Line 11, after 'inspectors' insert 'and medical officers.'
Line 15, after 'insane' insert 'deformed.'
Line 17, after 'disease' insert—
Provided that no alien shall be prohibited from landing by an inspector on the ground that he is an idiot, insane, deformed, or a person suffering from any dangerous, contagious, or infectious disease, unless with the concurrence of a medical officer of the Board of Trade."—(The Earl of Hardwicke.)
§ THE EARL OF HARDWICKE
I do mot think I need detain your Lordships beyond a very few moments In regard to this Amendment. I hope it will be clear to your Lordships that it would be obviously unfair if only Board of Trade inspectors were to have the power of turning back aliens who were either suffering from some dangerous or contagious disease, or who are Idiots or insane. The addition of the words I am proposing would greatly strengthen the hands of the Board of Trade, and I therefore hope your Lordships will accept the Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF DUDLEY
My Lords, I can offer no objection to the Amendment. The only point is that at the present moment sanitary matters of this kind are in the hands of the Local Government Board. Therefore, before I pledge myself not to make any criticism on the noble Lord's Amendment before the Bill finally passes, I should like to reserve power to consult the Local Government Board in order to find out how far the medical officers, who act for them, can be utilised for the purpose mentioned in the Bill.
§ Question put.
§ Agreed to.728
Page 1, line 14, leave out 'either' and Insert 'a person likely to become a public charge.'
Line 15, leave out from 'a pauper' to 'charge,' both inclusive."—(Lord Heneage.)
§ * EARL GREY
I understand my noble Friend's Amendment proposes to alter the form of this clause—to strike out the words "a pauper," and then to bring in the words "a person likely to become a public charge" in an earlier part of the clause. I would point out that the wider term naturally includes the smaller term "pauper." I suggest that the noble Lord should withdraw his Amendment, in order that we may have a clear vote upon the words which appear to contain the important principle—namely, "a person likely to become a public charge."
§ * LORD HENEAGE
I am quite in the hands of the House. As it is thought more convenient to have the discussion on the Amendment of my noble Friend behind me [Earl Grey] I will withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 1, line 15, leave out 'a pauper, a person likely to become a public charge.'"—(Earl Grey.)
§ * EARL GREY
I thank the noble Lord for withdrawing his Amendment. I think it will simplify the discussion which will take place upon the Amendment which I have the honour to move. My Lords, I am one of those who voted for the Second Reading of this Bill, because I was in full sympathy with my noble Friend [the Earl of Hardwicke] in his desire to strengthen the hands of the Government in prohibiting the landing on our shores of lunatics and idiots, and persons suffering from any dangerous, infectious, or contagious disease. But, my Lords, I find myself quite unable to support the proposal that further powers should be given to the inspectors of the 729 Board of Trade to enable them to prohibit the landing of any alien who, in their opinion, is a pauper or likely to become a public charge. I do not think any sufficient case has been made out for this great departure from the established custom of this country. That it is a great departure I do not think any noble Lord can deny, for it has been the traditional practice to give a welcome to any political refugees or other aliens who may seek an asylum in this country. So much so has that been the case, that when a similar proposal was made in the House of Commons in 1891 the late Mr. Smith answered the honourable Member who brought forward the proposal in this way—The right of asylum in this country as regards political refugees has always been maintained, and the restrictions on the immigration of foreigners who may be supposed to be destitute would involve legislation which may bring about greater evils. Regard must also be had to the fact that there is a considerable emigration to the Continent.Sir Michael Hicks Beach said, later on, that in his opinion it did not appear that there was any sufficient reason at present for the adoption of effective measures to prevent the introduction of indigent foreigners. This was confirmed by Mr. Ritchie [the President of the Board of Trade], who said—It does not appear to me there is any sufficient reason at present for the adoption of the course suggested by the honourable Member.Well, my Lords, my case is this: if there was not sufficient reason in 1891 for these proposed restrictions, there is much less reason for them in 1898. The arguments that were brought forward on the Second Reading were that any increase of alien immigration would be an inconvenience to our own population, might constitute a public charge, and would effect a very injurious displacement of labour. Well, my Lords, so far as the argument from the population point of view is concerned, my noble Friend opposite [the Earl of Hardwicke], who introduced the Bill, went so far as to declare that the increase of population caused by this alien immigration so seriously affected overcrowding that the words to which I object were not only 730 justified, but absolutely necessary in the interest of the public health. With great respect to my noble Friend, I do not intend to spend much time over that argument. We have laws against overcrowding which all members of the community, whether they are aliens or whether they are natives, are