HL Deb 12 November 1908 vol 196 cc458-99

Report of Amendments received.

THE LORD STEWARD (Earl BEAUCHAMP) moved to amend subsection (1) of Clause 1— (1) Where a person undertakes for reward the nursing and maintenance of one or more infants under the age of seven years apart from their parents, he shall, within forty-eight hours from the reception of any such infant, give notice in writing thereof to the local authority, by inserting, after the word "parents," the words "or having no parents." He explained that a point had been raised as to whether orphans could be said to be maintained apart from their parents, and the object of his Amendment was to remove any doubts that might exist.

Amendment moved— In page 1, line 9, after the word 'parents,' to insert the words 'or having no parents.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Drafting Amendments to Clause 9 agreed to.

LORD ALVERSTONE moved to add at the end of Clause 14— 14. If any person over the age of sixteen years who has the custody, charge, or care of any child under the age of seven years allows that child to be in any room containing an open fire grate not sufficiently protected to guard against the risk of the child being burnt or scalded without taking reasonable precautions against that risk, and by reason thereof the child is killed or suffers serious injury, he shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, a proviso to the effect that it should be a sufficient defence to a charge under this clause if the defendant proved that a person over seven years of age was left in charge of such child. He had only put down this Amendment in order to indicate what might be a reasonable precaution; but if His Majesty's Government, after consideration, preferred the clause as it stood he would not press his proviso.

Amendment moved— In page 10, line 8, after the word 'pounds,' to insert the words' Provided that it shall be a sufficient defence to a charge under this section if the defendant proves that a person over seven years of age was left in charge of such child.'"—(Lord Alverstone.)


said the Government were unable to accept the Amendment. In their opinion a child, say, of five left in the charge of a child just over seven would not be very much safeguarded. The Government thought the provision as it stood would sufficiently meet the case.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to amend subsection (2) of Clause 17— (2) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to have caused or encouraged the seduction or prostitution (as the case may be) of a girl if he has knowingly allowed the girl to consort with, or to enter or continue in the employment of, any prostitute or person of notoriously immoral character, by adding, after the word "girl" where it first occurred, the words "who has been seduced or become a prostitute." He explained that the subsection, as amended by Lord Alverstone in Committee, would make a person guilty of having encouraged the seduction of a girl if he had allowed her to consort with a prostitute or other person of notoriously immoral character, whether seduction had resulted there from or not. He did not suppose that the Lord Chief Justice intended that this should follow from his Amendment. The words now proposed to be inserted were to make it clear that the girl must have been seduced or become a prostitute before the charge could be made under subsection (1).

Amendment moved— In page 11, line 3, after the word 'girl,' to insert the words 'who has been seduced or become a prostitute.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)


said that, in his opinion, the subsection absolutely implied this. But if the noble Earl thought the insertion of the proposed words made it clearer he had no objection.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


explained that the object of his next Amendment, which was down in the same terms to various other clauses, was to make it quite clear that the power to revoke or otherwise modify an order of the Court might be exercised by the Court which made the order or by any Court of similar jurisdiction.

Amendment moved— In page 13, line 18, after the word 'and,' to insert the words' that Court or any Court of like jurisdiction.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Drafting Amendment to Clause 22 agreed to.

Consequential Amendment to Clause 23 agreed to.

THE EARL OF MEATH moved to add, at the end of subsection (1) of Clause 25— (1) The Secretary of State may cause any institution for the reception of poor children or young persons supported wholly or partly by voluntary contributions, and not liable to be inspected by or under the authority of any Government Department, to be visited and inspected from time to time by persons appointed by him for the purpose, the following proviso— Provided that such persons shall be either inspectors or assistant inspectors of reformatory and industrial schools, members of the medical or nursing professions, or persons of discretion and of experience in the management and training of children. Their Lordships would remember that the original wording of Clause 25, which was altered in Committee, was to the effect that the officials of certain societies engaged in the care and protection of children should be empowered by the Secretary of State to act as inspectors of voluntarily maintained institutions for the care of children. He moved an Amendment to the clause whch the Government did not see their way to accept; but they met him, or at least considered they had done so, by altogether omitting the last part of the clause which mentioned these particular societies. He could not see that this concession on the part of the Government had really made any difference, because the Secretary of State would still have the power, if he chose, to appoint officials connected with voluntary societies, however untrained, unskilled, and absolutely ignorant of the proper management and treatment of children they might be. It had been suggested to him that the word "skill" would be better than his word "discretion." He was not at all set on the word "discretion." if the House preferred "skill," but unless some such words as he proposed were inserted there would be a very great temptation to appoint the first official recommended by a particular society for the purpose of inspecting these institutions. The work of inspection was a very delicate matter, but under this clause they were asking one voluntary society to inspect the school or institution of another voluntary society. That was a very dangerous precedent, and he hoped their Lordships would support him in securing the insertion of words providing that the persons who should be appointed for this purpose should be fit and proper persons possessing some knowledge of the management and training of children. He had, in the Committee stage, freely acknowledged the absolute disinterestedness and zeal of these officials. He did not wish to say one word except in praise of them, for he had been himself connected with many of these institutions and knew how public spirited the officials were. But, as he had pointed out in Committee, the more determined and the more interested a man or woman was in carrying out a particular line of conduct the more chance there was that that man or woman was not possessed of a judicial mind. The power to be given to these inspectors was not a nominal one; they could enter the institutions in question at any hour and there was nothing in the Bill to prevent them camping there if they chose. They were to be given a search warrant if there was the least obstruction, and might easily stay the night on the plea that they had not finished their search. He did not desire to prevent inspection, but to secure that the persons appointed were fit and proper persons and had some knowledge of children. Why were the Government so strongly opposed to the acceptance of some such words as he proposed? He could only put it down to one reason—that of economy. He protested against the Government wishing to carry out inspection on the cheap. If the thing was worth doing at all it should be done well, and they ought not to have amateurs sent in.

Amendment moved— In page 17, line 20, after the word 'purpose,' to insert the words 'Provided that such persons shall be either inspectors or assistant inspectors of reformatory and industrial schools, members of the medical or nursing professions, or persons of discretion and of experience in the management and training of children.'"—(The Earl of Meath.)


said the noble Earl's Amendment seemed rather to be directed against any inspection at all. But apart from that, he would remind the House that when the noble Earl moved a similar Amendment in Committee, he, on behalf of the Government, offered a compromise which the noble Earl accepted. Yet on the Report stage the noble Earl moved his Amendment again. If all compromises were so treated it would not be very encouraging to the Government to make concessions. The provisions for appointments by the Home Secretary were not unusual in legislation of this kind, and he did not think that their Lordships need have any fear as to the discretion of inspectors so appointed. There was also a good deal to be said with regard to the wording of the Amendment. After all, what constituted the nursing profession? What they wanted was people of discretion rather than people of skill. He hoped the House would agree to maintain the compromise arrived at. As the clause stood, it gave the Home Secretary full authority in the choice of visitors and placed no limitation upon him. If the noble Earl insisted on his Amendment, the Government would have to take a division.


