Debate on the Motion of the Earl of DUNRAVEN to resolve: —
That in view of the Report of the Departmental Committee of the India Office of the 20th day of February 1897, it is, in the opinion of this House, urgently necessary that an inquiry be made into the effect of contagious diseases upon the Forces of the Crown, the civil population, and the native races within Her Majesty's dominions, and into the nature and results of the measures which, are or have been in force in this and other countries for the prevention of such diseases.
§ Resumed (according to Order).
§ *LORD REAY
said that no one who had been responsible for any part of the administration of India could fail to recognise the extreme gravity of this question. The whole tendency of modern legislation was in favour of making the public acquainted with the laws of hygiene and of enforcing hygienic conditions. They segregated lunatics, lepers, habitual drunkards; and there seemed to be no reason why the same principle should not prevail in this case. This protection of the public health was due to the conviction that society in self-defence had to legislate the progress of medicine had placed at their disposal effectual means for dealing with this disease, and the object of the measures contemplated in the Secretary of State's Dispatch seemed to him to be to diffuse these means and to place them at the disposal of those who required them, and to leave no excuse for neglect, the result of ignorance. He hoped that the re-opening of the hospitals would be among the first steps to be taken, and that every inducement would be held out to visit these hospitals. Apart from the general considerations which governed this matter, there were special considerations which applied to India. In India the causes which operated in favour of restraint were not as strong as they were in this country. The factor of racial difference was a very important one to 582 take into account, and their obligations as the ruling race could not be overlooked. From the very nature of the circumstances they were exposed in India to constant criticism by very subtle minds of everything which was left undone by the State. In India, besides, private initiative was much weaker than it was in this country; and what was left to the numerous charitable and benevolent agencies in this country must in India be undertaken by the State; hence the Government of India undertook a great many duties and functions which in this country were left to private initiative. At this very time our Indian Administrators were grappling, and he trusted sucessfully, with famine and plague. This scourge was more serious than the bubonic fever. The latter was not concealed, not chronic, and capable of prophylactic treatment. This visitation was permanent, occult, insidious. The utmost vigilance was needed. Another and most important aspect of this question was the moral aspect. They removed their young soldiers from those influences which surrounded their homes, and from which they were not removed where the Army system left them to serve with the colours in their own districts, and with men taken from all classes of society. They were removed to other parts of the world, to other climatic conditions, to surroundings which in many respects were not conducive to a high moral standard. He fully recognised what had been done for their benefit, but in this direction certainly more could and should be done. He had been very pleased to hear what the noble and gallant Lord had said of the Presbyterian chaplain at Meerut. He believed that more instances could be given of similar efforts by Army chaplains and by commanding officers. It was by individual effort and example that they would he able to strike at the root of this evil; and, if it was important to mitigate its results, it was certainly more important to remove its causes, to create a healthy environment, to improve the moral tone. The whole tone of society had been altered with regard to intemperance; that precedent was encouraging for those who believed that other evils might be grappled with in the same way—evils which struck at the vigour of our race. He heartily 583 endorsed, therefore, the instructions which had been given to the Government of India in the 14th paragraph of the Secretary of State's Dispatch. There was no antagonism between the scientific means and the moral means which could be used to prevent and to cure disease. There was a double duty to be discharged by the combined forces of State agency and of moral and religious agency. The Government of India had a perfect right to expect that in their renewed endeavours to deal with this evil they should have all the support which could be given them both here and in India in order to remove this frightful blot on our civilisation. He agreed with the noble Earl opposite, the Under Secretary of State, that there was no further need for inquiry. The evidence contained in the Papers which had been laid on the Table seemed to him to be overwhelming; and delay seemed unwarrantable after the representations received from the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons showing that immediate action was necessary. One of the conditions, if not one of the foundations, of our rule in India was moral prestige; and he saw in the Instructions which had been given to the Government of India by Her Majesty's Government an endeavour to strengthen our moral prestige. [" Hear, hear! "]
§ *LORD LISTER
, on rising to address the House for the first time, was received with cheers. He said: It is not necessary for me to add to the evidence already brought before your Lordships as to the appalling gravity of the subject referred to in the Resolution of the noble Earl or to the tremendous importance of syphilitic disease and its far-reaching effects, not only to the person who contracts it, but to innocent women and children and to future generations. On this point I make one remark, that there is perhaps no more difficult thing for a surgeon to do than to give advice to a man when it is safe for him to enter into matrimony when he has once contracted syphilis. I cordially welcome the action that has been taken by the Secretary for India in his recent Dispatch enacting that, venereal disease shall no longer be allowed to run riot in the Army in India, as it has of late years, but that it shall be dealt with on the same principles as small-pox and other 584 contagious or infectious diseases. I confess that for my part I should have been well pleased to have waited for the regulations which I believe the authorities in India are endeavouring to make, in accordance with the Dispatch of the Secretary of State, to see how far those regulations might be really efficient for the great object in view; but as the matter has been brought forward, I feel bound to say that the Dispatch has been hampered with restrictions which I cannot help fearing will seriously interfere with its utility. I will only refer to two of those restrictions. It is stated that there must be no compulsory and periodical examination of women, and the Dispatch proceeds to say that the cantonment rules which are in operation for other contagious or infectious diseases shall come into operation as regards venereal disease. Rule 5 says that—If the medical officer for the time being in charge of any such hospital is informed, on testimony which he believes to be credible, that any person living in the cantonment is suffering from cholera, typhoid, smallpox, &c., he may, by notice, require such person to attend at the hospital at a time to be mentioned in such notice.Then Rule 6 says—If any person on whom any such notice as is mentioned in the last preceding rule shall have been served shall refuse or neglect to attend at the hospital in pursuance of such notice, he shall be deemed to be suffering from such disease as aforesaid, and to have refused to go to the hospital.And then, Rule 7 sets forth that on the representation of the medical officer to the cantonment magistrate that such refusal has occurred, the person concerned who has refused may be expelled from the cantonment. Now, with regard to such diseases as small-pox, this regulation is, of course, perfectly satisfactory. Such a disease and the others enumerated carry upon their face the evidence of their existence by symptoms that any medical man can at once discern. But with venereal disease the case is totally different. In the early stages of the complaint, in which it is of the most essential consequence that it should be recognised—for efficient treatment depends upon early recognition—there is no general effect whatsoever produced upon the system. 