§ On the order for the adjourned Debate on the Third Reading of this Bill,
* MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
Sir, I desire, on a point of order, to ask whether a notice for the re-committal of the Bill in respect of certain clauses 575 would take precedence of a Motion on the Paper for the rejection of the Bill? There are many Members who do not object to portions of the Bill, but desire to express their objection to certain, clauses, and I therefore desire to know whether a Motion that the Bill be re-committed in respect of certain clauses would take precedence of the Motion to which I have referred.
* MR. J. LOWTHER
In that case, I beg to move—That this Bill be re-committed in respect of clauses 2 and 3, and the new clause dealing with penalties.Sir, there is one reason why I think this Bill should be re-committed. As far as the House at large is concerned the Bill has never been in Committee at all. After the Bill had bean read a Second time it was hurried off into one of the recesses of the House, and dealt with under conditions which not only removed it from the cognisance of the House, but for all practical purposes removed it from the public ear and eye. I hope Her Majesty's Government will now be warned as to the danger incurred to the public interests, especially so far as Measures of prime importance are concerned, in adopting the system of so-called Standing Committees. I do not, of course, propose on this occasion to go into the details of the Measure, but what is germane to the subject is that this Bill, the provisions of which are of the greatest importance to the vast mass of the population, was never discussed in Committee of this House at all. Moreover, it has been so substantially altered both in the Standing Committee and upon Report that practically it is no longer the Bill as read a second time by the House, and yet it has not been reprinted in the form in which it now comes before the House. Now, Sir, the practice of asking this House to read a third time an important Measure in which substantial alterations have been made in its earlier stages is, I venture to think, open to great exception. I am led to understand that at some hour in the morning an attempt was even made 576 to rush the Measure through its final stage absolutely without any notice whatever, and without a word of explanation, or any opportunity being afforded the Members of this House to express their opinions. That being so, I think I have made out, apart altogether from its merits, a strong argument for the re-committal of this Bill. When, however, we come to consider this Bill in its altered state, I have no hesitation in saying that either the question of vaccination should be left open for the people of this country to decide for themselves, or, if the law interferes at all, we should not make it ridiculous by saying that a person who does not happen to agree with it may, with absolute impunity, set it at defiance. That, Sir, appears to me to be carrying permissive legislation to a fatal extent. I am mot going into the details involved in this question; they are sufficiently fresh in the minds of honourable Gentlemen on both sides of the House to render that unnecessary. There is a strong body of opinion in this country in favour of an efficient enforcement of vaccination. There always has been, I am perfectly well aware, a considerable number of persons who object to that law. We have had this question before us throughout the political lifetime of all of us, and we know the direction in which the respective opinions go on this subject; but I think I am on strong ground when I say that a law decided upon by Parliament ought to be impartially imposed in all directions. The amount of the penalty which is to be attached to a breach of this law is, of course, a detail which Parliament may very well settle, but to say that a law is to be passed and disobeyed with impunity appears to me to be an anomalous proceeding and wholly incapable of defence. I do not wish to take the responsibility of rejecting provisions which I believe to be salutary—these I wish to retain—and I do not desire the rejection of the Bill, but only the elimination of certain of its clauses, and I therefore move that the Bill be re-committed in respect of clauses 2 and 3 and the new clause entitled "exemption from penalties."
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS (Herts, St. Albans)
I rise to second the Motion. I find it very difficult, Sir, to understand the action of the Government in this 577 matter. If it is right that a man who has conscientious objections to obey the law should be allowed to break it, why was not the principle introduced into the Bill when it was first brought before us? And why is it confined to this Bill, and not introduced into a great many other laws which are now in existence? If, on the other hand, this concession is a tribute to the zeal and activity of a handful of men inside and outside this House, then, Sir, I say that the regular supporters of the Government have just cause to complain. I think, Sir, our political agility is overrated. We have all our political lives stood up, sometimes to our own personal disadvantage, in favour of the principle of compulsion. In a by-election only 18 months ago—less than 18 months ago—an honourable Member now sitting in this House, who was contesting the seat, was strongly pressed to say whether he would adopt the very attitude the Government are mow adopting, and, though the numbers were very close, he declined to adopt it. Well, Sir, I think it is not unreasonable that we should ask the Government to show the same firmness of purpose that that honourable Member displayed. I heard the honourable Member for Northampton ask a question in this House yesterday. He asked whether there was any intention on the part of the Government to alter the law with regard to the vaccination of school teachers. The Government replied that there was no present intention. But why? What have school teachers done that they alone among the community should be deprived of the privilege of scattering broadcast a noxious and fatal disease? I think it is a monstrous injustice. It is only fair to the Government to say that there is one person who approves the action of the Government. It is a friend of mine who has had his family carefully vaccinated and re-vaccinated. But he, Sir, holds Malthusian opinions, considers the country over-populated, and does not take a very keen interest in the human race. He says, he thinks, on economic grounds, a pestilence is desirable among the lower classes of the country. That man is a strong supporter of these proposals, and the only one I have had the fortune to meet. Well, Sir, let me illustrate also 578 how quick has been the effect of the action of the Government. Only the other day a district council passed a resolution in disapproval of the laxity of the local guardians in carrying out the law. That resolution had its effect. The law was set in motion, and a considerable number of children were vaccinated who would otherwise not have bean vaccinated. But the Government took this fatal step immediately action was started, and the advantage gained is consequently lost. But, Sir, if the conscientious objector is considered in England, why is he not considered in India? In India the natives have the strongest possible objection to European methods of sanitation. We believe those methods to be right, and we deliberately enforced them, and, as I think, most properly; and yet in our own country, where the number of objectors is infinitely smaller, and where they feel much less strongly, we propose to take an absolutely different course. Why? I believe the whole medical profession is ranged against the Government in this matter. What have they to say on the other side? They have two honourable Members who have sunk the doctor in the politician. They have secured the gratitude of the honourable Member for the Ilkeston Division [Sir Walter Foster], but What return does he make to them? He goes down to his constituency and says that they have been egregiously blundering. That is what Ministers have got in return for rousing what I may call the just and extensive indignation of men who would never have dreamed of a great Government, with a strong majority at its back, pandering to fanatical opinion and disregarding that of our own party. Sir, I hear that it has been said that there has been no expression of opinion such as I am endeavouring to give effect to now. But the reason for that is perfectly well known. We had no notice that they were going to give way on this matter. Was it our duty to prolong a Debate or run the hazard of seeing our opinions—opinions we strongly hold —sacrificed to men who support the Government on no other question whatever? On the next day that clause is adopted, and then on a Saturday—which may be considered not a Parliamentary day at all, at the very end of the week—on a Satur- 579 day, that is the only day on which we can express our opinion. I say, Sir, that as there is another place to which this Bill must go I cannot conceive that that body can believe that Members of this House have had a fair opportunity of expressing their opinions. The Government must know perfectly well how many of us come at the greatest possible inconvenience, and some honourable Members have been prevented from coming altogether to this House. I am sure that they must feel that many Members in this House have not had a chance of expressing their opinions, and nobody can say how many more there are who have not spoken, but who believe in the same sense as myself. I urge this House to support the proposals of my right honourable Friend who sits beside me.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
I do not know, Sir, whether the right honourable Gentleman who moved this Amendment, or the honourable Member who supported it, have been present and taken part in the various discussions of this Bill. I should gather from their statements that, even if they have been present, or have given any attention to the subject, very considerable ignorance on their part has been shown as to what really occurred. My right honourable Friend speaks of this Bill as a matter of vast importance to the whole community, and so undoubtedly it is. But, notwithstanding this, I believe that this is the first occasion on which my right honourable Friend has shown the smallest interest in this subject. My right honourable Friend proposes to recommit the Bill, because he bays that this is not the Bill as it left the Grand Committee. Now, my right honourable Friend is under an entire and complete misapprehension when he speaks of restoring the Bill to the form in which it left the Grand Committee. This is not the Bill as it left the Grand Committee, for it has been altered in most material respects.
* MR. J. LOWTHER
My right honourable Friend has misunderstood ma. I said that the copy of the Bill which I hold in my hand states that it is the Bill as amended in the Grand Committee. Since then the Bill has been altered in very important particulars.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
No doubt the copy of the Bill which my right honourable Friend has procured is the Bill which was reprinted, and which came from the Grand Committee; but the Bill has since passed through another stage, which ought to be known to my right honourable Friend.
* MR. J. LOWTHER
I am sure my right honourable Friend does not wish to misrepresent me. I said that the copy which I procured this evening at the Vote Office was "as amended by the Standing Committee on Law." I said also that the Bill, since then, has been altered upon Report in very important particulars, and was not now the same Bill at all.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
If my right honourable Friend had taken the interest which I suppose he would have taken in a Bill of this vast importance to the whole community, my right honourable Friend would have known precisely in what respects it has been altered since it left the Grand Committee. If the right honourable Gentleman would consult the authorities of this House, who are, I presume, responsible for this state of things, he would find that the invariable practice is not to reprint the Bill after the stage of Report. It is, however, reasonable to suppose that honourable Members who take great interest in a Bill will at least take the trouble to make themselves acquainted with the position in which the Bill stands.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
By attending the sittings of the House at which the Bill is discussed. I have not the slightest doubt, however, that my right honourable Friend during these proceedings was much more pleasantly and agreeably engaged than I was, in endeavouring to conduct the Bill with great difficulties through this House. However, I do net rise on this occasion to enter into a controversy with my right honourable Friend, but I do rise for the purpose of making an appeal to the House, and especially 581 to those Members of the House who have shown, their interest in this subject by being present during the greater part of these proceedings. It is perfectly true that the Bill has been altered in very material respects, and an opportunity, and a legitimate opportunity, will be afforded to all those who differ from those changes of expressing their opinion on the final stage of the Bill—namely, the Third Reading. That opportunity I hope we shall be allowed to have directly. But, with regard to the proposal of my right honourable Friend to re-commit the Bill at this stage of the proceedings, that is a proposal to which I cannot adhere. If my right honourable Friend had been present, he would have heard the reasons which were given for the attitude of the Government upon this occasion. He would also have heard all that the Government had to say on the Third Reading of the Bill in defence of their position. I shall be prepared to deal with it when the opportunity arrives. But with regard to the re-committal of the Bill at the present time, I cannot conceive myself that at this period of the Session, and merely upon a Motion of this character, it is advisable to re-commit the Bill after what has taken place, and therefore I cannot accede to the proposal which has been made by my right honourable Friend.
§ * SIR W. HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
I certainly rise to support the appeal which the right honourable Gentleman has made to the House, not to adopt the course suggested by my right honourable Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet. I am aware of his great Parliamentary experience, but it would be more in accordance with the practice of the House if he had given us the benefit of his advice at a more appropriate time instead of after the event. Now, my right honourable Friend and the honourable Member for St. Albans have said that they were not aware of what was going on in the House, in a Debate which was continued for two days on a subject of this kind. I confess myself that I think that that rather puts them out of court in leading the opinion of the House, because advice of the character which has been tendered should rather come from those honour- 582 able Members who do attend the House of Commons, and not from those who do not. Now, Sir, the course proposed is a very novel one. The House has deliberately adopted the system of Grand Committees. There was a question raised whether this Bill should be dealt with in Grand Committee, or should be dealt with in Committee of the whole House, and by a vote I find of 201 against 50 this House determined that the Bill should be taken in its Committee stage by the Grand Committee, and not by a Committee of this House. I believe that one of the honourable Members who voted for this procedure was the honourable Member for St. Albans, and so far as I know this is the only part which the honourable Member has taken in these proceedings.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
If the right honourable Gentleman seeks to discredit me on that account I may point out that I voted for the Bill before this clause was introduced, and it is this particular clause to which I object.