I understand the noble Earl to rely upon some compromise said to have been reached between himself, and, I presume, parties on this side of the House, but we are quite unaware of any such compromise, and we must refuse to be bound by anything which prevents us from considering this clause upon its merits. I think the noble Earl rather misrepresented my noble friend on the cross benches when he told us that my noble friend was altogether opposed to inspection. I did not gather that from his speech. What I gathered from him was that he was very strongly opposed to inspection by persons who might not be qualified for the duty of inspection. Now, what does this clause do? It empowers the Secretary of State to have these institutions visited and inspected from time to time by any persons whom he may choose to appoint for that purpose. It gives an absolutely free hand to the Secretary of State. I fancy we have all of us in our experience of public life become aware of the existence of Secretaries of State holding very extreme views on particular subjects, and what is there to prevent such a Secretary of State appointing for these duties persons holding extreme views on this subject and otherwise not specially qualified? As my noble friend truly said, these ad hoc inspectors will have very wide powers and a very delicate task to perform, and I do not think it unreasonable that we should stipulate that the selection of such amateur officials should be to a certain extent fenced in by precautions. I am not prepared to say that my noble friend's words are perfect. It might, for example, be desirable to omit the reference to membership of the nursing profession. But of this I feel pretty sure, that we shall improve the Bill by adding to it some such words as those which my noble friend has proposed. If, therefore, he goes to a division I shall certainly support him.


The noble Marquess opposite has said that no compromise took place, but, so far as my recollection goes, I certainly understood that a general agreement had been reached on the earlier stage. If I remember rightly, what happened was this. In the Bill, as introduced, there was a stipulation that the Home Secretary might appoint, and by the phrasing of the clause he was almost urged to appoint, officers of certain societies to inspect these various private homes. The noble Earl on the cross benches took exception to that. He maintained that such people were not always discreet, and he proposed something very much on the lines of his present Amendment. In order to meet the views of the noble Earl my noble friend the Lord Steward dropped altogether the allusion to the particular charitable societies whose inspectors were to be used for this purpose, and left full discretion to the Home Secretary. That is how the clause now stands. Nobody took exception to that course at the time, and therefore, I think we have a right to assume that something in the nature of a compromise was reached. Now the noble Earl brings up his Amendment again. We cannot accept his Amendment, because we consider it to be essentially futile. Apart from the point which my noble friend behind me made that there is no such thing as the nursing profession, what is the use of inculcating upon the Home Secretary of the day the duty of appointing persons of discretion? Of course, he will not appoint persons whom he believes to be persons of indiscretion.


There are the words "and of experience."


I am coming to that. Of course, the Home Secretary will only appoint persons who are, in his opinion, discreet; but if other people think them indiscreet, what is the remedy to be brought to bear on the Home Secretary in relation to a particular appointment? Again, who will be considered persons of experience in the management and training of children? All persons who have children of their own, I conceive, would believe themselves to be in that position. Therefore, the only persons who would not be experienced would be the unmarried and the childless. I really think the Amendment is not of a practical character, and I shall certainly support my noble friend in dividing the House if that course is necessary.


said that when Lord Meath moved his Amendment in Committee the Lord Steward offered to strike out from the clause the words that had been referred to. He (Lord Alverstone) then remarked that if it were found necessary to add a proviso to secure the object desired, it could be brought up on Report. There was certainly no suggestion of a compromise.


said he also took part in the discussion in Committee, and was not conscious of any compromise.


urged the noble Earl to omit from the Amendment the words "of discretion and." The proviso would then read "persons of experience in the management and training of children."


hoped the noble Earl would also omit the reference to the nursing profession.


said he was in the hands of the House, and would be quite willing to agree to his proviso being amended in the way suggested.

Amendment moved to the Amendment— To leave out the words 'or nursing professions,' and to insert the word 'profession.'"—(Lord Heneage.)

Amendment moved to the Amendment— To leave out the words 'of discretion and.'"—(Earl Cromer.)

On Question, That the Amendment as amended be added to the clause.

Their Lordships divided:—Contents 60; Not-contents, 39.

Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.) Wharncliffe, E. Kenry, L. [E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)
Marlborough, D.
Newcastle, D. Falkland, V. Kenyon, L.
Rutland, D. Hood, V. Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)
Somerset, D. Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Kinnaird, L.
Knaresborough, L.
Bath, M. Lawrence, L.
Lansdowne, M. Bangor, L. Bp. Leith of Fyvie, L.
Linlithgow, M. Salisbury, L. Bp. Llangattock, L.
Normanby, M. Macnaghten, L.
Salisbury, M. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Alverstone, L. Oxenfoord, L. (E. Stair.)
Ashbourne, L. Poltimore, L.
Amherst, E. Atkinson, L. Rosmead, L.
Camperdown, E. Balfour, L. Sanderson, L.
Cromer, E. Belhaven and Stenton, L. Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Borthwick, L. Stalbridge, L.
Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.) [Teller.] Stanmore, L.
Eldon, E. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Halsbury, E. Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Hardwicke, E. Colchester, L. Tennyson, L.
Lauderdale, E. Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.) Waleran, L.
Morley, E. Heneage, L. [Teller.] Wolverton, L.
Waldegrave, E. Hindlip, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Loreburn, L. (L. Chancellor.) Craven, E. Blyth, L.
Granville, E. Boston, L.
Wolverhampton, V. (L. President.) Lytton, E. Burghclere, L.
Russell, E. Colebrooke, L. [Teller.]
Coleridge, L.
Crewe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.) Eversley, L.
Beauchamp, E. (L. Steward.) Farrer, L.
Carlisle, E. Airedale, L. Glantawe, L.
Carrington, E. Allendale, L. Granard, L. (E. Granard.) [Teller.]
Chichester, E. Armitstead, L.
Haversham, L. Lyveden, L. Saye and Sele, L.
Hemphill, L. MacDonnell, L. Shuttleworth, L.
Herschell, L. O'Hagan, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Lochee, L. St. Davids, L. Swaythling, L.
Lucas, L. Sandhurst, L. Weardale, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


, in the absence of Viscount Hill, moved to amend the proviso to Clause 40 (Forfeiture of Tobacco)— Provided that such constable or park-keeper shall not be authorised to search any girl so found smoking. so that it would read— And such constable or park-keeper shall be authorised to search any boy so found smoking, but not a girl.

Amendment moved— In page 23, line 32, to leave out the words 'Provided that,' and to insert the word 'and'; and in the same line to leave out the word 'not,' and in line 33, to leave out the word 'girl,' and to insert the word 'boy,' and after the word 'smoking' to insert the words 'but not a girl.'"—(Lord Belhaven and Stanton.)


accepted the Amendment.

Drafting Amendments to Clauses 42 and 43 agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to amend subsection (1) of Clause 57— (1) Where a youthful offender, who in the opinion of the Court before which he is charged is twelve years of age or upwards but less than sixteen years of age, is convicted, whether on indictment or by a Court of summary jurisdiction, of an offence punishable in the case of an adult with penal servitude or imprisonment, the Court may, in addition to or in lieu of sentencing him according to law to any other punishment, order that he be sent to a certified reformatory school, by omitting the words "Court of Summary Jurisdiction" and inserting the words "Petty Sessional Court," The difference between the two Courts was that a Court of Summary Jurisdiction in certain cases acted with a single magistrate, whereas a Petty Sessional Court acted with two. It was thought desirable that in these cases there should be two justices present.