585 The person appears to all ordinary examination perfectly healthy, and it is only by special examination, which it is enacted shall not be compulsory, that evidence of the disease can be obtained. How can any notice be given to the medical man that a person has such a disease? Who is to give the notice? In truth it is the fact of prostitution, not evidence of the presence of venereal disease, on which the authorities must proceed. It may possibly be said that the Dispatch of the Secretary of State may be so construed that the mere fact of prostitution may be regarded as affording reasonable probability that the disease exists, and, therefore, justifying action. If that be the construction put upon the Dispatch my objection on that point would of course fall to the ground; but this is just one of the matters on which I should have liked to have waited to see how the regulations could be framed. If they can be framed in the sense I have referred to they may be so far efficacious. Then as to periodical examination. Suppose that any woman affected with venereal disease has been examined, treated and cured, after a certain time there will be just the same reason for re-examination to ascertain whether she may not be again diseased as there was in the first instance, and, therefore, in order that the regulations may be effectual, there must be periodical examination. If it be said that this would be very like the reintroduction of the Contagious Diseases Acts, I must frankly confess that I have no objection in principle to these Acts. [" Hear, hear!"] It is admitted on all hands that prostitution cannot be dealt with criminally as an offence; but on the other hand if any woman chooses to place herself in such a position as to become a notorious source of serious danger to the community it seems to me only reasonable that public steps should be taken to minimise that danger. The Contagious Diseases Acts required that in order that any woman might be subjected compulsorily to examination a magistrate must be satisfied by sufficient evidence that she was a notorious prostitute. Of course, if there was any deficiency in the Act, not giving the woman charged the most ample chance of refuting the charge, that, of course, should be amended, but as 586 regards the principle there seems to me nothing to be objected to. In the Act of 1866 there was one matter which I did not like, and that was that when the woman had been treated and was pronounced to be clear of the disease, she received a certificate of such healthiness which she was to carry about with her. Now that, I confess, savours pretty strongly of public licensing of immoral conduct, but in the Act of 1869 that was done away with. The certificate was no longer given to the woman but to the police authorities, and this surely was perfectly right, with a view to the necessary periodical examinations. The Acts made special provision for chaplains to attend the women under treatment in hospital, with a view to their moral improvement. And I have been informed, on what I believe to be credible testimony, that it was not a rare thing for them to be restored to a virtuous course of life; and this does not surprise me. I know as a hospital surgeon how very wholesome a moral influence residence in hospital does exert upon people of the lower classes. I have often thought a severe accident might often have been a blessing in disguise to these poor people, who have, perhaps, first learnt what respect and gratitude are. For I am proud to say in the medical profession the same humane and kindly care is given to the most degraded as to the most exalted. [Cheers.] And surely it was a most merciful thing to provide treatment for these women free of charge, and cure them of their loathsome diseases. I have a very old friend whom I highly respect, a clergyman, who, at the time the Contagious Diseases Acts were in operation, knew many clergymen connected with, the towns where the Acts were in force, and he tells me that without one solitary exception all those persons expressed approval of the effects of those Acts. [Cheers.] If we turn to the effects upon the disease as such, I have been given to understand that medical men who visited the Lock Hospital in London at the time when it was used not only for ordinary cases but also for cases under the Contagious Diseases Acts, were struck with the extraordinary contrast between the two classes, as, indeed, must necessarily have been the case. The Government cases were, as a rule, very mild ones, 587 because they had been taken in the early stages of the disease, while the converse was seen in the poor creatures who had come in of their own accord because they could walk the streets no longer. I have received a letter from a gentleman who has been for 14 years in medical practice in Brisbane in Australia, and who has now returned to England. He was in a peculiarly favourable position for judging of the effects of the Acts. At the outset he had a great objection to it on moral grounds, and when he first went there he took the chair at a public meeting in, opposition to the Act. The Act, however, was not abolished, and he now speaks in unqualified approval of the effect of the Act in the town of Brisbane, venereal diseases in the whole community having become immensely reduced, not only in number, but in virulence; so that when any virulent case occurred they were able to trace it to outside places, where the Act did not operate. His only objection to the Act its that, as he says, the women are humbled, while nothing is done to deal with the men who may reinfect them. I confess that objection seems a somewhat sentimental one as regards the civil population, because, in the first place, I do not think the poor women need complain very much of the way in which they are treated; and, in the second place, to deal with the men in the civil population on the same lines is an absolute impossibility. But, on the other hand, this is by no means impossible in the Army—["hear, hear !"]—and I was exceedingly glad to hear that Lord Roberts approved of periodical inspection of the soldiers. I can conceive no objection whatsoever to such a course; only let it be done, not, as I am told it is sometimes done, in a sort of parade, where the young fellows seem rather to glory in having such diseases, but let every soldier be introduced, as it were solemnly, into the surgeon's room and examined on the understanding that it is a very, very serious matter. Every recruit is examined in this way. Those who are diseased would certainly have no ground of complaint; and those who are healthy may be made to feel that by undergoing these examinations they are contributing to the general good. Such periodic inspections of the men would unquestionably remove a great source of contamination, and render the Act still more beneficial. For my 588 part, therefore, I see no objection to the Act; on the contrary, I think it was a most beneficent one; and I cannot help on this occasion expressing the hope that at no distant period it may be reintroduced into this country. [Cheers.] But, then, it is said, supposing it has worked well in this country, it has been a failure in India. No doubt in India it has not done all that was expected of it. One of the reasons for this is the short-service system already alluded to by other speakers, and the more frequent moving of the troops. And to these must be added, as a. most important element, the imperfect and partial manner in which the Acts have been worked. With regard to this point I have important evidence from Surgeon-General Payne, who had medical control of the working of the Acts in Calcutta from 1869 to 1879, the former year being that in which the Acts came into operation. The Cantonment Act, which was introduced in 1864, did not apply to Fort William, but to the civil population of Calcutta only, and so acted only in an indirect way on the health of the soldiers. In a Dispatch to the India Office Surgeon-General Payne writes: —The garrison of Fort William in 1872 illustrated the worst effects of a newly-arrived regiment bringing disease to those sections of the town which the soldiers frequent. At the close of 1871 the men of the 19th Foot left Calcutta, after two years' residence, almost without a case of syphilis. The headquarters' wing of the 114th Regiment took its place, coming from Cawnpore, where the men had suffered heavily from the disease. They were not inspected on their arrival. From their arrival to the end of April there were many cases admitted into hospital… By the end of April the mischief was arrested. … The health of the garrison forcibly exemplified all that has been said, here and elsewhere, of the effect of the movement of troops. I had ventured to predict that the year 1873 would find the 114th Regiment as free from disease as their predecessors had become. The event fully justified the prediction, and, on the arrival of the 3rd Buffs, our former experience was utilised by the regimental authorities. There were 12 or 13 venereal cases under treatment at the time, and at my suggestion, an inspection of the entire regiment was held. It resulted in the detection and removal to hospital of between 30 and 40 cases, and no new cases occurred for months afterwards.This seems to me to be most important evidence. ["Hear, hear!"] It is further stated by the same authority that within the first four years during which the Act was in operation under 589 his supervision, taking cases of primary disease originating in Calcutta, the percentage was reduced from 7 per cent. to 1.4 per cent. That is exceedingly important evidence as to what, even in India, can be done if the Acts are energetically and properly worked. ["Hear, hear!"] I am aware that in remote districts there may be especial difficulties; but I am pleased beyond measure to hear Lord Roberts state that in his opinion, without anything that can be fairly construed as a direct encouragement of vice, measures might be taken in the cantonments which would have the effect of enormously diminishing the evil of which we are speaking. I trust, therefore, my Lords, whether the Inquiry which the noble Lord has requested be instituted or not—and I confess I myself would rather see it deferred, for fear it might appear, as in the case of the Vaccination Commission, to hold out the idea that the case was not sufficiently proved—[cheers]—I trust, whether the Inquiry be instituted or not, that this House will give distinct encouragement to the Government of India to persevere in the good and Christian course on which they have entered. [Cheers.]