§ * SIR W. HARCOURT
At any rate, the honourable Member for St. Albans voted for the tribunal which introduced a clause affecting a material part of the Measure, and that was in regard to the conscientious objector, which was the very thing which was inserted by that Committee to whom he remitted the consideration of the Bill. Now, Sir, I do not say that it is beyond the power of this House, having committed the Bill to the Grand Committee, to afterwards set up a Committee of the whole House; but such a proceeding is a new one, for which I do not think there is any example, and it is one which the House would be extremely unwise to adopt, except upon very overwhelming grounds. Now, what are the grounds set up for overthrowing the proceedings of the Grand Committee, and reverting upon the last stage of the Third Reading to a Committee of the whole House? The honourable Gentlemen who have supported this Motion are of opinion that upon this material point the Grand Committee came to a wrong decision, and therefore they desire to reverse it. The honourable Member for St. Albans says that it has been done to suit a handful 583 of men, and that there were only two medical men who were in favour of the Bill as it stands, who subordinated their professional duty to political considerations, one of them being the honourable Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities. In considering the Report of the Royal Commission, there is to be found at the head of it one who, in professional reputation, is the Nestor of the medical profession—Sir James Paget—and Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson. Now, those are the persons against whom, these imputations are made.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
I made no sort of reference to the honourable Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities.
§ * SIR W. HARCOURT
I daresay not, but his Amendment expressly included the conscientious objector, and that was the point to which the honourable Member referred. The gist of the whole speech of the honourable Member was the exception he took to the conscientious objector, which was equally proposed by the honourable Member for the Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universitites and the honourable Member for the Ilkeston Division of Derby, both gentlemen of the highest reputation in the medical profession. Everybody knows that the recommendations in this Bill were founded actually upon the Report of the Royal Commission, and were advocated by such great names as Sir James Paget and Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson. There is absolutely no foundation for such a Motion as has been made. As the right honourable Gentleman has said, these are considerations which can be discussed on the Third Reading of the Bill, and I do hope that the House will not take such a course as has been suggested in matters of this kind to overthrow the procedure of the Grand Committee, and now revert to a Committee of the House, after these matters have been very fully discussed upon the Report stage. They were as fully discussed on Report as they could have been on Committee. They were taken regularly, and with fair warning of what was being done, and any honourable Member of this House who says that he had no knowledge of what was done on the Tuesday night, and could not 584 come here and express his opinion upon the Wednesday, declares really that he is not in a position to perform his duties as a Member of Parliament.
§ * SIR W. HARCOURT
Well, seeing that this proposal is one to save the lives of the right honourable Gentleman's constituents, I think he might have been here. Such a Motion is not only an extraordinary one, but it is unparalleled in its character, and is made upon very flimsy and insufficient grounds.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I am in no difficulty in supporting the Amendment of my right honourable Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet, and I do so upon most substantial grounds. I think the right honourable Gentleman has given the most appropriate and final way of expressing our final opinion upon this Bill, because what the right honourable Gentleman has done is this: he has allowed the House to discriminate between the Bill as it stands and those who hold certain other views. With regard to the Bill as a whole, several of us regard it as containing certain provisions of which we do approve, and if the Motion made by my right honourable Friend opposite had been against the Third Reading of the Bill I should have been loth to support him, and for this reason: that the Bill proposes to bring vaccination home to the door of the people, which I regard as a most desirable thing. The Bill makes proposals which remove all those objections that have arisen from the impurities of the lymph. That I regard as a most desirable reform, and therefore the Bill, in these two respects, to my mind, is a great step in favour of vaccination, and for that reason I should have found it somewhat difficult to vote against the Bill as a whole. But when we come to those parts of the Bill, and those portions, which practically give up the principle of compulsion, I am entirely against the Bill, and I desire to vote against that portion of the Bill, whilst voting in favour of the portion of which I approve. I assume, Sir, that if the right honourable Gentleman perseveres with his 585 Motion, then the House will not be put to the inconvenience of a double Debate or a second Division. I suppose those who are opposed to the Bill are opposed on the lines set forth by the abandonment of the principle of compulsion.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I understand that the points raised by the Amendment are the only debatable points in the Bill. I think, therefore, that the most convenient course will be to have the general discussion on the Amendment. If the Amendment is defeated, no other Amendment can, of course, be moved.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I think the House now understands the position in which it is placed. We are opposed to the abandonment of compulsion, and we are going to support the Motion of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet. Now, Sir, I am glad to find that my views on this matter have found acceptance from high authority, and accordingly I proceed. Now, Mr. Speaker, I must say——
§ MR. DISRAELI (Cheshire, Altrincham)
I should like to ask, Mr. Speaker, whether, according to your ruling, the President of the Local Government Board will not be precluded from replying if a general discussion takes place on this Amendment. Will the right honourable Gentleman have a right of reply? I take it that he will be precluded by this Motion.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
That is not so. If the right honourable Gentleman desires to address the House on the general question he can do so on the Motion—That this Bill be now read a third time.It would, I think, however, be very inconvenient to raise a double Debate.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
Now, Mr. Speaker, I must say that I regard the question as decided now, that we are going into the general Debate. Now, in addition to the points raised by the right honourable Gentleman with regard to this Bill, there is another point which has not been raised, for it is one of the very strongest recommendations of the Royal Commis- 586 sions, and that was that revacoination should be largly practised, and this Bill does not contain any provision for revaccination. Well, now, Mr. Speaker, I must say that, as this is a Bill which is of such vast and momentous importance, I should be sorry if the discussion were to take the shape of a party or personal character. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, I regard this Bill as dealing with a question above party, because it deals so largely with the interests of the community. I think I am bound to say this much for it. It is quite permissible for honourable Gentlemen opposite to find fault with the particular method and tactics adopted by the Government, but all I can say is this: that I regard the responsibility for this Bill as resting not upon the Government, but upon the House as a whole. It can hardly be considered as a party question, because the Government in this matter only adopted the policy recommended by the Leaders of both sides of the House. Nor even is it fair to say that their action was to a certain extent the result of speeches and action on the part of their own supporters. And further, Mr. Speaker, I deprecate most strongly indeed—I regard it as something almost iniquitous—that this question, closely affecting the health of the people, should be made a battleground of parties at by-elections, and accordingly I will not, in any observations I make, lend myself in any way whatsoever towards regarding this question, not from the point of view of the health of the community, but as a question between the conflicting parties in this House. These are the views with which I approach this Bill. Now, Sir, my first statement is that it practically abandons the principle of compulsion—compulsion is given up. Let us make no mistake about that whatever; and not only is the principle of compulsion surrendered by the Government in this Bill, but the principle of compulsion is made an enormous battle-ground in the country at large. Now, Sir, on that point there is no opportunity for doubt. I have no doubt it will be argued, in the course of this Debate, that compulsion had to be given up because it has been found to be unworkable, and that the voluntary principle may be found to be more effective for vaccination than 587 compulsion. Now, let there be no doubt upon this matter. I took up a newspaper, written by an anti-vaccinationist, and I find his opinion is thatpractically vaccination henceforth will be a dead letter.I find that another argument in favour of the adoption of this Bill isthat the controversy which is now raging may be closed.Why, Mr. Speaker, the controversy is only just beginning. In my opinion, this conflict will have to be fought out to the bitter end; perhaps not to-day or tomorrow, but some time. I find that already, since the announcement of the concessions of the Government, there has been an anti-vaccinationist electoral covenant set up, binding those who subscribe not to support at elections any candidate who is in favour of vaccination. Now, this organisation has been established for the purpose of raising this question of vaccination at election times, and therefore I am entitled to say that the Government have not closed this controversy; they have only reopened a chapter of it, with the effect that compulsory vaccination, has received a very severe blow indeed. Now, what was the case made for vaccination? In the first place, it is backed practically by the whole of the medical profession. I do not say, Sir, that there is not a medical man here and there who is against it, but in the domains of religion, medicine, and currency there is always to be found some able crank who goes against the majority, I am making no personal allusions, and I certainly do not mean the First Lord of the Treasury. In the next place vaccination has behind it the opinion of practically the whole of the civilised world, has behind it the experience of a century, during which vaccination has been found to have done more for the increase of human health and the decrease of human suffering than can be alleged in favour of any reform. I do not want to labour the question, but let me recapitulate some of the facts. I take them from the Report of the Commission, and from the admirable summary of that Report, contained in the speech of my honourable Friend. Now, for every one person who now dies from small-pox, 17 died before 588 vaccination was adopted; and for every one person who dies now in England, as a whole, 20 used to die before vaccination was in vogue. In Scotland, which has shown its usual sound judgment on this question, for every one person that dies now from small-pox 25 used to die before the introduction of vaccination. As the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has said, the one country which is opposed to it is the predominant partner, and with what result? Why, that, while epidemics are practically unknown in Scotland and Ireland, or, to put it more strongly, whereas small-pox has been practically extirpated in Scotland and Ireland, epidemics are of common occurrence in England, where vaccination is opposed. There have been epidemics in Leicester, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Warrington, and Gloucester, and I think in several other places which I cannot remember. And, Sir, we have these facts before us, which the opponents of vaccination will have to get over, that cases of small-pox are unknown in places where vaccination is practised, and they are common in the places where it is opposed. Now, Sir, it is said, in reply to this fact about epidemics in England, that they are not avoided in cities where vaccination is practised. That is quite true. Nobody has said that a single vaccination is a remedy throughout the period of life. As a matter of fact, no one says that vaccination, unless repeated, is an absolute safeguard against small-pox; but what vaccinators say, and can prove, is that there is less danger of infection after vaccination, and that, if a person is attacked, the attack is less severe. Finally, and this is a most important point, the vaccinator says that there is a vast difference between the proportion of people who die from small-pox, according as they have been vaccinated or not. Take the case of Sheffield There, 4,151 people who were attacked had been vaccinated, and 200 of them died; 522 unvaccinated people were attacked, and 274 died; in the one case 49.6 per cent, and in the other 4.8 per cent. In other words, for each death of a vaccinated person, there were 10 deaths of persons who were not vaccinated. Of children under 10 years, 353 who had been vaccinated were attacked, and six died, or 1.7 per cent.; 238 unvacci- 589 nated children were attacked, and 100, or 43.9 per cent., died—that is to say, for each death of a vaccinated child, 25 unvaccinated children died. In London it is the same story; in Leicester it is the same story. In that town 107 of the unvaccinated children were attacked, and 15 or 14 per cent. of them died. That is my answer in the case of Leicester. In the case of vaccinated persons over 10 years, 197 were attacked, and 2 died, or only 1 per cent., while 51 of the unvaccinated were attacked and 4 died, or 7.8 per cent.; so that for every adult who died from small-pox, and was vaccinated, 7 of the unvaccinated died. In the case of Gloucester I find exactly the same state of affairs. In that town, of the children vaccinated 3.8 per cent. died, of those unvaccinated 41 per cent. What answer is there to these figures? There is no answer. I take a further set of statistics, those relating to the six towns I have mentioned, and what, as a whole, is the result? Of the unvaccinated attacked 35.4 per cent. died, and of the vaccinated only 5 per cent. I take another set of figures, those relating to nurses and others employed in hospitals and small-pox institutions. Here are people, surrounded every day of their lives by small-pox infection, and liable to catch the disease. As an illustration, take the case of Leicester again. Of 28 tenants of a block in the small-pos hospital, 22 either had had small-pox or were revaccinated. Not a single one of these 22 had the small-pox. Six of the tenants refused to be revaccinated; five of the six were attacked by small-pox, and one died. That was a very remarkable state of affairs in Leicester, the Mecca of the anti-vaccinator. At Homerton Hospital 365 employees, out of 366 were revaccinated; the one who was not was attacked. At Highgate Hospital not a single person has been attacked in 35 years. I could give other cases equally remarkable, showing that, amid small-pox surroundings, the person vaccinated, or revaccinated, uniformly escapes; the person unvaccinated uniformly falls a victim. I shall read two more sets of figures. During the Franco-German War note was taken of the comparative prevalence of small-pox in the two Armies. The French Army was badly or carelessly or insuf- 590 ficiently vaccinated; the German Army was thoroughly vaccinated. With what result? Of the Germans, 459 were attacked by small-pox during the war, and 23,000 French soldiers were attacked. As M. de Freycinet said, practically a corps of the French Army was disabled by small-pox and prevented going into action. I will pursue that set, of figures further. Taught by experience, revaccination was made compulsory in the German Army after the Franco-German War, and with what result? I am not exaggerating when I say that, amongst the millions of men who have passed through the German Army in that long period, not one single case of small-pox has been reported. When I am told that there is a division of opinion on this question, and room for doubt, and that high authorities differ upon it, I ask for an answer to this serious array of facts, and no answer