, or was prepared to go the whole length of the proposals then made—he trusted not, for he remembered that in the House in 1895 he described certain proposals put before the country as a saccharine policy; these were seven in number and he had called them legislative lollypops. Here was what they were:—Old Age Pensions, Workmen's Dwellings' Bill, Poor Law Reform, Compensation to Injured Workmen, Increased Power to Local Authorities for the better Housing of the Poor, the Prevention of Pauper Immigration, and Shorter Hours for Shop Assistants. That was the programme of a very distinguished Member of Her Majesty's present Cabinet, the right hon. Mr. Chamberlain. He (Lord Wemyss) did not know—he only hoped it could not be so—whether the noble Lord who was at the head of the Government had swallowed all these lollypops. [Laughter.] At any rate, two of them had been disposed of. The first was the awkward question of Old Age Pensions. There was nothing so convenient as shunting a question by a Commission, and that difficult question had been got rid of by being sent to a Commission. Now they had got this Compensation to Injured Workmen Bill, which made two they could account for. How about the other five? Time and history would tell. At present he did not know; but the result of this Bill was that liberty and property had been more or less raided, and, although the Bill might not annex Johannesburg, at any rate he knew one thing that had been annexed, and that was the Conservative Party. Let them see for a moment what the result was of this policy upon the Conservative Party, so far as he knew and heard it outside at the present time. The licensed victuallers, when the Government came into power, had full hope that justice would be done to them, because his noble Friend at the head of the Government had advised them to wait 1423 until a Conservative Government was in power, and then, probably, they might hope for justice. But no sooner was he in power than that question also was tied up indefinitely by being sent to a Royal Commission. Now as to the Irish landlords? When they rejoiced over the return of a Conservative Government did they expect Mr. Gerald Balfour's Bill? He rather thought not, and as the licensed victuallers were now hostile to the Government he could hardly believe that the Irish landlords could be very friendly. As regarded the employers, he did not think there was much in this Bill to attract their affection and love to the Government. He had got with him a letter, which he should not trouble them to read, from Lord Grimthorpe—and he knew others who were quite as disgusted as he was with what was going on—stating that he (Lord Grimthorpe) intended to withdraw all subscriptions from the Conservative Party. And then all who worshipped the idol of the Prime Minister felt more or less disappointed and betrayed. And after all what had the Bill done for the Government? Nothing delighted or amused him more on the Second Reading of this Bill than to see that no sooner had it been brought in—of course on purely philanthropic grounds, and for the purpose, more or less, of pleasing the workmen—their noble Friends (Lord Ripon and Lord Kimberley), trumped the whole thing at once by saying: "it is a very good Bill so far as it goes; and an excellent thing, no doubt, to do justice to the working men, but you must not draw these distinctions; it is a Bill which must apply to all, and the cost must not come out of the employers' pockets only, but be made a common public charge." He supposed they meant to include cooks and housemaids. Here they had squared the employers. Was it right that the money should only come out of the pockets of the employers? No. If the State chose to go in for that kind of legislation, let right rev Prelates pay and every one else—right rev. Prelates who trooped into the Lobby led by their Archbishop—a very Canterbury Pilgrimage—to cast burdens on the employers which they should also share. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] He said let every one pay. If that was to be done—and he thought when the time came the country 1424 would say—unless it said "a plague on both your Houses"—"let us get rid of this grandmotherly legislation"—that justice and right lay on the side of the Opposition in dealing with this subject, and not with the supporters of the Government. He did not know that he need trouble them with any further remarks. He thought their Lordships had lost a great opportunity of raising the character of the House, such as would possibly never return, and that was by showing their independence, and that they were not simply blind followers of their Leader, because no reasonable man could doubt—he was speaking of what the belief outside was—that if this Bill had been brought in by the present Opposition, the Government of his noble Friend and the whole Conservative Party would have kicked it out as an uncalled-for and unclean thing. ["Hear, hear!"] Be that as it might, he regretted that their Lordships, who were the body supposed to check and override all rash and unprincipled legislation, had not, on this