obliged to obey. If these laws are not sufficient for the purpose, then I would say introduce fresh legislation, and let the penalties be made drastic enough to stop the offence. But do not, my Lords, let us legislate for the exclusion of the indigent foreigner on the ground that our administration is so hopelessly incompetent that we are unable to force the handful of foreigners who live in the United Kingdom to obey our laws. I should be very sorry if the House were to make itself a party to a confession of such ineptitude. It is only with a handful of foreigners we have to deal. According to the census of 1891, the total number of foreigners in this country was 219,523. The ratio of foreigners to the entire population was only 5.8 to every 1,000; while in Germany, according to the last census, the ratio was 8.8; in Austria, 17.2; in France, 29.7; and in the United States the ratio of foreigners to the home population was as high as 147.7. The noble Marquess the Prime Minister, in his speech on the Second Reading, made use of this argument, that when every nation excludes aliens we should, without further inquiry, exclude them also. With the greatest possible respect to the noble Marquess, I would urge that when the position of England more closely resembles that of other countries in the matter of foreign population we might possibly with profit follow the teaching of their experience, but that until it does resemble it more closely their system need not have any necessary significance for us. It will be said that since the census of 1891 the foreign population has considerably increased. The noble Earl the Secretary to the Board of Trade stated that there had been an increase of 40,000 foreigners in the United Kingdom during the last seven years. According to the Returns of the Board of Trade that is true; but I would point out to the House that three-fourths of this increase took place in 1891–2–3, 731 and that during the last four years there has only been an addition of 10,000 foreigners to the population of the United Kingdom. The excessive immigration of the earlier years was, I believe, owing to the way in which the Russian authorities enforced with greater stringency the laws against the Jews. After 1893 the action of the Russian authorities became more lenient, and in the last four years there has been an increase only of 10,000 to the foreign population, or an average of 2,500 a year. That seems a very small matter on which to defend a great departure from the traditional practice of this country. It may be said that the Board of Trade figures are untrustworthy. The Prime Minister said something in that direction when a similar question was debated in 1894; but I find it extremely difficult to believe that the Reports issued by that Department over the signatures of highly-trained officials are all wrong. They all tell the same tale, and the Reports of 1895–6–7–8 all confirm and endorse the statements that were made in the Report which was criticised in this House in 1894. If the Board of Trade figures are correct, then I would urge that there is no case for legislation. If the Board of Trade figures are wrong, then there is a case for an inquiry, in order to show whether the proposed legislation is desirable. The noble Duke the Lord President of the Council suggested, when this question was last debated in 1894, that there ought to be an inquiry by a small Commission before any serious attempt at legislation was made. In face of that advice of the noble Duke, and in face of these figures of the Board of Trade, I must say I do think it would be very objectionable to insert words of the character which I propose to exclude from the Bill, unless there has been a previous inquiry, and unless the result of the inquiry shows that such legislation is desirable. Then, my Lords, the point remains—is the existence of a foreign population in our midst a national disadvantage of so serious a character as to make it desirable to stop the immigration of destitute aliens? Two arguments were used in the speeches on the second reading against the immigration of destitute aliens. The first was that the destitute alien became a public 732 charge, and the second that he displaced British workmen in the labour market. I can understand the supporters of the Bill making either contention a separate ground of agitation against the present system, but I cannot understand how they can build their proposals on this double foundation. It is obvious that the two' statements are contradictory, and that both contentions cannot logically be urged together. If the alien is a public charge it is because he is out of employment; and therefore he does not displace a British workman. If he displaces a British workman he cannot be a public charge. If the House is to persevere in its intention to exclude destitute aliens, it must decide upon which plea, it will depend. I will say but very few words on these two contentions. On the question of displacement, my noble Friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade said that—Alien immigration is driving large sections of our working classes into pauperism.But where is the evidence to justify this statement? I have certainly heard it said that if there were no aliens there would be more work for British workmen, but I have heard it said just as frequently, and with equal vigour, that if there were no aliens there would be less work, and that goods now made in England would be made abroad. We are under the disadvantage of not having sufficient knowledge upon this most important question to enable us to decide whether the introduction of this handful of foreigners a year has any serious effect