Amendment moved— In page 29, line 6, to leave out the words Court of Summary Jurisdiction,' and to insert the words 'Petty Sessional Court.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

LORD ALVERSTONE moved to amend subsection (f) of Clause 58— (f) Frequents the company of any reputed thief, or of any common or reputed prostitute other than the mother of the child; or, by deleting the words "other than the mother of the child." As the subsection stood, a mother known to be a common or reputed prostitute could not be deprived of the custody of her child. He understood that the Home Office were of opinion that the child would be sufficiently protected under the other subsections of the clause, but he was satisfied that His Majesty's Government did not know the terrible suffering and injury to little children that occurred through their being in the company of this class of woman, even though she were the child's mother. The horrors were unspeakable. He knew of cases of little children between the ages of five and seven who had been ruined for life physically by what their mothers had allowed to be done to them; and he thought it was terrible that under this Bill, which was going to do so much for children, it should be impossible to deprive a notorious prostitute of the custody of her child. On the last occasion the subject was before the House the Government defended the subsection on the plea that the company of the child had a refining influence on the mother. This was a Bill, not to reclaim the mothers, but to save the children; and he knew from his experience as a Judge that for one case in which the child reclaimed the mother there were ninety-nine cases in which the children were ruined, morally and physically, by abandoned mothers. He therefore moved to omit the words "other than the mother of the child." If the subsection were thus amended, it would still be left optional with the magistrates not to take the child away if they thought its company would have a reclaiming influence on the mother.

Amendment moved— In page 30, lines 10 and 11, to leave out the words 'other than the mother of the child.'"—(Lord Alverstone.)


said the clause generally gave power to the magistrates to take a child from a mother who by reason of "drunken or criminal habits," or for any other reason, was unfit, in the opinion of the Court, to have charge of the child. The Government were unable to accept the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord; but they were willing to strengthen the provision in subsection (d) by the insertion of the words "or of being a common or reputed prostitute."


said that the words suggested by the noble Earl would not have the desired effect if subsection (f) was left unamended.


It is perfectly clear that if the words go out in subsection (f) the offer of my noble friend behind me (Earl Beauchamp) falls to the ground. The view that the Government have taken is that there are undoubtedly cases of the kind mentioned by the noble and learned Lord opposite, where horrors of an almost indescribable kind may occur to young children from the fact of their being in the company of a prostitute, that prostitute even being their mother. But, on the other hand, it is a very hard thing to say, which the Bill would practically say otherwise, that the mere fact of a woman leading an immoral life is a sufficient reason for depriving her of her child.


"May" deprive.


True; but I think that is the implication which would be enveyed in the Bill, and that is a length to which I think your Lordships would be unwilling to go. There may be a great many mothers who, unfortunately, lead immoral lives but yet are fond of their children and, so far as they can be, are good to their children; and if it is understood that the mere fact of frequenting the company of any common or reputed prostitute is a reason for the child's being taken away I think it will be found that a great many magistrates will assume that they are directed by the Bill to take a child away from an immoral mother in every case. That is a course which His Majesty's Government would deeply regret.


I cannot help thinking that the words which have been offered to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice in subsection (d), which are very good words as far as they go, will be of no avail if subsection (f) remains unaltered. If we amend subsection (d)— Is under the care of a parent or guardian who, by reason of criminal or drunken habits is unfit to have the care of the child,"— but leave (f) as it stands this is what will happen. A child will be found in the care of a mother who is a common or reputed prostitute, and thereupon the Bill will apply; but if other words remain in the Bill further down especially exempting the case where the prostitute happens to be the mother of the child the effect of the earlier words will be entirely neutralised.


said there was no difference of opinion between their Lordships as to the object aimed at. The point was really how best to do it. He thought the two paragraphs in the clause would naturally stand together. If the mother were unfit to have the custody of her child, it could be taken away. There would, however, be another opportunity of considering the point if that view turned out to be erroneous. For himself, he could not help thinking that their purpose would be served by the acceptance of Earl Beauchamp's suggestion.


was sorry to disagree with his noble and learned friend on the Woolsack. A magistrate might come to the conclusion that, by reason of her conduct, and so on, the mother was unfit to have charge of the child, but he would find later on in the clause that the case of the mother was especially exempted. The magistrate would, therefore, construe the clause as preventing him from finding that the mother was unfit because the mother was especially exempted by subsection (f).


expressed his willingness to consider any Amendment on the point which the Government might put down for the Third Reading stage, but said he really could not withdraw his Amendment.


said that in view of Lord Alverstone's decision, he should not move his own Amendment.


desired, with all his heart, to support the plea so bravely put forward by the Lord Chief Justice, and said he could, from his experience as a parish priest in the slums of our large towns and also from the testimony of many clergymen, corroborate what the noble and learned Lord had said as to the evils arising from allowing a mother of this class to retain custody of her child.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to amend subsection (2)— (2) Where a child apparently under the age of twelve years is charged before a Court with an offence punishable in the case of an adult by penal servitude or a less punishment, the Court, if satisfied on inquiry that it is expedient so to deal with the child, may order him to be sent to a certified industrial school, by inserting, after the word "Court," the words "of Assize or Quarter Sessions or a Petty Sessional Court." The object was to do away with the power of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction when it was not sitting as a Petty Sessional Court to order a child charged with an offence to be sent to an industrial school.

Amendment moved— In page 30, line 22, after the word 'Court,' to insert the words' of Assize or Quarter Sessions or a Petty Sessional Court.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

Consequential Amendment to Clause 58 agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to amend Clause 60, which was inserted in Committee on the Motion of Lord Lytton, viz.— Where under the provisions of this part of this Act an order is made for the committal of a child or young person to the care of a relative or other fit person named by the Court, in any case where such child or young person has been charged with an offence before the Court making the order, such child or young person may be placed under the supervision of a probation officer in like manner as if he had been charged with an offence and dealt with under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907, by leaving out all the words after "named by the Court" in order to insert other words. The object of the Amendment was to extend the operation of the clause, not only to those cases where an offence had been committed, but also to the case where a child or young person though not an offender was brought before the Court as coming within the many categories mentioned in Clause 58, subsection (1), which would enable the Court to send him to an industrial school.

Amendment moved— In page 32, line 30, to leave out from the word 'Court' to the end of the clause, and to insert the words 'the Court in addition to such order make an order under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907, that the child or young person be placed under the supervision of a probation officer. Provided that the recognisance into which the child, if not charged with an offence, or the young person is required to enter, shall bind him to appear and submit to the further order of the Court.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

Consequential Amendments to Clauses 66 and 67 agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to add at the end of Subsection (2) of Clause 68, which ran— Every child sent to an industrial school, shall, from the expiration of the period of his detention, remain up to the ago of eighteen under the supervision of the managers of the school, words which he explained were left out in Committee owing to an Amendment by Lord Kinnaird being taken by mistake as accepted by the Government. He hoped there would be no objection to the restoration of the proviso, the object of which was to secure that a child sent to an industrial school for purely educational purposes should not be liable to supervision after attaining the age when education ceased to be compulsory. Without that provision, they would be practically treating as a criminal a child who had not been guilty of any serious offence.