vital occasion—to the great disappointment and loss of prestige of the House—struck a stalwart blow in defence of liberty and against the retrograde legislation to which the earlier portion of his remarks referred. He should like to read to their Lordships from a grand speech made by Mr. Joseph Cowen at Newcastle on the occasion of the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, when he reviewed the whole reign, and the great and the good work that had been done during the time of Her Majesty's wondrous and blessed reign, and ended with this:—Invidious privileges, unmerited disabilities, and mortifying distinctions, political, civil, and ecclesiastical, which appeared necessary only through the mists of error, or which were magnified into importance only through the medium of prejudice, have been swept away. We have striven to inspire the humble with dignity, the desponding with faith, the oppressed with hope; and the British Empire has become a model of popular liberty and personal prosperity as firm as the earth and as wide as the sea. But, by an unaccountable infatuation, we are reforging the very restraints the removal of which brought us such social happiness and civic success. National character is the outcome of personal character. The strength thereof can be no more than the sum of the strength of the persons who compose it. But this obvious fact is strangely overlooked. Man, too, it should be remembered, is not clay to be moulded, or marble 1425 to be cut. He grows under the hand. The outline of to-day becomes the fetter of tomorrow. A statute which this year embodies a fact, next year may prescribe a bondage. Wherever there is life there is movement. As Mr. Spencer has shown, we can no more elude the laws of human development than we can elude the law of gravitation. Society is a living organisation, and if walled in by rigid mechanical apparatus it cannot fail to be dwarfed and impeded in its growth. Yet under some well-meant but purblind perversity we ate doing this. We are suppressing emulation, legislating all the initiative out of the people, and enervating them by perpetual State aid. Government is being substituted for the individual, and everything is being reduced to its inception. All we want is to, be let alone. Let us have fewer laws and less officialism, but let us strengthen the principle of law and the spirit of justice by education, and aim at making men, not machines. Then all will be well.These Were noble words, and as wise and true as they were eloquent, and he himself had ever worshipped at that idol which his noble Friend held up to them for worship, and as to which, while speaking of it in that way, his noble Friend brought to the altar of liberty such a Bill as this. Now, he was a humble Member of their Lordships' House; he had not long to be in it; but throughout his later years he had ever done his best to tight on the side of true individual liberty, to resist State and official interference with men in their ordinary concerns of daily life, between employer and employed, or between anyone who has to do with the trade and commerce of this great manufacturing country. Such had been his endeavour—to resist this State officialism, rightly or wrongly, but, be thought, the one thing above all others they should endeavour to avoid was that free-born people should become, through evil legislation, enfeebled, infantine, nurslings of the State. In the view he had taken and in the words he had spoken he had simply given expression to the deep and strong faith that was in him. He believed that liberty was the one thing, above all others that made life endurable. In the view he took of this kind of legislation he might be wrong; they, the majority, might be right. This time alone could show. But if he were wrong, he would rather be wrong with Joseph Cowen than right with Joseph Chamberlain. [Cheers and laughter.] He begged to move the Bill be read that day three months.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I must call the noble Earl's attention to the 1426 fact that the Bill has been read a Third time. He could move that it should be passed this clay three months if he likes.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
Lord Wemyss's Motion for the Bill to be Read this day three months was on the Paper.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I think he was preparing to speak, and in these circumstances I should think it is by misunderstanding that he has been prevented moving that which it was his intention to move. It must be remembered that my noble Friend on the Cross Benches did not probably hear distinctly. I hope it may be in accordance with the Rules of the House that he should be allowed to move his Motion.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said there was at least one instance where a mistake having been made the House had been allowed to rectify it, and he thought this course might be adopted here.
Question put "That the Bill be read the Third time."
§ *THE EARL OF WEMYSS
moved to leave out "now" and add at the end of the Motion "this day three months."
*THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
said he would be sorry that the Bill should pass through the last stage of its journey towards the Royal Assent without a few words of cordial sympathy and sanguine support front the Episcopal Bench. He thanked the noble Earl for his taunt in remindimg the House that last Monday 20 Bishops went into the Lobby in favour of what they believed to be the cause of practical justice, of genuine liberty, and of wise and reasonable progress and reform, in a matter so closely affecting the wellbeing of the largest class in the community. That vote of theirs was an act which spoke better than many words. There were several points of view from which their Lordships had approached the consideration of this great question. Some had approached it from the point of view of those interested in great industrial undertakings, be they mines, or railways, 1427 or factories; others, like the noble Earl, from the point of view of those interested generally in economic science and public policy. There was, however, another and a quite different point of view from which those who sat on the Bench behind him were bound to approach a question of this sort. Most of those on the Episcopal Bench had spent, perhaps, the best years of their lives as parish clergymen. They had been day by day in intimate contact with those for whom Parliament was now endeavouring to legislate. They had been in touch with, the artisan class at close quarters, not as their employers or political leaders, but as personal friends in their homes. They had seen, as other Members of their Lordships' House did not see, the homes of the working men at times of sickness, suffering, and accident, when the irony of the words just used by the noble Earl would be apparent indeed, namely, that all the working man wanted was to be let alone! They had in this Debate. heard, possibly too exclusively, the question of collieries and the like alluded to. There was undoubtedly in a pit village, in a factory town, or among the working men connected with some great railway company, a natural and necessary esprit de corps or fellowship asserting itself in a manner which made voluntary associations for meeting special needs not only possible but easy to manage and to multiply. But in not a few trades to which this Bill would apply the conditions were very different. It had been his privilege, before he became Bishop of Winchester, to preside for some years over a diocese which contained such industrial centres as Woolwich, Chatham, Battersea., Deptford, and others. There, for the most part, there was no such esprit de corps among the working men, even among those engaged in the same occupation or working in the same factories. They came from distances, their homes were scattered, and they had comparatively little common life such as belonged to other centres like those he had spoken of. In such regions more than elsewhere it was difficult to give the spirit and vitality which every one would desire to see, to the voluntary associations about which so much had been said. But in those crowded regions, at least as much as elsewhere, were men suffering from the kinds of accidents— 1428 often incapacitating them for only a short period—for which this Bill was meant to find a remedy, and for which he believed it would provide a remedy that would be thoroughly efficient. Where a voluntary association would be cumbrous or unworkable, this Bill would step in and meet the need. He spoke from close practical experience in welcoming it. It was not for him to speak for Bishops who were not there, but he confessed his withers were unwrung by the taunt of the noble Earl that the Bishops went into the Lobby against the rights of property. He was one of those who did believe in the principle of throwing the cost of all accidents primarily on the trades concerned, and then, ultimately and indirectly, upon the public at large. ["Hear, hear!"] He found it difficult to believe that the prognostications of evil they had heard on this subject were likely to have any such dire fulfilment, or that the existing voluntary associations, where wisely managed by masters and men, would greatly suffer. He ventured to believe that those associations had at their root a principle of vitality which depended upon something else than purely economic considerations. If he thought this Bill was the putting of the torch to the funeral pyre of contracting-out, and the bringing to an end all voluntary associations and schemes, he for one should not have voted for the Bill. But it was not so. These schemes had something different both in their principle and in their operation to the mere working out of economic laws. They had been, and they would continue to be, far more elastic in their character than any merely legal and obligatory scheme could be. They were meant to deal, and would continue to deal, with further-reaching modes of beneficent help to those in trouble; with provision for sickness, for superannuation, and for many other things which legislation could not reasonably touch. Above all there were employers all over the land who contributed to societies like these, not because they believed in the long run they would save their own pockets, but because they were co-operating on a standard of friendly relationship with the men who were working in their employment. [Cheers.] He therefore disagreed altogether with the prophecies that these voluntary schemes would come 1429 to an end because of this Bill. He believed better things of our great employers of labour. Prophecies of ill were always rife at times like these when reform was in the air. Look at the factory legislation of 30 years ago, and recall the prophecies which were given utterance to then! It had been said that history was amusingly careless of the reputation of prophets, and he believed that, given a little time, they would find the forebodings of evil they had heard about this Bill vanish like their predecessors into empty air. [Cheers.]