upon the displacement of British workmen. Personally, I do not believe that foreign immigration has this effect, and I have a telegram here from Canon Barnett—who, as your Lordships are aware, is the rector of St. Jude's, Whitechapel, and head of Toynbee Hall—in which he strongly opposes the exclusion of healthy aliens as prejudicial to the English sentiment of hospitality, and to the development of wealth. Here is an expert, living in the heart of Whitechapel, where the bulk of these aliens go, who says, from his own personal knowledge, that the exclusion of these foreigners would be prejudicial to the development of wealth. Before we 733 accept the dictum of the noble Earl the Secretary to the Board of Trade, that the introduction of this small number of foreign immigrants considerably displaces British labour, we ought certainly to have an inquiry on the subject. I shall be very much astonished if it will not be proved that such displacement as takes place will be shown to hare been caused not by the new arrivals working for very small wages and long hours, but by the competition of provincial factories which are enabled through the utilisation of modern machinery and the scientific combination of labour to place their products on the market at a low rate. This argument of displacement was not used by the Prime Minister. He made his appeal to the House on the ground that the continued immigration constituted a public charge, and he quoted the fact that in the parish of St. Gaorge's-in-the-East there were 980 aliens who received relief last year, and that 908 of these aliens were Russian and Polish Jews. Well, my Lords, with no disrespect to the noble Marquess I would venture to say that this statement will not be of any great assistance to our deliberations until we know how many of those were in the workhouse, how many were in the infirmary, and how many were recipients of medical relief alone, some of them not taking more than one bottle of medicine. I find that in 1893—when the high-water mark of foreign immigration was reached—there were 5,240 inmates in Whitechapel Workhouse. Of this number only 40 were Russian and Polish Jews. I find that in the Whitechapel Infirmary there were, in the year 1893, 5,864 inmates, only 59 of whom were Russian and Polish Jews. As the return of the Board of Trade shows, although the Russian and Polish Jews were 18 per cent, of the population of Whitechapel, they did not constitute one per cent, of the pauperism. Those are striking facts, and although I have no statistics to give as to the number of Russian and Polish Jews in the Whitechapel Infirmary and workhouse last year I would venture to say that the percentage was smaller than in 1893. I have figures here of the number of applications for assistance made to the Jewish Board of Guardians and the Russo-Jewish Committee, and I 734 find there has been a great decrease in recent years. In 1897 there were 587 applications for relief, as against 1,409 in 1893; only 469 cases were relieved last year, as against 1,202 in 1893; and there were only 332 new cases, as against 1,043 in 1893. That shows, my Lords, that those charitable organisations, which act as a buffer between the ratepayer and the foreign immigrant, are much less pressed for assistance than they were in former years. This would appear to indicate that the fear of foreign Jews becoming a public charge is not a growing one. The figures I have quoted are confirmed by the statistics of the Jewish free shelters in the East End. Last year the number of inmates who sought refuge in the shelters was 639 less than the previous year. What is true of Whitechapel is true of the provincial towns. I find that in Manchester there was a decrease of 10 per cent, in the number of destitute aliens to whom relief was given in 1897 as compared with 1896. In Liverpool, the number of recipients of relief decreased from 433 in 1894, to 383 in 1895, to 310 in 1896, and to 230 in 1897. That shows, my Lords, that the pressure upon organisations for giving relief has been not increasing, but steadily decreasing, during the last four years. My noble Friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade drew an eloquent and graphic picture of the sad condition we would be reduced to owing to the fact that a large number of those immigrants who come from the continental ports stop here, and that the best go to the United States; and he made an appeal to your Lordships that that was a state of things which no patriotic Englishman could consider with equanimity. He said England became the receptacle of a very undesirable residuum. I appeal to the noble Earl to think this question out. The figures I have quoted show that the volume of immigration very much depends on the religious and political persecution of which these aliens are the victims. If that is correct, is it not obvious that those who escape from such persecution are not the meanest of their race, but are, on the contrary, the people possessing the most enterprise and endowed with the best brain power? These men, when they arrive here, may come destitute, but the evidence goes to show that after a few years' stay in this 735 country, when they become assimilated to our English life, they form an industrious portion of the community, contribute to the taxation of the country, and become a source of wealth. I will not occupy the attention of your Lordships further. I will conclude by asking your Lordships to hesitate before deciding to give an inspector of the Board of Trade power to shut the door against political refugees and other destitute aliens, who have always been accustomed to look to England as an asylum, against persecution.