Amendment moved— In page 30, line 41, after the word 'school,' to insert the words 'Provided that this sub section shall not apply in any case where the child was ordered to be sent to an industrial school for the purpose only of enforcing an attendance order made in consequence of his parent, guardian, or other person legally liable, to maintain him neglecting to provide efficient elementary instruction for him.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)


said he regretted that the Government proposed to reintroduce this clause. The class of children sent to industrial schools under the subsection was found to be identical in character with the other children in the schools. It was undesirable to make a distinction with regard to supervision amongst the different children in the same school. The supervision was of a benevolent and parental nature, and for the benefit of the children, and there seemed to be no reason why these children should be deprived of this benefit. The after-care of children who had been sent to industrial schools was a most important part of their training and protection. After they left the schools the Home Office rightly required that the managers of the schools should keep in touch with them for three years, and report as to their conduct. Recognising the difficulty which the managers experienced in befriending and protecting these children, Parliament, in 1894, passed the Industrial Schools Act Amendment Act, under which most of them were placed under friendly supervision for two years after leaving the school. But the Act provided that if the children had been sent to the schools under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1893, they should not be under supervision on leaving. Nevertheless, the Home Office still required reports upon them. The result had been that often in the same school there were some children who would not be under legal supervision on leaving, and some who would, and yet identically the same class of children, perhaps even brothers and sisters. The managers held that if their supervision was for the good of the children, and that was generally admitted, and if they were to be required to report to the Home Office annually concerning the children, and it was right that they should, then they ought to have the same powers of control if they saw one of the old boys or old girls going to the bad. They ought not to have their hands tied by this exception, which had for so many years hindered them in their good work. The law had been found to work well as far as they had been allowed to exercise it, and there was no justification for this exemption clause, for there was the best possible evidence that the children so exempted were the same class and needed supervision as much as the other children. He hoped, therefore, that the House would not agree to the re-introduction of the words which had been omitted.


questioned whether the Government were not making a mistake in trying in any way to create the impression that the supervision which took place with regard to a child after it had left the industrial school was in the nature of police supervision. This was what would be done by making the proposed distinction. The supervision which the managers gave to children after they had left industrial schools was eminently to the interest of the children, and he was sorry to see the supervision branded in this way.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to amend Clause 70, which provided that— If any youthful offender or child detained in or placed out on licence from a certified school, or a person when under the supervision of the managers of such a school, conducts himself well, the managers of the school may, with his own consent, apprentice him to, or dispose of him in, any trade, calling, or service, or by emigration, notwithstanding that his period of detention or supervision has not expired; and such apprenticing or disposition shall be as valid as if the managers were his parents. He asked their Lordships to insert after the words "calling or service," the words "including service in the Navy or Army." He said that although the words "calling or service" were sufficient in themselves to cover service in the Navy or Army, it was thought well that the managers should have this specially brought to their notice.

Amendment moved— In page 38, line 28, after the word 'service,' to insert the words 'including service in the Navy or Army.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

Drafting Amendments to Clause 72 agreed to.

LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY moved the omission of subsection (2) of Clause 74. The subsection ran— Where a child is ordered to be sent to a certified industrial school it shall be the duty of the local education authority of the district in which he resides (to be specified in the order) to provide for his reception and maintenance in a certified industrial school suitable to the case, having regard to the requirements of this Part of this Act. He said this point was raised in Committee by the noble Earl opposite, Lord Donoughmore, and the more he considered it the more serious and important he regarded it, and he felt bound to press with all the energy he could the impolicy of the proposal in the clause as it stood. The principle with which he was dealing applied to reformatories and industrial schools, but reformatories were in a different position, and therefore he would limit his remarks to industrial schools. His object was to restore the Bill to its original shape as introduced by His Majesty's Government in the House of Commons. The change of which he complained was made in the Grand Committee, and it was vital to the interests of local education authorities. When a Bill was sent to Grand Committee it was entirely withdrawn from public observation; the proceedings were not reported, and the persons concerned did not know what was going on. The result in this case had been that in the Grand Committee a most serious change had been introduced which placed a very heavy financial burden on local authorities, while at the same time it fettered their judgment and power of action. Originally the subsidising of voluntary industrial schools was left to the discretion of local authorities. They could subsidise or not; they could impose conditions and terms, and they were not responsible for the whole cost. Now, by this Bill the local authorities were not given a discretion to subsidise these schools within certain limits, but had the duty placed upon them of providing for the reception and maintenance of the children sent to them. That which was formerly a right was thereby converted into a duty. He thought it would be agreed that the words "provide for his reception and maintenance" threw the whole burden of maintenance upon the local authority. It might be said that subsection (8) of this clause still kept alive the power of making bargains; but what was the use of that power when the duty of bearing the whole cost had been thrown upon the local authority? Children were brought forward to be sent to industrial schools, not at all solely or mainly on the initiative of the local education authority. The Report of the London County Council for the year 1906–7 showed that there were charged by the police, 756 children; by officers of the London County Council, 523; by private individuals, 322 children; and by parents, 134 children. Their Lordships would, therefore, see that the large majority of the cases were bodies who, under this Bill, would have to pay. Moreover, the magistrate had absolute power to name the school to which the child should be sent, provided that school was willing to take him. This removed altogether the discretion of the local authority in the matter of the school. He understood that there was no need for any agreement between the local authority and the managers of the school, because when the school took the child they made a demand upon the local authority whose duty it became to pay. The local authority became chargeable with the whole financial burden, but had not one word to say as to the measure of local expenditure. It would be quite within the power of the managers of a school to raise the salaries of their staff and otherwise to increase the cost, and then to send in the bill to the local authority. The great mass of improvements in industrial schools during the last twenty-five years had been the result of the pressure which great public authorities had brought to bear by coupling the requirements for greater efficiency with more liberal grants. The Home Office had shown no initiative in regard to these improvements, but had followed in the steps of the local authorities. Before Mr. Legge became the inspector, the Home Office were perfectly satisfied if the standard of education in industrial schools went up to the Fifth Standard, and were quite content with the most inefficient and stupid modes of industrial employment, such as wood-chopping, which did not in any way fit the child to earn his living in the future. Many of the industrial schools used to carry out strictly their name by putting the children to work half-time when other persons would have been summoned for so doing. All this had been improved as a result of the action of the local authorities, who had insisted upon a more enlightened curriculum, and upon the children not beginning industrial training until they had received the first elements of education. Again, it was often found that there was neglect in the proper selection of persons to whom the children should be licensed, and over this and other important matters connected with the future of the children a rigorous supervision had been exercised. The stimulus in bringing about the desired reform was liberal grants. In London, the grants had been increased at three separate periods, and now the London County Council had introduced a scale of grants which might go up to 10s. per child. In Committee, the Government had given a very good character to the Home Office; they were told that the Home Office were prepared to look in a broad and liberal way at the question of finance, but the latest evidence showed that the Home Office and the Treasury between them were prepared to do nothing of the kind. An Inter-departmental Committee, appointed in 1905, reported in favour of a considerable number of increases of grants from the Treasury; the great mass of those were rejected, and only a few small additions allowed. He had no hesitation in saying that if the Treasury could throw upon the local authority the statutory obligation of bearing the whole cost in this case, they would have a very active disposition still further to restrict their grants. The fact that a school possessed the Home Office certificate was not in the least an assurance that it was a fit school to which to send children. It took a long time before the Home Office actually withdrew its certificate. Local authorities might have knowledge of schools whore the discipline was harsh, the life inert, the teaching dull, the methods superannuated; yet they might be compelled to send children to those schools. He was not now, or at any time, opposed to the maintenance of voluntary industrial schools; on the contrary, he recognised that there were certain qualities of voluntary management which a public authority would make a great mistake not to take advantage of He found in the recent Blue-book, like a fly in amber, an extract from a speech he made a little while ago at an industrial school anniversary at Macclesfield on the proper attitude of the State towards industrial schools. Therefore he did not stand before them as one hostile to voluntary industrial schools. But what would be the effect of this Bill? They were putting the burden of payment on one set of people, and the power of spending on another. A more profligate policy of waste he could not imagine, and it was all the more extraordinary as coming from a Liberal Government who had been occupied for some years in denouncing the shortcomings of Mr. Balfour's Act in relation to the voluntary schools. By that Act voluntary schools were undoubtedly put on the rates, but the local authority had complete financial control. He was not saying that the powers of control were sufficient. But here the safeguards for financial control embodied in Mr. Balfour's Act were utterly disregarded. He would utilise these observations as a warning to the Government that they should at any rate be consistent with themselves, and not denounce in connection with an elementary school what they proposed to do to a very much worse extent in connection with industrial schools. Industrial schools were very often more intensely denominational than ordinary schools; and if they were allowed to increase the salaries at their own discretion this would be, in many cases, equivalent to an endowment of the convent or order at the expense of the ratepayers. He earnestly hoped their Lordships would not strike this blow at local self-government by imposing upon persons who had not been consulted an obligation which hitherto no one had ever contemplated could reasonably be placed upon them. Voluntary industrial schools as compared to those under public management were about five to one, except truants schools and day industrial schools. It might be said that if a public authority did not choose to pay for the children in these voluntary industrial schools the public authority might build schools of its own. He would be very sorry to see that; he would regret to see voluntary schools not utilised to the utmost when they could be, by judicious co-operation between the public authorities and the school managers. Moreover, did they think it likely that the Home Office would sanction the establishment of new schools when the existence could be shown of four or five thousand available places in schools under private management? If the clause passed in its present form the voluntary managers would be able to spend what they pleased and compel the counties to pay what they demanded.