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
acknowledged the ability of the speech in which the noble Lord had moved the rejection of the Bill, and regretted that he would be unable to follow him into the Lobby should the noble Lord carry his protest to a Division, a course which he hoped would not be adopted, and for this reason. He thought he could express the opinion of many who were connected with trade, that however just and right it might be to criticise the details of the Bill, they would not like to be considered for a moment as objecting to the principle of any Bill calculated to safeguard the lives and limbs of men engaged in dangerous occupations, or as denying the claim to compensation of men who were injured while so employed. On this ground he would be unable to vote with the noble Lord. The reason why he had ventured to trespass on the indulgence of their Lordships for a short time was because, owing to the rules of Debate he was unable to reply—he knew it would have been a feeble reply—to the very able speech, as his speeches invariably were, with which the Prime Minister wound up the Debate on Tuesday week. So able were the criticisms of the noble Marquess upon the comments put forward by noble Lords who did not agree with the details of the Bill, that if he did not try to prove that some of his arguments were open to objection, it might be considered, after the great ability with which the noble Marquess advocated the Measure, that the speech was unanswerable, and the line taken in opposition absolutely indefensible. In the first place a word or two on a somewhat personal matter. The noble Marquess in the kindest possible manner informed him that he had been guilty of a want of 1430 political prudence in not having recognised the fact that Mr. Chamberlain was the spokesman of the Conservative Party. He acknowledged himself guilty of that want of political prudence, but it was due to the fact that he had not been blessed with the gift of extraordinary foresight in regard to political matters. For years past he had read the speeches of the noble Marquess with the admiration and respect they deserved, and there were portions of those speeches indelibly impressed on his memory. He confessed it was with profound astonishment he heard spoken of as the spokesman of the Conservative Party a right hon. Gentleman who some years ago was described in totally different language by the noble Marquess. His mind reverted to a speech made by the noble Marquess at Watford in 1883, in which he commented at considerable length on the advocacy of manhood suffrage, the Dis-establishment of the English Church, and the views held by Mr. Chamberlain. He went on to express his surprise that with Mr. Chamberlain expressing such views Lord Granville and Lord Hartington should sit in the same Cabinet with him, and he epitomised his remarks—not to weary the House by quoting at length—by saying—the exhibition was seen of Mr. Chamberlain uttering the wildest and most extreme opinions, and yet remaining the colleague of men whose horror of these opinions is well known. If no measure he taken in regard to it, if they continue to sit quietly by his side in the Cabinet, you may depend upon it being the beginning of the sure decay in Parliamentary Government of the system under winch you have flourished so well.A month later, alluding to Mr. Chamberlain, in a speech made at Dorchester, the noble Marquess said:—But it is in domestic politics very many of us must feel with respect to the legislation which has gone on for some time past, that it is moving silently, perhaps, but steadily in a direction that is little to our minds. We are upon an inclined plane. An inclined plane leads us from the position of Lord Harlington to the position of Mr. Chamberlain, and from the position of Mr. Chamberlain to the depths over which Mr. Henry George reigns supreme.Though, therefore, he pleaded guilty to want of political prudence, he did not think the offence was absolutely unpardonable if he failed to recognise after 1431 these remarks that Mr. Chamberlain was the spokesman of the Conservative Party. ["Hear, hear!"] There was another remark the noble Marquess made, and he put it forward in all fairness, and it appeared at first sight a very plausible point. The noble Marquess—he would not say jeered—but considered it somewhat ridiculous for the coal-owning interest to look with dismay on an increase of 2d. a ton in the cost of production if the Bill became law. The remark was a perfectly fair one, the question of 2d. a ton must seem infinitesimally small, and noble Lords having no practical experience of the coal trade might naturally say, "What an outcry of coalowners about a paltry 2d. a ton." Upon this he desired to say a few words. He ventured during Debate on the Second Reading to point out that on an average production of 500 tons a day it meant an increase of expenditure of £1,125 per annum, a large sum for a colliery struggling for existence, and with hardly any margin, and his noble Friend, who was the largest colliery owner in Durham, would contradict him if he was wrong in saying that with an increase of 2d. a ton in the cost of production his collieries would cost him £17,000 more. To add this 2d. a ton, though it might seem ridiculously small, meant a very large sum to an owner struggling to maintain his colliery in working. There were three or four collieries now out of working in the county of Durham, where the difference of 2d. a ton less in cost of production would mean they would still be at work, giving employment to a large number of men. The amount did seem infinitesimal, but the House should understand what it meant. The noble Marquess went on very justly to say he had referred to Consular Reports, and that they showed how exaggerated the notion was of a burden of 2d. a ton. Genoa, he said, afforded a fair representation of what was going on in the Mediterranean, and coal prices there varied from 8s. 3d. in December to 5s. 11d. in September.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