§ * LORD RIBBLESDALE
My Lords, I rise to second the Amendment of my noble Friend. Unlike my noble Friend, I did not vote for the Second Reading of this Bill, but I hope that in my very modest official capacity he will allow me to welcome him as a brand from the burning. I did not vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, because I thought it a bad and unsavoury Bill. My noble Friend has done such justice to the figures and the ratio question that I shall not bewilder myself with any statistics, or any considerations of that kind; but I quite recognise that, in supporting a destructive Amendment of this sort, one ought to give some reasons for the line one takes. I do not altogether agree with my noble Friend, that if these words were left out the Bill remains an operative one. I really think, if we can carry this Amendment—as I hope we shall—we shall knock the bottom out of what I think is a very unseaworthy ship. We hear a great deal, particularly from the noble Marquess opposite, about the difficulties the Legislature are put to owing to the wording of Bills before Parliament; but can words be more rife with ambiguity than the words, "likely to become a public charge." It seems to me that you are introducing into the Bill the most inexact of all sciences—the science of probabilities. I do every credit to the qualities of heart and head of my noble Friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade, but I am bound to say that even a Knight of the Round Table would shrink from the responsibilities which are to be imposed upon him by the noble Earl in this Bill. Passing from the ambiguity of the wording, I will only remind my noble Friend the mover of 736 the Bill of an appreciation one of Dickens' characters—Them as is least likeliest is often more likelier far than those as it most likeliest.A celebrated Russian statesman divided the Nihilists into two classes—those who had nothing in their heads, and those who had nothing in their pockets. The same distinction appears to have occurred to my noble Friend who proposed the Bill, except that he was on the verge of adding a third class—namely, the deformed. I believe myself that although you may find a great many aliens who, as my noble Friend has said, come here with nothing in their pockets, you will find that a great many of them come here with plenty in their heads. I have not had time to institute inquiry, but I believe that there are many cases in the great industrial centres of the North of England where aliens, who had come over here apparently with no visible means of subsistence, have, nevertheless, proved of valuable assistance because of small inventions they have made in labour-saving appliances and industrial processes. That is another reason why I object to the Bill. I did not know that we should have such strong evidence as Canon Barnett's, but I think it is quite possible that under this Bill you will be cutting yourselves off from the possibility of the services of a very feeble, perhaps, but what may prove a very useful folk. I know that these are Second Reading considerations, and I must apologise to the House for not having made these remarks on the Second Reading of the Bill. I agree entirely with the concluding observations of my noble Friend who moved the Amendment. From olden time this country has, as it were, accepted the responsibility of mankind at large, and I should be very sorry to see England desert her great and honourable traditions upon what I consider quite inconclusive and insufficient evidence. I have very great pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF HARDWICKE
My Lords, there are two points in the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down with which I am in accord—namely, that this Amendment would knock the bottom out of the Bill, and that it really raised a Second Reading objection. I certainly 737 think that both the noble Earl who moved this Amendment and the noble Lord who seconded it might have given us the opportunity of hearing them on the occasion of the Second Reading, because there is no doubt that the Amendment which they have proposed and seconded would, if accepted by me, do away entirely with the object and principle of the Bill. My Lords, the noble Earl quoted several speakers in the House of Commons as having said this and that in reference to the volume of alien immigration; and he also referred to a statement by Mr. Ritchie, but he entirely forgot that since Mr. Ritchie made that statement in 1897, he has admitted that legislation of this kind is necessary. I quoted the words of Mr. Ritchie on the occasion of the Second Reading of this Bill, and I also had the honour of quoting the words of the noble Marquess the Prime Minister, who, when he spoke on the same subject in 1894, said that the time had come for such legislation. The noble Lord challenged me on the overcrowding question. It is perfectly true that on the Second Reading of this Bill I stated that on the ground of overcrowding alone I considered the Bill should be passed into law. I also stated that it was the opinion of those who were personally working in the East End, getting facts as to the volume of alien immigration, that the overcrowding question was a very serious one. The noble Earl mentioned that there were Acts of Parliament which dealt with the overcrowding problem. I can only say that I think the noble Earl cannot have studied the working of those Acts very carefully, because it is generally known that there are no more difficult Acts to administer. If you adopt the power that those Acts give you, you have to turn these poor creatures into the streets with nowhere to lay their heads. It is as much in the interest of the aliens themselves as of our own community that such legislation as this should be passed. The noble Lord who seconded the Amendment said that frequently the alien came with something in his head. I do not quite gather what he meant to convey, but I conclude he meant considerable brain talent. Well, the first thing the alien does, though he