is given. I have given the case of Germany; I will turn to the case of Canada. The population there is partly French and partly English. The French population opposed vaccination—they were conscientious objectors; but the English, Scotch, and Irish practised vaccination. The result was that 3,000 or 4,000 of the unvaccinated French Canadians died, and only about 50 or 60 of the non-conscientious objectors, the English, Scotch, and Irish. I have spoken of deaths, but there is another most important element in connection with the subject; I mean the destruction of the features and of good looks, which the House is entitled to consider. Honourable Gentlemen on this side of the House can afford to be quite indifferent to that consideration, because by studiously practising that system of vaccination themselves which they condemn in others, or which they will not compel others to practise, they have all preserved their manly beauty. Take the case of the school children. There are 53,000 children in the London Board schools; 360 out of every 1,000 who have not been vaccinated are heavily pitted with the small-pox; seven of the 1,000 whose vaccination was described as incomplete were pitted; and, among those whose vaccination was complete, only two bore any traces of the disease. I have heard honourable Members describe vaccination as class legislation; 591 I call small-pox a class disease, because it is confined practically to one class of the community; to that class who, under the guidance of educated men who ought to know better, have opposed the practice of vaccination. In Ireland I have never seen a child of the shopkeeping class pitted with small-pox, but amongst the peasantry in the country districts, where vaccination is not practised, many people may be found pitted in this way. I hold strong opinions on this subject, because I remember the time when this terrible disfigurement was common amongst the peasantry, but I hope we have practically eliminated it by the practice of vaccination. We are now discussing compulsory as opposed to voluntary vaccination. There are three great epochs in the history of this subject: 1847 to 1843, when vaccination was voluntary and ineffective; 1854 to 1874, when it was obligatory, but not effectively carried out; and 1874 to 1891, when vaccination was both obligatory and efficient. I call the attention of the House particularly to this aspect of the question because we are now, by this Bill, going back from epoch three to epoch one. Let us see what we have escaped, and to what we are reverting. In the first epoch, when vaccination was voluntary, the death rate was 305 per million; when it was obligatory, but ineffective, the death rate was 223 per million; but in the third epoch, under compulsory vaccination, the death rate was 89 per million; therefore we are going back from a death rate of 89 per million to a death rate of 305 per million, and that is called progress! The case of the children is a great deal worse. Between the first and the third epochs the death rate amongst children reached no less than 89 per cent. These children were rescued from disease and disfigurement, and we are now asked to surrender them back. By compulsion we have saved 5,600 lives every year. The anti-vaccinators want to give these people back to death. It is argued that vaccination does not prevent small-pox. I have never said that it was an absolute preventive, but I maintain that it is a very strong preventive, and that, though it does not prevent, it mitigates the attack, und saves from death 40 per cent. more lives. We are told that there have been some deaths from vaccination, and that 592 such deaths did not take place before vaccination. But suppose we dealt with some other subject in the same spirit. The greatest hygienic reform of the century is bicycling. What that has done for the health of young men and young women in this country is incalculable. Suppose we had an anti-bicycle society, an anti-bicycle party, and an anti-bicycle Bill. It would be triumphantly proved that the bicycle is one of the most fatal engines of destruction ever invented, for it would be pointed out that there were no deaths from bicycling 20 years ago. But why? For the very good reason that there were no bicycles 20 years ago. There have been some deaths from bicycle accidents during the last three or four years, but would you send women back to the sedentary lives they lived before the invention of the bicycle because a certain number of accidents took place? I assert that the number of deaths from vaccination has been grossly exaggerated, and that, whatever the number, they pale into insignificance before the deaths from want of vaccination. It is said that syphilis is largely communicated by vaccination. Well, there were, roughly, 3,000,000 children vaccinated between 1886 and 1891, and there were 279 deaths in that period, and the deaths alleged to be from syphilis communicated by vaccination, were five. A Commission inquired into these five deaths, and it was convinced that with regard to all five the allegation that syphilis was communicated by vaccination was untrue and unfounded. In Leicester it might be expected that, as there is no vaccination, there would be no syphilis and no erysipelas amongst children. Unfortunately, in Leicester the increase of infantile erysipelas is 69 per cent. of the children. Erysipelas has gone down 17 per cent. throughout the country; amongst the children at Leicester it has gone up 41 per cent. Anti-vaccination is, therefore, no preventive against erysipelas or syphilis in children. I ask the enemies of vaccination, what is the alternative to compulsory vaccination? It is calculated by some of the highest medical authorities that there is one death in 14,000 operations; indeed, one medical authority has declared that in his experience he knew of only two deaths in 593 32,000 operations. That is the risk we rim by vaccination. I acknowledge the strength of the conviction of the opponents of compulsory vaccination; it is an honest conviction in many cases; it is an electioneering conviction in many others. It is said that we should deal tenderly with conscientious objections. I am prepared to admit that to a certain extent, but it can be carried too far in the domain of medicine. Every month we read of the "Peculiar People," the parents among whom apparently refuse to bring in a doctor to see their children and sick people, who are allowed to die. It may not be known to honourable Members, but it is a fact that the "Peculiar People" have their counterpart in the "Christian Scientists." These people also refuse to bring in doctors. A person has an attack of typhoid fever, and his medical man says if he moves out of doors he will be a dead man in five seconds. The "Christian Scientists" say there is no such thing as typhoid fever, and tell the patient to take up his bed and walk, like the man in the Scriptures. Sir, the whole of the civilised world is against the action of this country in giving up compulsion. I believe, too, the opinion of the women and the mothers of this country is against the giving up of compulsory vaccination. An honourable Member of this House some time ago told me that though he had two children vaccinated, he had two who were not, and, with rolling eye, he declared that they never should be. Shortly afterwards I met the honourable Member and asked him how the unvaccinated children were getting on. A flush came over the honourable Member's face, when he replied that recently on going home his wife had said, "If you were fool enough to keep your children unvaccinated, I was not. Your four children are vaccinated now." Take the case of countries civilised or semi-civilised, and find me one single instance where compulsion has been abandoned in favour of the voluntary principle. The whole opinion of the civilised world is against the action of this country in giving up compulsion; and I ask if it is not a humiliating thing that we should stand, not in the van of civilisation, but in the rearguard of civilisation in regard to vaccination, giving up, as we are doing, the great benefit which 594 every other nation has maintained, and is determined to maintain. I regard vaccination as of great good and great benefit to this country, and the Government, by their position to-day, are sinning against the light.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester), E.)
I do not rise to traverse the ground which the honourable Gentleman has traversed in the speech to which we have just listened—in fact, I rise for precisely the opposite purpose, and I venture to point out to the House that speeches in favour of vaccination and, I will add, speeches against vaccination are not really relevant to the discussion now before us. Sir, the honourable Gentleman has made a very able and exhaustive survey of the evidence in favour of vaccination; there are perhaps one or two statements which I regard as exaggerated, but in the main I concur with him when he says that vaccination has an immense prophylactic effect against small-pox. That is admitted by those who prefer the system in force in 1871, by those who prefer the system as it was modified by the action of the Local Government Board in 1875, by those who like the Bill in the original shape in which it was brought in by my right honourable Friend at the beginning of the Session, by those who like the system as it was modified in Grand Committee, and by those who like the Bill as it is now presented to the House. All are agreed that vaccination is a good thing; and really, to lay before the House these elaborate arguments has two disadvantages. It has the disadvantage of taking the House from the discussion of the practical question before it, and the disadvantage of making it almost impossible to foresee the end of a Saturday sitting. I would therefore very earnestly deprecate any attempt to follow on the lines of the honourable Gentleman, whether for or against vaccination. I would venture to point out that absolutely the only question before the House at the present time is whether you desire to see the Bill restored to the precise shape in which it left the Grand Committee, or whether you wish to see it kept in the shape in which it was modified on the Report stage. Well, what was the Bill as it left the Grand Committee?
595 It was not a Bill for compulsory vaccination. I should be prepared to argue that, in the true sense of the word, compulsory vaccination has never been part of the standing law of this country; but I cannot go into that question now, because I wish to avoid unnecessary history or unnecessary statistics. I will take up ground which cannot be traversed. We have now to choose between two systems, neither of which can be described as a system of compulsory vaccination—the system which contemplates the conscientious objector, and the system of prosecution for non-vaccination. The Bill, as it left the Grand Committee, distinguished, by a test more severe than that contained in the Bill as it is at present, between the careless parent and the conscientious objector, and prosecutions for non-vaccination were strictly limited to one. Well, then, what have we got to consider? Under the Bill as it now stands, to avoid vaccination, a person has to go before the magistrates and satisfy them that he has a conscientious objection to vaccination. Both systems aim at one object—a distinction between the conscientious objector and the careless parent.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I think it will be generally accepted by the House that on the Bill as it left the Report stage, the only question was whether we should take the Bill as it came down to us, or whether we should modify it. As practical politicians we must admit that that was the only question. Therefore I am right in saying that the only question before this House is as to two systems, neither of which aims at compulsion. They aim at vaccination; they do not aim at compulsion. All the House has got to do is to decide between these two methods. No doubt the method proposed by the Grand Committee has the advantage of being more stringent, but it has the disadvantage of creating martyrs. The sole object we ought to have in view is to promote vaccination. We have practically to choose between two methods, one of which applies a more stringent test to the conscientious objector, and is therefore the better of the 596 two; but that method which, though better from that point of view, has the collateral disadvantage of keeping alive an agitation which has done more to injure vaccination than all the exaggeration which has been indulged in. I do not think that disadvantage ought to be ignored or minimised by the House. If the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, the fines of the anti-vaccinator are the seed of the unfortunate propaganda against vaccination. Nothing has satisfied anti-vaccinators so effectually as the quasi-merit attached to repeated prosecutions and imprisonment. It is possible that we are not a drivable nation. I do not say it is a merit, I do not say it is a demerit, but I say it is a psychological fact. It is an excessively difficult matter to drive the English people along paths in which they are reluctant to travel; and what is true of the nation as a whole is especially true of fanatical minorities. It is beyond the power of practical legislation to prevent it. Laws to which you attach so much value have been in a large measure dead letters. They have been disobeyed and disobeyed with impunity by the local authorities, and my right honourable Friend who has moved this Amendment, and who apparently desires to reframe the Bill at this late stage of the proceedings, is, I am sure, too well acquainted with the limits of possibility and impossibility to suppose that anything this House can do will give them power to coerce the local authorities. It never has been done, and it cannot be done when strong and bitter feelings have once been aroused. My honourable Friend the Member for St. Albans insinuated, as I think he is rather fond of doing, that the course pursued by the House, and especially by the majority to which be belongs, is one prompted by the meanest form of wire-pulling expediency.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
I never said or desired to imply such a thing. I do not know whether the right honourable Gentleman was in the House when I spoke.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
Then I am surprised that the right honourable 597 Gentleman should have misunderstood me. What I said was that I did not think the Government had shown sufficient firmness and resistance to the active and zealous attempts of honourable Gentlemen who are opposed to them.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
Then I must apologise to my honourable Friend. I am sure I do not desire to misrepresent anything he has said, and I withdraw my previous observation. This is not a question either of by-elections or of a general election. It is a question of framing our legislation as practical men, so that it may best carry out a practical object. That is the sole thing we ought to consider; and I will not shrink from saying that, if there should arise against elementary education the same feeling, which the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down adumbrated as a possible hypothesis, you could not, in the lace of such a feeling, retain in their present efficiency and stringency the laws which now enforce compulsory education.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
You did not dare to make education compulsory in Ireland until a very few years ago, and I suspect that there are parts of this country where the feeling is so strong against compulsory education that if you inquire into the matter you will find that the laws are not effectually carried out. Sir, to do these things you must have public opinion behind you, and I venture to suggest to the House that, as the one question we have got to determine, it is better to select the conscientious objector by subjecting him to a single prosecution, or by a declaration which will satisfy the magistrates at petty sessions—for they are the only two courses before us—I think that on the whole it would be desirable, in view of the feelings that prosecutions arouse, in view of the fact that they do more than anything else besides to prejudice the ignorant and uneducated against vaccination, to adhere to the form in which the Bill left the Report stage. Of this, at all events, I would venture to warn 598 the House. We have, as practical politicians discussing this Measure on the 30th July, to choose between the form of the Bill as we have moulded it and abandoning the Bill altogether. I think it would be a great loss to the cause of vaccination if the Bill should be lost; and I earnestly hope it will not be lost. But, however the House may decide upon that point, I would specially appeal to them, responsible as I am for the arrangement of the business of the House, to restrict the discussion to the two alternatives which are before us, and not allow themselves to be tempted into the boundless and barren fields of medical controversy.