said he supposed that was so. The noble Marquess remarked that with such a wide difference 2d. a ton would have little effect. But the variations in the price 1432 of coal were very considerable as between summer and winter. Prices were very different when the days were long to what they were when days were short, when weather was warm and when weather was cold, but he reminded their Lordships that considerable differences in price were taken into calculation in considering the cost of production, and the cost of production went on over the whole year. The same result occurred with other productions, and he might bring the fact home to their Lordships by reference to agricultural produce. He had been looking through the statistics showing the average prices of British corn per quarter of eight Imperial bushels in England and Wales as ascertained under the "Corn Returns Act 1882." The prices of wheat in 1896 were, in the, week ending August 29, 22s. 4d. per quarter; in the week ending September 26, 24s. 4d.; in the week ending October 31, 30s. 9d.; and in the week ending November 28, 33s. 4d. per quarter. So that in four months there was a difference of 11s. per quarter. This was a larger difference in regard to wheat than was shown in the figures quoted in regard to coal, yet he had no doubt that any British farmer would declare that it would be ruinous to his interest to put a burden of an extra shilling upon him. for growing wheat, though the figures were proportionally much higher. The noble Marquess went on to say:—To my mind, the great attraction of this Bill is that I believe it will turn out a great machinery for the saving of life.If that were to be the result he would be the last to say a word against it, for he fully agreed that the saving of life, the prevention of accidents, was the one question to which all owners and employers should devote themselves, and to which he maintained they had devoted themselves. He was glad to think there was an Act to provide for the greatest possible precautions in, and the closest inspection of mines, and the establishment of rules and regulations, to break which was absolutely criminal, and in addition it was to the interest of owners themselves, apart from their philanthropic feelings, to watch and carefully guard the safety of the men in their employ. But would this Measure prevent accidents, would it lead to greater precautions 1433 being taken? He did not think that greater precautions could be taken. He thought he had shown their Lordships that it would not be the means of preventing accidents. There was the experience of other countries to show that the higher the compensation the greater the number of accidents, the greater the number of applications. The noble Marquess, replying to a deputation of members of Provident Societies in 1893, in reference to Mr. Asquith's Bill, used these words:—When it is said that the existence of the Act will be a great inducement to employers to prevent accidents, I think those who say so have forgotten how easy it is for employers to protect themselves from the pecuniary result of those accidents by insurance.It was not a question of insurance against pecuniary loss; these pecuniary losses would not prevent accidents, and owners felt that, while they felt that their interests were unjustly treated. Their Lordships would remember that in Debate on the Second Beading he asked his noble Friend who so ably introduced the Bill to say what deputation had waited upon the Home Secretary, what request had been made by any body of men for the introduction of this Measure. His noble Friend could not then give an answer, and said he would make inquiry, but the question was coming to ass end, and he had yet to learn whence came the demand for the Bill, and that the working men of the country had given any decided opinion in its favour. He had already stated that Mr. Wilson, the Secretary of the Durham Miners' Association, and Mr. Pickard, of the North Riding, had declared, as representing the miners' interests, that they did not want the Bill. Additional proof was given by Mr. Wilson, the Secretary of the Durham Miners' Association, and largely connected with the mining population of Northumberland, in an address to the Miners' Association, on Saturday, in the course of which he said:—Here was a Bill now in the hands of the House of Lords, which had never been demanded, never asked for by any single body of workmen in the country. There had never been a conference or a congress, there was not an association of workmen which had asked for that Bill. All that they had asked for was a Bill to make 1434 the employer liable for every accident for which he was responsible, either by employing defective machinery, or employing careless workmen. With that they would have been satisfied. Mr. Wilson went on to say,This Bill said that for every accident that happened in the mine, whether caused by the act of God, or by carelessness, or by defective machinery, the employers should pay for it. This was unjust to the employers, and what was unjust to the employers could not be just to the workmen.Those were the words, not of a Conservative employer of labour, but of an advanced Radical. ["Hear, hear!"] The rev. Prelate who had just addressed them seemed to think that employers were taking a very pessimistic view with regard to the future of this Bill. He sincerely trusted they were. Nothing would give him and the noble Lords with whom he was acting greater pleasure than to find after the lapse of years that they were wrong in their calculations, that they had overestimated the dangers of the Measure, and that their apprehensions were groundless. He feared, however, that that pleasure was not in store for them.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