may arrive absolutely destitute, is to engage a lodging, and he is enabled to pay his rent by taking in 738 lodgers. Supposing he pays 8s. a week, he generally takes in four lodgers at 2s. a week each, in order to pay his rent. That is overcrowding of the worst possible type, and it was on that ground that I said the overcrowding question alone made legislation necessary. Then the noble Lord referred to the "handful of foreigners." That remark is true when they are compared with the population of this country, but they settle down in one or two limited areas, and this handful of foreigners becomes a very large quantity in these limited areas. The noble Earl made a great deal of the point that this Bill is contrary to the previous custom of this country. Well, my Lords, a good deal of legislation that has been passed during recent years has been contrary to what has been the previous custom of the country, and legislation is being passed in all parts of the world which is contrary to custom. If we are never going to do anything because it is contrary to custom, I am afraid that our legislation in the future will not be always for the benefit of the community. All the countries of Europe, except Portugal, have legislation of this kind, and I think it is high time that we passed a similar Measure, in order to prevent what is a growing and most serious evil to our own population. I will not detain your Lordships longer, but will conclude by saying that I cannot accept the Amendment.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
My Lords, I was not present when this Bill was read a second time, but I am not going to make a Second Reading speech. I have heard with the greatest pleasure that my noble Friend does not intend to accept this Amendment, which would be completely destructive of the good which I am sure will result from this Bill. It does not seem to me that under the terms of the Amendment it would be quite in order to discuss the general question of the effect of cheap foreign labour in displacing British labour; but at the same time I would remind my noble Friend opposite, who moved the Amendment, that the parallel of the United States is not very relevant, because he must bear in mind that the capacity of the United States for receiving foreign labour is greater 739 than that of the United Kingdom. To contrast the comparatively small number of foreigners who come into this country with the whole population is not quite a fair argument either. To ascertain the effect of that foreign labour it should be contrasted with the native labour employed in the comparatively small and poor trades with which that cheap labour competes. It has a very detrimental effect on the native population engaged. My noble Friends who proposed and seconded the Amendment have expressed great anxiety lest political refugees might be excluded under this Bill, but I think the cases are extremely rare in which political refugees have become chargeable to the rates in this country. Although the argument is a strong one sentimentally, I do not think there is anything very practical in it. Neither is there any danger of that class of foreigners who could be described as possessing inventive faculties or great genius being excluded, because obviously a man who is likely to became a charge on the rates is not only a man who is a pauper and has no friends and no trade, but who is not likely to be able to make 41 living for himself. Under these circumstances, I cannot gee what possible hardship will be inflicted. As to paupers and other persons from foreign countries likely to become chargeable to the rates I am inclined to think that the principle adopted parochially of sending such persons back to their own country is a sound one.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
My Lords, I want to ask one or two questions with regard to this clause. At one time a large proportion of aliens who came to this country come here en route elsewhere. Many thousands passed through this country every year, and were carried in British ships to the United States and other parts of the world. Is it intended to prohibit that trade? This clause has no reference to the question whether an alien is intending to remain here or not. The alien may equally be excluded whether he is an alien intending to settle here, or whether he is an alien on his way to other parts of the world. The greater number of aliens who come here belong to this last category. Now, it seems to me that we have no reason— 740 even the arguments used do not indicate any reason—for excluding these aliens. Their passage through this country, so far from being mischievous, is beneficial. Our carrying trade benefits by them, and it seems to me that no arguments have been used which will justify dealing in any way whatever with that class of aliens. The only result of legislation of this description would be to damage certain industries of this country without benefiting the country in any way whatever. The other question I want to ask is, how is an inspector to discover by inspection whether an alien is likely to become a public charge or not? A man does not carry that upon his face. If he is able-bodied and has brains, although he has no money, he might be extremely likely to become a charge upon the rates. He will be likely to become a charge. What is this test which is going to enable the inspector, by inspecting passengers, to distinguish between those two categories? I understood the noble Marquis the other day, when I was dealing with a somewhat similar question, to maintain that the Bill will not necessarily exclude an able-bodied man because he had not money in his pocket, because, although he had not money in his pocket, he would, nevertheless, be able to work, and so not become a public charge; but then, how is the inspector—because that is all the Bill professes to do—merely by inspecting the passengers, to discriminate? What sort of inspector will be able to tell by looking at the passengers whether they are likely to become a public charge?