Amendment moved— In page 41, lines 13 to 18, to leave out subsection (2)."—(Lord Stanley of Alderley.)


said the Government were obliged to adhere to their decision on a similar Amendment moved in Committee. He ventured to think that Lord Stanley had taken a somewhat exaggerated view of what was likely to be the effect of the subsection. A large number of local authorities already took advantage of the power which they possessed, and the chief alteration made by the subsection was that it compelled the other authorities to make arrangements and to provide for the reception and maintenance of children ordered to be sent to certified industrial schools. The practical result of the subsection would probably be that the local education authority would make such conditions with the managers of the school to which a child was sent as they thought right. They could, and probably would provide for their representation on the board of management and for the price at which the child should be taken. The subsection was not nearly so violent as the noble Lord seemed to think. The local education authority would also be entitled to be heard before the magistrate as to the choice of a school. That the obligation imposed by the subsection should be put on the local education authority was strongly urged on the Government on the Second Reading and afterwards, and it was inserted in Committee on those representations. The provision had met with approval in many quarters and he hoped their Lordships would allow it to remain.


pointed out that the old practice was that the magistrate made the order for the child to be sent to a school and that the local authority had the right to select the school; but under this provision the magistrate would actually select the school. It seemed to him a very considerable and far-reaching change to say to the authority, "You must provide the money, but you shall not have the right to veto the school. You shall only have the right to try to do so."

On Question, Amendment negatived.

THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE moved an Amendment with the object of securing the representation of the local authority on the governing body of the school. The change which this Bill made consisted in taking away from the local authority the absolute right of selecting the school and substituting for that merely the right to protest before the magistrate against the school selected. Their Lordships had decided not to alter that, and therefore that would be the position in the future. But he felt that if that was to be the case, and if the local authority were not to have a controlling voice in the selection of the school, they should at any rate be assured of representation on the board of management of the school. The noble Earl the Lord Steward had said that the local authority would be able to arrange for this in making the contract. He wished he thought so. If a school chose to stand out and decline to allow representation, the local authority would, nevertheless, if the magistrate accepted that school, have to pay though they might be absolutely ignorant of the conditions under which the school was conducted. As Lord Stanley had shown, practically all the improvements that had been made in industrial schools had been due to the pressure of local authorities; but under this Bill that power of pressure disappeared. Local authorities were placed in a much weaker position in making their bargain. The Liberal Party had provided an exact precedent for his Amendment in the Elementary Education Act of 1893 dealing with blind and deaf children. Clause 3 of that Act provided that— The terms of contribution approved by the Education Department may include provision for the representation of the contributing school authority on the governing body of the school to which it contributes in cases where such representation appears to the Education Department practicable and expedient. This was an exact parallel, and as it came from the forefathers of the present Government he hoped his Amendment on the same lines would be accepted.

Amendment moved— In page 42, line 42, after the word 'provision,' to insert the words 'and in cases where it appears to the Secretary of State practicable and expedient the contract shall provide for the representation of the local authority on the governing body of the certified school.'"—(The Earl of Donoughmore.)


said the Home Office were not of opinion that this was a necessary Amendment, and therefore, he could not accept it. The local authority could make out the conditions of the contract which they would come to, and the position of the local education authority and of the managers of the school was the reverse of that which the noble Earl seemed to imagine. Instead of the local education authority going cap in hand to the managers, he thought it far more likely that the managers of the schools would be anxious to have the children, and to have them at a reasonable price. In return for that undoubted advantage there was no doubt at all that they would be perfectly willing that the local authority should be represented upon the governing body. In the opinion of the Government it was better that this matter should be left to mutual arrangement between the local authority and the representatives of the school.


said the noble Earl the Lord Steward had completely misread the Bill if he supposed that the power of contracting was of any use at all. It was not the local contributing authority who selected the school. What determined the admission of the child was the wish of the magistrate, the consent of the parent, and the willingness of the school to receive. The power of contracting was a very useful one when it was a voluntary act, but it was useless here because the two parties were not negotiating on equal terms. The local authority could not come to an arrangement as to how much they would contribute, for the Bill provided that the local authority should pay the whole cost.


My own knowledge, I confess, is imperfect, but I am anxious to understand what the point made by the noble Earl opposite and the noble Lord behind me actually is. I understand that their argument is that the magistrate consigns the child to a particular school, and it then becomes imperative on the local authority to send the child to that particular school whereby the power of bargaining on the local authority's side disappears.


Is valueless.


The local authority, as I understand, will send the child to a school at which it has paid, or is prepared to pay, for a place for him or her; but if the local authority does not pay for that place it is in no way bound to send the child to that particular school. That being so, I should have thought that a very considerable bargaining power remained to the local authority. There is nothing in the Bill, either explicit or implicit, as it seems to me, which really gives the power which is ascribed by the noble Earl opposite to an order to send a child to a particular school.


said there was not so much between the Government and himself as appeared. The opinion of the Government seemed to be that the dangers he apprehended could not occur under the Bill. Having secured that admission he was satisfied, and would not press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Consequential Amendment to Clause 75 agreed to.

Drafting Amendments to Clause 108 agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved the insertion, in Clause 108, of a new subsection enabling the Local Government Board to transfer from the Metropolitan Asylums Board to the London County Council any buildings for the purpose of remand homes under Section 4 of the Youthful Offenders Act, 1901, the buildings to become places of detention for the purposes of Part V. This was, he had understood, an agreed Amendment. But he had that day received a communication from Lord Middleton concerning it, and if it were necessary to make any further change it could be done on Third Reading.

Amendment moved— In page 62, line 25, after the word 'county,' to insert the following new subsection: (12) The Local Government Board may by order transfer from the Metropolitan Asylums Board to the London County Council any buildings provided by the Metropolitan Asylums Board for the purpose of remand homes under Section 4 of the Youthful Offenders Act, 1901, together with any liabilities incurred by the Metropolitan Asylums Board in connection with such buildings, and on such transfer the buildings shall become places of detention for the purposes of this Part of this Act, and the order may also provide for the transfer of any officers employed by the Metropolitan Asylums Board in connection with such remand homes, and for securing to such officers any rights as to pension or otherwise to which they may be entitled.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved the addition of a new subsection to Clause 111. Its object was, he said, to secure that where a mistake had been made with regard to the age of a child the proceedings should not be delayed but should proceed irrespective of the mistake.