§ *LORD PLAYFAIR
said that the speech of his distinguished Friend who had just addressed the House was very important from a medical point of view. But he thought that Lord Lister did not give sufficient importance to the fact that, unless the new regulations were made sufficiently consonant with public feeling, it would be impossible, without a great struggle, to carry them into effective operation either in this country or in India. ["Hear, hear!"] Public opinion was now risng very much in favour of effective measures being taken to remove what was a great scandal to the nation. The evidence was perfectly conclusive as to the increase, not only in extent, but in malignancy, of the disease among our troops in India; and the public should never forget what a disease it is. It is a disease which the great specialist Ricord described as "the most terrible contagion which ever threatened mankind." It is terrible to the sufferer and to his descendants. Ordinary diseases exhausted their ill effects on the persons attacked by them; but syphilis descended to innocent children of parents tainted by it, either by direct transmission or by the 590 degeneration of their constitution. Other diseases which followed from it on account of degeneracy of constitution had very much increased. The public should satisfy themselves on one point—it had been conclusively proved that the disease could be controlled by hygienic agencies. Those agencies had failed of recent years, because they had not been properly and efficiently carried out. The disease, in its major form, was prevented to a great extent in all the armies of European nations, while England was the only nation which allowed it to be dangerously prevalent among its soldiers, both at home and abroad. When the German army had succeeded in reducing the ratio of syphilis to 5½ per 1,000, was it not scandalous that the English Army at home should have a ratio of about 100 to the 1,000, and that in India of at least 175 per 1,000? ["Hear, hear!"] No doubt service in an Eastern country rendered it more difficult to repress the disease; but other countries had to encounter these difficulties. The Dutch soldiers serving in the East Indies suffered from the minor forms of venereal disease to a large extent, but they kept under control the major form of the disease, which prevailed only to one-third of the extent among our British troops. The Dutch army in the East Indies formerly had a ratio of syphilitic disease among their troops of 47 in 1,000, but this had been reduced in recent years to37 per 1,000; while the English Army in India had a ratio of 175 to 1,000, and this had increased in recent years to 259 per 1,000. It was obvious that our bad administration of hygienic measures was responsible for the state of the British Army in India. Racial differences no doubt largely influenced the susceptibility of individuals in regard to the disease; but even these could not explain why, for all forms of venereal disease, the Japanese army had the low ratio of 34 to 1,000, while the British Army in India had 500 to 1,000. The United Kingdom might justly boast that since 1845 it had led the way in all sanitary reforms, and had greatly improved the health and lessened the mortality, while it increased the working ability of all classes of the population. There was only this exception—that in regard to this one class of diseases, the most repulsive and horrible of all, England stood now far behind all European nations. In the Report of the 591 Departmental Committee the following statement was made: —Improved sanitation has had the very greatest effect upon every disease other than venereal; this alone has not only been unchecked in recent years, but has increased to an extent which is appalling and disastrous.Up to 1887 the sanitary regulations in India, though they were inefficient to extirpate this class of diseases among our soldiers, were at least effective in preventing their increase. But in 1887 Parliament intervened, on account of the supposed State approval of an immoral trade, and since then the obnoxious regulations had been repealed by successive Secretaries of State for India, but no new powers had been given to the military authorities to apply more efficient sanitary measures. There was no want of knowledge as to how the disease could be prevented. There were moral means of prevention; and there were physical means, both excellent when worked in co-operation; but unfortunately they had drifted into a sharp antagonism. ["Hear, hear!"] The religious and moral agencies had tried to impress upon the soldier the heinousness of the sin which led to the disease. Lord Roberts had described the measures which had been adopted to remove soldiers from temptation by establishing reading rooms and regimental workshops, while various means of occupation and recreation had been furnished. Societies for promoting temperance and for repressing vice had done good work in the Army. The fruit of these combined efforts were seen in the general elevation of morality in the Army. Drunkenness and crime had greatly lessened among our soldiers in India. Yet all those social and moral agencies had failed to stay the increase of venereal diseases among our troops. They had failed as completely as the weakened sanitary regulations in use since 1887. The basis of all hygienic measures for preventing the spread of contagious diseases was isolation of the diseased from the healthy, and the application of curative methods to the diseased person. Parliament had in recent years enforced notification of contagious diseases such as cholera, small-pox, scarlet fever, and typhoid from the individual patient to the sanitary authority, which was empowered to see that isolation was effec- 592 tive, either at the home of the patient or in the hospital. This law of notification and isolation had been extended to our Army in India and prevailed in cantonments; but, though applicable to zymotic diseases generally, was no longer applied to the foul and malignant disease of syphilis. Yet it had been known for centuries that isolation was the only effective means of preventing the extension of this disease. Thus in 1497 Edinburgh was violently attacked by syphilis, then called "grandgore," and the Privy Council of Scotland ordered the magistrates of Edinburgh to collect, on a certain day, all the diseased women, accompanied by their doctors, on the sands of Leith, where boats were provided to transport both women and doctors to the island of Inchkeith—[laughter]—and there the women had to remain until the disease was cured on pain of being branded. This was a high-handed isolation, but could only be partially successful, because the diseased men do not seem to have been isolated. Compulsory isolation, as now applied by law to zymotic or filth diseases, ought still more rigorously to be applied to venereal diseases. The military authorities, in regard to venereal diseases, should at least have as full powers as those given by the Diseases Notification Act. They should, therefore, be enabled to discover the cases of disease and to enforce the effective isolation of the diseased. There was a fear that the active interference of the State in grappling with the evils of a dangerous immoral trade, overtly carried on among our soldiers, implied a State recognition and approval of the trade. Recognition there certainly was, but approval was not implied in making regulations for the supervision of any dangerous trades. ["Hear, hear!"] At one time the Church was intrusted with regulating the immoral traffic in cities, but though that involved recognition it did not imply approval of notorious sin. In 1430 the Bishop of Winchester was charged by Ordinance to regulate and supervise 18 houses of bad repute which stood on Bankside, Southwark, but this involved no Episcopal approval of the immoral traffic carried on in them. The Secretary of State for India, in his Dispatch of March 27, had been careful to point out how much more efficient regulations could be applied in the cantonments 593 in India without recurring to those measures which affected the public feeling in this country. If the societies for the prevention of vice were satisfied with these assurances they might aid the authorities very much by co-operating with them in their renewed endeavours, by every form of moral and hygienic agency, to remove the national scandal of our Army being the worst in Europe in regard to those loathsome diseases. The case was urgent, and admitted of no delay. But the Resolution proposed by the noble Lord for a new Inquiry would certainly be used by the opponents of hygienic measures as a justification for further postponing