§ SIR W. FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
I have to thank the right honourable Gentleman for the observations he has just made. The question before the House is one of choice between two methods of carrying out the law, and I say that honourable Members who oppose the Third Reading of this Bill are opposing a valuable and beneficial reform. I believe in vaccination absolutely as a preventive of small-pox, and I support this Measure because I want more people vaccinated, and that is why I took up the position I did in Grand Committee, so as to remove the irritation which is the mainspring of the agitation against vaccination. Now, my honourable Friend below the Gangway paid me the compliment of quoting from an old speech of mine. He differs from me in this respect, that he is in favour of coercion in this matter. I do not believe in coercion. My honourable Friend in the county of his adoption seems to have acquired a liking for that particular quality in its application to the English which he does not like to see practised on his own countrymen. I wish to call the attention of the House to this fact, that, although the honourable Gentleman made a valuable contribution to the Debate on vaccination, he went entirely wide of any practical suggestion as to how the law should be carried out. You cannot have any stronger figures against compulsion than those adduced by the Royal Commission, who, after seven long years arduous labour, came to the conclusion to abandon unwise compulsion. The figures show that the number of people who have escaped vaccination has gone on increasing since 1893; it had 599 increased still more in 1897; and in 1898 the calculation is that about 30 per cent., or more than 30 per cent., of children who ought to be vaccinated have escape under the present system, which applies compulsion in its worst form. You cannot, in face of these figures, have any ground whatever to stand upon in defence of this law. You have difficulties innumerable put in your way, especially when boards of guardians and magistrates on the Bench point blank refuse to carry out the law. In that condition of things, when you have large tracts of country like Leicestershire, Northampton-shire, Warwickshire, the West of England, and in other parts of the country where the law has fallen into abeyance, it is time honourable Members approached this question in a spirit of conciliation with a view to find a more acceptable method of promoting the beneficial effects of vaccination. If we do not nurse this agitation on which anti-vaccination lives and thrives, it would die in five months. I appeal to honourable Members to no longer confuse the issue before them, and no longer allow the cry of the anti-vaccinator to divert them from the real issue in a modification of the law, which this Bill proposes to achieve. How can we, sitting in this House, go against a Report which took seven years to prepare, and which was the product of one of the most exhaustive inquiries on any question, in any country, which the world has ever seen? In face of that Report, how can you consistently oppose a conscience clause like this? When I turn to this Report I find it was compiled by several of the ablest lawyers and most distinguished doctors in the country; and above all, it embodied the unparalleled wisdom of Sir James Paget. When I find these men adopting the principle for which I am contending, it is enough for me, and it should be enough for all of us. These men are experts, who know what they are talking about; and in framing the laws of this country we ought to be guided by those who know most about the subject.
§ SIR W. FOSTER
That was a declaration in favour of vaccination. ["It was 600 against the Bill!"] A portion of the medical profession is against the Bill, not because the Bill contains a conscience clause, but because it contains a conscience clause without a re-vaccination clause. It is because I want re-vaccination of the adult that I desire the conscience clause to first remove the objection to the vaccination of the baby. If you insert this conscience clause, which is to relieve those who object to compulsory vaccination, you will have a law which will enable you to protect this country in the same way as Germany is protected. That clause is most important in this way, that it will prevent the question of vaccination being reopened at another date, in order to bring about that system which has proved so valuable and so effective in protecting the population of Germany. Let me call your attention to the words of the Report of the Royal Commission. They say that they do not believe that a conscience clause inserted in this way would lessen vaccination. They arrived at the conclusion that it would not only conduce to vaccination, but would increase vaccination, if a scheme could be devised which would preclude the attempt, which had so often failed, to compel those honestly opposed to the practice to submit their children, to vaccination, and which, at the same time, would leave the law to operate as at present, so as to prevent children remaining altogether unvaccinated, owing to the indifference of parents. They did not think such a scheme was impossible. Then they go on to suggest a clause, not so strong as the clause in the Bill. The idea was to prevent the objection to the practice merely as an excuse to save trouble, and they gave the following example: that if a parent attended before the local authority and satisfied them that he entertained a conscientious objection to the operation, and made a satisfactory declaration to that effect, no proceedings would be taken against him. We have an increasing number of children remaining unvaccinated under the law of compulsory vaccination, and now, when the right honourable Gentleman and his colleagues have agreed to try this great experiment for five years under improved conditions, it will take away the terrors which have, hitherto affected honourable Gentlemen on both ides of the House, and make vaccination 601 more popular than ever. It is a valuable and beneficial reform, which, I believe, will do much to increase the health and safety of the population, and I earnestly implore honourable Members not to be led astray by any of the speeches delivered against this Bill, but to take the course recommended by the Leader of the House.
§ * MR. MONK (Gloucester)
I am confident that no one sympathises more sincerely than I do with the President of the Local Government Board on the unfortunate position in which his Bill now stands. I did my best in the Grand Committee upstairs to support my right honourable Friend in his efforts to make the Bill an efficacious remedy against small-pox. To a certain extent we succeeded. With the adoption of the glycerinated calf lymph it is generally admitted that the dangers which occasionally, though rarely, accompany the vaccination of children were not merely minimised, but practically removed. In the interests of my fellow-countrymen and fellow-countrywomen, and particularly of my constituents, who have suffered so severely from the epidemic of small-pox, I confess that I deeply regret the step taken by the First Lord the other day at the instance of the anti-vaccinationists. It has been said by the honourable Member who has just sat down that the Leader of the House merely adopted the Report of the Royal Commission. It is true he did so; but I ask the House what is the result? The result is that vaccination is renedered optional, and this Bill practically repeals the Vaccination Acts, which have done so much to prevent small-pox throughout the country. Well, I am very far from saying that a section of the people of this country, and particularly in the constituency I represent, are not in favour of making vaccination permissory, or rather of getting rid of vaccination altogether. If my right honourable Friend the Leader of the House were present I would ask him if he is aware of the means adopted by these anti-vaccinationists. I hold in my hand a protest sent to me—a protest from the Secretary of the Gloucester branch of the Anti-vaccination League—and, I believe, sent to many other, Members of this House, in which I am accused of en- 602 deavouring to mislead the House in some remarks that I made on the Second Reading of this Bill. Now, I denounce this, statement on the ground that it contains a vast number of falsehoods and misrepresentations, and I will show in a few words, by reference to HANSARD, that my own speeches have been misquoted in order to strengthen the position taken up by the anti-vaccinationists. As an illustration of the means adopted by some of the anti-vaccinationists to induce people to leave their children un-vaccinated, I have only to refer to the way they have misquoted me. This gentleman, who is one of my constituents, quotes me as having said—There was no city in England better supplied with water than Gloucester.Will it be believed that he omitted the word "now" in my speech? My word's, were—There is now no city in England.And again, I said—At the present moment there is an admirable supply of water in Gloucester.Again he says—Mr. Monk avers that Gloucester was the worst vaccinated union in the kingdom. This again is incorrect. Leicester stands first upon the list in this respect.My statement is perfectly true, as honourable Members will find by referring to the Report of the Local Government Board of 1895–6, page 138—The unions in which there was the highest percentage of default were: Gloucester, 86.0; Wellingborough, 84.3; Keighley, 82.6; Kettering, 81.4; Blaby, 81.2; Luton, 80.0; Northampton, 80.0.As regards the counties, Leicestershire headed the list of defaulters by 67.9. No doubt the gentleman to whom I refer may have fallen here into an error through inattention. Now, I have referred to this matter of a personal nature in order to show my right honourable Friend, the President of the Local Government Board that the means adopted by the anti-vaccinationists to induce the people of this country to leave their children unvaccinated is one that deserves attention. With regard to the 603 Third Reading of this Bill, I shall vote for it. I hope it will go up to another place. I will say nothing with regard to what may take place there, but I am sure it; will be carefully considered and debated in a spirit which will not be mixed up with anything of a political nature. I believe everyone there would be in favour of vaccination, being generally adopted throughout the country, and that I believe to be the opinion of nearly every Member of the House of Commons. With that view I shall certainly support the Third Reading.
§ MR. DUNCOMBE (Cumberland, Egremont)
Sir, I presume it will be in order to give one's reasons for objecting to this Bill. I only wish before the House goes to a Division to clear up one or two points. Now, Sir, my right honourable Friend the President of the Local Government Board seems to have made the same mistake as to the general trend of opinion in this House which the Government appear to have made as to the general trend of opinion in the country. Those who are in favour of doing away with anything like compulsory vaccination are active, but what we are not prepared to admit—what we deny absolutely—is that they form any appreciable percentage of the population of this country, and a Government—the strongest Government of modern times—has at this period of our history to yield to what we believe, and know to be, an insignificantly small minority; to me that is a position which I confess I am unable to understand. This, Sir, is not a party question, although the right honourable Gentleman opposite has endeavoured to make it such. [No.] Then will the right honourable Gentleman who spoke last explain why it was, when the Government gave way and agreed to put in a conscience clause, that speaker after speaker on that side of the House claimed that the concession of the Government was a victory?
§ SIR W. FOSTER
I do not recollect any Member getting up to say that. What I said was that I thought the Government had bungled.