Amendment moved— In Clause 111, page 63, line 36, after the first "and" to insert the words "a Court of Summary Jurisdiction so sitting in this Act referred to as a juvenile Court. (2) Where in the course of any proceedings in a juvenile Court it appears to the court that the person charged or to whom the proceedings relate is sixteen years or upwards, or where in the course of any proceedings in any Court of Summary Jurisdiction other than a juvenile Court it appears that the person charged or to whom the proceedings relate is under the age of sixteen years, nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the Court if it thinks it undesirable to adjourn the case from proceeding with the hearing and determination of the case.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved to insert, at the beginning of Part VI., the following new clause— Where a woman is convicted of the murder of her infant, and that child was under the age of one year, the Court may, in lieu of passing a sentence of death, sentence her to penal servitude for life or any less punishment. Their Lordships would remember that he moved the insertion of this new clause in Committee, but postponed it until this stage on the suggestion of the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition. He did not wish to enlarge upon it. The considerations for and against this new clause lay within a small compass. In point of fact the death penalty in such cases had become obsolete, and since 1849, though sentence of death had often been passed, it had never been carried into effect, with the result that it was repellant and revolting to those who knew that the sentence would not be carried out, and it was horrifying to those who, being ignorant, thought the sentence meant what it declared. If it could be included among beneficial or harmless conventionalities it might remain, but he found himself in unison with the Home Secretary in the opinion that it was neither beneficial nor harmless, and interfered with the due administration of justice. Where there was no choice between conviction and acquittal juries were very much disposed to acquit a mother of the murder charge. In Scotland, where juries had the alternative of conviction for culpable homicide, there had in twenty years been no conviction for murder in such cases, and in England juries took refuge in verdicts of concealment of birth. That showed the feelings of the juries in those painful cases. Moreover, a good many people would not give evidence at these trials. The consequence was that the administration of justice was obstructed. When they overtaxed any commodity they produced smuggling. In like manner, when they over-punished people they defeated their purpose of bringing the guilty to justice. One of the arguments which had been advanced against his Amendment was that it set up two standards of the sanctity of human life. But all that his Amendment proposed was to enable the Judge not to announce a punishment which, by common consent, ought not to be inflicted. It had also been said that it was not fair to put Judges in the position of having to decide whether the sentence should be one of death or penal servitude. He should have thought it would be an alleviation of the painful position the Judges were now in of being obliged to pass sentence of death if the jury convicted. His Amendment gave the Judges the right, if they thought fit, to extend mercy in the sentence, as the Home Office extended it in the actual punishment; and he submitted that the Amendment was quite appropriate to a Children's Bill.

Amendment proposed— After Clause 113, and at the beginning of Part VI., to insert the following new clause: 'Where a woman is convicted of the murder of her infant, and that child was under the ago of one year, the Court may, in lieu of passing a sentence of death, sentence her to penal servitude for liie or any less punishment.'"—(The Lord Chancellor.)


said that when he spoke on the last occasion he had only had two hours to consider his noble and learned friend's Amendment. Since the Committee stage he had given this matter his most careful consideration, and he was sorry to say he felt obliged to ask their Lordships not to accept the Amendment. He would be glad to consider a scheme for the reform of the law, whereby this difficulty—the painful character of which he fully recognised—of having to pronounce the death sentence in cases where it would not be carried into effect might be removed, but it was impossible to do it by an Amendment to the Children Bill. He could understand the application of some such a clause to the case of a poor girl who in the frenzy of delivery killed her infant; but he feared that if the clause, as it stood, were adopted, the worst murders of infants—the killing of infants of three or six months old by deliberate starvation and ill-treatment—would become of much greater frequency. If his noble and learned friend thought that by this clause he would get rid of the sentence of death in cases where the Home Office did not allow it to be carried out, he was greatly mistaken. There were, of course, numbers of cases besides those of infanticide where the same difficulty arose. He could not imagine anything worse than to leave to the discretion of the Judge the question whether or not the death sentence should be imposed, particularly in the case of the murder of every infant up to the age of one year. It should depend upon the law, and not upon the view of the particular Judge. If the Amendment were adopted there would be what would be known as hanging Judges and non-hanging Judges; there would be Judges who would think it right to pass sentence of death and others who would not. The Lord Chancellor had pointed out one way in which their object might be achieved, by allowing a verdict, of culpable homicide to be returned. If that were right, let them assimilate the law of England to that of Scotland in this matter. Personally he had always felt that it was wiser to have the difficulty dealt with by the prerogative of mercy exercised through the responsible Minister.


asked that he might be allowed to say a few words by the indulgence of the House. He was glad his noble and learned friend thought that some remedy was necessary, but none had been suggested, and the only remedy was that which was recommended to their Lordships, after the most careful consideration, by the Home Secretary and himself. If the House thought a year was too long, he was willing to modify the clause by inserting some shorter time, say three months. He recognised that the necessity of passing sentence of death would still exist in other cases where it was obvious from the circumstances that the sentence would not be executed. These were cases which could not be classified, but that difficulty did not arise in regard to the cases referred to in his clause. He could assure the House, not on his own authority, but on the authority of those more qualified to judge, that the present system seriously interfered with the administration of justice.


confessed that it was with considerable reluctance that he differed from his noble and learned friend upon the Woolsack. He was quite aware how earnestly and carefully the Lord Chancellor had considered this matter, and regretted his inability to concur in his view. His noble and learned friend had stated that the law as it stood did mischief. He was not quite certain that his noble and learned friend had not very much exaggerated that mischief. He felt that the adoption of the Amendment would do infinitely more mischief. It was quite true that for a very long period it had not been usual to inflict the death penalty in such cases as they had in mind; but was it desirable to make a general proclamation that the death penalty would never be inflicted for these murders? The fact that the death penalty might be inflicted was intended as a deterrent, and he thought it would be a very questionable proceeding to make it the law that the death penalty could never be inflicted. He thought that the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice and of the other Judges—for in this matter the Lord Chief Justice represented the feeling of the other Judges—who had actual experience in the administration of the criminal law, was of overwhelming importance in a point of this kind. Their Lordships would be taking a very great responsibility upon themselves if they ran counter to the opinions of the Judges who were daily engaged in such matters. He was a little surprised that no reference had been made to the fact that within his memory it was not compulsory upon the Judge to inflict the death penalty; he might record judgment of death, but need not inflict the sentence. He remembered well the discussions that took place on that matter. One of the important arguments against it, and which carried with it the Legislature, was that the discretion of exercising the sentence to put to death ought not to be committed to the Judges, and partly for the reason stated by the Lord Chief Justice. He had the utmost respect for the Judges, most of whom were personal friends of his own, but they had peculiarities, and should not have the power of determining whether or not the death sentence should be passed. When it was the practice for the Judge to have discretion either to pronounce sentence of death or simply to record it, the arguments against that were so cogent that, he believed without any opposition, the law was repealed. With regard to the Amendment now before the House, if the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice and the Judges had been the other way, he would have felt bound to yield his opinion to theirs, but, inasmuch as he had come to the conclusion that the Lord Chief Justice was right, he should vote with Lord Alverstone and against the Amendment if they went to a division.


pointed out that the question before the House was not one of extending or contracting the area of the death penalty, but whether it was desirable that a sentence of the most solemn kind should be publicly pronounced when not only would it not be carried out, but when every one present in Court, except, perhaps, the poor prisoner, knew it would not be carried out. Personally, he must leave the question to those more skilled in legal matters, but if the Lord Chief Justice did not join with the Lord Chancellor in this attempt to remedy an admitted defect in our procedure, he hoped Lord Alverstone would feel in his conscience that some responsibility rested upon him to take action in some other way.


said this was a Bill to safeguard the lives of children and to benefit children. The Amendment, though meant in the best possible spirit, was not calculated to enhance the security of the lives of children. The Amendment taken by itself might have the effect of weakening respect for the lives of very young children. In the first few months of the lives of children, before they could do anything to help themselves, it was a very grave step to do anything which might take away that solemnity and sanctity which should be attached to life. The Amendment would thrust upon the Judges a most painful duty and responsibility. The evil of these death sentences being passed had, he thought, been exaggerated, for over and over again, in cases of infanticide, juries, instead of bringing in a verdict of guilty of murder, brought in merely a verdict of concealment of birth. While perfectly ready to examine a well-conceived and well-considered measure of reform, he was unable to support the new clause on the ground that he did not think it should find a place in a Bill dealing with the protection and welfare of children.