I suppose that as a matter of courtesy I ought to make some observations in answer to the speech of my noble Friend Lord Wemyss, but I feel that I am hampered by the difficulty that I can say nothing which has not been said before. I can scarcely say anything in my own defence which I have not said already. I will only deal with a very small portion of my noble Friend's speech. In those portions of his speech where he counts up the gains or the losses in the electioneering contest, where he decides which interest is pleased with us and which interest is angry with us, I decline to follow him; he is asking me to a servitude which I decline to accept. lint with many of his views I sympathise to a certain extent and under limitations, but I demur to the idea which appears to haunt him, that by classifying the Measure whose merits are under discussion with other Measures of whose demerits he is convinced, he thereby condemns the Measure he is attacking. It is perfectly true he objected, and I objected, to the disturbance clauses of the Act of 1870, but what has that to do with the merits of 1435 the Bill before the House? ["Hear, hear!"] My Lords, he has quoted many distinguished persons, Mr. Cowen and Mr. Middleton, whose name I was somewhat surprised to hear in this discussion. I doubt whether the information which has been carried to the noble Lord of Mr. Middleton's observations was stamped with the accuracy which he would desire. The objection to this Bill, as far as I can analyse it, is twofold—the objection I mean, not on account of the interests which rightly or wrongly, imagine themselves to be menaced, but the objection on the ground of economic principle. One of the objections is that the Bill will transfer a burden from one set of people to another and is thereby interfering with their rights of property. The other objection is that it fetters that liberty which we ought above all things to cherish in the lives and in the fortunes of our working classes. With respect to the transfer of property, I have already pointed out to my noble Friend that it is not the proposed Bill that is Socialistic, but the existing state of things which it will replace. My noble Friend always imagines that the Poor Law is free from all the objections of Socialism.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
A social Act, but it is an Act which traverses all the principles my noble Friend is so fond of laying down, and which puts on the State the duty of providing that which, according to his principles, the individual should provide for himself. That is what the Poor Law has done. I do not say that in strict principle the Poor Law is in every respect to be defended—there are two important schools upon that subject—but it has been for three centuries part of our social structure, and I think most people will agree that its general influence not only upon the happiness of the people but upon the stability of the country has been advantageous, and not detrimental. ["Hear, hear!"] Now take the Amendment of Lord Rathmore, which seemed so reasonable. What an atrocious and infamous act to make a railway company pay for the action of some person—an entire stranger to the railway company—who has mutilated or killed some person employed on their line. But supposing a man now, under the 1436 existing law, laid a sleeper across the rails and killed an engineman, who paid for the support of the wife and children? The owners and farmers of the fields around who have no interest, or the very smallest possible interest, in the prosperity of the railway which passes through their country. They, at least, are the last people who, according to the strict principle of the noble Lord, ought to pay; and if we have transferred the burden from the ratepayer to the industry we have been guilty, not of a Socialistic act, but of a return to the healthier principles which my noble Friend is so fond of preaching. I refer to the principles of my noble Friend, because I regret the extraordinary line he is taking. I think he discredits the cause—not from any personal quality of his own, but by his action, he discredits the cause which he desires to serve. There is a great danger of Socialism in the present day; it is an inclined plane down which we are tending to move, it is a snare which we should avoid in all our legislation; but it is impossible to cry "Wolf" when there is no wolf there, and if you perpetually cry out "Socialism" whenever an Act for the benefit of the people is introduced, you do not weaken the Socialistic propaganda by so doing. On the contrary, you destroy the argument which will be used against it, and you give to every Socialist reasoner a basis for saying that the arguments against his views are simply imaginary, and pointing to your own extravagances as his proof. I think that is the great danger of such language as my noble Friend has used with regard to this Bill and one or two Bills besides. To my mind the line which is to be drawn in dealing with State interferences is largely affected, if not entirely governed, by the question whether you are saving property or saving life. ["Hear, hear!"] My noble Friend is the head of an organisation—I have sometimes thought he is the only member of an organisation—[laughter]—called the Liberty of Property League. The name is a most just one. Where property is in question I am guilty, like him, of erecting individual liberty as an idol, and of resenting all attempts to destroy or fetter it; but when you pass from liberty to life, in no well-governed State, in no State governed according to the 1437 principles of common humanity, are the claims of mere liberty allowed to endanger the lives of the citizens. ["Hear, hear!"] Look at the tyranny, according to such principles, with which you deal with sailors. You do not allow men to go to sea in any cranky ship they please; they are endangering their own lives and they are endangering the lives of other men, and for that reason their liberty must be restrained, and the State must be satisfied that the ship they go to sea in is fit to use. The same consideration applies to railways, applies to mines, applies to a thousand other things. The State lets a right and it is the duty of the State, to see to those interests which are represented by safety of the and limb in all its citizens, and the claims of property to be free from interference, however high you put those claims, must bow and give way at once if the lives of the citizens of the State are in question. Those who would examine on what road we are travelling I would ask not only to consider our progress, a lamentable progress to some extent, I admit, on the road of Socialistic development, but also to consider that series of enactments, commencing with the first successes of Lord Shaftesbury, winch have dime so much to save life and health amongst vast masses of our artisan population. That is a distinct movement. They are not isolated Acts; one has followed another. At