§ MR. DUNCOMBE
Very well; I was mot one of those Members who were 604 absent from all the Debates. What have the Government gained by the concession? We know from the speech of the honourable Member for Sheffield what they have gained. He told us that they would go all over the country claiming that they had farced the Government to give way. What has really happened is this—the Government have mistaken a small and noisy minority for the opinion of the nation at large; they had been led to make that mistake by following the lead of honourable Gentlemen opposite, and they are prepared, as far as I can gather, to expose the people of this country once more to the danger of the ravages of one of the most loathsome of diseases ever known. Why should England and Wales be experimented upon, and Scotland and Ireland left out? Well, Sir, there are one or two other points I should like to mention. As to the "conscientious objector," I say he does not exist; he can only exist in one possible case. If the anti-vaccination adopted the cause of anti-vaccination as a religion, and became a fanatic on the question, them I admit it is possible for him to have a conscientious objection; but I decline that anyone could conscientiously object to a medical operation which would safeguard his own children and the rest of the population from the scourge of small-pox, and if we begin introducing the conscientious objector, it is impossible to say where we will stop. There are undoubtedly reasons against vaccination as carried out in the old style, but all the objections which previously could be urged against the system have been removed, and recently a discovery has been made by which the possibility of spreading any other disease by vaccination has been brought almost to a vanishing point. We claim that a large unvaccinated population is a serious danger to the rest of the community, and it is because we believe that that danger would be largely increased by the present proposal that we sincerely hope that this law may not be placed on the Statute Book. I do not know why the Government should be so determined to force this Bill through the House of Commons. I think the expressions of opinion given during the last few days ought to convince them that no harm can be done by deferring the consideration of this Bill to 605 another Session. Is my right honourable Friend dear as to what the opinion of his own Government his upon the matter? I notice that my right honourable Friend said the other day that he had been obliged to recognise that the enforcement of compulsory vaccination would be impracticable in the future, and later on, on the Motion for the adjournment of the Debate, the Leader of the House said he could not admit that the Government had altered their views, or that the Bill would destroy compulsory vaccination. It is surely very clear that these two statements cannot be reconciled. My view, and the view of those who support me in this matter, is that compulsory vaccination, properly safeguarded and properly carried out, is a boon and benefit to the whole community. We believe that so far from endeavouring to weaken we ought to strengthen the powers of enforcing compulsory vaccination, and it is because we believe that this Bill will weaken the cause of vaccination, and mark a retrograde step fraught with danger to the population of the United Kingdom, that we propose to do all we can to prevent it becoming part of the statute law of the realm.
After the usual interval,
§ * MR. BUCKNILL
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the observations which I shall make to the House on this occasion I shall proceed on these lines: I shall, first of all, assume, Sir, that of the Members of the House 99 per cent. are in favour of vaccination, and I shall proceed upon the assumption that every Member of the House, except, perhaps, that one dissentient, is anxious to strengthen the laws with regard to vaccination for the purpose of diminishing the horrible disease of small-pox. But I shall proceed to point out that that which the Government have done will not, in my opinion, have that result at all, but that it will have, unfortunately, a directly opposite one. I am one of those who were convinced by the President of the Local Government Board in his utterances in this House on the occasion of his introducing the Bill, on the occasions when he spoke in Committee, and on the last occasion, when he made that well-known speech in the House expressing in some- 606 what reserved language his sorrow at the course which had been taken. I also refer to the speech which he made the day before, I think on the 20th of July, when he still stood fast to the arguments which he had up to that time held. Let me go back a little for a moment to what the condition of things was 100 years ago. Just 100 years, ago, 1798, the great Jenner had proceeded with his experiments and had shown that he had made a great discovery. In 1840 was enacted the first Statute on the matter, which made vaccination optional. Such was the growth of opinion that in 1853 a Statute was passed, the first Statute, which made vaccination compulsory; and from 1853 down to the present moment Statutes, those of 1867 and 1870, have still continued with compulsory vaccination, and. I do not understand, with great respect, what the Leader of the House meant when he said just now that in point of fact there was no compulsory vaccination by law. It has been compulsory since 1853, though it has not been carried out; but that is not the fault of the Legislature, except that, in my opinion, they ought to have moved in the direction in which they are now moving much sooner. What is it that poor persons object to? Under the Statutes as they at present remain they object very properly to the necessity cast upon them of taking a child three months old to the vaccination officer to be vaccinated. They object still more to the legal obligation cast upon them by section 18 of the Act of 1867, which states that the day week after the operation, the child must be taken again to the vaccination officer, who may open the arm of the child and vaccinate other children from it. That is a cause of continual complaint, because it is done among the poorer classes and not among the richer classes. That being the state of the law, I think it was wise to introduce a Bill, and I think that the Bill brought in by the President of the Local Government Board on the 15th March last had excellent provisions in it. It no longer made it necessary that there should be arm to arm vaccination. It did away with the visit of the child to the doctor, and directed that the doctor should vaccinate the child at its home. These things were good. I regret that 607 the Bill did not contain a clause for re-vaccination, as I am a firm believer in it, but it did not.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
Re-vaccination is amply provided for now in the existing law.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
Does the honourable and learned Member wish re-vaccination to be made compulsory.
§ * MR. BUCKNILL
I will not suggest that, but if a clause dealing with re-vaccination were introduced it would be popular. Now, with regard to the Bill as introduced, with the exception of the omission of that clause, I was strongly in favour of it. I wish to direct the attention of the House to what took place on that occasion. The honourable Member for Ilkeston rose in his place and asked the President of the Local Government Board whether, as he referred in his speech to the Government carrying out the recommendations of the Royal Commission, he intended to carry out the recommendation of the Commission to introduce a clause called the conscience clause, and the answer was as decisive then as it has been decisive to-day. He said—No, Sir, the Government do not intend to carry out that recommendation of the Commission.That was the firm attitude taken up by him then and admired by many who heart him. In due course the Bill was read a second time, and on that occasion the honourable Member for Ilkeston returned to the attack, and the President of the Local Government Board repeated his observations. He said he would no accept the proposal although he though that there might be a great deal in it but the later information—I particularly want to call the attention of the House to this—the later information the Government had on the subject decided bin against it, that a great deal had happened since the Report of the Commission in 1896, and that much had come before the 608 Local Government Board which, had it come before the Commission, might have modified its views. Very well. The right honourable Gentleman cheers that quotation. If the Government had that information, if with the facts before them they refused to introduce a conscience clause into the Bill on the Second Reading, why have they now hanged their minds? The reason given by the right honourable Gentleman existed before the Bill was introduced, and at the Second Reading, and if it were not a sufficient reason then for inserting the conscience clause it should not be sufficient now. In the Grand Committee there was a great fight. Again the honourable Member for Ilkeston came to the attack, and there was a Division of 26 to 24. I will not say the Government, for this is not or should not be a party question, but those against the conscience clause beat those in favour of it. Again the right honourable Gentleman repeated the observations he made in the House on the Second Reading, and the Solicitor General made an excellent speech, which I specially wish to adopt on this occasion, because I was persuaded by what was said. The Solicitor General said—If this conscientious objection is permitted, what will be the result? Those who work the agitation against vaccination will make a house-to-house canvass, and will persuade thousands of people to sign declarations, when they had no objection to vaccination. The Committee must look to the interests of the child, who should not be exposed to a horrible disease simply because its parents had a conscientious objection to vaccination.That was the view of the Solicitor General, and that was the attitude of the Government. In Committee the Government stood firmly to their guns, and would not allow the conscience clause to be introduced. What happened next? The Bill came down to the House and was discussed for two days, and again the right honourable Gentleman refused to accept this clause, until at last the Leader of the House, of whom I wish to speak with political affection, for he has no stronger supporter than I have been since I have been in the House, got up, and in language so seductive to honourable Members behind him, suggested that as an experiment, a compromise, and a concession this conscience clause should be introduced. Why, I want to know, 609 should the Government at the eleventh hour perform such a volte face, should have turned over the page and cast aside all they had said before, and introduce this conscience clause, which in my opinion will retard instead of assisting vaccination? I am not desirous of making a long speech, but I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to a remarkable letter which appears in the Times to-day from Dr. Glover, whose reputation in the medical profession is very high. He says—Meantime, we may well leave to statesmen and politicians the sole responsibility of this weak and retrograde legislation—this slight on the certain and the most splendid contribution of medicine to the health of nations.That is his opinion. The British Medical Association the other day expressed itself as unanimously opposed to this proposal. The Royal College of Physicians have taken a more careful stand and have expressed themselves in favour of re-vaccination. I call this weak legislation. I say legislation which encourages the superstitions and ignorance of a minority against the truths which science has taught is weak legislation, and I say further it is weak legislation to do this in the name of experiment, compromise, and concession. Now I want to refer very shortly to what was said by the Royal Commission. Some things have been said to-day which if uncontradicted would lead to the inference that the Royal Commission was in favour of this conscience clause. If you read the whole of the Report you will see that it was not a strong view, and that they looked upon it as an experiment. The Commission point out the fact of the necessity of vaccination, and that the State ought to continue to promote it. Clause 523 of the Report, which appears to me to be a very important clause, states that if vaccinationceases to be compulsory the neglect or indisposition of many parents would lead to many children not being vaccinated at all.Now, if you read the two clauses together——
§ SIR W. FOSTER
But in the same paragraph they go on to say that the fear that there will be less vaccination is an assumption they cannot agree to.
§ * MR. BUCKNILL
Quite so, but that does not alter the position. I do not wish to give long statistics, but I would wish to draw the attention of the Committee to three statistics given by the Commission. Of vaccinated children under 10 years attacked with small-pox 2.8 per cent. only died, whereas of un-vaccinated children 32.37 died. Of 10,500 postal service clerks who had been vaccinated during the period from 1870 to 1880 not one died of small-pox, and I do not think even one was attacked. In the French Army in 1870, 23,400 died of small-pox, whereas the number of deaths in the German Army was only 400. Now, Mr. Speaker, have the Government before introducing this clause taken any steps to ascertain the feeling of the country about it? Does the House think that if the Government had made this conscience clause an electoral cry they would have been returned by a majority of 150? I very much doubt it. It is said on the other side of the House, not accurately said, that the strength they have lies among the masses, and that ours lies with the classes. We are constantly told that, but how many of those who are called the classes would have voted for the Unionist candidate who made the conscience clause an electoral cry? I was told a story the other day referring to a very distinguished Member of this House who sits on this side. He said he thought that compulsory vaccination was very cruel, and he was asked what would he do in the event of small-pox breaking out in his own house. "Oh," he said, "there is no fear of that, we are vaccinated. One of the servants was not, but I told her unless she got vaccinated she would have to leave." That was a very strong form of compulsion, and that is the sort of thing which is being done. So much for the conscience clause. I have one other observation to make, and that is with regard to the striking out of clause seven in the Bill. Oddly enough that clause was accepted by the Government in Com- 611 mittee, but was struck out on Report. Now, after all the right honourable Gentleman has said on the introduction of the Bill on the Second Reading and when the Bill was in Committee, how can we be expected to turn round and vote for this conscience clause? I cannot do it. I believe from the bottom of my heart that if this clause is made law you will have a large number of persons who will be induced—I do not like to use strong language about fanatics, and like to suppose all men are honest—by honest men and honest methods to go before a magistrate, and who will not hesitate to say that they conscientiously believe that vaccination would not be good for their children. If it be true that some 300,000 children are not now vaccinated, if this clause is passed that number will be very largely increased. For the reasons I have given I shall certainly support the Motion.
§ * MR. V. CAVENDISH (Derbyshire, W.)
Mr. Speaker, I intend to give my cordial support to the Government in connection with this Bill. I believe it is true that compulsory vaccination has been abandoned, but it was abandoned long ago, when the law ceased to be actively enforced. It has now ceased to be operative, and what we have to consider is whether we can by passing this Bill induce more parents to get their children vaccinated, and I honestly believe it will have that result. I believe that any objection which is entertained will be removed by the new provision, which will, I think, prove more satisfactory than the original proposal of the Government. To my mind the Bill is now better than when it was introduced, and better than when it emerged from the Grand Committee. The great object we should endeavour to arrive at is to induce as many of that large class who have no particular views on the subject to get their children vaccinated. At present the system is very inconvenient, but the house-to-house visitation will afford greater facilities and the use of the calf lymph will also remove other objections, and I think the Bill will induce a large number of parents to get their children vaccinated. I do hope when this 612 Bill is passed that the local authorities will be made to carry out the law. That is a most important matter to my mind. We know it was difficult in the past, owing to the time occupied by the Commission and the uncertainty which prevailed. But that period is now over, and I hope those responsible for the administration of the law will see that it is carried into effect. If the Motion for the re-committal of the Bill were carried I believe it would absolutely paralyse the whole efforts of the local authorities. Speaking as a strong believer in vaccination I believe there could be no greater misfortune, no worse injury to the health of the country, than the defeat or abandonment of this Bill, and I shall have the very greatest possible pleasure in giving my support to the Government.