§ THE EARL OF DUDLEY
Perhaps I may be allowed, in the first place, to answer briefly the two questions which have been asked by the noble Lord opposite. In the first place, he asks whether any difference will be made between aliens who land in this country with the view and intention of staying here, and aliens who are en route for America. I believe it is a fact that the Bill as drawn does not differentiate between the two, but my noble Friend will see that the concluding paragraph of the Bill gives power to the Board of Trade to make regulations for carrying out these provisions. Therefore, under these regulations, I take it that it will be quite within the power of 741 the Board of Trade to allow aliens who declare themselves en route, and who show their tickets to America, to pass through, whilst subjecting those who admit their intention of remaining to the examination and inspection provided for by the Bill. I do not suppose that any-body wishes to put an end to the through traffic of people from foreign countries to the United States, or to strike a blow which would undoubtedly be a serious blow to certain shipping industries in this country. At the same time, it seems to me that there would be no difficulty in meeting the point raised by the noble Lord in the way that I suggest. Then, as regards the second point. The noble Lord asks, what is to be the test applied by which the inspectors are to make up their minds whether an alien is likely to be a public charge or not. My answer to that is that the initial want of money is the test. The onus of proof would lie upon the alien, and if he is unable either to show the inspector that he has means by which he can support himself, or that he has friends to whom he is going who would undertake to support him, then I would say that that man is a pauper within the meaning of the Bill, and would not be allowed to come in under this Act. I think, perhaps, the Bill will be clearer if the word "pauper" were changed for "a person without means of support." I agree that there might be some difficulty in defining absolutely what you mean by "pauper." A pauper in this country means a man who is in receipt of poor relief, or has been in receipt of poor relief, and obviously that definition could not be applied to an alien landing here, about whom we know nothing. It seems to me, therefore, that if the word "pauper" were omitted and "a person without means of support or subsistence" put instead, it would be better, because the Act would then read—Inspectors appointed by the Board of Trade may board any vessel arriving with immigrant passengers at any regulated port, and may inspect the passengers, and any inspector may prohibit the landing of any alien who, in his opinion, is either an idiot, insane, a person without means of support or subsistence, a person likely to become a public charge," and so on.Then again, if there is any doubt, I cannot help thinking that the regulations 742 of the Board of Trade would be quite sufficient to instruct the inspector. I cannot see that there is any difficulty in meeting these points fully, with the exception of the suggestion which I have made. I was very glad to hear my noble Friend so vigorously resist the Amendment proposed by the noble Earl. I quite agree with him that if the word "pauper" and "person likely to become a public charge" were omitted, and you only prohibited those people who were suffering from a contagious disease and those who were idiots, the whole force and scope of the Bill would be lost. The complaint is that you have landing in this country a certain number of people who undersell in our crowded cities English labour. There will be a controversy as to whether there is a real displacement or not. The noble Earl may doubt whether there is such a displacement or not. On the other hand, he has only to read the Reports of the Committee of the House of Commons which inquired into this subject: he has only to read the Reports of men like Mr. Freak, the secretary of the Bootmakers' Association, before the Labour Commission: he has only to read the evidence given before the Committee over which my noble Friend presided, to see that witness after witness declared that there was this displacement—that in many of these trades when they first remembered them English labour was employed, and that now English labour was not employed to nearly so great an extent. Therefore, with this expert evidence before us, I contend that, at any rate, we have sufficient ground for saying on this side of the House that there is displacement of English labour, and that that displacement of English labour should cease. Well, my Lords, as my noble Friend has pointed out, although the number of people who land may be a small number in relation to the total ratio of our population, the fact remains that these people settle in certain districts, and that the ratio of these people compared to the inhabitants of those districts, is a large one. I will only trouble your Lordships with one other point. The noble Earl opposite seems to think that the introduction of legislation of this kind would constitute a 743 dangerous precedent. In other words, that, if we exclude immigrants from other countries, other countries may retaliate and exclude us. But, my Lords, they have already done so. As my noble Friend has pointed out, the United States of America, our Colonies, and several other countries have adopted legislation of this kind of a very drastic character. This legislation of other countries is not a dead letter: it is enforced without difficulty; and I do not think that in adopting legislation of this character, which is in conformity with the legislation of other countries upon the same subject, we are running any danger of bringing upon ourselves retaliatory measures. Then the noble Earl, again, says that it has never been the custom of this country to close its doors against political refugees, but I do not think that you would call the type of alien that we pro pose to exclude under this Bill a political refugee. Nobody suggests that men who have been exiled from their own countries for leading great political movements should ever cease to find a sanctuary in this country. That, I think, is the custom which has always been enforced here, and which we shall always retain; but nobody, I think, can justly and logically say that men of the type of the Polish Jew, who come over here in such numbers, without a shilling to support himself, who takes a lodging without being able to pay for it, and who seeks to undersell English labour by force of his power to live under conditions under which English labour could not thrive, bears any comparison to the ordinary political refugee. I earnestly hope that your Lordships will reject this Amendment, and allow my noble Friend to carry the clause in the larger form, in which it is drawn.