the more active measures promised in the Dispatch of the Secretary of State for India. So far as they went they were good proposals, though they did not go far enough, but if they were effective in removing the antagonism and securing the co-operation of the religious and moral societies which acted on public opinion in 1887 and forced the military authorities to weaken their administration of the regulations, he looked with hope to this new effort of the Government. If it was met in the manly spirit of co-operation indicated in the speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury he would have great hopes of the success of the new measures indicated in the Dispatch. Hygienic prevention and moral prevention could well work in cooperation. He trusted that this would be the spirit which might in future prevail among the societies which arose under different conditions. At present, if he might judge from circulars which he had received in the last few days, they still seemed inclined to retain their old position of antagonism to hygienic regulations. He did not want them to alter their attitude of watchfulness; but why should they not join their means of moral improvement with those of hygienic improvement and help the authorities to restrain a frightful disease which was rapidly increasing in extent and malignancy among our soldiers in India? ["Hear, hear !"]
§ *THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE
My Lords, after the able speeches which you heard on Friday night from Lord Roberts and from the noble Earl who brought the subject forward, and after the admirable way they were supported to a great extent by the Primate, I am hardly justified in 594 intruding myself on your Lordships on this occasion, having no further personal responsibility with matters connected with the Army. But having been so long at the head of the Army, and having had for many years the opportunity of seeing the effects that existed before all those regulations were done away with, I must entreat of you to reflect well before you come to any resolution adverse to what has been brought to your notice by the noble Earl. No one can have any adequate idea of the miserable results produced by the doing away of the regulations, especially in India. But I do not take up this matter from the Army point of view, though that is of the greatest importance; I take it up from the civil point of view. We must always bear in mind I that a large number of young men must now annually return from India; and if they return in a condition to propagate this horrible disease in the civil community at home the misery caused is untold. ["Hear, hear!"] Therefore we ought to lose no time in putting a stop, if possible, to the laxity, or whatever you like to call it, with which this subject has been treated of late years, particularly in India. I have a very strong opinion also that morality would not suffer. I firmly believe, from all I have heard, that many of those poor creatures who formerly suffered, and propagated this miserable disease, absolutely gave up their immoral life as a result of the cure which they had obtained in good hospitals, and because they found that if they continued their immoral life they would become altogether outcasts of the world. The result was that they gave up this very vice which everybody wishes to see modified. I say modified, because the most rev. Prelate will forgive me for saying that you must change human nature before you can get rid of the vice altogether. [" Hear, hear! "] I am afraid even the Bench of Bishops, with his Grace at their head, cannot effect that object, but can only look forward to the mitigation of this vice. I support most fully and entirely the views which were expressed by the most rev. Prelate, but the difficulty is to find the means of effecting his object. Lord Roberts has told you, and I tell you also on the part of the whole Army, that we do everything, and have done everything of late 595 years, to facilitate and make acceptable the barrack life of the soldier. We have introduced—and the noble Marquess near me will, no doubt, if he speaks, express the same view—every sort of recreation and useful occupation and interest that can ameliorate the monotony of barrack life. This has been gradually and is daily being introduced into our service, and more particularly in India, where it is more required even than at home. A great improvement in the soldiers' condition and the soldiers' sentiments has been produced as a result, and it is felt by the military authorities that the more this policy is carried out and the more we do in that direction, the better. This will have a great effect, I hope, in time in producing morality to a greater extent than it exists at this moment among Her Majesty's Forces. I do not believe myself that you can absolutely look forward to any very great mitigation of this miserable condition of things unless you treat the subject fully and fairly on its own merits, or, rather, I should say, its demerits. The demerits are so plain that I cannot conceive that anybody who has right or proper feeling, or delicacy of feeling, can have any doubt on that subject. I can only tell your Lordships that this subject is of such enormous importance to the civil population that not a day, not an hour, should be lost in introducing stringent and decided regulations, and every effort should be made to put a stop to what is really a most miserable and cruel condition of things. Imagine the civil population infected with this miserable disease! A great many of the men who come home are, I know, very seriously diseased. You cannot control them; they go into the civil population; you do not even know what becomes of them; and then they propagate this very horrible disease. This is owing to the laxity, if I may say so, with which we have looked after our men in India. The disease can certainly be controlled in India, though it may not be easy to control it elsewhere. One of the reasons why it is not controlled as it ought to be is, I am sorry to say, that the medical inspections referred to by the noble Lord are not carried out now as they used to be. ["Hear, hear!"] In my early days there was no sort of hesitation in regard to the matter; nobody questioned for a moment that every 596 individual soldier should be inspected once a week. I do not see why this disease is to be treated on a different footing from smallpox, or any other disease the subjects of which are immediately taken to the hospital and there dealt with. Without inspection we are not in a position to deal with this disease because we know nothing about it. Nobody of cither sex would confess to such a disease unless there are means of finding out that it exists. I, for one, was always strongly of opinion that medical inspection was essential, not only in the interests of the Army, but of the population at large. I regret, therefore, more than I can say, that I was not able to carry out those views which I personally entertained. I think we ought to lose no time in the matter. I quite agree with the noble Lord that if it is found essential to go further into details, it should be done, but I should hardly think it was, because I think we have details enough to satisfy any reasonable mind. [Cheers.] If there is a necessity for further statistical information, be it so, but do not on that account delay for an hour or a moment the regulations, rules, and orders which are required. If they are not found strong enough, I hope there will be no hesitation in going even further, although it is distasteful, I know, in many quarters. It is a most fearful thing that the general population of this country should be in danger of infection, and that the happiness of the generations to come should also be endangered. ["Hear, hear!"] It is not only to the present, but to the future, that we must look, and there will be much danger to future generations if something very serious is not done. I have no idea what Her Majesty's Government intend to do, but I hope they mean absolutely to stick to their determination to go on with those regulations which they have already decided to carry out in India. If those are not found sufficient to mitigate the disease, I hope they will go on with stronger regulations and stronger rules, progressing with caution and prudence, and without hurry, in order to reduce it in every way that is possible. In the meantime, whilst doing that, everything that can be done should be done to prevent the young men shut up in barracks from being induced to overlook that morality which we all would 597 like to see, not only in the Army, but in every portion of Her Majesty's dominions. [Cheers.]