§ MR. ELLIOT (Durham)
I confess that I am not convinced by the arguments which have been brought forward by my honourable Friend. I have paid great attention to the many remarkable speeches which have been made by the right honourable Gentleman opposite, but one so remarkable has seldom been made as the one he made to-day. He turned round and said what the supporters of this Motion have been doing. They are fighting the testimony of these scientific men and the testimony of the Royal Commission. Why do they protest against it? As a fact, what we are doing is, we are supporting what were the views of Her Majesty's Government, which they have considered for months and months. We have supported not only the views of Her Majesty's Government up to 10 days ago, but also the views of the Government upon this Measure after it had been before the Grand Committee. I do not associate myself with my honourable Friend who has so criticised the Grand Committee. So far as I know, I think that the Grand Committee is a useful institution, and greatly adds to the ministrations of this House. What are we doing? I am here supporting the Bill which I hold in my hand; that Bill, as it left the Grand Committee, and the only Bill brought before the House. The right honour- 613 able Gentleman sitting upon the Front Bench, urged me to think that is a satisfactory state of affairs, but I do not think so. We do not know what Bill we are discussing. I am told it is never the custom to reprint a Bill after it has reached the Report stage, or of the Amendments made upon that stage, and it is not at all unusual to make extensive alterations upon the Report stage. I do not care myself whether the precedent is one way of the other, but I think they ought to be reprinted. The gist of this Debate is in discussing what took place 10 days ago. Whether right or wrong, what took place was this. The First Lord of the Treasury gave his opinion upon the subject, but when he comes to say, in substance, that by this change which has taken place the law of compulsory vaccination is not abolished, I have to ask myself what that means. Whatever you call it, the withdrawal of the penalties does abolish compulsory vaccination. The real issue we have to deal with here is not one between vaccinators and anti-vaccinators, but the simple issue as to whether or not the means taken under this Bill are more effective in conducing to general vaccination than the means adopted before. Now, what is the proposal here? As I understand it the man who objects to vaccination has to come before a magistrate in the first instance, and satisfy him that he has a conscientious objection. Now, it strikes me as being a somewhat new departure in English law to give power to a magistrate to inquire into and determine what is a conscientious objection of a British subject, at least until the subject has broken the law; but here, in the first instance, he is to inquire into what is a conscientious objection. A man who objects to vaccination must go before a magistrate and practically take out a licence under which he may bring up his children unvaccinated. Under the old law the parents of these children would be finable for every unvaccinated child, but still we are told there is no change in the law. It is impossible to conceive a greater change. Here is 614 a distinct notice given to a man that he may maintain non-vaccinated children; but how does that affect the children? And yet it was said that this would encourage vaccination. Take an analogous case. In some parts of the country the law compelling the muzzling of dogs is not in force. Suppose that a man were to go before a magistrate to obtain a licence to maintain a certain number of unmuzzled dogs about his place, would that lead to the muzzling of dogs in that neighbourhood? That seems to be an analogous case, except in this respect, that no family of dogs, if I may use the term, are so dangerous as a family of children who have not been vaccinated. This is, practically, a power to acquire a licence to do that which the law has forbidden to be done, and it is a substantial change in the law. Then my right honourable Friend referred to other portions of the Bill. He said there were a great many defects at present, and in order to secure proper lymph and that the child should be properly operated upon he would now be vaccinated at his own home, which was an improvement in the administration, and I entirely concur in that. If you improve your methods and remove the objection to them you will remove the objections to compulsory vaccination. By removing the evils you have a stronger case to insist upon the law than you had before. Scotland has been referred to, and we are constantly told it is due to her superior education and better understanding of science generally that there has never been any difficulty in promoting vaccination there. I would venture to suggest that compulsory vaccination has succeeded in Scotland owing to the law being more wisely enforced. I am informed that there has never been any difficulty in Scotland as to vaccination, but that there is also a better administration of the law, and it is no doubt owing to the better administration of the law that it has been so. We are almost all of us agreed that vaccination is advisable, but I entirely accept the issue as narrowed down by the First Lord of the Treasury. What is the best way of securing vaccina- 615 tion? It seems to me remarkable to say to a body of intelligent men that the best way to arrive at it is to depart from the system that we have to-day and pass this law at the bidding of those who claim that it is objectionable. The right honourable Gentleman shakes his head; he did not put his case that way.
§ SIR W. FOSTER
The quotation from the anti-vaccinators is that they are distinctly against the conscience clause. They are opposed to it.
§ MR. ELLIOT
It is idle to say that the way to secure general vaccination is to publish all over the country the fact that compulsory vaccination is done away with. Let us put an end to this argument; let the case go before the country, through the whole length and breadth of the land, and the vote—if vote there be—will be everywhere against vaccination, and the result will be felt in the country and this House of Commons. Those of us who hold the same opinion as myself upon this question have against us both Front Benches of this House, who are both responsible, though I think the Opposition Front Bench has a greater responsibility than the Government.
§ MR. ELLIOT
But I care nothing for Party arrangements; we are standing up for the health of the British people. I think it is absolutely absurd to say that public opinion does not support compulsory vaccination; I believe it does. Honourable Members have got up here and advanced the argument that public opinion does support compulsory vaccination, and I believe that they represent the feeling of the country. When we go into the Lobby to-day against the organised party opposite, a small minority, it is we who will represent the views of the doctors in the country, and we shall represent fully nine-tenths of the educated men in the country, and not only those, but the vast majority of the ordinary parents as well. I ask honourable Members to vote, not according to this party or that, but in 616 the highest interests of their constituents. We have heard of the honest objectors, and of course those men are worthy of attention, but are we, who are more numerous and quite as honest, to be disregarded? Are the ordinary parents to be overlooked? Are we to forget the children? I cannot conceive how honourable Gentlemen can go lightly into the Lobby without considering the responsibility of the vote which they are now about to give. When one thinks of it, it is almost appalling to consider what the danger may be to the life and health of the children and to their friends and relations. We stand up against the Government, whose majority of 145 is assured, but I say to the honourable Gentlemen who hold the same view of the Government that the responsibility will not rest upon our shoulders, but upon theirs. I came down to-day not intending to speak, but I felt I must justify the course I intend to take, and I am grateful to the House for having listened to me as it has.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I thought all these issues were thoroughly thrashed out during the time this Bill was in Committee, and it seems to me useless to go back to them. I have come here to-night not to argue, although I could for any number of hours, but to register my vote. I contemplate voting in the hope that by the aid of my vote the Government will be able to sit upon the heads of its recalcitrant friends. I wish to ask a question or two with regard to the status of the vaccination officer. According to the views of representative bodies and local authorities they are of opinion that the Bill itself makes the vaccination officers civil servants, and that they would therefore have a title to superannuation. I think the right honourable Gentleman himself told me that they would not, in his opinion, have any such right. These gentlemen, however, come and say that they have taken counsel's opinion and that they would have a right to superannuation under this Bill. I wish to know whether the right honourable Gentleman would take the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, or some other eminent counsel, and if 617 they think that there is any doubt in the matter at all let the Government insert such words in the Bill as will give effect to their own views and intentions. Now, I think that we ought to remember that the First Lord of the Treasury said that we have to pass this Bill on July 30th, or else abandon it. That means that we shall not be asked next week to disagree with any decision which may be arrived at in another place. I think that a pledge has been given to us by the First Lord of the Treasury, and that we ought to hold him to that pledge.
§ MR. LEGH (Lancashire, Newton)
It was with some surprise that I listened to the speeches made by the honourable Member for the Ilkeston Division of Derby and the First Lord of the Treasury. I am afraid that the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury will be taken as a distinct encouragement to conscientious objectors all over the country. This is not the language which we used to hear from the right honourable Gentleman when he was administering an Act in Ireland against very many conscientious objectors. It is absolutely unnecessary to enter into any details, but I wish to be perfectly plain, and I have no hesitation in saying that it cannot be denied that the progress of this Bill has resulted in a complete surrender to the anti-vaccinators. The Bill might be more correctly described as a Bill for the relief of anti-vaccinators. It has resulted in a complete surrender to those persons who have been described as faddists and cranks for many years past. For my own part I have no desire to be a party to such a surrender. The conscientious objectors are sufficiently numerous already, and if this course is proceeded in it is difficult to see where it is to end. Any member of the Conservative Party who in 1895 had prophesied that a Bill of this description would be brought in and passed by a Conservative Government would have been thought little less than a lunatic. I candidly confess that, in my opinion, legislation of this kind is retrogressive, and I do not desire to be identified with it.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
Whatever the result of this discussion may be, what has occurred to-day has more than justified those of us who resisted the Third Reading of the Bill after the Report stage was completed. I hope the result of what has taken place upon this Bill will be a warning hereafter to anyone to set their faces against the practice, a practice which is growing in this House, of reading a third time Bills to which objection is taken, and which have been materially altered upon the Report stage. I heartily agree with the views put forward by the honourable Member for Durham, that it is a highly inconvenient practice for the House to be asked to discuss the Third Reading of a Bill when the print in our hands is not that of the Bill before us. There should be placed in our hands the Bill which we are invited to discuss the Third Reading of, instead of a wholly different Measure, the true state of which we should not be able to discover unless we sat through the whole of the arguments and the proceedings of the Report stage. It has been said, to my great astonishment, that no Member who has not sat through the Report stage of this Bill has any right to vote. When this Measure was taken last time there were not more than 60 Members in the House, and we are to be told when it is described as a complete surrender—a statement with which I cordially agree—that 600 Members are to be denied a right to understand the Bill. Our appearance here to-day ought to be sufficient to set up a new precedent, that when a Bill is entirely or materially altered upon the Report stage it ought to be reprinted before the Third Reading and placed in our hands—the Bill that we are invited to discuss. I desire to say, for my own part, that I intend to vote with the Government, approving, as I do, of their making this surrender. I do not desire to criticise the way that surrender was arrived at, because I believe the result will be to promote vaccination. I think, as an Irish Member, I have a right to say a few words upon the extraordinary condition of this Bill upon the Report stage. Why have the 619 Government been compelled, against their own deliberate judgment, to abandon, as regards England, and England alone, the statutory principle which has been adopted universally by the civilised nations of the world, of compulsory vaccination? They have been compelled to abandon it in deference—if I may use the term without offence—to an obstinate and ignorant party. I, who come from Ireland to represent in England an intelligent and educated people, who gladly submit to compulsory vaccination, feel that it is absolutely humiliating that the predominant partner of this Empire, who claims to reserve the right to govern us and the people of Scotland, has been obliged to abandon what every civilised and educated nation of the world is proud to make part of their law to-day, and that iii deference to a large part of the population that is ignorant, obstinate, and unintelligent. The Government do not pretend that their judgment has changed with regard to this matter. Their judgment, as announced by the Minister who is responsible for this Bill, and which he communicated to us upon the Report stage, was that he meant to stand by this compulsory clause. It was only in consequence of certain Reports that came from the country and the big majorities of the constituents that this surrender has been made. I complained of the condition of things which has necessitated this, and I think I have cause to commiserate, and I do commiserate, with the intelligent and educated Scotchmen in their endeavour to assist to govern this nation and who are obliged to sacrifice their conscientious objections for the good of these people in this matter. Now, I take note of what seems to some of us a most remarkable sentence. The First Lord of the Treasury frequently does give vent to remarkable sentences with reference to this country and Ireland. He said that people were not drivable—that is to say, a people who will not submit to a law which they do not like, and he went on to illustrate what has been the result of the case—that the law to which you attach such vital importance, the compulsory law, has been a dead letter, and many of the local boards in the 620 country have defied the law, and that is the reason which Is given by the Government for this surrender—a law which is not repugnant to the vast majority of the people in the country, but a law which has been passed with the concurrence of fully nine-tenths of the population of England. He comes here to justify this act—this surrender—because he says, the law which he thinks is necessary for the sake of the health and lives of the people has been defeated by the local bodies of the country—a law, not passed hurriedly, but with the sanction and support of nine-tenths of the population and the support of trained intelligence of scientific men almost without exception all over the world. The First Lord then went on to lay down the principle of the Government. He said that in order to apply the principle of compulsion it is necessary to have public opinion at their backs. The First Lord of the Treasury applied the principle of compulsion in many matters in Ireland in the teeth of public opinion, and I have heard him argue in very forcible language that the law must be obeyed. That was the language the right honourable Gentleman used to use when he was dealing with an intelligent nation; but now, when he is dealing with an ignorant minority in England, he says, "We cannot coerce them unless we have an overwhelming public opinion at our back." Sir, it is because I believe that, in matters closely affecting the interests and lives of the people, coercive laws cannot be applied successfully unless they are supported by an overwhelming weight of public opinion, that I shall support the Government. I wish that in future we could have that principle applied in the administration of Ireland. Having listened carefully to the Debate, I have arrived at the conclusion that there is in this benighted country so strong an element of uninformed opposition to the beneficent practice of vaccination, that it would be politic, in the interests of vaccination, to forego compulsion until by an active propaganda the prevailing ignorance can be dispersed.