§ * LORD FARRER
May I be allowed to follow up the questions put by the noble Lord below me by a further question? The noble Lord the Secretary to the Board of Trade, who has just sat down, stated that the Board of Trade would have power to make regulations. He further stated that one of the tests would be—and, of course, such a statement comes with great authority from the noble Lord, associated as he is with the Board of Trade—whether a man had any means of subsistence. I want to know 744 what he intends to be the meaning of "means of subsistence." Supposing a man comes over here with nothing—
§ * LORD FARRER
Very well, initial want of money; that answers my purpose still better. Supposing a man to come without a sixpence in his pocket, and supposing at the same time that he comes with the character of being a very efficient and able workman—of a man who would be a credit to English industry, and a man whom English employers, would be glad to have in their factories. Is he to be excluded under these regulations of the Board of Trade because he has no money in his pocket? My Lords, I speak with a little feeling, having been, in the Department myself; and I do think that this Bill, as it stands, or as the noble Earl proposes to amend it, places a burden upon the Board of Trade inspectors which, no matter how efficient they may be, they will be unable to perform.
§ LORD LUDLOW
I quite agree with the noble Lord opposite that these inspectors will have very onerous duties to discharge, and I do not think it can, be expected that they can discharge those duties in any other than what I will call a rough and ready way; but there is one provision in this Bill which has been lost sight of, but which, to my mind, is an extremely valuable one. It must not be forgotten that a clause in this Bill provides that if any of these aliens are prohibited from landing they are to be sent back at the expense of the owners of the ships, and the effect of that clause, I believe, will be that owners of ships will be extremely careful as to the class of aliens they bring to this country.
My Lords, I want to say a very few words upon this matter. The noble Lord the Secretary of the Board of Trade has made poverty an accusation against these poor men. Upon that point I quite agree with the noble Lord that that is not a very great evil. It may be an evil to the men who suffer from it, but it is not an evil to society. The man may be industrious and willing, and I do not see why he should be excluded from this country on 745 the ground of poverty alone. Then the noble Earl pleads for protection—for protection, pure and simple—for English labour; but that is a doctrine that I for one am not very fond of. The noble Earl, in refusing to accept this Amendment, said that one of his objections to it was that the speech made by my noble Friend who introduced it was a Second Beading speech. I do not see why he should not make a Second Reading speech now if he likes to. But there is one thing the noble Earl has omitted to notice, and that is that what he has said has knocked the case for this Bill into a cocked hat. One of the arguments used on the Second Reading in support of this Bill was that there were statistics to prove that the British workmen were being swamped by large numbers of these immigrants. It now turns out that they are a very small number indeed. I voted against the Second Reading of the Bill, and why my noble Friend who moved this Amendment did not do so, considering the views he possesses, I cannot imagine.
I will not trouble your Lordships any more. I hope shall go to a Division on this subject, and I hope that the noble Lord will stick to his Amendment. It did my heart good to hear Lord Grey pleading in this House for liberty.