their introduction they were met by fears of the same kind as those which my noble Friend has expressed. Their unlimited spread was freely prophesied, and every kind of danger was pointed out as likely to result from their enactment, and such fears mastered even the masculine minds of men like Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Bright. But the prophecies have not come true. On the other hand, great interests have been served, an unexpected amount of health and freedom from the causes of diseases or of death has Been introduced into our artisan population, their prosperity has been enormously increased, and, though efforts are occasionally made—the wisdom of which one is inclined to doubt—to extend the principle of those Acts further than the circumstances of the case will justify you in doing, Parliament has never moved with a hasty or rash or reckless step, but has always 1438 considered, with the utmost circumspection, the advance it thought it right to make in order to satisfy its supreme duty of protecting life even at a temporary cost of money. If anybody, doubts the effect of this great series of legislation, I would ask him—it is not a very severe task to put upon him—to cast his eye over Mr. Disraeli's novel "Sybil." There is in that novel a most striking picture of the straits to which our manufacturing population was reduced at that time. Compare the picture drawn there to the picture you may see now and you will see that the interference of the State, judiciously and carefully applied and with due circumspection, without fanaticism, hurry, or passion, may have a most enormous and most salutary and gratifying result in exalting the health and increasing the happiness of the people. It is very dangerous to apply the language of formula, the language of rigid principles as they are called, to discussions of this kind, and where the interests of life are in question it is very dangerous to dwell too much on the interests of property, as though they could be weighed in equal balances against each other. Such is not the case. I should be sorry to lay down in answer to the general principle of my noble Friend any general principles in return; but I do strongly demur to the accusations, not veiled accusations of mere interested motives, which he has flung at men who have desired to remedy great evils and to remove a great stain from our industries, and who in doing so have transgressed no right of property that had a claim to be regarded, and who certainly may be supported in their hopes by reflection on the splendid results which in the past in dealing with a closely analogous case have followed the efforts, even bold efforts, of those who desired to remedy and prevent some of the hardest injuries by which mankind is afflicted. [Cheers.]
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
My Lords, the closing words of the noble Marquess were that this was an analogous case to the well-known Factory Acts. That is a proposition I entirely deny. [Cheers.] I do not yield to the noble Marquess in my admiration of those—they were Conservatives, at least Lord Shaftesbury was—who introduced the system of Factory Acts; but the Factory Acts 1439 were Acts for the purpose of seeing that factories were so conducted as to secure as far as possible the health of those who were employed, and the limitation of hours, which was one of the most contested portions of those Acts, was called for because it was thought that in the case of women and children the length of hours was not consistent with the health of those employed. ["Hear, hear!"] The noble Marquess repeatedly described the Bill before us as a Bill for the protection of life and limb. I find nothing in the Bill which is for the protection of life and limb. Before this Bill was introduced negligence in the employer rendered him liable, under conditions no doubt not legally entirely satisfactory, but rendered him liable to compensate the employed, and so far it was a strong inducement to him to see that accidents were not caused by his negligence. What does this Bill do? The very object of the Bill is to eliminate the question of negligence for the most part, and to say that in all cases those who suffer from accidents shall be compensated or their families when the accident is fatal. Where is there in that any additional safeguard for life and limb? It is when the life has been sacrificed or the limb has been hurt that in one case the family is secured, very properly I think, in a certain provision, and in the other case, if the man is prevented from continuing his employment or is not able to earn the same wages, he also will receive an indemnity which the employer will have to provide. But where is the security against the accident itself? It is a security against the consequences of the accident. ["Hear, hear!"] I believe myself that there will be under this Bill no sensible increase whatever in the inducements to employers to prevent accidents which may occur. Therefore I entirely deny that the noble Marquis has a sound basis for his argument when he puts it on this being a Bill for the protection of life and limb, or that this Bill is on all fours with the legislation he calls analogous. ["Hear, hear!"] The object of the noble Marquess in introducing these arguments was to counteract the argument of my noble Friend on the cross Benches, that this is, as he termed it, a Socialistic Measure. The noble 1440 Marque ss referred to the Poor Law. I am not any more enamoured than the noble Marquess of the practice of calling Measures by opprobrious names; but if we are to term Measures Socialistic, then I say that the Poor Law was undoubtedly a Socialistic law, and further, that this Bill is directly an extension of the same principle. The Poor Law provides that no man shall suffer from want of shelter, food, or clothing. This Bill will provide that no man shall suffer from an accident that may befall him in the means of maintenance for himself or his family. The principle is the same. The difference is that in one case the State provides subsistence.