§ MR. VERNEY (Warwickshire, Rugby)
Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to trouble the House very long, and I hope honourable Members will bear with me in the few remarks which I desire to make. There is not the slightest doubt that there is a great deal in this Bill which is very good and which every lover of vaccination would be sorry to see abandoned. But, to my mind, the whole Measure is vitiated by the introduction of the conscience clause. I support the proposal to recommit the Bill because I do not believe in the theory of conscientious objection at all. We are told that if we allow conscientious objectors to have their own way, it will avoid the friction which is caused by enforcing the law. Of course, if in a struggle you concede everything to your opponent and give way on this, that, and the other, no doubt friction and trouble are avoided, but at the same time it does not prevent your opponent getting his own way. That is just what these people will do. In my constituency there is a strong body of anti-vaccinationists, who have asked me to support the conscience clause in this Bill, but, as I hold that that clause will serve the purposes of those whose objects believers in vaccination wish to defeat, I have refused to do so. I think the best argument which it would be possible to use against the conscience clause has been ably brought forward by the President of the Local Government Board himself. On the Second Reading of this Bill the right honourable Gentleman said there was an active and powerful body of men who desired the total repeal of the Vaccination Laws and who were zealously working to secure that end. And, he added, that with their powerful organisation and their great zeal nothing in the world would be simpler than to arrange for conscientious objections to be presented by the thousand. That is exactly what will happen if this clause is inserted in the Bill, and it is for this reason that I oppose it. This is not a time, when so many children are unvaccinated, to make concessions to those who refuse to obey the law. I regard the Vaccination Laws as one of the most important laws which have ever been placed upon the Statute Book. We have been asked why we have not said all this 622 before. I admit that it might have been advisable to take action sooner, but on future occasions I shall take very good care to be in time. I had not the slightest idea, until I heard the speech of the Leader of the House, when the right honourable Gentleman announced his intention of permitting conscientious objections, that the Leader of the Conservative Party would sanction such a policy. I do not wish to use strong language in reference to one from whom we have received so much courtesy and sympathy, but I would like to express my very great surprise that the Leader of the House should have given utterance to a sentiment in favour of the conscientious objector. I feel quite sure, from expressions of opinion which have reached me from my own constituency—which, I am glad to say, contains many people who are not anti-vaccinationists—that if the Government retain the salutary provisions of the Bill, and at the same time establish a strong system of compulsory vaccination, they will have the vast majority of the people of this country at their back. We have been taunted by honourable Members opposite with not having publicly given expression to strong vaccinationist views. If the House will allow me, I will take the opportunity of doing so now. I have always believed, and I have said so in my own constituency, that the best means of obtaining vaccination reform would be to institute a strong system of compulsion. I have urged that the administration of the law should be taken out of the hands of the boards of guardians, and that an effective system of police supervision should be instituted. I fear that weak legislation of the kind proposed is likely to be followed by serious outbreaks of small-pox.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Mr. Speaker, I think this subject is of such great importance that every Member in this House who differs from Her Majesty's Government upon it ought to make his protest known. For myself I would suggest to the President of the Local Government Board that he should accept the Amendment of the right honourable Gentleman the Member 623 for Thanet and re-commit this Bill. When this Bill was first introduced it was received almost with enthusiasm. It was looked upon as a Measure which assisted vaccination very much, and it received a Second Heading by a large majority. It comes back from Committee in a thoroughly new form, with the conscience clause in it. The conscience clause will leave parents absolutely free to decide whether their children shall be vaccinated or not. The dangerous argument of the Leader of the House that the conscience clause will be likely to promote vaccination is, to my mind, hardly intelligible. That there are black spots in the country where the Vaccination Law is not carried out effectively, is hardly an argument for getting rid of compulsion. The law has not been carried out, because the Administration have been frightened, as the President of the Local Government Board has been. I cannot believe that the right honourable Gentleman has really changed his opinion. I sympathise with the right honourable Gentleman, as I always do when I see a strong man struggling with adversity. We believe that the country is solid on this question, and the whole of the medical profession is in favour of vaccination.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
Every Member of the medical profession in this House supported the Amendment.
§ MR. DISRAELI
There is a difference between medical men in this House who are politicians and medical men outside who exist only for the advancement of the medical profession. I will call the attention of the right honourable Gentleman to the pronouncements of the British Medical Association and of the Royal College of Physicians.
§ MR. DISRAELI
They say that, as a result of the conscience clause, the practice of vaccination will be largely discontinued.
§ SIR W. FOSTER
The College of Physicians passed a resolution, which I would have voted for myself, asserting their belief in vaccination. At the British Medical Association in Edinburgh the President, in his address, referred to this matter, and took the side opposed to that taken by the Government in this Bill, but there was no vote taken on it. If the honourable Member will refer to the British Medical Journal he will see the official declaration that the Association is perfectly prepared to accept a conscience clause, if associated with re-vaccination.
§ MR. DISRAELI
The Royal College of Physicians have looked with dismay at the proposal to accept a conscience clause.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Very well. I will pass from the Royal College of Physicians and come to the British Medical Association. I happen to have the British Medical Association pronouncement here. The President said—and his remarks were received with applause—The right of a person to act according to his conscience is one which a democracy is bound to protect only whenever it is distinctly proved that the result of conscientious objections is really dangerous to the well-being both of the individual concerned and of the community.It is idle to think the community can be protected by a conscience clause. The right honourable Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade drew a distinction between the lazy parent and the conscientious objector. They are one and the same person. The moment the police come to his door the lazy parent becomes a conscientious objector. I am quite certain that if this Bill is passed the work of half a century will all be undone. The Government have burked the question altogether. I would like to remind them that they are a Conservative Government; and surely the health and prosperity of the people is something to conscience. I shall vote with a clear conscience against the Bill, 625 as I am quite certain that the feeling of the country is against it.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
Mr. Speaker, it is only by the indulgence of the House that I make any observations at this stage of the proceedings, but so many appeals have been made to me by honourable Members on both sides of the House, and I have been asked to reply to so many questions, that I hope the House will give me an opportunity of speaking now. A good many honourable Members have been loud in their complaints of the attitude of Her Majesty's Government on this question, and of the change which they have made in their proposals; and I have been asked in particular to explain why it is that they have consented to the change. It seems to me that probably the best justification I can offer will be to give the House a short résumé of the various proceedings upon the Bill, which, I must frankly acknowledge has had a somewhat chequered career. When that has been done, I am very confident that most impartial people will agree that the course the Government have elected to take is, in the circumstances—of no small difficulty—the course best calculated to promote the interests of vaccination. The House must remember that this Bill was the outcome of the Report of a Royal Commission, which had deliberated on this question for seven years. The Bill, moreover, in its present form practically embodies the main recommendations of that Report; but I acknowledge that when the Bill was first introduced it did not contain the chief and foremost of those recommendations—namely, what may be described as a conscience clause. When the Report of that Commission was published, it was my duty to give it the most careful study and attention in my power, and I was at first inclined to think that there was a good deal to be said in favour of that proposal. Subsequent information, however, which came before me, and which I was sure never could have been before the Commission, induced me to come to the conclusion that they were wrong. I was unable, in consequence, to accept that recommen- 626 dation, and I was not willing myself to take the responsibility of making that proposal to Parliament, The information I speak of, and to which I refer, is the fact of the largely-increased number of children who in the last few years have remained unvaccinated, and that during that time, to all intents and purposes, we have been living under what was practically a voluntary system. The Bill accordingly was introduced without that clause, and, so far as I could judge, it was cordially received and welcomed by the House, the Press, and the public. On the Second Reading I stated my opinion with the most perfect frankness, and I made it clear that the Government were opposed to a conscience clause, and that if the Bill were passed into law I would do my best to enforce the observance of the Act. The second reading of the Bill was carried by a majority of more than 10 to one, and therefore I thought I had every right and reason to believe that I had behind me the support of the great majority of the House——
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
In support of a compulsory Measure. Then came the Committee stage, and then, after defeating, by a narrow majority, an Amendment in favour of a conscience clause, moved by the honourable Member for the Ilkeston Division, one morning when, unfortunately, my duty compelled me to attend a Cabinet meeting, my honourable Friend the Member for Edinburgh University seized the opportunity to move another Amendment raising the whole question of the conscience clause. I was surprised, after the previous decision of the Committee, that that Amendment was allowed to be put from the Chair. Without a word to me, without putting any notice on the Paper, my honourable Friend moved an Amendment which provided for a conscience clause at the time when the child had reached four years of age. A more absurd or inconsistent Amendment I have never heard of. It was carried by a very considerable majority. I thought it absurd, because the reasons for a conscience clause when 627 the child is four years of age, is going to school, and is likely to become a source of danger to his companions, are infinitely less than when the child is only a few months old, and the reasons against it are infinitely greater. Be that as it may, the honourable Member received a great deal of support from, among others, the honourable Member for Gloucester, who has been speaking this afternoon, and who, to my surprise, told the House he had been one of my warmest supporters. When I came back to the Committee a few minutes before a Division was to be taken, I found it impossible to retrieve the position, and when we were defeated on a Division I saw how greatly this would add to the difficulties of the future passage of the Bill, especially at the Report stage; I saw how difficult it would be for the Government to resist the Motion of the honourable Member for Ilkeston, which would surely be renewed at that stage. And when we reached that stage my forecast was more than justified by what actually did happen. It will be in the recollection of honourable Members what course the Debate took, and why, therefore, we found it impossible to resist the change. It is useless for half a dozen Members now, when it is too late, to express opposite opinions, when, during a whole Parliamentary day, not a single Member rose on either side of the House—with a single exception on each side—except to speak against the Government and support the Amendment. I cannot recall a precedent for that in connection with any Government Measure. In view of the general drift of opinion in the House of Commons, it was perfectly obvious to me that, even if we had succeeded in retaining a compulsory clause in the Bill, compulsion, for a time, at all events, would be absolutely dead in practice. It would have been impossible under the circumstances, with apparently a large majority of the House of Commons against us, to administer it. The honourable Member for the Egremont Division of Cumber- 628 land suggests that if the powers of compulsion were insufficient we should have asked Parliament for more. But was it likely, after what had occurred, that I could have succeeded in obtaining greatly enlarged powers of compulsory vaccination? What were the alternatives before the Government under those circumstances? The honourable Member for Derbyshire hit the nail on the head when he said that one alternative was to withdraw the Bill. But there is a great deal in the Bill, even as it stands, which I regard as of the greatest value in the interests of vaccination. The new lymph and domiciliary visitation are both matters of the first importance. What is to be gained by the withdrawal of the Bill? It is true we should then revert to the existing law with all its pains and repeated penalties. But, after what has occurred during the Debates on the subject, does any Member pretend to believe it would be really possible either for any local authority or any Government in the world to send people to prison for refusing compliance with the law and to be vaccinated under existing conditions, when it has been proved, as has been asserted by honourable Gentlemen opposite, that horrible diseases followed from vaccination with the old lymph and under the old system?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