*THE BISHOP OF SOUTHWELL
thought the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Roberts) scarcely gave credit to the wider range of differences that existed between those who regarded this matter from different points of view. The attitude which had been adopted by some of those who were opposed to these regulations had been characterised as unchristianlike, but it should not be forgotten that it was also unchristianlike to purchase small children to fill up the bazaars for our soldiers, or to take possession of native women for our soldiers' use. We might find, moreover, that this was dangerous from a statesman's point of view, and might give even more cause for discontent and disturbance in India than did in the past certain memorable cartridges. He thought that the periodic examination of the soldiers which had been alluded to might remove one of the chief objections to which importance had been attached—namely, that there should be no difference of treatment between the men and the women. If future statistics dealt with regiments, good and bad marks might be attached to regiments as to individuals, and penalties should be attached personally to colonels of regiments which showed moral deterioration. He lived many years in a garrison town, and he knew that the character of a regiment depended very much on its colonel. If those under him, when a head-master of a public school, or now, as Bishop of a diocese, deteriorated, it would be quite right if he were removed. He did not see why there should not be some kind of official judgment on the heads of regiments as well as on the soldiers themselves. As to a further inquiry, he hoped the details obtained by the last Commission would not have to be repeated and gone through again. No good would be done by it. ["Hear, hear!"] One thing was made clear by the old Report—sthat waves of virulence such as had occasioned the present movement were not due either to the Acts being carried out or neglected, but to local conditions due to some campaign in new countries under degraded conditions of life. This was not a matter for Parliamentary inquiry, but for the 598 Standing Sanitary Commission, which, they might presume, was doing its duty in trying to investigate it. If the statistics and Reports of the Sanitary Commission were to be disregarded, while however grudgingly their Reports must be admitted to have been against the Acts, he could not see the use of any fresh Commission being established to be disregarded again if it contradicted the opinion of those who did not agree with it. The learned scientific advisers who had spoken had not touched the chief question that affected the Contagious Diseases Acts. In India it might be possible, without any kind of moral objection, to have a periodical examination insisted upon of all women engaged in the different cantonments. But he trusted that the only other method of dealing with it—the one on winch the whole character of the Acts depended in the countries of Europe—would never be sanctioned. But it is ordained in the second Act attached to the late Dispatch from the India Office, in which it was the duty of soldiers to denounce those who had communicated disease. This evening's Debate had removed the question from India to England. In England there is no machinery possible but police control. A revival of the system of denunciation would revolt the English mind. They had sufficient evidence of the intolerable servitude which was entailed by the foreign system of licensed prostitution. They knew the hopeless and defenceless condition of the young women, and the magisterial corruption which had been brought before them as supporting the police abroad in the different methods of blackmail and persecution. Life would not be tolerable to women of the working classes under such espionage. Espionage itself was a thing of which our country had happily been free, and he trusted nothing would be established in the nature of that terrible engine of oppression involved in the system of denunciation. This was the real objection to the Acts being revived. He knew of no other way in which they were enforced in any country in which they existed. So he appealed strongly against any revival of the Acts themselves, while he would gladly give his hearty co-operation to any reasonable methods of hygienic or sanitary reform.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, the action of the military authorities has been so frequently referred to during this Debate that I think your Lordships will expect that I should say one or two words as to the manner in which the War Department regards the proposal contained in the Secretary of State's Dispatch. My Lords, we entirely accept the policy of that Dispatch, and we believe that policy is applicable to the British Army not only in India, but in whatever part of the Empire it may be found. Lord Lister, in his very weighty speech just now, expressed the opinion that the new cantonment rules which might be issued under these instructions might possibly not go far enough to be effectual. That may, possibly, be the case, but I am able to tell him that similar rules were enforced not long ago in India, and those best able to judge anticipated for them a success which, of course, they were not permitted to achieve because they were repealed within a few months of the date when, they were first enacted. It should be remembered that these rules rely not only on the compulsory power of detaining in hospital all women who have been ascertained to be diseased, but upon the prospect that these poor creatures, when they find hospitals are open for them and that in those hospitals they are kindly and humanely treated, will gladly, of their own accord, go into hospital rather than submit to the other alternative, which, as you are aware, is that of expulsion from, the cantonments. But, my Lords, whether I am right or wrong as to this, I would venture to insist that in cases of this kind, profiting by our former experience of the question, we shall be wise if we lay ourselves open to the charge of lagging a little behind public opinion, rather than to the charge of going far ahead of it. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not propose to detain, you with any reference, or, at any rate, any lengthened reference to the statistics which have been brought forward. My Lords, in this matter statistics may be used for two purposes. They may be used in order to show that the Acts to which reference has been made were or were not successful in achieving the desired object; or, again, they may be used merely for the purpose of showing that the existing situation is so serious as urgently to demand 600 effectual action on the part of the Government. With regard to the statistics as far as they illustrate the effect of the now repealed Acts and regulations, I readily admit that they require reading with great care and discrimination before anyone can say with absolute confidence that the case is proved by the figures; because, as has been said, the case is greatly complicated by the fact that the conditions of service in India have been greatly varied by the introduction of short service, which obviously renders the soldiers of the Army much more liable to this great danger. There is another complication in the statistical view of the case, which is this—that from time to time these diseases are reclassified by the medical authorities, and I have always found in all medical statistics persons are apt to be misled owing to the fact that the same ailment was described sit different times under different names. Then, as Lord Roberts told you, there is a, question whether these Acts were always administered in a proper and intelligent manner, or whether, as he evidently supposed, they were frequently given effect to in a very fitful and blundering fashion. I say, therefore, I have no wish to insist too much on the value of statistics in order to show the efficacy of the repealed Acts. But when we come to the value of the figures as denoting the growth and serious condition of things in the British Army, I think we may say without hesitation that the case is an overwhelming one. [Cheers.] It appears not to be disputed that out of a small Army of 70,000 soldiers in India in the year 1894, no less than 20,000 had been affected by the graver form of this disease; nor is it denied that of the whole of that force only a minority of 37 per cent. had been altogether free from disease of one kind or another. These figures appear to me to constitute an overwhelming case. ["Hear, hear!"] I have often heard complaint that the interests of the Army at home were subordinated to the interests of the Army in India. My Lords, we bear as cheerfully as we can the sacrifice which the home Army is called upon to make for the sake of the Indian Army, but I think we have a right to say it is not part of the contract