The discussion of this Amendment has been almost entirely confined to legal members of the House of the very highest authority. I do not propose to add anything to what has been said by my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack, who, I think, has stated his case as clearly, as fully, and as temperately as it can be stated. I merely rose to ask a question on a point of fact. I understood Lord Halsbury to quote the Lord Chief Justice as having said that he was stating not merely his own opinion but that of the Judges as a whole. I did not hear that fall from the Lord Chief Justice.


said that he had consulted all the Judges at present in London, and they entirely agreed with the view he had expressed on this subject. He believed, however, that Lord Coleridge entertained a great objection to the sentence of death being passed and not carried into effect, though he did not know that the noble and learned Lord was in favour of the option being given to the Judge.


said that a sentence which was never carried into effect ought not to be passed, and the reasons in favour of not passing in public a sentence which was never carried into effect were surely stronger when that sentence carried with it the great ceremonial solemnities of passing sentence of death. Whoever had passed through the experience of passing such a sentence knew well that he had discharged a very grave function indeed, and to deprive that function of its solemnity was to deprive it of its reality as well as of its efficacy as a warning. Though he could not vote against the Amendment, he recognised that there were very grave objections to the placing in the power of the Judge the decision whether or not he should pronounce the sentence of death. The sentences in the case of women dealt with by this clause were never carried into effect, and he did not think that in these particular cases the Judge should feel bound to take upon himself a personal responsibility not given by the law which he must discharge according to the verdict of the jury. Though he recognised the gravity of the reasons urged by the Lord Chief Justice, he thought that in this particular class of offences the danger indicated would never arise; and therefore, on the whole, he would vote for the Amendment of the Lord Chancellor.

On Question, "That the new clause be there inserted."

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 36; Not-contents, 42.

Loreburn, L. (L. Chancellor.) Carrington, E. Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.)
Chichester, E.
Crewe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Craven, E. Allendale, L.
Granville, E. Armitstead, L.
Beauchamp, E. (L. Steward.) Lytton, E. Colebrooke, L.
Coleridge, L. Herschell, L. St. Davids, L.
Denman, L. [Teller.] Lochee, L. Sandhurst, L.
Farrer, L. Lucas, L. Saye and Sele, L.
Glantawe, L. Lyveden, L. Shuttleworth, L.
Granard, L. (E. Granard.) [Teller.] Marchamley, L. Stanmore, L.
O'Hagan, L. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Hamilton of Dalzell, L. Oxenfoord, L. (E. Stair.)
Haversham, L. Pirrie, L. Weardale, L.
Hemphill, L. Poltimore, L.
Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.) Plymouth, E. Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Newcastle, D. Russell, E. Colchester, L.
Somerset, D. Waldegrave, E. [Teller.] Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)
Heneage, L.
Bath, M. Falkland, V. Hindlip, L.
Lansdowne, M. Goschen, V. Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)
Salisbury, M. Hood, V. Kinnaird, L.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Knaresborough, L.
Camperdown, E. Lawrence, L. [Teller.]
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) St. Aldwyn, V. Leith of Fyvie, L.
Macnaghten, L.
Eldon, E. Alverstone, L. Sanderson, L.
Halsbury, E. Ardilaun, L. Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)
Hardwicke, E. Ashbourne, L. Stalbridge, L.
Lauderdale, E. Belhaven and Stenton, L. Wolverton, L.
Morley, E. Cheylesmore, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

EARL RUSSELL moved the omission of Clause 118. This clause, he said, dealt with the children of vagrants, and provided that such children who were of school age might, in certain circumstances, be taken from the vagrants and sent to an industrial school. There were, of course, vagrants of various kinds, and his attention had been particularly directed to the case of gypsies, which differed from that of other vagrants. Subsection (1) of the clause enacted that— If a person habitually wanders from place to place and takes with him any child above the age of five, he shall, unless he proves that the child is totally exempted from school attendance or that the child is not by being so taken with him prevented from receiving efficient elementary education, be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding with costs twenty shillings, and shall for the purposes of the provisions of this Act relating to the descriptions of children who may be sent to a certified industrial school, be deemed to be not to be exercising proper guardianship over the child. That subsection threw upon the vagrant parent the onus of showing that the child was receiving sufficient elementary education, and it applied to children as young as five years. Subsection (2) provided an exceedingly summary and rather drastic way of enforcing this provision. It ran— Any constable who finds a person wandering from place to place and taking a child with him may, if he has reasonable ground for believing that the person is guilty of an offence under this section— that was to say, that his child was not receiving efficient elementary education— Apprehend him without a warrant, and may take the child to a place of safety in accordance with the provisions of Part II. of this Act, and that Part shall apply accordingly as if an offence under this section were an offence under that Part. That subsection actually gave power to a village constable to enter a caravan of gypsies and immediately arrest, without warrant, a parent, if he thought his child was not receiving efficient elementary education, and also take the child away. He was informed by those who were acquainted with the affection which gypsies had for their children, and their resentment of interference, that any attempt to enforce this subsection would provoke a great deal of disorder, and possibly lead to riot or bloodshed. He had been informed that gypsies had shown themselves willing to take advantage of education for their children if, for instance, arrangements could be made by which the children could be educated chiefly in the winter months, when the gypsies were not travelling about. It had been suggested that there was no great hardship in the provision, because the gypsy or other vagrant could find some relative with a fixed abode who would take the children. That was a very easy and convenient departmental view, but the probability was that the pure-blooded gypsy had no settled relatives, and, in case he had, he would have to pay a substantial sum for the keep of the children; so that he lost the society of his children, and had to pay what, to him, would be a considerable sum for their support. He did not propose to press for the omission of the clause at this stage, but hoped the Home Office would consider the matter, and see whether it would not be possible to deal with the problem of the education of such vagrant children by methods of conciliation rather than by force.

Amendment moved— To leave out Clause 118."—(Earl Russell.)


said the Government were unable to accept the Amendment. The real point was that the machinery of the Education Acts broke down when it was a question of trying to get these children into school, because by the time the ordinary procedure was followed, the gypsies had moved to a place outside the jurisdiction of the authority. Therefore, it was essential that the constable should have power to deal with the matter summarily. His Majesty's Government attached a good deal of importance to the clause. Their hope was that the children in question might be boarded with relatives during the winter months, and, if so, one of the chief objects of the clause would be attained.


asked the noble Earl in charge of the Bill to consult with the Home Office as to whether the very great power given in subsection (2) might not be restricted to a more responsible person than a constable. He suggested the substitution of an inspector of police or a sergeant.


hoped the Government would retain the clause as at present drafted. He did not think anyone not living in semi-rural districts round large towns knew the extent of the evil. These vagrant children were simply brought up to a life of crime. He had been told by the police in his own district that certainly 50 per cent. of the crime there was accounted for by vagrant families. They were not the gypsies of the old kind, with whom he had a certain amount of sympathy; there were extremely few of the old gypsies felt. He failed to see why the children of vagrants alone among English children should escape the Education Act. It seemed to him that the arguments of the noble Earl who moved the Amendment were directed rather against the Education Act of 1870 than against this particular clause. Canal-boat children were under similar difficulties, but their education had been provided for in very much the same way under the Canal Boats Act. It would be quite impossible to deal effectively with these children without some such drastic clause as that under discussion. The law at present was being evaded, and it was the unanimous wish of the county councils that the clause in the Bill should remain.