I am speaking of what would be the position if, as has been suggested, I were to withdraw the Bill. If honourable Members are of opinion that the old law could be administered, I very respectfully differ from them. Then there was another alternative—namely, that I should take a Division on the Bill as it originally stood. Personally, I would rather have been defeated than make the concession, had that been the only consideration. But it was not. I still think that the Govern- 629 ment might have won by a small majority. But, even if they had won, it would have been absolutely useless to them for the purpose of enforcing a compulsory law. More than that, in the then temper of the House, I believe the Government would certainly have lost the Bill, because at this period of the Session nothing would have been easier than for a numerous and determined party to kill it by obstruction, and I had various warnings on that point from quarters which it was impossible to ignore, that undoubtedly that would be the fate of the Bill. I certainly felt it to be desirable to listen to these warnings. The only remaining alternative was the concession the Government has made, to which I consented for one reason only. Had I insisted to the end upon retaining the compulsory clauses of the Bill, I should have been grasping at a shadow and losing the substance, by which I mean the new methods of procedure, which I think to be of great value. After giving the subject the best consideration in my power, I am absolutely convinced that, in a position of considerable difficulty, the Government have come to a conclusion which, upon the whole, is the one most calculated to promote at the present time the real interests of vaccination in this country. One of the chief difficulties I have had to contend with has been the attitude of the medical profession. Over and over again it has been asserted from both sides of the House that the whole medical profession are unanimous in their condemnation of the attitude of the Government in accepting the conscience clause. I should like to ask the grounds upon which their make that assertion. Where is the proof of it? An honourable Member read an extract just now. I will read another, the only one I have yet received. It is a memorandum from the Royal College of Physicians of London, where there has been a good deal of discussion on the subject. What do the say? Let me read it—At a general meeting of the Royal College of Physicians of London held yesterday the following declaration was unanimously adopted—'The Royal College of Physicians, having learnt that certain changes are likely to be made in the law relating to vaccination, think it their duty to reiterate their conviction that Vaccination, properly performed and duly re- 630 peated, is the only known preventive of smallpox, and this opinion they consider to be fully confirmed by the report of the recent Commission.'In every word of this I entirely and cordially concur. There is nothing, however, in it which I was not aware of before. But it would have been more to the point if the Royal College of Physicians had told us whether they agreed or disagreed with the unanimous Report of the Royal Commission signed by many of the most distinguished physicians of the day—Sir James Paget, Sir William Guyer Hunter, and many others—in favour of the insertion of a conscience clause. Had they told us something upon that point it might have been of some use to the House. When I am told the whole medical profession is unanimous in favour of compulsory vaccination I contend that exactly the opposite is the case, so far as I have had the opportunity of judging. The Report of the Royal Commission has been before the country for more than two years, and if the whole of the medical profession regard its recommendations as injurious to the health of the country, is it to be supposed that they would not long ere this have made their opinion known far and wide? I will go a little bit further and say that in the absence of the voice of the medical profession in the country, what could I do otherwise than rely upon the expressed opinion of their representatives in this House? What has been the course adopted by the Members of the medical profession who have taken part in these Debates? I challenge contradiction on this point. Five or six Members of the medical profession have spoken, and every one of them has done his utmost to procure the insertion of a conscience clause in the Bill. If there is the smallest doubt on the point I will name the honourable Members. They are the honourable Members for Ilkeston, for the Bridgetown Division of Glasgow, for Edinburgh University—who is returned to this House by doctors—for Caithness, and for West Aberdeenshire. May I just say one word upon another point on which there appears to be considerable misapprehension? It is with regard to the position of re-vaccination under the Bill. Provisions for 631 re-vaccination are not inserted in the present Bill because they already exist in Acts of Parliament and regulations which are made by the Local Government Board. Every facility that can be desired for re-vaccination is already provided, and there is this to be said—that re-vaccination is not compulsory. I do not understand that it is proposed even by the medical profession that it should be compulsory. Two things I may say, which, perhaps, will give hope and reassurance to many of my honourable Friends who think that the new clause the Government has inserted will be most dangerous to the well-being of the country. Those honourable Friends seem, to imagine that the new clause provides that the conscientious declaration is to be a bar to proceedings being taken against people who objected to vaccination at any time. That is not so. The declaration of conscientious objection must be made within four months of the birth of the child. If it is not made within that time the parent will be open to all the pains and penalties proposed by the Bill. If they are conscientious objectors, no doubt they will make the declaration in that period. If they are not conscientious objectors, but are merely careless and neglectful, they will be open to prosecution under the Bill. Again, it must be borne in mind that the Bill has been given a temporary character as it is only to last for a period of five years; and I have taken care to insert an Amendment that the existing Acts repealed in the schedule are only to be repealed pending and during the continuance of the present Act. If I am right in my apprehension—namely, that an increased number of children will not be vaccinated, I am afraid that what will happen will be that there will be a certain number of epidemics in the country. If that is so there will be a great revulsion of opinion, and the Bill will certainly not be renewed, and the old Acts, with all their pains and penalties and precautions against small-pox, will come automatically into force. If, on the other hand, I am mistaken—and I trust I may be—if people are vaccinated in greater numbers, no harm whatever will have teen done, and no one will have any 632 reason to complain. Now, Sir, I have put before the House what is the present position and what are the reasons which induced the Government to come forward and make what I admit to be a very considerable change in the law. We are about to make an experiment for five years in what is practically voluntary vaccination. I have never concealed for a moment my own regret that the change is to be made, but we have to choose between making it and the loss of the Bill, and I am convinced that the loss of the Bill would have been the greater misfortune. It will be the duty of the Local Government Board to do everything in their power under the new circumstances, by the spread of information, by argument and persuasion, to induce the promotion of vaccination by local authorities. Of this the House must be convinced—that, after the expression of opinion in the House, after the Debates last week, and in view of the knowledge that there are at the present moment some 150 different boards of guardians positively refusing to enforce the law, it would have been impossible for any Government or any local authority to enforce compulsory measures at the present time. I believe there is much which is valuable in the Bill. It removes objections which are at present possible to vaccination, it gives the greatest possible facilities for its practice in the future, and it affords, as far as I can judge, the only means on which the Government can rely for the promotion of its object. I trust the House will reject the Amendment, and that it will agree by a large majority to the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ MR. COGHILL
If I had any doubt in my own mind whether the Bill ought to be sent back to the Committee stage it has certainly been removed by the speech of the right honourable Gentleman. I think most honourable Members of this House were unaware of what had taken place in the Grand Committee upstairs. I think we must be agreed that those proceedings were of an extraordinary character: everybody who ought to have been there was away, and people who ought not to have been there came forward to move Amend- 633 ments. The right honourable Gentleman has asked for an expression of opinion from the medical profession. Let me tell him that the British Medical Association passed yesterday a resolution, at a meeting of the Public Health section, to the effect that in the opinion of the section the Vaccination Bill at present before Parliament should be withdrawn in order that the Government might have an opportunity of fully considering the views and facts which might come out during the discussion on the Bill, and that a new Bill should be introduced next Session, it being remitted to the General Council of the Association to instruct the Parliamentary Committee to take immediate action. I quite admit that this Bill has considerable merits, but still I prefer it should be withdrawn, so that next Session the Government may bring in a stronger Bill which will command greater support in the country. The President of the Local Government Board has placed his supporters in a position of considerable difficulty, for he has told us that, while his convictions lie one way, he is going to vote the other way. He asks why honourable Members did not speak in support of the Government. I will tell him. Because the Chief Whip for the Government was going about imploring Members not to prolong the Debate.
§ MR. COGHILL
I am glad to accept that contradiction. I was informed the honourable Baronet was taking that course, and had he done so, it would have been a sufficient reason for our abstaining from speaking. If the Bill is not to be sent back to the Committee, I would sooner see it lost altogether this Session, and a better and more perfect Measure introduced next year.
§ DR. CLARK
In regard to the accusations which have been made against the members of the medical profession in this House, that they are here as politicians, and have taken the course they have done for political reasons, I should like to enter a protest. I do not think that there is a single voter in my constituency who objects to vaccination; and in voting as I have done I have consulted not my constituents but myself. As for the honourable Baronet the Member for Edinburgh University, he is the only Member of this House who has for an absolute majority of his constituents M.D.'s, and if he is taking a course which they disapprove, no doubt they will know what to do at the next election. The honourable Member for Glasgow has been a pro-vaccinationist for many years, and the honourable Member for West Aberdeenshire is exactly in the same position. There are no political reasons for their action—they have voted as they have done because they believe the present condition of things to be intolerable. You say nine-tenths of the people are solid for vaccination: then why are not their children vaccinated? At the present time one-third of the children are not vaccinated. What are you going to do? Of the 11 members of the Royal Commission only one was a Member of Parliament—the honourable Member for Ipswich—the others had no constituents. They were unanimous in favour of inserting this clause. Seven were for compulsory vaccination, four were against it, and of the seven two differed as to the method of carrying it out. You say you have compulsion now. You have not, for one-third of your children are not vaccinated. There are two classes who object to vaccination—those who honestly believe it to be a dangerous and pernicious practice and those who do not want to be bothered with it; and the conscience clause has been inserted for the purpose of discriminating between those two classes. I wish to protest against two points which have been advanced—the assertion that there were 635 400 deaths from small-pox in the German Army, and that an epidemic in a certain French town resulted in 23,000 deaths. Neither statement is accurate, and I have only referred to them to show what fallacious arguments have been advanced.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ The House divided—Ayes 133; Noes 29.—(Division List No. 271.)637
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Baker, Sir John||Fisher, William Hayes||Norton, Captain Cecil Wm.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. B. (Clackm.)||Flannery, Fortescue||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Purvis, Robert|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Flower, Ernest||Randell, David|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire)||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Bethell, Commander||Fry, Lewis||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Garfit, William||Sharpe, William Edw. T.|
|Bigwood, James||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Bill, Charles||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Smith, J. P. (Lanarkshire)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Greville, Captain||Spicer, Albert|
|Brigg, John||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Burns, John||Horniman, Frederick John||Stuart, J. (Shoreditch)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hozier, Hon. J. H. C.||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cavendish, R. F. (Lancs, N.)||Joicey, Sir James||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Labouchere, Henry||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Lawrence, Sir E. D. (Corn.)||Wayman, Thomas|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Logan, John William||Williams, Joseph P. (Birm.)|
|Clark, Dr. G.B. (Caithness-sh.)||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'r, N.)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Lowe, Francis William||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lowles, John||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath)|
|Cornwallis, F. Stanley W.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Woods, Samuel|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. S.|
|Crilly, Daniel||Macaleese, Daniel||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Crombie, John William||McLeod, John||Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Milton, Viscount||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Dillon, John||Monckton, Edward Philip||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Donkin, Richard Sim||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Doogan, P. C.||Legh. Hon. T. W. (Lancs)|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglas||Lloyd-George, David|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Howard, Joseph||Lorne, Marquess of|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverp'l)||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)|
|Maclure, Sir John Wm.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Renfrew)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES-Mr. Duncombe and Mr. Verney.|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert. T.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Ure, Alexander|
Resolutions agreed to.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to; Bill read the third time, and passed.