that the men whom we land in India, and who are the very flower of the British Army, should, owing to our own neglect, come back to us withered and tainted by 601 this horrible complaint. We haggle with the Treasury over the price of two or three battalions; but here is an enemy which literally decimates the British Army, and places men hors de combat, not by hundreds, but by thousands. And the case is equally serious when we come to consider the injury sustained by the civil population. We have it here that of the 13,000 men who year by year come back to this country from India only about 5,000 are altogether clean and free from diseases of this kind. There is another point which has, I think, been fairly established, and that is that the present condition of the law in India has become intolerable. I am tempted to say that the present condition of these regulations in India— regulations which, as your Lordships have heard, treat this particular form of disease as privileged, as a form of disease not to be treated as other infectious and contagious diseases are— I am tempted to say that the condition of these regulations is a rather instructive example of the results of dealing with important questions of this kind precipitately and under the influence of strong emotion or excitement. ["Hear, hear!"] I hope we shall avoid that error upon the present occasion. Your Lordships probably recollect the history of this case. Some ten years ago the circular to which the right rev. Prelate referred—a most improperly-worded and unfortunate circular—came to light. A great shock was given to the public mind, and thereupon a Resolution of the House of Commons was passed. That Resolution was peremptory in its terms, but very vague in its language. It was virtually an Act of Parliament, although it underwent none of that close discussion and detailed examination, which under the practice of Parliament all Acts undergo. The Government of India endeavoured loyally to give effect to that Resolution, but subsequent inquiries disclosed the fact that in many districts the local military authorities, instead of keeping carefully within the terms of the instructions which had been issued to them, to some extent disregarded those instructions. There was another outbreak of indignation at the thought that the rules which had been agreed upon, after careful discussion, between the India Office and the Government of India should be thrown into the waste-paper basket, and an Act was imposed upon Lord Elgin's Government— 602 an Act which was, to the best of my belief, either mischievous or useless, and which was greatly resented by the unofficial members of Lord Elgin's Council. I mention these things, not because I have any desire to rake up old controversies—we can occupy ourselves in a better way than that—but because I trust we shall avoid in the future the kind of mistakes which we have committed in the past. I certainly do not impute to those who differ from us anything but the most absolute honesty and sincerity of purpose. Nor, on the other hand, can I find the heart to blame very seriously those unfortunate soldiers who, desiring to shield their men from the consequences of this terrible scourge, found themselves with one foot across the very badly defined frontier line which Parliament had laid down for their guidance. ["Hear, hear!"] The noble Earl who brought this matter forward suggested to your Lordships that further inquiry might be desirable. For my part I have heard with great pleasure the statement made by successive speakers that there is no occasion for such inquiry, and I trust that it will not be pressed for. As far as I am able to judge, except among a few extreme partisans, there is no difference of opinion either as to the facts or as to the direction in which we should look for a remedy. As to the state of the case outside India, there is already in the published statistics a very sufficient account of the health of the troops at the different colonial stations. The figures show that British troops suffer more than the troops of any foreign country. They also show, I think, that Lord Playfair was correct in his statement that there must be something radically wrong in the manner in which this question is dealt with in the stations abroad occupied by British troops, as compared with foreign stations occupied by the troops of other countries. I will mention two cases. At Singapore compulsory examination was abolished on January 1, 1888, and immediately afterwards 200 women left the Lock hospital in a state of disease. An enormous increase in the admission rate and "constantly sick" rate immediately commenced and has gone on ever since. The rates of admission have about trebled since 1887. For example, in 1885, 1886, and 1887 the rates were 131, 134, and 197 per 1,000; since then they have varied from 400 to 600 per 1,000. The 603 other case, to which I will refer by way of contrast, is the case of Malta. There, owing to the strenuous opposition of the local Press and non-official members of the Council of Government, the repealing ordinance was rejected and a local Act remains in force. The admission and "constantly sick" rates hare shown, remarkable fluctuations, but in the last few years have averaged less than one-half of the rates at Gibraltar, the average of admissions being about 150 per 1,000. With regard to the home Army we have figures for the 14 stations where the Acts were in force, and comparing these figures with the statistics relating to 14 other large stations they again appear to show conclusively that, whereas while the Acts were in force the protected stations enjoyed comparative immunity from these diseases, after the repeal of the Acts the non-protected and the protected stations became very much on a par. I have heard the suggestion that the practice followed in foreign countries might be inquired into. I doubt very much whether any inquiry into the manner in which these questions are dealt with in foreign countries would be of great advantage to us. The comparative immunity enjoyed by the armies of foreign countries is, of course, notorious; but so is the fact that foreign armies differ in many essential particulars from the British Army, and also the fact that foreign Governments are allowed to do many things which the Government of this country would never be permitted to do. I cannot see that any comparison between an army recruited by voluntary enlistment and a conscript army, between an army recruited entirely from many different classes of society and an army which is recruited entirely from one class of society—and that a class in which you cannot expect to find the highest level of education or the greatest self-restraint—I cannot bring myself to believe that such a comparison would really be very instructive. ["Hear, hear!"] I entirely agree with what was said by the right rev. Prelate when he told the House that he trusted that in this country we should never introduce a system lending itself to these practices of police espionage and police restraint, which may perhaps be tolerated abroad, but which, I am convinced, the people of this country would never tolerate. I 604 would prefer to consider what is practicable here—given the conditions of our Army and the conditions of British society—rather than take a leaf out of the book of any foreign country. With regard to the Dispatch of the Secretary of State, I hope your Lordships will observe that we do not by any means limit our proposals to the mere re-enactment of these cantonment rules. The Dispatch indicates very clearly the directions in which other remedies may possibly be found. Let me in particular call attention to the suggestion that a larger measure of control may be desirable over the disorderly population which frequent not only the cantonments themselves, but the country immediately adjoining cantonments. I have always heard it said; and I believe with truth, that many of the apparently unaccountable outbreaks of this disease at certain stations in India have been due not to the intercourse of the men with the women ordinarily dwelling in the cantonments, but with vagrant, nomad people who have been hanging about the rough ground often to be found outside the limits of the station, and who in many cases have beyond all question been the means of introducing disease of the most dangerous kind into the cantonments. I am also not without suspicion that even in this country a little more vigilance might be usefully exercised over the persons who frequent barracks, and also perhaps over some of the lower public houses and other places frequented by soldiers. But that is a matter as to which I am not yet prepared to make a positive statement. As to our dealings with the soldier himself, it has been pressed upon us by more than one speaker that we should deal equally with the two sexes. That is, so far as the limits of