I think this is a question of some difficulty, because we all, even the noble Lord who has just sat down, have a certain sympathy with the genuine gypsies who carry into this very unromantic age some flavour of a more attractive life than that which is led by many people in this country. But, on the other hand, there is an admitted evil, and none of us go so far as to say that because a man chooses to live in a van rather than a house and prefers to wander about the roads he should therefore be excused from the liability of having his children educated. My noble friend the Lord Steward will, I am sure, consider this point very carefully before the next stage, and see whether any means can be found of meeting the objections raised by the noble Earl with reference to the somewhat drastic proposal in the clause, though I do not think it will be very easy to do so for the reasons mentioned by the noble Lord who spoke last. It is very difficult to devise any half-way house between immediate action by the constable and round-about action which is altogether ineffective. But my noble friend will consider the matter with the Home Office, in the hope of arriving at some solution.


was glad to hear the sympathetic way in which the noble Earl the Leader of the House had treated this difficult matter. They all had some sympathy with the gypsies, who were happy in their own way, and were intensely attached to their children; and it struck him that to give power to a perhaps too zealous policeman to take a child of these people away, perhaps a little child of five, because, in his opinion, its education was not being properly attended to, might be inflicting considerably more hardship than their Lordships would really desire. The difficulty had been freely stated by the noble Earl who had just sat down. There was no reason why these children should remain uneducated. He hoped that, if the clause were passed into law in its present form, it would be tenderly administered, though he did not feel that the village constable was the person he would trust to administer tenderly a provision of this sort.


said this was a matter which had greatly interested the county councils, and in the early part of the session he introduced a Bill dealing with it. He had not, however, proceeded with the Bill, because one of the chief points in his Bill, the education of these wandering children, was being dealt with in this particular measure. While he admitted that his proposals were in a way less drastic than those in the present Bill, still he was sure the Government had framed this provision after much consideration and that they were warranted in their action by the necessities of the case. While vagrant parents were allowed to wander about it was impossible for any attendance officer to carry out the law. It was necessary to stop their peregrination, and the provision in the clause seemed to him suitable for the purpose. He did not think there was any probability that the power would be hardly used, or that the vagrant would be arrested unless he proceeded to wander after being warned that he was required to bring his child before a magistrate and answer for the offence he had committed. He hoped the clause would stand, even if it were necessary to modify it in some particular.


withdrew his Amendment, in view of the satisfactory assurance from the noble Earl the Leader of the House that the matter would be considered.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to omit the words "or nurse" from Clause 119, which ran— If any person gives, or causes to be given, to any child under the age of five any intoxicating liquor, except upon the order of a fully-qualified medical practitioner or nurse, or in any case of sickness, or apprehended sickness, or other urgent cause, he shall, on summary conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding three pounds. It was proposed to omit these words on the ground that they were unduly vague. If they inserted before the word "nurse" the words "fully qualified," the objection was that there was no body of recognised qualified nurses in this country. On the other; hand, if the word "nurse" were not qualified there was nothing to prevent any one who might call himself or herself a nurse giving intoxicating liquor to the child. In these circumstances, it was thought better to omit the two words altogether. There would still be adequate safeguard in the clause.

Amendment moved— In page 66, line 13, to leave out the words 'or nurse.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)


I think the noble Earl is quite right in omitting from this clause the reference to nurses. I almost wish he would have a little more courage and omit the clause altogether. It seems to me one of the most extraordinarily foolish provisions that could be put into the Bill. It is a clause which renders liable to pains and penalties any person who gives any intoxicating liquor to a child under the age of five except in case of sickness or apprehended sickness. Does the noble Earl think that any conviction is likely to be possible when either of these excuses can be pleaded by the person who gives the intoxicating liquor? The excuse will be that the child was not feeling very well or that it was expected that the child was not going to be very well. It seems to me that this is a specimen of the kind of vexatious and superfluous legislation of which I am afraid a great many examples are to be found in this Bill.


It is quite possible that the number of convictions under this clause may not be very great, but it is an unfortunate fact that a very large number of children are brought up on stimulants. They are also brought up on other classes of food which are just as bad for them. A large number of children are given a share of whatever is going at the family meal, including stimulants. I think if this is made an illegal practice it will call the attention of such parents, who act out of thoughtlessness rather than out of desire to do mischief, to the fact that it is extremely reprehensible and dangerous. Therefore the clause does seem to me to serve a useful purpose.


Making our statutes into sermons.

Drafting Amendment in Clause 131 agreed to.


explained that his Amendment to Clause 131 was designed to secure that in Scotland the officers of local authorities should have the same power as the officers of similar local authorities in England and Ireland to institute proceedings for a certain class of offences. He did not see why there should not be this power in Scotland. Probably the noble Earl the Lord Steward would reply that the whole system was different in Scotland, that they had in that country a system of public prosecutors who were paid by salary, and that if this power were given to the local authority a claim would immediately afterwards be made for the payment of the fines to the local authority, which would cut into the Treasury's right to take the fines. He did not propose, at that late hour, to raise a discussion on the point; but he would be very glad to have an assurance that those who controlled the procurators fiscal would see that in this matter the law was administered with promptitude and efficiency.

Amendment moved— In page 73, line 27, after the word 'magistrate' to insert the words 'Provided further that a prosecution for an offence under Part I. or Part II. of this Act may be instituted by the inspector of poor or any other person authorised by the local authority.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)


said he was authorised by the Lord Advocate to assure the noble Lord that the procurators fiscal would be specially instructed in the matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Verbal Amendment agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to leave out subsection (21) of Clause 131.

Amendment moved— In page 75, line 34, to page 76, line 15, to leave out subsection (21)."—(Earl Beauchamp.)


asked whether the precise effect of this Amendment would be to leave the law exactly as it stood at the present time in Scotland. The subsection would undoubtedly have seriously altered the law of settlement, and would have made the particular parish in which the child sentenced to the industrial school happened to be at the moment of arrest liable for all time to defray the expenses. He desired to make sure that the acceptance of the noble Earl's Amendment would not only leave the law of settlement in these cases in the same position as it was, but place local authorities in Scotland in exactly the same position in relation to the Treasury as local authorities in England. If so, he would not move the later Amendment which stood in his name on the Paper.


said he was authorised to assure the noble Lord that local authorities in Scotland were in precisely the same position, in the connection which he mentioned, as the local authorities in England and Ireland; and also that the Bill made no change in the law of settlement in Scotland.

Drafting Amendment agreed to.

EARL BEAUCHAMP moved the insertion of a new subsection, which he explained had been adjusted in consultation with those interested in the matter.

Amendment moved— In page 79, line 5, after the word 'order,' to insert the following new subsection: '(26) The immediately preceding subsection shall apply to the Aberdeen Reformatories and Industrial Schools Act, 1885, as if it were herein re-enacted with the omission of the portions thereof under the headings (b) (c) and (d), and with the substitution of the last-mentioned Act for the Glasgow Acts.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)

Bill to be read 3a on Tuesday the 24th instant, and to be printed as amended. [No. 225.]

House adjourned at Eight o'clock, to Monday next, Eleven o'clock.