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I call it the State, whether the relief be given out of the rates or out of the taxes. There is no denying that rates and taxes are not the same thing, but rates must be considered to be levied from a public source by taxes imposed on certain property in this country, and we have more and more, and, I think properly, gone in the direction of relieving that particular class of property from what is considered an undue burden thrown upon it. As I said before, I believe this must be recognised as a State affair—["hear, hear!"]—and I do not believe in the justice or fairness of throwing on the employers exclusively the results of accidents they will not have the means of preventing—not merely throwing upon them, which I think would be just, the results of accidents caused by their own negligence, but throwing on them individually, on each particular employer or company, the new burden of having to provide for those accidents the result of which they cannot in a large number of cases prevent by any means in their power. I say it may be Socialistic—I am not frightened by the word—but if the people of this country are persuaded that it is not too great a burden for the country to bear to relieve the working men in these trades—or it may be in all trades—from the result of accidents, then I say that it would be perfectly fair and just, if the country so decides, that the public purse should bear the burden. It will then be distributed over all the employers of the country, and what is more, to a considerable extent over the workmen themselves. That may be 1441 Socialistic, but it would be fair and just, and although I approve of the principle of this Bill because it does make a provision for the workman, I do not approve of the manner in which the principle is carried into effect. The noble Marquess used one argument which I cannot help introducing. He alluded to the case of an engine-driver going from London to Birmingham, who was killed in consequence of an obstruction placed on the railway. The noble Marquess said that the result of that accident would be to entail now the payment of the maintenance of that engine - driver's family by some parish through which the engine passed.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
The noble Marquess knows that it is exceedingly improbable that the engine-driver's family would be residing in a small rural parish. They would be far more likely to be living in a large town. I do not think—although I must freely acknowledge that the rating argument is an extremely ingenious one—that it has very much bottom in it or that it will support such a superstructure as tins Bill creates. We may have our own opinion as to the consistency of various public men, but I think on the occasion of a Bill of this kind it is more to the purpose to consider the bearings of the Measure itself and its effect on the interests of the whole nation than the particular course pursued by certain public men or the result it may have on the interests of our Party warfare. Holding the general view I do that the Bill, as far as it goes in giving compensation, is one that may properly pass, I shall not be able to vote with my noble Friend against the Bill. [Cheers.]
The House divided on the Question that "now" stand part of the Motion.
§ Resolved in the affirmative.1442
§ LORD BELPER
moved to add to Subsection (6) the words:—in the case of the death or refusal, or inability to act of an arbitrator, the Judge of the County Court may, on the application of either party, appoint a new arbitrator.Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made: In Subsection (7), after "sent," insert the words "in runner prescribed by the rules of Court" after "shall" ["who shall"], insert the words "subject to such rules"; leave out "charge" and insert "fee"; in Sub-section (9), add at end of the Subsection:—and such rules may be made by the five Judges of the County Courts appointed for the making of rules under Section one hundred and sixty-four of the County Courts Act 1888, and when allowed by the Lord Chancellor, as provided by that section, shall have full effect without any further consent."—(Lord Belper.)
§ LORD JAMES OF HEREFORD
said that in the words which had been added to the second schedule as follows:—or deduct any amount for costs from the said sum awarded, except such sum as may be awarded in the arbitration on an application made by either party to determine the amount of costs to be paid to the said solicitor or agent, such sum to be awarded subject to taxation and to the scale of costs prescribed by rules of court,the words "in the arbitration" had been inadvertently used. He moved their omission, and the insertion in their place of the words by the Arbitrator or the County Court Judge."
Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
said he desired to call attention to what was probably the unforeseen effect of leaving out the word "employer" in Clause 3, about which there had been a little discussion. If the Committee of the workmen managing a fund or scheme mismanaged it, the Registrar of Friendly Societies, on it being shown to him that the scheme was Lot properly managed, had no alternative but to revoke the scheme, and as a 1443 consequence the original liability reverted back to the employer. Therefore the workman had only to mismanage a scheme in order to bring about the end of that scheme. He hardly thought that was a result which the Government foresaw.
§ LORD JAMES OF HEREFORD
thought his noble and learned Friend was raising a false objection. The objection seemed to be that the workmen might intentionally mismanage their own scheme—
§ LORD HERSCHELL
No; I do not mean that. He had no particular love for the clause, and he only interposed because he thought the Amendment might have gone further than the Government intended.
§ LORD JAMES OF HEREFORD
said there was an opportunity of considering the point elsewhere, and it would be considered elsewhere.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
Do I understand the noble Lord to desire that a scheme should go on after it had been proved that it was mismanaged? [Laughter].
§ LORD HERSCHELL
No; I do not desire it should go on; but I thought the Amendment of the Government might have a larger effect than the Government intended. My only desire was to assist the Government. I am sorry now I spoke. [Laughter].
Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.