possibility allow it, the principle upon which the proposed practice is founded. We consider that it is our duty to prevent any person who is notoriously diseased, from continuing to spread that disease, and as a matter of fact, the soldier, if he conceals the fact that he is suffering from disease of this kind, is detained in hospital until he has recovered his health. A suggestion was made by his Royal Highness and another speaker that we should do well to revert to the old practice of periodically examining the men. ["Hear, hear!"] I have 605 discussed that proposal with many high authorities, and I am bound to tell your Lordships that the conclusion to which I am disposed to arrive is that this practice of regular inspection did not produce the desired effect, and that it was, on the contrary, regarded, and rightly regarded, by the men as a brutalising and degrading practice. It is a practice which has gradually disappeared, and I confess that I should be extremely sorry to see it re-introduced. I need not dwell on the suggestion in the Dispatch that no pains should be spared in order to increase the comfort and decency of the soldier's life in barracks. As to that there is no difference of opinion. Large sums of money have been spent in India, in some measure due to the personal influence of Lord Roberts, on regimental institutes; and his Royal Highness is aware that there has been a very large expenditure at home on recreation establishments in which the men are given every facility for interesting and amusing themselves in the hope that these influences may tempt them away from the low associations in the midst of which they so often contract these diseases. I cannot resume my place without saying a word in reply to the moving appeal made on Friday to your Lordships by the most reverend Prelate. The most reverend Pre-late earnestly entreated us to approach this question not merely from the standpoint of the health and the righting efficiency of the troops, but from the higher standpoint of religion and morality. The most reverend Prelate suggested, I think, that there was a time when the military authorities cared only for the effect of immoral living on the efficiency of the men intrusted to them, that they were indifferent to immorality in itself, if they did not actually encourage it. I doubt whether there has ever been a time when you would have found an English commanding officer so cynical as to tell you that, provided his men were sound in wind and limb and able to turn out in an efficient condition for service in the field, it was a matter of indifference to him whether in their private life they were the greatest ruffians and blackguards in the world. But this I can certainly say, that at the present time there is the strongest possible feeling among the commanding officers that all pains should be taken to raise the moral tone 606 of the men for whom they are responsible. ["Hear, hear!"] I cannot resist bringing to your Lordships' notice one little piece of evidence in confirmation of what I have said, upon which I came almost by accident, and which I need not say was not provided with any idea that this discussion was to take place. I hold in may hand a memorandum recently issued by the general officer in command of the troops in Cape Colony. This is what General Good-enough writes:—Sensual indulgence is a breach of the law of every religion. It is also a violation of the natural laws conducing to health…. It seems the clear duty of commanders in every grade to lead men to a mode of life which will enhance their self-respect and keep them from physical deterioration; and it is to be believed that, among other means, advice, guidance, and a certain amount of plain speaking, which is not derogatory and need not degenerate into coarseness, will undoubtedly have their effect in inducing by degrees a better state of things than now prevails. The General therefore wishes to enlist the aid of commanding officers and of all under them in the endeavour to raise the tone of feeling and opinion in the several commands through the exercise of this advice, guidance, and plain speaking.["Hear, hear!"] Those views are, I believe, the views entertained by every thoughtful commanding officer in the Army. Although it is idle to suppose that we can expect all these young soldiers shall lead immaculate lives, I do sincerely hope that the result of efforts like these will be, after a while, distinctly to raise the tone of the private soldier in the British Army. Working on these lines, and supported, as I trust we shall be, by both sides in this discussion, I hope we shall be able to mitigate in some way the cruel suffering which the unchecked course of these terrible diseases have brought upon both the military and the civil population of these islands. [Cheers.]
*THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I was extremely glad to hear the noble Marquess begin his observations by saying that it was desirable to proceed in this matter with caution; and he referred in support of that view to the history of these enactments during the past few years. It so happened that it unfortunately fell to my lot when I was Secretary of State for India to deal with the then state of the law in India. The noble Marquess referred to the Resolution passed by the 607 House of Commons in 1888; and he said that it was not very precise. I am sorry to say that it seems to me to have been only too precise. The words of the Resolution are: —Any mere suppression of measures for compulsory examination of women, or for lessening and regulating prostitution in India is insufficient, and the legislation which enjoins, authorises, or permits such measures ought to be repealed.That is a very distinct Resolution indeed, and so it must have been felt by the noble Viscount (Lord Cross), because he issued peremptory instructions that the terms of this Resolution should be conformed to by the Government of India. When I returned to the India Office there was a strong remonstrance put before the Government against the state of things then prevailing in India; and it was stated that, although those instructions had been given, they had not been fully carried into effect. I felt myself then simply bound by the Resolution of the House of Commons and the instructions which had been given. It was perfectly idle to suppose that we as a Government could have procured a reversal of that Resolution. In point of fact, therefore, it remained binding upon us. It was peculiarly distasteful to me to have to deal with the matter, because I was always in principle in favour of stringent measures for the prevention of this horrible disease. But I conceived that I had no alternative except to loyally see that the Resolution of the House of Commons, adopted as it had been by the Government, should be carried into effect. We made an inquiry, and the result was to show that the instructions given by the noble Viscount had not been carried into effect. I was greatly impressed by the fact that Lord Roberts, who naturally felt a great desire that measures should be taken effectively for repressing the disease, came to the conclusion that to a certain extent the instructions had not been followed. That was the state of things which led to the repeal of the regulations. I must confess there was one circumstance which diminished our regret, and it was the uncertainty which certainly existed as to whether the original regulations had been really successful. I do not base that on any view of 608 my own, but upon the best authority which could possibly be quoted on the subject—namely, the Army Sanitary Commission. This Commission is a body with ample means of knowing the state of health of the Army, and is a most competent body to advise on all these subjects. In their memorandum recently laid before Parliament they say:—It may at once be granted that during the years when prostitution in cantonments was to some extent placed under restriction, a lessening of venereal disease amongst the troops did not come up to what had been expected.And then follows this important sentence:—In fact, we pronounced the efforts to protect the men by the measures introduced for this purpose to have been a failure.That was what I had before me; and naturally, seeing what had been resolved by Parliament and the extreme hostility shown to the Acts, and having a Report of this kind before me, I felt much less compunction in taking the course which I felt it my duty to take as Secretary of State. But this is not a question of arguing whether the regulations were or were not sufficient for the purpose; what we have before us is the simple fact that there is a frightful amount of disease in the Army, and that it is our absolute duty to take any measures we can devise for diminishing such, disease. That is the case before us, and it is not at all profitable to argue as to the statistics of