I should be most unwilling that your Lordships should think that it was the opinion of the Special Committee, or even of the majority of that Special Committee, that the immigrants were a source of injury to our trade, or that they become a burden on our rates. I formed, and I know that my noble Friend below me formed too, exactly the contrary opinion. It was, in my opinion, proved to demonstration with regard to these poor Jews, who are said to come over in such large numbers, that first of all they did not come over in such large numbers, because a great many of them were simply in transit to Liverpool; and, next, it was proved that they never come upon the rates 746 because the Jewish Guardians, as they are called, are a charitable institution, and invariably assist their co-religionists. To my mind the evidence proves beyond all doubt that these poor fellows make exceedingly good citizens, that they very soon learn their business, and that they become some of the best workmen to be had in the East of London. I cannot, therefore, imagine how it can be said that the experts informed the noble Lord that immigration was injurious. In my opinion, we drew exactly the contrary conclusion.
§ * LORD STANMORE
It is not my intention to trouble your Lordships. I am not going to make a speech, but I do wish to say before going to a Division that, having come down to the House with a perfectly open mind upon the matter, the speeches made on this side of the House quite as much as those as on the other—perhaps more so—have made me make up my mind to vote in favour of the Amendment. The argument of the noble Earl, who spoke from the Front Bench on this side of the House—so far as it was an argument—was directed, not against those who are likely to become a charge upon the public, but against those who are likely to earn a livelihood at the expense of the British workmen. And an argument was brought forward to prove that this Bill would be no hindrance to political refugees entering this country. The noble Earl said that he had no wish to exclude the loaders of great movements abroad. But have those leaders no followers? Are not those followers likely to be among the most indigent of those who are likely to come over under such circumstances? For the Bill itself I certainly would vote, but I am not inclined to support the clause which the noble Lord proposes to amend without more need being shown for that clause, although I hope that that adoption of this Amendment would not have the effect of knocking the bottom out of the Bill.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause.
§ The House Divided:—Contents 79; Not-Contents 32.748
|Halsbury, E. (L. Chancellor)||Clonbrock, L.|
|Devonshire, D. (L. President)||Colville of Culross, L.|
|De Mauley, L.|
|Portland, D.||de Ros, L.|
|Richmond, D.||Erskine, L.|
|Rutland, D.||Fairlie, L. (E. Glasgow)|
|Lansdowne, M.||Farquhar, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Harris, L.|
|Zetland, M.||Heneage, L.|
|Hood of Avalon, L.|
|Pembroke and Montgomery, E. (L. Steward)||Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun)|
|Carnwath, E.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare)|
|Clarendon, E.||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl [Teller]|
|Dartmouth, E.||Ker, L. (M. Lothian)|
|Derby, E.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore)|
|Fortescue, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Hardwicke, E. [Teller]||Llangattock, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Ludlow, L.|
|Minto, E.||Macnaghten, L.|
|Ravensworth, E.||Manners, L.|
|Waldegrave, E.||Manners of Haddon, L. (M. Granby)|
|Bangor, V.||Morris, L.|
|Falkland, V.||Newlands, L.|
|Knutsford, V.||Norton, L.|
|Llandaff, V.||Plunket, L.|
|Sidmouth, V.||Poltimore, L.|
|Aldenham, L.||Shute, L. (V. Barrington)|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.|
|Arundell of Wardour, L.||Somerton, L. (E. Normanton)|
|Bagot, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway)|
|Basing, L.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.|
|Boston, L.||Sudley, L. (E. Arran)|
|Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton)||Tollemache, L.|
|Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort)||Windsor, L.|
|Churchill, L.||Zouche of Haryngsworth, L.|
|Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam)|
|Ripon, M.||Fairer, L.|
|Hare, L. (E. Listowel)|
|Chesterfield, E.||Hatherton, L.|
|Crewe, E.||Hawkesbury, L.|
|Grey, E. [Teller]||Herries, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Herschell, L.|
|Morley, E.||Kelvin, L.|
|Winchester, L. Bp.||Lingen, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Mendip, L. (V. Clifden)|
|Davey, L.||Monkswell, L.|
|Reay, L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Ribblesdale, L. [Teller]||Wantage, L.|
|Rothschild, L.||Welby, L.|
|St. Levan, L.||Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss)|
|Stanmore, L.||Wenlock, L.|
Line 17, after 'disease' insert—
Provided that no alien shall be prohibited from landing by an inspector on the ground that he is an idiot, insane, deformed, or a person suffering from any dangerous contagious or infectious disease unless with the concurrence of a medical officer of the Board of Trade."—(The Earl of Hardwicke.)
That the words proposed be added to the clause.
§ Agreed to.
That clause 3 as amended stand part of the Bill.
§ Agreed to.