the past except in this way—that we must not shut our eyes to the fact that it is not merely good intentions that are wanted, but that measures effective for the purpose must be devised. ["Hear, hear!"] I cannot help thinking, notwithstanding what we have heard from the medical authorities, that there is a real, substantial, inherent difficulty in really devising these effective measures. We must not be disappointed, therefore, if the steps now taken by the Government should not have all the effect which we should desire. If upon, experience that should prove to be the case, I trust we shall not hesitate to take measures still more stringent. [Cheers.] This is not a matter which we can afford to trifle with. Differing from those who 609 have conscientiously opposed this measure, I hold the opinion that, not only in the interests of the health of the Army and of the civil population, but even of morality itself, it is our duty to endeavour to diminish this evil, because it cannot be moral to leave a terrible disease to ravage a population upon any principle or pretext whatever if you have any means to repress it. [Cheers.] Possibly we may have to adopt means extremely distasteful, and which one would rather not have recourse to; but you have to choose between two things —either to allow the mischief to continue or to adopt whatever measures are found absolutely necessary in order to diminish, though it may not he possible entirely to prevent, it. The facts repel the view that if you take measures to prevent the disease you remove one of the strongest preventives to vice. As a matter of fact, the disease does not prevent the vice, and therefore the argument, even if you admit it, is worth nothing. The most reverend Prelate insisted on the importance of taking every step to improve the morality of the soldier. Every one will cordially concur with the most reverend Prelate; but do not let us shut our eyes to the fact that the history of mankind proves that by no such means will you produce any great or far-reaching effect. I insist upon that, not from any cynical view, but because you must look facts in the face, and it is no use to imagine that you will by any means of that kind really be able to grapple with the problem. Only one word more. I think all who have heard this most interesting Debate, and who hold the opinions which I imagine are generally held here with regard to the necessity for the prevention of this disease, must have seen with great satisfaction the change of feeling which has come across the country upon the subject. It is a matter, I think, of the greatest moment that you will in this respect carry the country heartily with you. [Cheers]f the Government proceed cautiously and wisely, and if the Government of India see that nothing is done beyond the actual necessity of the case, I believe that not only will the country support the Government in the measures which it has now taken, and which I heartily hope may be themselves successful, but also in any further measures 610 which they may find indispensable for the object in view. [Cheers.]
, as one of the oldest regimental officers in the House, having had the honour to command a battalion in India as well as in the West Indies, and also one on the home service, felt bound to say a few words. The most reverend Prelate advocated as a means of promoting morality in the Army an increase of married soldiers in a battalion. Presumably the most reverend Prelate would not imagine that if a regiment 1,000 strong were sent to India they could provide them with 1,000 wives and supply transport for a couple of thousand children. [ Laughter.] Therefore he looked upon that as an impracticable proposition. Supposing, again, 200 soldiers were allowed to marry in each battalion, what would become of the remaining 800? That plan would have no sensible effect in lessening the ravages of disease. He was amazed to hear it suggested that penal results should fall upon a commanding officer in whose regiment there was a large amount of disease. No body of men were more devoted to their duty than the commanding officers of regiments. He commanded two different battalions during his considerable service in India, and he could only say that everything in the power of a commanding officer had not only been done of late during the time Lord Roberts was in command, but that the same anxiety was shown by an equally gallant and able soldier, the late Lord Strathnairn. [Cheers.] Having regard to all that was done for the soldier in the way of libraries and the provision of reading-rooms and every sort of game, instruction in trades, and the system of regimental gardens, he was at a loss to know how moral suasion could be carried out more than had been done by officers commanding battalions. He felt convinced, having carefully read over the Dispatch of the Secretary of State, that the measures proposed by the Government would be utterly futile. He agreed with Lord Roberts as to the disease being frequently contracted by the coolie-women employed in carrying out works at the barracks. These women did the work of labourers in England, and it would be a great hardship to prohibit their employment. But there was no reason why they should not be numbered, like the 611 policemen and cabmen in this country. The native policemen attached to the regiment would know the women who misconducted themselves, and with such women compulsory inspection should be enforced. Merely to expel them would be ineffectual, because the men would follow them. It was impossible to prevent soldiers from indulging the strongest instinct of human nature. Here was a terrible scourge which afflicted not only the evil-doer, but a great number of innocent women and children; and to public opinion the evil had been made so thoroughly clear, that he had great hopes the opposition to measures which would stamp out the disease would cease. He only hoped that the clergy would follow the lead of the Primate, who so fully recognised the necessity of dealing with the question, rather than that of the right reverend Prelate to whom the House had listened that evening.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
said that he hoped the Debate might be of great service in having elicited the opinions of the very highest authorities. The Archbishop of Canterbury had commented on the fact that he had not devoted very much time to the moral remedies for the case. He had, indeed, confined himself mainly to the means of satisfying the pressing needs of the case, but he by no means undervalued the effect of moral suasion, and he hoped that everything would be done to distract the minds of the soldiers and improve the moral tone. But, except the superficial matters, human nature changed very slowly, while the ravages of this disease were rapid; and he was deeply impressed with the necessity for taking effective hygienic measures to deal with the pressing necessities of the question. He did not think, judging from the admirable speech of the most reverend Prelate, that, although they might differ as to the relative potency of various remedies, there was any difference of an essential kind between them. Her Majesty's Government did not think such an inquiry as he had asked for would be wise; and therefore he should withdraw his Resolution, though with considerable reluctance. The reasons given by the Under Secretary for India in opposition to the inquiry appeared to him the strongest reasons in favour of 612 the inquiry. The noble Earl had said that information as to the effects of the disease on the native population here could be obtained from women's hospitals, workhouse infirmaries, homes for children, and the churchyards of the country. But such sources of information were not readily available for the great bulk of the public. The noble Earl added that there were five large volumes issued by the Colonial Office, and that the amount of literature on the subject was overwhelming. That was why such an inquiry as he suggested was desirable. The Report of the Departmental Committee was contained in some 30 pages, cost 6½d., contained an immense amount of valuable information, and would be of enormous value in forming public opinion. What he should have liked to see was an inquiry resulting in a similar Report extended over a larger area; and he hoped that would be done some day. Lord Playfair had said that he wished public opinion knew the effect which hygienic measures had in preventing the disease. That was just the hardest thing for the public to learn at present. But as Her Majesty's Government thought that an inquiry might lead to the idea that there should be delay pending its completion, and as they were convinced that the time for action had come, he should withdraw his Resolution, for the last thing he wished to do was to defer effective action. [Cheers.]
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.